Thalasar Ventures

Google Giving A Little Adsense Love to Google Checkout Merchants

I have noticed that Google has been adding a variety of extra graphics to Google Adsense ads if the merchant uses Google Checkout. This has the net effect of highlighting the listing even if it”s not the top listing. Of course I completely missed this little google announcement back in January.

These graphics vary from a simple graphic of a shopping cart to a full blown small color graphic next to the listing. Here is the original version.

Original Checkout Gif - not intrusive

And here is the version introduced one week ago which is far more intrusive.

New Google Checkout Badge - screw you #1 bidder

Here’s what Google said when introducing the badge

“We know that when it’s time to shop, our users often start by searching, and that they’re looking for places to shop that are convenient and secure. Checkout addresses this need by making online shopping quick and safe, from search to purchase. As always, our goal is to improve the user experience by providing more relevant information whenever users choose to search and shop with Google.”

Which quite frankly is a self serving load of bullshit. While Google might indeed care about the user, Checkout didn’t suddenly fill a hole in the market. Online shopping has been quick and safe before the introduction of Checkout. It’s 2007 guys. Web based shopping is 13 years old. Your checkout solution didn’t suddenly fill a hole in the market, making it secure.
This is is about one thing and one thing only – driving merchants to adapt Google Checkout as one of their checkout options. Since these badges visually draw the user’s eye to them (especially the new full color badge) they seriously under cut being number one on an Adsense display listing. In fact I wouldn’t want to be number one if I shared it with the new Google Checkout badge.
I imagine that the howls of the current Google Adsense customers are being told – just set up Google Checkout. That’s one way to drive market adaption – blackmail. Since you cannot count on effectively being number one on a listing anymore (at least not visually), you should do a couple of things. First complain to Google. While I doubt it will actually do much good, it hardly seems fair that someone that is paying significantly less per click than you are should effectively have the number 1 visual slot. Two since Google’s market position puts them in a position not to really care about your complaints, set up Google Checkout on your site.
I realize this defeats the whole purpose of doing step one but considering the importance of Adwords in the online ad marketplace, you can’t really afford to throw away your advertising dollars. Here’s one post noting the effect that a Google Badge has on conversions and clickthroughs and a thread on it at Searchenginewatch’s thread on Google badges. Here’s the original blog post by Danny Sullivan noting the new Google Checkout Badge.

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