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Google The Almighty Buck

Why Amazon Is Google's Real Competition 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-humans-are-too-lazy-to-read-words dept.
New submitter wreakyhavoc writes "Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider maintains that Amazon's reviews and One-Click ordering will undercut Google's shopping ad revenue, and that Google is 'terrified.' From the article: 'Google is a search company, but the searches that it actually makes money from are the searches people do before they are about to buy something online. These commercial searches make up about 20 percent of total Google searches. Those searches are where the ads are. What Googlers worry about in private is a growing trend among consumers to skip Google altogether, and to just go ahead and search for the product they would like to buy on Amazon.com, or, on mobile in an Amazon app. There's data to prove this trend is real. According to ComScore, Amazon search queries are up 73 percent in the last year. How could Google fight this possible threat? Perhaps they could expose the astroturfing of Amazon reviews. Of course, this could backfire, as it would also draw attention to the astroturfing, link farming, and SEO games in Google's search results."
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Why Amazon Is Google's Real Competition

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Citation please

    • I was just going to post the same. I bet it happens here and there (not necessarily by Amazon themselves, but perhaps by independent authors/sellers), but how serious is it compared to the problems Google has with SEO?

      • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:20PM (#41038883) Homepage
        I have seen it, when looking for laptops.

        personally I dont bother with th 5 star reviews, I start with the 1 stars and decide which are simply faulty products or user error (you can find a lot of simple user error in 1 star reviews) Than I like to look at 3 and 4 stars to see what the people who took the effort to dig a little deeper rather than 5 stars cause its teh god! That Is my usual shopping research methods
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:51PM (#41039689) Homepage Journal

          Than I like to look at 3 and 4 stars to see what the people who took the effort to dig a little deeper rather than 5 stars cause its teh god! That Is my usual shopping research methods

          That's really smart.

          And there's a whole lot of gaming that goes on in Amazon's books and music reviews. I met someone who works for one of the "New Media Strategies" companies. He's an out-of-work post-doc and is getting paid (poorly, I might add) to corrupt social media and online reviews in order to try to gain some perceived advantage for their clients big and small.

          It gets worse: even little niche-y online communities like Slashdot are targeted by these companies for their clients. Insurance companies, politicians, big-name media companies, even sports franchises are using sock puppets to promote everything from candidates to soap to software. People can rely less and less that the entities encountered in social media are actually human beings posting their thoughts in good faith.

          This could break bad for google and amazon alike, as people start to see online information as noise. Their seeming inviolability could disappear in a big hurry.

          People are already starting to see that the bottom could fall out of a lot of big name dot.com businesses with not a lot of warning, and not just because of uncertainties about the economy as a whole.

          It wouldn't take a whole lot to have Google and Amazon become dinosaurs real quick. I just think it's a mistake to believe that five years from now these companies are going to have the same kind of fundamental strength that the big manufacturing companies had in the post-WWII world. There are a lot of companies built on perception and that are very vulnerable to shifting habits.

          • by 1000101 (584896) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:45PM (#41041729)

            It wouldn't take a whole lot to have Google and Amazon become dinosaurs real quick. I just think it's a mistake to believe that five years from now these companies are going to have the same kind of fundamental strength that the big manufacturing companies had in the post-WWII world. There are a lot of companies built on perception and that are very vulnerable to shifting habits.

            Really? Both of these companies have massive, massive investments in infrastructure. These aren't some mom-and-pop, dot com, one trick pony shows. Hell, Government is starting (if not already) to rely on Google. Amazon is investing in same day delivery and is one of the biggest players online. It would take quite a bit IMHO for these two companies to become dinosaurs. This isn't 1999.

          • by pinkeen (1804300)
            There's a simple solution. "Certified owner" badge next to the review. Dealextreme does it so why shouldn't others?
            • by PopeRatzo (965947)

              There's a simple solution. "Certified owner" badge next to the review. Dealextreme does it so why shouldn't others?

