TripAdvisor still irked by Google and hotel reviews on Places

TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer doesn’t usually say very much on Twitter – but when he does it’s usually pointed or relevant, in this case calling Google “slimy”.

kaufer tweet

Kaufer was highlighting a story on TechCrunch about the Google Places iPhone application carrying reviews from Yelp, without credit – an issue which Google later admitted was a technical fault and was working to fix it.

Many will remember earlier this year when Kaufer accused Google of “manipulating its systems and position to promote Google Places over other competing sites”, an attack stemming from its row with the search giant over inclusion and placement of TripAdvisor property reviews appearing on pages within Google Places.

For a while the pair were claiming and counter-claiming that property reviews were (or were not) being featured in Google Places, and that each side’s technical teams were scraping (or blocking).

It now appears that despite some hotel reviews from TripAdvisor returning once again to Google Places, there is some way to go before the pair are sharing a few happy Pina Coladas during the hot summer.

Kaufer says the company is involved in regular discussions with Google over the issue and, “under the right terms”, he is happy for links and references to TripAdvisor content on various pages on Places.

“But the way it’s displayed now, I think it’s bad for consumers, for the industry, for hoteliers and restaurateurs, so the dialogue continues.”

The problems are numerous, he says, but one that appears to be simple (at least as far as TripAdvisor is concerned) is that Google appears to only select review from TripAdvisor for a property.

“It’s not a good way to represent the opinions of all of our users and severely takes away from travellers’ ability to make informed decisions.”

Kaufer claims the strategy is also unfair restaurant owners, hoteliers and others who are affected by the way Google Places displays TripAdvisor user reviews.

Without a significant increase in web page real estate to include all TripAdvisor reviews for a property, or some kind of review summary widget being included, as well as ensuring that other review websites are featured, some might say it is perhaps difficult to see how such as issue can be resolved.

At least the pair are talking about it…

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  4. Matt

    Looks like Google just up’d the ante on Google Places reviews and stopped counting non-Google user account reviews in their Google Places volume counts in search engine results. We wrote about it here on the day we found out:

    • Yvan

      Here’s what I do. This whole review prostitution game is getting out of hand. Sites want to OWN our reviews. We the property owner provided the service, don’t forget, that earned that much prized review. So put guest books in your rooms. let guests write in them. They will talk about your accommodation, where they ate, what they saw etc. No silly stars or little ticks or crosses. Just reviews. Genuine reviews. In the guest’s hand writing. Then scan those. Put them at your site. You own them. Take ownership of them. This silly game of asking guests to set up accounts, then place reviews and watch them grow like a healthy tree only to see them lopped off in a childish dispute is not taking charge of what you own and worked hard for.
      If we all did this then this game would be OVER. Mind you I have to say I hear Google do take great care to make sure their reviews are not fake. they have a number of ways of doing this. My Tripadvisor reviews no longer show up on google place results. So I am doing what I have to to take charge. Hope you do the same.

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  7. Nick

    I’ve been contacted by small business in particular – the little guys with only a few hotel (or other industry) reviews – who are baffled about how their Places page reviews are aggregated by Google.

    The ones who are the most hard hit only have a couple reviews – like 1-3 on TripAdvisor or some other site minor – and Google is only displaying the worst one.

    My advice to these smaller businesses is to start thinking of reviews, comments, the social web ect, as part of your overall marketing plan that needs to be managed – ie. don’t leave it all totally to chance.

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  9. Gaia

    So does TripAdvisor allow a legitimate way of sourcing their reviews? Many review websites have used TripAdvisor reviews (which are branded with the TA logo) so how is that different from what Google does?

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @gaia – I suspect the short answer is because Google gets a gazillion times more traffic than the other sites.

    • Sam Daams

      I also believe those sites pay TA for them. Or at the very least have to provide SEO friendly links.


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