Yelp CEO: Google Is A Monopolist That Screws Us Over, And Here's How

jeremey stoppelman

Photo: Flickr/JDLasica

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman is testifying in Washington against Google, asking for government intervention to prevent the company from having too much power.He says the search engine steals Yelp’s content without attribution, favours its own sites, and is generally a bully.

In 2010 Google started scraping Yelp’s content and inserting it into its own Google Local product, according to written testimony from Stoppelman. From 2005-2007, Google was licensing that content.

When it decided to start taking the content without licence, Yelp complained. Google’s response to Yelp: Let us scrape your content, or don’t have it show up at all in our search results. Not being on Google was the same as not being on the web, so Yelp relented. Even after it relented, its review pages were given worse treatment, says Yelp.

The two companies have an interesting backstory. Google wanted to buy Yelp to build out its local content business for a reported $550 million. Yelp rejected Google’s offer. Since then, Google has been building and acquiring parts to compete with Yelp. (Most recently, it paid $125 million for Zagat.)

Obviously, Stoppelman is worried that Google’s local products are going to crush Yelp. He concluded his testimony by telling congressmen,”Today represents a rare opportunity for the government to protect innovation. Allowing a search engine with monopoly market share to exploit and extend its dominance hampers entrepreneurial activity.”

We’ve included Yelp’s evidence of how Google is trying to promote itself at the expense of Yelp.

This is what a Yelp page looks like

This is a Yelp review

This is what Google's old local product looked like, pretty sparse

Then it changed, but it relied heavily on Yelp

Yelp thinks it's unfair that Google takes its content and presents it as Google's

Here you can see Google not giving Yelp its due

Once again, Google scrapes Yelp without credit

A search for Spinach Pesto Pizza delivers Yelp content on a Google page ...

... but when the user clicks on the link ...

It doesn't take the user to a Yelp page, it takes that person to a Google page

Yelp used to be featured, but it says when it started to complain, it got knocked out entirely from Google's results

See? No Yelp

Competition is not a click away says Yelp, since its results no longer show up

Google is favouring its own content in search results, says Yelp

This is what Yelp wants to see in the results, something it thinks is fairer

Here is Stoppelman's written testimony (give it a second to load)

Here is his oral testimony (give it a second to load)

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