ChatGPT vs. Gemini for SEO Tasks


I quickly discovered last year how ChatGPT can improve search engine optimization. Google now claims Gemini, its own AI tool, is more powerful.

So I tested Google’s claim, using Gemini for the same SEO tasks. I used the latest iterations of both platforms: ChatGPT4 and Gemini Advanced.

Here are my findings.

On-page Optimization

My initial prompt:

My target keyword is “audio textbooks.” This is my article [URL]. Is it well-optimized for that keyword?

ChatGPT listed what it considered:

I’ll check:

  • The presence and usage of “audio textbooks” in critical areas (title, headers, etc.).
  • Overall content structure and readability.
  • Relevant linking practices.
  • Technical aspects like mobile responsiveness and loading speed.

It then produced generic recommendations, indicating it didn’t analyze the page. Here’s what it offered for internal links (I’ve bolded the text):

Ensure some internal links to other relevant content on your site are included if not already.

Gemini was even less helpful, stating,

I wasn’t able to determine from the article itself whether it is optimized for the keyword. However, I can search on the web and see if there are any SEO best practices that you can follow to improve your article.

I then pasted the entire article into the Gemini prompt. It made no difference. Gemini failed to analyze the content and instead provided routine SEO tips.

Content Helpfulness Analysis

My next prompt:

Is my article helpful for someone searching for audio textbooks? How can I make it more helpful?

Both responses were worthwhile. ChatGPT provided ideas missing from my article, especially “Accessibility Features.”

  • Expand Content: Include detailed reviews of various platforms offering audio textbooks, comparing features like user experience, availability of titles, and subscription costs, if any.
  • User Guides: Provide step-by-step guides on how to access or download these audiobooks from mentioned sites.
  • Accessibility Features: Discuss accessibility options available for visually impaired or dyslexic users.

Gemini offered its own good idea:

The article could be more helpful by including a table that compares the different options, such as cost, selection of textbooks, and ease of use.

Interestingly, this time Gemini accessed my page. Although I’m now wondering if Gemini is blocked from performing direct SEO.

Screenshot from Gemini with text "Websites reviewed" and the showing the URL of the article in question.Screenshot from Gemini with text "Websites reviewed" and the showing the URL of the article in question.

Gemini appeared to access the page when analyzing the content.

Keyword Research

My next prompt:

Which additional keywords should I optimize this article for? List related keywords, synonyms, close concepts, etc. Explain why each keyword is a good idea for that context. Make it a table.

Both platforms provided useful keywords and listed “free audiobooks” as the top suggestion. I’ve replicated both tables for this article.

Keyword (ChatGPT) Explanation (ChatGPT)
Free Audiobooks Broadens the appeal to users looking for free audio content, not limited to textbooks.
Educational Audiobooks Targets users specifically looking for audiobooks with educational content.
Audio Learning Resources Captures searches related to audio formats used for educational purposes.
Audiobook Apps for Students Reaches a demographic specifically using mobile apps for educational audiobooks.
Downloadable Textbooks Appeals to users looking for textbooks in various formats, including audio.
E-textbooks Taps into the market for electronic versions of textbooks, closely related to audio versions.
Textbook Alternatives Attracts searches from users looking for different forms of learning materials beyond traditional books.
Study Aids Connects with users looking for supportive educational tools, including audio summaries.
Audiobook Reviews Caters to users deciding between different audiobook services based on reviews.
Accessible Learning Tools Focuses on inclusivity, appealing to users who need accessible learning formats, such as audio.
Keyword (Gemini) Reason for Inclusion (Gemini)
free audiobooks Many users searching for audio textbooks might be cost-conscious and looking for free options.
educational audiobooks This is a broader term that captures users looking for audiobooks for learning purposes, not just textbooks.
learning audiobooks Similar to “educational audiobooks” but emphasizes the learning aspect.
audiobook textbooks This rephrases your target keyword “audio textbooks” but might be used in searches.
TTS audiobooks This targets users who might be unfamiliar with the term “text-to-speech” but interested in this method.
read aloud textbooks This is a more natural way some users might describe what they’re looking for.
ebooks for dyslexic students This is a close concept that targets a specific audience (dyslexic students) who might benefit from audio textbooks.
audiobooks for visually impaired Similar to “ebooks for dyslexic students” but targets users with visual impairments.
alternative formats for textbooks This is a broader term that captures users looking for any alternative format to traditional textbooks, including audio.
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New Ecommerce Tools: April 15, 2024


Every week we publish a rundown of new products from companies offering services to ecommerce and omnichannel merchants. This installment includes updates on curated content, shoppable video, AI-powered search, composable commerce, payments, subscription plans, and paywalls.

