Google Buys Frommer’s for More Travel Content

Do you think Google would be so aggressive with their newly found interest in travel and local content and reviews if Yelp and Trip Advisor and others hadn’t complained about Google making money on the backs of their content?

I don’t know for sure but it might have been a safer play for Yelp and their ilk to have not kicked the sleeping lion that is now Google and its acquired taste for its own content. And they are being smart about it as we learn from the Wall Street Journal.

Google—and its ambitions to capture more online ads related to travel and local-business information—are under scrutiny by antitrust authorities, who are looking into allegations that the company directs its search-engine users to its Google+ business listings, undermining travel and online-review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. The Frommer’s deal is too small to trigger an automatic review by antitrust authorities.

Of course it’s bigger than that but this move is bound to ruffle the feathers of the FairSearch movement even further. But do they have a leg to stand on?

Google has denied any anticompetitive practices and has repeatedly said it creates its services to benefit users, rather than other websites. Some U.S. courts have agreed with Google’s assertion that its search-engine results are a kind of opinion that is protected by free-speech rights.

This move is further evidence that while many gripe about Google and want to turn it into some kind of public utility (which is asinine, by the way), Google has decided to move on and exercise its right to create content (well purchase content creators is a more accurate representation).

But let the FairSearchers have their fair time, right?

Stephen Kaufer, the CEO of TripAdvisor Inc., said Monday, “It is puzzling to us that Google is going backwards to the opinion of one—a writer—when TripAdvisor is proof that travelers like the wisdom of crowds” and their social-network friends.

Mr. Kaufer, who has spoken out about Google’s practice of pointing users to Google-owned sites, added: “I absolutely worry that Google will preference Frommer’s content above organic search results to the detriment of the users’

This guy should be a politician since he is saying something as if it is an inevitable fact when, in reality, nothing to this effect has happened yet. It’s called spin. Oh and if people really do like the wisdom of crowds then TripAdvisor will be fine, right? It’s called a competitive advantage and that’s a good thing.

Yelp decided to stay out of this spin cycle by no commenting The Journal. Investors, however, spoke up and,let’s face it, this is what is really the concern of TripAdvisor and Yelp.

TripAdvisor shares fell 4.6% in Monday trading; Yelp’s stock dropped 7.7%.

So let the games continue. Google moves forward when it is denied content from other producers and does what it can to provide information to its users. Is that really doing evil? I don’t think so. What say you?