TripAdvisor confirmed today that despite reports to the contrary its decision to stop reviews from reaching the pages of Google Places remains intact.
Rumours started circulating almost immediately after the blockade was first revealed that TripAdvisor had already relented and a detente had been reached between it and the search giant.
However, TripAdvisor says the restriction remains. An official says in a statement:
“Despite the rumours, we are continuing to restrict TripAdvisor content on Google Places as we donâ€™t think it benefits users at this time with the experience of selecting the right hotel.”
The company adds that it is in “constant discussions” with Google – details of which are not disclosed.
The decision to stop Google from taking reviews of hotel properties was met last week with both praise and confusion from various quarters, not least because presumably TripAdvisor receives a reasonably healthy amount of traffic from users clicking on the reviews in Google.
In fact, even confirming that such a controversial decision had been made was interesting in itself – the company could have quite easily ignored or fudged the issue while it is in the discussions with Google.
But the timing of the blockade (or at least acknowledging its existence) came just days before a stinging attack on Google by TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer in an article in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend about Google “playing favorites”.
“Google does seem to be chasing us and I don’t like it one bit,” Kaufer told the reporter.
Coincidental timing, of course.
But this came just 24 hours before the FairSearch lobbying group working against the proposed Google acquisition of ITA Software (which counts TripAdvisor as a member) announced a string of new members, most notably Microsoft.
With the Department of Justice review continuing in Washington (travel companies were still be interviewed by investigators last week), realpolitik and PR appear to be stronger than ever.