Got an ecommerce product release? Email [email protected].

New Tools for Merchants: April 15

Squarespace adds subscription features to earn recurring revenue. To help entrepreneurs monetize content, Squarespace has launched subscription features. Users can turn articles into a passive income stream by adding a paywall to their blog, setting the price, and choosing a one-time fee or recurring subscription. Video creators can monetize content by charging for access to their library or placing a paywall directly on a video player. Entrepreneurs can sell individual pieces of content or bundle various content types.

Squarespace homepage Squarespace homepage


YouTube launches new shopping tools for creators. YouTube has introduced features that allow creators to curate shoppable collections, produce shoppable videos, monetize videos, and more. Shopping Collections is a new way for creators to curate products. All shopping creators can now ​tag products across videos in bulk.​ YouTube is also launching an Affiliate Hub directly in the app so creators can find the latest list of Shopping partners, commission rates, promo codes, and even request samples.

Cognizant partners with Shopify and Google Cloud on enterprise retail. Cognizant has partnered with Shopify and Google Cloud for global retailers and brands. The partnership combines Shopify’s commerce platform, Google Cloud’s core infrastructure, and Cognizant’s retail industry advisory and technology implementation specialists. By utilizing Shopify’s commerce operating system, built on Google Cloud, along with the suite of Google Cloud offerings, brands will have the technology needed for Cognizant to execute digital transformation through various retail scenarios.

Bloomreach enhances its partnership with Google Cloud on AI-powered search and marketing. Bloomreach, a platform for ecommerce personalization, has expanded its partnership with Google Cloud to enhance Bloomreach Discovery. Customers will benefit from the combination of Google Cloud’s advanced generative AI innovation and Bloomreach’s proprietary AI — Loomi — as well as its commerce data set and revenue-generating platform capabilities. Google Cloud will amplify the strength of Bloomreach engines, including enhanced recall, ranking, automated merchandising, personalization, and cross-channel conversational commerce.

Bloomreach home pageBloomreach home page


eBay introduces generative AI-powered “shop the look” feature. eBay has launched a shop-the-look functionality, which provides an immersive carousel of looks tailored to customers’ shopping history, complete with interactive hotspots that reveal similar items and outfit inspirations. Shop the look evolves with customers’ tastes by taking cues from their shopping habits. The feature is now available in iOS for U.S. and U.K. customers, with Android coming later this year.

Amazon updates its Add Products tool to search for products and add offers in bulk. Amazon has updated its Add Products listing tool to help users search in bulk for items already listed for sale in Amazon’s store and add up to 500 offers. Search for up to 20 products and add information, such as price and quantity, to submit your offers in one go in Seller Central. Search for up to 500 products and generate a pre-filled Excel template. Use a spreadsheet to list offers quickly using bulk uploads.

Shein will host a webinar for U.S. merchants interested in selling on its marketplace. Asia-based Shein is hosting a live webinar for U.S. sellers interested in selling on its marketplace, which opened to third-party sellers last year. The webinar will take place on April 25, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. PST, with an overview of how to sell on the Shein marketplace, including fees, product categories, and seller requirements. According to StoreAutomator, Shein is looking for U.S.-based merchants with at least $2 million in annual revenue that ship directly to customers from the U.S.

Screenshot of the SHEIN Marketplace WebinarScreenshot of the SHEIN Marketplace Webinar

Shein Marketplace Webinar

LTImindtree introduces a composable storefront on Salesforce. LTImindtree, a global technology and consulting company, has released Composable Storefront Quick Launch to provide retailers with ecommerce components that suit their demands. The feature is built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud. LTImindtree’s composable storefront allows retailers to create customized shopping experiences to increase business growth with over 20 user-interface enhancements and features, including Salesforce Einstein, personalization, campaign management, and Wishlist.

U.K.-based Mimo raises £15.5 million to simplify B2B payments. Mimo, a U.K.-based payments platform, has secured a £15.5 million investment led by Northzone to launch a platform that simplifies B2B payments. Mimo offers one tool to manage money, analytics, and insights to get a better overview of your business. Mimo will deploy the funding to build its B2B payments functionality for SMBs and expand its headcount.

Mexico-based BNPL provider Kueski unveils in-store mobile payments. Kueski, a buy-now pay-later and online consumer lender in Latin America, has launched an in-store version of Kueski Pay. Customers can now complete transactions in physical stores through the Kueski mobile app, regardless of internet connection. Kueski announced earlier this year that it is now available on Amazon Mexico and is a payment option for some of the world’s largest brands, including Estée Lauder, MAC, Clinique, and Adidas.

