Ethan A. Huff | Natural News
If you have ever done any sort of comparison shopping online, chances are you have probably used Google’s Shopping portal to pull up product information and compare prices.
But if you live in the U.S. and try to use Google Shopping to buy vitamins, supplements, personal care products, and even many health foods, your search queries will now turn up blank, as Google has apparently blocked access to all vitamins and natural products for American customers.
Right around June 28 of this year, Google Shopping users first began noticing that search queries for many common health products like “vitamin C” and “fish oil” began turning up zero results, whereas before they would generate a copious list of vendors that offered these products, as well as corresponding price information. In the days and weeks that followed, these same users learned that vitamins and natural products in general were no longer showing up in Google Shopping.
When asked about the issue by several concerned shoppers, Google’s public relations team reportedly gave vague and incomplete answers about why natural products are no longer showing up in its Shopping section, even though they are still showing up in Google’s general web search area. Others with inside information claim that Google has quietly, without any announcement to the public or its venders, added vitamins, supplements, and other nutritional products to its “sensitive category” of products, which means they are completely blocked from Google Shopping searches.
In either case, Google Shopping users are now unable to search for nutritional products, which means it has become that much harder for the average person to access vitamins and dietary supplements online. And the venders that used to sell such products through Google’s site — many of these businesses had been paying Google to include their products as part of Google Shopping searches — are now watching their businesses decline, as Google holds a significant monopoly on the product search and comparison market.
“Google publishes a list of products in [the natural health] category that are blocked as a matter of corporate policy in the public interest. So shopping results for (things like) steroids are always blocked,” says the Healthy Chronicle, an online health blog sponsored by California-based supplement company iMedmart.com. “(But) we’re talking about something completely different here — Google is blocking whole categories of respected, brand-name products … from online shoppers for no stated reason.”
You can watch a video demonstration by iMedmart.com that illustrates the problem here:
And if you are still not convinced, try searching for the following vitamin and superfood items in Google Shopping yourself. Note that several of these items are merely health foods that Google has blocked, and are not even isolated vitamin or dietary supplement products:
- Vitamin C
- Camu camu
- Coconut water
- Vitamin B12
This is just a sampling of the many products that are no longer available through Google Shopping. And many other products, including some of the ones referenced in the above YouTube video from iMedmart.com, will pull up two random listings that, once clicked, lead to a useless selection page with no actual listings.