Amazon and Google product pricing shenanigans
Here we go, boys and girls. Another fun-filled excursion into the bowels of the internet’s world of ecommerce.
I started by searching Google for the phrase “mac mini.” The Mac Mini is a super-cool fully functional computer made by Apple that is about the size of an external hard drive and sits right on your desk. I already know that I can buy a new one direct from Apple for $699 with free shipping but I was checking to see what other deals might be out there.
On the Google results page, in the left column, I clicked the link for “Shopping” which takes you to results in “Google Product Search.”
There, in third position on the list of results, was a Mac Mini with slightly different specs than offered by the Apple Store, and priced at $599. It had the same amount of memory and operating system (Snow Leopard) but a slightly slower processor (2.26 GHz vs. 2.4) and half the hard disk space (160GB vs. 320). But the listed price was $100 less.
Unlike the listing below in fourth position, the product was not described as used. (Click here for screen shot.)
I went to take a look.
The Google Products page showed a picture of the Mac Mini and featured Amazon.com’s $599 as the “lowest price.” I clicked the Amazon.com link to drill down further.
This took me to the actual Amazon.com website where … what the fuck? There was nothing listed for sale at the promised price of $599. And I thought Google was supposed to like so-called “relevant” results?
As far as I could tell, nothing in new condition was offered for sale on this page. However, the site enticed me further with the promise of “3 used from $525.00.” Like a wiggly fish on a hook I clicked the link.
This showed me a page that stated there were zero available in new condition. But there were three units, with differing specs, priced at $525.00, $629.99, and $995.00, all offered with $7.99 shipping. All were offered from different sellers, none of whom were Amazon.com.
What I want to know is, quite simply, how is this not bait and switch? The whole system seems rigged to entice me in with the promise of my desired product at a lower than normal price, which doesn’t even exist, then to try to get me to go for a used product from a third-party seller where, coincidentally enough, I believe Amazon.com collects 15 percent of the purchase price as a fee.
Why do they have to be this way?
The chef’s music selection for this post: Love for Sale