TripAdvisor Blocks Google: The Start Of A Larger Trend?

First there was the Google-Yelp dispute over reviews in Places (which was resolved). Now TripAdvisor appears to be preventing Google from showing its reviews on Place Pages. The first to report this yesterday was Tnooz. According to the article:

Google is no longer able to stream in reviews from TripAdvisor to Places pages after the user review giant blocked it. TripAdvisor confirmed the move today in an email, stating that while it continues to evaluate recent changes to Google Places it believes the user does not benefit with the “experience of selecting the right hotel”.

“As a result, we have currently limited TripAdvisor content available on those pages,” an official says.

Google had previously said the absence of TripAdvisor reviews was related to a technical issue.

TripAdvisor content obviously remains in general Google SERPs but not among the Places-related review snippets or on Places Pages themselves:

Similarly TripAdvisor reviews are absent from the Place Page.

Like Yelp it could be that the matter will be soon resolved and the reviews return. But it’s not entirely clear because TripAdvisor may be taking the position that the delivery of its content to Places is ultimately destructive of its direct traffic and brand. That’s pure speculation by me.

TripAdvisor is one of the group of travel sites opposing the Google acquisition of travel software company ITA but it’s unlikely that this removal or blocking of reviews is directly related to that. Travelocity, also an opponent, continues to be among the review sources being shown on Places.

An interesting question to consider is whether all the attention and effort that Google is putting on local will cause other local or review sites to consider blocking Places from showing their content.

However there’s a bit of a “prisoner’s dilemma” for these sites. If they block, traffic will potentially go elsewhere to competitors. It’s a bet on the strength of the brand and direct traffic.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Business Issues | Google: Critics | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Place Pages | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://tripadvisorwatch.wordpress.com/ Phil

    TripAdvisor’s move is because Google Places now aggregates reviews from many sources, so why would anyone would go to TripAdvisor to read reviews if the info is already there on Google Places. The flipside is that if TA does not feature in Google Places, which are all the more more prominent in SERPs since the recent revision and promotion of Maps in Google searches, then TA is going to lose a heck of a lot of click-through traffic. This spat is benefiting neither TA nor Google – they’ll have to settle eventually.

    Meantime, it would help if Google got its Places listings in order. Their Places forum is littered with complaints of accounts being blocked and listings removed because of duplicate listings/quality guidelines. Often the problem is caused by Google itself scraping listings from sites like Trivago, causing a conflict with the proper owner’s listing.

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