Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Nov 24 2013 14:04:01

Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace

By: Ina Steiner

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Every so often, the idea of Google becoming a marketplace is floated out there by reporters or analysts, and occasionally Google comments. In a recent interview, Google executive Sridhar Ramaswamy (SVP of Ads and Commerce) responded to a question about when the company would launch its own ecommerce marketplace.

Ramaswamy said Google stresses the fact with large merchants that it is a joint consumer relationship - the customer is co-owned by the retailer and Google.

"We're not in this to build a blind marketplace where they don't know anything about what's going on. They care about their brand and their relationship with the consumer. And we're working with them to enable a better ecommerce experience, whether it's GSX (Google Shopping Express), whether it's done on the phone or desktop. When you start with those principles, you're much more likely to have a productive relationship with them."

(That sounds a lot like eBay-talk these days.)

Ramaswamy said Google is tasked with delivering leads and limiting friction for merchants, and at Google, they ask themselves, ""Rather than building a marketplace, how do we grow local shopping? How do we deliver more consumers to stores?" I see lot of value in making commerce, on a very large scale, as frictionless as possible, rather than obsessing about things such as "Google needs to have a marketplace.""

There are two things this AllThingsD article reinforces in my view:

1) The changing focus of online marketplaces from offering a peer-to-peer experience to hosting large retailer and brands. eBay is spending much of its marketing efforts on promoting large retailers and brands and is purging small sellers. Amazon encourages smaller sellers to use FBA so it can control the experience - and it limits collectibles to authenticated items from a relatively small number of sellers, for example. And now Google is saying it doesn't want an eBay-like "blind" marketplace and is also working closely with large merchants.

2) The possible sharing of proprietary data with marketplaces themselves and with their favorite merchants. Sellers have long called on Google to launch a marketplace - but does Google already know too much about your online business? There's a lot of discussion in the industry about Amazon taking advantage of the data it obtains about third-party sellers' transactions to then compete with them - but couldn't Google also use such data and share it with large merchants? And eBay too, for that matter?

How can marketplaces offer a trusted shopping environment for customers when allowing almost anyone to sell there?

How do you keep your transaction data proprietary?

And which company would you like to see succeed as a marketplace open to sellers of all sizes?

Let us know what you think!




Comments (24) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace   Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 24 17:10:46 2013

I still do not understand ebay CEO John Donahoe's mindset in wanting to rid ebay of the small sellers and transform it into a place for big box retailers. I see it as the single most economically devastating move for small individual sellers and ebay has resorted to illegal actions and contractual breaches over the past 5 years since Donahoe took over as CEO. I am also still amazed and shocked that outside governmental regulatory agencies have seemingly turned a blind eye to ebay's "above the law' activities.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Nov 24 23:46:23 2013

It is like most anything else in life.  Forgetting, ignoring or trying to destroy your roots will most certainly lead to damaging yourself.

Ebay is trying to distance itself from its roots.  I think management would rewrite history if they could.  

It is a very bad and sad thing to forget or deny where we came from.

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by: rachel This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 24 23:46:41 2013

I would like to see a new marketplace. You can't trust Google, eBay or Amazon. Amazon is like Walmart in many ways people like to have jobs in a recession at the warehouses but it sucks so turnover is high. Google is not the same google that was cool like wikipedia, it's all about shopping, adwords, thinking they are the greatest, making their employees barf- it's like a dynasty of sorts only la creme de la creme as in Ivy League. Jobs, Gates, Ellison need not apply. UCB and UCLA okay others okay for sales jobs No one care about sellers it's all about money so to think that any company as a venue really cares about sellers..they might say that but mostly the ones not selling much just make money on ads off the sellers listings. They tell sellers to pay for ads so they can buy more ads. They have moved on to the next level, I want a new one that would really shake them up like these did once - ego  is always the problem. Moot point google. Google's checkouts have been horrible. Expensive not backing sellers, not accountable for anything. Ever talk to a google rep during that transition trying to understand the double fees and contracts? They were sonambulent. Had no interest in the customer, sign up got them excited. Fees? ooooh bye. Yeah. Well we accept all credit cards...and?  

