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.