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Googles Froogle Shopping search goes Beta

 2:40 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)




 10:40 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

My first thought was that it is a little scarey for affiliates, but after review, I don't think it's quite the threat that it seems. I think as long as you continue to build quality content, people reading that content are as likely now as before to follow your affiliate link. I think if they do come up with a price ranking formula, it's a little more scary, but honestly, how many average users are even gonna be aware of froogle? Probably not gonna make as huge an impact as some of you guys suggest? I have never used the google directory, and never would have even looked for it had I not come to webmaster world. I think average surfers are faily robotic in thier web usage. It will take alot to get them to change from the regular google search to a froogle search. I think anyways


 10:40 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Did anybody notice that froogle.co.uk was only registered today!

And it doesn't look like it was Google who got it.


 10:43 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

forgot something...

Isn't froogle, in the end, just a means of gaining more targeted exposure to your sites? Why is that potentially bad?


 10:51 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I really, really, really really, really, really million times hope this Google idea fails.

No offence to great minds of google, but how are they going to index database carts? My entire store is on one PHP file with MySQL database.........

I know that Googlebot does not follow links with variables. Does it mean now that everybody using CGI, ASP and PHP shopping crtsa will not be included in Froogle? Do I have to now make over 1500 HTML pages for my products to be included?

After all these years developing dynamic page technology this is a major step back into the Internet's medieval years.

Where's my panic button?


 10:54 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Did anybody notice that froogle.co.uk was only registered today!
And it doesn't look like it was Google who got it.

Oh dear... Why would the company that registered it risk their Pagerank of 5? ;)


 10:57 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

With all the domain's being bought you wonder if Froogle is the final name, seems a little bit strange that they didn't register the domains if they knew the name of it or?

troels nybo nielsen

 11:28 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Got a point there, lazerzubb. I think Froogle is a beta name. (Meaning that it is not _certain_ to be the final name.) Why would they really need any other name than Google?


 12:05 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just noticed someone has registered froogle.co.uk this morning....... nice one!

oopps... sorry, someone else noticed this.


 12:44 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

"By the prickling in my thumbs, something wicked this way comes"

I said it over a year ago. I'll say it now. BEWARE! Despite what GoogleGuy says, I don't trust this one bit. I warned, back at the beginning of their catalog, that Google would evolve, in a sneaky way, to pay for performance marketing. The web elitist, such as some of you think of yourselves in this forum, would love to run affiliates off the web. Google, from a corporate america view point, see's too much of an opportunity to pass it up.

Do you remember the teen-ager who, back in the earlier years of the web, and affiliate marketing, became a millionaire off of AOL downloads, all because he was getting the top spot in search results, mostly from Yahoo at the time? many of us got a twinkle in our eye from stories such as his. Some of us learned how to advertise credit cards, loan applications, among many other services and products. The web offers a vast frontier of opportunity to so many of us who do have caviar dreams. Those dreams will be extinguished, as I have warned in times past, by the "big guys" on the web. I wonder how much of the "pie" google figures it can get, if can find a way to beat the affiliates who advertise services and products. I understand 40% of sales generated on the web begin with an affiliate link. 40%.... that's quite a bit of the pie! Google, potentially, can become the MicroSoft of the web.

Yes... to whoever asked the question earlier in this thread "is this the end of mom and pop sites?"; this is the beginning of the end of our dreams - mark my words.

[edited by: NFFC at 1:35 pm (utc) on Dec. 12, 2002]
[edit reason] As per TOS [/edit]


 1:30 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think of this as a way to search google for products and that's it. Not prices, products. I think google may as well drop the prices altogether, or make it in really tiny print because the abuse will start very soon and as mentioned here will be a killer to deal with.

This will not revolutionize shopping. Shopping.Yahoo.com did not kill your business, there are a million ways to shop and worst case scenario it may put a dent if they won't show results from affiliates...not because it will take over all shopping on the web, but because you may get a lot of your shopping dollars from google and now google will be taking away some of that by sending people directly to the seller of the product rather than an affiliate. From a searcher's and google's POV, that makes the search more relevant.

