• TallTroll

    It’s the intermixing that is the key point, regardless of how its marked. Put it with editorial results, people will think its editorial. A fairly high number of users still don’t realise that G sell ads, when they have a different background colour, and are marked as “sponsored links”. Be quite interesting to know what the payment model is as well, CPC, flat fee, CPA?

  • http://nilhan.co.uk nilhan

    Seems like a natural progression to unified/blended results. The question is do people really care if the ads are inline with regular results or separated as long as they are marked. Assuming they are always relevant based on user data

  • http://searchwriter searchwriter

    Historically speaking, what differentiated the Paid-Inclusion “process,” at least the process practiced by Inktomi “back in the day,”, was the XML Feed. This was a structured document containing the product SKU numbers, price points, and descriptions to be submitted to the engine. The Feed was frequently updated, once or twice a week, as prices changed, and/or inventory went in and out of stock.

    This P-I “method” made a certain amount of sense because Paid-Inclusion was originally offered to and intended,for companies with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of SKU’s that might not get into the search index otherwise. It was Yahoo’s way of saying to large advertisers, “We won’t guarantee you position, but we will guarantee that you will at least get all of your products in the index.” That way, as prices changed, the XML Feed could keep the SE index current.

    So long as Google’s Paid Inclusion is limited to similar categories of consumer packaged goods, small parts and appliances, etc., and is deployed simply for purposes of price comparison it may be a justifiable exception to the division of editorial and PPC, church and state. It’s a fuzzy line, though. In recent years, Yahoo rolled out Paid Inclusion for everything from travel to time-share real estate, Strangely, the FTC never weighed in.

  • http://www.streetprices.com/ autumn

    Interesting!

    I wonder whether Google is planning to run those ads under a commission model — both Sears and Kmart offer affiliate programs via ConnectCommerce (aka the Google Affiliate Network).

  • http://www.toddallison.com Todd Allison

    Hmm… I just don’t see it. I absolutely despised paid inclusion and was thrilled to see it go as a result of the MSN deal. SSP reeked with unethical subversion, but that was because there was no disclosure.

    This just looks like ads integrated within results – but the examples above are marked as ads better than any other Google search ad. It doesn’t seem sketchy in anyway.

    I bet if you showed the average consumer a Google SERP and those screen shots the vast majority would be able to spot the ads much easier in these examples. That’s some of the best disclosure I’ve seen on search ads. If they followed the standard search model they would have highlighted those ads in a way that barely shows in most monitors and put sponsored in the top corner. Instead right when the consumer is ready to click, they see “Ad”. Even if they do roll this out as is I don’t see any “evil”.

    On the second point – “sponsored” is clearly better discloser on an ad than “promoted”. Promoted doesn’t even sound paid at all. If you ran the same consumer test as above the vast majority wouldn’t know that was a paid ad.

  • http://www.builddirect.com robdwoods

    Are these “ads” being triggered the same way the product ads are? Is it through the Google Base feed or is it by sending the feed to the Google Affiliate Network? If so Google is technically not accepting payment for the placement or for the click, but rather only if the ad drives a conversion on the advertiser’s site. By the “letter of the law” this wouldn’t really be paid inclusion, any one can be included but you have to play for the premium placement. You’ve got to suspect that Google was going to monetize the product listings in Google Base at some point.