Froogle Review

Introduction to

What is it?

Froogle is a new "product" based search engine that is currently developing and has launched in a Beta phase. As with Google in terms of searching for sites, Froogle attempts to find the most relevant products based on your search terms. In fact, it does a pretty good job at finding the products that match your search. It still has some room for improvement but for the most part if you search you will at least find relevancy in the results. The best results are achieved when you search on a Brand or Model of a product. Albeit still in the Beta phase it has enormous potential. As an avid user of Google (or Googler), I am certain that many like myself will soon add Froogler to our titles.

How does it work?

Once again Google has come up with a complex algorithm to provide the most relevant search results. It seems Froogle not only takes feeds from independent shops online but it also spiders the web to find products. The web type results seem to be less accurate as sometimes these results are just price lists, etc. However, the products derived from submitted feeds seem to be very accurate. You can tell these types of result by the link below the results for that product. The link looks something like this:

See all results from "Store Name"

The relevancy of the search results is increased by its advanced search feature, which allows you to narrow your search by price, occurrence of a specific keyword or phrase and by category. They have also made it easy to browse by classifying products into a hierarchical directory structure.

I'll get into how you submit a feed a little later but to answer first the question on everyone's mind.

How much does it cost?

I was pretty astounded to find out that it is completely free. Ok, I'll say it one more time, FREE. Now I can't imagine the free model will last forever but by getting an early start you might be able to get a first-move advantage and generate some solid sales leads for you store.

Requirements to get your data feed accepted? To get your feed accepted your online shop/site must meet the following criteria:

  1. Located in United States
  2. In English
  3. Products must be sold directly from your website
  4. Services are not allowed
  5. Products that don't have fixed prices are not allowed
  6. Your site must be crawlable by their spider googlebot

How do you submit a data feed?

Before you start, you will want to review their Information for Merchants page located here.

Once you are certain that you meet the criteria it is a fairly simple process. The first step is signup, located here. In a matter of days, in my case two, they will respond with a username and password and a link to agree to the terms of usage. That is if you are approved. Once you agree to the terms of usage you should receive an e-mail within about a day or so with attached instructions on how to setup and upload your feed.

This e-mail will include a PDF with detailed instructions, a sample Excell Spreadsheet and a sample Tab delimited text file. They will accept your feed as a compressed file such as .zip, .tar, etc. but the data file itself must be a text file setup in the format they specify. Although the flat file system seems to be somewhat archaic I guess this is the easiest and most universal method for them to use.

The formatting is fairly straightforward including the following tab delimited columns:

Product Url	Name	Description	Price	Image Url	Category	Offer ID

The only ones that probably need explanation are category and offer ID. The category is the category structure you use in your shop and the Offer ID is a unique identifier you use such as SKU or Product Number.

They also have some advanced columns you can add to your feed such as whether the product is in-stock, lowest shipping price, brand name and the list goes on. From the looks of those extended fields, they are probably going to add more advanced search options in the future.

In the top of the instructions they provide you with FTP information to upload your data feed once it is ready. They also require that you upload your feed at least once a month otherwise it will drop out of Froogle.