Big G vs. The Trip Advisor – Smackdown Continues in The Review Ring

Ah yes, the rancor in the review industry does continue and in fact it seems to be turnin’ into a wrestlin’ match. The actors players competitors wrestlers have staked out their corners and the taunting has begun for the match later this evening.

Google has been throwing reviews around like ring side chairs. Reviews from tripadvisor.com have been coming and going from Places Pages faster than an Elbow Drop off the Top. Google seems to be attempting to not show them as much, per TA’s request but in their stead we are often seeing the very same reviews form Tripadvisor.ca or .ie. In some cases, we are even seeing the TA reviews on the Places Page from actual owner website via the TA review widget. (Thanks to Steve King from SimPartners)

The real winner in this match appears to be a site called TravelPod.com. They are a site that synidicates TripAdvisor reviews and in a quick survey of hotel Places Pages for major cities, they are showing prominently on the main SERP and the Places Page for sites that had TripAdvisor reviews. Their review totals often match TA’s exactly. Clearly, TA’s efforts to block Google from summarizing content from their review corpus is not going to be a successful tactic.

One then has to ask why TA has gone on their very public PR tear. Posting at their blog and across twitter via the #AskSteve hashtag, their CEO continues to answer (albeit at a trickle) questions about the tiff.

I found TA’s answer to a question that I asked interesting:

Q: @mblumenthal – How does the hotel benefit by TripAdvisor pulling their reviews from Google?

A: For hotels to thrive on any site, consumers must have a great user experience. We’ve pulled our reviews because Google Places doesn’t offer a good consumer experience.

Now where have we heard that refrain before? It seems that Steve pulled a play from Google’s playbook when answering that one.

Effluent always seems to run down hill. And it seems that wherever an SMB might stand in this current match is by definition, down hill.

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6 thoughts on “Big G vs. The Trip Advisor – Smackdown Continues in The Review Ring”

  1. I feel like this is just a different iteration of all the drama that occurred when news sites where upset about being aggregated in Google News. In the end, it turned out that for most news sites being aggregated in Google provided more traffic to their pages than not.

    I think if TripAdvisor is confident in their content and their brand they’ll likely find the same thing. Not only that, but starting a tiff with the 800 pound gorilla of search just seems like a bad plan altogether. What do they really hope to accomplish by making their content exclusive?

    Things change and sometimes it’s better to work with that change than against it.

  2. Mike

    Did you really mean travelpod.com (the blogging site) was the winner in this spat? Or did you mean the hotel booking/review site travelpost.com? The latter is the first “review” site shown on Google Places in the link you posted.

    I confess I’d never heard of either of them before.

    Phil

  3. @Phil

    I meant TravelPod. I check 21 hotels in 3 different cities and while both were showing up widely, TravelPod had the most reviews, often the same as reviews as TA.

  4. @FF

    You are right it is similar but I think you will find that it is taking place in a bigger context…. Google buying ITA could very well disintermediate the likes of Expedia (owner of TA) around airfares and the inclusion a booking tool in Places could affect both of them

  5. Got you now, Mike – if I scroll down the full listing then TravelPod does indeed appear for the link you gave. Unfortunately I was looking at the ‘details’ near the top of the Places listing, where travelpost and other review sites are listed, but not TravelPod. Sorry about that.

    I see now that for some hotels and inns on Places, the TA reviews appear under the guise of both Travelpod and TripAdvisor, others have neither, and our own only has TA itself. What larks!

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