It was reported yesterday that Google has acquired UK financial comparison site beatthatQuote.com for a £37.7 million in a move that has left many speculating what Google is planning to do, and if this will ever get past competition regulators.
Financial comparison is one of the most competitive sectors in both paid and natural search, so Google entering the market through this move leaves us wondering how they plan to manage their dual role. So much of the traffic to financial comparison sites originates from Google search listings, so if Google gives preferred treatment to their own site in either listing it could well be a big conflict of interest.
Of course no detail as to the purpose of this move from Google has been explained, so we don’t know if this was a technology/software based acquisition or a general move from Google wanting to monetize new areas of their UK traffic. We have seen earlier how Google have been testing their own credit card comparison and shopping comparison in the listings.
It could be that Google will use the beatthatquote.com technology to deliver their own service, like with credit card comparison. By doing that they would avoid having a website owned by them being prominent in the search listings, while still being able to explore further the financial comparison market as part of their own product portfolio.