              Do you know how all these right wing political books from Regnery press and Eagle Publishing make it onto the New York Times list? Because when the book ships, all these think tanks and every right-wing radio show and megachurch and Family Research Council-type outfit buys up book club copies to give away. They each count as sales. This has been going on forever. You'll even see a tiny lit

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Or you could just...look at what the person wrote? I have written several 5 star reviews on Amazon but anybody reading them will see that I am quick to point out what is good and what is not, just because a product gets 5 stars doesn't mean its perfect, just that it does what it is supposed to do well.

          Take the review I made on a bass multieffect pedal. i was quick to point out there were a couple of effects that weren't useful for day to day (as it is in ALL multieffects) and that with all multiunits there

        • by lilfields (961485)
          You realize that Amazon has information that allows you to see if that person actually purchased the item on Amazon (meaning the review has a very very high probability of being real) and they also allow you to see the user's past reviews, so you can see if they are just company hacks posting positive reviews or of they have a history of actual reviews. Ignoring 5 star reviews is silly when you have so much information at hand.
    • by kevinatilusa (620125) <kcostell@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:46PM (#41039051)

      An example of Astroturfing on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Twelfth-Cliburn-Piano-Competition/product-reviews/B000BZ8IA8/ref=cm_cr_pr_btm_link_4?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addFiveStar&pageNumber=4&showViewpoints=0 [amazon.com]

      Of the 35 five star reviews, about 30 were posted in a 1 week period by people who have no other reviews. Of course, each of those reviewers carefully voted up all the previous other 5 star reviews to promote them in the review rankings (so

      • by mark_elf (2009518) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:04PM (#41039249)
        The Van Cliburn Piano Competition? Really? How many people would even be on the fence about something like that. You either own all twelve or you wouldn't watch it if it was free. I mean maybe there was some turfing by all their friends or something. But anyone who would gush about The Van Cliburn Piano Competition very well could be sincere. It's not like it's an air freshener or a stick of RAM or something. The idea is that it's an artistic pinnacle reached by serious young musicians. I think Amazon gets a free pass on this one.
      • But they're so convincing! "FAR SURPASSES SPIELBERG, KUBRICK, OR EVEN HITCHCOCK! Films such as Citizen Kane, The Godfather, and Schindlers List pale in comparison to this staggering, luminescent, wondrous cinematic masterpiece. Again, this is an understatement."
      • by rossjudson (97786) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:22AM (#41043049) Homepage

        Happens there too. The one the cheeses me off the most: Tangier Dream (http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tangier-dream/id342411025). Stellar ratings and reviews, dotted with occasional "it's crap". Nothing unusual there. But check out the OTHER reviews by those reviewer -- non-existent, or telling the reader to check out "Buddy Mix" or some other piece of crap. The way the scam works is to pick something popular and write a fake review on it, adding a sentence noting that the reviewer's _other_ favorite right now is Tangier Dream, or Buddy Mix, or whatever. "Karen Rosa" on Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball: "...Speaking of cool rock tracks I just heard a great song I think everyone should check out 'Show Me A Little Leg' by Buddy Mix."...

        "Karen Rosa" on Tangier Dream: "Wow...Wow...Wow!!! I think that says it all."

        "Emily Love" on Kitaro's Digital Box Set: "I heard a new artist that has some asian feel to his music but also reminds me of Jarre and TD. The artist name is Eric Walker and his CD is Tangier Dream".

        "Emily Love" on Tangier Dream: "Soothing and beautiful music..."

        "Kristin Chan" on Digitalism's I Love You, Dude: "Also while I was looking for new music to hear I found Eric Walker and his cd Tangier Dream".

        The turf war winner is "Ryan FarishFan", who has written six reviews on iTunes for a variety of albums. Each references Tangier Dream or Buddy Mix (on the same label).

        Ick. I do see that at least a few of the reviews I bitched about to iTunes staff are gone now.

      • for astroturfing, look at the 5 star reviews on amazon for "a dance with dragons".

