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Google to rate online stores

07 October 2011 - 13:39 by Graham Miller

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Search giant Google has started a scheme which will see it ranking e-commerce sites, based on how much trust they generate amongst consumers.

The purpose of this initiative is to make it easier for people to carry out safe shopping online, with retailers who have a track record of solid customer service and secure online operation.

As part of the project, Google will be handing out accolades to certain sites which will then be able to display the Trusted Stores logo on their pages, so that people will know whether they have qualified for inclusion on the list.

Google is not just looking at the security of online shopping with the Trusted Stores scheme, because it is also going to ask retailers to submit information on delivery times and the number of sales they handle each year, to give users a comprehensive indication of their quality.

Google spokesperson, Tom Fallows, said that there would be a long list of criteria that retailers would have to match in order to join the list of Trusted Sites.

Of course phishing sites will almost certainly harness the new Google-certified logo to mislead consumers who are looking for a place to carry out safe shopping online, which might render the new service a little less effective.

Some might also be cautious about a search engine endorsing one retailer over another, with questions about bias in search results almost certainly arising in the wake of this announcement.

Despite potential concerns, it is definitely good to see any major company taking steps to make it easier for people to buy products online in a safe environment. There are plenty of ways to tell if a site is safe to use already and trust is an important tool for retailers to foster.