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Yelp Takes Aim At Google ahead of EU Antitrust Meeting

February 26, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

Yelp has been one of Google’s biggest and loudest critics for quite some time now, with their CEO previously accusing the search giant of skewing results to promote what would make them the most money, as well as having some “cloak and dagger” activity going on in Washington. Google has recently fallen into some tax troubles all around Europe, including France requesting around €1.6 billion and a settlement with the UK that analysts are saying was inadequate to satisfy Alphabet’s back tax debt in the country. On top of that, they’ve been in hot water with antitrust regulators over things like their search results, integration with Android and other anti-competitive practices. Naturally, Yelp would have something to say about this and it would be delivered in the most cutting manner possible. Just as naturally, it would be made public just as Google CEO Sundar Pichai is set to meet with the EU’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager.

Back in 2009, Google voiced their support of the EU’s antitrust campaign against Microsoft, at a time when their “Don’t Be Evil” mantra was still the key value shown to the public and to employees. Yelp staff took that letter and, with a few key alterations, drafted it into a letter against Google’s anti-competitive practices. The letter, ironically drafted on Google Docs, was posted on the Twitter page of Luther Lowe, Yelp’s vice president of public policy. Peppered with lines like “inferior vertical search services” and “Yelp and a slew of consumer groups and local search services believes that the search market is still largely uncompetitive”, the letter didn’t beat around the bush in attacking Google’s practices. 

This letter, taking a firm stance against Google’s recent practices with their search business, was posted to Twitter on Tuesday. Whether the letter and its contents will come into play during future antitrust proceedings involving Google is something to think about, however given the letter’s tone and unofficial status, it is unlikely that it will be seen in courtrooms. If you’d like to see the rather in-your-face document in its full form, hit up the source link. Luther Lowe’s Twitter post contains a link to the letter on Google Docs.