There has been a lot of talk about Google testing aggregating mortgage search queries - with companies in legal battles over helping Google - but as Greg Sterling notes the test is tagged merchant search on Google's end suggesting this is a move to aggregate all inbound queries that they can possibly sell directly.
We have all seen the search more boxes in the organic results for various top listed sites. But what if Google was to add their own box there and started capturing leads for everything?
Hey it would just be juggling another advertising revenue box to their layout. Yeah right! Wait for the screaming from the PPC advertisers who helped Google build their monetization model.
I understand Google has the right to make money from their site any way they want and ultimately the users may find this a good fit. Doesn't everyone trust Google? There have been numerous places that have tried and/or are trying this now - but none have Google's trust value and overall acceptance of 'doing no evil'.
But there is more to this that maybe Google has not considered. If they do move to the pay per lead model, even as an additional service with PPC still in the mix - which I tend to think is how they are seeing it - they will lose many PPC advertisers who just jump on the lead purchase method.
Google would have thought about all this no doubt. But let's look a little deeper.
Is Google looking at PPC becoming the resource of the smaller companies? If the big companies get in they will buy all potential leads at the right price and they can generally afford to pay a little more, leaving the rest to get their leads the soon to be old fashioned way.
The other thing is this move will radically shift the perception of how online advertising should be done. I have had a bunch of clients wanting me to do CPA marketing for them. If Google builds this out many advertisers may just want CPA - we could be pushed back to glorified affiliate marketers. No more CPM, no more social media marketing... everyone will just want to pay for the lead.
Bill Gross - the man who created PPC with GoTo and Overture - went off the grid promising to build a CPA model - but his snap.com efforts never really took off.
Now it seems Google is playing in the space thinking they have found another source of major income. My opinion is it will end badly. Who for I have not yet determined - but the advertisers have a history of being on the wrong end of Google changes.