American Airlines must have bigger fish to fry, or boats to rock. It settled its dispute with Kayak.com, a so-called meta-searcher that compares fares from many sites. Kayak, American said, was referring customers who clicked on fares for American and its partners not to American's own website, as was intended under their contract, but instead was sending clicks to another retailer's website. This is perhaps counterintuitive, but it is the way that metasearchers have evolved: make a lot of data available but, after the clicker decides what he or she wants, take him or her where you want. In this case, Kayak, which is privately held, and its sidestep unit, were sending its American queries to Orbitz.com and another Orbitz-controlled site, cheaptickets.com. American decided that this was perhaps not what it wanted, since it let kayak use its fare data so that it, not Orbitz, would make money from actual bookings.
Kayak has changed in its own ways, as well, says search-engine expert David Rodnitzky of Blogation.com, who notes that popup ads have begun popping up, and that the site has removed direct access to airline sites.
The settlement, which was not formally announced, comes as American launches a lawsuit charging Yahoo.com, a major Internet site, over its practices. American claimed that Yahoo was using its name and copyrighted trademarks (AA.com, AAvantage, etc) but was not sending traffic to American's own website. American recently settled a similar lawsuit against Google.