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Google Serving Vodka in Search Results Despite AdWords Ban on Liquor

Google AdWords has a rather tight rule banning the selling of hard liquor online, like vodka or whiskey, but does allow AdWords advertisers to run ads for wine and beer (even though in some states like Maryland the parcel shipping of any alcohol is illegal).

Frank Watson over at Search Engine Watch points out however, that Google Products (Shopping / Froogle) is letting online hard liquor vendors list different liquor products in their feeds, and Google is serving their mixed drinks within the organic search results, in the blended addition of Google Shopping, WITH a quick link to order via Google Checkout.

Google Vodka

A conflict of interest here? You betcha!

Frank writes :

One hopes this was an oversight, since there are none for rum or gin as yet. Maybe vodka is just such a good checkout seller that it has reached some number where it automatically gets the Checkout promo.

Hopefully someone at Google will publicly address this one. Right now I guess every vodka seller is signing up for a Google Checkout account. Not bad mistake if it generates new shopping cart customers.

Yeah, let’s hope that this is a mistake because it makes little sense.

  • By banning ads for liquor (which TV did until a short time ago) Google is cutting a major revenue source from AdWords
  • Google Shopping however allows merchants to sell liquor via their feed program.
  • Instead of Google serving AdWords ads which are labeled as Advertising, they serve Shopping results, which are not really labeled as so
  • Google is making a small percentage in Checkout sales, when they could be double dipping in AdWords click fees AND Checkout fees
Category SEO
SEJ STAFF Loren Baker Founder at Foundation Digital

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ...

Google Serving Vodka in Search Results Despite AdWords Ban on Liquor

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