What do you do when looking for a particular type of item – one you might not find easily in your local town? Do you put the item in the search on Google and get every listing that mentions it (or even something like it) or do you get to the items quicker by clicking the ‘Shopping’ button on the top bar and have only the relevant items shown – which you can then sort by button for price or relevance and whether it has free shipping or not?
For instance if you go into Google now and search for ‘Slate Plates’, then click ‘Shopping’ on the top bar and, when those listings come up, tick the box at the side for ‘Free Shipping’ – annmade slate plates figure pretty high, if not top. This is because they are the best value quality slate plates out there with free shipping – and that is their natural or organic search listing.
After the Google’s new system comes into place in February the same search will not feature annmade slate plates at all – because as a small business I cannot afford to pay for inclusion in this listing.
The ‘previously’ savvy shopper who ignored the Ad-Words because they knew they were paid for, and short-cut the trawl through the general listings by using the ‘shopping’ button, will now be presented with, what is in effect, a whole bunch of Adverts. The question is – how long before they realise.
The rules that govern ‘paid-for-inclusion-listings’ are not the same as those for adverts – they don’t have to explicitly state that these are adverts!
More – Google have quietly been slipping ‘Shopping results’ in the line of the general listings. Well, these were general listings and so that was fair enough. They are getting us used to clicking on these and expecting them to just be relevant natural or organic listings – however, in the future they will be the ‘paid inclusion listings’ masquerading as organic listings.
Google once claimed that ‘paid for inclusion listings were evil’. Now that it is answerable to shareholders it dances to a different tune – ‘make money, make money, make money’ – regardless of fairness, equality or Google’s own original aims and values.
Ok, Ok — I have a vested interest. I am a small-business owner – and it is the internet that has enabled my small business to reach all corners of the UK with my products – never mind just the UK – I have sold my slate ware to Australia, America and many EU countries too. Without the internet annmade slate ware would not have sold anywhere outside Devon and Cornwall.
It is the same for so many other small businesses – often niche, interesting, craftsman based businesses. The internet has allowed these businesses to flourish because people out there want these items and because of the internet they could find them easily. OK, so they will still be there – but much harder to find.
And this comes on top of Facebook’s new policy of not sending postings from pages you have deliberately liked, to you – instead encouraging the page holders to pay to promote their post to their followers – again hitting the little people hardest. (If you want to help the little-folk whose pages you have ‘liked’ then, if y0u actually get a FB posting from one of them, share or comment or at least like the post, as then FB’s algorithm sends it to a few more people on the list.)
It is a sad day for you the customer though, when your choice is curtailed by one of the very exponents of ‘free internet’ and a sad day too for all new entrepreneurs and people with an idea for a business that needs to serve a wide area to thrive.
We shall all be poorer – and I don’t just mean financially.
How do you feel about this? Does it feel like Big Business is trying to be the ONLY business out there? Is Google turning sour? I love to hear from you – do share your thoughts!
more information on what and how Google will try to fool you into thinking that these ‘Paid for Inclusion lisitngs’ are not Adverts but organic listings.