Today Dr. Pete spotted Google Home Services appearing in search results. What are “Google Home Services?”, you ask; good question.
This article on BuzzFeed News explains that GHS will be for (for now) in home service providers. Google also has in place a page about home service ads, although, Google’s pages are full of statements that say all professionals using Home Service Ads have passed a criminal background check and all kinds of statements, which are, at the moment, completely false. In fact, I called some of the plumbers appearing in home service ads and they had no idea what I was talking about. Of course, this will be impossible to monitor. In Google’s defense, the program is in Beta…
How do you get a home services ad?
Google said in a tweet that the Beta is currently affecting search results for businesses serving San Fracisco CA.
It appears that ads are displaying for plumbers who use AdWords. Are they using AdWords, or AdWords Express? I’m not sure. I did speak to some of the plumbers and they had no clue. They just said that they “pay Google for phone calls”. They also have no idea how their pictures are being displayed in search or what happens when someone requests a quote for 2 or 3 plumbers or if or how they are being charged for this.
- Will this happen to other industries?
- Can Google do this? This is more of a “paid ad service” than a “search engine”, isn’t it?
- Where are the people’s heads coming from? Their associated GMB page doesn’t use them.
- What does Yelp think of this?
- What about plumbers with great reputations? Will the top results simply go to the highest bidder?
- How will reviews work? One of the help pages says that anonymous reviews will be allowed. Is Google separating reviews from Google Plus (finally)? How will business owners combat fake reviews?
- Is Google going to tell business owners about this or just let them discover that they are being compared against other plumbers on their own?
- Plumber’s quotes are all over the place. Some do a “free quote” or a cheap rooter service just to get there and tell you that you need a $2000 pipe repair, while others may charge a little more and be completely honest- is comparing them by their pricing even a good idea?
I guess that time will tell.