$5 off orders over $30 - PCSuperstore, TheNerds.net, Cost Central, DayDeal.com, Eforcity.com, KitchenSource.com, ReStockIt.com, Cufflinks Depot, Precious Accents, UpTempoAir.com
$5 off orders over $50 - ToolsForLess, AllBrands.com, Discount Dance Supply, Golfballs.com
$10 off orders over $10 for new buyers only - Buy.com
$10 off orders over $30 - Comp-U-Plus (Enter coupon code GOOGLE10), Mrs. Fields
$10 off orders over $50 - HandHelditems.com (Enter coupon code googleoff10 prior to Checkout)
$10 off orders over $60 - Aéropostale, Jockey.com, Your Electronic Warehouse, US-Mattress.com, DVD Empire, Flashlightz.com, Coffee Bean Direct, SelectBlinds.com, Stacks and Stacks Housewares, Discount Golf World
$10 off orders over $75 - Beauty.com, drugstore.com
$10 off orders over $100 - TigerDirect.com, WeaKnees.com (Enter coupon code holiday10), Comp USA, Software Surplus, Digital Foto Club, Dyscern, Focus Camera, SuppliesNet
$15 off orders over $150 - MyJewelryBox.com, BowlingBall.com
$20 off orders over $100 - LuggagePros.com, ArtSelect, Oriental Furniture, Designer Athletics, AdiamorEvesAddiction.com (Enter coupon code google20 prior to Checkout)
$20 off orders over $200 - AreaRugs.com
$50 off orders over $500 - TheFurniture.com, AJ Madison, Gem Stone King
eBags.com Enter coupon code PAYGOOGC07 to get 20% off purchases.
FoxStore.com Enter coupon code GOOG10 to get 10% off all purchases.
Shoebuy.com Enter coupon code GOGOOG to get $5 off all purchases
What’s the best deal? All of them! You’ll have to figure out, based on the size of your purchase, which is the best savings for that particular item. One tip: Seperate items into multiple orders so you can get the discount multiple times.
The highest percentage discount: $10 off $30
The least useful but most exciting: Buy.com’s $10 off $10. If you’re a new customer enjoy it, everyone else just ignore. Here’s Buy.com’s page of items that are free or almost free after the discount is applied.
Potential best deal: 20% off everything at eBags. If only they sold more than bags.
Google has begun to notify merchants using Google Checkout that Google Checkout pixel tracking was temporarily disabled from July 10 to July 18 due to an issue associated with system maintenance earlier in the month. Pixel tracking allows internet retailers to send Google Checkout conversion data to third parties. While disabled, the feature was unable to report conversions. Many online merchants have worked hard to integrate Google Checkout data with comparison shopping engines, affiliate networks, analytics vendors, third party bid management firms and others. Google has been contacting affected merchants via email and leaving the notification of third parties in the hands of those merchants. The notification to merchants states “To help you account for traffic generated by your affiliate and SEM partners during this time, we’ve generated and attached a report for you that identifies the total sales volume and number of transactions associated with each of your online marketing partners.”
Merchants who have yet to implement Google Checkout pixel tracking are obviously not affected. The report provided by Google is helpful, however, internet retailers who depend on real time accurate conversion data to perform functions like calculating affiliate commissions, measuring CSE and PPC ROI and automating bid management in paid search campaigns are likely to have done so without accurate data. The notification well after-the-fact is likely troubling to many retailers and third parties who depend on timely conversion data to make decisions and work with one another. Moreover, merchants deciding between alternative payment systems such as Google Checkout, PayPal Express and BillMeLater would be wise to research the dependability of each system, along with other factors, before making a decision.
Ryan Douglas manages Paid Search and Comparison Shopping Engines for PlumberSurplus.com, an online retailer of home improvement products including Kitchen
Faucet, Access Door, and Sump Pump categories.
A number of Google Checkout stores are offering some nice back-to-school savings, with shoppers getting $5-$20 off on certain purchases. The biggest saving is $20 at USA Notebook, but it has to be on a purchase of laptops of $50 or more. I’m not sure what’s more confusing, that they think twenty bucks off a laptop is tempting, or that they might have a laptop that costs less than fifty dollars.
At other stores you save ten bucks off purchases of $30 or more (Bluefly & Comp-U-Plus),ten off $40 at Shoebuy.com, ten off $60 (Aeropostale, Zales, Ritz Camera, Boaters World), five dollars off $30 (Golfballs.com, SuppliesNet, CostCentral). Also, TheNerds.net will take off five bucks off a $150 purchase or ten bucks off $300.
