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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Google Product Search - No Longer Free!
    This is an interesting development... Google Product Search is moving to a pay to be included model and they are increasing the exposure of product search in the serps. The added exposure will hurt us all. Moving to paid will get rid of some of the lower quality noise. We might all benefit from that...

    Google Commerce: Building a better shopping experience

    Another money grab, for sure... They made it free, got merchants hooked, then turned the screws...
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!


  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  4. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    > We might all benefit from that...

    I think in a way we all WILL benefit but only if merchants get their data feed with proper content and descriptions. Google does require merchants to have a great product data feed so hopefully that will help some to get merchants to finally listen or their products will no longer be listed.

    I still think there should be a standard feed process for all merchants because everything is all over the place, for years.

  5. #4
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Have been talking with a feed management vendor and got this today:
    I wanted to make you aware now that the news has broken that Google Product Search will now be sunsetting and Product Listing Ads are going to take over for Google. What this means is that GPS will no longer be around as a free service and people will have to switch to PLA's which will be on a CPC model.

  6. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    From a developer's point of view, at least ours, it stinks.

    As we also build drop ship stores, we have an option (additional monthly charge) for our customers where we prep their products for the Google Shopping. Most of our drop ship customers will not be able to afford paying the Google to have their products included. Many of our customers get a good portion of their traffic from the Google Shopping. Since it will likely not be feasible for our customers to continue with the Google Shopping feed service we offer, they will drop it and possibly their entire account with us.

    This is a loss of revenue for us, therefore, it stinks.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  8. #6
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    I agree, this will hurt small businesses and will again be a way for larger retailers to dominate. Does Google ever think about the little guy with a budget...oh how silly, of course not.

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  10. #7
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Big changes... Some thoughts...

    Some categories of low cost products aren't very viable in a PPC model. A simple example, who is going to pay .05 cents a click to advertise s, unless they are sold in bulk. So the new Google Shopping will be less complete. I see that in the other shopping engines already and that was one of the draws of Google Product Search.

    Smaller merchants are going to be forced out of product search. More harm to the mom and pops who might be listing online.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!


  11. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Wait a second, I can't believe I mis-read that. So it's a Product Listing Ad? Where is the flat fee model pricing which would work better, but gues I should have known better G being tied to Adwords.

    This will hurt for sure hurt all small busineses and merchants. There are many product merchants that want to get online and all these Ad fees are stopping them.

    There have been a few affiliates and price comparision sites that most know well that tried this in the past to charge merchants to pay per click for listing their feeds and merchants did not like it and ran the other way.

    I've been helping merchants get their feeds onto to G for years but this is crazy.

  12. #9
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    Instead of my (usual) knee-jerk reaction to another Google cash grab, this news made me think...

    I would be interested to know how well Google Product Search was actually converting for merchants. Just because it was free, doesn't mean it was effective, or will be worth paying for.

    Also, as an affiliate, Product Search felt like a competitor as they shared many of my merchants.. I'm curious if other publishers felt the same? This might present an opportunity for affiliates, especially niche-oriented publishers...

  13. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    I would be interested to know how well Google Product Search was actually converting for merchants. Just because it was free, doesn't mean it was effective, or will be worth paying for.
    My customers who use the Google Shopping have mixed results. Those that whore themselves out by offering the lowest prices get the sales. Those that are not price competitive, do not.

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    Also, as an affiliate, Product Search felt like a competitor as they shared many of my merchants.. I'm curious if other publishers felt the same? This might present an opportunity for affiliates, especially niche-oriented publishers...
    Never bothered me before that the Google Shopping existed. To me user search patterns are still the same whether they find a merchant/product in the SERPs or the Google Shopping. There are going to be those users that do not believe it's the lowest price and continue searching.

    The initial loser will probably be the merchant with an affiliate program. They're paying and paying and paying again. As the visitor clicks away, often on a PPC link first, then off to find a competitor with a lower price or a coupon from a coupon affiliate.

    After that it all trickles down. Merchant paying fees out the ass and affiliate commissions will continue to be slashed to help compensate...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  14. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    The saving grace to the above scenario is for manufacturers to protect their brands by implementing and enforcing MAP pricing. Otherwise their brands will erode as well as their own profit margins...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  15. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Here's information on a webinar Friday:
    Join ChannelAdvisor and Google to Understand Google's Recent Changes

    Google recently announced a significant change to its Product Search / Product Listing Ads programs (originally known as Froogle).

    Starting tomorrow (June 1), Google will begin to phase out Google Product Search (the free, feed-driven product listings that show up on Google.com Search Results pages and under the “Shopping” tab) in the US. These ads will be replaced by a paid format called Product Listing Ads. You can learn more about Product Listing Ads here.

    ChannelAdvisor is working hard to ensure that retailers fully understand the nature of this important change as well as the implications for their business. As a result, we’ll be hosting the following two webinars:

    Assessing the Impact of the Recent Google Product Search Changes
    Friday, June 1st, 2012 at 1:00 pm ET: Join ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo and our search experts for a deep dive into the details and implications of this announcement.