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 24 23:58:24 2013

Ebay: Whats the point of a place with just large sellers? I might as well just search for the item I want on google. Amazon: FBA... Letting other people handle my inventory... not cool. Most of my items are used, and I know things won't be handled carefully. Plus, the shipping time takes far longer...I pride myself in fast shipping.

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 00:18:30 2013

So there will be no googleauctions.com launched?  Google registered that domain name.

There is so much power in an auction platform like ebay was. You could find anything.  Things that were unavailable anywhere. They were on ebay.

Sad. So sad.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Nov 25 00:23:10 2013

Don't do evil - one of Google's so called motto's obviously does not apply to the massive lot of small sellers, the mom & pops, the ones who started & grew ecommerce. Google IMO is just like eBay in their quest to ONLY play with the large retail merchants, the big boys. The small seller is being disregarded, tossed aside. Sellers, as buyers, are moot or they could care less since they think buyers are like good 'n plenty candy. Strangling or squeezing every cent is just quickening the inevitable explosion of the middle class or whatever you consider the financial stability of the US economy and globally as well.

Can't you feel it especially around the holidays? The big squeeze for the buck. The frustration, the stress. Thanksgiving is the first holiday being destroyed and the consumer is having little control of the herding of shoppers earlier and earlier until Thanksgiving will become breakfast time or maybe a fancy brunch.

Sorry, I know I am on a tangent, but have become, disappointed, outraged, disgusted ?.. not finding the exact word to use for the current Google and eBay, might add Amazon as well. Just sign me sick & tired.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 25 07:21:11 2013

I really think that what this is really all about is that the "big boys" with the money and the power don't want the little guy to have a piece of the pie. They have this "we'll scratch your back if you scratch ours" with the other giants.  Very akin to a CEO picking Directors whom he knows, especially a Director on the compensation committee.  

The very rich and powerful have always stuck it to the small guys.  It's just what they do.  

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by: Leesantiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 07:29:00 2013

As far back as 2005, maybe even earlier, there were a lot of us on Ebay who saw what was happening.  We urged the Ebay leaders to break off the antiques and collectibles parts of the site and form them into a separate division, with its own rules and oversights.  Run by people who really know and understand this type of business.  

People who would know, for example, that VERO doesn't help when dealing with fake Nippon and companies that no longer exist.

Sadly, that never happened and probably never will.  But I stlll firmly believe that it is the best solution.

Lee

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by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Nov 25 07:36:13 2013

eBay is doing what we all do, given an opportunity - we "grow" in a healthy way via diversification.

eBay appears to be changing there business model to encompass "all" and just not "some".....

The result, there is going to have to be some rule changes.....

We can either sit around and whine about the "rule" changes or figure out how "we" can make it "work better" or use another platform.

Issue, of course, is that eBay does not provide room for discussion or "feedback" which, of course, is an oxymoron given how it built its business model - on feedback from the customers.

Google, on the other hand, operates in about the same manner - almost a match made in heaven given they are "toe to toe" operating in the public arena about the same way as eBay has.

Google has created havoc on eBay sales - remember the days where we could find "anything" eBay related in a search on Google? Now its "pay to play" on Google and that is just not the case anymore.

A match up of "minds" between eBay and Google - the only outcome I can see is that the consumer is going to "pay" no matter what they agree to.

Business on the internet, at the small retailer level - is not "equal" anymore. Question is, what can we do about that?

Perminate Link for Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace   Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 08:07:08 2013

The large retailers with deep pockets ran small retailers out of of business in cities across America.
This is what is happening now on the internet and ebay. It is nearly impossible for a small business to compete on Google with the adwords and other paid programs they have in place.
If you want to be seen you need to pay Google and that is very expensive. The clicks do not guarantee a sale. If you sell a item for 9.99 and the ad click i set at $1.50 and your sale ratio is 1 out of 5 potential buyers who might buy, you are in the whole.
On ebay you are only paying if you sell, Google you pay if you do not sell. There would be a tremendous market for Google if they would adapt their business and set up a small retailer program, right now it is just absurd.
We all complain about ebay policies that have created problems for many and our unfair however many of us little guys have no choice and it is very hard to swallow, we can only hope that someone will come along and realize the potential of a market place and search engine for the little guys.
I do not understand why ebay and google cannot do both without squeezing small retailers, but I imagine that the large retailers are requesting that the competiton be eliminated.
A small business can fight back by branding yourself with every small business association you can find, and use the power of of your own social media friends and keep a customer email list.
You can find many ways to get your business name out there, the more the better.
Many of us have to stay on ebay but now is as good as time as any to start branching out.  

