Yelp Says Google Is Still Scraping

Yelp, the online reviews company, is reportedly claiming that Google is going back on a promise made as part of a settlement over tech regulation back into 2012, in which Google said it wouldn’t use content from third-party websites without their permission.

According to a news report in The Wall Street Journal, Yelp sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen over the weekend saying that Google used its photos for local business listings in its search engine despite Yelp requesting Google not do that.

In December of 2012, Google agreed to not use content of third parties, such as photos and user reviews, if they opted out of the practice, which is referred to as scraping. It was part of an anticompetitive settlement that ended a FTC inquiry into the company. Google’s promise remains through 2017, noted the report.

“This is a flagrant violation of Google’s promises to the FTC, and the FTC should reopen the Google case immediately,” said Luther Lowe, Yelp’s public policy chief told the Wall Street Journal. The paper noted the letter to the FTC was shared with the European Union’s competition chief, four congressmen or women and all of the state attorneys general.

Yelp has become a vocal critic of Google largely because it thinks the company uses its might to prevent other competitors from thriving. The most recent claim also comes as Google is appealing the tech regulation fine dealt by the European Union for engaging in anticompetitive behavior due to its product search comparison tool, reported TechCrunch.

According to that report, the EU ruling, in which it fined Google a record $2.73 billion for giving its own service “an illegal advantage by abusing its dominance in general internet search,” is being appealed by Google parent Alphabet with hopes it will be overturned. The report pointed to the fact that earlier in September, the ECJ, Europe’s top court, ruled a lower court needs to review an appeal by Intel over a separate antitrust case, which is emboldening Google in its appeal.


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