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This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37 ( [1] 2 > >     
Google vs eBay as Competitors

 5:19 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)


This seems not to be very accurate about Google.


jeremy goodrich

 5:27 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would say that's a pretty fair comparison, but I would say that Overture is a closer competitor to Ebay than Google.

Think of the product they are rumored to be releasing, that will facilitate tracking & roi monitoring, by including a cookie on the merchant website that will let the merchant AND Overture know how much that click was worth, if they made money or not.

Now, consider that this data - would put overture in a position to change their business model, and the way that they charge their customers - similar to the idea put forth in the article about Google getting in on the acquisition end, or CPA.

That article has it wrong, as far as I know, Overture is already making moves in that direction or is at least, rumored to be doing so. If Google starts doing the same - then yes, the article is spot on.

Marketing Guy

 5:33 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Only skimmed the article, but what interested me was the mention, or rather, the highlighting of the fact that Ebay had a reputable brand.

Yes, Ebay certainly is a well known and well established brand, but reputable?

My impression of the service (only vaguely looked at it from time to time) was that there was a fairly low quality of stuff for sale (look at the websites for sale for instance - bottom of the barrel stuff on the whole).

But in fairness, Google isn't much different for offering bottom of the barrel stuff in highly competitive (read: lucritive) categories...

At least Google are known to making an effort to offer quality - Ebay appear to offer anything and everything without discrimination.

I would suggest that Googles perceived value lies in how it ranks items - it is the perceived value in quality (however justified it may be) that sets it apart from it's competition.

However, Ebays advertising service (eg, "post a project") gives the user the perception that Ebay is offering a service, where Google Adwords are merely feeding an advertisment.

Perhaps in the future, as the value of paid for advertising increases they will be competing, not because they offer the same thing, but because they are competing for the same limited budgets.



 6:22 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

With Ebay it depends on when you look. I bought a real nice 2 word easy to spell domain that was only 2 sylables for $100 on Ebay. With domains on Ebay you just got to check it often. Some real cool deals come up some times. Also on Ebay you can buy anything in any condition good or bad. They are reputable. I have sold and bought a ton of stuff off of there. I actually made a living selling stuff on there for about a year.


 6:47 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Interesting article, however for ebay to truly compete with google, they will have to attract service oriented businesses as well, not just retailers...

jeremy goodrich

 7:19 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

They already have services at Ebay -> consider their parternship with Elance for web related services.


 7:40 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

The article is flawed as most goods or merchants never touch a cheap bazaar like eBay. Google is on a different plateu altogether serving the niche marketplaces/advertisers. I do not even understand how eBay of all has become a reputable brand. I have never met a guy/gal who admits that a purchase has been made on eBay yet;).

eBay is just a well connected flea bazaar!


 8:02 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I saw Ebay's honcho in charge of online advertising, and a speaker from Google today. Ebay is buying over a million keywords, and the honcho said that they are working with Google to develop software for delivering their data in an xml feed.

Clearly Google and eBay are partners, not competitors and I don't think Google would be working so closely with them if they had a feeling eBay would turn on them.

eBay is such a posterboy for adwords that they were invited to speak today at the ad:tech conference in San Francisco.


 9:29 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> Ebay is buying over a million keywords

I am not sure how efficient that will be in terms of calculating the ROI


 10:24 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I believe this article is just a load of misinformed rubbish!

eBay aren't buying all their advertising on the web, it's being done mostly on their behalf by their very many affiliates.

Neither are they competing with Google, a vast amount of websites in the SERPS (including my own) have a page that points to eBay auctions and shops where the sales actually take place. This leaves the websites free to be more informative and less of a shop themselves. It also leaves the casual browser or those just seeking info free from the pressure to buy unless they choose to.

I would also disagree with those that dispute that eBay has a reputable brand. I have sold on eBay as my main source of income for over 3 years (2,500 items!) and my customers consider it most reputable. Admittedly there are shady areas such as electronics and computers but that's why the eBay feedback system exists and those buyers that are foolish enough not to factor in the feedback before making a decision to purchase are usually those that are taken in by misleading advertisements on web sites as well.

