Remember last week when Google sold Frommer's back to Arthur Frommer, the 83-year-old founder, giving him the rights to publish the guidebooks and run the travel website that bears his name?
Well, now it appears that Google didn't sell back the entire Frommer's brand. According to Skift, Google kept the company's social media contacts and is integrating it with Zagat Travel. That includes all the followers that Frommer’s had on Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.
The move became apparent when Google tweeted that it had changed the name of Frommer's handle--@FrommersTravel--to @ZagatTravel, saying: “This account is now @ZagatTravel! Welcome. Stay tuned for info on where to go, where to stay and how to explore around the world.”
PaidContent speculates that social media data may have been one of Google’s main goal in the first place.
“Google is keeping all of the followers that Frommer’s accrued on Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.” PaidContent writes. “These thousands—or more likely millions—of accounts are valuable because they represent a huge collection of serious travel enthusiasts.”
Google paid $22 million for Frommer's last August. It hasn't been disclosed how much Frommer's paid to the the brand back.
So what's Google doing with the followers? Google is trying to position itself as a trusted source for travel guides and information by aggregating online content and comments (think Yelp.com and TripAdvisor.com), but it also wants that content showing in search results so Google could sell travel-related ads against it. More eyeballs means more money.
A Google spokesperson responded to PaidContent saying, “we’ve spent the last several months integrating the travel content we acquired from Wiley into Google+ Local and our other Google services. We can confirm that we have returned the Frommer’s brand to its founder and are licensing certain travel content to him.”
Already, the @FrommersTravel Twitter handle is back and running."OK, we're back! Tell all your pals to follow @FrommersTravel please. Arthur, Pauline and the rest of the Frommer's gang r tweeting here!"