Ecommerce developer Spresso secures Series A funding managed by BlackRock. Spresso, a provider of AI-powered applications for ecommerce businesses, has announced an initial Series A investment from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock. According to Spresso, the investment will help accelerate the company’s global expansion, providing businesses with a suite of data-driven tools, including pricing intelligence from AI-driven algorithms to analyze customer and market behavior, an ecommerce platform to build and manage online stores and spend management analytics.

Screenshot of Spresso homepage.Screenshot of Spresso homepage.


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How to Track ROI from Content Marketing


Ecommerce marketers can close the loop on content marketing performance with specific goals and diligent measurement.

Even in the age of AI, content comes at a cost. It is not free. It should generate a positive return on investment for any business — retail, direct-to-consumer, B2B. 

Done well, content marketing attracts, engages, and retains customers.

  • Attract. Content is a foundation for search engine optimization and social media marketing.
  • Engage. Content builds a relationship between a prospect and the business, often positioning the company as a trusted expert.
  • Retain. Content via a blog, email newsletter, or social channel helps a business stay in touch with customers between purchases.

Content Goals

Setting goals is the first step toward generating an ROI from content marketing. We might have two for a month.

  • Attract 1,000 visits from search engines.
  • Get 100 new email subscribers.

The number of site visits leads to our ultimate aim of obtaining email subscriptions.

Applying these goals to individual posts, we could publish four articles monthly, each earning 250 visits and 25 newsletter subscriptions.

  • Average 250 visits per post.
  • 25 visitors (10%) subscribe to email.

Next, we can set a value for each action. Let’s assume:

  • 5% of email subscribers purchase monthly.
  • The average order is $125.

Thus 100 new email subscribers should lead to five purchases, which would generate $625 in revenue. We can now assign a value to each action.

  • A site visit is worth $0.63 — 62.5 cents.
    • $625 revenue / 1,000 visits = $0.63
  • An email subscription is worth $6.25.
    • $625 revenue / 100 subscriptions = $6.25

Measure Content

Whether via spreadsheets or a full-blown business intelligence suite, we will track the same basic information about the content.

  • Title. 
  • URL.
  • Topic. Keyword phrase or concept.
  • Author. The actual creator, not necessarily the byline.
  • Publication or refresh date.
  • Content type. Blog post, podcast, video.

These might be columns in a sheet or fields in a database.

Next, we’ll capture key performance indicators that align with our goals. 

  • Total visits. The number of visits to the new content.
  • Total email subscriptions. Cumulative email subscriptions since the content was published.
  • Revenue. Purchases by shoppers who visited the content and subscribed to the email.

The metrics vary depending on the goals. Some take more time to measure, such as a shopper who subscribed on April 15 and purchased on May 20.

Finally, we will track how much the content costs.

  • Creation. How much we paid for a writer, including a refresh.
  • Editing. The cost of an editor.
  • Graphics. Photography and custom and AI-generated images.
  • SEO. The expense of an SEO platform or consultant for keyword phrases and gaps.
  • Promotion. Advertising outlay. 

Calculate ROI

Measuring KPIs and costs enables a basic ROI calculation.

ROI = Net Return ÷ Cost of Investment


Net ReturnGross Sales – Cost of Investment

ROI = (Gross Sales – Cost of Investment) ÷ Cost of Investment

Assume four blog posts cost $400 and drive 1,000 site visits, 100 email subscriptions, and $625 in ecommerce sales. The ROI would be 56.2% or $0.56 (56 cents) in the first month for every $1.00 invested.

($625 – $400) ÷ $400 = 56.2%

Don’t get too excited. This is an example. It leaves out the cost of goods sold, the expense of the email platform, and conversion optimization. 


Nonetheless, the example is a framework for measuring performance and optimizing over time. Certain content topics might lead to more visits, subscriptions, and sales. One writer could outproduce another. Analyze results, tweak, and improve. 

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BNPL Competition Drives Wins for Merchants


Fierce buy-now pay-later competition among payment card brands and independent providers is expanding conversion opportunities for merchants. By layering additional services onto existing rails, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express became global technology platforms. Similarly, independent BNPL providers first offered consumer financing and then expanded into apps, embedded commerce, and payment card issuance.

In recent interviews, industry analysts and providers shared perspectives on how buy-now pay-later evolved into broader capabilities, enhancing consumer and merchant experiences.

Embedded Commerce

Iconic credit card brands share a crowded stage with cryptocurrencies, digital wallets, and alternative payment schemes, each with its own value proposition and target demographic. Half of U.S. consumers use credit-card alternatives such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo, and Cash App, according to Miles Tullo, managing director of banking and payments at J.D. Power and author of its 2024 “Digital Wallet Satisfaction Study.”

