In case you hadn't heard, Google Guarantee was previously only open to paying subscribers of Google Local Service Ads. They got a green badge courtesy of the Search Engine giant if they qualified to get approved through the corresponding vetting process. The guarantee's main attraction was in the fact that for users searching for a service cold via the search engine, the promise of a full refund via Google made them far more likely to opt for a vetted provider - thus meaning the scheme is a potential goldmine for leads. Google gets a fee for every lead it generates, so everyone is happy. Now it seems, Google is sticking its neck out and offering service providers that don't opt in to paying for Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) the chance to get the same perk.
This article is definitely worth a read. It explains how for just $50 every month, Non-LSA member businesses can get access to badging that's very similar to the existing scheme. That could provide a massive and very cost-effective benefit for many service providers out there.
Does this move devalue the Google Guarantee?
While this is going to represent a smart move for many businesses, whatever the motives behind it, will many onlookers view it as a cynical marketing drive and one that takes the shine off Google's guarantee? The guarantee is supposedly there primarily to combat fraud. Companies signed up for that as a premium service. This move is going to dilute some of that prestige at the very least. Does that represent a fair deal for existing subscribers? Then again, however, surely this will present consumers with far more choice?