Google’s level playing field is tilted towards rule breaking merchants

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I’ve heard many a complaint about marketplaces that they don’t enforce the rules evenly and appear to allow some merchants to blatantly break the rules to their advantage. I’ve never heard the same from Google, well until now that is.

Google recently introduced rules for merchants to include shipping and tax information in their product feeds to Google Shopping and enforcement was eventually due to start on the 1st of September.

However it appears that not only are some sellers still not including this information, but others are offering “No tax and free shipping” on their Google product feed but when you go to make a purchase these charges are added on the merchants websites.

Andrew on the CPC blog has highlighted the issue along with screen shots, but if you follow this link to Google you can see for yourself some of the merchants who offer free shipping in Google but then add it on their websites when you go to purchase.

Andrew has highlighted three main problems with the lack of an even playing field on Google:

  1. Shoppers get a bad shopping experience. Though traffic, sales, revenue, and conversions went up, it’s still safe to say that there’s a portion of those customer that were displeased to find a shipping charge when going to checkout.
  2. Merchant traffic decreases as a whole. Shoppers who find that Google Product Search consistently sources inaccurate product information will find more accurate sources to shop from.
  3. Merchants that abide by Google’s requirements lose out on traffic, revenue, transactions, and even higher conversion rates.

This isn’t the only example of poor policing on behalf of Google. Many a time I’ve search Google shopping for a product just to find that the best priced deal is from retailers who are out of stock of the product. Offering the best price when you’re out of stock in the hope that a consumer might purchase an alternative from your website is underhand at best, but in reality it simply eats away at the trust that Google has built up over the years.

For Google to remain at the forefront of search they need to start policing their merchant feeds and enforce their requirements equally for all merchants. Currently those that comply fully are losing out on sales as they appear more expensive than those who have failed to enter shipping and tax information, or worse have quoted free shipping or a price which the product simply can’t be purchased at.

Allowing a situation where merchants who quote free shipping on Google but don’t provide it simply can’t be allowed to continue. Google, it’s time to enforce a level playing field for all.

5 Responses

  1. Google search “ipad 2” and they are for sale from £329.99.


    Oh no they are not. The price does not include VAT!

  2. Google Shopping advice you to upload a new updated feed everyday to keep things up to date.I think the ones that are breaking the rules are going to get a shock very soon .

    I love how eBay have displayed some of my products in Google Shopping .
    They are showing 25 of my feedback as reviews .

  3. Well said.

    There appears to be no way to report these misleading advertisements either.

    Now if eBay would also excavate their level playing field from under the parking lot . . .


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