Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun July 3 2016 15:15:37

The Economist Behind the eBay Google Debacle

By: Ina Steiner

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Remember when eBay published a study in 2013 that showed Google paid search didn't work, and the following year Google punished eBay for its SEO practices? The LA Times has a story today that sheds more light on the study and reveals more about one of the economists behind the research, Steve Tadelis. 

At the time, the ecommerce and SEO industries were abuzz about the findings. Companies were spending a lot of money to get their listings in front of Google searchers through AdWords - could they all be wasting their marketing dollars?

Today's LA times writes of the research:

"The results were clear: For eBay at least, Google search ads weren't doing much for sales. People bought things in much the same numbers with or without ads, finding their way to the site by clicking on the "natural" listings that come immediately following the paid ones, or by going directly to eBay's site without using a search engine at all."

But fast forward to 2014 and eBay no longer showed well in natural search - Google penalized eBay for its SEO practices. The economists' premise relied on the existence of natural listings, and even today eBay is struggling due to the 2014 Google penalty.

It's hard to determine how much of the decisions by these Internet giants were based on objective data and how much were based on management fear and bias. For example, there were allegations that Meg Whitman (who left eBay in 2008) had threatened to pull Google advertising if it entered into eBay territory (which it did through Google Shopping and Google Checkout.). 

Would eBay have pulled back as much on Google paid search if Google hadn't begun competing with eBay?

Would Google have penalized eBay in search results if eBay hadn't cut back on Google paid search and publicized its research findings?

The title of the today's Op-Ed in the Times is, "How we all became lab rats for American corporations and theoretical economists."

Online merchants may not feel so much as lab rats as pawns in a game of chess between eBay and Google.




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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Jul 3 21:35:00 2016

Lab rats? More like victims of corporate greed and intrigue.

Ebafia got exactly what it deserved and, in the process, thousands if not millions of innocent sellers, were unjustly penalized because of ebafia's dishonesty and Google's punishment.

Buyers can usually find what they're looking for using Google and/or Bing, but sellers can't sell what buyers can't find or see.

ebafia needs to kiss and make up with Google asap or die.

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

Sun Jul 3 22:18:37 2016

So, eBay thinks that it should be the only one able to take money from people and knowingly not deliver any value—LOL ...

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by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 4 02:29:22 2016

That was my first thought too. Those two companies had no concern about how many Seller's lives they were affecting.

Ebay has just been run into the ground with management incompetence. Meanwhile, thousands or even maybe millions of small, home based businesses have been destroyed.

Just about all you find on Ebay now are new things. And, even stuff from Amazon, which you buy on Ebay, and are shipped by Amazon Prime. Sometimes I wonder if Amazon is doing that themselves, instead of independent Sellers. So, actually, Ebay is becoming Amazon.

The rest of us are left out in the cold. We are just pawns on an eCommerce chess board. The big companies move us around, and then eliminate us.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 4 12:38:25 2016

Ebay's - most LARGE eBay sellers are doing EXACTLY what you describe - they use Amazon FBA to ship to eBay customers.

Thats why alot of them dont have the best metrics since Amazon FBA most times doesnt ship with in 1 day - they ship in 2 days.

eBay of course doesnt realize how "any of this works" and goes along its merry way BEGGING people to put UPC codes in to their listings - so Google wont punish them even more then they already are.

eBay may do alot (let me correct that - REPORT alot)(that definition was for FOOLGUY who will go down with the eBay ship) of sales - but its all games.

eBAy makes deals with distributors for Deal of the Day sales since they need to boost numbers (they "play" seller even if its just for a moment) , they aid and abet the Chinese (via tax payer funds) to bring in crap goods (some even illegal) into the USA, and then punish the smaller sellers who wont go along with the "games".

People like FOOL dont understand the larger picture. Most of us - especially those of us who have tangled with eBay, know the REAL eBay and how things work.

I've said what Ming said (and he said it so well) about eBays needing to climb down off the cliff they put themselves on visa via GOOGLE and make "nice".

