Oh no they didn't!*
Like Google, Amazon and ALL the survivors and thrivers of the 2001 bubble, eBay grew by what tends to get called viral, but was actually plain old fashioned word-of-mouth.
They moved into paid search AFTER they built the brand, and BEFORE they started destroying the business.
It's behind you!*
Ebay's boom years are indeed behind them, and getting back into bed with Google (after all they've said!), is just one more sign of their increasing desperation. Indeed, if eBay survive, it'll be because the economic situation drives people to them, not because they deserve to!
*Apologies to non-Brits who don't understand these comments; in England, it's almost pantomime season! (And for eBay, it IS pantomime season!)
[edited by: Quadrille at 6:22 pm (utc) on Oct. 8, 2008]