Luther Lowe, Yelp’s head of public policy, for years has sought to convince regulators that Google had been allowed to become too powerful and should be reined in. For just as long, regulators largely ignored his complaints. But now Mr. Lowe concedes that Yelp might have been going about things the wrong way.
In an interview with The Information, he acknowledged that in its complaints about Google to the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, Yelp “talked a lot about ourselves and the effects on our business [of Google’s actions] and didn’t layer in enough of the effect on consumers.” Going forward, Yelp is increasing its emphasis on how—it says—Google’s practices harm consumers by giving them suboptimal search results. For instance, it developed a tool that helps regulators see how consumers react to online search results and has honed its use of data to make its argument, Mr. Lowe said.