Beware the top search results (the new Ricardian rents?)

by on November 25, 2013 at 10:00 am in Economics, Uncategorized, Web/Tech | Permalink

Anyone in the US doing their holiday shopping from the product showcases that appear at the top of Google’s search results is almost certain to pay substantially more than if they delved deeper in the search engine.

Five out of every six items in the panels shown on a Google search made in America are more expensive than the same items from other merchants hidden deeper in the index, with an average premium of 34 per cent, according to a Financial Times analysis.

That is from Richard Waters at the FT.  Do note, of course, that these higher listed products may also be of higher quality or offer better service in some way.

b9n10nt November 25, 2013 at 10:18 am

“better in some way”…like being easier to search for?

john doe November 25, 2013 at 10:26 am

Not surprising, Reduced friction can command higher prices.

Gabriel November 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

What’s next… a report that says products sold in infomercials are higher price than those sold in catalogues?

I’m not sure Google really cares whether the camera costs 120 or 100 dollars. They care that the 120 dollar camera merchant is paying them to display their ads, while the other 100 dollar one is not spending on ads, and is thus cheaper but harder to find.

prior_approval November 25, 2013 at 10:32 am

And if you want to pay an even lower price, things as simple as turning off 3rd party cookies can create a semblances of the prices offered to a ‘first time’ visitor.

http://lifehacker.com/5973689/how-web-sites-vary-prices-based-on-your-information-and-what-you-can-do-about-it

dan1111 November 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

Heh. One thing I remember from previous discussions of this is that Mac users get directed to higher priced items.

Bloggers should get in on this game. Any Mac user coming to MR could get directed to a different version of the site that has nothing but praise of Paul Krugman.

ummm November 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

home sales weak but the only thing wall st. cares about its prices

msgkings November 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

So what exactly prompted you to become the one-liner unasked-for CNBC of this comments section?

rroberts November 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Here’s a similar article on an analysis of how major brands fared online in terms of price competitiveness. On the whole, the smaller “pure-play” retailers fared better than the Big Box stores.

http://www.internetretailer.com/commentary/2013/11/22/winning-holiday-price-war

isomorphismes December 5, 2013 at 12:15 am

SEO is an industry for a reason.

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