      • by wetworx (655920)
        no this is the best example of astroturfing ;-) http://www.amazon.com/Very-Best-David-Hasselhoff/dp/B00005Q8UG/ [amazon.com]
    • The thing that annoys me about complaining about astroturfing on Amazon, is the concept that it would happen on Amazon with any more regularity than anywhere else that had reviews.

      I feel like basically the sources with the most people providing input have the least to worry in that regard, as many other voices will drown out astroturfers.

      As long as you read Amazon reviews with a critical eye, they are fine...

      • by gmanterry (1141623) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:51PM (#41039691) Journal

        The thing that annoys me about complaining about astroturfing on Amazon, is the concept that it would happen on Amazon with any more regularity than anywhere else that had reviews.

        I feel like basically the sources with the most people providing input have the least to worry in that regard, as many other voices will drown out astroturfers.

        As long as you read Amazon reviews with a critical eye, they are fine...

        This is what I do. I check to see which people have actually bought the product and then I read all the negative reviews. So far I have not been stung. Read the negative reviews and then search elsewhere for reviews that support or disprove the review.

      • by omfgnosis (963606)

        R U ASTROTURFING 4 AMAZON? JK

  • If Amazon adopts Facebook, or Facebook adopts Amazon, then you have a real competitor.

  • Google shopping (Score:4, Informative)

    by Albanach (527650) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:05PM (#41038775) Homepage

    I'm certainly guilty of searching for products directly on Amazon, but usually if I want something quickly. I'll typically trust that the price is reasonable and Prime means it's on my doorstep in one or two days.

    That said, if I want something I know will be expensive, or something even faster I prefer to check first with Google's shopping tool to get price comparisons or to find out if an item is available locally the same day. That's something with plenty of potential for monetizing and is much harder for Amazon to compete with.

    • Re:Google shopping (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:37PM (#41039005)

      Ditto. I shop amazon because, when you are using prime, it generally has an excellent total cost+shipping, an insanely fast delivery, and a uniform no surprises return policy with people who actually will answer the phone or e-mail. For everything I buy if it's within 5$ dollars I'll always buy it from amazon because it's just not worth the risk and hassle and susprise shipping charges, and slow shipments or return policies to get it elsewhere.

      I used to shop around but I've found that amazon consistently has the near-lowest price, so why bother. Now for big ticket items I first go to amazon, then I check it out with pricegrabber or nextag ot a general seach to see if the price is about right before I buy.

      Amazon is winning my loyalty not because I'm lazy but because they offer great service and quick painless shopping. I'd say their generous returns policy is what makes me less hesitant to buy there. Same reason other first class merchants like lands end, ll bean or even sierra trading post. no hassles and fair prices.

      When I try to get too clever and get the very best deals I usually find I've wasted hours on the internet. My time has value.

      • Re:Google shopping (Score:5, Insightful)

        by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:07PM (#41039273)

        Amazon is winning my loyalty *because* I'm lazy. And I'm lazy because I almost never find anything cheaper somewhere else.

        I was actually really surprised to find my last purchase was $10 cheaper at a Wal Mart store. But it weighed 20lbs! I bet the prime shipping was more than $10 so it made sense to me. But I still didn't care--I bought it on Prime. It showed up at my desk at work ready to go. No driving, parking, waiting in line to check out.

        The only other thing I haven't bought on Amazon lately is a board game which I found at a local store. But that was a case of "I only discovered this because I was in the store, I'm not going to be a douche and then buy it for $10 cheaper online after using their store for a discovery engine."

        I simply trust now that Amazon has the lowest price. And I think they know that we are lazy. And as long as they fight to stay the cheapest they know we won't bother shopping somewhere else. If they got greedy and started exploiting our laziness they would just lose more sales from people shopping around. Amazon really really really wants people to buy *everything* through them and make up any loss of profit in volume. Keeping us justifiably fat and lazy is in their best interest.

        And then like you say there is the great service and return policy on top of that. One of their shipments was once listed as "Delivered" even though I didn't get it. They immediately sent another one overnight so that I would have it in case the delivery company had trouble figuring out where it ended up.