Tullo expects digital wallet platforms such as Apple Pay Later to continue scaling through diversified product and service offerings despite uneven merchant acceptance.

“The Apple Pay Later user tends to be younger, more mass affluent, and financially healthier than other buy-now pay later-users,” he said, noting that Apple Pay Later is embedded in the Apple wallet, providing users with a single-access view of multiple transactions.

Pat Suh, senior vice president of revenue at Affirm, a BNPL provider, cited embedded commerce as a key growth driver. “Growing with our merchants is a priority for Affirm,” he said. “Most of our volume comes from our merchant and partner integrations. We are constantly looking for and executing opportunities to deliver even more value for them, from rolling out new features and products to optimizing our integrations.”

Suh stated that Affirm has integrated with Shopify and payment platforms such as Stripe and Amazon Pay, enabling merchants to add Affirm as a checkout option with a few simple clicks. This has helped Affirm reach merchants and consumers at scale, he explained.

Payment Card Issuance

While most of its volume and users come from merchants and partners, Affirm is also growing its direct-to-consumer revenue through Affirm Card, which Suh described as a hybrid, combining physical card ease of use with virtual card flexibility and transparency.

“Our DTC business grew by 51% year-over-year to $2 billion in fiscal Q2 2024,” he said. “Our total volume grew by 32% — four times the rate of overall ecommerce growth for the period as we continued to take share and extend our reach.”

Affirm Card is accepted online, in-store, or wherever Visa is, Suh stated. Users can request a payment plan in the app before checking out, link their bank account to pay with the Affirm Card, or use the app to request payment plans for eligible purchases after swiping or tapping.

“Affirm Card users transact much more frequently than the rest of our base,” he said. “The card has increased our penetration in categories we did not historically address, such as everyday purchases and restaurants.”

More Competition, More Choice

Bryce Deeney, CEO of Equipifi, a BNPL provider for banks and credit unions, suggested the Affirm Card poses significant challenges to incumbent financial institutions.

“Companies like Klarna and Affirm acquire customers at the point of need for that one buy-now pay-later purchase by offering an alternative to the bank or credit union card,” he said. “And once the consumer is approved and downloads the app, these companies try to win the entire relationship — a major threat to traditional issuers.”

Deeney noted that merchants may have similar concerns. If consumers can get BNPL with a click, what stops them from shopping in a digital banking app instead of a merchant’s website?

Nonetheless, despite fierce competition, he said BNPL providers, financial institutions, and merchants ultimately want the same thing: to ensure customers have positive experiences with their brands and payment products.

“As long as consumers have easy access to credit and cash flow and merchants stay top of mind with their customers, that’s the world where everybody wins: consumers, issuing banks, and merchants,” he said.

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Amid Downturn, Ecommerce Investor Perseveres


The post-Covid ecommerce hangover has hit Roman Kahn. He launched his first direct-to-consumer brand in 2013, acquired others, and in 2021 founded Peak 21, an aggregator with equity investors. The outlook was good.

Fast forward to 2024, and many ecommerce companies are struggling. Mergers and acquisitions have cratered. Yet Kahn perseveres. His team reviews dozens of purchase candidates every month, albeit cautiously.

In our recent conversation, Kahn shared his investment criteria, current market conditions, and predictions for a recovery. The entire audio is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.

Eric Bandholz: Give us a rundown of what you do.

Roman Khan: I’m the founder and president of an ecommerce holding company called Peak 21. We buy, grow, and sell direct-to-consumer brands. My DTC experience began in 2013 when my wife, Jennifer, and I started Linjer. We sold leather bags but now it’s mostly jewelry. We launched it on Indiegogo.

By 2016, we were doing a couple of million in annual revenue — big enough for Jennifer and me to quit our jobs to work on it full-time. In 2017, Linjer produced $1 million in EBITDA — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. By then we had raised quite a bit of money on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and built up street cred. Folks were reaching out, asking us how we did it. We decided to diversify. We needed more brands, and Meta ads were working well.

I took that $1 million of cash, our street cred, and combined sweat equity with cash to invest in three other DTC companies. Each was doing less than $1 million in revenue annually. By 2019, we were doing $50 million in sales as a group.

When Covid hit in 2020, revenue ballooned to $100 million annually. In 2021, investors were knocking on our door, particularly Jeffrey Yan, whose family owned Forbes Media up until this year. He came to my office and said I needed to take on external capital to buy more prominent companies.

We set up a special purpose acquisition company — a blank check company — called Peak 21. Jeffrey Yan and others invested eight figures in equity. We’re now using that SPAC to buy companies. We seek brands doing $5 to $50 million in annual sales.

