Larry Page Talks To FTC, Yelp Thinks Google Does Evil Things

    November 28, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google CEO Larry Page met with FTC officials in Washington on Tuesday, according to a report from Bloomberg. As previously reported, the FTC is close to closing its antitrust investigation into Google and recently gave Google a matter of days to come up with a proposal, though according to an earlier report from Bloomberg, the FTC didn’t seem to have much confidence that it has a case against Google in terms of the way Google presents results from its own products.

Sara Forden, Jeff Bliss & Brian Womack report:

Google has been engaged in settlement talks with the FTC for about a week, including an effort to define whether there’s a market where Google has a monopoly, one of the people said. The Mountain View, California-based company, operator of the world’s most popular search engine, is concerned that entering a formal settlement agreement with the agency may hurt its business prospects, the people said.

Google competitors are still complaining about Google’s choice of providing its own results. At a Business Insider conference today, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said that Google has some “evil” business practices, according to a report from CNET. Shara Tibken reports:

Stoppelman said that any disruptive businesses, like Uber and Airbnb, are guaranteed backlash, and government and business entities shouldn’t necessarily be allowed to limit those businesses. However, Google’s practices are likely “worth taking a look at,” he said.

“If you happen to be the gateway for the vast majority of users on the Internet and you restrict information and put your house property ahead of everyone else, you potentially harm consumers,” Stoppelman said. “We can all agree that’s probably not a good thing.”

Well, we can probably all agree that harm to consumers is not a good thing, but I’m not sure there’s as much agreement as to whether or not Google’s practices are actually harming consumers. Last time I checked, it’s still rather easy to enter Yelp.com into a web browser’s address bar if one wants to see Yelp reviews. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most modern browsers enable you to set Yelp.com as your homepage if you want that to be your gateway to the Internet. I’m quite certain that Google even provides a wonderful gateway to Yelp.com should a user search for Yelp or Yelp reviews.

Does going to Google.com and seeing reviews from Google hurt consumers more than going to Yelp.com and seeing reviews from Yelp?

  • http://www.dallasseoblog.com steveplunkett

    Yelp is HUGE in Google… CEO should stop complaining.

  • dustin

    THe Yelp CEO is complaining to secure Yelps position in Google. This way everyone is watching if Google pulls a fast one.

    Google is a monopoly though. It’s kinda obvious with so many business dependent on Google for their business to not just thrive but survive. All Google has to do is decide they want one more row of ads in the search results and that would effectively eat millions of sites traffic and millions of others ad campaigns. Either way Google grows.

  • John

    Yelp must die

  • Small Biz Owner

    As a small business owner, constantly leaned on by the mafia that Yelp is, this is a very ironic complaint coming from them. What’s that saying, the tea pot calling the kettle black ? They know how Google plays, because thats what they do. Constant undermining of good reviews to “even out” the ratings when stores like mine dont pay up. “Protection Fees” are worse than what Google is doing Mr Yelp!

  • http://iParkAvenue.com Patrick Hipskind

    The PageRank patent for Google’s search engine is licensed to Google by Stanford University. Larry and Sergey created it while at Stanford. I am quite certain Stanford earns a substantial amount of money from this license, while also receiving federal government assistance. Google in turn makes a ton of money off pornography through the Google search engine, and some of this money is funneled back to Stanford to pay for the PageRank patent license. Stanford should disclose what Google pays for the right to use this patent. And it seems to me it should be a crime for a university to receive federal government assistance while also earning income from the distribution of pornography.

  • Tag A. Long

    The market will decide the limits of the google gateway. Bureaucrats are pretty lousy when it comes to picking winners and losers.

  • Raf

    Yelp is hurting lots of businesses with the useless rewievs.

  • http://www.healthcaremarketingcoe.com/doctor_reputation_management/ Simon Sikorski MD

    Evil? Let me tell you what’s evil: Yelp going into healthcare.

    1) Hiding honest positive reviews. Whatever the CEO or Yelp representatives claim, this is absolutely unfair. Their “filter” is an advertisement to buy an ad. Read point number two below to get a better understanding

    2) Displaying ads of other doctors/hospitals on top of negative reviews – that’s simply unethical. Think about it if you’re a patient looking for a doctor and you see negative reviews, and right above it you see a beautiful advertisement of another doctor. What will you do?

    3) In Healthcare, if you have no way of verifying an actual patient – these reviews have absolutely no place. That goes out to ALL the physician ratings sites. At least on Google a person has to display their full name.

    4) And this is true for ANY business on Yelp or ratings sites. Ratings sites should NOT be allowed to put up websites with the exact name and title to be listed in Google Results. For example: “X Doctor” will have his own website (“X Doctor) – Ratings site puts up “X Doctor” web page together. In almost all circumstances, those ratings’ sites results almost always rank better than the doctors’ own websites…. with that said… do you know at least ONE ratings site that does not offer advertising services (read point #2 again)

    5) When is the last time 2-3 reviews are representative of the thousands of patients a doctor might see during a year? Other ratings sites even put percentage ranks for doctors based on 2-3 reviews and Google displays them prominently. That is by all means defamation and these ratings sites will be held accountable for damaging reputable business’s images.

    At this point ratings sites are defamatory. This has serious effect on doctors’ reputations and their practices.

    Let me know if you need more background info on this stuff. We have data for around 300 doctors already and will be presenting all of this to medical associations across the country.

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