Google will announce later today the purchase of price comparison site BeatThatQuote.com - a contact at Google informed us this afternoon.
UPDATE: BeatThatQuote.com today was sold to Google for GBP 37.7 million.
Google have been showing a growing interest in the financial price comparison sector in recent months, including the launch of their own credit card comparison service currently promoted as a "comparison ad" above regular adwords on Google for premium credit card keywords. (e.g. http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=credit+cards)
However, the purchase of BeatThatQuote.com is the clearest signal yet of Google's firm commitment to the UK financial price comparison sector and raises a number of questions:
"What will Google do with BeatThatQuote.com?", "How will this purchase affect other price comparison sites?" and "What does this mean for other sectors beyond finance?".
Will Google monopolise the more lucrative "ad comparison" positions above the existing high paying Google Ads in other financial sectors?
Will Google purchase more established comparison sites in other sectors, such as Travel?
Will Google keep the BeatThatQuote.com brand?
Will Google use information gleaned from price comparison advertisers to their advantage? The information they hold, such as conversion rates and costs, would enable Google to immediately focus their attention on the most lucrative sectors and niche areas within finance.
Will Google continue to support BeatThatQuote.com's current strategy of focusing on white label partnerships?
Is it "fair" that Google be in the business of competing directly against the advertisers that make it so profitable? Perhaps the answer to that question is somewhat irrelevant as the fact is they can and they will.
No doubt the picture will become clearer over the coming weeks and months, but we should not underestimate the significance of this news.
Interesting - BTQ has deals in place with both MSN and Yahoo!. Direct competitors of Google\'s.
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