Yelp CEO Speaks Out on Google Monopoly: We Had No Choice

  • This week’s Senate hearings on “The Power of Google: Serving Customers or Threatening Competition?” barely scratched the surface, suggests CNNMoney.
  • “What Google did to Apple — copying Apple’s touchscreen operating system and offering it to Apple’s competitors for free — never came up,” indicates the article. “Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) used much of their time to suck up to Google chairman Eric Schmidt, practically begging him to bring Google’s fiber-to-the-home experiment to their states.”
  • However, testimony from Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp, was compelling, especially in regards to his take on the search giant’s apparent new mission.
  • “Let’s be clear. Google is no longer in the business of sending users to the best sources of information on the Web,” explained Stoppelman. “It now hopes to become a destination site itself for one vertical market after another, including news, shopping, travel, and now, local business reviews. It would be one thing if these efforts were conducted on a level playing field, but the reality is they’re not.”
  • “The experience in my industry is telling,” he added. “Google forces review websites to provide their content for free to benefit Google’s own competing product, not consumers. Google then gives its own product preferential treatment in Google search results.”
  • Stoppelman suggested the company’s actions were essentially part of an ultimatum: “Google first began taking our content without permission a year ago. Despite public and private protests, Google gave the ultimatum that only a monopolist can give: In order to appear in Web search, you must allow us to use your content to compete against you. As everyone in this room knows, not being in Google is equivalent to not existing on the Internet. We had no choice.”

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