Google Blames Burying of Rivals’ Search Results on ‘Bug’ after Complaints from Yelp and TripAdvisor CEOs

EDITORIAL: Google isn’t the only online presence who is manipulating what is promoted and seen without effort. Everything we see in our searches, feeds and threads are being determined by social media site and search engines. I am personally censored and my content is oppressed regularly. Youtube, who is owned by Google, recently censored a video made by myself and Alexandra Mayers. When I appealed, I lost. I tweeted about the situation and 2 days later, our video was restored.
Right now, Twitter is blocking any links to NottheSopranos.com, saying it appears to be spam, and it’s been a week since I notified them with no response and no resolution. It’s a site that exposes links between organized crime and sex trafficking. I’ve asked Twitter if they are saying they consider truth to be spam. I’m still waiting on a response!
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Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp, publicly accused Google of ‘tricking’ customers on Twitter

Google has claimed that a ‘bug’ is responsible for its competitors’websites being pushed down in their search results

The faults in Google results were noted by Stephen Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor, and Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO of Yelp, two rating and review websites that competewith Google’s own user reviews for places like bars, restaurants and hotels.

Stoppelman noted the problem by tweeting a screenshot of the Google search results for ‘yelp ozumo’.

It would be safe to assume that anyone Googling ‘yelp ozumo’ would be looking for Yelp reviews of Ozumo, a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco.

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Instead, Stoppelman found that Google’s own reviews for the restaurant were placed at the top of the screen, taking it up entirely, and the link to Ozumo’s Yelp page was further down.

Kaufer experienced similar problems, tweeting: “Gimme a break, Google. Search for ‘tripadvisor hilton’ puts the tripadvisor link so far down you can’t see it.”

Stoppelman replied: “No limit to how far Google will go, trickingconsumers when they ask for Yelp and Trip. Everybody loses.”

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Google explained the faulty search results on a bug, telling tech site Recode: “The issues cited were cause by a recent code push, which we’re working quickly to fix.”

The issue appears to have been partially solved at the time of writing, with a number of searches for restaurants and bars with ‘Yelp’ or ‘Tripadvisor’ added showing links to those sites at the top of the page.

Google has faced allegations of anti-competitive search result manipulation before – the company is currently involved in an antitrust case with the EU Commission, after a number of companies, including Microsoft, claimed that Google was prioritising its own services and interests in its search results, at the expense of other companies and consumers.

Google has repeatedly denied these claims, most recently in August this year when they rejected a Commission proposal to change the way they rank search results.

The allegations have been around for a long time, and this instance is just the latest.

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After Google said the problem was due to a bug, Stoppelman tweeted: “Google sounding about as truthful as Trump, web search becoming a dirty business of burying your competition.”

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