The already complicated relationship between Google and Yelp has just become worse with news that Yelp’s reviews have been removed from Google Places search results.
Yelp, which operates a local reviews web site with more than 31 million monthly unique visitors, was approached by Google some years ago when Google was developing what is now Google Places. As per the agreement Google paid Yelp to let its users have direct access to Yelps mammoth collection of client reviews.
Yelp was not satisfied with this syndication and they finally called a halt to the agreement formally in 2006, but strangely it was noticed that Yelp’s reviews was still appearing on ‘Google Places’ result page. In other words; instead of sending users to the Yelp site, Google was sending Yelp’s data to users. A discovery that certainly did not please Yelp.
Last month, after an onstage dialogue between Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and Google’s VP of product management John Hanke, Stoppelman clearly revealed Yelps displeasure on how Google’s Maps service was using data from their business reviews for relevant search.
And it was this expression of displeasure by Yelp that has now prompted the complete removal of the Yelp content from Google Place Pages.
Google have released the following statement about the situation:
Place pages organize relevant information about a wide range of places and locations, and they surface great sources of information like reviews and photos about ‘places’ ranging from restaurants to parks to landmarks to cities.
Regarding the presentation of Yelp review snippets, neither of us was happy with the data as it appeared, so we reclassified results from Yelp while we reviewed our options. This means that, for the time being, Yelp pages may not appear as review snippets in Place page results, though relevant results from Yelp will continue appear in the “more about this place” section, which shows pages about a given location. We are working with Yelp to more intelligently crawl and present results from their site.
Google has said to be working with Yelp towards a better way of crawling and presenting results from their site, but considering all the recent developments, it’s very doubtful that Yelp content will be returning to Google Place Pages in the future.