UPDATE: Is Google Partnering up with Amazon? Or does Plugin fool us?

Original title: Is Google Partnering up with Amazon? Tests Suggest they are

Update: it seems as if a Chrome Plugin, “awesomescreenshot” might be the cause of these results showing up with certain people. This is not yet confirmed but could explain things. Google has not confirmed or denied anything was going on.

“Do no Evil” was a motto which was created a while ago. Everything which Google did had to be tested to that motto. Was it potentially evil? Don’t do it. Many believe that the motto is no longer in use and hasn’t been in use for a while. We’ll probably won’t know until another Googler or another Stephen Levy-type of journalist will report on it from inside Google walls. But if the tests some are seeing at the moment are true than another major group of Google-dislikers will probably arise.

Several people have mentioned on Twitter and in a blogpost that they are seeing “Amazon Results For…” on some of their queries. These results are placed on top of the regular search results, pushing down not only the regular results but also other shopping results. So far it is unclear whether this is a test, something Google is really doing or if it is a deal with Amazon or not.

Initially Blogstorm noticed the results for “prohormones” on Google.co.uk:

Here you can see that the results are indented, which looks kind of strange. When this came out others noticed it too:


In this search the results are more ‘styled’ than in the one above, but it does the same, showing Amazon results.

The third result is one on a search for “Ralph Lauren Polo” which shows again Amazon results on top, even above the Ralph Lauren website:

source http://www.twitter.com/seosherlock

What could this be?

The first responses immediately were: Google has struck a deal with Amazon. That could very well be true, but I want to explore all the options. One thought was that this could also be a brand-related test. Like Bing does for example with UPS. But chances on that are slim because Amazon here even outranks the brand (Ralph Lauren).

A third option could be that this is shopping-related and they are testing it on Amazon-results only, since they don’t want to wake up any others.

The biggest chance however is indeed that Google has struck a deal with Amazon. That can have major implications. What will happen to Google Shopping? How will advertisers feel about that? Is Google adopting a new way of advertising? And what will this do to the trustworthiness of the Google results? With Amazon and Wikipedia leading the pack, what use will Google have?

The tests bring up more questions than answers right now, will be continued without a doubt…

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

22 thoughts on “UPDATE: Is Google Partnering up with Amazon? Or does Plugin fool us?

  1. Imagine the scenario where Google Shopping is entirely replaced by Amazon results. That means that for any ecommerce shop to be properly visible in Google – in other words, for any ecommerce shop to be economically viable – it would have to do business with Amazon.

    And Amazon is not always nice to do business with. They charge extortionate amounts of fees, often undercut prices (as they can afford to make a loss on the initial customer acquisition), and generally behave like the 800-pound ecommerce gorilla they are.

    That is not a happy scenario. It’s one thing being forced to submit your feed to Google for SERP visibility, as that’s essentially a free service. It’s another thing entirely to be forced to submit to Amazon’s extortion racket.

  2. Ya, I’ve noticed IMDB integration ratings in the SERPs when you look up ‘Cityname Movie’ you’ll see the ratings from IMDB integrated right in the SERPs but in a way that’s not like a traditional citation. For all those that don’t know IMDB is owned by Amazon. There’s definitely something going on right now. I think the amazon acquisition makes perfect sense for Google. This is a recent change as I see probably a movie a week.

    Amazon has a perfected shopping system that Google could piggy back and leverage to use their payment gateways etc. There’s a lot of opportunities there for Google. However, one has to ask when this would happen if at all since they just purchased Motorola the other day.

  3. Something isn’t quite right with these screenshots. The price shown as ‘GBP£’ is not the format used by Google in the UK (they use just ‘£’ as do most UK retailers). ‘GBP£’ is how Americans often mistakenly write UK prices – which makes me think this is a very sloppy test or a fake. Sorry.

    1. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was a sloppy test. The US side of Google is notoriously insular in that they don’t understand foreign culture – at all. So if an American Google engineer hacked this together, I would certainly expect errors like these.

      I also wouldn’t be surprised if it was a fake. But if it is, it’s one that fits with Google’s direction, so it’d be a clever fake.

    2. Well spotted!

      I doubt that it is a fake, because it was noticed by different people in different places, how can you fake that unless you are Google? It could be a sloppy test though.

  4. Well, for me the results are same i mean i didnt spot any change like the one mentioned above so i believe its not live for everyone out there….

    But if this is something really happening then this is really not good as this is going to kill the user experience and on the other hand i ll strongly agree with Barry Adams that working with Amazon is itself a big pain!…

  5. Dude – No need to panic, the amazon search results are caused by your Awesome Screenshot Chrome plugin.

  6. Yikes, a Chrome extension that pollutes your SERPs with affiliate links… I wonder how this one managed to get through Google’s Chrome plugin quality control?

  7. I think this is definitely the answer. Reason I couldn’t replicate was because I was incognito in Chrome. Do it normally, there they are. Damn you Awesome Screenshot!

  8. Pro’s and con’s to this. And Personally, I’d hate for this to happen. One, it’s integrated ugly but that could be just the screenshots? Secondly, if I search ralph lauren polo then I could be just looking to find out about them. I’d do the same search with ‘buy’ or ‘price’ added if I were looking to buy.

    Should be very interesting should it happen

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