Executives at Yelp and TripAdvisor are angry at Google for burying their search results well below its own offerings — an issue the search giant says was caused by a “bug” — Re/code reports.
Users who searched for queries that contained the company names — e.g. “yelp ozumo” or “TripAdvisor Hilton” — found that a Google-related result was the top option, which takes up the whole page on a mobile device. This would, according to Re/code, direct traffic away from Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Google responded in a statement claiming that the problem was a result of a bug. “The issues cited were caused by a recent code push, which we’re working quickly to fix,” a spokesperson told Re/code.
It’s not clear how long the fix will take. Business Insider has contacted Google for further clarification and we’ll update this article once we hear back.
Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO of Yelp, told Re/code: “Google is now intentionally providing the wrong answers for local searches on the mobile Web. This is not good for consumers or for competition but good for maintaining Google’s monopoly.”
He added in a tweet that Google is “about as truthful as [Donald] Trump.”
On Sunday, TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer also chastised Google in a tweet: “Gimme a break, @google. Search for ‘tripadvisor hilton’ puts the tripadvisor link so far down you can’t see it,” he wrote.
Yelp and TripAdvisor are co-complainants in the European Union’s antitrust investigation into Google. The complaint alleges that Google manipulates its search results to promote its own products over competitors. Google denies the charges, saying its search products focus on user’s needs.
Yelp shared data with Re/Code which makes the extent of the problem clear. According to the company, a third of Google searches for “Yelp” and another term — i.e. a hotel or place — were directed away, while TripAdvisor saw almost half of its traffic “misdirected” away. Foursquare and ZocDoc, an online medical care scheduling service, saw a fifth of its traffic divert away to Google results.
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