At a Senate Hearing today, CEO of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman, explained the basis for his belief that Google does not compete fairly, but cheats:
As Google has grown to achieve monopoly-scale control of Internet search, its mission has changed. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman put it most succinctly:
“Let’s be clear. Google is no longer in the business of sending users to the best sources of information on the Web. 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. 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.”
“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.”
Google softened its stance, according to Stoppelman, only after the FTC announced an antitrust investigation, the states’ attorneys general took notice, and the Senate antitrust committee proposed this hearing.