For the name I bet on shopping.google.com.

BTW, books and videos work differently than other products. I find the search so-so when searching for items that can be products or books too. If I search for a product, then narrow it to the books only cat, the restuls are not that good.

[edited by: GilbertZ at 1:36 pm (utc) on Dec. 12, 2002]


 1:33 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great post JimBobMcCalister.

Personally, I don't think the name froogle will stick, I think they will probably rename it BuildQualityContentLikeFoolsWhileWeStabYouInTheBack.com


 1:40 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

dvduval, we're getting better at crawling dynamic sites, but I would recommend writing a letter or two to Miva and asking them to make more search-engine friendly pages. If we don't crawl those pages well, I'm guessing that most search engines don't crawl them well either.

Hi Googleguy,

As you requested here are examples of Miva URLS. At the beginning, I have left out the domain name, but left everything else intact to comply with WebmasterWorld rules:
A category:
A subcategory:
A product:

One furthur note: A search of allinurl:/Merchant2/merchant.mv brings up 79,000 listings but not a single product to my knowlege. I don't know how many products are in average store, but IMHO, there is a significant number missing from Google.

I will also contact Miva as you suggested.
Thanks GG. ;)


 1:48 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)


I like the application but there are some problems. Products where I rank #1 in the normal SERPS do not fair well in the Froogle SERPS. Plus the ranson note is misleading. It could be that the way our site is arranged does not lend itself to this application.
So if this takes off we may have to change our site to suit this new app.

Otherwise it is real cool and just the kind of thing I expect from google.


 1:48 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mat_bastian wrote:

My first thought was that it is a little scarey for affiliates, but after review, I don't think it's quite the threat that it seems. I think as long as you continue to build quality content, people reading that content are as likely now as before to follow your affiliate link.

That's true if affiliate marketing is a sideline--i.e., if you're running a content site (whether it's a general content site or a product-review site that people visit for information before they buy or even when they aren't necessarily thinking of buying). A review and community site like Steves-Digicams or Photo.net won't be hurt as much as a pure "affiliate storefront" would be, and a site like FredsFelineFancy.org may not be hurt at all. OTOH, if it becomes widely known that Froogle is a great place to search for prices and dealers when you're ready to buy, that could take affiliate sales away from content sites. (Still, there's nothing new about users reading a review at site A and then buying from site B after they've used a price-comparison engine or a conventional Google search.)

troels nybo nielsen

 1:49 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

> Ring any bells?

Some people are going to wake up to reality. They had to anyway, sooner or later. I also once woke up to reality. It was a tough awakening, but through the years I got used to it. That's life.

> I warned, back at the beginning of their catalog, that Google would evolve, in a sneaky way, to pay for performance marketing.

People use Google because Google gives them what they want from a search engine. If Google stops doing that they will stop using Google. It's really that simple.


PS. I have a strong impression that a major motivation for the people at Google lies in the sheer fun of making a good search engine. And then making it better.


 1:54 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Someone said Google is all they need as far as names/domains. Well I kinda have to disagree. There can only be so many services a company can offer before their sole purpose and additional features get overlooked. For instance all the current google news functions i still dont click on it by default I think news I think CNN or NEWS but googles feed isnt coming to mind because i dont knwo the URL directly to it.

This could target a whole new market of people and bring much more people to Google but by having the .com for froogle it makes it more rememberable. :P

troels nybo nielsen

 2:07 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think that "someone" was me. I get your point and I think that you may be right. Our big and dominant web directory in Denmark is loosing a lot of its users (to Google!) partly because it has built an enormous amount of services around its directory.


 2:41 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

JimBobMcAlister wrote:

Yes... to whoever asked the question earlier in this thread "is this the end of mom and pop sites?"; this is the beginning of the end of our dreams - mark my words.

