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Google May Open Up Ad Space to Competitors

     
12:04 pm on Sep 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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To comply with EU antitrust findings, Google has offered to open up its ad system to allow rivals to bid against google to display products above its SERPs, according to people familiar with the matter.

If this goes through, imagine how this could, possibly change the landscape. This could be highly significant.

Google would set itself a price cap that it wouldn’t be able to bid above, but competitors could do so if they wished.

Rival shopping sites have hit back, saying an auction-based remedy wouldn’t assuage the EU regulator’s demands that the company treat its competitors’ offerings and its own shopping service equally.
“The [European] Commission can confirm that, as required by the commission decision, it has received information from Google on how the company intends to ensure compliance with the commission decision by the set deadline,” a commission spokeswoman said Monday. Google May Open Up Ad Space to Competitors [wsj.com]


Google Fined $2.7 Billion Over Antitrust for Comparison Shopping Service [webmasterworld.com]
Google to Comply With EU Search Demands to Avoid More Fines [webmasterworld.com]
3:58 pm on Sept 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I can't help but to think that despite the offering, its overall value will be limited. One of the key benefits of advertising outside of Google are lower costs and a higher ROI. Allowing competition to come in to bid in bulk may be a ploy to inflate an already high CPC when such competitors would have to outbid Google to participate. Ultimately, Google would have to do a better job at matching users to websites to restore some of the confidence that has been lost in past years. And I don't see that changing for product related queries either since Google has already helped to shape consumer behavior and that behavior now mostly excludes Google as a destination for intended product purchases online. Instead, Google is likely the last destination website a shopper visits if at all.
4:41 pm on Sept 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Note that, like the EU antitrust suit, this relates only to Shopping ads, not the whole ad system.
3:39 pm on Sept 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes, shopping ads, but, even so, it's a significant move if it goes ahead.
It's worth watching to see if the EU accepts this, or whether Google should go further.
5:44 pm on Sept 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I own a price comparison website in the United States that has a bit of traffic. Google has been offering price comparison websites access to shopping ads for years. This is not a viable option for us due to slim profit margins. The problem being that Google controls the keywords with their shopping ads program. We can use negative keywords, but we can not bid on keywords.

This is a safe offer for Google. They know price comparison websites can not turn a profit via shopping ads. So they are essentially offering smoke and mirrors. They need to offer price comparison websites equal display time via text ads instead of hiding most, if not all text ads and only displaying the shopping ads when highly profitable keywords are used.

I've watched Google try to put my website out of business for years, even though I have the best price more than 50% of the time. It has been very disheartening and I really can't wait until a similar anti-trust finding takes place in the United States.
3:59 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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At what point does google stop being a search engines and becomes an advertising web channel ?
5:41 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There's more on this as it seems Google is considering making a standalone shopping service which would need top bid against rivals, according to people familiar with the matter.
While the shopping service will remain part of Google, it will operate separately and use its own revenues to bid for ads. Google may Spin Off Shopping Service Unit to Satisfy E.U. [bloomberg.com]
7:19 am on Oct 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm just curious how a competitor can compete when Google. They can and did add a link/ad under the search bar which linked to their new products event that was live yesterday. Super Bowl ads audience? LOL. Is that ad space available for competitors? Forget about SERPS ads, how about search box ads. People pay how much for Super Bowl ads so what's that search bar placement really worth?

So does any of this apply to the YouTube use of the shopping ads by Google? The only blowback on that would come from the Tubers so I doubt Google needs to share or worry about encroachment on that platform. Good luck Tubers.