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The eBay brand was built before 2000 - just as the Yahoo and Amazon brand was.
Read the history of eBay, small beginnings and crazy profitable growth from a home server.
The point is, by the year 2000 eBay had "people" and at that time they had people that did paid search search - because by now it was a powerhouse that needed to maintain exponential growth.
The fact that eBay was a giant by the year 2000 is the whole point - just because they then employed a load of people to then continue that growth and accelerate that in line with new Internet user growth is irrelevant to the discussion of what built the brand.
You are basing this purely on how much you know they spent on PPC from the year 2000. This was just a shift in spend to a more maturing type of advertising - just because they spent loads on realnames and you were part of that does not discount how big they were before that.
For example, by June 2000 eBay had purchased 5 companies for a combined total of more than $500 million and had been a public company from 1998 - it bought Paypal in 2002 (helps build brand awareness)
If they weren't a brand in the year 2000 at that level in that context on the Internet (in those dot com boom times), then what were they?
Finally, look at the combined PPC spend of all the shopping arbitragers - shopping.com, bizrate/shopzilla etc. that have been plastered over every search engine for the past 10 years (I am sure they spend more combined than eBay) - have any of those built a brand with PPC? Nope, ask any 100 people in the street whether they have heard of eBay or them and they will say EBAY!
So, fine - eBay make profit from PPC using fancy tools and bulk buying of keywords. So do arbitragers - maybe eBay do it better, although I don't believe it was that good as you don't pull your adwords advertising as an "experiment" if you are making a direct ROI do you?
They just didn't build their brand with PPC.
And it isn't even evil - it's just stopping eBay's restrictive practices, now they have no bargaining power.
...before becoming a cheerleader for a dying corporation.
Got my undivided attention. The horror stories I could tell, but shouldn't (won't... as other alternatives to corporate behavior and ass-end BS were addressed). Meanwhile, I do maintain a quasi-reasonable relationship with a company high in users visiting which is also queering all those who make their business work. /end rant
[edited by: tedster at 8:44 pm (utc) on Oct. 12, 2008]
I won't buy anything breakable, valuable or electric - or from a less than perfect seller, as ebay have proved that I cannot trust them to support me, even against a seller who has visibly and brazenly lied in his listings.
As a seller, I've found that where I used to use my sales websites to promote my ebay listings, it's now much wiser and more profitable to use the occasional ebay sale purely as a promotion for my web site sales. Ebay fees make it impossible to sell low-value items at a profit at all, and on higher value items, fakes and rogue sellers undercut so often, that fees get wasted on no-sales.
Whine? Of course I'll whine. Anyone who has anything to do with ebay whines. We are part of the problem, but we cannot be part of the solution, because ebay neither listens to sellers nor cares about buyers. So they are neither trusted nor respected by either side.
I don't particularly want to see ebay die ... but until they improve, I'll rarely use them at all. They seem to me to be a suicidal corporation.
As for 'doing something' - I really cannot imagine what can save them. Can you?
[edited by: Quadrille at 2:31 am (utc) on Oct. 13, 2008]