Apr 21, 2020 - Technology

Google to make shopping listings free

Ina Fried

Google won't charge businesses to sell goods in its Shopping section, beginning later this month in the U.S. and globally over the course of the year, the company said on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Google is trying to eliminate fees for its services to ease the burden on small businesses and publishers, two categories that rely heavily on its services and are hurting badly amid the coronavirus' effect on the economy.

What they’re saying: "Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google," Google commerce president Bill Ready said in a blog post.

Yes, but: This isn't totally altruistic. Google makes most of its advertising dollars from people engaging with media-company content on its platform or small businesses selling goods, so it makes financial sense for it to try to help out those industries in any way it can. The company has already committed millions of dollars in grants to small businesses and local news companies.

The big picture: Yelp, Facebook and others have also tried to cut fees or offer ad credits in the short term to help ease the pandemic's financial pain for their largely small-business customer base.

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