Google travel sites hurt Airbnb in search results


Brian Chesky, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AirBNB Inc., speaks during an Economic Club at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 13, 2017 in New York, US.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg Getty Images

Airbnb says that Google’s search business has stopped the home-sharing company from blocking Internet traffic, according to documents the company has prepared to sell it shares to the public.

Airbnb allows users to book short-term rentals and experiences while traveling. Under “Risk Factors” in Airbnb’s S-1 filing, the company stated that Google favored its own products over the company, resulting in fewer online visitors to its website. Over the past year, the Alphabet company has added more search features for travel websites, including vacation rentals.

“We believe our SEO results have been adversely affected by the launch of Google Travel and Google Vacation Rental Ads, reducing our platform’s prominence in organic search results for travel-related terms and placements in prospectus states . ”

Airbnb explains SEO, or search engine optimization, as the practice of tailoring content to display content more prominently in search results without paying for placement.

“We focus on unpaid channels like SEO,” the prospectus says. “SEO involves developing our platform in a way that enables a search engine to rank our platform prominently for search queries, for which the content of our platform may be relevant. Search engine algorithms or the like Changes in such functions are not under our control, and may adversely affect us. Search-engine ranking and traffic on our platform. “

The company warned that continuing problems with search rankings could force it to spend more on marketing.

“To the extent that our brands and platforms are listed less prominently or fail to appear in search results for any reason, we will need to increase our paid marketing spend which will cost our overall customer acquisition And adversely affect the results of our business, operations and financial condition. “

The Department of Justice filed a long-expected retaliatory lawsuit against Alphabet last month, alleging that the company retained a monopoly in search by cutting rivals from major distribution channels. Alphabet refutes the argument that it has too many competitors and that its services help consumers.

Airbnb and Alphabet have a mutual board member, Ann Mather.

Airbnb’s statements follow other travel executives who have criticized Google’s influence on the travel industry. TripAdvisor’s CEO Stephen Coffer, a longtime critic of Google, told CNBC last month that he welcomed the DOJ’s retaliatory lawsuit against the Alphabet Search unit, saying the company “relied on its dominance in Internet gatekeeping at the expense of other businesses Uses. ”

Expedia CEO Peter Curney also recently stated, “We have no ax to grind against Google, except we don’t think the market is the same.”

Google did not immediately return a request for comment.

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