Back in May of this year, Google announced that Google Product Search would be retiring and in its place, Google Shopping would be created.
Before the creation of Google Shopping, retailers were able to list their products for FREE after submitting product data through the Google Merchant Centre. But not anymore. Changes are already happening but soon, Google Shopping will become an exclusively paid inclusion model.
Retailers will be able to bid on their items appearing in the Google Shopping rankings (much like in Google AdWords). In fact, you’ll be able to set up your Google Shopping campaigns via Google AdWords. The difference is, you won’t be bidding on keywords, instead, just saying how much you’re willing to pay. Results will be ordered based on perceived relevance to the search term plus how much you’re willing to pay.
As has been pointed out by other sites, Google used to deem the paid inclusion models as ‘evil’ and seemed to think that its use would result in biased and less relevant results for users. However, while Google claims that they haven’t done a U-turn on their stance, they are now saying that this new paid model will encourage listings to be higher quality as retailers will be more likely to keep product listings and pricing information up to date, which I can understand.
Good or Bad?
The question is, do YOU think it’s a positive change? Do you currently add your products via the Google Merchant Centre? Will you continue to do so when you have to pay for the privilege?
Maybe surprisingly, Amazon in America has so far chosen to opt out of the paid inclusion model. Google users in the States currently won’t see products from Amazon in the Google Shopping results. Google’s success has always been based on providing the best, most inclusive results for users. Will this still be true for Google Shopping if results aren’t providing a true reflection of ALL the products available? There has obviously been some criticism of the new model while other companies are grateful for the extra control it provides them. So tell us in the comments, what do you think?