Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Amazon Has Yanked Its Kindle Listings From the Google Shopping Search Engine

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When Google began requiring retailers in the fall to pay for placement in its Google Shopping product search engine, there was much speculation about whether Amazon would participate.

As recently as December, Amazon was indeed paying Google to advertise the Kindles it sells on its own site on Google via the product listing ads.

Now it appears that Amazon has decided that it would rather sit on the sidelines than contribute revenue to Google Shopping.

Over the last few days, searches for Kindle on Google and Google Shopping have turned up product listings ads from retailers such as eBay and QVC.com, but none from Amazon.com.

The sponsored product listing ads are image-centric and sometimes appear in a box on Google’s main search page if a product search is done there. Product listing ads also comprise all of the search results in Google Shopping’s dedicated search engine.

Prior to the fall, retailers did not have to pay to have their products surface in these places. But since then, it has been all pay to play for product listing ads.

Amazon still buys text-based ads for the Kindle on Google, and some of its subsidiaries, such as Zappos and Diapers.com, do in fact pay for the image-based product listings.

So it’s possible that Amazon’s decision to pull its Kindle product ads simply comes down to being disappointed with its return on investment for this particular advertising channel. At the same time, industry observers who have watched this dynamic closely speculate that Amazon would have to see phenomenal results to outweigh the downside of supporting what some view as the beginnings of Google’s bid to build a rival marketplace.

Amazon and Google spokeswomen declined to comment.

While Google’s move to a paid model was controversial at the start, it has been widely viewed as a success thus far in search engine marketing circles.

Revenue attributable to Google was up 60 percent year over year in June across 525 major retail brands, as measured by e-commerce marketing software company Mercent. And earlier this week, another marketing tech firm, Marin Software, said in a report that click-through rates on the product listing ads have remained higher than Google’s text ads since November.

Industry executives say they are even seeing retailers move budget from other Google ad products to the product listing ads. A big reason for this is because the ads are seen as a way to get in front of shoppers who are in the lower part of the purchasing funnel, in marketing speak, or close to making a purchase.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work