Bandholz: What’s an ideal acquisition candidate?

Khan: The pool is shrinking. I’ve spoken with many owners. My acquisitions team talks to 100-plus businesses every month. Only about 10% have a product-market fit that can grow with low budgets. Our main criterion now is size. We look at the fundamentals. What’s the customer acquisition cost? And the repeat buyer rate? The best scenario is 70% of first-time buyers repeat in the first quarter. We know the investment will likely work out at the rate.

Two, we look at customers’ buying habits. For instance, we own a company called Nutrition Kitchen. It’s a daily meal delivery service. Daily rather than weekly or monthly habits play a significant role.

Beyond consumables, we look at contribution margins on three levels.

First, we calculate revenue (net of taxes and coupon-driven sales) and shipping fees collected at checkout. That leaves us with “profit contribution one” — PC1.

Then, we deduct roughly 10 variable costs, such as warehouse storage, pick-and-pack, shipping fees, returns, and exchanges. That results in profit contribution two — PC2.

Lastly, we deduct marketing to determine PC3.

From PC3 we subtract operating expenses to arrive at EBITDA.

A key acquisition metric is a 50% or higher PC2 while maintaining a competitive suggested retail price.

Bandholz: A hundred candidates a month is a lot to review.

Roman: Many ecommerce companies are struggling now. Revenue and EBITDA are down. Out of our six main brands, two are struggling massively. Overall we’re okay. We’re growing with a diversified portfolio. But those two are a nightmare. We have lent over $1 million to each one in the last 24 months. So it’s been hard. Many founders are holding out until 2025 or 2026 to sell.

We buy companies in four ways. One is cash. Two is seller financing. Three is using debt, where we borrow the money against the acquired company’s value. That avenue, I should add, is very challenging now. The fourth method is an equity swap wherein we acquire a company with Peak 21 stock. Cash is scarce right now. Our willingness to pay a lot of cash upfront is low to non-existent. We’re often the only real buyers when talking to a company.

For the market to improve, two things need to happen. First, investors must get over the losses from aggregators, such as Perch, Thrasio, and others. Second, interest rates have to come down. Once that happens, liquidity will loosen up, and hopefully, the market will return, likely by Q1 2026 in my estimation.

Bandholz: How can listeners contact you?

Khan: Our site They can message me on X or on LinkedIn.

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SEO Takeaways from SGE’s Partial Rollout


Google extended Search Generative Experience last month beyond Labs, its testing program. A limited number of searchers now see AI snapshots in results regardless of whether they signed up.

Many observers believe it’s the first step to SGE becoming fully public this year. Google hasn’t much changed SGE in Labs for months, perhaps signaling its satisfaction thus far.

I’ve closely monitored SGE developments. Here are my observations and expectations.

Traffic Losses Overestimated

Authoritas, a search-engine-optimization platform, has been testing SGE in Labs and publishing the results. In March, the tests found the SGE appears in 91% of U.S. search results for brand and product terms in two ways.

First, the results could contain a “Generate” button that produces an AI-powered answer only when clicked, such as this query of “best laptops.”

Screenshot of Google SERP for the query "best laptops."Screenshot of Google SERP for the query "best laptops."

Clicking the “Generate” button produces AI-powered answers. Click image to enlarge.

Second, the search results could contain an instant answer, such as the example below for “How healthy is spaghetti squash?” Clicking “Show more” expands the explanation.

Screenshot of an instant SGE answer for "How healthy is spaghetti squash?"Screenshot of an instant SGE answer for "How healthy is spaghetti squash?"

Instant SGE answers such as this example appear automatically. Clicking “Show more” expands the explanation. Click image to enlarge.

The instant answer takes much more SERP space and will likely steal more clicks from organic listings because it pushes them further down the page.

Fortunately, according to the same Authoritas study, clicks on the “Generate” button drive 81.4% of SGE responses, much more than an instant answer. This indicates that organic listings won’t be hugely impacted, at least for now, since there’s no page disruption unless the button is clicked.

Organic Listings Displaced

However, when SGE is triggered, organic results appear far below the initial screen.

For example, searching for “smart TV” and clicking “Generate” produces an AI answer that occupies an entire screen on mobile and desktop.

Authoritas estimated an average organic listings drop of 1,243 pixels, depending on the search term. SGE results more or less eliminate the visibility of organic listings, especially for queries seeking consumables such as household goods.

Even before SGE, organic visibility was increasingly limited owing to the various features Google inserts at or near the top, such as ads, “People also ask” boxes, image packs, local packs, and more.

