The good ole’ days of submitting product to Google Product Search are almost over. According to SingleFeed’s blog, a FastPivot partner, come this fall (2012), merchants will be charged to submit their products to Google’s Product Search:
Google Shopping in the US will be switching from a free shopping engine to a pay for model, offering merchants CPC or CPA models. Merchants will need to connect their Google AdWords account and create Product Listing Ads.
Google is giving merchants some time to prepare and get ready for the changes, participation in the new program opens up to all merchants in July/August and is slated to go into full effect by the holiday shopping season. Select merchants who have already been invited to try the new format out can begin listing today.
Even though submitting product to Google Product Search has always been free, nothing that good could last forever. Google likes to make money just like everyone else, and the more the better. Gone are the days when we see Google as a “do no evil” benefactor of world changing technologies offered for no cost. It all boils down to a freemium model that ensures Google is to go-to search engine when it’s time to query the web with questions about life, love, products, news–whatever.
Merchants are business people, so it’s not like Google announced they would be charging for search, or Gmail, etc. But it does reinforce a growing trend that has been gaining momentum for a long time now. Pure search exists only in the mind of the idealist–merchants who really want to get ahead with Google need to budget well for Adwords (paid traffic), and now Google Product Search submissions.
We might interject with a Sun Tzu quote, something on patience, but we’ll spare you of the melodrama. Google isn’t the only company using a model which becomes fantastically popular, and then up-charges merchants who are surfing the wave. Google is, for now, king of search and must be paid tribute–with ad dollars, SEO efforts, etc.–but it’s obvious that there are mounting threats (not all direct) to Google’s supremacy, and as a result, today’s savvy merchants are finding themselves diversifying on marketing strategies.
What will you do once Google Product Search starts applying fees this fall?