The European regulatory probe of Google on several fronts is putting pressure on the U.S.'s FTC to jump into the fray after bowing out under less-than-stellar circumstances a few years ago. Still, don't expect any meaningful changes in Google's practices until the regulatory processes likely wind through the courts.
While the Truth in Hotel Advertising Act has yet to gain any support in Congress, it represents a blow to ubiquity of hotel resort fees and other surcharges that are traditionally tacked on at the end of a hotel stay.
With this Wyndham settlement, the FTC has put businesses on notice that they must adhere to certain standards on data security.
Travel companies speaking out against the all-powerful Google walk a thin line because they are dependent on Google to widely varying degrees. They now have an apparent ally in the European Commission while the U.S. FTC opted out.
TripAdvisor still spends a lot of money with Google so Kaufer's condemnation of Google's practices stands out. Others have been more circumspect.
U.S. and European antitrust authorities have collaborated in their respective probes of Google. Strong antitrust regulatory action in Europe could rekindle interest in the U.S., assuming Google's lobbyists are unsuccessful in squelching it.
Google was adamant that it needed to compete in local search and it didn't mind playing hardball with Yelp, TripAdvisor, CitySearch, and others to get its way.
Google dodged a bullet in 2013 when the FTC terminated its antitrust probe without forcing meaningful concessions or filing suit. Now we know that the rank and file within the FTC wanted to fight it out with Google in court.
FTC has frowned upon restrictive taxicab regulations in Colorado and Alaska before and now it has shown its displeasure in high-profile DC market. This is a big moral win -- not an actual one, since FTC is in advisory capacity here for now -- for Uber and other such new companies.
Huge implications for travel advertisers as well, who advertise and promote heavily online, mobile and now social media as well. Also, for travel bloggers used to taking free junkets, disclosure isn't enough, as the accompanying embedded document explains.