I predict that Google Base refinement options on Google will be rolled out over the next 2 months. Yes, we’ve been waiting for this to happen for a while…and there were signs that the implementation would take place last quarter. I don’t know what’s causing the delay, but if I were Google, I wouldn’t have made any major changes during the holiday season…so it just makes sense that changes will start to show up now. Also, Google has been much better about kicking out eBay affiliates which were spamming Base and shutting down duplicate accounts (to the dismay of many many etailers – especially b/c both accounts are basically de-activated at once).
Even though smart search marketers have been giddy over Google Base for a while and have been using Froogle effectively for a year or 2 or 3, adding a Google Base search refinement option to Google.com will dramatically increase the visibility of the service (I love my obvious statements). I estimate that there are currently about 30,000 merchants actively submitting feeds to Google Base. That number could easily double as search marketing firms wake up to the opportunity and companies like SingleFeed announce full support of Google Custom Attributes.
But it’s not just Google Base that will be the story, it’s Google’s steady march toward supremacy of small and medium size merchants. Ok, I guess Google already is a leader in servicing small and medium sized businesses (in my estimates, aprx. 125K merchants – not affiliates – currently use Adwords), but the web it’s weaving with Google.com, Adwords, Base, Checkout, and Analytics is pretty awesome.
Base listings get premium placement on Google OneBox results. Adwords clients that support Checkout get higher clickthroughs (and therefore higher placement) because of that little shopping cart icon. Base users can already create individual Adwords ads for their listings on Base or through their feed and are being pushed to sign up for Adwords and Checkout. Checkout orders can be approved through Base. Adwords users have a tab for Analytics. Analytics automatically recognizes Adwords clicks. More merchants will adopt Google Checkout as credit card processing is free for 2007 and that $10 coupon for first time consumers is kicking ass for the merchants who have implemented it well (looking for a home improvement plumbing?).
I’ve said numerous times that Google Checkout is a wonderful and scary proposition for merchants However, I think that most small and medium sized merchants are short-sighted enough not to care. If they can increase sales tomorrow by implementing Checkout, they’ll do it. Google.com feeds Adwords. Google Base feeds Adwords. Analytics feeds Adwords. Checkout feeds Adwords.
I’ve never been a cheerleader for Google, but I have to admit that the Google (search), Adwords, Base, Checkout, and Analytics package is coming together better than I ever expected.
While Google has never confirmed or denied its numbers, my educated guess is that Adwords has aprx. 125,000 merchants (not affiliates), Base has aprx. 30,000 active merchants (active = submitted feed in the last 30 days), and Checkout has aprx. 1,000 merchants. As for Google search…a couple people using that. Analytics…not really sure. But imagine when Base refinement options show up on Google. As I said earlier, that could double the number of active merchants submitting feeds…which leads to more Adwords clients…which leads to more Checkout clients. This should also lead to more Analytics clients, although Google has a ways to go in educating merchants how to effectively use the Analytics software.
The debate over whether to use Checkout will go on in the hearts and blogs of people like myself as I still have major concerns about the lack of up-sell options and the idea that Google potentially controls the customer relationship, but I don’t think small and medium sized merchants are going to pay any attention. They see dollar signs and that’s it. I just really wish that these small guys would talk to a couple airlines about their excellent relationship with the GDSs.
I could have stopped this post after the first paragraph as that contains the main point – Google Base is going to be one of two huge stories in the comparison engines world in the next couple months. I hope merchants are paying attention and asking their data feed managers what they are doing to ensure feeds are optimized for Base. However, there’s a bigger picture in terms of how all Google’s properties in search and commerce are
coming togetherintermingling…something to pay attention to as shopping engines continue to rely on Google Adwords crack, new entrants such as Shopwiki and TheFind figure out their place in the ecosystem, and all engines try to figure out how to deal with that little concept called loyalty.
Google Base Gets a Facelift – December 11, 2006
Conversion Tracking and Google Checkout – December 20, 2006
When Google Checkout Adoption for Merchants Makes Sense – November 8, 2006
Google Checkout Should Capture Small-to-Midsize Market by Jeff Molander – November 28, 2006