I've seen websites that sell things that have no buyer protection such as eBay's 'Square Trade', No feedback system to see how other buyers have fared and No dispute resolution service. How am I to know if they are reputable?
Google certainly does not offer any protection for buyers using the online shops it lists.

There are a lot of professional sellers on eBay and a lot of amateurs with the cheap bazaar look. Ditto there are a lot of professional sellers on the web and a lot of amateurs with the cheap bazaar look. The discerning buyer will come back to those that offer a quality service combined with quality products whether on eBay or the web.


 10:48 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

eBay aren't buying all their advertising on the web, it's being done mostly on their behalf by their very many affiliates.

There may be affiliates doing adwords- but today I was in the same room with the guy in charge of eBay's Google buys. They are purchasing a huge amount of ads.

Not thousands, not hundreds of thousands... He said over a million keywords. eBay's project is so big that Google is working with them to develop a process to accomodate their scale.

I admit that a million is a lot of words, and it boggles my mind that they could find that many words. But that's what I heard this morning.


 11:01 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

The idea that Ebay is just used stuff or the "bottom of the barrel" is way off the mark. Tons of companies use Ebay as a sales venue for the same stuff they also sell through regular retail outlets. IBM even has an Ebay store. Just like airline tickets, most retail products are sold according to what people are willing to pay in that particular market. Ebay is a bucketshop for stuff in the way that Priceline is one for airline tix.


 11:26 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks martinibuster for clarifying that info. I'm actually glad that eBay itself is buying keywords as it means that my wares on eBay might get even more exposure as a result.

Incidentally the article's statement that "EBay treats everyone the same so that no vendor has priority over another." is another example of how little those that don't use eBay know about it. If I want to promote an item over a competitor's identical item then I simply pay for more extra promotional features on my eBay listing i.e Bold, Highlight, Gallery Photo, Featured Gallery entry etc.

Another important aspect of eBay sales is that there are already a huge amount of buyers who regularly visit the site and who do not arrive via search engines. As a result sales are not impacted as greatly by variations in the SERPS. As I have noticed during 'Dominic'. It's another way to not put all your eggs in one basket.

By the way 'Used' should not always be considered a derogatory term. Antiques and collectibles are often 'very used' but they can also be 'very profitable' if one is knowledgeable about them.


 12:56 am on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

lol, off topic, was just looking on ebay at domains some guy reckons that lookingforgolf .co.uk is worth 100,000, and is selling it for 25,000 rofl!


 2:35 am on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am sure eBay stuff is what priceline is for airline tix. Neither of these companies are reputable brands rather they symbolize cheap/bargain bottom floor mind set.

I can also see some good companies like IBM or DELL selling of their EXCESS invenory or refurbished models on eBay .. But I don't think any reputable company with a good brand jeopardizes their brand by selling top of the line wares on a shop like eBay.

That being said eBay is a great company serving a great many users and sellers and making a great profit at it.

Marketing Guy

 9:08 am on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have sold on eBay as my main source of income for over 3 years (2,500 items!) and my customers consider it most reputable.

Im sure there are many people like yourself, and I dont dispute that the service works for some people. But like Google, there are certain areas that the results are not good (eg, more fraud, scams, etc). Whereas Google only points people in the right direction, Ebay is the mechanism by which people have negative experiences, therefore has a larger negative impact on their image.

There are a lot of professional sellers on eBay and a lot of amateurs with the cheap bazaar look. Ditto there are a lot of professional sellers on the web and a lot of amateurs with the cheap bazaar look. The discerning buyer will come back to those that offer a quality service combined with quality products whether on eBay or the web.

Again true.

But, the independent sites with the cheap bazaar look dont fall under the one brand. The sellers on Ebay with bad reputations pass that bad rep back onto Ebay.

A customer gets scammed on a website, then they are unlikely to go back - doesnt matter if the site is a cheap bazaar or Ebay.

