If you were characterize the relationship between Google and Yelp these days it would have to occur on a sliding scale that runs between contentious and bearable. Let’s face it, they don’t get along well and each new event in the relationship adds some more drama.
Yelp has rebuffed a Google attempt to buy the service at the end of last year and they have recently been in a spat over the use of Yelp reviews in Google Place Pages. This little battle was based on both the use of the reviews at all and where they were usually placed (which was at the end of the line behind Zagat’s and others).
Now it appears that Google has taken Yelp results out of their Place Page results entirely. According to TechCrunch
From our checks, it seems like Google has completely omitted Yelp reviews from Google Places . As you may recall, Yelp has been frustrated by Google’s recent decision to pump up its Places service with Yelp’s content— without Yelp’s consent.
During a recent interview with TechCrunch TV, Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said he was surprised by Google’s move but was confident that it was not a “permanent situation, from what we gather from talking to Google, they are sort of headed in a new direction that which hopefully will be more positive.”
If positive means that those results have been scrubbed from Place Pages (or appears to have been across the board) then Yelp wins. If it meant something else well then that sliding scale of this complex relationship is moving back toward contentious pretty quickly.
I don’t know all the ins and outs of Google and Yelp’s agreement to exist in relative peace but if I were Yelp I can’t imagine how being in Google Place pages hurts your efforts. There are many other third party reviews that show up in Place Page results and that can only help those sites with both credibility and potential traffic. I suspect that Yelp has a mild case of “my ‘you know what’ doesn’t stink!”. In other words, since they view themselves as better than others they will expect something in return (money) which is only natural. That kind of arrangement between these two blew up in the past though.
Also in the past, Yelp has shown extreme arrogance in some selling ‘techniques’ that were causing SMB’s cry extortion when it came to removing malicious reviews from the site. Any company that does that and has to wait to get its hand slapped before making a change has got some issues. This attitude is just playing out in other business relationships as well. Maybe it’s just a culture thing with Yelp.
Not sure how this will all play out but as Google’s move toward mobile continues and their concentration on Place Pages importance increases it may be Yelp that comes crawling to Google for some help in the future. Or not.