Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Google Charges Online Stores to Appear in Some Searches

Stores that want their goods to appear on Google Shopping must pay for the privilege.
September 10, 2012

Google has a new revenue stream, the New York Times reports today – charging online stores to be included in search results.

It’s part of a revamp of Google Shopping, the part of Google’s search engine that kicks in when you search for a product (here’s an example) and shows prices from various stores in a box at the top of your results. Google used to include entries considered the best from the online stores that its Web crawlers had explored, but now only includes stores that have paid Google to be considered. A disclosure statement accessed by clicking an information icon explains that:

“Google may be compensated by some of these providers.”

How much a store must pay to get a shot at appearing in the box is unknown, but it is clear that this is something of a policy change for Google. The company used to be firmly against the idea of charging sites for a chance at ranking in search results. As Search Engine Land noted back in May, Google’s original filing to go public in 2004 even explicitly said paid shopping results were a bad idea:

Because we do not charge merchants for inclusion in Froogle [the original name for Google Shopping], our users can browse product categories or conduct product searches with confidence that the results we provide are relevant and unbiased.

Figures quoted by the New York Times suggest why Google feels the need to change how its product search works. More shoppers are bypassing Google and starting their search for shopping on Amazon’s site instead:

In 2009, nearly a quarter of shoppers started research for an online purchase on a search engine like Google and 18 percent started on Amazon, according to a Forrester Research study. By last year, almost a third started on Amazon and just 13 percent on a search engine.

Charging retailers may help change that by increasing the quality of Google’s shopping results, since it will likely weed out smaller stores less preferred by online shoppers. The new fees appear to have also served to irk Google’s rival for shopping searches - items sold on Amazon no longer appear in Google Shopping results.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.