From the Google AdWords blog:
You may recall that towards the end of 2009, we began testing a new feature called AdWords Comparison Ads. This feature lets users compare multiple relevant offers with ease, and it provides advertisers with a new sophisticated and flexible cost per lead format. Speed is of the essence for many users, so we’ve made sure that Comparison Ads shows targeted offers in less than a second.
The initial test covered mortgage-related queries in the US. Today, we’re delighted to announce that the test is being extended to cover credit card-related queries in the UK and that some major issuers have signed up to be part of the initial run.
Comparison Ads improves the ad experience on Google by letting users specify exactly what they’re looking for and helping them quickly compare relevant offers side by side. There are no long forms for users to fill in, and Comparison Ads will not send advertisers any personally identifiable user information (in fact, we don’t send any user information at all unless the user explicitly applies for an advertiser’s offer).
While it seems difficult to spot ads with link to this new service, it can be reached directly at the following URL: http://google.com/comparisonads/ukcredit . This is a typical comparison service providing faceted navigation to filter results down, product pages with all details for a given credit card, and a feature-by-feature comparison tool. Simple yet efficient service following the classic Google look&feel.
The drawback of this service is that it currently lists only credit cards from few affiliated card issuers… Today, the service only lists 20 different credit cards, which considerably reduces its potential (to be compared to the ~170 credit cards proposed on MoneySupermarket). For sure, this is only a test and we could except more card issuers to participate if the product goes final.
What strikes me is the different approach from Google Product Search. While Product Search is free for merchants (with the temptation from Google to start having sponsored results on this service), Comparison Ads is only available for advertisers, following a business model similar to CSEs.
Another thought: Google has started testing similar service in the UK for loans in May 2008 (almost 2 years ago); we can wonder why Google is moving so slowly to roll out such service… Maybe thinking how it could fit in the grand scheme of shopping search and unification with AdWords?
Feature-by-feature comparison tool: