Google Shopping will officially switch to a paid model and has been already testing various queries. The transition to the monetized service is expected to take place some time in the fall of 2012.
Google Shopping is gradually donning a new avatar as we progress toward the monetized shopping portal. Merchants will now be paying to display their wares here.
These moves will remove a lot of affiliate or agent websites that aggregate product and services from various manufacturers and sell them online. The end user and the brand owner often find themselves at a disadvantage, as a result of such activity. But then there’s the factor of competing with global e-tail giants as well, so let’s see how things roll out.
Google’s new policies will give better control to the merchants. The latter will now be able to decide what products are listed and promoted in Google Shopping. Previously, it was Google’s relevancy parameters that chose those products. Being able to decide what products are promoted online has its obvious benefits plus some more.
Together with this announcement, Google also announced the addition and official rollout of the Google Trusted Store. For now, the reportedly useful badge is free. Inclusion depends on your ability to conform to Google’s requirements.
Customers have the advantage of asking Google to intervene if and when they are unable to resolve any issues with the participating merchant on Google Trusted Store. Otherwise, they have the satisfaction of having Google’s protection on their online orders.
Merchants who fail to comply with Google’s minimum performance standards risk having their eligibility for participation revoked and the Trusted Stores Program agreement terminated. The entire program is well within Google’s jurisdiction.
At present, the program is available only in the United States. But following adequate response there and the worldwide sentiment, it is likely to extend beyond.
What is remarkable about this shift to a paid model is that other ‘free’ online goodies will also likely go the monetized way. While ‘free’ will remain the more popular option among merchants, the value of signing up for monetized services will decide the fate of Google’s latest ventures.
But when some of the most coveted advertising space in the world is available to merchants, you can be sure it’s going to get big. Search engine results pages will now have more ads on them than ever before, and all that space will be paid for by merchants.
Of course, nothing succeeds like success, and if this succeeds, we are on course for a new era in online retail.