If your business was listed multiple times in Google Places, would you be happy? Yelp isn’t.
Here’s a good summary of what may be going on:
Moreover, Google is using Yelp data to bulk up their Places offering. Yelp can’t like that too much. In fact, we’ve heard they’re particularly unhappy because they used to have a deal with Google for this data, but they pulled out of that deal a couple years ago. But Google decided to use Yelp’s data anyway simply by crawling it. Yelp can’t stop them from doing that unless they want to delist themselves from Google — a move which could kill them.
In other words, Yelp used to pay Google (or Google paid Yelp) for the privilege of getting its information in front of searchers then Yelp decided not to do that any more. So Google just started crawling Yelp’s pages and listed the information for free. It’s for user benefit, right?
But whose users?
Obviously, Google is concerned that users of its search engine will appreciate the information and that’s what they’re catering to. But Yelp would rather see those users on its own website. The problem is, some of those users likely will end up on Yelp’s website since Google Places links to it. Rarely does Google provide searchers with results without linking to the page from which the information is taken (I can’t think of a time that it ever has).
Google can’t make searchers click on the link and visit Yelp, but it’s likely that Yelp will pick up some users it doesn’t already have because it is listed in Google Places. I doubt that Yelp will lose any users to Google Places. If it does, that would be a turning point in search behavior.
What do you think? Should Yelp be happy with its privileged status on Google?