Google Buys SEM Agency, Channel Intelligence, For $125 Million


Channel Intelligence, an angecy that specializes in helping clients preform well in Google's shopping/product listings, has been bought by Google.

They reportedly have a proprietary piece of software that helps clients manage and optimize their product listings. This software must be really good or protected by a patent if Google is willing to buy them out. Rumors suggest that Google forked over around $125 million in cash for the company with around half of that going to CI's majority shareholder ICG Group.

From CI's blog:

For over ten years, we have focused on making it easy for consumers to find and buy products online and help our clients grow their business. We've worked with Google for years, and look forward to the great things we will be able to do together.


Why them????? :)

Why them????? :)


CI has created the patented Product Unification technology that links many different representations of a product together to create a single representation of that product across the online channel. This essential technology uses data from manufacturers, retailers, shopping engines and other sources to pull like products together automatically while ensuring that two dissimilar products are never linked.

CI’s Product Unification technology is a key component in all CI services, helping to improve the online representation of products for manufacturers, retailers and other advertisers. It equips online marketers with a unique, important functionality that cannot be created or maintained manually.

CI’s patented* Unification process interprets and understands the important data points about product information by using several key pieces of product data to determine unification eligibility. The process sees through any bad data using a system that takes into considerations factors such as manufacturer name consolidation and data interpretation algorithms.   With unified product listings consumers can compare the same product across multiple reseller offerings easily. It provides a better shopping experience that typically results in higher conversion rates for online sellers.  Unification allows for accurate and speedy placement on shopping engines with proper categorization of products into CI’s Universal Type-based Categories.  Unification is the cornerstone of comparison shopping across a variety of sites by providing a singular product across multiple retailers.

*  Channel Intelligence is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 6,917,941 entitled, “Method and Apparatus for Creation and Maintenance of Database Structure.”

So Google bought a patent for

So Google bought a patent for $125m? Reading above comment. Sounds like there will be some changes to their shopping algo coming...

Depends how good the method

Depends how good the method is, or more accurately, how poor any algorithm used for product unification which respects this patent would be.

Google Purchase

They must have a  very good algorithm that puts together products in clusters and sets of the same type.

... or could it be that Google is buying out a road block

It certainly sounds a lot of money to buy a stand-alone algorithm and associated business activity.

An alternative scenario is that this algorithm patent could block a line of development that Google has been pursuing re shopping without this having reached the patenting stage.  Going forward Google saw the development would be potentially blocked by a patent infringement action by CI. If Google had already invested heavily in this approach,  this might significantly reduce the value of what they had done.  Given this, Google took preventitive action to avoid losses in value and delays.

Unless more is revealed, we may never know since I'm sure the whole kit and caboodle is blanketed by confidentiality agreements.

Is this really called an SEO agency...?

I wouldn't call a company optimizing Google Shopping Ads an SEO company. It's Pay-for-Play! 

If you saw the recent

If you saw the recent email/post from Google Shopping, they are forcing merchants to set up products with full international product IDs to be used if you want to be listed.

Basically makes Google Shopping a very powerful shopping comparison engine that should directly compete with the Amazon Marketplace, as well as any comparison shopping sites out there.

I guess this patent helps streamline and organise the process for developing GS further.

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