Trivago and TripAdvisor could be squaring up for a battle of the review sites in the European courts after it emerged today that one is accusing the other of bidding on its brand name on Google.
The row centres on marketing activity through pay-per-click advertising in Germany, where Trivago is a significant player in the online hotel review space alongside TripAdvisor.
Trivago says the Expedia-owned TripAdvisor is bidding on its brand name and using the same term in the headline copy of ads appearing in Google search results.
A Trivago spokeswoman says the practice is currently only taking place on the German version of Google. It is likely to "confuse" consumers searching for Trivago and "clearly violates brand protection laws", she adds.
TripAdvisor refused to discuss the complaint or its general keyword bidding policy when contacted by Tnooz today.
Trivago says it has submitted a complaint to Google in Germany and contacted TripAdvisor's parent company, Expedia. A spokeswoman adds:
"We will not tolerate it and will wait for the result of our Google complaint. Depending on the latter we will consider legal action against it.
"TA is using the Trivago brand to direct these highly valuable visitors to their website. In short, this is the same as if Reebok was to sell their shoes in Nike boxes."
This is not the first time in recent years that travel companies have squared up over various elements of the brand bidding saga.
Lastminute.com CEO Ian McCaig was one of a number of bosses who reacted angrily to Google's decision in 2008 to change its brand bidding policy in the UK.
However, a threat to sue Google by a conglomerate of travel and other high profile consumer brands never materialised.