But its the morons with no ecommerce experience who think they can go 'round them and get their sellers to do the dirty work (hoping Googles spiders will index the listings) only to find out that alott of times it simply doesnt work.

Sadly, eBay doesnt care much about anything these days, except creating BS to make Wall Street like next quarters numbers.

Both TWICE and Dealerscope refuse to mention eBay in print or online, and eBAy wont show up to NY NOW, the Toy Show or CES. No one wants them or needs them.

Sad state of affairs ....

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 4 13:08:29 2016


fleecebay got what that deserved.

karma

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by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 4 15:07:06 2016

Google won that war......Ebay is a shadow of it's former success for most sellers.

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by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 4 15:58:53 2016


This move ruined my business on ebay.

I wish nothing but condemnation, ruin and destruction on this company.

To all Americans selling on ebay in America.....I would run from the cesspool that is ebay.

Ebay sold out America, and will sell you out faster than you can say Chevrolet.  Its just a matter of time.

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

Mon Jul 4 16:36:11 2016

Ebay sucks google adwords sucks more

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 4 20:38:48 2016

Ebay sure isn't what it used to be.  I don't know who to thank.  Something had to turn really bad to get us sellers to move out butts out of the Ebay nest and expand.  I'm glad I did.  I only put some stuff on Ebay occasionally to see how it goes.  The results are never good there.

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 4 22:42:24 2016

Ebay sucks , & not even well.

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by: corpuschristi1956 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 5 09:47:23 2016

so determined to be right instead of successful. It is so backwards. Sellers successful = everyone successful.

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by: ecommerce4me This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 5 09:48:01 2016

When "Google" became a verb eBay should have started to take them seriously. EBay paid the price for their arrogance and so did the sellers.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 5 09:51:25 2016

Ebay is wise to not lean on Google Search as much and turn instead to Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.  Google search is the first place people think of to search, but the others are more ecommerce related.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jul 5 10:41:12 2016

@chicago48
How many items have you sold through Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter?

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by: VeryGoodVintage This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 5 11:10:00 2016

Yes, I'm still complaining about the fact that Ebay WILL NOT FIX the broken link between Google and Ebay. A potential buyer sees my ebay item on Google, clicks on it, is brought to my collections and is then "told" by ebay that I have ZERO listings. I never have zero listings!

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

Tue Jul 5 11:43:43 2016

Ebay is an e-commerce site. In short, they should have to pay for listing on a search engine. Search engines are for legitimate information, not the Sunday ads in the newspaper.

For those of you new to my posts I'm an ebay hater. They simply don't do enough to promote their own site and people are afraid to shop there.

If ebay is relying on SEO as a marketing strategy then they offer no more than a blogger in his underwear offers.

I expect ebay to have tv, magazine, wrapped vehicles, and bus benches... not SEO... especially at the 10% fee they charge. I'd figure that's what the fee was for.

Ebay isn't being 'penalized'... google is removing crap from the search listings.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Jul 5 13:09:54 2016

No matter what Ebay says, the facts for my selling history remain the same.  In March of 2014 is when my sales fell off a cliff and to this day are not back to what they were pre March 2014.  And what happened late February and March of 2014.  Three things:

1.  Ebay got hacked
2.  Cassini Search went site wide
3.  Google started penalizing Ebay as stated in this article.

So they can say whatever it is they want, and certainly do.  But for me and my sales, the facts are what the facts are.

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

Tue Jul 5 15:12:18 2016

@elcheapoposters,

I'm not an eBay hater; I quite enjoy watching for stuff on eBay; nevertheless, I do recognise eBay as probably the most unscrupulous commercial entity operating on this planet ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the unscrupulous, the malevolent, the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid. ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jul 5 18:22:36 2016

I have not caught a single fish today in ebay's ocean of buyers!

Maybe I need some better bait. . .

Perminate Link for The Economist Behind the eBay Google Debacle   The Economist Behind the eBay Google Debacle

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Wed Jul 6 00:31:33 2016

Tool:

It is not an ocean it is a little pond.

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