Exactly... I've been trying to figure out what to do because a restaurant owner client is getting hurt badly by Grubhub and occastionally other services appearing in a huge ad promoting a discount if you order through them.
As a result, the restaurant owner, whose only revenue during the pandemic is via delivery & takeout, is getting a significant chunk of their only revenue taken away from them.
I helped my client switch to a flat-fee online ordering portal, with the goal of not losing a large percentage of order revenue to grubhub and the others, BUT the presence of these ads is hurting that endeavor.
Shame on Google is all I can say here. Restaurants already near the threshold of going out of business due to Covid could be pushed over that cliff by these ads showing.
Even if most of their questions are already written, there's a chance that David Cicilline could actually ask Sundar Pichai about this. In previous hearings he brought up Rand's Sparktoro study on how much traffic Google keeps to itself, as well as the Wall St Journal's feature article on GMB spam.
"In recent weeks, Google has introduced ads for delivery platforms like Grubhub, and group buying platforms like Groupon, which appear directly on individual business profiles, such as restaurants. While advertising is Google's business model, and these ads are clearly labelled, this practice introduces a major cost pressure for small businesses. Customers who intended to order directly are diverted to a third party, where they unknowingly inflict a service fee on the restaurant. Alternatively, they may abandon the order altogether for another restaurant on the 3rd party platform.
Restaurants rely on platforms like Grubhub to introduce new customers, however Google's actions enable them to steal customers which the business rightfully earned with its own marketing investments. As restaurants are contractually bound to provide identical prices, Google knowingly profits from arbitrage by sending customers to these platforms.
Due to Google's dominance in the local search market, business owners cannot rely on a competing search engine if they do not like these terms. Furthermore, if they did choose to leave it would be impossible to delete their profile and prevent Google from diverting customers. Unlike traditional directories, Google's business profiles are owned and automatically created by them. They are not the property of the business that is listed."
Not sure if this is helpful but the issue of Grubhub and other ads is now 10x worse for restaurants. Consider a small restaurant owner whose only revenue is delivery & takeout - and grubhub/seamless/others taking a double digit percentage of that revenue.
The coming "top rated" badge in the local pack is going to hurt also - albeit not as blatantly as these ads are. Using arbitrary rules, they are going to choose which business gets extra attention. Really rubs me the wrong way. Sorry for the rant. I really came here to say thank you for initiating this. I think your letter is a great idea.
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