Steve Kaufer of TripAdvisor is inviting people to pose questions via Twitter regarding his dispute with Google Places.


All you have to do is log on to Twitter and add the hashtags #AskSteve

Here are the questions I have posed:

I agree Google should not pimp Places, but why should Google cache TA reviews yet not display them? #AskSteve

Why should we believe that TA has consumer interests at heart and not its own interests #AskSteve


I have very little time for Google Places in its present guise – it is unstable and not reliable. Google is pimping Google Places in search results for their own financial ends, not for the benefit of the consumer. If the consumer prefers to search Google Maps/Places he has always had that option – there is no reason to shove Google Places down our throats whether we want it or not.

It is rich for Mr Kaufer to want Google to cache his site content (which is not generated by TA but by third party reviewers) in order to promote his own site’s position in the search results, but not to show those same reviews in Google Places results. He is no more thinking of the consumer than is the search engine giant – it’s all about chasing the buck.

One is as bad as the other.  What do you think?


10 responses to “#AskSteve

  1. The bigger they are the harder they fall…. I am interested in parties that have been wronged by TripAdvisor contacting me as I have some creative solutions that may help everyone and create some measure of righting the wrong. What’s more it is legal and above board and will hit TripAdvisor where it hurts the most…. in their WALLET! I would love to see Steve K. shed a few tears for his lost profits since that is all he seems to care about.

  2. Trip Advisor wants its cake and Google’s cake too. They have been using businesses’ names, images, etc. for profit without the permission of the businesses, so now Google has turned the table on them…WAA…WAA

    Maybe if they had treated all the businesses with some respect, we would have some sympathy for them…but, in my humble opinion….they are getting what they deserve…”sock it to ’em Google”!

    • It’s a bit like watching two school bullies in a playground scrap.

      Google Places doesn’t show TA reviews in the search results – you have to go to the specific Places page for a property to see any reviews. Every TA review links back to the TripAdvisor site. I think Mr Kaufer gets a fair deal out of this arrangement. He can’t expect to dictate terms to Google.

      What I do dislike is Google ramming Places down our throats in search results. Whatever Google says, it is not about improving search results, it is about the future use of Places to sell hotel reservations and so on directly to Google users. If I want to see Places in the search results I’m perfectly capable of clocking on “Maps” in the search options.

      • While I don’t always believe Google when the tout “Don’t Be Evil”, I disagree that they are “ramming Places down our throats” and that their motives are simply to sell hotel reservations in the future.

        The change to places search results is site wide across all vertical categories. It is not unique to the hotel industry. It is attempting to address the rise of intermediary sites. When someone does a search for Plumber in Boston they used to get a page of 3rd party results (yellowpages.com, superpages.com, angieslist.com, etc) and no actual plumbers. Although you know to click on maps to see local businesses, it is not intuitive and 80% of Google users do not.

        Places is not perfect and Google has a lot of work to do to reduce spam and improve accuracy. But in principle I like the idea of reserving 50% of the page 1 organic results for actual businesses rather than intermediaries.

      • I stand by “rammed down throat” as we now have no control over whether Places results appear when we make a search that mentions a locality. You’re right, before you had to opt in to see Places results by clicking “Maps” and maybe some people who only used Google occasionally would not know about this option. So maybe it would be okay to make the default that “Places” was turned on.

        But they’ve gone further than that, you have no choice – you can’t turn it off! 😦

  3. TA have known that Google would enter their arena sooner or later, and their defence was to gobble up other sites and grow as fast as possible with no regard to quality, as it is quantity in cyberland that governs all. TA have to explain to shareholders why their ad revenue is falling and the value of their sites are diminished because they can’t stave off the the Google attack on it’s previously cosy, almost monopoly market. If there is one thing worse than technically brilliant attack on a cybermonopoly (Apple-v-PC/Microsoft) then it is an attck from a well funded colosus with no scruples. TA mistakes were two fold; firstly to desire to be and become a monopoly and secondly to behave like a bad monopoly. No sympathy for TA here (nor for Google should they abuse their position)

    • It does look like Expedia /TripAdvisor running scared of a threat to their own monopoly. I don’t say one’s better than the other, but it’s no good TA whingeing – they need Google and they know it.

  4. That’s what Google told TA to do earlier this week – if they don’t want Google to display any review content, then TA can simply stop it being cached. Like you say, it’s a 2-way street. Neither of them are charities.

  5. The problem is fundamental… TripAdvisor wants the traffic from Google, but doesn’t want to provide anything of value to Google. And what Google is saying, if you don’t want to provide anything useful to Google, then you don’t need our traffic. Take a look at Rupert Murdoch http://goo.gl/ZFF1 and the end result has been horrible… in some cases people are less interested in talking to his newspapers because well… they can’t see the articles, can’t see them indexed, can’t see the journalists names on the net, etc.

    In this case, Google is right… you have to pay the piper. Search engines are businesses. You can’t expect them to send you traffic for free. TripAdvisor is welcome to ask Google to stop indexing the reviews… it’s easy, it’s a simple meta tag called “noindex”. And Google’s bot and all others will simply skip the page. That’s the simple choice, to index or not to index. There is no option that says “steal traffic for free”.

    • That’s what Google told TA to do earlier this week – if they don’t want Google to display any review content, then TA can simply stop it being cached. Like you say, it’s a 2-way street. Neither of them are charities.

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