As Google shifts its Shopping search to a pay-for-play model, one key commerce company appears to be sitting on the sidelines — Amazon. As noted in a New York Times feature that ran over the weekend, consumers who search on Google Shopping can find Kindles from a variety of stores via the listings, but Amazon isn’t one of them.
Google Shopping’s omission of the most powerful ecommerce brand on the webraises the question of how successful the company’s new model will be. After all, Google has been successful in other search by providing comprehensive results — along with the opportunity for advertisers to pay extra to be highlighted in ad positions. Will consumers start their shopping search at Google if it’s clear they aren’t getting a full picture of the shopping possibilities?
Part of the reason for Amazon’s absence, of course, is that the ecommerce player is itself vying to be the entry point for consumers shopping online. Besides carrying products itself, and including listings from other merchants among its product results, Amazon also offers ecommerce players at least two different ad types — and clicking on those ads takes shoppers to sites outside of Amazon.
Amazon does at least give a nod to Google’s power, buying ads that appear in regular web searches, and in AdWords at the bottom of Shopping SERPs, even though its products don’t show up in the product listings ads.
Amazon may be big enough, with enough brand recognition of its own, to bypass Google Shopping, but what about the rank-and-file of etailers? The New York Times piece, and our own reporting, seems to indicate that retailers feel somewhat bullied into buying paid listings ads from Google, though some said they were pleased to receive more control. Even those paying for listings may not advertise as many different products as they previously included in feeds.
In the New York Times piece, Google wouldn’t divulge how many retailers are paying for listings, saying only that there was “significant participation.”