        • Re:Google shopping (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:07PM (#41040443) Journal
          A lot of things advertised on Amazon are from third-party sellers, and those third parties often have the same products cheaper on their own web site (where they don't have to give Amazon a cut). I've started searching for things on Amazon and then searching for the seller's official site - it's often 10-20% cheaper.
        • I highly regret the 3 minutes of my life I wasted on that hand-wavy TFA. It's an important enough concept to warrant a TFA with meat on its bones.

          I simply trust now that Amazon has the lowest price. And I think they know that we are lazy. And as long as they fight to stay the cheapest they know we won't bother shopping somewhere else. When they get greedy and started exploiting our laziness they won't lose enough sales from people shopping around at competitors with only a vestige of their former power.

          The

        • This is a big part of it. When you buy something you have to think about the probability distributions around (1) will you actually get the thing you paid for (2) if not, can you get your money back What Amazon is selling, in large part, is relatively good chances on both of these. When a purchase goes South it's costly in terms of money, time, hassle. And the problem on the other side is that Google is bottom-feeding and turning increasing numbers of bad vendors in its search results.
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Amazon is the cheapest because a lot of their sellers are dishonest punks who advertise things like "new" and then send me scratched-up junk. Oftentimes amazon will refund the money on the spot.

        • Always buy stuff sold from Amazon themselves. It will save you this hassle and still be cheaper than most places.

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            Well it's hard to beat free. (After a seller sends you "like new" games that are actually scratched-up & amazon issues a full or partial refund.) Overall I spend about half as much money through the marketplace sellers vs. buying direct from amazon.

      • by servant (39835)

        I agree. But if the Amazon sponsored legislation goes through the congress, MY reason for having a 'prime' account goes away, because it will jack up the cost of everything by 10% (basically).

        And I refuse to support a company that is SO pro-taxation of their customers.

        Yes they are building big warehouses all over my state, and employing a few thousand warehouse workers, but that is the problem they will deal with when their customers, who have told them 'no', backup their statements, by following through.

        P

        • by pnutjam (523990)
          Get rid of your cellphone while you are at, every company wants their customers taxed. They are always arguing that any taxes a company pays are passed on to the consumers (technically true, but still a cleverly crafted lie).

          I think amazon also sees a lot of companies getting sweetheart deals that allow them to keep the sales tax they collect for building a store in a certain state or municipality. They probably want in on that cash.

          Amazon makes wally world look good.
          • by FreekyGeek (19819)

            I don't know what the future holds, but I do know it won't be efficient and it won't be a utopia.

            Then, you kinda ARE saying that you DO know what the future holds, aren't you? Your statement is quivalent to saying "I don't know, but I do know."

    • Google should skip the middleman, open their own nation wide store, deploy instant driverless VTOL drone drop box delivery right to your porch. Buyaah! All hail Google matrix. /s
    • Not getting rid of the spam results and in many cases catering to the spammers.

      Pulling all reviews of everything and putting it on Gminus. I'm glad I'd deleted all of my review data.

      Making 'shopping' pay to place. Again I'm glad I'd pulled every review they could try and make money off of.

      Changing the way their system worked when it did well for the user. That more than anything was a slap in the face and showed that they do not care for their users, they care for their customers.

      Amazon's search is superior

    • Google is a parasite. I don't pay them directly for all the great things they do. I know that my data is their product.

      Amazon has earned my trust. I pay them. My data is not the product. They don't have 15 minute return policies. When i tell them something didn't arrive, they believe me and send another. I do not abuse their trust either. I've purchased $0.50 items and $1500 items through Amazon. I've needed to return 2 products in the 5-8 yrs that I've been using them. The last return was very easy

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:05PM (#41038777)

    I have a prime membership, so why wouldn't Amazon be the first place to look? Free quick shipping is pretty compelling. I think that is a huge reason more and more people are turning to use Amazon as first search for products.

