Aug 22006

Benjamin Ling: Google Checkout Has No Direct Influence on Adwords Quality Score

I had an interview this evening with Benjamin Ling, Product Lead for Google Checkout, preparing for an upcoming column in Catalog Success (I write their e-commerce column every other month). Benjamin was friendly, forthright, and generous with his time. While the bulk of the interview will inform the print article, a couple points merited a short blog post:

  • Ben was quick to point out that (in his view) Google Checkout isn't a payment type, but rather a checkout process. It wraps actual payment types (Visa, Amex, Mastercard, Discover); more payment types are possible. PayPal and BillMeLater were mentioned in this regard.
  • Ben repeated the "fast, convenient, and safe" mantra several times as the justification for and the guiding principles of Google Checkout. He suggested Checkout could save a user 75% to 90% of the typical checkout time.
  • Ben stated unambiguously that the checkout icon ("badge") had no impact on the AdWords Quality Score algorithm. That is, Ben stated Google does not "cook" AdWords rankings to promote Checkout merchants. "The algorithm was not altered in any way," he stressed.
  • Ben went on to say that the presence of the badge can anecdotally increase CTR and thus increase QS. (To me this is fair and not "cooking" the rankings, as the change is based on user behavior, not Google promoting their own service.) He said it was still too early to have firm data on typical CTR lifts from the badge.

Many thanks to Benjamin for his time and insights.


4 Responses to "Benjamin Ling: Google Checkout Has No Direct Influence on Adwords Quality Score "
Google's Continued Affiliate Assault Far beneath the roar of the cannons hammering on affiliate marketers in the form of Landing Page Quality updates, our ahem, friends, at Google have launched a flank attack. Shmuly noted that the Google Checkout page has been updated, and...
Dave Davis says:
Sorry for commenting an old post, but I just came across your blog when doing some research from my findings. Having the badge, I can confirm over a month of testing has lifted out CTR and now that we can see the QS in our account, has lifted most of our keywords to great. I am aware this is not as a result of any algo change, I think i just added a little more credibility to out ads.
chang c chen says:
I would like to do an interview of Benjamin Ling for the Bay area Chinese language newspaper, World Journal. Would you be so kind to give me a contact information of Ling? I know he is with Facebook now, and there is no contact link at, Thanks. I was a friend of his mom who used to work for World Journal, but it was a long time ago. Thanks so much. Chang C. Chen, Ph.D Attorney at Law San Francisco, CA
Chang -- Sorry, I don't have up-to-date contact info for Ben Ling. Best of luck -- Alan

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