(via Google Checkout blog)
Google doesn’t lose often. Sure, there are plenty of small projects they start that never take off, but everything they’ve gone full-bore into they’ve done pretty decently in. Not Google Checkout, though, and eBay knows it. The Seattle P.I.’s Danny King puts it in a way that gets right to the point:
EBay Inc.’s Meg Whitman is doing what most Internet chiefs can only dream of: She’s beating Google Inc. in at least one corner of the Web.
It’s funny to think of it that way, but eBay is definitely winning this one so far. Google isn’t earning a dime on Checkout, and is spending money to get customers. eBay is even bragging that it won’t allow its users to pay with Checkout because Checkout users are dissatisfied with the service:
“In the latest survey we did, only 14 percent of Google Checkout users were pleased with their experience,” Whitman said in the June 15 interview on “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” which aired on Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. She said eBay may eventually use Google Checkout if more people are satisfied.
They’ve got the high ground in this one, and they’re loving every minute of it.
eBay ended its Google boycott earlier this week after just under two weeks of deciding not to buy AdWords ads. The boycott, which was started as a protest to a Google party designed to steal eBay’s customers from under their noses, taught eBay an important lesson: They didn’t need those ads as much as they thought they did. eBay resumed their ad buys, but at a lower rate, after seeing that the millions of dollars they were giving Google could be better spent elsewhere.
Hani Durzy, a spokesman for San Jose, California-based eBay, said his company later on Friday would begin advertising on Google, but at reduced levels than previously. eBay had been buying tens of millions of keyword ads on Google each year.
“I will tell you it will be in a much more limited way than it was before,” Durzy told Reuters. “What we found is that we were not as dependent on AdWords as some people thought.”
Chalk this up to more money Google Checkout has cost Google. Google loses money on Checkout every day, since it has to process credit cards and collects zero fees, and also gives away free money in many promotions. Now, it has cost Google a good portion of one of its biggest advertiser accounts. How much money does Google need to lose in the pursuit of Checkout before it gives up and tries to find a better business to get into?
As a Google user, I’m glad to see the ads go. eBay used Automatic Keyword Insertion to include ads on a huge number of search terms that were irrelevant and sometimes offensive. eBay would offer great deals on racism, let you buy babies, tried to sell skin cancer, and in one classic post, advertised for “nigga”, “homeless people”, “honky”, “poo”, “crap”, “pee”, and “sisters”.
Should Google fire the person who is responsible for the party? Probably. It’s a major hit to the bottom line as the result of a very juvenile insult against a major competitor who just happens to be a major advertiser. It’s a screwup costing millions in ad revenue, and if I caused it, I’d be packing my desk right now.
eBay is holding an event for its sellers called eBay Live! in Boston this week, and Google Checkout thought it would be cute and hold a party tonight during the event. They called it the Google Checkout Freedom Party, obviously trying to court PayPal sellers to Google Checkout, and eBay was not amused. Yesterday, Google cancelled the event.
eBay Live attendees have plenty of activities to keep them busy this week in Boston, and we did not want to detract from that activity. After speaking with officials at eBay, we at Google agreed that it was better for us not to feature this event during the eBay Live conference. Google is constantly reaching out to new users and sellers, and we are available to privately discuss any matters of concern with individuals as they relate to Google products. Interested parties may contact us at email@example.com.
The reason Google cancelled the party? Pressure from eBay. According to reports at Valleywag, eBay stopped buying ads on Google.com Wednesday morning as a response to the blatant shot at their customers, and Google caved as quickly as it could. Google may be worth triple what eBay is, but eBay is responsible for a ton of Google’s revenue, buying automatic insertion ads for almost every unfilled keyword, and thus making it a significant percentage of Google’s entire revenue base. Google had no choice.
Google has launched a mobile capability for Google Checkout, letting merchants who use the payments service upgrade to be able to process payments from mobile phones. This could be a pretty useful feature if a store utilizes it properly, though I don’t remember the last time I was tempted to buy something from my phone. However, in theory it could be used for ringtone, wallpaper, and mobile game sales.
Also, worth noting that the details of what Google Checkout will cost next year have been released. While Checkout processing fees have been waived for all of 2007 (meaning Google isn’t making one dime off the service), starting in 2008 Google will charge processing fees of 2% commission plus 20 cents per transaction. However, Google will continue to use Checkout as incentive for AdWords advertising spending, gifting advertisers with free use of Checkout at ten times their ad spend (in other words, $10 of AdWords spending gives you $100 free off Checkout).