    But also, Google totally tossed this away. I used to use Google first (even when I was a prime member), searching for *product name* buy. That used to yield a lot of great price comparisons. Google changed things so that product searches suck now, it pretty much never yields good comparison results.

    What can Google do to get this traffic back? The only way, would be to become a better search engine...

    • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:53PM (#41039107) Homepage Journal

      >> Google changed things so that... searches suck now

      This pretty much explains why Google has jumped the shark. They have borrowed Yahoo's big "suck" filter and applied to everything they do. I want a substitute for almost every Google tool I use, and have found a few. More will be created to fill the voids Google is creating.

      • I want a substitute for almost every Google tool I use, and have found a few.

        I kind of agree, but it's still impossible to replace them for search. I try Bing every so often, a few weeks at a time... it's still just not as good.

        Also Google docs, so many people use them for sharing docs now I'd say it's almost impossible to supplant them in that area.

        • Duck duck go

          not affiliated other than having a duck problem, too.

        • by u64 (1450711)

          I'm on Duckduckgo as my primary search engine. But for 10-20% of searches i did
          g! query
          But then i realized StartPage.com uses Google for the text results. And Startpage
          has better results quality than G because there's no Google bubble-censoring.
          Now it just do
          sp! query

          Startpage is a tad slower but here's an AdBlock filter to mitigate that,
          ||startpage.com/favicon.ico
          ||startpage.com/graphics/blue-bg*
          ||startpage.com/graphics/enhanced_bg.gif
          ||startpage.com/graphics/results_back.gif
          ||startpage.com/graphics/google

    • by reboot246 (623534)
      Same here. I used to use Google Shopping, but since they've royally screwed it up, I just head straight to Amazon to search.

      I wonder why Google shot themselves in the foot. RIP, Google Shopping!
    • by jmichaelg (148257)

      I too have a prime membership but I cast a gimlet eye on Amazon's results when I'm buying. This afternoon, I dropped $100 at a 3rd party that I found with Google and paid with Google Wallet because Amazon's price was close to three times what I paid the 3rd party despite having to pay for shipping in the later case.

      You have to realize that Amazon shades the prime prices to cover shipping costs - your $75 annual fee plus the profit on Prime products only works for Amazon if their prices are slightly higher

  • by Anonymous Coward

    amazon's "search" is presented so poorly and the sort/filtering just plain doesn't work correctly that it's essentially worthless

    • by afgam28 (48611)

      I often sort by price or average customer review, and yeah the results seem really random. However lately I've noticed two things.

      When you sort by price, it seems to also take into account the price from other sellers. This means that products often appear out of order when there are multiple sellers. It might be the case that the sort is not broken. Rather, the way they preview the price is broken.

      When you sort by "average" review, it doesn't actually search by the average review. It also seems to prioriti

  • Firefox's search bookmarks make it all the more easier to skip search engines and search directly on another site. I have search bookmarks set up for Wikipedia, Youtube and Amazon, which together cover most of my searching needs.
    • by dingen (958134)

      No, that's ridiculous. Amazon is WAY to big for Google to buy.

      But I do agree with you that if they are that afraid of them, they should approach Amazon and team up. For starters, maybe Google could provide the search functionality within Amazon.com? Or Google Ads could provide Amazon's "related products" functionality. That sort of thing would be a great start for Google to make some money without having to compete with them head on.

      • But I do agree with you that if they are that afraid of them, they should approach Amazon and team up. For starters, maybe Google could provide the search functionality within Amazon.com?

        Given that Amazon climbed to power over brick and mortar incumbents in retail in party by the same kind of "teaming up" where Amazon ran the online operations for companies that were its brick-and-mortar competitors (Borders is a prime example), I doubt they'd fall for Google offering them what would be essentially the same

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:35PM (#41038989)

    that I don't think Google has much to worry about. It doesn't even attempt to take the join of the words you enter, and the results are returned in essentially random order, unrefinable and unsortable. It's not bugged. It's always been so minimally functional.

