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Calling Out eBay’s "Experiment" with Google AdWords



eBay is back advertising on Google’s AdWords network, after completing what it called a planned “experiment” to go one week without relying on Google. (In case you need a refresher, eBay yanked all of their advertising on AdWords, after Google tried to hold a private party at eBay’s annual conference.)

EBay executives have insisted that pulling ads off Google was in the works for months, but it came just as Google was planning “Let Freedom Ring” — a reference to the fact that San Jose-based eBay, which owns transaction service PayPal, does not allow rival Google Checkout as a payment method.

As Travelocity’s traveling gnome would say “bullhonkery!”

I find it extremely hard to believe that the only way eBay could test the value of Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com’s advertising networks, was to go cold-turkey on Google? What, they don’t have a web analytics package that tells them exactly what they earn from Google, compared to other networks? What, they couldn’t afford to simply increase their spending with the others, and maintain AdWords, for just one week?

I don’t doubt that eBay had plans to test the impact of increasing ad spending on other networks, but pulling their spending at Google was simple retaliation and a chance to give the search engine a bloody nose (something few companies are capable of doing).

Anyway, back to eBay’s little experiment. What did they learn?

EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said the experiment proved that eBay didn’t need to spend as much on Google ads, which generally run to the right of Google’s regular search results.

Durzy wouldn’t provide dollar or percentage figures but said that eBay’s pullback from AdWords in the United States would be “significant.”

“Overall the takeaway for us was that we weren’t as dependent on AdWords as some out there may have thought,” Durzy said.

Cool, maybe they’ve finally figured out that bidding on “dead pets”, and other nonsense keywords, is just a waste of money.

  • http://www.stephanmiller.com Stephan Miller

    It’s funny, because right before that, Ebay banned its affiliates from sending hits directly from Adwords ads to Ebay. I’ll have to check if that ban is still on.

  • http://www.linkworth.com Jeremy Luebke

    I’ve never been a fan of slash and burn ppc marketing. When you sell as much as ebay does, I guess it’s easier just to bid on everything though.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    This was obviously less about an experiment and more about the ongoing grudge between Google and eBay. If they learned something great, but did they learn how to better manage an AdWords account or did they learn that pulling 100% of their advertising from Google wasn’t such a great idea.

    I guess now it’s Google’s turn to retaliate. Any bets on what they’ll do?

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    They probably learned they were bidding on garbage and pulling the ads didnt effect sales. Hey eBay I can manage that AdWords account better than whoever is doing it, lol.

  • http://www.lyricsrec.com/lyrics/i.php Sam Young

    Google & eBay Partner for ‘Click to Call’ The WSJ (sub req’d) and NY Times … The power of “the market” seems to have won out, however, over eBay’s desire.

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