John Smith: A Google bot on a “shopping” tour

John Smith leaves shopping baskets full in online shops, but never buys anything. No wonder: Because there is no person behind it, but a Google bot that checks the prices of the dealers.

A mysterious buyer named John Smith kept filling his shopping cart at various online shops – but in the end he never bought anything. But neither could he, because as the Wall Street Journal reports, John Smith is not a person at all, but a Google bot. The bot should check whether the prices given in the shop match those in the last ordering step. “This generally leads to retailers seeing abandoned shopping carts because our system tests whether the displayed value matches the one at the checkout or not,” a Google spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal .


This affects online retailers who store their products in Google’s Merchant Center. Dealers who do this allow Google to independently check the prices stored there. After all, the search company has told the Wall Street Journal that they are trying to make the process a little more transparent in the future. Probably also to avoid confusion about John Smith. Especially since the abandoned shopping carts can also mess up the retailer’s statistics and related marketing measures.

John Smith has been on a “shopping” spree for quite some time

John Smith has been on a “shopping” spree for at least a year. This is indicated by contributions in various English-language dealer forums. Over the past twelve months, online retailers there have repeatedly turned to their colleagues or the operators of the e-commerce platforms they use to find out who John Smith from Mountain View is and why he’s leaving a trail of abandoned shopping carts.

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