Despite having several names over the past 10 years, Froogle, Google Base, now Google Product Search, and soon to be Google Shopping, one thing has always been consistent; it was free. Now that is changing as well. As Google seeks to improve the user experience (searchers that is) their belief is that with paid participation merchants will be compelled, if not forced, to provide higher quality data. One of the biggest complaints to date by end users with Google’s shopping engine has been the quality of the data among search results. So, it’s Google’s idea that the more serious the participating merchants become in providing product content, the more that translates to accurate results, which ends with a better overall experience for shoppers.
The good news, is that this shift will have no influence on your organic search results. So any progress your products have made when conducting traditional Google searches will be unaffected. To incentivize merchants to jump aboard sooner rather than later, Google is offering 2 promotions for merchants to create Product Listing Ads (which will be phased out by Google Shopping). First, merchants who create Product Listing Ads by Aug. 15 will be rewarded with a monthly credit for 10 percent of their total spend through the end of this year. Additionally, existing Google Product Search merchants can receive $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they fill out this form before Aug. 15. While there’s no definite date on when free product submissions will end, there is much speculation that will be some time this fall.