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 08:50:16 2013

Steevo, my thoughts exactly.

As e commerce grew - google got greedier and greedier. Now, I think they only have one idea - how to get more money at any cost. Sounds like ebay??

It is sad to see that old ebay site  disappear.
We used to love just looking at all the OOAK items and the old vintage stuff.
I think there are still enough people that are into just the vintage and collectibles that a site would skyrocket overnight. Who ever comes up with this would make a very nice income(s). Just police for cheap chinese crap and new passing off as vintage.
Look at Etsy under just vintage and half of the items including the sponsor type at the top of the page are mostly hand made items. They had a good start on the site but unfortunately greed took over and they want to be ebay.

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by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 08:59:00 2013

Any small seller who has been unfairly purged by ebay or suffered other egregious actions, here is a helpful link: http://mysoapboxrant.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/here-is-information-for-
you-to-use-in-filing-complaints-against-ebaypaypal/

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by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 11:45:42 2013

I suppose, this is the next big go-around, with the Big Guys taking over the little guys and shoving them to the side.

Back in the day, we had mom/pop grocery stores; the chains came in and took over. Same for merchandise stores.

Heck, even the same with doctors and like that. Now you see walk-ins and chain doctor/dentist offices.

It finally seemed, that with the advent of the internet as we know and use, it was so big and vast, that no one could ''own'' it.

Guess that was a flash in the pan thought for a dozen years.

Once again, the Big Guys will control it, and shove everyone else to the side.

I don't want to make this political - but really - if the money ever gets ousted from politics, we'll have a true competitive world marketplace.

Until then, more unfair mergers/acquisitions/takeovers.

Perminate Link for Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace   Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 11:57:08 2013

Lets all get together;  head on over to Kickstarter;  and launch our OWN small seller orientated auction site.

There.  I fixed it.  

Perminate Link for Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace   Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Nov 25 13:50:06 2013

John DSonahoe's plan to eliminate small sellers from eBay by attracting and giving preference to big box retailers is sure to backfire and will have dire consequences for eBay in the long term.

Mr Donahoe operates under numerous misconceptions that have already had a negative impact on growth and sales.

Donahoe's current series of small seller purges appear designed to eliminate all but a minority of small sellers.

Purged sellers receive no notice that their operations on eBay have ended until after the action has been taken. With eBay refusing to consider appeals from purged sellers, the only thing growing at eBay is resentment.

Further illustrating Donahoe's flawed thinking, notices sent to purged sellers indicate that the victims will still be allowed to purchase on eBay. This begs the question... Is John Donahoe so completely disconnected from the real world that he honestly believes purged sellers would continue to support the marketplace that destroyed their business without so much as a warning by continuing to purchase from remaining eBay sellers?

The downside of Donahoe's ill conceived plan is that the big box sellers he appears to be rebuilding eBay around will quickly realize that the pool of buyers shrinks substantially with every purge.

As Donahoe's purges proceed to eliminate all but a precious few small sellers, the big box retailers will quickly discover they are branding themselves with a company that is despised by ever increasing numbers of alienated former sellers who will steadfastly refuse to purchase anything from anyone through eBay.

When eBay fails to deliver significant volume to big box sellers, these companies will quickly abandon eBay leaving Donahoe with precious little merchandise for sale to even fewer buyers.  

At that point, the eBay marketplace will likely implode.



It is highly unlikely that Google will follow this seriously flawed model.

Small sellers hoping for a Google Marketplace need to realize that it is highly unlikely the company wants to build an eBay-esque marketplace with small sellers as vendors.

