By Martin Kelly, Editor, Search Engine Room

GOOGLE has introduced its contentious ‘search within a search’ feature to the Australian and NZ markets. The feature was first rolled out in the US and UK earlier this year, where it met strong opposition.

The secondary search box only appears when users search for a major brand such as Qantas,  the Sydney Morning Herald or The Age. Using Qantas as an example, the box appears below the primary listing with a button that says: ‘search’. Type in ‘airfares’ and the organic listings will be from the Qantas website.

But the paid results are from any advertiser (including rival Virgin Blue). So someone who actually wanted to go Qantas may end up at a competitor site, denying Qantas potential revenue. 

Of course, any revenue generated by people clicking on these paid ads goes straight to Google. No surprise this feature created real issues in the US when introduced and many e-retailers including Amazon protested and opted out. Seems it’s just been launched here, so no real reaction yet. Be interesting to see what transpires. Travel July 29, 2008

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