The Inside Edge
Do those clever people at Google ever sleep? It’s been reported that Google is piloting a UK mortgage comparison website. You may have already seen its online advice service called Google Advisor and Mortgage Strategy. This was launched in May in the US and the new pilot scheme in the UK, called Compare UK Mortgages is thought to be very similar.
The website works in much the same way as any other comparison website although Google has ensured you get to see their website before any others of the same nature. If you were to search for ‘mortgage’ or ‘compare mortgage’ in Google for instance, you would see the Compare UK Mortgages link at the very top of the search results. Just where you would expect to see any Google service in fact!
Many big names have got in on the ‘sponsored links’ action with Woolwich, Royal Bank of Scotland, ING Direct, NatWest and Lloyds TSB all showcasing their products with many more expected to follow.
In order to gauge feedback on the website, participants are able to take part in a customer survey. Some of the questions featured include their thoughts on using a mortgage broker and how they have searched for a mortgage in the past. Google seems to be taking this quite seriously and with good reason. More and more consumers are using comparison sites for a wide range of financial products these days, but in an ocean of similar sites it’s still early days and Google has a lot of competition from established comparison sites.
Justin Rees, director of marketing and partnerships at LeadPoint UK, says: “Only time will tell how successful this service will be and what other products will be arriving in the UK.
“It will also be interesting to see how many of the direct marketers that spend millions of pounds each year generating financial services leads through Google react to this latest development.”
However, he did add how it will be a good initiative for the lead generation market as a whole.
“Usually when Google enters a new market it requires all the incumbents to step up in order to compete so hopefully this innovation will be good for consumers and the adviser community as the current lead generation companies will have to work even harder to improve their services.
“The UK has a strong tradition of intermediary-based advice and long may this remain so.”
Earlier in March this year Google bought BeatThatQuote.com for almost £40m. When you consider how many consumers now use comparison websites it was only a matter of time before Google took the initiative to start offering their own mortgage comparison services.
It makes sense if you are looking to buy your first or next house to weigh up all the mortgage options. More and more products are being released on a daily basis and you could find an excellent deal by spending five minutes entering a little information on a comparison website. We’ll be keeping an eye on Google and will let you know of further developments and services they may be releasing. Watch this space…