Google Checkout audit: Where are AdWords 'badges'?

When Google Checkout launched five months ago, I put forth that Google's end-game was to sell more Google AdWords. Is Google Checkout really helping Google sell more AdWords? I put Google Checkout to a 'badge' audit.

When Google Checkout launched five months ago, I put forth that Google’s end-game was to sell more Google AdWords.

In Google Checkout to merchants: Give us your customers, and your advertising and It’s official: Google launches ‘Checkout’ with predatory pricing model aiming to ‘increase advertising spending’ and Google Checkout aims to takeover consumer relationships, hinder merchant CRM strategies I underscored:

Google has officially launched its ecommerce payment service with a predatory pricing model to lock in its advertisers, increase advertiser spend with Google and attract new Google advertiser customers.

I cite Google CEO Eric Schmidt indicating Google is:

willing to lose money on transaction fees because it felt the package would increase advertising spending…The math works because we can have lower prices and higher volume

I underscored Google’s go-to-market AdWords pitch to merchants for Checkout:

Every online merchant has two goals: sell more and spend less. Google Checkout…is a way to process transactions that helps you achieve both. Checkout works with Google’s search advertising program, AdWords, to increase your sales and minimize your expenses throughout the online sales and marketing process.

Google’s ever ballooning market cap is fueled by “one thing,” as I discuss in “Google’s ‘1 percent’”:

Google proudly declares it does “one thing really, really well”: Search.

Google’s “one thing,” in fact, fuels 99% of the revenues driving its $150 billion market cap: online search and associated advertising services (AdWords, AdSense).

Google developed Checkout with the goal of driving its search and associated advertising services revenues ever higher.

The Google Checkout pitch to merchants asks “Why Google Checkout?” and answers: 

Online shoppers often start with a Google search. Our search advertising program, AdWords, helps them find you through targeted text ads that appear beside Google search results. Now you can add the Google Checkout badge to your AdWords ads, which highlights your store and tells potential customers that shopping with you will be convenient and secure. 

Where are the Google Checkout badges? Has Google reached critical mass with merchants? Is Google Checkout helping Google sell more AdWords? 

Google’s public statements on Checkout always paint a rosy picture. In making a big holiday push for Checkout, Google announced a Cyber Monday promotion touting Checkout’s traction with merchants: 

Since the launch in June, thousands of merchants have added Google Checkout to their sites. So shoppers trying to cross things off their lists will be able to do so quickly and easily on a wide range of sites, including Buy.com, Starbucks Store, The Sports Authority, Ace Hardware, Timberland and many more. 

Where are the thousands of Google Checkout “badges” in AdWords identifying merchants as Checkout enabled to searchers at Google.com? 

As I rarely see a Google Checkout badge returned in a Google SERP, I put the Google Checkout badge to an audit. 

Going from A-Z, I did 26 searches on products at Google.com, looking for the Google Checkout badge in SERPs. The products I searched were: 

Aromatherapy, Baskets, Candles, Deodorant, Earrings, Fans, Garlands, Ham, Ink, Jelly, Kite, Lamp, Maps, Napkins, Opal, Paper, Quilt, Razor, Sandwich, Tailor, Umbrella, Vanilla, Water, Xray, Yard, Zinfadel. 

Among the 26 product searches, the Google Checkout badge appeared once, in the search for “earrings,” at the bottom of the AdWords right-hand column.

Google Checkout revenues have not been material to Google’s financial performance, according to its latest form10-Q filed with the SEC. 

In “Google checkout desperate” I discuss how Google Checkout has suffered from customer and merchant defections due to unsatisfactory service and infrastructure shortcomings, as well as merchant distrust.

Success in the 2006 holiday shopping season is critical to Google Checkout.

TAKE THE POLL: Will you be using Google Checkout for your holiday shopping