What is The Real Reason that TripAdvisor Is Limiting Review Content To Places?

It appears that TripAdvisor is in fact currently limiting what and how Google can display TA’s review content on Google Places pages.

Yesterday, a statement from them appeared at TNooz.com, a travel industry news blog, that indicated that was the case. I wanted to confirm this with TripAdvisor.  I asked their PR department the following via email:  “I am attempting to get clarification of comments made on the information in the following article: TripAdvisor Blocking Google From Reviews?. Are you currently syndicating reviews to Google? Will you continue? Is/Was it just a technical glitch as Google has noted?”

Their reply:

Hello Mike,

Google frequently makes changes to Google Places, and while we’re continuing to evaluate it, we don’t think it benefits users at this time with the experience of selecting the right hotel.  As a result, we have currently limited the TripAdvisor content available on those pages.

Best,

Amelie

I asked for additional clarification but was told that the above was the extent of their statement. Given TripAdvisors unwillingness to add any real information to the story, I can give you my speculation as to what I think their reasoning is. (Isn’t that the best thing about blogging? In the absence of facts I can speculate.)

If you recall on November 15th, Google added booking links directly to every hotel Places page, interjecting themselves directly into the hotel booking process. My presumption is that the statement from TripAdvisor that “we don’t think it benefits users at this time with the experience of selecting the right hotel” refers specifically to this new process.

Google Places Booking Capability

I assume, but do not know, that Google’s move could be perceived as a direct threat to a TripAdvisor affiliate income stream. Google is sending users to some of  the same booking sites from their new tool as TripAdvisor.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that is the reason that the two are “fueding”?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
What is The Real Reason that TripAdvisor Is Limiting Review Content To Places? by

7 thoughts on “What is The Real Reason that TripAdvisor Is Limiting Review Content To Places?”

  1. Expedia now has major if not complete ownership of TripAdvisor. They have set it up so Expedia is in the best position to get the bookings (i.e. commissions) Also, it now costs (way more than other sites) to have your link, telephone # and e-mail posted on TripAdvisor.

    I new it would be a matter of time until Google took this business away.

  2. Mike, I see that TripAdvisor reviews are still displayed in Google Places for accommodation here in Australia. My guess is that since TripAdvisor has a lesser position in the psyche of Australian web-surfers that they still feel it serves their needs. Or, the segmentation of TripAdvisor across different servers results in different access for Google. Anyway, under Motels in Apollo Bay I still see TripAdvisor for the Beach Front Motel on Google Places.

  3. Notice the 5 yellow star rating is omitted. This is a big deal, because it does not show up in the search results. It is what people look at to decide which website to click on.

  4. I think the direct booking links on Places pages are a good indication of what other industries can expect to see as Google evolves. If a giant shark like Expedia can’t thwart them, then there’s not much hope for smaller fish.

  5. @Jax
    It makes some sense but who knows what other tensions exist between these folks…

    @VBV
    Interestingly Expedia is one of the advertisers that is listed as a booking site….

    Yes, those stars are very visible and must have an impact on click thrus…

    @Mark
    Yes, they were visible on every hotel that I looked at in Australia….but not in the US. An interesting twist in this kabuki.

    @Mary
    I think you are correct that Google will insert themselves in any transaction that has too many steps… and too much friction selling the difference in adwords…

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