    It *seems* to offer more at first glance, but it's only a false hope, and results rapidly go random again. The ONLY time a multi-word search actually works properly on Amazon is when the words match a product name exactly. All other uses are broken in varying degrees, and only occasionally return something moderately sensible.

    A professional outfit couldn't possibly do search this badly by accident nor incompetence, so my guess is that Amazon has deliberately made it so primitive in the name of dumbing it down for the masses. This appears to have gone off the rails though, as there was no need to break effective search so completely just to make it accessible.

    • by kevinatilusa (620125) <kcostell@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:53PM (#41039105)

      If the balance right now is Google's superior search vs. Amazon's superior convenience/prime shipping, I think that still gives the advantage to Amazon.

      Amazon can improve their search mechanism over time, but it's much harder for Google to match Amazon's advantages.

      • I totally agree. Amazon's search quality is just amazingly bad, and I keep thinking they're going to improve it some day, but year after year, it just keeps getting worse. I've actually used Google to search for products on Amazon.

        However, Amazon search *will* get fixed someday and when it does, everything else about it is a better experience and usually for the best price.

        Search is easier to fix, but Google could offer a competitive solution by setting standards and providing a cloud solution for retaile

      • Yes and no.

        I always use Google, because for almost any product search it returns two things, and it does it faster and more accurately than Amazon search:

        - adverts, usually Amazon on top - pretty much the only time I *want* to see an ad.
        - search results, with Amazon near the top. If the ad isn't exactly what I want, amazon search results are almost accurate.

        I'll happily click the ads in this case, because it's relevant to what I actually want. Doesn't cost me anything, and gets me where I want to go fast

      • If the balance right now is Google's superior search vs. Amazon's superior convenience/prime shipping, I think that still gives the advantage to Amazon.

        Amazon can improve their search mechanism over time, but it's much harder for Google to match Amazon's advantages.

        I don't see any reason to believe that Amazon's advantages are any harder for Google duplicate than the other way around.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          If the balance right now is Google's superior search vs. Amazon's superior convenience/prime shipping, I think that still gives the advantage to Amazon.

          Amazon can improve their search mechanism over time, but it's much harder for Google to match Amazon's advantages.

          I don't see any reason to believe that Amazon's advantages are any harder for Google duplicate than the other way around.

          Fixing search is easy - it's just software. Offering useful online shopping experiences is much harder. The frontend is softw

          • Fixing search is easy - it's just software.

            If doing good software was easy, there wouldn't be so much bad software around.

            Offering useful online shopping experiences is much harder. The frontend is software, but the back end is all logistics - warehouses, shipping, tracking, etc.

            Different -- and much more extensively studied, for a much longer time -- discipline than software, sure. Harder? What's the support for this conclusion?

            Given my recent experience with buying a Nexus 7 direct from Google (hint: I sh

      • If the balance right now is Google's superior search vs. Amazon's superior convenience/prime shipping, I think that still gives the advantage to Amazon.

        Google's trouble is that Amazon is a synonym of online shopping for most (non-digital) items people will ever buy online. Add to that 2 things: prime shipping and the good experience most people have when something goes wrong with an order with Amazon.

        Really, how again is Google's reputation standing helping me when I buy from a seller I found using Google?

    • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:45PM (#41039641) Journal

      It *seems* to offer more at first glance, but it's only a false hope, and results rapidly go random again. The ONLY time a multi-word search actually works properly on Amazon is when the words match a product name exactly. All other uses are broken in varying degrees, and only occasionally return something moderately sensible.

      Ah, but when Amazon does eventually return the right result, it tells you the actual price instead of half the time claiming that a $2,000 printer costs $1.39 because some reseller also sell reams of paper on the same web page. And when the content is sold by Amazon itself (as opposed to a reseller), you can search in categories and get sorting of similar products by price, etc.

      In the grand scheme of things, correctness is far more important to the shopping process than ease of searching. Getting better search results from a database is relatively straightforward. The hard part is getting the data into the database to begin with, and if your strategy involves spidering a bunch of e-commerce sites, you'll never be better than half-assed.

