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Wed Sept 24 2008 22:48:05

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

By: Ina Steiner

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Late last week I noticed Google was not bringing back eBay items on the first page of search results for some of my searches. I did some testing and am publishing my results in the AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter on Thursday.

What I liked about this project was the transparency - anyone can go to Google and conduct the same searches and can expand on what I did. They can also test to see how their listings perform, and see exactly which websites are coming up in searches for various keywords.

Sellers with eBay Stores can check their traffic reports to monitor referrals, and see if there are swings in traffic coming from various sources. If anyone can plot the changes over time, please share what you're seeing.

I recommend sellers with their own websites be sure and optimize them for Google Base. As Google serves up listings through its Google Product Search feature, it may be deemphasizing marketplace listings. And if I learn anything more from Google, I'll post an update.

Here's the link to the Newsflash article, eBay Loses Mojo on Google Search.

Update 9/25/08: In the accompanying article, I mentioned a reader was going to share her eBay Store traffic data. This chart shows her September 2007 and September 2008 Search Engine referrals. One thing to note - she doubled her inventory and added variety in 2008.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Gail

Thu Sep 25 11:22:21 2008

I am an ebay seller (slowly working my way to be an ecrater seller instead) and I have noticed that my sales have dropped 50% since Sept 15. Even though I routinely do Google Base Store uploads, for the last week I haven't gotten but one store referral fee credit for a buyer coming in through Google. I had assumed this was all due to ebays new way of doing searches. I'm a disabled seller and only have do much time so I haven't spent hours researching the problem, I've been more focused n finding a solution to ebay and it's mess.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Jay

Thu Sep 25 11:44:31 2008

YEAH!  Over the last couple of years I had gotten soooo tired of eBay spamming Google listings.  I could search for ''used wet dirty smelly dog hair'' and there would be plenty of Google eBay hits offering to sell me exactly that.   It was obvious that much of the eBay hits on Google were manufactured junk hits.

To me, what this points out is that one or more of the following is true:

a) Google has decided to stop being eBay's lap dog.  In which case one has to ask oneself.... WHY?  Are we soon to see Google Auctions?

b) Google has decided to stop accepting eBay's ''compensation'' for high placement.  Did we REALLY think that all those near-top-of-first-page hits were valid.  In which case, we have to ask ourselves why Google was accepting ''compensation'' to start with and/or thank them for cleaning up their own act.  Remember, Google is supposed to be a ''Do No Evil'' company.

c) eBay has decided to stop giving ''compensation'' for placement.  eBay has a long history of not caring about the sellers, so what better way to increase quarterly profits than eliminating ''compensation'' to Google.

d) eBay has screwed up its page construction (imagine that!) or Google has screwed up its parsing engine (highly unlikely, but not impossible).

e) eBay and Google have gotten into a ---ing match over something. eBay is much too hard-headed to ever win such a contest, particularly since Google really does not need eBay.  eBay needs Google, whether they will ever realize it or not.

I think that 'e' is the most likely explanation. However, I also think that 'a' IS happening.  I will not be at all surprised to see Google Auctions within two years.  Just watch and wait.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Chuck

Thu Sep 25 12:27:08 2008

This is good, Their are so many scammers and counterfeit items on ebay giving them a lower rank protects buyers from fraud and cheap knock-offs.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: TekGems

Thu Sep 25 12:30:27 2008

eBay has a difficult time managing its content because of the new listings. But even with parts of the site they can control, they really messed up.

First, take eBay Stores Anchor as an example. It used to be that if you were an Anchor or even featured store, you would get extremely good PageRank for it. But eBay decided to which their navigation menu and it completely removed any search engine benefit from being an Anchor store. Its really a shame that the design team does not work with the SEO team to measure what kind of impact would have on search engine visibility.

Second would be to favor GTC over FP30 or FP7 when telling Google which pages eBay wants in the Google index.

Lastly, if an item is listed from eBay France, only let those pages be indexed for eBay.com.fr and not the other satellite sites. This way, a buyer looking for something will click-through to the correct site.

Its really basic stuff, but I think eBay does not have a clue.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: ricroe

Thu Sep 25 12:31:48 2008

I bet there are a number of factors to explain eBays poor showing in Google search results.

1) Seller exodus means fewer sellers using AdWord program thus reducing eBay listing visibility.

2) Buyers that stopped responding when eBay results were displayed lowered the eBay rankings. As eBay dropped in relevance, the engine reprioritized eBay listing visibility.

3) Ebay's decision to break its affiliate deals and terminate so many affiliates has had a serious negative impact.

4) Maybe Google has reworked their algorithms to disadvantage eBay in search results in much the same way eBay has disadvantaged targeted sellers on their own platform.

