Yelp unhappy with Google's service

Local business reviews site complains that the Internet giant and former suitor is unfairly benefiting by running its users' reviews on the Google Places page.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
2 min read

Yelp is unhappy with Google running its users' reviews, but says its former suitor is unwilling to negotiate compensation.

The search giant is unfairly benefiting by running Yelp's local business reviews on the Google Places page without any compensation, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told the Telegraph newspaper. But Stoppelman says Google is offering only a take-it-or-leave-it response.

"We are unhappy with the way Google uses our users' review on its Places page," Stoppelman said. "However, there is no solution to the problem...Google's position is that we can take ourselves out of its search index if we don't want them to use our reviews on Places...But that is not an option for us...as we get a large volume of our traffic via Google search.

"We just don't get any value out of our reviews appearing on Google Places and haven't been given an option other than to remove ourselves from search, how to improve this situation," he said.

Google did not immediately respond to a CNET request for comment but told the Telegraph that sites like Yelp benefit from the referral traffic the search giant sends their way.

"Our goal with local search is to help Google users find the local information they're looking for online," Google said. "Each day we send millions of customer referrals to local businesses and third-party Web sites, such as review sites, through local search. The overwhelming feedback we get from users, business owners, and Web site owners is that they value the answers and traffic they receive from local search."

Google Places automatically aggregates information about businesses, including user ratings, published by third-party Web sites into a single Google-hosted Web page. Most of the information is already available on the Web, but Google's popularity and presence overshadows other listings and rating sites, in part because of links to the Internet giant's ubiquitous maps.

But perhaps this apparent acrimony is just leftover hard feelings over Google's failed effort to acquire Yelp last year. Stoppelman was reportedly the one who decided to walk away from the rumored $500 million deal.