As reported by Amir Efrati and Jeffrey Trachtenberg on wsj.com, Google has purchased Frommer’s travel-guides for $25 million. Along with its purchases of ITA software and Zagat, Google has now acquired three major travel related information brands. The Frommer purchase will put Google in a position to further capitalize the 2 to 3 billion dollars a year they reportedly make from travel related ads.
The purchase raises new questions related to ongoing antitrust allegations that Google directs and unfairly promotes its own content above competitors’ content such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. Stephen Kaufer, the CEO of TripAdvisor, questions Google’s move, stating that “It is puzzling to us that Google is going backwards to the opinion of one—a writer—when TripAdvisor is proof that travelers like the wisdom of crowds”.
We wonder if Google will continue the trend and become a producer of content in other industry verticals.