The smart moms and pops will find a way to evolve. It's like the offline world: Neighborhood greasy spoons have mostly died off, but they've been replaced by fast-food businesses, bagel shops, and coffeehouses. Where I live, there aren't too many neighborhood bakeries left, partly because they didn't offer anything you couldn't get cheaper (and, in some cases, with better quality) at a supermarket. But some people are making a lot of money selling artisan breads and pastries at upscale "European-style" bakeries.

Too many affiliate sites are like those neighborhood greasy spoons and bakeries: They don't offer anything the buyer can't get elsewhere for the same price. If they're going to do sell parity products at parity prices, they need to find a "unique selling proposition" that appeals to users. Maybe that USP is an intriguing retail concept, or an extremely attractive and compelling site design, or great mail-order copywriting, or honest product reviews and comparisons, or a "product selector" program that makes recommendations based on the user's expressed desires and needs, or all of the above. But there has to be something in that USP that makes the mom-and-pop site appealing to the customer, or the affiliate site will end up like those neighborhood greasy spoons and bakeries that thought they could prosper just because they were on a busy street and were easy to find.

Perhaps mail order is a better analogy. I'm sure that, 20 or 30 years ago, there were mail-order catalog vendors who were convinced that moms and pops didn't have a chance against the likes of Fingerhut and L.L. Bean. Then people like Alex Tilley of Tilley Endurables came along and proved them wrong. Tilley turned his "Tilley Hat" into the foundation of a mail-order travel-clothing empire not just by offering a unique product, but also by writing superb mail-order copy that made people think they were savvy travelers just because they were smart enough to buy his hat.

Why shouldn't an affiliate be able to accomplish something similar through careful positioning, even with me-too products at me-too prices? Let's say you're selling travel accessories. Why not serve as a "personal shopper" for people who are too busy to research dual-voltage hair dryers or travel alarm clocks on their own? Make them feel that, as successful and smart people, they should be delegating the drudge work to you and making a final decision from three "finalist" products that you've chosen for them after exhaustive research. You're still in the affiliate business, but you're doing something that the cookie-cutter, SEO-based affiliate sites aren't doing: You're offering added value and a unique selling proposition to the consumer.


 3:24 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is there any second meaning to "Froogle"? as with "Google"

By Jonathan, could it be anything "esoteric"? ;)


 3:26 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

From the merchants page :
This beta release of Froogle only supports U.S. online stores with English-language websites and products priced in U.S. dollars..

Googleguy I'd love to have more info here! A U.S. online store is what? The server in U.S.? The mailing address?

I found some Canadian sites located in Vancouver in the results, it is a glitch? One of my customer have a english site, priced in U.S. Dollars and he delivered around the world, can he be included even if his mailing address is in Canada?


 3:37 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

GG - looks good, but I have a question for you.

In a search for some of my products we show up (cool!), but the price listed is for a large quantity. So, when the user searches they are probably expecting to see prices of about $1 for this product, but Froogle shows our price as $100. We do only sell in larger quantites so the price is ok, but is there any way to indicate that the price is for 100qty not just one? It's pretty misleading right now.



 3:42 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Is there any second meaning to "Froogle"? as with "Google"


"Googol" is the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. It's a very large number."


"Froogol" is the accounting term for a $1 followed by 100 zeros. It's a very large amount."



 3:43 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I really like this concept! :) It does nothing for my site or what I sell at the moment, but I like the idea. Did a few searches and (unfortunately) found nothing relevant in any of them ... but it is only beta. I know Google/Froogle will improve upon that.

Great going guys! New innovations all the time to keep the rest of them on their toes! Impressive!


 3:43 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

So when do we get it on the toolbar? And Google News. When do we get that on the toolbar?

Nothing Google's done so far has been bad for Mom and Pop sites. Google gives small sites the opportunity to compete with big sites on a content-to-content basis. I think Froogle will work out too, not for affiliates but for sites that sell a unique product.


 3:45 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Two question come to mind about "shopping."

The site network I was at before I came here to WebmasterWorld had what they called "Personal Shoppers" who would find things for people, for no charge. I'm wondering if that type of service would ever be offered.

