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Google Merchant Center - Making It Harder For Small Businesses!

 8:45 pm on Feb 11, 2013 (gmt 0)


I used to use Google Merchant Center to list all my items when it was free, but now that they switched over to this CPC model I don't see this helping small businesses at all.

Now when I look up an item the main merchants I see taking over this space are the giants like Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Rakuten, etc...

It's a shame that they switched over to CPC because this was a good channel source for me when I was able to list for free, but now that I have to pay for each click it doesn't seem worth my time to list my items through Google Merchant Center anymore.

Does anyone else have any experience with this? Are you still listing items after the CPC switch?

Thank you!



 10:42 pm on Feb 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Could not agree more. And the kicker is, one big guy can bid multiple times and be listed there multiple times. In my niche, I can see one of the big boys with 2 or 3 listings. I use to do very well there, now its not even worth the effort.


 6:15 pm on Feb 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Relevancy and customer satisfaction matter more than bid, plenty of little guy action still there, if not more.

Tiny guys, too small to learn and adapt quickly, toast.

Little guys, enjoying how fat PLAs make them.

Now when I look up an item the main merchants I see taking over this space are the giants like Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Rakuten, etc...



 6:59 pm on Feb 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Actually Google Merchant Center has lost for me all relevancy when they started to turn in just another price comparison website.

My USP is not price but service and I do not see that they are offering a way to communicate this in Google Merchant Center.


 7:40 pm on Feb 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I used to advertise there with one of my sites, but stopped when they went to paid. The reason for me was that my biz has very low margins and it was hard to figure out which products to list vs not list (i.e. where I could make money or break even).

I will say this, when I stopped listing there my sales went into the floor. Good thing that's not my main money maker.


 7:43 pm on Feb 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I never had time or motivation to use it and I don't regret ! Bored to work for Google...


 12:56 am on Feb 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm so glad I stuck with niche markets.

Its so much easier to be a big fish in a small pond,
than a small fish in a big pond.


 2:48 am on Feb 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, you can start off as a big fish in a small pond, but when the whales start sniffin around and realize there is food there, the bigger fish come over to your pond and chew you up.


 3:13 am on Feb 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

They are targeting "Client Acquisition" type of Merchants, old and new. They are.

The type of Merchants that have: sold once, with GA tracking, get the next for the same price that is, with GA tracking. FREE from SERP or was FREE type of traffic. Gold for them, Zip for Ya if you have been riding the free wave or trying too, keep giving your data way..

Disclaimer: I stopped paying for it(CPC) in 02/2005.

I'm so glad I stuck with niche markets.

Someone from eastern Europe was a disruptive one in ours 2 (t)ears ago. They flodded the market with "cheap widgets", with 3 dozen sites.

Now we have Amazon, Etsy, HSN, Ovestock, and 2 other 2000 year old domains in top 10.


My Competitor, the Oracle of it all, since 1996 till 3 month ago, was 1st in Class. Perfectly deserved!

Now ranks #2, YES as in "NUMBER 2", and it is an EMD for the main term.


 9:53 pm on Feb 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Same here. Once Google turned it into CPC, I as a small businessman who focused on quality of service (and price to some extent) was forced out of it.

Google is very bad for small businesses in America. The way they have things set up, we cannot compete against the huge corporations.

If any "outsiders" or reporters are reading this thread, feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to tell you our story.


 4:39 pm on Feb 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think the exact opposite, all of our clients are small businesses, as we can effectively compete against giants!

Most of the people working for big companies aren't performance paid like my team, relatively speaking, they're not as motivated (good or bad), and we feel like AdWords, including PLAs, gives us a chance to flex our puny little muscles against theirs, one sale at a time - giving us an advantage. Everything they do is predicated on volume, but they have to battle us for every single sale. Foot traffic wars are very different that what we do, and we're thankful every day for that!


 4:59 pm on Feb 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

RhinoFish, are you saying you are an agency handling PLA's for small business?


 6:48 pm on Feb 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I understand why everyone is pissed at Google for switching to a paid model (I include myself in this), but if you haven't at least TRIED running PLAs, you might be missing a big opportunity.

Admittedly, we're not a 'small' ecommerce shop, but we're also not anywhere near the size of Walmart, Amazon, etc. though we do wind up competing with them quite often in the same space.

Out of all the advertising we do, Product listing ads perform right near the top, converting about 5 times that of our best adwords text ads, which do very well on their own.

It's really not that hard to setup either - import your feed into adwords, setup some bidding rules, i.e. bid higher on popular or high margin products, and bid way lower (or not at all) on low margin items.


 5:15 pm on Feb 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

ssgumby - yes, and killing it. small and medium sized. we're certainly are not the only ones doing this. :-)

listen to pavkey88, it's great traffic, and you can do this yourself. PLAs are among the easiest PPC campaigns to run (assuming your feed is good - which should be the case if you used to get good uptake when it was free).

if PLAs are all you need, don't bother hiring any PPC agency. post here about what to do, best practices, the knowledge spilt here can take you a long way.

but if you'd rather lament about free vs paid, i can tell you how your progress will go. haha. sorry, i believe there is no try, thank to Yoda.


 5:35 pm on Feb 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

RhinoFish, the reason I asked is we were using an agency to handle this. They told us the new PLA's were hurting all their clients. We saw our conversion plummet, they told us that all of their client also had conversions plummeting.



 5:34 pm on Feb 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Study Finds Google Shopping More Cost Effective than Amazon Product Ads
as reported on ecommercebytes [ecommercebytes.com]

Though it may be more cost effective to place these ads on Google, I pause to think of what the market acceptance is of Google vs. Amazon shopping?


 1:21 am on Feb 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

ssgumby, the agency could be saying that "paid" vs "free" is "hurting", nobody could argue with that.

put a timeline on that assertion, maybe it'll make more sense - if they mean any two periods since it became paid, they're seeing things we aren't.

significant budgets are moving / have moved into PLAs, for good reason.

if PLAs weren't working for advertisers (and therefore for consumers and google), G would give them less real estate... do you see that happening in your searches? :-)


 4:50 am on Feb 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

If conversion rates are going down, it matters what you're spending, right? You're going to reduce that expense. Look at the second graph on this page: [searchengineland.com...]


 4:20 pm on Feb 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

more on PLAs getting more budget and focus:


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