Unless you have been out of the news over the last day or so, you probably have heard that Google has released a credit card comparison service.
Comparison Ads improves the ad experience on Google by letting users specify exactly what they’re looking for and helping them quickly compare relevant offers side by side. There are no long forms for users to fill in, and Comparison Ads will not send advertisers any personally identifiable user information (in fact, we don’t send any user information at all unless the user explicitly applies for an advertiser’s offer).
Basically run Credit Card related search queries and the chances are you will be served up the google service. Although not everyone could see them:
@patrickaltoft – @rishil Have you seen it? I haven’t
While others so the results for decent generic keyphrases:
@erikau – @patrickaltoft (@rishil) I get it showing for “compare credit cards”
What Do You Think?
Typically, I asked people what they thought on twitter…
The best response I had was via email from Stephen Murphy, who I assure you plays in this market quite heavily:
Google will be spying the credit card market as an opportunity to earn pay per lead revenue. For the past 12 months I have had Google account managers sending me information on how advertisers have pulled out of the space.
Client reaction has been that this is because of higher delinquency (missing payments for 2 consecutive months) and general concern about a lack of valuable customers within the market. Aggregators such as Moneysupermarket have really suffered because of this – with revenues impacted.
Stephen attributes the drop in profitability because of two types of credit card customers:
- Customers such as transactors – people who buy their shopping on a credit card – but then pay it off immediately. These people continue to use their cards – but make little money for providers.
- Customers such as revolving balance holders – make their minimum payments each month and maybe a little more. These customers are in the decline, because lending criteria for acceptance has tightened.
Stephen has promised to write a more detailed post, which I will link to from here in the next couple of days.
Affiliate Marketing Isnt Dead, But May Be Killed Off
Other interesting replies were based around thoughts that we should all be having – where is it going to stop?
@LeoFogarty – @rishil just wondering if there are going be doing other comparisons outside financial products, I’m thinking more of the travel sector like carhire, flights etc
@jonoalderson – @rishil Another step into their own affiliate network – property, power, mortgages, credit, mp3s. What’s next? Travel, maybe?
(By the way, Google has its OWN affiliate network, in case you didnt know).
Others took it to the hilarious extreme…
@rohanarora536 – @rishil google will start selling vegetables, fruits, grocery, shoes everything. Visit google store 1 destination for all your daily needs
The more popular the different sources Google creates, the less sites traditionally supporting these services will perform. Which means people relying on them for core income streams need to think again. For example, I no longer visit third party sites to get movie details – its all there in core search results – great for me, because it solve my problem without incurring an extra step, but bad for the guys who targeted that niche for ad revenue – because I am no longer an impression on their site to rely on.
Google is attacking content creators and affiliates from all fronts – ever come across Product Search? How soon will that become a complete product comparison engine? Its not exactly hard, considering that hundreds of affiliates rely on niche comparison sites for income. Google could wipe them all out with one blow (well maybe).
Time to Find a New Horse to Flog
The only advice I can give you, is to add on Rand Fishkin’s advice:
If Google sends 90% of your traffic, your business has real danger associated with it.
If your thin affiliate sites, comparision models and simple affiliate sites ranking because of SEO are your only income, you need to start planning to diversify or enhance your offerings. Most good affiliates I know are way ahead of the curve, but those newly stepping into the game, don’t come unprepared, because you, my friend are on googles hitlist.
Hey nothing is impossible, after all, google now has the go ahead to Buy or Sell energy!
- Paul Carpenter does a comprison (excuse the pun, couldnt help it) with Moneysupermarket over at Dave Naylors blog.
- Check out the Credit Card Comparison service from google yourself.
Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile