Wasn't That A (Non)Party?

by The Guy June 15th, 2007 

I've been watching with great curiousity the, ummm, tension between Google and ebay with great interest.

Who hasn't?

To wit: Ebay holds annual ebay live convention, Google announces competing party with the unstated goal of having ebay/Paypal users force inclusion of Google Checkout.

Ebay gets, oh, what's the word? PISSED Mildly annoyed. Ebay cancels all paid advertising on Google. How much? In excess of $100 Million annually or about 1% of Google income. Um, ouch.

But here's where it gets interesting.

Ebay traffic fall off? None. In fact, according to an Adage article this morning, ebay traffic actually went up this week. That's easily explained, every media outlet covered the story so ebay is top of mind.

But what's particularly interesting is that according to the same article:

There's been a slight drop-off in the share of eBay's web traffic that comes from Google. According to the data, Google accounted for 10.6% of eBay's online traffic on Tuesday, June 7. A week later, sans AdWords, about 9.86% of eBay's traffic came from Google, an almost 7% drop.

A week ago, eBay accounted for 1.12% of the traffic flowing from Google.com; this Tuesday that dropped 8% to 1.03%.

Significant.

As a diehard organic kind of guy, trying to get across the point that organic results are clicked with a frequency more than 5 times that of paid has been a lot like yelling into the wind. As a speaker at this week's SES Toronto conference, you could see that compelling nugget soar high into the air and land with a gentle thud.

What will be more interesting is to see how Google responds. A significant number of product listings are provided from ebay rankings. And ebay rankings are generally well seeded in organic results.

Can Google afford to risk it's credibility by somehow making those listings disappear?

It would immediately call into question "natural" search, alongside the issues of "paid" which pundits are almost certain to run with for the next few days.

Have a good one.

And pass the popcorn.

~The (SEP) Guy

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