Posted in Menacing Monopoly

Google places misleading ads designed to steal Yelp’s traffic on its mobile search engine

The Monster of Mountain View continues to engage in anticompetitive behavior:

If you search for “Yelp” on Google from your mobile phone the top paid result, even above the organic result to, takes you to Zagat.  I am only seeing this on mobile searches. While it is a common practice for companies to advertise against their competitors’ names in search advertising, in this case it is Google itself which is bidding for that search term and taking the top spot.  A classy move.

TechCrunch has a screenshot of the ad. The link is titled “Yelp”, but it goes to Zagat, which was recently purchased by Google and is now a subsidiary.

Because AdWords ads appear above what are known as the “organic” search results (which is a misnomer, there’s no such thing as “organic” search results), the real Yelp will always appear below the fake Yelp link as long as Google continues running its ad for Zagat. And of course, Google can run its Zagat ad forever… because Google can give itself as much advertising space as it likes.

TechCrunch notes that Yelp could fight back by buying its own Google ad. But then it’s just forking over money to a competitor.

What Google is doing here is a perfect example of why it is a menacing monopoly, and should be boycotted.