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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Nov 29 2012 15:23:28

Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Microsoft's Bing search engine is telling consumers they're being "Scroogled" by Google - but are they? And what about online merchants - are they getting Scroogled by Google?

Paid search has been a boon to small businesses trying to get exposure on search engines like Google and Bing. Larger companies might dominate organic search results, but smaller companies using paid search have a pretty good shot at getting pay-per-click traffic if they manage their campaigns and budgets carefully. (To show how big a business this is, how many keywords does a marketplace like eBay manage for its paid-search campaigns on Google and other search engines? You might think hundreds of thousands of keywords, right? How about 170 million!)

Another service to come along that had a major impact on small merchants was Google Product Search. Merchants of all sizes could send their product feeds to Google, which displayed those products in Google Shopping search results and in Google Shopping one-boxes in Google.com search results for free!

Now that Google has killed its Google Product Search free model and moved to an exclusive pay-for-performance model in Google Shopping (as of the fall), small merchants are at a distinct disadvantage. They can still use Google AdWords paid search and SEO techniques to try to rank highly in search results. But now they must manage an entirely new program and figure out how much to bid on each product if they wish to get exposure in Google Shopping results.

Aside from the impact on merchants, Google rival Bing says shoppers are being "Scroogled" as a result of Google Shopping moving to an entirely paid-ad model, saying it believes consumers have no idea the results in Google Shopping are paid advertisements.



Microsoft registered the Scroogled.com domain name 2 days after Christmas last year, and launched an ad campaign this week questioning Google's new approach: "Google Shopping is nothing more than a list of targeted ads that unsuspecting customers assume are search results," the Scroogled.com website declares.

But Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land says not so fast, Microsoft! "Bing itself does the same things it accuses Google of," Sullivan writes. "It's also another indictment of how little the FTC is doing to protect consumers from "search results" they might not realize are ads."

Sullivan called on both companies to do a better job of disclosing which results merchants are paying for and disclosing to merchants how payments impact their exposure in search results. This is a must read article on the topic.

Whatever the end result of the "Scroogled" campaign, this is probably a net positive in terms of publicity for Microsoft. The company finally has people talking about its Bing search engine - without having to pay them!




Comments (12) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Nov 29 23:33:30 2012
I long ago gave up on using Google in my business. No contact, endlessly changing rules, sucking money constantly.  
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
This user has validated their user name. by: DonC
       Web Site
Fri Nov 30 00:00:58 2012
Google Adwords were more or less a break even proposition for us. I have been concentrating on impressions instead of click -  throughs to control costs but still get the name out there.

Paying for Google Shopping is not on the radar for the foreseeable future.

SEO returns the best bang for the buck for us.  
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
This user has validated their user name. by: Leafgreen
       
Fri Nov 30 00:21:58 2012
Yeah, well Microsoft screws us too. At least Google has a product feed that anyone can submit for a fee. Microsoft closed it off 1.5 years ago for anyone new, while everyone already in the program gets to live high on the hog. Sucks.
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
by: Red Ink Diary This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Nov 30 00:50:34 2012
As a buyer Google shopping search is now useless, there is nothing there!
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Nov 30 00:51:09 2012
As long as there is someone to buy into the system it works. I think the FCC should make a ruling that the "PAID AD" should be the first word in the string if someone is paying for it.  
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       Web Site
Fri Nov 30 07:01:40 2012
Who created the Scroogled campaign? A user?

Not just another company. Microsoft is crying because Google goes 1st to a business model. Bing shopping don't accept all items like Froogle. For example if it shows something is only new stuff. No space for collectors.

Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Nov 30 07:36:21 2012
I sell on Ruby Lane. The sad thing is, Ruby Lane is a ''small'' company in Google Shopping. Our items are seldom shown as RL can't compete money-wise with ebay and etsy. My traffic from google dropped by half after they started charging. I'm still up there in organic search, but shopping is useless now, only the biggest companies are usually seen. Sound familiar?
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Fri Nov 30 09:33:47 2012
In the past, I had submitted my product feed information to Google (before they started charging) but now my only hits from Google are from their organic search results.

I am now submitting my product feed info to Bing (it's still free) and I'm getting a few hits every now and then from Bing's product feed.

What I find interesting... when I compare the visits I receive between Google's organic search results and Bing's organic search results... BING WINS!

When it comes to ordinary organic search results, my web site is getting more than DOUBLE the traffic from Bing than from Google.

Is there a connection?

Did my Google-organic fall because I'm not submitting info to their paid product search?

Did my Bing-organic rise because I *am* using their free organic search?

Or is it that Bing is doing a better job at matching MY site with search words?

Or is it that Bing is starting to gain in popularity... and through simple arithmetic, more users = more hits?
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu
       
Fri Nov 30 09:59:29 2012
Red Ink Diary (above) says ''As a buyer Google shopping search is now useless, there is nothing there!''.

That's what bonanza sellers are also saying, except they've added: ''where's the buyers''..
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri Nov 30 14:39:24 2012
Whats the  surprise? It's called the BAIT and Switch rule. Everyone does it. paypal did way before ebay bought them. But now google is practically useless to me. I used to research items I pickup. But now a days whenever I try to research the history of something NOT a value I get 5 pages of ebay links. If I cared what's going on at ebay I'd search ebay. Pretty pathetic what google has turned into.
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       Web Site
Fri Nov 30 20:14:36 2012
''Did my Google-organic fall because I'm not submitting info to their paid product search?''

@Anonymous Annie, I'm not sure, but like you I saw a drop in the visits from Google organic in my eCrater store. I will not be surprise if they are related.  
Perminate Link for Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?   Are You Getting Scroogled by Google?
by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.
       
Sat Dec 1 06:41:34 2012
For what it's worth, Hugh Williams was in charge(?) of Bing, now he's ebay's search honcho. He should know what he's doing, right? He must also bend to ebay's will, I suppose. I emailed him about the wildcard fiasco in a nice level headed way but, SURPRISE, I didn't  get a reply. Getting screwed at this time of year by ebay AND google is doubly fun!!


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