From autumn 2012, Google is set to charge a fee for companies who wish to use Product Search. According to Channeladvisor consultants for e-commerce, Product Search creates traffic for companies worldwide worth around £849 million every year. Previously free of charge, Google based results for the comparison service only on relevance. Google will now profit from their Product Search service.
According to the BBC, Product Search will be renamed Google Shopping and can be found on Google’s toolbar by clicking on ‘more’. According to a blog post by Sameer Samat, Google’s vice president of product management, charging companies to use the service will encourage merchants to provide information about their products which is up to date. Samat said:
“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.”
Product Search had previously been instrumental in driving traffic to consumer websites without any extra costs being incurred. According to the principal analyst for Forrester Research Martin Gill, a consumer will look for a product using a search engine rather than go directly to a website. Amazon and eBay will also be affected by Google’s changes. Online advertising is set to become more complex as a result of the changes and could even have an effect on a company’s SEO campaign. Businesses will be affected by the changes as soon as the charges are implemented later this year, whether a company is in a UK city like Chester, or in the US.