Google Search Results Promoting Froogle Receiving First Keyword Ad Position

    June 4, 2004

An anonymous WebProNews reader pointed out an interesting issue going on with Google’s search results. A search of the keywords “Fathers Day Gifts” finds that Google is giving a link for Froogle the first AdWords position (highlighted by a blue rectangle) in the SERP over a company that bid for the very same ranking.

To our knowledge, this marks the first time that a paying AdWords customer has been superceded by a link advertising Froogle. Common ethics would dictate that the highest bidder should get the first position. However, Google seems to be ignoring this in favor of promoting its shopping web presence.

The reader, who happens to be an AdWords customer, believes that Google should not be doing this. First position is usually reserved for the person that bid that highest. However, Google seems determined to push Froogle, and evidently feels that Father’s Day shopping is a good place to start.

A report by Nielsen//NetRatings done to measure Mother’s Day shopping traffic showed Froogle, while getting an 80% jump in shoppers, still ranked below MSN and AOL in overall traffic. Perhaps Google is taking a more aggressive approach for Father’s Day. Giving Froogle the first “paid” position is certainly an indicator.

Is this a new practice for Google? Are they going to give Froogle preferential treatment for every holiday associated with shopping? If they are, how are AdWords clients going to respond to not receiving first position, even though they bid the highest?

All of these are legitimate questions. Unfortuantley, at the time of this article was written; there are no concrete answers. However, WebProNews will be following up on this story on Monday, June 7.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.