(The AEGIS Alliance) – Google will pay a $1.3 million fine following findings by French regulators that its SERPs showed “misleading” rankings for French hotels.
The rankings appeared in the identical 5-star format because the official Atout France system used a proprietary Google algorithm, the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) stated on Monday.
After receiving complaints from hoteliers about Google’s rankings, the company launched an investigation in 2019 that reviewed the rankings at 7,500 establishments.
It discovered that Google’s “identical use” of the 5-star system “greatly confused” the marketplace.
“This practice was particularly damaging for consumers, misled about the level of services they could expect when booking accommodation.
It also resulted in prejudice for hoteliers whose establishments were wrongly presented as lower ranked than in the official ranking of Atout France,” the DGCCRF stated.
Google agreed to pay the fine and mentioned it has made the “necessary changes to only reflect the official French star rating for hotels on Google Maps and Search.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.