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(As published in the December 2003 issue of Catalog Age Magazine)

In the past few years, the Google search engine has emerged from the Internet Petri dish to dominate the search engine market space—if not the entire Internet.

Google's deals to distribute search results to the likes of AOL and Yahoo have established a breathtaking critical mass worth over 80% of all Internet search. Are you looking to cut acquisition costs? Google presents any business—particularly merchants—an opportunity to do more than that. Now you can sell at $0 cost.

Many e-commerce executives realize that so-called natural, or unpaid, search results represent an attractive opportunity for incremental sales, but they believe that Google's juicy fruit is either unattainable or forbidden to them because they have a database-driven Web site.

This is not entirely true, despite the businesses that have sprung up as a result of the myth—keyword bidding, search engine optimization, paid inclusion. The secret that only the man behind the curtain will tell you is that you can break the retailing “sound barrier” and sell without marketing costs.


By capitalizing your natural resources—the product-selling content that you have already created and invested into your Web site's makeup.

The fact is, Google provides more than just a critical mass of users. Google has become an ad hoc market “operating system” for architecting your information. This makes it possible as a merchant to simply tune your site to the Google algorithm and convert your thousands of dormant product pages into an enormous, energized sales force. Once unleashed, these product “experts” can be programmed to automatically hunt the Web for you, find only the most qualified customers, and—the best part—sell for free.

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image of Brian Klais

Brian Klais is founder and CEO at Pure Oxygen Labs, a performance-based mobile consulting and technology firm.