Google Merchant Center Webinar Final Reminder

May 12, 2010

@ 10am PDT this morning, SingleFeed, with special guest Sarah Beritzhoff from Google, will be running a Webinar about all the ways your Google Merchant Center data feed can be used.

Here’s the Agenda:
Brief intro from SingleFeed and Google
Google Merchant Center Basics
Google Merchant Center & Google Product Search – quick look at new page format, review of different Onebox formats
Google Merchant Center & Google Affiliate Network – examples, explanation
Google Merchant Center & Google AdWords – examples, data, explanation, proper set-up
Q&A with SingleFeed & Google

Register now. It’ll be a packed (virtual) house.

Google Launches Ecommerce Channel On YouTube

May 12, 2010

As Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes points out, Google launched its own Ecommerce Channel on YouTube.

Right now there are just two videos: How to setup Tax for Google Checkout and How to setup Shipping for Google Checkout.

Not so enticing thus far, but with Google’s ever growing ecommerce focus, I hope we’ll see much more than just simple how-to videos. Probably not a bad idea to subscribe to the channel.

And while you’re at it, you should also subscribe to the Google Merchant Blog. Does Social, Too

May 12, 2010

In my post on Monday, I said that Bing and Sortprice were the only major shopping engines that had a ‘post on [insert your favorite social network]‘ feature. Well, shared in a comment that they’ve had this functionality for a while as well.

social shopping

Sorry about that, SDC.

As Robert from SDC points out in the comment, this sharing feature also works for reviews, guides, and wishlists.

Greg Sterling Running Webinar on Local Discovery

May 10, 2010

Local Guru Greg Sterling has a Webinar tomorrow @ 10am PT on Local Discovery. Looks like he’ll be hitting on everything from Yahoo! Local to Groupon to foursquare.

Merchants need to cut through the clutter and pay attention to the many local/mobile options there. Greg is the expert, so listen up!

Register now.

Social Shopping Experiment from Bing Cashback

May 10, 2010

Bing Cashback, aka Bing Shopping, launched a nice little feature which lets shoppers post their purchase or potential purchase to their Facebook profiles.

In a blog post, Program/Product managers from Bing wrote:

With a single click you can ask for advice from your friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter for their take on a product you saw on Bing Shopping. You can even share it the old fashioned way – over email! We see our users using it not only to get feedback on price but on whether a particular product would look good on them, has a better model, etc.

As VentureBeat wrote: “The implementation is simple, which means it works and isn’t confusing.”

Many shopping engines allow you to email a product listing to a friend, but I believe Bing is only the second shopping engine (Sortprice being the first) that allows shoppers to quickly and easily post products to their Facebook wall.

As Facebook, YouTube, and others grab more time-share from everyone’s lives, it’ll be more and more important for the shopping engines…well, everyone…to integrate with Facebook. As everyone has been discussing over the last 2 years, more and more purchases or maybe just as important, conversations that lead to purchases, will take place away from the actual source of the purchase. You might eventually buy from Thompson Cigar, Evogear, or Best Buy, but you’ll have discussed the purchase with your friends or experts off of those sites. This is one of the reasons SingleFeed, among others, is enabling merchants to list products on Facebook.

Expect lots of activity in the Facebook shopping space in the coming quarters. I’d be surprised if Facebook didn’t have a flagship deal with someone like Amazon before the holiday shopping season. Imagine Amazon allowing anyone on Facebook to easily become an affiliate and get paid to list products, share products, recommend products, review products, etc. on Facebook. And in the near term, I don’t think it’s about in-Facebook stores ala 1800Flowers, I think it’s about driving views back to the merchant.

Google Merchant Center Explained – Webinar Next Wednesday

May 7, 2010

Join SingleFeed next Wednesday for an informational Webinar in which we’ll walk through all the ways your Google Merchant Center feed can be used. It starts with listing products on Google Product Search, but you can also leverage your data feed on the Google Affiliate Network and Google AdWords. It’s time to put the power of your data feed to greater use. Get a jump start on your competition today!

All serious ecommerce businesses with revenue over $500K can benefit from this informative Webinar. Register today if you want to improve your performance, drive more sales, and discover how to better leverage your Google Merchant Center feed.

Brian Smith and Ryan Douglas of SingleFeed will cover:
– Google Product Search and Google OneBox listings
– Google Merchant Center Account Optimization Tips
– Google Product Extension Ads w/ Google AdWords
– Google Product Ads w/Google Affiliate Network

Register now.

