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Thu May 31 2012 12:36:13

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

By: Ina Steiner

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Google Shopping, aka Google Product search, is killing free listings and is moving to an ad-based model by the fall. (See EcommerceBytes Newsflash for all the details.)

This means online sellers will no longer be able to send free product listing feeds to Google Shopping - Google will only surface paid listings through its Google Product Listing Ads program.

Whereas before Google searchers could see a widget containing results of both paid and free product listings from Google Shopping directly on the Google.com search results pages, now there will only be one paid-ad widget.

And searchers who go directly to Google Shopping to conduct searches will see only paid ads in the search results.

EcomerceBytes is conducting a survey to determine how this will impact merchants. We are interested in all types of sellers and all categories, including niche items such as antiques and collectibles. Please take the survey now, and leave your comments below!




Comments (38) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Thu May 31 13:03:12 2012

Wow, that stinks! This is going to have a huge impact on all sorts of shopping. People (myself included) have been increasingly using Google to find items. By limiting to only paid listings, they're eliminating a huge swath of the market.

As a buyer, when I search for something, I want all possible vendors to show up so I can compare prices and services. I don't want just the ones who've paid to be there.

This will have a huge impact on the non-eBay venues, since they've been so dependent on Google for traffic. Of course, maybe it will be incentive for them to start actually advertising.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: TrailingAlong This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 31 13:09:47 2012

I do not know what they will be charging for our items to show in GPS, but as far as I am concerned, I'd rather see the money go to advertising of the site that I sell on.

I'm tired of jumping through Google's hoops only for them to change something again. I am not a robot. I have to go in and (whether in depth or on the surface) change things manually myself when rules change.

If I will be paying for "ads" I want a reliable platform and not one that keeps requiring changes.

I do not see an end to BIG changes with Google.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu May 31 13:42:13 2012

I think this will hurt many small and honest online merchants. In particular the start-ups, novices, part-timers and beginners who have EVERYTHING needed to provide great merchandise and service... EXCEPT that they lack the skills (and perhaps funds and confidence) to dive into the deep end of the PPC advertising model.

Those who wanted to take the slow approach were able to do so and grow their business until they were ready to move to the next level. Everyone was able to participate up to the level of their experience... or up to the level of their comfort and budget.

I see this move by Google as one that will effectively eliminate the ability for smaller sellers to be able to get-in-the-game (even if it was only at the fringes) and to grow their business.

The failure rate is likely to increase, and fewer will even bother to try their hand in the marketplace at all!

On the other hand... this may have the unintended consequence of HELPING EBAY. ~ Why? ~ When low-budget sellers (with thin margins and a negligible advertising budget) see the decline is visibility and sales... they may RETURN TO EBAY to fill that void.

Where Google once allowed sellers to break free from eBay, it may soon drive them back to eBay.

Depending on how badly things go, and depending on how much Google's CPC's are going to cost, and depending on how difficult it will be to create, maintain and babysit the paid product listings... I too may end up relying more heavily on eBay.

And it sickens me to even consider the possibility.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 31 14:10:07 2012

When google started making changes, I decided not to play their games. Maybe my sales will be effected. With the Pay to Play, anything that came from google search will be eliminated because I will not play their games. I do have a website and do blogging and I will start promoting other search engines such as DuckDuckGo.com, Ask.com, Bing and Yahoo and any other one.

I think we all should start some blogging or any other format to give the public the reason not to use google for shopping. Remember the big part is that google collects info. on you and that their searches are full of the ''Big Company'' products that show in the top search pages. Try doing searches for homework projects and such on google. Google search engine is worthless.

Let's try to fight back!

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: sells-a-lot This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 31 14:36:09 2012

Well this will certainly make me switch to a different search engine. As a consumer when I am searching for a product I want to see all the available items not just what has been paid to advertise. Frankly, I think this move will hurt Google in the long run as people will see the information listed as being skewed so much as to be useless. There have already been grumblings since the Penguin update about how the search pulls irrelevant results, this is only going to make it worse and boost the use of Google's competitors.  

