Google Promotions

The ever watchful Philipp has found another example of a promotion on Google's main search index. This one is in the products section, and it promotes Checkout….

The ever watchful Philipp has found another example of a promotion on Google’s main search index. This one is in the products section, and it promotes Checkout.


Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

2 thoughts on “Google Promotions”

  1. Oooh.. there is a double insidiousness here. First is the obvious insidiousness that Google Checkout is artificially “promoted” in the search results. That is something which, in and of itself, violates the Google principle of equal access to all advertisers, as Philipp aptly points out. As an advertiser, Philipp cannot himself create a “promotion” box and have it appear. Thus not all advertisers are created equal, and Google does not, as it has previously claimed, follow the exact same guidelines as all its other advertisers.

    But the second, the double, insidiousness is the fact that there is a query modification link just below the yellow promotion box that lets you switch between “Showing all items” and “Show Google Checkout[LOGO] items only”.

    Wow, do you all see that? Here is another link, inside the results, at the top of the results, that specifically lets the users filter the results to find only results that are linked to another internal Google product, Google Checkout!

    Where, may I ask, is the link that says “Show PayPal items only”, huh?

    This is highly dubious, because it tries to pass itself off as a neutral, useful tool, such as the Google spelling correction “Did you mean?” link, or the “Sort by date” vs. “Sort by relevance” links in Google Desktop. But it is not a neutral link, because it specifically lets you sort by Google Checkout only, and not by any competing payment services. As such, it is yet another self-promotion of Google services.

    Now, if Google suddenly announces that there will be a “Sort by PayPal” option, too, then my doubts will disappear. But at the moment, the fact that Google has specifically included this particular query refinement tool, and one that only promotes its own service, leaves a very Microsoftian “Internet Explorer is an integral part of Windows” taste in my mouth.

  2. Of course they’ll be promoting their own services in their results. With the discounts they were providing to merchants through the holiday season, it became clear that they were ramping up the userbase and branding of the service itself.

    Thankfully, GoogleBase, even with complete integration with Google Checkout, will never rival the eBay & PayPal combination.

    Google has strayed too far from search, and their quality is on the decline. This is a classic case of that in action.

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