It’s been a whole week since Google announced that Google Shopping isn’t free anymore, and I honestly don’t know what the big deal is. Why are people surprised that Google, a company valued in the billions, is going to charge for a service they provide? How do you think they made billions in the first place? Well yes, partially by making a fair number of their services free, but the main reason Google is loaded is they provide results. Results for users when they search, results for advertisers who pay for their ad space. This move isn’t necessarily about Google trying to make more money (although that will undoubtedly be a result); it’s a move to make a better shopping experience for users by making retailers accountable for the data they provide. If you make users happy you get more users. If you get more users, you get more advertisers. Which brings in more money. There are concerns from companies who use Google Shopping for a significant portion of their revenue stream, how this will impact margins, that the timing is bad, that this is bad for small businesses, etc. I ask you: How is this any different any other challenges a business may face in the marketplace? Challenges like new competitiors with a better offer, better product, better service? Challenges like floods, political uprisings?
We need to stop acting like Google is our friend who will always be there to give you a free ride when you need it. They are a business. They need to remain competitive make money and provide a great product like everybody else. So if you have a data feed with Google and are already running product listings, you have nothing to worry about. Hell, you even get a credit. You will no doubt benefit from a slightly less crowded marketplace. If you had been cluttering the market with a crappy data feed and putting all your eggs in one basket, it’s time to get cracking on a real marketing strategy – the holiday shopping season is right around the corner.