Second, and I think it could be a serious issue, if Froogle flies, will it be syndicated as a shopping service to other sites - like portals?


 3:52 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm excited about this from a consumer who buys products POV... from SEO pov I can't really comment since I'm involved in services, not products...

But my christmas wishlist is as follows:

1) Don't do paid inclusion as per Google's philosophy. Paid inclusion is evil :).

2) Keep the service the way it is- no "consumer ranking system" that you have to pay to be included in- unless it is free. The possibility of abuse makes this unattractive to implement.

3) Make money off of the adwords and continue building value into the adwords for us adwords customers. This is a great opportunity to add even more value to the adwords program- your must successful program to date!

4) Keep it simple- Froogle is true to Google's incredibly simple and speedy interface-- this makes it my #1 choice for finding products (and therefore being exposed to Adwords). Amazon's interface is cool- but wayyy to cluttered. Besides, I can find amazon products through this thing anyways if Amazon wanted :)

5) Content is king. Reward those with great content and appropriate links to said content.

6) Keep the name Froogle- people already use the word Google to mean search, this brand awareness is easily carried over.

7) Do not do affiliate marketing, leave the $$$ to the merchants who worked hard to bring their ecommerce website to the masses. Google doing affiliate marketing reeks of paid inclusion evils.

That is all. :)


 4:35 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

celerityfm, I think we're on the same wavelength. Google makes no money from the Froogle search (only from our AdWords). Thanks for your list!

Okay, catch a few winks and you miss some discussion. dalguard: ask about News on the toolbar and we deliver. Or at least, when I visited toolbar.google.com, I saw a button labelled News. Try it out--hope it works well for you!

dvduval and Marcia: thank you for the example Miva urls! I can't promise anything, but I'll ask our crawl engineers to see how hard it would be to crawl urls like that. Sounds like the sort of scalable problem they love to tackle. Especially if Miva stays away from sessions IDs. :)

I'm glad at the number of folks who like the beta or who see an opportunity to connect with users in a new way. A few people always seem to assume the worst about anything new that any search engine does. The best reply I can think of to that is that Google has been trying to do the right thing as a search engine for the last four years, and we'll keep trying to give users the most relevant answers to their queries. Most people see the benefits of this beta already, and I'm hoping everyone will use it and like it over time.

Oh, somebody asked about selling in Europe. My impression is that Google isn't going to add feeds from European merchants until they make sure everything is working well with dollars/U.S. stores. My personal take is that if a European product/store is already in Froogle from our web crawl then that should be fine. I'll check if that's right or not though.


 4:44 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

GG, let me just say thanks (as another merchant who uses MIVA) for looking into getting those long ugly miva URLS spidered.

Marcia, if you have a link to that module, could you sticky it to me?

The only problem I see with froogle is that it will be an "enabler" for consumers and shopaholics like myself :)

More toys!



 4:50 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Feeder, BTW how did you catch wind of this site? :P


 5:01 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

"If you are a small online store that sells an item that happens to be sold by the big guys, this is a bad day for you."

"is this the end of mom and pop sites?"; this is the beginning of the end of our dreams - mark my words.
so many of us who do have caviar dreams. Those dreams will be extinguished"

unfortunately, i have to concur with the above assessments. i worked really hard, content, etc, (couldn't use techno-tricks if i wanted to, i have barely enough tech smarts to 'disable graphic smile') and got my site in top 3 of some major keywords. in Froogle, though, i don't exist. predictably, my main competitor, same model site, plenty of tricks (not to mention unlimited ad budget - sorry, i wish i could but, not "anyone can [afford] adwords") appears prominantly.

if i may express an opinion without appearing petty or reactionary, broadly comparing small and mom-and-pop sites that stand to be hurt by this development with "greasy spoons" smacks of some major league elitism.


 5:02 pm on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Rodney, I tried Froogle but didn't find it, not even close. Regular search has a lot for miva modules, though - some free, though I remember that as being $39. I don't actually work on the Miva site itself, I just get it presentable for search engines.

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