Businesses with big brand names have reason to worry with the experiments Google is currently conducting through their Google.co.uk money products comparison tool. The tool is designed for UK customers to help them compare interest rates, mortgage rates and other financial information from various insurance providers, credit cards, and banks. When searching for a UK business’s brand name, such as Renault Insurance, a result for the Google money products comparison tool appears ahead of the company’s website.
I imagine that these companies would be upset when they find out that a big chunk of the time and money they spend on advertisements, PR, and whatever else gets their brand name some attention goes towards giving a Google product and their competitors some extra visitors.
Right now, it looks like Google is only displaying their comparison tool in their SERPs for branded searches of business “providers” that are compared in their tool, and the companies sign up to be included (I assume). Also, not all brand names queries of the providers listed on Google’s comparison site have the the comparison tool displayed in the SERP. I don’t know if these businesses were aware that Google would be essentially bidding on their brand name in order to be included in their comparison tool.
While this may all be an overreaction, as it’s seems to be just a small scale test, Google hasn’t had a problem with displaying scraped information above and/or to the side of a for profit organization in the past. Just do a search for any major professional sports team. I can think of two good reasons why Google will continue to experiment with their money products comparison tool among other knowledge graph tools that are built from scraped data of for-profit websites:
- It’s an easy and effective way to promote a Google product.
- What better way to force a company to bid on their own brand name?
When we play in Google’s arena we have to play by their rules, but maybe Google users can at least realize what’s going on and give the content creators some credit. If you’re looking for more discussions on this, visit here, here, and here.