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Critics of Google's Mortgage-Quote Gambit Missing The Point

Just when you thought Google couldn't work another pet project into the mix, the search giant has gone and decided to get into the mortgage-quote business. Yes, perhaps by as soon as the end of the month, Google plans to start offering loan quotes, according to a lawsuit filed by mortgage-quote leader LendingTree against technology company Mortech, and obtained by The New York Times. (LendingTree claims that Mortech is violating the terms of a contract between the two companies by providing Google will similar mortgage-quote-facilitating technology.)

Calling Google's latest venture a "head-scratcher," Fast Company does concede that "Adding a mortgage-finder to its service, even if it were via a simple context-aware ad placement, would certainly be another weapon it could use in the ongoing search engine war." PaidContent suggests that Google could be asking for trouble seeing as how mortgage-quote companies are major search advertisers. "It will be interesting to see how they react to Google now competing with them."

In a somewhat snarky remark, Blogging Stocks notes how "interesting" it is that Google needs to farm out aggregation technology. "It seems that their smart engineers could find workarounds, right?"

Really though, everyone's failing to see the bigger picture here, says Greg Sterling in Search Engine Land. "The focus on mortgage search or quotes is a bit of a red herring I suspect ... The UK test was really about developing a model to deliver leads on a CPA or pay-per-call basis," he writes regarding a service that Google experimented last year in the UK dubbed Google Merchant Service, and which allowed customers to compare loan offers after submitting information about themselves. "In this case many were small business advertisers (mortgage brokers). Mortgages happened to be the content or category used in this test. One of the clues here is the name of the service: the broadly applicable 'merchant search,' not 'mortgage search.'"

Read the whole story at Search Engine Land »

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