The idea that Ebay is just used stuff or the "bottom of the barrel" is way off the mark.

Like I said, that was just my impression of Ebay from a limited experience viewing some stuff that interested me. Who knows - I may be the only person on the planet that thinks of Ebay that way?

But I don't think any reputable company with a good brand jeopardizes their brand by selling top of the line wares on a shop like eBay.

Exactly - companies will happily go there to sell stuff if it makes them money - business is business.

But I don't think we will ever see IBM announce that Ebay is the sole distributor of their products. ;)



 5:19 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

przero2: wow I can see why you are a PR 0....haha just kidding.

You are totally wrong - do any of you Ebay bashers actually buy or sell on Ebay? Or Priceline? I fly Priceline all of the time, since a 1 to 3 day advance ticket will run you well over $1000 otherwise. Delta and American Airlines were my last 2 "brands" - bottom of the barrel here in the U.S. is more like AirTran (formerly Valujet).

I think those of you given to these weird Ebay stereotypes just aren't doing retail business online - otherwise you'd see how valuable (and as far as the net goes, reputable as well) Ebay is.

IBM may be selling returns and overstocks on Ebay, which perhaps fits your "bottom of the barrel" theories - but what about Range Rover dealerships selling on Ebay? Found one for just over 58K w/ 20 bids just today, direct from the dealer.

Por favor just read up a little before penning your posts.


 5:36 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Stace,
I've had the pleasure of meeting przero2 and I can tell you he's a very intelligent person who knows what's going on; I respect his opinion.

Now, I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm not saying you're right either. Whether ebay is reputable etcetera is a matter of opinion and neither side is right- or wrong.

Saying things like "You are totally wrong" is too absolute, and there are very few things in this world that are absolute.

More often than not there is wiggle room for divergent opinions.

Marketing Guy

 6:05 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Stace, perhaps my Ebay bashing in my original post was to extreme.

What i was trying to point was the "one bad apple" effect scammers have on Ebay's reputation. Google does not have that problem to the same extent, as all Google does is point people in the right direction - Ebay offers people stuff on a plate.

Thus, any negative publicity caused by a single seller on Ebay, effects the whole brand.

And with all due respect, my personal opinion on the matter is neither right or wrong, it simply just is.



 6:49 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok I agree that everybody is entitled to their opinion - but my point is that you can't say your point of view represents the state of things, or the overall reputation of a company like Ebay. They have done wonders for small businesses - given people a great way to market not just their products but their actual businesses online - as Ebay also generates highly qualified traffic for 3rd party websites. And to lump Ebay and Priceline into some kind of 3rd rate category, when in actuality there is an incredible range of top notch goods available at lower prices - is a mistake. That was my point. Not trying to fight w/ anybody so sorry if my posts came across as argumentative (ran out of sugar for my coffee so my mood could be better!)

Sure you occasionally take a chance on Ebay - like I would never again buy designer makeup there - as I got some nasty watered down Lancome a while back. But I buy everything from office supplies to computer parts, as well as selling 10 to 15 products a week (brand new) - at only slightly lower prices than on my websites. And compared to "real world" sales - after Borders bookstore et al gets their chunk, I still making nearly twice as much money on Ebay for the same items by going direct to the consumer. Many other small publishers, software, and hardware companies have found the same thing. Sure they may not put their name on their Ebay page - but I guarantee you that any small business not peddling their wares on Ebay too is missing out on a nice source of profit.

Ebay customers are by and large some of my best as well. Many have continued to buy new products as they've come out, as well as telling their friends about the "great deal" they think they got, how great an experience they had, etc. I think it might be because the average Ebayer is a little more resourceful and probably even a little brighter than the average customer (total generalization but probably true - as there are still many technically challenged people who don't even know what Amazon.com is). And NO I'm not on the Ebay payroll! I'm simply a big fan because of all the cash and great customers they have brought my way.


 7:32 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

PR has nothing to do with this thread:). any way how do you know I am not a PR Ten in the real world!.

