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Google Shopping (Was Product Search) Shifting To Relevance and Pay-To-Rank

4:23 pm on May 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Google Shopping (Was Product Search) Shifting To Relevance and Pay-To-Rank [googlecommerce.blogspot.co.uk]
First, we are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This new product discovery experience will be called Google Shopping and the transition will be complete this fall. We 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.

We’re giving merchants a few months to transition to this new model, and we’re also offering some incentives:

All merchants who create Product Listing Ads by August 15, 2012 will automatically receive a monthly credit for 10% of their total Product Listing Ad spend through the end of 2012; and
Existing Google Product Search merchants can receive $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they fill out a form before August 15, 2012.

To learn more and get started merchants can visit: www.google.com/ads/shopping

Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price--just like Product Listing Ads today. This will give merchants greater control over where their products appear on Google Shopping. Over time they will also have the opportunity to market special offers such as “30% off all refracting telescopes.”
5:06 pm on June 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have no other words.

It's good I got the point a long, long time ago when Google bumped ad prices based on "free analytics".

Here's also from comments on that article:

Why do you think G gave us Conversion Optimizer? So you could call the financial shots, not them. What did they get in return? Commercial DATA. The value of clicks and Sales.

If you still give Google your conversions, i.e. actual dollar values, you lost your business sense, because it WILL be used against you.

There's a big time, real need for an open source marketplace and a distributed search engine. I'd sign up tomorrow.
4:13 pm on June 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We have 60,000 items on Google Base. The margins are extremely slim and having tried Adwords and various shopping engines, we find that pretty much all the margin is eaten up by their CPC. In a bidding war, the idiots with fond hopes or the big guys buying presence will force us out totally.
So we increase prices to cover the Google fee (and possibly become uncompetitive), or we drop Google and go to Bing (but remember Bing is owned by the previous Great Satan we all loved to hate).
This is a golden opportunity for anyone with the money to establish a products-only free open source search engine.
I am wondering is searchers will realize that they are no longer seeing unbiased product results, or if they will ignorantly accept the mallification of the internet.
3:33 pm on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It also appears that the prohibited item list is ruffling the feathers of more than a few people.
6:03 pm on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I wonder what percentage of people searched for products on Google Product search as against Google or one of the comparison sites.

I doubt that many of the mainstream public used Google Product Search.
7:13 pm on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well, a friend was just searching for a Hamilton Outdoor grill wanting the best price. Google and Bing produced almost identical shopping results with all the usual suspects (eBay; Target; Walmart; Buy.com; Amazon). And all the same (high) prices. No more shopping section with small sellers. A bit more looking revealed Overstock and now she is searching for refurbished/open box. I believe it was way easier before the new regime came into force.
Where is a free listing open-source type alternative?
10:09 pm on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I wonder what percentage of people searched for products on Google Product search

Both of my retired parents use google product search to gleefully deplete my inheritance.
10:29 pm on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@phxsyd agreed, this move is going to spark change on the interwebs. With so many merchants flocking to more B roads outside of Google there's going to be services and websites that cater to those needs.
10:09 am on July 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Who could do better SEO than the search-enginge itself?

Though I share all your complaints, I'm much more with CPC-Andrew: Where are the chances? What can we do about it?

@trinorthlightning & Bewenched: I'm sure PPC-Models CAN still compete with pure affiliate-programs, taking into account that most market-places and affiliate-sites take 10-15% of your income. With a good usability and analysis, I think we can do better than that.

What annoys me most with respect to analysis, is the way google gives (or denies to give) information to its "partners":

For instance, quite some time ago I registered for the adwords api-service and despite the not-very-satisfying documentation of the SOAP-interface, I managed to program some tools which helped me a lot to fine-tune adwords-bidding. A true advantage compared to my competitors. But after another project occupied my attention for several months, I came back to my tools later just to find out that another SOAP-Version with different XML-definitions had been established, which would have forced me to do all the work again.

Almost all we have, is google-analytics, which - as someone mentioned elsewhere - may also turn into a paid model over time, and which btw is viewed VERY critical by some ministries in Europe over here.

I have reduced my adwords budget down to 500 per month meanwhile, because I see no means to establish a trustworthy and detailed model of analysing my ROI within this framework. What I'd need from google is an easy-to-identify information on these two really easy questions: How much did I pay for this click and what was the exact search-phrase the visitor had used initially? And that means: I want this information the very moment a visitor has entered my site with the help of google.

If I could get this information, my earnings and thus my adwords spendings could go to the roof. But yet they don't, because google keeps all this information for itself.

I am really wondering whether a "partnership" is really compatible with google overall "scalable approach." Whenever I treat my wife or my customers in a "scalable" manner, I get what I earn: A kick in the arse.
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