Is a comparison site shake-up on its way?

Car insurance news roundup: week ended 12 Sept 2012:

There was some massive new developments in regards to the motor car insurance industry this past week – the chief one being that Google has thrown its hat in the ring!

The web search giant has been spreading its cephalopod-like tendrils across into other business practices for quite some time now, but this is definitely a new development: Google has acquired a large car insurance comparison site in an effort to break into what can be a very lucrative industry indeed. Of course, many Brits are wondering if it’s truly a good idea to give a company that’s rapidly becoming too big for its britches even more personal information in the form of motor registration numbers, ages, addresses, and whatever else the newcomer to the insurance provision sector asks for in the spirit of providing cheap car insurance quotes.

The web search juggernaut spent nearly £38 million on the purchase of the comparison site lock, stock, and barrel, with the end result that Google has begun to integrate comparison packages for car insurance right in its search engine, next to comparisons for credit cards and bank accounts, all powered by the approximately 120 affiliates the comparison site already had working with it to provide customers the best deals.

Google has been carefully taking steps to make it look like its doing its best to avoid over-reach in its private data gathering initiatives by offering users an option to bow out of any targeted marketing. In fact, the default with the web search provider is to be opted out automatically, but that all goes out the window once a customer gives over their personal details to a Google-owned comparison site, as it’s standard operating procedure to require a telephone number to get a quote from a comparison site.

Former managing director for the comparison site, John Paleomylites, says that the service is devoted to helping customers find the most affordable insurance for their needs in as honest and as fast a way as possible, all the while protecting a user’s privacy as well. Paleomylites is now chief financial officer for another Google-owned company related to the comparison site, ostensibly as part of his buyout deal – the man owned a full 90 per cent of the site before Google bought it – and him – out completely.


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