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First the Cola Wars — Now the Search Engine Wars




Ah the eighties. Remember the good old “cola wars”? Well the marketing war being waged today is far beyond the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Welcome to the search engine wars. The search engine wars, however, have moved past including only the likes of Google, Yahoo! and MSN. The latest saga in the search engine wars involves Google and a non-search engine, Ebay.

Apparently, the ongong feud between Google and Ebay has hit the tipping point, with Ebay announcing today that it has pulled all of its advertising from the Google AdWords program. This action comes after Google threw a party during the Ebay Live conference in Boston earlier this week, possibly in the hopes of luring away customers. The crux of the issue seems to be that Google Checkout directly competes now with Ebay’s Paypal system.

According to an article in the Cleveland Leader, this rift may turn out to be a very expensive temper tantrum for both parties. The paper reports that Ebay ads account for approximately $25 million/year in revenue for Google, and conversely, Ebay certainly drove more purchasers to its site via AdWords, although no estimates were disclosed.

Who really suffers here? Not Google. Not Ebay. Both companies and their strong brands will independently survive this feud. The company that really suffers here is the small business that uses Ebay as a storefront. Those businesses often lack the brand identity and the marketing budget to gain the same level of exposure that they could achieve when Google and Ebay work together. No Ebay ads on Google leads to less Ebay traffic (whatever the amount). Less Ebay traffic means less potential buyers for businesses selling on Ebay. Can’t we all just get along?