Google Shopping (+fees) replaces Product Search (free)

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Google is scrapping it’s free shopping comparison engine, Google Product Search, previously known as Froogle/Google Base, and setting up a fee charging replacement to be called Google Shopping.

With the announcement “We are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads” the Internet just had a seismic shift, which will affect millions of retailers around the world. And it’s going to cost you. Google Product Search, one of the few totally free and arguably one of the most effective shopping comparison engines will cease to exist and if you want exposure for your products on Google you’re going to have to pay for them.

Google say that they “believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date. Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants“. In other words the days of bunging a product feed on Google and waiting for the sales to roll in have well and truly gone. You’re going to have to pay and if your product price or offering isn’t compelling Google either won’t surface it (no clicks = no money for Google), or they’ll show it and you’ll be paying for clicks that don’t convert.

Almost all of Google’s revenues come from advertising, around 96% of their total revenues. That income us under threat however as more and more people use mobile smartphones to search Google they will see less advertising from Adwords and over time clicks will drop. Now with the Google Shopping announcement if you want people to find your products you’re going to have to pay for it and that’s going to massively bolster Google’s revenues.

Google have been playing for some time with the “Shopping” tab, sometimes you’ll have seen it at in the Google bar at the top of Google pages and other times it’s hidden in the drop down under “More”. Expect to see this lowered more permanently in importance as the new Google Product Ads come into play as they’re the new money spinner for Google, Google Shopping used to be free.

If you want to continue having Google display your products to buyer then you simply create Product Listing Ads within your Google AdWords account. If you don’t want to pay then you’ll need to rethink your entire business strategy as you’re about to lose the tranche of business that currently arrives from Google shopping.

You can read more on the Google Shopping blog post announcement or by visiting Google Shopping. Currently the announcement affects the US only, but it’ll roll out around the world soon enough. Google won’t want to delay too long before they can enjoy massively increased revenues more accurate product feeds from merchants

6 Responses

  1. One has to wonder what effect this will have on eBay and Amazon. Either it’s going to impact their profits or it’s going to impact sales.

  2. Chris,

    “In other words the days of bunging a product feed on eBay and …..”

    You mean Google?

  3. Google Base used to be awesome and always brought me reasonable sales. I still use it today, and I’m sure it brings in a few of my website sales, but these days it’s so choc-a-bloc that I rarely get a click. I shan’t be paying for it when the changes are eventually made, but it is a shame google can’t keep this free.

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