    Joint Webinar with Google: Introducing Google Shopping
    Monday, June 4th, 2012 at 4:00 pm ET: Google will join us to further discuss this announcement and answer retailers’ questions.

  16. #13
    Affiliate Manager Kush@VMInnovations's Avatar
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    Although it will clean up the mess, it hurts. Now folks will see what others paid G to see, and a lot of smaller merchants will be gone.

  17. #14
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    Their transition to GoTo.com is nearly complete...

  18. #15
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    This is a thoughtful article:
    Web Advertising - Google kills free clicks - Internet Retailer

    In particular, they say:
    retailers have the option to select a cost-per-click or cost-per-acquisition model, a Google spokeswoman says
    and:
    “Previously, Google monetized shopper traffic. Google is now directly monetizing shopper intent. Retailers will need to manage and optimize Google Product Listing Ads with the same sophistication and technology they apply to their AdWords campaign.”
    This is a very worthy observation, because, Google can pick and choose which Product Ads they show based on maximizing revenue. So cheaper clicks will get early stage buying, e.g. "Blenders" and CPA ads will get the more targeted late stage keyword phrases. Merchants in Google Shopping will have to really watch their margins...
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  19. #16
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Instead of bidding on keywords for paid search ads, merchants buying Product Listing Ads bid on the amount they will pay if their product listings in search results attract clicks or result in sales; retailers have the option to select a cost-per-click or cost-per-acquisition model.
    Will be interesting if this will increase sales versus PPC and compete for those advertising dollars.

    Google kills free clicks

    In a major change, Google will phase out the free clicks on Google Product Search listings. Instead, retailers will bid for placement of their products in search results, in a new program called Google Shopping.

    E-retailers can start saying goodbye to free listings on the Google Product Search comparison shopping service. In its place will come paid product listings ads through a new online program called Google Shopping.

    Google Inc. today announced that it has begun testing and rolling out Google Shopping, which is designed to give shoppers more up-to-date information about prices and discounts, and give merchants more control over where their products appear, says Sameer Samat, vice president of product management, Google Shopping.

    “Google Shopping will empower businesses of all sizes to compete effectively, and it will help shoppers turn their intentions into actions lightning fast,” he says. “Today’s changes are a first step toward providing technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem.”

    Google Shopping will be built on Google’s Product Listing Ads. “Ranking in Google Shopping will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price—just like Product Listing Ads today,” he says.

    Instead of bidding on keywords for paid search ads, merchants buying Product Listing Ads bid on the amount they will pay if their product listings in search results attract clicks or result in sales; retailers have the option to select a cost-per-click or cost-per-acquisition model, a Google spokeswoman says. Product Listing Ads can include a product’s price, an image and the name of the retailer selling it.

    “This announcement represents a fundamental shift in how Google participates in the e-commerce market,” says Eric Best, CEO of Mercent Corp., which helps retailers sell online through marketplaces and comparison shopping engines, and which today released software to help retailers sell through the new Google format. “Previously, Google monetized shopper traffic. Google is now directly monetizing shopper intent. Retailers will need to manage and optimize Google Product Listing Ads with the same sophistication and technology they apply to their AdWords campaign.”

    Google plans to test and roll out the new format over the summer and complete the change during the fall, Samat says. To help make sure the launch goes smoothly, Google is offering merchants that create product listing ads by Aug. 15 a monthly credit for 10% of their total product listing ad spend through the end of 2012. Google also is offering merchants that now take part in Product Search $100 worth of credit toward the product listing ads.

    Google says that consumers using Google to shop will soon be seeing a revised format, as the search engine experiments with how it lists the product information and ads for consumers doing searches. For instance, a shopper looking for a tent now generally sees paid AdWords ads at the top of the search results page, followed by free search listings and free Product Search listings.

    According to an example provided by Google, the new format might include fewer AdWords ads at the top, followed immediately by paid Google Shopping listings—that is, images of five tents with their prices and links to retailers below the pictures—and which are labeled “sponsored.” Immediately below the row of tent images are links that will enable shoppers to browse by tent type—for instance, by clicking links labeled “backpacking,” “ice fishing” or “mountain.” Below those links are free search listings.

    “While Product Listing Ads and Google Product Search results are now separate, they'll be combined into a single Google Shopping box in the new [format],” a Google spokeswoman says.

    Consumers also might see a larger ad along the upper right corner of the search page that displays a larger product image and information such as customer ratings, a line or two of product description, price, and links to retailers selling the product. And as it prepares to roll out the new format, Google also is encouraging merchants to take part in its Trusted Stores programs. Merchants can display a digital badge that shows consumers such customer service data as average on-time shipping rates, along with a guarantee that if an issue arises with the order Google will work with the e-retailer on the customer’s behalf to address the problem.

    In the United States, Google Product Search drives about $650 million in annual sales for online retailers, estimates Scot Wingo, CEO of e-commerce services provider ChannelAdvisor Corp., whose services include helping retailers sell on such online marketplaces as Amazon and eBay. “The cost of using Product Listing Ads to replace those sales is $130 million per year,” he says. “Every retailer needs to quickly assess the impact and start planning their mitigation strategy, as this has the ability to disrupt annual revenue plans and spend plans dramatically.”

