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This thread has gained some steam hasnt it!? Some heated discussion too.
Some points I have gained from reading this that I hadn't really thought about previously:
 If someone has a negative experience on e-bay then it directly effects the users' perspective of e-bay.
 If someone has a negative experience through a site they found using google, then 99.9% of the time it will not reflect badly on google
 If someone has a positive experience through E Bay the user will be more inclinded to use E-Bay as a source to find further items in the future
 If someone has a positive experience through a site found using Google, they are more inclined to visit that site directly next time, and not go via google. An interesting anomoly
Nice post this one. Thanks
Like 1milehigh says, to a certain extent Google and Ebay are in the same business (putting customers in touch with businesses), could their relationship be like that of file sharing networks (peer 2 peer vs company hosted).
If I recall correctly, the file sharing networks that actually hosted the files (ie took on the responsibility of them) faced a tough legal time.
The ones that let users share files stored on their own PCs, however, were able (so far) to stay in a grey area - difussion of responsibility - let the users take the risk.
Could Ebay face legal issues in the future that Google will be able to avoid - ie, fraud being committed via their site?
In the UK, pub landlords face fines if customers are caught dealing drugs on the premises. Some websites have also faced closure and penalties due to the content they host.
Could we see a crackdown on services offered by sites as well and perhaps a requirement to regulate it?
Not entirely an unrealistic possiblitly, especially given the scope of large sites.
That's where Ebay would most likely lose out to Google - they have a responsibility to their users, Google do not.
1milehgh80210, Feeback can be faked, and sellers have many, many accounts.
I think the PayPal integration is a big plus over Google, for merchants who may not be able to trade online otherwise, Its an instant shop ..I mean auction :) For customer aquisition I cant fault it.
I used to detest PayPal, username/password etc, for single one/off purchases its terrible but for Ebay its just perfect.
Sold on eBay for 2 1/2 years and was also a buyer. Run an ecommerce website.
When people have bad experiences on eBay, they do tend to associate those experiences with eBay. Not because they don't realize that there is differentiation between sellers, but because eBay is a marketplace. Much in the same way that if I go to one of those food markets where there are many smaller vendors, if I have a few bad experiences with vendors, pretty soon, I don't like that market anymore.
You tend to place a certain level of accountability on the marketplace, whereas you know a search engine is just a search engine.
While eBay does offer some buyer protection programs, such as square trade and their insurance, and the feedback forum, having been through the experience twice (both with high feedback sellers with no negatives or 99.98% positives) I can say that it really doesn't work out as well as a consumer would like. PayPal's buyer protection policy only covers delivery of merchandise, not condition nor misrepresentation. If you use a credit card company's chargeback protection with PayPal, BOOM, account restricted. eBay requires you to wait 30 days post transaction to start the fraud complain process, which, when the clock is ticking, could leave you with even fewer options should they not decide in your favor. After enough experiences with these systems, I prefer to buy from a normal ecommerce website where at least I KNOW I have the credit card issuer's protection.
but I guarantee you that any small business not peddling their wares on Ebay too is missing out on a nice source of profit.
It all depends on what you sell. For many retailers selling new products, they often have controls in pricing, distribution or imposed by the manufacturer that would prevent them from selling on eBay. It's all about what you sell. I think each has it's place. But it depends on the product and the company selling the product. There are always different "channels" for merchandise. And, I'm one of those people that views eBay (from the merchant's perspective) as advertising, nothing more, nothing less. And a merchant would be wise to consider all the available advertising channels and use them appropriately.
....hope my rambling made some sense...