Certainly, Google is smart enough to avoid the self destruction which eBay is creating for itself. If Google were to build a marketplace, it would likely be one that excludes small sellers from the start so that down the road there will be no need for purges and the negative sentiment which is engulfing eBay.

If/when Google builds a marketplace around big box retailers, it is likely that existing BB sellers will move from eBay to Google in order to distance themselves from the ongoing debacle eBay has created for itself.


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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 14:41:45 2013

The weird thing about google shopping is there was intentionally no conflict of interest. You could find what could be found.  No one paid for inclusion, it was all seo and feeds. No one could pay for inclusion. It was mostly even handed and there was a fair amount of truth.  

Then google decided to make that a paid service, mostly because of all the spam that filled it.  

One large national drugstore chain was one that spammed the google shopping feed with fake listings, items with unrealistically low prices.  You'd click through to their site and see the real price, it was clearly just to get you to click through.  It was obvious they did it intentionally, feeding a fake low price to google that the item never sold for in their stores.

By switching to a paid shopper model google shopping got rid of most of the feeds, many of which were legit but clearly some were not.

But now there is an inherent conflict of interest because the only things you can find are those that pay to be included. This makes google shopping much less useful since it's quite likely the best place to buy something might be close to you, have the best quality and service but not be paying for inclusion.  So you can't trust the google feed to find anything.  It's a complete waste of time.  

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 15:14:30 2013

''Is John Donahoe so completely disconnected from the real world...''

eBay Inc
NASDAQ: EBAY - Nov 25 3:13 PM ET
49.04 -1.29 (-2.56%)

Perminate Link for Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace   Google Rejects eBay Model of a Blind Marketplace

by: booklover27 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 25 15:33:38 2013

Welcome to the new world...Monopolies on top of monopolies and we the "sheep" continue supporting them as consumers and sellers on their marketplaces albeit mostly out of necessity.  I pay dollars for shipping while Amazon pays pennies.  Meanwhile the idiot postal service cries about a 6 billion dollar loss.  Guess what! If the government stops just this one illegal activity (of which our own government is guilty of propagating) it would even out the playing field against these giant monopolies in a big way and probably make them profitable.  Amazon makes billions just on the shipping charges they save!  Meanwhile, the poor little sellers like myself have to subsidize this corporate perk.  Its costing me a fortune already to ship out packages and I won't even get into international shipping.  January is approaching and we'll most likely get another raise.  This is an illegal disparity of payment which is basically hurting small business propagated by our idiot representatives.  I could go on forever but the info placed by netwatch is the key.  I have contacted and filed verbal complaints with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and they have told me that almost no one ever complains about Amazon...Well stop crying and pick up the phone and go to their website and file complaints...lots of them!  We also need an organizer for small business so that the revolution can begin...We need to have the existing laws enforced to bring back an even playing field...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Nov 25 16:06:17 2013

The fact is, Donahoe’s grand plan for eBay has been a dismal failure; the eBay marketplace continues to atrophy, and has been doing so since Johnny Ho effectively took control of the tiller in 2007.

The Ho is now in the seventh year of his “three-year turnaround” of eBay, and still no sign of any turnaround: in late 2007 both eBay’s and Amazon’s stock prices were ~$40; today—with the US stock market at an all time high—eBay is down to only ~$49 but Amazon is up to ~$376.

eBay’s shareholders are actually going backwards—at a steady rate of knots—notwithstanding the Ho’s constant “reductions” in fees.

The only people making any money out of eBay are the Ho and his gaggle of like-bodied headless turkeys that he has appointed and with whom he spends all day with blindly running around in circles, bumping into each other, in the eBay executive suite.

Unless my logic is sadly askew, the message from Wall Street is that eBay Inc. is a "dog" and Johnny Ho is an utterly incompetent dog handler ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Nov 25 16:09:10 2013

Steevo observes "So you can't trust the google feed to find anything.  It's a complete waste of time."

Agreed. I used to search Google shopping on a daily basis as a source for inventory. Since the day Google moved to a paid model, the site is completely useless and I have not used it once.

My guess is that Google did not care about reduced traffic and instead, is only interested in monetizing their shopping search engine. Once again, the need for revenue has driven another successful resource into the ground.

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