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu May 31 15:18:38 2012

Fortunately based on the reports I can see, Google drives an insignificant amount of traffic to my listings, so at least on eBay, sales will be only marginally effected.

The change will likely hurt sellers on smaller venues such as Bonanza, eCrater, Blujay and the rest. I believe sellers on these smaller sites rely more on the feeds each venue sends to Google for much of their traffic.

With Google converting to a pay for play system, retailers who offer the best possible pricing will either no longer be visible or will have to increase retail pricing to pay for Google exposure.

The bigger issue for me is as a consumer. Consumers will suffer greatly as they will see fewer product offerings and most certainly higher prices.

I used to always comparison shop on Google Shopping to assure I am getting the best possible pricing. Under the new Google pay to play scheme this will be useless since the results will no longer offer the diversity I have been accustomed to.

This pay to play scheme will render Google Shopping as useless to buyers as well as to the majority of sellers.

It will be interesting to see what venues will do with this about face.

Many venues started requiring sellers to include product specifics UPC numbers etc...to their listings in order to have their listings included into Google feeds. This becomes much less important now that Google will be rejecting free feeds.

With this process eliminated, it will be interesting to see what venues will do to maintain exposure and traffic. I would expect that smaller low volume venues will likely see much of their traffic eliminated unless Google comes up with a way for these venues to continue sending feeds with a volume based fee schedule which is then passed down to sellers in the form of higher fees.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: Dazzle This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 31 23:14:08 2012

what's the other side of the coin?

well I currently accept Google Merchant Checkout on my website as an option for my buyers who wish to escape Paypal.

I have my own cc processing at my brick and morter and could very will incorporate that method of payment into the website but always figured it was a 2 way street with google and I - they showed my items and they got a piece of the pie.

Eliminate me from search? I eliminate them as a payment processing option.

My items google (ironic we say that isn't it?) up just fine on Bing. And my website has been active for over 5 years. I doubt it will hurt Etsy either as almost everyone on the planet already has them on their favorites by now.

I think this whole thing is a bad move on google's part - is the "Ho" moonlighting over there??

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: lonestar This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 31 23:19:05 2012

I've been using Bing to search for products and find it more relevant anyway so maybe this will be a big plus for them.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Jun 1 00:07:36 2012

I tried (unsuccessfully) to sign up for a Bing account. Filled in all the forms, submitted all the info... got a standard form response back telling me that they'd ''be in touch''.

Never another word after that. I thought they had given up trying to compete with Google, but apparently some folks who got-in are realizing some success with it.

At this point, it reminds me of some invite-only speakeasy... where you can only get in if you're important enough or if you know someone who can vouch for you and bring you in as a guest.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: Laura Sails This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Jun 1 01:03:15 2012

America's economy needs Indie businesses to recover & succeed.  Our country can't run on Fortune 500 corps alone. Google, shame on you! Paid inclusion is self serving & greedy. Great game of Monolpoly....you win.    

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 03:46:16 2012

I just dumped Google off and put up Yahoo as my Home search page. Now to start a Facebook campaign to get others to do the same. Google's move will kill the free market and is actually a worse threat to the the web than the threat of imposing a tax. Hey sellers. DUMP GOOGLE!  

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: Dazzle This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 04:57:27 2012

Annie - wow I was kind of surprised to read your last post - I don't think I did anything special to get on Bing - maybe it was a case of going in really early that did it? I pretty much do that with every stinking site that comes along seller related just so that no one competitor steps on my name. At this stage of the game internet selling wise I almost don't care anymore. I set up a B&M 4 months ago that's doing well and I'm actually thinking about dumping most of my internet selling venues except for my website. Maybe you could try Bing again? or if you think it's an invite deal post a link and I'll invite you dear - always enjoy your input here.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Jun 1 06:15:53 2012

I wonder how many people actually used Google Shopping versus Google?

I think that aside from the USA not that many people even know about Google Shopping.