      When it comes to product search, Google is screwed. It's only a matter of time. Their entire approach is just too completely wrong. It used to work moderately well when it was just a handful of computer product sites getting spidered by sites like pricewatch, but it doesn't generalize very well.

      • Besides price you need to know availability, and in my experience Amazon is pretty reliable for stuff they sell - if they take your money they have it and you'll get it. Newegg is even better. Amazon associated sellers a little less so, but still pretty good. Google product search, by contrast, fishes up a lot of con artists, corner-cutters, people who bill your card and then go looking for the product, and so forth. And of course this is partly because of vendors who game Google by spidering up million
  • by safetyinnumbers (1770570) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:43PM (#41039041)

    People will still have to type 'amazon.com' into google first, right?

  • Over the past year or so, though, I've found the results becoming significantly less useful. So lately I've taken to doing my own comparison shopping directly on a handful of sites that I've come to trust - sites like Amazon and NewEgg (or, for photo stuff, B&H, Adorama, and sometimes Beach).

    I know correlation doesn't equal causation, but timing-wise my growing dissatisfaction with Google's offerings overall has coincided with their increasingly stronger attempts to force us into using the Google Univer

  • It has been done before...or

    Google starts its own selective market of high volume products.

    More than one way to beat a competitor.

  • I don't like either option for shopping online.

    Google sucks because they're only showing results for companies willing to pay to be listed. And the listings are filled with companies of questionable provenance and security.

    Amazon sucks because their search engine is the worst. Sure, if you want to buy a specific book, it's fine. But search for a type of product, and they'll give you a lot of results that do not match the search terms, and they'll price sort based on Amazon Marketplace vendors that charge $0

  • Well Amazon is great. However, not "necessarily" the best or even the cheapest. There's a ton of browser apps that will search prices for you. And they don't do a bad job.

    Half the time you'll come up with prices lower than amazon. Of course you have to consider the company, return policy etc., but more often than not I don't buy at amazon like I used to anymore. Too many better deals elsewhere. Especially since there are so many 3rd parties on their site anymore. You really have to pay close attention to wh

  • But so does the product description. And that's probably why the search sucks. I can't always find what I want, or find out if what is there is what I want. For example, see item number 2 in my list of Things I want to buy [motre.net]. Or maybe no one makes good quality stuff these days.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:32PM (#41039539) Homepage Journal

    I always go to Amazon first for product searching, then turn to Google for reviews. Google shopping is simply pathetic -- sorry Newegg and Nextag, never used you never will -- and their listed vendors simply can not match Amazon's pricing and turnaround -- especially since I am a Prime Subscriber.

    Recently however, I've largely stopped even using Google for searching for reviews and comparative products since I've found Amazon's reviews to be more than adequate and with plenty of competitive products listed on their site.

    Honestly, I think Google should reconsider their misguided foray into shopping -- it's just a ham-fisted ploy to capture data on the shopping preferences of their "user-commodities" and just doesn't stack up because it's a half-assed attempt at entering a market that they really don't understand and isn't core to their company.

    • "Google shopping is simply pathetic -- sorry Newegg and Nextag, never used you never will "

      Newegg doesn't charge tax in New York while Amazon does. So you are missing out on that.

    • Um, Newegg is an actual vendor, and in my experience highly reliable. Nextag is a price-comparison site and I agree with you on its uselessness.
  • They know very little, and if they are right on this - it's by accident. They are click-baiting totally, trying to get their falling readership to increase instead of what it's doing. I read all the major market rags every day, including this one - they have nice pictures. Their analysis is almost always dead wrong - use their info to trade markets only if you want to lose money.
  • Apple, Amazon and Google all have fully formed advertising and sales channels for products. Amazon obviously has a much broader ecosystem, google ridiculous amounts of money and eyeballs, and Apple has the slickest appliances. Microsoft could do it, but they want to glue Windows to everything, which will be their undoing. Its time to blow that product up and start over. Facebook could have been a contender, until they screwed up their IPO.

