Jim Davidson, CEO of founding FairSearch member Farelogix, says the technology company dropped out of the coalition two to three weeks ago after ensuring that Google’s acquisition of ITA Software didn’t disadvantage airlines.
“We got what we wanted,” Davidson says. “The only issue was making sure the whole Google and ITA deal wasn’t leveraged against airlines.”
“It seems to be pretty airline friendly,” Davidson adds.
In that regard, although all FairSearch members opposed the ITA acquisition, many were looking out for the interests of OTAs and metasearch companies — in contrast to Farelogix’s aims.
In fact, Farelogix has had well-publicized arguments with FairSearch member Sabre over the direct-connect issue.
Davidson says if Google Flight Search eventually adopts an open advertising platform — welcoming OTAs and metasearch companies — then that would create a “dilemma with the airlines in terms of who gets displayed first.”
It’s unclear if Google has resolved that thorny issue.
Advertising is certainly part of Google’s DNA, but how will it balance the interests of large advertisers, ranging from airlines to OTAs and travel metasearch companies?
For now the OTAs and metasearch firms are shut out of Flight Search.
Davidson believes Google was under pressure to launch a flight search product quickly in the interim, and perhaps these issues will be resolved later.
Meanwhile, FairSearch continues its broader search-fairness battle against Google, but has been unable to expand its public list of members.
With Farelogix dropping out, FairSearch basically lists just lists six members: Microsoft, Expedia, Sabre, Kayak, Foundem and Level…com.¬†The rest of the companies listed as members are associated with the aforementioned.
Other travel companies may share FairSearch’s aims, but no others are publicly identified with the coalition.