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Google let us and you down, the future of search

As a small business, we make tough decisions on where to best expend our resources. Google has until now offered merchants of any size the ability to submit product feeds (lists) to their Google Shopping listings for free: It was win-win, since Google got good data for their service, and we got good website traffic. Google’s shopping comparison service is popular, and they presumably make a lot of money selling ads on the service. The results on Google Products Search are currently ranked with the same integrity as their regular results. The listings within the service are displayed by relevancy, brand and site trust etc., similar to their  regular organic search results. Now Google has announced that they’re changing the rules…

But first: setting up to submit a feed for Google products is a significant technological undertaking, and collecting and formatting to meet their extensive data quality requirements took time. We chose to invest that time based upon the win-win premise.

THEN, Google announced that starting this fall, you’ll have to PAY to have your listings show up in results. For a small business, we can’t hope to compete against the resources of Amazon etc. Therefore, we’ve effectively been robbed of the good faith effort we invested. We helped them to build a good service, and now they are going to try to take advantage of us. For those interested, you can read the enragingly dumb marketing double speak from Google. It turns out Google itself knows this is evil (or used to anyway).

Broadly speaking, not only is this frustrating as it relates to shopping results, it also showcases dishonesty and changes our opinion of Google completely. Google pulled a bait and switch; this begs the question of if Google is merely biding their time until all of their results can be ranked based upon who can pay the most? That question should concern not only us, but anyone who uses google (aka, everyone?).

As fiber artists, we love it that the internet has encouraged ideas, patterns, products, techniques and more to be shared. Search engines enable this by allowing you to find what you’re interested in based upon relevance and quality.  This change by Google is moves away from that, and that represents a fundamental flaw in how search should work (by the way, Google product search results are already integrated into normal search results, so, in a way, by making this change they will be shifting toward paid rankings in their normal results).

Enough complaining (though you can sign this petition to Google), what are the alternatives? Well, there are other product comparison engines, and we’re looking at altering our feed to fit there. Also, did you know there are other search engines :-) … There is Bing, of course, but also we’ve been using DuckDuckGo.com recently …. and… loving it (they also happen to have an awesome privacy policy)! Given the frustration we’re feeling with google right now, barring any changes on their part, duckduckgo is getting bumped over to our default search provider, and oh yeah, and we’ll be shifting our Google AdWords advertising budget elsewhere too :-)

Also, feel free to sign this petition to Google!

 

  1. One Response to “Google let us and you down, the future of search”

  2. By pjm on Jun 8, 2012

    I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a while now and haven’t been disappointed. Too much dependence on one company, be it Google or Microsoft, is monoculture, which is seldom good.

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