Opportunities in SGE

The good news is that SGE answers contain links, an opportunity for organic visibility. Authoritas states that SGE’s snapshots, on average, contain five unique links, and just one matches the top 10 organic listings below it. Perhaps it’s because the snapshots often address related queries.

For example, SGE snapshots for the search of “best laptops” list many makes and models as well as links for the best laptops for students, budgets, and coding. Organic listings for “best laptops” do not include those additional choices.

Screenshot of SGE results for "best laptop."Screenshot of SGE results for "best laptop."

SGE snapshots for “best laptops” list many makes and models as well as related links, such as “The Best Laptops for Sims 4” (for students). Click image to enlarge.

Thus after optimizing important keywords, consider creating supporting content for related queries, increasing the chances of showing up in SGE results. For ideas, keep an eye on “Related searches” because those keywords seem to appear in SGE.

Screenshot for "Related searches" for "best laptop" query.Screenshot for "Related searches" for "best laptop" query.

“Related searches” keywords seem to appear in SGE.

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New Ecommerce Tools: March 12, 2024


Every week, we publish a rundown of new products from companies offering services to ecommerce and omnichannel merchants. This installment includes updates on promotional tools, AI-based website builders, payment platforms, email and text marketing, logistics, AI assistants, video game commerce, and merchant financing.

Got an ecommerce product release? Email [email protected].

New Tools for Merchants: March 12 launches AI website builder. has launched an AI website builder based on conversational chat. Users describe their intent and goals and receive a unique website with features such as scheduling, ecommerce, event management, and more. Customization options include layout, theme, text, images, and apps. Users can refine the site by editing or regenerating.

Web page for's AI Website BuilderWeb page for's AI Website Builder’s AI Website Builder

eBay automates “Offers to Buyers” discounting tool. eBay Store subscribers can now automate sending offers to buyers. Instead of manually initiating offers, merchants can choose the criteria across selected inventory and set the offer terms. Resulting offers will automatically go to eligible buyers interested in existing and new listings. Merchants set how long automatic offers will run, with a maximum of 150 days.

Chatfuel launches AI Sales Agents. Chatfuel, a messaging provider for businesses on social media platforms, has announced the availability of a suite of autonomous generative AI agents. Chatfuel says its sales-focused AI agents are optimized for SMBs in ecommerce, enabling customers to proceed through the sales cycle without human involvement. These agents focus on sales workflows such as cross-selling and follow-ups, FAQs, order processing, and other related tasks. Chatfuel already integrates with Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

TalkShopLive launches Instagram “Shoppable Simulcast. Video commerce and retail media platform TalkShopLive has launched “Shoppable Simulcast” with Instagram. The product debuted with a livestream featuring artist, producer, songwriter, and actor Benny Blanco preparing recipes from his new cookbook. TalkShopLive’s innovation allows any of its live streams to be simulcasted on a seller’s Instagram account while keeping the shopping element intact. The Instagram integration comes after TalkShopLive launched its Shoppable Simulcast product and first destination with Facebook.

Home page of TalkShopLiveHome page of TalkShopLive


Reddit introduces Pro toolkit for businesses. Reddit has launched Pro, a free suite of tools for businesses to grow an organic presence on that platform. Reddit Pro features AI-powered insights, performance analytics, a pro dashboard, and publishing tools to help draft and schedule profile posts. Reddit Pro users can extend the reach of organic posts with the click of a promote button.

PayPal launches Complete Payments for SMBs in Canada and the U.K. PayPal Complete Payments, a global solution for small and mid-sized enterprises, has launched in Canada, the U.K., and roughly 20 European markets. The solution enables SMBs in those regions to accept various payments, including PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit and debit cards, and more than 20 alternative payment methods. PayPal integrates with several ecommerce platforms, including Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. launches Merchant Advance in Europe., a cloud-based neobank powering card acceptance in 24 European markets, has launched Merchant Advance, a business credit service. Merchant Advance offers transparent capital based on merchant acquiring data and payment history, providing instant loan disbursement. Merchant Advance is available in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, with more European countries coming soon.

Home page of Viva.comHome page of

Sendlane adds Forms to its retention marketing platform. Sendlane, a retention marketing platform for ecommerce brands, has launched a Forms tool to help merchants grow email and SMS lists. The tool features customizable layouts, advanced targeting, and comprehensive performance data. Choose from multiple mobile and desktop layouts to collect consent via email, SMS, or email and SMS. Capture lead details and key data points with inline, pop-up, and banner forms.​​

Logistics provider Geodis launches a multi-carrier parcel shipping platform. Geodis, a global logistics provider, has launched a multi-carrier parcel shipping solution, ​​offering direct carrier connections to optimize ecommerce fulfillment operations. The platform allows customers to directly contact carriers in Geodis’s current network and additional regional and Latin American carriers for an integrated global parcel transportation strategy. According to Geodis, the platform integrates with external warehouse management systems and popular ecommerce platforms to streamline the fulfillment process.

