Victory
Petitioning Google, FTC, US Attorney's Office

Stop Google from misrepresenting restaurants on My Business

Stop Google from misrepresenting restaurant on My Business

Google is causing economic harm to restaurants and other small businesses by interfering with customer relationships and prohibiting the selection of service providers. In May 2015 Google released a feature to the “My Business” listing that allows users to order food directly from search results. However, restaurants are unable to direct customers toward ordering platforms of their own choosing. Instead, Google only allows orders to be directed through a select few, typically more expensive ordering platforms. Further, Google is unresponsive to this well known issue.

 Background

Internet search is the leading source of online orders and Google is the leading internet search provider. Local users often search for restaurants by brand name (Joe’s Pizza in Rochester). Google recognizes this and provides each business with a “My Business” profile in their local directory. This “My Business” profile is the primary result returned by Google, particularly on mobile (the largest used segment of search).

According to Google, this profile is meant “for local businesses to maintain high quality information on Google” and instructs owners to “Represent your business as it’s consistently represented and recognized in the real world across signage, stationery, and other branding” and to be “accurate and precise”. However, restaurants are unable to properly represent themselves on Google and are held captive to Google’s arbitrary decisions.

The Problem

There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of active online ordering service providers. Presently, Google claims that the selection of service providers is based on its internal algorithm; however the algorithm only selects from 6 service providers which easily represents less than 3% of the market.


Service providers are referred to request an action link through Google. However according to Google’s website, they are not seeking additional new service providers. Since a proper service provider cannot be selected, Google assigns higher cost, commission-based order platforms. This results in restaurants paying higher costs on each sale while also diminishing the value of a restaurant’s brand.

It is reasonable to believe Google, through the explicit tracking of clicks, may be receiving direct revenue or indirect benefit from these orders and, as such, is disinterested in addressing this problem.


Many small businesses and online ordering companies can confirm Google’s “tortious interference” as order volumes forced through Google’s limited providers are increasing at the expense of their preferred order sites. Without the restaurant owner’s ability to appropriately represent their business, economic harm occurs.

Across the internet and even in Google’s own forums, online ordering companies and restaurants seek solutions to this problem. These requests go unanswered by Google.

Summary
Google is abusing its position of dominance by prohibiting restaurants from reasonably managing their online presence This hurts small business brands and is causing economic harm. Immediate relief is required.

 The Solution

Simple. Allow businesses to select their own service providers.

We hope you will support local, small businesses by signing this petition.

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  • Google, FTC, US Attorney's Office

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