In every tier, Google is cheaper except the last one, with a 2% commission. In the last tier, Google is cheaper on transactions below $100, while PayPal is cheaper on transactions over $100. However, if you use Google AdWords, you can save a lot of money, so it isn’t all clear cut. Still, Google should consider a more tiered pricing structure.
Google appears to actually be running ads for Checkout, as Philipp found, with a radio ad advertising a Father’s Day 5% off offer. It’s possible the ads were actually used by the store making the offer, but it sounds professional enough to be a Google ad. Google commercials are rare if not avoided at all costs, so getting to hear one is a strange thing indeed.
Seeking Alpha shows off this Compete.com chart showing how Google Checkout usage has fallen dramatically since December:
What happened after December? Well, Google stopped giving almost every Google Checkout user twenty dollars just for shopping. Like I said before, if you have to pay users to use your service, then it doesn’t deserve to succeed, and shoppers are agreeing. I don’t understand why Google Checkout needs to exist on websites like Buy.com, that have no problem processing credit card orders normally, and Google needs to find an excuse for their system. At least PayPal has a bank account.
News broke today that eBay bought StumbleUpon, a website that has a community helping people find new interesting web pages. eBay reportedly paid about $40-45 million for the site, which has become hugely popular lately, beating out Google and AOL. No one really knows why eBay bought it, since it really isn’t their line of work, but somehow they wind up in the talks for every web acquisition. Maybe eBay needs to decide if it is going to be a marketplace or a web giant.
It’s very interesting that this happened the same time as Google released the new Picks For You feature for the Google Toolbar, competing directly with the similar button on Stumble’s toolbar. TechCrunch calls it raining on their parade. According to John Battelle, Google had built an entire DoubleClick killer, ready to launch in case Microsoft or someone else won the bidding for DClick, and “the timing is not coincidental”.
It’s weird. I was told by Google to prepare for the Picks For You feature to be released on Monday, then it was pushed off, going to be released Tuesday, but maybe Wednesday. Then, twenty minutes before the Stumble news hits TechCrunch, I get an email that the time for the launch has been finalized. Were the two related? I can’t say no, but I have no definite idea.
Oh, and DazzlinDonna, a big fan of Stumble, says she is happy that it wasn’t Google that bought it. I agree. Google isn’t a good fit for social sites, Yahoo is.
In other Google/eBay news, eBay unit PayPal and Yahoo are getting into bed together. Now, if a Yahoo advertiser uses PayPal, the ad on Yahoo will show a shopping cart icon, identical to what Google does with advertisers that use its Checkout service. C’mon, is it necessary to be blatantly copying like this?
Philipp produces the two company’s shopping carts. Google’s does look faster, and is a bolder blue, but Yahoo’s has a space for your kid to sit while you shop. Yes, I’m giggling right now.
Google AdSense has added a new referral product: Google Checkout. The way this one works is that if someone follows your referral ad/link and signs up for Checkout, and buys at least ten dollars within the next 90 days, you get a dollar.
Here are some of the ad formats (funny, no little buttons):
MarketWatch looked through a Google regulatory filing and found the number that I’ve been looking for: 58 million dollars. That’s how much money Google spent on promoting Google Checkout in all of 2006. Is that number likely to go down? Maybe, because Google isn’t aggressively discountintg this year like it did last year (just wait till the holiday shopping season, though). Still, there’s another number that’s guaranteed for 2007:
That’s how much revenue Google Checkout will generate in 2007. Regardless of increased or decreased promotions, Checkout won’t bank a dime, because Google has decided that its big promotion for 2007 is not charging any merchant processing fees.
If $58 million a drop in the bucket for megabucks Google? Maybe, but its not the way I’d want my company to do business. Google is pushing Checkout by buying its way into the market, not on any perceived merits of its product. If your product can’t at least perform reasonably well without you dropping $58 million to get it there, maybe it doesn’t deserve to exist at all.
(via Payments News > Findory)
Google is doing something that can only be described as dishonest. Google has been showing little (and sometimes not-so-little) Google Checkout icons in ads bought by advertisers who are using the system, which is whatever, their prerogative to do to promote their own service. What I don’t like is Google now using the Checkout icon, obviously designed to draw attention to an ad (and not provide a benefit for the user) to their own house ads:
As you can see in the image above, Google put the li’l shopping cart icon next to a Google Video ad (which you can see makes no mention of selling anything anyway, making it irrelevant). Now, Google Video may or may not use Google Checkout*, but I know one service that doesn’t use it: Google Analytics. That didn’t stop Amit Agarwal from finding an ad for Analytics that contained the icon, even though Analytics is a free service. Perhaps the icon was earned by the Google Store?
