Google is sending out surveys to some local businesses to see if they would pay for some features they are currently getting for free from the search engine company. Google My Business is a free service from Google that gives businesses the ability to update their information and in exchange Google provides searchers with local search results that are accurate and relevant. But Google may decide to start charging a monthly fee to the current free service they offer.
Sean Bucher posted a screen shot of the survey on Twitter:
What is Google My Business? Google My Business is a free service from Google to list your business profile on Google Maps and Google search. It helps you reach and engage with local customers across Google Search and Maps, while letting Google provide accurate local information to searchers. It launched in June 2014 and since then has been upgraded and improved many many times.
The survey. This survey specifically asks local businesses how much they would pay each month for many services that are already included in Google My Business. Google can charge from $10 per month to over $70 per month to be listed in the Google local results, according to this survey.
Here is one screen grab of one of the pricing models asked in the survey:
Here are more screen grabs of the various services and packages that may be included in this monthly fee:
Why we should care. Obviously when anything goes from free to paid, the additional cost is something one would have to make room for in their budget or decide to go without. Google launched this service for free because they relied on third-party providers to give them local data. That data was often out of date or incorrect, thus Google needed to get on top of this problem, so Google provided a method for businesses to update their own information. Now that this service has become a requirement for most businesses, maybe Google feels it can charge for it and get away with doing so now?
Of course, if Google added a fee to Google My Business that it would be a nice revenue source for Google. However, this method of charging for search results like this is not how Google has typically monetized their search results. Typically they monetize for search ads, not simply being listed in the search results. This would somewhat change that model and it may make things complicated within Google’s internal ethics to support.