Once Controversial, Google’s Product Listing Ads Now a Big Hit

When Google revamped its shopping service last May, it said it would begin charging merchants to list their products. These Product Listing Ads, as they’re called, set off a firestorm of controversy because they represented the first time Google had eliminated a search service that had free listings in favor of a paid model. Although Google posed the move as a way to improve the quality of listings, merchants squawked that this would raise their costs to appear in shopping search results. Even more broadly, the move raised doubts in some people’s minds about whether Google’s search engine could still be seen as fair and impartial.

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