Ryanair Demanding Google be Transparent About Advertising Practices
Budget Irish-based airline Ryanair is calling out technology company Google for issues surrounding transparency with its advertising practices.
According to Peter O’Dwyer of The Irish Examiner, Ryanair claims that Google is allowing screen-scraper websites to pay for higher positions in its search engine rankings, which then misleads customers into not booking their flights through the airline.
Ryanair is also looking for Google to be more transparent regarding its advertising rules as a result of the screen-scraper websites, which monitor fares from different airlines and resells them.
The discount airline is claiming that websites like eDreams.net are being ranked higher in search engine results, sending customers to a site that is charging higher fares and not providing the services promised.
Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs told The Irish Examiner, “Ryanair has received numerous complaints from our customers who have inadvertently purchased Ryanair flights on the eDreams website, as a direct result of the misleading advertising provided by Google. The eDreams site has been unlawfully selling Ryanair flights, by masquerading as Ryanair.com, and then offering customers a substandard service, with additional fees, or by often selling fares that don’t even exist.
"While we have no issue with Google advertising in general, it is unfair that it is used as a mechanism to mislead customers.”
The Irish-based airline also claims that there have been issues with the screen-scraper websites not transferring vital customer information about their bookings, including contact details, flight changes and special needs assistance.
In response, a spokesperson for eDreams told O’Dwyer, “EDreams notes Ryanair’s latest attack on the fast-growing online travel agency sector. As an online travel agency, eDreams is perfectly entitled to sell Ryanair tickets, and the tickets of other airlines providing customers with much-needed choice and variety to the flight distribution market. Our sites deliver consumers with the ability to find the best prices and our services are supported by our proven, high customer satisfaction.
"It is also perfectly lawful for an online travel agency to use the AdWords service of Google in order to advertise flight booking services provided to its customers. Ryanair has been trying, without success, to prevent online travel agencies (from) selling its tickets for the last 10 years, and they are now invoking new, ill-founded grievances.”
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