Swift and decisive move by Google last night as it axed all third party reviews appearing against hotels on Google Maps and Google Places. Now, when a user sees a hotel listed they will get all the existing content (photos, address, web link, prices) but the number of reviews has been stripped down to almost a handful.

Previously sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Igougo and many online travel agencies were seeing their reviews fed automatically into a hotel’s Google page. Such activity has irked the likes of TripAdvisor for months, with CEO Steve Kaufer claiming the process and way reviews were displayed was “bad for consumers, for the industry, for hoteliers and restaurateurs”.

Google has instantly killed such concerns by simply wiping out all those reviews. Director of product management Avni Shah says in a blog post:

“Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages.”

Google is still providing a link to review sites such as TripAdvisor, OTAs, etc, but the “reviews from around the web” area is buried at the foot of the page. TripAdvisor, which has had its long-running battle with Google and must see the change as some kind of victory, says it has no comment to make.

Whether the sites which relied slightly more on the traffic as a result of having their reviews on hotel pages are pleased with the change is unclear.

Read on at tnooz

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