I reiterate what I said .. "eBay is a great company serving a great many users and sellers and making a great profit at it."

That being said, eBay to me represents a cheap bazaar, a flea market. And I cannot associate it with a reputable brand.

Google on the other side of the pendulum is a great brand.
It pains me to see Google being compared to eBay EXCEPT may be for marcap considerations when Google goes IPO.

And of course the original article that started this thread is flawed and the author is pretty much clueless in my opinion.


 7:45 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok so maybe we are at a stalemate...but how is Google so much more reputable - I mean they are making a buck any way they can these days (I have no problem with this and have run an Adwords campaign since they began running them). Does anybody know the revenue comparisons for the 2 companies? I tend to view "reputation" based on what they've achieved in their respective field. Certainly Google and Ebay are 2 of the powerhouses of the net, I just don't see how one is inherently better or more prestigious than the other. They are different animals - but surely Google would love a piece of the Ebay action. There are quite a few auction sites that have failed miserably in recent years, as well as auction portions of mainstream retailers, mainly in the computer field. Ebay blew them all out of the water. From a business person's perspective it's a bit like Microsoft's slogan...but more like "what are you gonna do for me today?"


 9:39 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

A simple look at eBay's marcap could convince anyone how successful this company has been in its niche!. eBay has been first to the market in offering US wide (may be other countries too) flea/bargain market and has done it quite successfully. Does that mean "eBay" is reputable brand?. I think not and some seem to think yes!.

One other thing I think worth mentioning here is Google is a global brand. When I traveled far east recently, I could meet many computer/tech savvy internet surfers who know/use Google without having ever heard of eBay?

Marketing Guy

 10:06 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

True, Google are delving into commercialisation more and more these days, but it's the way they are going about it that set's them apart from Ebay.

Google built a great product and continued to develop it with (arguably) great support.

It begins and ends there for Google - anything they add merely makes use of that solid foundation.

Ebay on the other hand, while they have no doubt created a technically great site (well, number of sites) and service, it is based on business - other people's business.

And other people are not always reliable.

So the foundation that Ebay have isn't so strong - as many visitors as they get, a few bad sellers and their reputation hits the deck.

Perhaps though, it's like comparing apples and oranges - they each have an established reputation - the strength of which lies in their own unique business models.

All I'm saying is that IMHO, Google has a very robust reputation, and Ebay's is comparitively fragile.



 10:57 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am afraid I detect a certain degree of snobbishness in some of the demeaning descriptions of eBay in this thread. It's very lucky that Sotheby's, the world's oldest fine arts auctioneer, didn't have that attitude when their own online business failed and as a result they turned to eBay to run their new site. Which incidentally, has brought more customers to Sotheby's and more expensive art to eBay.


 11:26 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

as Walthamstow points out, Ebay is not just a "flea" market. I also don't see the company's reputation as tied to a few bad sellers. Millions of people buy through Ebay and realize that the website is just a facilitator. The same millions of people may be using Google to search each day, but they aren't exactly pulling out their Visa cards and entrusting them to Google. Ebay's move to buy Paypal was a great one, and shows how ahead of the game they are. And when people buy through Ebay they are giving the site a vote of confidence - it's the buyer protections, payment system (mainly Paypal), and feedback system that make the whole thing work.


 11:27 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would like to thank those of you who from personal experience felt it valuable to praise the ebay service .. I have neglected looking at this venue (I've thought it a little low end, I was too judgmental), and I see now that I really should explore the possibilities here

nothing like personal testimonials to inspire confidence, and some of your bread upon the waters made it to the other shore :)


 12:40 am on Jun 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

eBay is the world's largest flea market IMHO - what else is it?

Blue Gravity

 1:00 am on Jun 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Really good article!


 3:43 am on Jun 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Since e-bay,& to an extent,google are both in the business if uniting buyer and seller, I was wondering if google has ever pulled a website for business (i.e.fraud)issues?
Fraud exists in auction buying,but e-bay takes steps to combat it like feedback stats, escrow payment, pulling bad sellers etc.

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