A search for flight results in the syntax of flight from A to B, i.e. fly jfk to sjc returns a Google OneBox result, that by default, links to Expedia but offers links to other travel search engines including CheapTickets, Hotwire, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity.
This is really nothing new, in fact, we wrote about it back in 2006, but a new WebmasterWorld thread is now wondering if Google has a financial agreement with any of these travel search engines, maybe an affiliate agreement?
Besides for Google not labeling the results as paid, nor stringing them through an AdWords URL, it is pretty hard to assume they are paid. The redirect URLs do go through a few parameters that may imply some type of fee structure, as Receptional Andy implies:
- fexp [flights experiment?]
- PLGOOGLECPC [cost per click?]
Should Google clarify if there is any payment going back and forth here. To me, I think it is an unpaid extension of Google's Travel Information OneBox result.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.