SingleFeed is a Google Merchant Center Partner and leading provider of data feed management and optimization services for small and medium sized merchants.

*This webinar will be recorded. If you cannot attend live, please register and a link to the recording will be emailed to you after the event.

Sell Your Products on Facebook

May 7, 2010

Update: This is for US merchants only at this point. Also, you must have an individual Google Merchant Center account – if you have multiple stores associated with your Google Merchant Center account or have a ‘parent’ account, this application will not work for you.

SingleFeed is alpha testing an application on Facebook that will allow you to list your top selling products on your Facebook Fan Page. Takes less than 5mins to get up and running. All you need is a Google Merchant Center data feed and a Facebook Fan page.

If you’re interested in testing out the application (it’s free, by the way!), just send me an email: ‘brian at’


PriceGrabber Allows Bidding Under Rate Card

May 7, 2010

I’m shocked. Not only did PriceGrabber roll out a new bidding tool, but the tool allows merchants to bid under rate card rates. You can bid under the category minimum. In other words, there effectively isn’t a minimum.

Merchants tied to category minimums on shopping engines usually have to suppress some/many SKUs from engines in order to meet a goal metric, even after optimizing titles, descriptions, etc. [SingleFeed highly recommends qualitative data feed optimization before thinking about bidding or SKU suppression.] Instead of sending 1000 products to a shopping engine, a merchant might eventually cut a data feed in half in order to meet a certain COS. Which means that the shopping engine gets less product variety and consumers using the shopping engine have a poor on site experience.

Google Merchant Center doesn’t have the problem of merchants suppressing SKUs en masse because it’s a free shopping engine. Bing Cashback also doesn’t have this problem as merchants can set cashback amounts by SKU. But most PPC shopping engines definitely see merchants cut active SKU count or shut down a shopping engine campaign altogether.

PriceGrabber’s bidding tool doesn’t seem to be available to all merchants. And it’s not clear whether products bid under the rate card category minimum will actually show up in search results, but I’d assume the products would at least show up below the regular cat minimum paid listings. Why not? The more pages of listings, the more opportunity for PriceGrabber to monetize, whether through the merchant listings, graphical ads, or sponsored links (from Google).

Scripps Network Interactive Reports Earnings for Q1 2010

May 6, 2010

While the economy is improving and retailers are starting to report better year over year results, Shopzilla is not going in the right direction. Today Shopzilla, part of Scripps Networks Interactive, reported revenue of $37.6M, a 16.6% or $7.5M drop from $45.1M a year ago. Segment profit of $4.9M, down from $7M a year ago, was the lowest I’ve seen since I started tracking the numbers back in Q1 of 2006 (although I’ve never found Q3 2006 segment profit without uSwitch). Read the entire earnings release.

The press release says “Direct leads to Shopzilla merchant partners grew 11 percent year over year during the quarter.” But if direct leads to merchants grew by 11% and revenue dropped 16%, that means the value of those direct leads dropped, or put another way, Shopzilla is collecting less money per lead or per click. That’s not good. So what’s going on? Well, what’s not in the numbers is the traffic acquisition costs – revenue that is split with Shopzilla partners. So Shopzilla might be driving more direct leads to merchants, but it’s not necessarily doing so from Shopzilla or BizRate. I don’t have comScore numbers handy, but Compete shows that over the last year, unique users to Shopzilla and BizRate have dropped significantly.

Have to listen to the earnings call this weekend and see if any of the analysts brought up TAC.

In general, with Google promoting their own shopping engine more and more, Shopzilla,, NexTag, etc. are going to struggle. This is nothing new as people have been predicting the end of the comparison shopping engines since I started covering the industry. But if traffic for these guys completely crumbles, some of the predictions will come true. Maybe we’ll finally see some consolidation in the industry.

Google Testing New SERP Highlighting Shopping

May 5, 2010

Update: Danny Sullivan has a story about the search options column.

Check out the left hand nav. There’s a great icon for Shopping.

And Google is predicting that my search for Apple Bottoms is shopping related. The rest of the page is a shopping paradise with the Product Ads, 5-pack (Google Product Search OneBox results), and also links for more or fewer shopping sites. Also, the ‘something different’ section suggests similar brands: Rocawear, Dereon, Sean Jean, etc.

This all comes back to Google Merchant Center. If you’re not up and running or if you’re up and running with a not so good feed, get in touch with SingleFeed (new site coming SOON!). Also, we’ll be running a Google Merchant Webinar in the very near future.


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