    Like the man said, follow the money. Everything is monetized thr

    • Everything is monetized through advertising

      No. Facebook and Google are monetized through advertising. Amazon is monetized through retail sales. There's a big difference.

      One big difference is that mobile is a win for Amazon. Shopping by mobile works just fine and is popular. Facebook is struggling with the painful fact that nobody really wants to look at their irrelevant ads when catching up on their friends. On small screens, there's no room for that crap. Google has the advantage that when people are looking for products, they're receptive to a

      • Everything is monetized through advertising

        No. Facebook and Google are monetized through advertising. Amazon is monetized through retail sales. There's a big difference.

        How do you suppose that people find their way to amazon to shop, see items that they'd like to buy there, and/or have any impression about what a product or company is about before they purchase it?

        Right....

        Its also the case the entirety of the internet and our entire television broadcasting system wouldn't exist or would be a lot simpler without advertising.

        Reminds me of a conversation I had with someone that insisted that google was a software/tech company. But when the vast majority of your income is fr

        • Reminds me of a conversation I had with someone that insisted that google was a software/tech company. But when the vast majority of your income is from advertising...then you're an advertising company.

          Google doesn't make ads. It displays them. It might be argued to be an advertising delivery company...in the same way that newspapers, commercial TV stations, etc. could be. And while there's a sense that that's true, there's a sense in which it is misleading too. While it is important to understand the role

          • Same conversation I had with the other guy, with the same observation. If you make almost 100% of your money from ad revenue, then you're an advertising company.

            Twist it up any way you want. Same result. Google makes a living by being paid to show ads. Most television networks are also advertising companies, since thats what they try hard to get and receive most of their revenues from.

            If I spent all day making wine, but made all of my money selling cowbells on ebay, am I a seller of wine or a seller of

  • OP is right: The product reviews on Amazon's web site are incredibly useful. Whenever I'm considering buying a book - or even a toy - I head to Amazon.

    But one serious problem the Amazon reviews have is they are getting clogged with people who give a product review full-marks and then say something inane like: "Shipping was very fast! Will buy again. A+++ recommended."

    In other words they think they're on eBay. It means whenever you do check out a product review you have to wade through all these crap on
    • Removing customers' reviews will piss them off and could make it seem like Amazon is manipulating the ratings. Plus Amazon is cheap and doesn't want to waste too much time. Removing reviews automatically based on rating will result in fanboys taking down legitimate critical reviews in many categories
  • by Agripa (139780) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:03PM (#41041405)

    Since Google removed items related to firearms from their shopping results, I have simply made it a habit to use another search service. Why should I get used to using two different search services for shopping when one will do?

    When looking for non-firearm items, I am more likely to just skip Google now whether I start with Amazon or not.

  • Is google selling books now or what?
    It's not like anyone goes to amazon to search for pr0n or whatever.
    Who still buys books?

    • Is google selling books now or what?

      If you mean e-books -- which, according to Amazon, is most of what they are selling when it comes to books -- yes, Google is selling those.

  • The Twitbook, Yaoogle, Yelpazon shopping part is just a trite jumping off point for what I feel is a serious burgeoning problem in the marketplace of ideas. People 'shop' not just for consumer goods, but also for opinions about politics, childrearing and family strategies, education opportunities, etc. And they use the 'net as their go-to solution far more than even a library.

    Perhaps more discerning people might think twice before accepting advice from "chamberofcommerce.com" (Though most probably think
  • Google is not a search company. Google is in the business of selling user information, and uses our need to find information to hook us. Facebook is probably more of a concern for Google here, as they are in the same business, but using a different means (by providing social networking services).

    It seems to me that Apple is Amazon's real competition. Both seem to be in the business of owning your pocket through owning the channel to it.

  • Google supplanted by Amazon. heh eh hehe hahaha hahahAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!H!AHAHAQH!H!L!U%R)($(@*)R@) ... AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No really, dream on, that's never going to happen.

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