Tap to Pay on iPhone is now available for Venmo and PayPal Zettle in the U.S. PayPal has announced that Tap to Pay on iPhone is available for Venmo business profiles and PayPal Zettle users in the U.S., enabling them to accept contactless card and digital wallet payments directly on their iPhones with no additional cost or hardware. Businesses can add taxes, receive tips, send receipts, and issue refunds. Sales proceeds will settle quickly into a business’s Venmo or PayPal Zettle account.

Xsolla unveils Web Shop 2.0 to power D2C sales for game developers. Xsolla, a video game commerce company, has introduced Xsolla Web Shop 2.0 to help mobile game developers construct direct-to-consumer monetization strategies. Xsolla Web Shop 2.0 features advanced LiveOps tools, A/B testing, a loyalty program, personalized offers, and one-click payments with Xsolla Wallet. Xsolla is also unveiling Instant Web Shop, a fully-functional. templated online store that can power purchases in as little as 24 hours.

Home page of XsollaHome page of Xsolla


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Google Spam Policies, Explained – Practical Ecommerce


Google released this month updates to its core algorithm and spam policies. It also issued widespread manual penalties to sites with excessive AI-generated and low-grade content.

Google is prioritizing spam — manually and algorithmically. If you’ve experienced a decline in rankings but no manual actions, audit your content for potential spam violations.

Here’s where to start.

Scaled Content

“Scaled content” refers to expanding articles rapidly via automation or AI. Google has advised against scaling for years. It has now provided example violations:

  • Using generative AI to create content.
  • Scraping content — e.g., from RSS feeds, search results —  and publishing it without changes.
  • Combining content from many sources and republishing it without alteration.

To my knowledge, Google has not to date expressly disallowed AI content, but including it now as “scaled” implies a dislike.

Expired Domains

Domains become available when their owners forget or neglect to renew them. In many cases, expired domains retain link authority, prompting some search optimizers to buy them and then publish new (vaguely relevant) content or 301-redirecting the domain to a third-party site.

Google now includes such expired-domain tactics as spam, but its examples are extreme:

  • Affiliate content placed on previous government-owned content.
  • Medical products sold from expired domains of non-profit organizations.
  • Casino websites hosted on domains previously owned by schools.

Apparently Google is targeting aggressive cases, but it may eventually include common uses.

Parasite SEO

“Parasite SEO” involves placing low-quality content on a trusted domain. Google calls this “site reputation abuse.”

Google’s examples mainly include content unrelated to the domain, such as:

  • An educational site hosting a page for payday loans.
  • A news site hosting automated coupons.

The guidelines also emphasize a lack of editorial oversight and include scenarios not considered spam:

  • Press release sites.
  • News publications with syndicated content from other quality publications.
  • Sites with user-generated content, such as a forum or comment sections.
  • Native or third-party ads, sponsored content, or appropriately tagged affiliate links for monetization, not rankings.
  • Manually selected coupons.


Most businesses have never participated in these tactics, but some may have done so unknowingly through external consultants. Keep an eye on Search Console notifications and organic traffic.

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Charts: U.S. Manufacturing Trends Q1 2024


The Institute for Supply Management is a leading not-for-profit global procurement organization. Founded in 1915, ISM’s 50,000 members from 100 countries manage about $1 trillion annually in corporate and government supply chain procurement.

The monthly “ISM Report On Manufacturing” is among the most reliable economic indicators for supply management professionals, economists, analysts, and government and business leaders.

The report includes the closely watched purchasing managers index — “Manufacturing PMI” — based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives. Participants report activity in multiple categories, such as new orders, inventories, and production. Those indices are then combined to create the PMI. A PMI above 50 designates an overall expansion of the manufacturing economy, whereas below 50 is a contraction.

In March 2024, U.S. manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in 16 months, with ISM’s Manufacturing PMI at 50.30, up from 47.80 in February and 46.30 one year ago.

ISM’s data also shows new U.S. manufacturing orders in February 2024 were $576.76 billion, up from $568.57 billion in January and $571.26 billion year over year — an increase of 1.44% and 0.96%, respectively.

ISM’s March 2024 U.S. Employment Index for the manufacturing sector is 47.40, indicating a slower decline from 45.90 in February and 46.90 one year ago.