So their charging for ads on it wont make that much difference - imho


Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: traceyg This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 06:46:57 2012

There is an easy solution to google these days. I have stopped using it there are plenty of search engines out there. Recall when Yahoo was the top search engine. . . Can't find anything on google any more but a bunch of junk anyway. There are so top heavy on selling stuff try using it for some good old reasearch. You have to sift through to much trash to get what you want.  

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 06:58:49 2012

Pretty much well said to all of the above.

What it gets down to is that Google Shopping will now be dominated by all of the large retailers and/or marketplaces and the small e-tailers will simply cease to exist on GS. The PPC model is so dominated by the large companies that small companies are left to fight over the crumbs and this will serve to not only shrink the size of those crumbs but increase the competition for and cost of those remaining crumbs.

Yes Google, it doesn't matter what "spin" you put on this, we all see it for what it is! You may as well monetize Google search now as well since the organic portion of it is disappearing off of your pages anyhow!!!!

I'm betting the people at Bing are thinking YES!!!!!

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Jun 1 07:54:22 2012

So, today I'm revisiting the Bing Shopping info pages... exploring and re-familiarizing myself with their sign-up procedures (and hopefully discover what may have gone wrong before.)

It seems that Bing Shopping has partnered closely with (or ''outsourced to''?) Shopping.com ... and merchants can register their account directly with Bing, *or* at Shopping.com.

Next, I pop-over to Shopping.com and I see those DREADED words ''an eBay company''. Ugh! ~ There's no escape!

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Fri Jun 1 07:59:00 2012

So now google has decided to charge money for the worst shopping portal on the web - and the smart phone aps aren't much better.  Wrong prices, bad links, irrelevant results, and incomplete lists will now be replaced by large retailers with prices that cannot complete with Amazon.

After this, there will be no reason to even use google shopping - just go straight to amazon.

For real 24-48 ho9ur ''deals'', everyone is flocking to deal sites, like dealnews.com.

Google shopping will be just another failed google experiment.  Mark my words - it will be gone in 2 years.

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
Web Site

Fri Jun 1 09:02:20 2012

Well that's too bad. Google joins the ranks of corporate wall street and organic search becomes a thing of the past.

Actually, I never used Google Shopping anyway.  Their results were minimal.  

And now I guess I can stop fighting with my feed and let it expire, because from the results I was getting - I sure ain't going to pay for it.

So, what happens to the Bonanza's and the Etsy's and the ArtFire type venues that do an automatic feed of their sellers' items - do they now have to pay for it?

I think I'll try Bing as my go-to  for a while and see how it works for me.  

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: julie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 09:18:29 2012

This makes me really sad.... 80% of our business comes from Google Shopping. We have jumped through hoops to make sure our feed of over 11,000 items is correct and follows all the rules (we update it every few days).

We used to do well in organic searches also, but with the last change we have lost rank and traffic has dropped. We don't have 20 people working to create ''unique'' content, our items are listed and then get discontinued faster than I can keep up. It's crazy and I am one person.

Google Shopping was our best traffic and sales area...

I've tried PPC in the past and seen dollars fly out the window with little results. I doubt we will pay Google if that is how they will charge.... This is a sad day at our company.

Here are 2 ironic statements Google has made in the past:

Google 2001
''We have no plans for a paid inclusion program. As we've stated in the past, our search results represent our editorial integrity''

Google 2004 statement included with IPO filing
''Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical, financial and many others. Our search results are the best we know how to produce. They are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating.''

This just bites.... :(

Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?   Will Google Shopping Changes Hurt Sales of Collectibles?

by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 09:23:32 2012

It seems that things have come full circle. Large brick and mortars ruled until the internet came along and individual sellers suddenly became entrepreneurs. No more need for gift shows sales reps or begging catalog companies to take our merchandise. It was wonderful to have a business from home.

Now the large brick and mortars have followed the little guy to the internet and the little guy or individual sellers are becoming invisible again.

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