    Globally, Google could earn up to $250 million annually from the new program, Wingo says. “Google says these changes were made to improve the user experience,” he says. “Since this will be a paid program, I believe the [product] selection will go down dramatically.” He says retailers will send to Google only data about items that they believe will lead to enough sales to offset the fees Google will charge, whereas now many retailers send Google data about all their products because Google has not been charging for clicks on Google Product Search listings.

    Best, from Mercent, said retailers eventually should benefit from the new program and its focus on paid listings. “It ultimately creates less competitive noise and more overall volume for retailers—at a price,” he says.

  20. #17
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Will be interesting if this will increase sales versus PPC and compete for those advertising dollars.
    Don't know what their "affiliate" rate is. Suspect it would be higher than what most merchants publish as their starting rates on most networks or what is being paid to "Top Tier" affiliates. Seeing how it IS the Google and the merchant will not have associated network costs.

    The Google has taken YEARS of data about merchants and affiliates from GAN...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  22. #18
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    as it prepares to roll out the new format, Google also is encouraging merchants to take part in its Trusted Stores programs. Merchants can display a digital badge that shows consumers such customer service data as average on-time shipping rates, along with a guarantee that if an issue arises with the order Google will work with the e-retailer on the customer’s behalf to address the problem.


    Merchants are going to really piss off their other affiliates by doing this...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  23. #19
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Don't know what their "affiliate" rate is. Suspect it would be higher than what most merchants publish as their starting rates on most networks or what is being paid to "Top Tier" affiliates. Seeing how it IS the Google and the merchant will not have associated network costs.
    Not sure I get you on this one. What is an affiliate rate. Regardless if its an affiliate using the product search or the merchant its another cost of doing business. Over the years I have seen merchants take affiliate sales away as they learned PPC or paid an agency. It cannibalized the affiliate program and saw the same with SEO where affiliates did a better job with SERPs than the merchant.

  24. #20
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    retailers have the option to select a cost-per-click or cost-per-acquisition model
    Merchants (retailers) can choose:

    Cost-per-click = PPC
    Cost-per-ACQUISITION = makes the Google an AFFILIATE

    I associate "C.P.A." with being an Affiliate...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  25. #21
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Cost-per-ACQUISITION = makes the Google an AFFILIATE
    And in turn - the Google now has created a Nexus in the eyes of many merchants and States...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  26. #22
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Interesting logic, would like to see a Google Tax Nexus compete with the Amazon.

  27. #23
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Why Google Is Shooting Itself In The Foot With Paid Product Search

    Interesting comments:
    How Google search and the Internet work prior to paid product search

    Google search and the Internet ecosystem operate symbiotically, in a delicate balance of financial incentives driven by the demand for information online:

    Google needs to return high quality content to people using search
    Advertisers need to get their products and services in front of those people
    High quality content producers generate large amounts of targeted traffic
    Advertisers reward high quality content producers financially, setting up competition
    Google benefits because it has more high quality content to return
    High quality content producers benefit because they get financial rewards
    Advertisers benefit because they get their ads in front of the right people
    Users benefit because they get the high quality information they need
    Itís a beautiful organic system driven by competition and financial incentives. But how will removing the financial incentive to create quality content around products and services affect business, SEO and marketing strategies online?
    How paid Google Product Search affects the Internet ecosystem

    Paid product search cuts out steps 3, 4, 5, and 6 from the list above, which basically decimates the Internet ecosystem.

    By allowing advertisers to go directly to Google, the financial incentives to create high quality content are removed. Without those financial rewards, content creation will no longer be sustainable as a business practice.

    Instead merchants can focus on effective ad bidding campaigns and designing high converting landing pages.
    "Without those financial rewards, content creation will no longer be sustainable as a business practice." That kills off the incentive for affiliates.


    I like his conclusions on how Google is further becoming an ad platform and social will shift emphasis away from organic rankings.

  28. #24
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    It's pretty clear that Google wants to BE the internet... they don't want you to leave any of their properties. Even image search & web previews are nothing but scraped content (where you don't have to leave!).

    That aside, they need to remember what happened to Yahoo when they tried too hard to keep you in their portal.

    Regardless of how I feel about Google (personally, in my role as webmaster), I now use Twitter for ANY search that requires freshness. I've also bookmarked the best sites to use for tech support - got frustrated with G serving me up MySQL advice from 2004.

    Plus I've changed my default home page to DuckDuckGo..

  29. #25
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    To 99.9% of consumers Google IS the Internet. Yahoo directory was replaced by Google when Yahoo noticed that more people were clicking on that tab then the search tab. Then they got lazy and moved their search over to Google. I personally have an aversion to use Bing/MSN because of all the frustration with Microsoft over the last 25 years. I like the idea of social becoming the new SEO but don't see Facebook or Twitter replacing search with anything functional. Let alone trying to find answers on MySQL.

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