Internet auction site eBay has decided to pull all their US search ads from Google, a shocking move by one of the company’s largest AdWords clients. The move is a response to Google’s planned disruption of ‘eBay Live’ an annual event for eBay sellers.
The partnership between Google and eBay has been on the rocks since the launch of Google Checkout, an online payment system that directly competes with eBay’s PayPal. Tensions reached boiling point early last week when Google planned a “Let Freedom Ring” party on the same day as eBay Live, the premier annual event for eBay sellers. Reporters are calling the Google party a ‘guerilla marketing tactic’ aimed at building support to encourage eBay to make Google Checkout available.
However, the unusual move by Google backfired when eBay decided to pull all their search ads from Google’s US search engine. eBay is one of Google’s largest AdWords clients bidding on thousands of words such as ‘ipod’, ‘shoes’ ‘dvd’ and more. The timing of the move has left many wondering if this is the end for the Google eBay partnership, but eBay spokesperson Catherine England says this is simply not the case,
“The reality is, this is something we do all the time. We always experiment with our marketing mix on eBay. We turned off our advertising through AdWords to see how it affects that.”
Google apologized by canceling the event last Wednesday, from the Google checkout blog:
“After speaking with officials at eBay, we at Google agreed that it was better for us not to feature this event during the eBay Live conference.”
While Google’s aggressive marketing may have ruffled a few feathers at eBay, I expect the auction giant to resume ads on Google shortly. After all, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship for both companies. Google gets the money while eBay gets a lot of traffic.