Google's Gbuy nears launch

Will the expected June 28 debut of the company's online payment system further pit Google against eBay?

Google's online payment system, Gbuy, is expected to launch June 28, further pitting the Internet giant against industry titan and rival eBay, according to a research note released Friday by a Wall Street analyst.

Gbuy is expected to be free during the initial phase, but merchants may eventually be charged a 1.5 percent to 2 percent per-transaction fee, Jordan Rohan, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, said in his research note. A fee of that size would be slightly less than that charged by eBay's online payment system, PayPal.

Google was not immediately available to comment.

"The brilliance of Google's Gbuy merchant-to-consumer payment platform lies in what Google may do with the transactional data it captures from the thousands of merchants that may ultimately offer Gbuy," Rohan said.

Google is able to gather the data when users click on a merchant's Gbuy feature. Consumers are then transferred to Google's Gbuy site, where they complete the transaction.

Google's payment system, as a result, holds the potential to monitor which paid-search results users click on and of that group, which ones turn into actual sales. With that information, Google may find itself in the enviable position of being able to identify which categories bring in the highest return on investment for advertisers, Rohan stated.

But Derek Brown, an analyst at Pacific Growth Equities, cites other reasons why the data may prove valuable to Google.

The data could provide useful guidance on where to place its sponsored links, in order to generate higher traffic, as well as give greater insight into the buying habits of its users. And that, as a result, may prompt the Internet titan to deliver targeted ads to those users, Brown said.

Some merchants, however, may fear that Google would use this information to deactivate keywords and then require a merchant to pay a higher minimum bid to reactivate the keyword, Rohan said.

But merchants may find the lure of having the Gbuy logo next to their sponsored search link too appealing to pass up, even if it potentially means giving Google a closer view into their business, Rohan noted in his research note.

"From the merchant's perspective, the placement of a Gbuy logo and the designation as a 'trusted Gbuy merchant' will be a point of distinction and theoretically raise conversion rates and traffic," Rohan states in his research report.

are set for a June 28 launch, but those who are new to the program can expect an implementation period of six to eight weeks, the report states.

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