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Card Issuers Are Top BNPL Providers, Survey Finds


Post-purchase buy-now pay-later could be a massive opportunity for retailers, according to J.D. Power’s BNPL satisfaction survey, published Feb. 29, 2024.

In a survey of 4,135 U.S. consumers, American Express, Chase, and Citi outperformed other category leaders in three key areas: reasonableness of terms, ease of use with digital account management, and security of account information. The second annual study found overall satisfaction with BNPL had grown by 16% in just one year.

J.D. Power’s findings suggest that retailers may be leveraging BNPL without even knowing it. Unlike Klarna, Sezzle, and other third-party solutions that appear at checkout, Plan It by American Express, My Chase Plan, and Citi Flex Pay are not part of the checkout stream. Merchants never see these direct-to-consumer offers or know when post-sale transactions convert to buy-now pay-later plans.

Miles Tullo, managing director of banking and payments at J.D. Power, was not surprised to see card issuers pull ahead in the BNPL race. “It’s going to be very hard for Affirm, Klarna, and other brands to build a buy-now pay-later solution and scale,” he said. “Because they have to go merchant by merchant and get them to say, ‘Yes, I want your checkout button on my website.’”

Tullo acknowledged, however, that third-party providers have also been “strong out of the gate” and are winning back share in interesting ways. Klarna, for example, has launched a subscription service, “Klarna Plus,” and a new authentication method, “Sign In with Klarna.” And the newest entrant in the study, Apple Pay Later, started last year and is growing quickly.

“Apple Pay is accepted in a lot of places, so Apple didn’t need to go out and convince merchants to accept this payment method because it rides on the Apple Pay transaction and the acceptance is there,” he said. “Having a massive consumer audience makes it easy for Apple to offer up an Apple Pay Later option to a consumer who’s just used Apple Pay to make a purchase, and the Apple brand, with its loyal following, is growing very quickly.”

Built to Scale

Massive customer bases and established rails put card issuers on the inside track, Tullo added, noting that post-purchase BNPL transactions are free to merchants and require no action on their part. Purchases are settled through regular card acceptance agreements, he explained, and merchants have no idea when those purchases convert to installment solutions on the backend.

“I expect new entrants in this market will likely come from additional credit and debit issuers exploring ways to get consumers to install instead of revolve their purchases,” he said, predicting that issuers, rather than independent standalone solutions, will drive BNPL growth.


I asked Tullo why retailers aren’t doing more to leverage post-purchase options, considering the numerous advantages these offers provide. For example, don’t most standalone provider agreements have an exclusivity clause restricting merchants to one BNPL provider at checkout?

“Yes, that’s correct, but they can’t exclude American Express Plan It, Apple Pay Later, and other solutions built right into their current acceptance agreements,” he said. “With the exception of large enterprises that negotiate terms, retailers that contract with most BNPL providers are locked in to one.”


I also asked Tullo about pricing, having seen many BNPL promotions for free-to-customer plans. He assured me that most consumers are happy to pay a convenience fee to a trusted brand.

“Generally speaking, the market has grown out of this concept that it doesn’t cost you anything as a consumer to leverage this repayment option because the merchant is paying the cost,” he said. “A $3 fee is not a deal-breaker for someone splitting an $80 purchase into four $20 payments; consumers appreciate the convenience and flexibility and consider it a fair deal.”


Tullo pointed out that post-purchase BNPL offers from card issuers to consumers are decoupled from the shopping experience. On the flip side, he said consumers tend to associate pre-purchase BNPL deals with specific retailers. For example, he noted that someone who gets a late fee, defaults, or is dissatisfied with pre-purchase BNPL is less likely to revisit that brand, which could become a bigger trend as the BNPL market evolves.

“A customer with a subpar experience with pre-purchase BNPL will tie it back to the website where the transaction occurred,” Tullo said. “This could lead to the customer looking for another merchant offering a different buy-now pay-later solution.”

Ripe for Promotion

Considering the numerous benefits of post-purchase BNPL, I questioned why more retailers aren’t aggressively promoting these services.

American Express presents Plan It as “easier to manage; no enrollment required; longstanding support; protection and customer service; no additional loan required; and no additional payments to keep track of.”

Chase describes My Chase Plan as a way to “pay off a purchase over time in fixed, equal monthly payments. There’s no interest for this purchase once it’s placed in a plan, just a fixed monthly fee.”

Citi summarizes Citi Flex Pay as a convenient way to “split up your eligible purchases and pay over time through simple monthly installments with a fixed APR.”

Perhaps retailers could display logos of American Express Plan It, My Chase Plan, and Citi Flex Pay on checkout screens, inviting customers to explore these options.

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