Up until mid-2009, it was extremely difficult to look up restaurant information online, for Indian cities. From those early founding days of Fooodiebay to present times, Zomato has grown by leaps and bounds and the credit goes to their dedicated team. Today, almost everyone in India has searched for restaurants on Zomato at least once.
With a business like this, updated content sits at the heart of everything. The core asset of a company like Zomato is all the restaurant data they collect over time. However, the business requires this data to be made publicly available as information, and this is where things can get ugly.
It is extremely tantalizing for any competing business to reuse (read steal) a competitor’s data. Zomato is extremely disappointed at Burp for doing exactly so. Having a database of 18,000+ restaurants with nearly complete menu is not a matter of a day. It requires building from the ground up, and Zomato has worked day and night to make it happen. If you think this is an easy job and it ends here, let me tell you, the data is updated every three months.
Any local search company such as ours, most of the times has unique/proprietary data points being shown on the website. These data points are proprietary to the business in a manner of representation and/or collection and any malicious competitor activity can be easily tracked when these data points show up on their website.
Zomato was trying out a new business model in which they provided phone numbers for reservations. These phone numbers were from Zomato representatives, who reserved tables on behalf of the customer. Moreover, they also have a GPS tracking system of their own. Exact coordinates up to five digits of precision appeared on the burp listings.
Zomato has also tracked down an employee from Burp who is migrating content over from their website. Burp has sent passive replies like,
This was a user upload, we have nothing to do with this, and we will take down the listing. Thanks for keeping an eye on us. And please don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. We maintain 150,000 listings, so we don’t bother about copying your data at all. We don’t do such things.
It is time Burp kept its nose out of Zomato’s business and acted responsibly.
Following the blog post made by Zomato, Burp has written a reply on their own blog. This time, they have blamed Zomato of foul play and their defense points are interesting. We will see how the matter unfolds very soon.