According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, a Google crawler has been adding products to e-commerce site shopping carts. Apparently, there have been complaints by sellers about a serial cart abandoner named John Smith. But it turns out that the abandoner is actually a Google bot. A spokesperson from Google said that i built systems to make sure the pricing found on product pages are correctly reflected when a users adds a product to the cart.
Google told Search Engine Land in a statement, “We use automated systems to ensure consumers are getting accurate pricing information from our merchants.”
When sellers upload their product feeds to Google Merchant Center, they may not know that they are also agreeing to having Google’s bots crawl their sites for price verification when they agree to the ToS. The design behind the bot is meant to ensure that the price in the feed matches the price on both the product pages and when the product is in the cart.
The automated system will disapprove items that don’t pass pricing verification.
At least Google knows that this could cause issues for merchants and e-commerce site owner. Google said “This sometimes leads to merchants seeing abandoned carts as a result of our system testing the price displayed matches the price at checkout.” This data can actually mess with e-commerce site owners’ abandoned cart metrics. They could end up inflating the data, making it look higher than they really are.
It’s possible to block the bot, but if you do, that means you won’t be able to participate in Google Shopping or show your products in Surfaces across Google. Google’s own terms of service for Google Merchant Center allow Google to crawl your site.