Sellers hit by Google charges
Mar 17, 2013 (Financial Mail on Sunday - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
GOOGLE is to start charging retailers using its online shop by levying a fee based on the number of times customers click on a company's link.
The drive to raise revenue by the internet search company has raised fears among small retailers that they may be squeezed out of the online market by bigger firms.
Google has emailed online retailers telling them that "Google Shopping is becoming a commercial site."
The change will hit retailers that supply information on their products on Google Shopping in the hope that they can attract potential customers to their own websites.
The service had been free, but Google plans to charge companies every time someone clicks on a site link.
Ian Harper, owner of Tight Lines UK, which sells fishing tackle, said: "I simply can't afford it. For small companies like mine, every penny is vital for growth.
"This will not be viable. You can limit how many clicks you pay for, so I can say every day I have a pounds sterling 20 limit, but after that your ad disappears off Google.
"With the items I sell, I make only pounds sterling 1 to pounds sterling 1.20 per item. If ten people click and only one buys I'm losing."
Google has told online retailers that charges will continue to be phased in until June 2013.
A Google spokesman said: "Google supports small businesses. In the long term, we believe these changes will help retailers of all sizes attract more customers."
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