Yelp’s head of corporate communications recently left the company.
But what’s really interesting is where she went: Google.
Google and Yelp have been locked in a bitter seven-year-feud that goes well beyond the typical business rivalry. Shannon Eis, Yelp’s VP of Corporate Communications since 2015, has been on the frontlines of the battle.
Yelp accuses Google of using its position as the No. 1 search engine to prioritize its own content over Yelp’s and other competing services and of “turning the screws” on competition.
“It is completely anti-competitive,” Eis has said of Google’s practices, describing them as “not in the interest of the user.”
Starting sometime this month however, Eis apparently switched sides and is now working as an internal communications manager on the Google ad sales team, according to a person familiar with the matter. Although it’s not unusual for Silicon Valley employees to hop between jobs at rival companies, it’s interesting to see an outspoken critic of Google’s behavior join ranks with a one-time nemesis.
The European Commission last year slapped a $2.7 billion penalty on Google for allegedly tweaking search results so that competitive shopping services would not appear as high in the search rankings as its own service. Google has denied the accusations and has appealed that decision.
More recently, Google faces a separate investigation by European antitrust authorities related to Android that could result in a multi-billion dollar fine.
While it’s unclear when Eis departed Yelp, she signed on at Google this month, just weeks after Yelp contributed to and had a significant presence in a CBS’ 60 Minutes TV segment that was highly critical of Google’s business practices. Jeremy Stoppelman, who cofounded Yelp told the news show that Google “will snuff you out.”