This is a cascading long term impact of the negativity that has resulted since the many policy and system changes at eBay.

Mr Donahoe will continue to see the unintended consequences of his failed leadership as changes continue to convince sellers that migration is the key to survival, and buyers follow sellers to new venues.


Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: The Graduate

Thu Sep 25 12:36:25 2008

@Loops

''As a CEO of Ebay I would think my job was to generate the most amount of traffic to the Ebay Venue.''


Hahahah.  As the CEO of another company you would do that because it serves your customers (the sellers).
But as the CEO of eBay your job would be to cut the customer down at the knees, disadvantage them in every manner possible, charge them for it, and claim that you're providing a ''better buyer experience''.  Because in the eyes of eBay, sellers are merely a necessary evil (a kind of useful enemy).
Of course the eyes of eBay are short-sighted and self-serving.

So you apparently care way too much for your customers to ever be the CEO of eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Frank Newman

Thu Sep 25 12:41:31 2008

google put together a marketplace and aucion research development team when they developed google checkout a couple years ago. This summer google employees  have approached several dealers/buyers at the roadium and other important so cal dealer oriented markets. they asked them to fill out questionaires on their ebay, paypal and online experiences.  (also reimbursed them for the time in typical google fashion)  
hopefully not showing ebay auctions in their search is a pre-cursor to them  finally pulling the trigger! google would destroy eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: ss

Thu Sep 25 13:00:44 2008

Did it take a Nuclear scientist to figure that out. Been known for weeks that it has been happening. WHY IS ANYONE SURPRISED. The best is yet to come.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: concho

Thu Sep 25 13:42:37 2008

What a relief for the large number of us who are sick of ebay links cluttering the search results.

Before eBay was so trendy, you could search for "fix my lawnmower" and find a dozen sites to help you troubleshoot a reluctant mower.

The past few years that has been impossible as eBay either purchased every stinking keyword or google indexed every single reference to lawnmower on eBay. I finally figured out how neg ebay out of the results but I bet there are plenty of google users who just grimace and accept it like a TV commercial.

I'd be happiest if eBay would just go away and google would put up a PBS version.

The economists I've read suggest America (because of scarce money) will finally move away from  super-consumption and back toward productivity and ingenuity. I can't wait!

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: The Graduate

Thu Sep 25 13:50:14 2008

@ Gary G.

''WHat's the point? I may as well just open up my own site to get that kind of lousy search placement... ''


Why on earth don't you have your own site?!
You have every reason to build it.  

The days of depending on eBay for sales are over.
Again:
The days of depending on eBay for sales are over.

And as far as lousy placement goes, many free shopping cart programs have SEO functions that would get you better placement.

EBay's greatest function has always been as a middleman.  For a 15% cut of the sale they will gladly shelter you from your customers.  For a few advertising dollars they will convince you that their ads will get you more customers than you can gain on your own (so you can sell the items that earn them 15%).  For a monthly fee they will provide you with a ''store'' that gets no traffic (but should a sale actually happen, they get 15% of it).  And of course they will do everything they can to get your sales to go through their payment system, PayPal, while trying to convince you that it is ''easier and safer'' (for whom?), while getting another cut of the sale, of course.

How much longer will you give eBay the power that you should be exercising on your own?  When their cut goes to 25%, 35%, 50%?  If they could, they would take 100% and charge you for it on top of that!

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: The Graduate

Thu Sep 25 14:03:59 2008

@Frank Newman
Thu Sep 25 12:41:31 2008
''google put together a marketplace and aucion research development team when they developed google checkout a couple years ago. This summer google employees  have approached several dealers/buyers at the roadium and other important so cal dealer oriented markets. they asked them to fill out questionaires on their ebay, paypal and online experiences.  (also reimbursed them for the time in typical google fashion)  
hopefully not showing ebay auctions in their search is a pre-cursor to them  finally pulling the trigger! google would destroy eBay. ''


That is such great news to hear.  In my discussions with other dealers I have heard an almost unanimous disgust with eBay and an equal willingness to jump the eBay platform for another who could provide good traffic to listings.

There are at least a couple of petitions circulating begging Google to create a similar sales site that could compete with eBay (or replace eBay).
Check the PowerSellersUnite site for that.

The day Google creates an auction/sales site like eBay is the day everything gets put on hold for me to make the transfer and even add more merchandise.

In the meantime I'm doing what I can to get away from eBay by using other sites like eBid, OLA, eCrater, and by constantly improving and promoting my own web site

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: vlad

Thu Sep 25 16:06:37 2008

Google is taking on eBay and Amazon trying to get a share in e-commerce. I am working on my own web store. Google promises to help you with traffic if you get under google's umbrella. They are very nice to you and helpful if you are with them.

