Posted - June 06 2012 : 03:45:48
| Google trail it as "Building a Better Shopping Experience", and they explain why they think it's great news for merchants and customers:
That's a very disingenuous way of trailing it on Google's part.
In the real world, it means:
1) For merchants, you'll no longer be able to submit your product feeds (googlebase, google products, google shopping, froogle etc) for free. You'll need to pay for your listings to appear in google's product results/search via adwords etc.
2) For customers, as most merchants (especially smaller ones) will not want to pay massive amounts of money to google just to get product listings, it means that the google products results will no longer be a list of products that are available, instead it'll essentially turn google products into a "google sponsors list". And that, in my view, negates the whole point of having a products search. So, with my customer hat on, once this change comes into effect, I won't be using google products again, I'll just use the main search listings instead as they'll be a lot more accurate.
American merchants will be the first to be forced onto this new paid-only-products plan, with other countries to follow.
However, if you're a merchant in the EU, then I wouldn't panic too much yet because it's quite likely that the EU authorities will not allow google to do this in Europe (because of Google's dominance in the search engine market).
I personally think this is a big mistake by google. Yahoo made a similar mistake years ago; they had dominance in the market and so started charging businesses stupid amounts of money just to get listed; it led to the Yahoo results losing accuracy and losing all meaning/context for customers/users, people saw that the yahoo listings were really just like a yellow-pages paid sponsor list and stopped using it as a search engine (when you search for something, you don't just want a list of paid sponsors, you want to see stuff that relates to your search, and 99% of what you want to see is stuff that the site in question wouldn't pay to list because it'd cost too much money)
If google end up doing the same thing to their main search (as opposed to just the product search), then I'll abandon using google completely with my customer/user hat on and just use Bing instead.
The main search results are largely uneffected by this, it's only the "shopping" or "products" results that are effected (for now).
As a user/customer, it's simple for me to change to use Bing instead of Google; it's quicker to type into the browser address line too!
anyway; I guess this is bad/sad news for merchants and google-users, but it's good news for bing/microsoft who are probably laughing their heads off at what they'd probably see as Google shooting itself in the foot.
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