August 2, 2012, 12:57 PM

Google Shopping discounts are about to expire

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Consider this fair warning: A set of discounts offered by Google for its new—and non-free—comparison shopping service are about to expire in the coming days.

In case you’ve been off the electronic leash in some tropical utopia of seclusion for the past few months—in which case I would like to offer my services as your personal assistant, assuming travel is included, and no smartphone or e-mail use required—you know that Google is replacing free listings on the Google Product Search comparison shopping service with paid product listings ads through a new online program called Google Shopping. This isn’t some slow-moving plan. This is happening now, and e-retailers have already reported sharply reduced traffic from Product Search. A full report on those changes, the reasons behind it, and what retailers can do to thrive in the new environment, will appear in the September issue of Internet Retailer magazine. In the meantime, you can read more here or here.

No one likes it when things that were generally free become things that generally cost money. You should have heard all the compound curses that I crafted when I realized that listening to the streamed baseball broadcasts from my hometown required me to fork over just a bit more scratch to the baseball-industrial complex. But Google’s having a sale, and you should know about it.

Here’s the deal: 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 their Google advertising; that promotion also expires Aug. 15. Merchants interested in the latter can find the required form at Google won’t say how many retailers have taken advantage of those incentives; the company’s representatives will offer only that the company is “excited about the number of retailers that have signed up for Product Listing Ads since the transition to Google Shopping was announced in May, and about the range of products offered by these companies.”

Good luck with Google Shopping, and please remember me when you exile yourself to the South Pacific.  

Comments | 1 Response

  • Google will find out the hard way what happens when you go against the small business who are the main discounters of the Internet. I think eBay found the hard way what happens when you mess with the small discounter. Some high level manager at Google forgot to do the math so I will help them. If you do your homework you will see that 70% of the time or more the lowest price on the Internet for a given product is available on an independent website. Why you ask? Very simple to sell on any forum costs money. Amazon charges 20% eBay 12-15% and so on. So me as a discounter I sell on those forums but I offer the lowest prices on my sites. I used to get many of my customers from the free Google search, but now I have to pay dearly for this traffic. Here comes the math that Google managers didn't do.. When I advertise on Google I have to spend approximately 30-35% commission to get the equivalent sales that I get from Amazon paying 20%. So it is cheaper for me to sell on Amazon or eBay than to advertise on Google, plus I get the customer contacts for future campaigns. Speaking to other on-line retailers I can confirm that that is the experience for most of them. So what will happen in the future you ask? Very simple, there will be more discounted sales going to eBay and Amazon until , and Google bureaucrats pay attention, someone like Microsoft and Yahoo pull their resources and come out with a FREE shopping engine that will be superior in functionality to current Google . If I was Marissa Mayer I would make this engine the highest priority for Yahoo. Here is what happens next. All the discounters migrate to the FREE yahoo shopping. The only ones that will stick with Google are the large retailers with the high prices. It won't take long before customers figure out that wen you search for a product on Yahoo you get to find the lowest price while on Google you get whoever paid the most for their ads. and guess what. If as a customer I know that I need to go to yahoo to find the lowest price I might as well make that my favorite search engine. And this is how Google start to lose it. By the time the highly paid bureaucratic bonus-happy elite at Google figure out what happened it will be history. The question now is who will be the first to design this killer new FREE shopping comparison engine. Don't count Facebook out!!!

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