I hate eBay. Amazon o'k. Google great.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: zeak

Thu Sep 25 17:14:42 2008

my google searches have gone up by 2% year to date and month to date so like everything else in life there are variations unless you have a huge group of data this is all irelevant. its like the people griping everyday on the boards that their sales are tanking. its a snap shot and nothing more.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: zeak

Thu Sep 25 17:16:35 2008

p.s. were talking about google search when we should be talking about the radical changes to the uk site today.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Fri Sep 26 21:25:47 2008

I agree 100% with ricroe's assessment. I just call it karma. Ebay dosen't deserve any more attention to themselves than that.

I was happy to see TIA's coming up for collectibles! I would hope Worthpoint and GoAntiques will follow and start showing up more often soon..

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Don

Fri Sep 26 22:00:45 2008

Isn't that to bad!  I don't use Amazon but ebay!  I hope this is just the beginning for them.  They deserve a couple (scratch couple) few dozen lessons.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Mechelle

Mon Sep 29 00:21:49 2008

I was at my sisters tonight and decided to run a search from her house not signed in - to see how it is looking. Well, it appears eBay has applied the recently sold filter to store search too.

I knew when they first announced the "70%" reduction in fees - fixed 30days that they were intent on forcing store sellers to list all of their items in the fixed 30 for 35 cents instead of my 3 cent store listing fee. Considering the FVF is the same as my store I didn't and don't see the point in increasing my fees by over 300 dollars a month while still having to contend with the idiotic best match sort.

So my sells have been really low since they launched the new search on the 16th and at the same time crashed Google (which I now believe was intentional) so they are screwing me on the store search returns. Prior to the new F'em Over sort there are a few categories that I have the most listings out of the other sellers in those categories so my listings were throughout the entire search results. Not anymore - other than 3 items I have sold in the past week none of my items were shown until page 8 of course at that point they were practically filling the pages.

This new scheme is geared to force me and any other seller that didn't want to increase their fees insanely, to list in the fixed 30. I believe they have deliberately shut Google out to pressure us further.

Economic coercion

Economic coercion is when a controller of a vital resource uses his advantage to compel a person to do something he would not do if this resource were not monopolized. If someone is the owner of the only water supply, then the owner can compel the thirsty person to pay an exhorbitant price for that water or have him perform enormous labor. This is also referred to as a form of exploitation. It has been argued that as the global economy has expanded greatly in scope, economic coercion has replaced other forms of coercion such as coercion involving physical or military force. [1]

Economic coercion requires market power. In the above example, the coercer's refusal to supply the coercee would be meaningless if the coercee had access to other independent sources of supply. But the coercer can turn his conditional refusal into a vital threat only because of his coercive monopoly over an essential resource, with no other substitutes. In a competitive marketplace, the possibility of economic coercion is much reduced as suppliers are compelled by competition to accept less money or labor for their goods. The potential for economic coercion is one objection to using markets for organ transplants. [2]

An analogous result can also be obtained through pure monopsony power (where there is only one buyer as opposed to one seller in a monopoly). To reverse the above example, suppose that there are numerous independent suppliers of water, who sell it at a competition market price. If someone can only sell potatoes (to get money to buy water), and there is only one potato buyer he can sell to, then the buyer's simple conditional refusal to buy his potatoes would be a death threat, just as before.

The idea that monopoly control may facilitate coercion has been underlined by some business ethicists and economists. It shows that in some cases the social effects of market power goes beyond those on economic distribution and efficiency (economics).

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Phillip

Mon Sep 29 12:23:34 2008

Ebay is dying a sure death!  The geniuses in California have killed the golden egg laying goose!  I was a gold powerseller selling men's shoes.  I sold over $350k worth of shoes and had a great feedback record.  With every "improvement," Ebay continually stuck it to the seller.  I told each account manager (they have problems keeping them) that Ebay was siding with the wrong people and they, without hesitation, would spout the Ebay corporate line..."without buyers there's no sellers."  I always responded, "without sellers there's no Ebay."  I was right, they were wrong.  I closed my ebay business and went back into the work force.  I haven't missed ebay or demanding customers who want something for nothing.  Ebay let scamming customers hold us hostage and they always sided with the buyer.  Screw Meg Whitman and screw Ebay.  May they all burn in hell!  

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Katiyana

Thu Oct 2 12:04:52 2008

The seller whose example is shown had an enormous increase in traffic.  Her raw Google number actually increased from 129 to 175.  They had a very signicant increase in eBay sourced traffic going from 211 to 921, so while Google traffic increased, it's percentage of TOTAL traffic decreased because eBay traffic increased so much...

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