I know Google’s getting desperate about making money off anything other than AdWords, but they need to stop doing stupid things like this. It’s just questionable decision after questionable decision lately with these guys.
* - The reason I’m not sure if Google Video uses Checkout? Take a look:
Yeah, Google Video’s purchase system detects your browser and OS, and if it isn’t Windows 2000/XP or Mac OS X, it refuses you. Uh, I’m running Windows Vista, so there shouldn’t be a problem. Whoops. Another thing to fix…
Google is now reporting how many of its users are subscribed to website’s feeds, by including the subscriber info in the header its Feedfetcher spider leaves when it grabs a feed. This means that if you look at the header, you’ll know how many users combined subscribe to that feed in Google Reader and the Google Personalized Homepage. With Bloglines, Yahoo and Google all reporting counts in an easy way, you can now get a really good idea at a glance how many feed subscribers you have.
Thanks to Google’s move, Feedburner users all across the web (who get the best automated and detailed feed statistics of anyone) are reporting huge jumps in subscriber counts. Yeah, turns out that Google’s Feedfetcher may very well be, in total, the biggest player in the RSS feed subscription game. Darren Rowse had 30% of his subscribers from old #1 Bloglines, now he has 39% from new number one Google and 17% from number two Bloglines.
Also, Randy Morin did a survey of blog search users, finding out that Google Blog Search is the favored blog search engine. Twice as many respondents listed Google as their favorite search over Technorati, showing how easily Google has taken over that market, just as it is muscling its way into RSS readers with a great product.
Hitwise has some info on how Google Base and Google Checkout are doing, with Checkout doing considerably better. While Google has just been burning cash to get users on Checkout, they haven’t really promoted Base at all, and a rumored replacement of Froogle with Base has still not happened. Base’s market share has actually declined over the last half-year.
Hitwise ran another story on Google Checkout market share, and they included the top 10 sites sending traffic to Checkout. Basically, this list contains the most important stores of Checkout traffic, so it’s worth noting, especially if one of these sites drop Google in the future:
You really have to discount Google Base, since it isn’t going away anytime, and eBay, since they aren’t an official Checkout partner (and how they send any referal traffic is beyond me), but we have here eight stores that are important to Checkout, and one (Toys ‘R’ Us) that is of the utmost importance.
Download Squad’s Jordan Running took upon the task of discovering which stores, beyond the 15 listed on the promo page, are participating in Google Checkout’s deal that gives ten dollars off the first purchase a new Google Checkout user makes. Turns out there are a ton of them, 234 in all! I had no idea Google Checkout had so many partners, all of which makes me wonder if the service might be reaching further than I thought.
JP Morgan has published a report on how Google Checkout did in 2006, and their findings show that Checkout reached 6% of the 1,100 consumers they surveyed, compared to 42% for PayPal, what I call a good, but not massive, start. They also found that:
Google Checkout users are younger (57% under 35), more likely to be male (penetration rates 2x more for men) and more affluent (34% have incomes over $75,000) than PayPal.
Only 19% of Google Checkout users reported it as Good or Very Good, abysmal compared with 44% of PayPal users and 65% of credit card users. Indeed, most Google Checkout users probably never would have (and in the future, never will) used it if not for the steep discounts.
43% of PayPal users indicated they would continue to prefer it over Google Checkout, while only 2% said they would continue to prefer Checkout over PayPal. In other words, Checkout has established virtually no brand loyalty at all.
56% had no familiarity with Google Checkout.
So, Checkout has had a rocky start, one that suggests the only reason anyone has used it is because of discounts, discounts which will not continue in the future, and that most Checkout users would prefer not using it at all.
MarketWatch suggests that Checkout is taking a toll on Google, and they couldn’t possibly be wrong. See, Google Checkout has waved all processing fees for the year, which means that it will achieve $0 (that’s zero dollars) in revenue for all of 2007. Meanwhile, Google is giving ten dollars to all new users, as well as having to pay its own credit card processing fees to Visa and others, meaning it is losing more money as time goes by.
In all likelihood, Checkout is going to have a negative effect on Google’s fourth quarter financials. Google is spending money, bribing users and online stores to use this service in the hope that it will keep all those users and stores in 2008, basically giving the service zero incentive to survive on its own merits. Based on the amound of money Google is pouring into Checkout, Google is making a huge mistake, refusing to fail at any cost, even when the cost is too high.
In two weeks, when Google holds its investor conference call, it is going to have to answer the question of how much money it loses on Checkout, and why this is a wise strategy. I’ll ask the question myself, if I have to.