Yelp Accuses Google of Violating FTC Settlement Agreement
Online review site Yelp has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that Google is using Yelp's content, particularly photos, in ways that violate Google's 2013 antitrust settlement. That agreement includes a "do not crawl" provision which states that Google must give website owners the ability to opt out of having their content displayed on Google's Covered Webpages. Yelp has opted out but says that Google is stilling using its images.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Yelp said it investigated and found that over one hour, Google pulled images from Yelp’s servers nearly 386,000 times for business listings in Google Maps, which Google exempted from its promise to not scrape content. Yelp then searched Google for 150 of the businesses from those map listings and found that for 110 of them, Google used a Yelp photo as the lead image in the businesses’ listings in search results."
In response, Google commented, "For many years, we’ve been in regular contact with Yelp about product changes and how they appear in search results. This is the first time we’ve heard of Yelp’s complaint that images from their site may be appearing in the way they claim. If they’d raised this concern with us, we would have immediately taken steps to look at the issue and update these results — as we’re doing now."
If Google is found to be in violation of the settlement agreement, the maximum penalty is $16,000 for each instance.