Google vs. eBay: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

As many of you know, Google and eBay are not on the best of terms right now. At the recent eBay Live event in Boston, some Googlers tried to crash eBay’s party by holding their own Google Checkout Freedom Party to persuade Paypal users to switch to Google Checkout. (The party was since cancelled.) However, the damage was done. eBay pulled its Google ads on AdWords, which resulted in losses for Google of $26 million monthly (or $312 million annually).

Truthfully, the situation is a mess. As many people said, it was very unprofessional of Google to hold their own party in the vicinity of the competition.

The google protest party is in pretty bad taste. Very unlike them..

Google was doing just fine with eBay’s competition. eBay was doing just fine without Google’s competition. All in all, they coexisted and the world was a happy place.

And then this happened.

But what about its aftermath? After eBay had its rift with Google, its traffic actually went up. Bill Tancer of Hitwise confirms this fact, but then says something rather substantial:

25% of eBays search traffic from Google (and thats just the top 5 words) comes from brand, domain or navigational searches for eBay (e.g. “ebay,” “ebay.com” “www.ebay.com”).

That brand awareness is huge for eBay. Not every web surfer knows how to access to any desired website and use search engines as the middle man. So what would happen if Google delisted eBay in the organic results completely? (Ignore the question about this affecting user experience and relevancy for a moment.)

eBay owes a lot to Google. Google owes a lot to eBay. Let’s move on, get along, and acknowledge that we’re competitors, but we’re both in this together.

5 Comments

  • Boo hoo is what I say.

    A pox on both of them.

    There is altogether too much money and too much ego in both camps.
    They are perfect for each other.

  • Ego: I can see that.

    Money: they’re both delivering solid products.

    I use both religiously. :)

    I don’t think the catfight is necessary though. It was highly unprofessional of both sides.

  • Vince Teoh says:

    I consider eBay as the last stronghold of internet. If Google overthrow eBay then it’s a sign that their domination is complete.

  • You might be right. Paypal boasts over 100 million subscribers, myself included. I don’t use Google Checkout. I don’t think I’d want to see eBay be obliterated by Google.

  • Tom Wilson says:

    Good post, I believe that Ebay might be moving away from using adwords, and trying to jump into organic search results. Getting users that natural way is a whole lot cheaper than adwords campaigns, and usually delivers spot on traffic. Look at amazon, if you search for a product, 9 times out of 10 the product shows up in amazon, and since the searcher is looking for that specific product, hence why they searched for it, this would lead to a huge conversion ratio for amazon. Ebay is starting to pump up it’s reviews section which is moving towards being listed organically in Google SERP’s. I have more information on a post here EBay Product Reviews Taking Back SERP’s

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