EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1800 - May 29, 2008     1 of 3

Oops! Google Outed in Objection to eBay Oz Policy

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eBay users were buzzing over who had submitted the anonymous filing to the Australian regulatory agency that is reviewing eBay's proposed PayPal-only policy. The 38-page submission argued eBay should not be allowed to exclude competing payment methods. However, AuctionBytes reader David Bromage revealed a method that shows the PDF file submission appears to have been created from a Word document titled, "ACCC Submission by Google re eBay Public 2.DOC," indicating the filer was likely Google. (The submission disappeared from the ACCC site on Wednesday evening, presumably so they could edit out the identifying information.)

eBay prohibits sellers from accepting Google's Checkout service as part of its Safe Payments policy, and apparently Google is concerned a move toward a PayPal-only policy in Australia would impact its market share. The anonymous ACCC submission reads in part:

eBay's real purpose, or one of eBay's substantial purposes, is to substantially lessen competition in the Market for Online Payment Processing Services, by preventing or hindering competitors of PayPal from competing effectively against PayPal in that market. eBay and PayPal are related bodies corporate. eBay is acting to increase PayPal's share of the Market for Online Payment Processing Services, thereby increasing the revenues to the eBay group as a whole.

The submission also called the public benefits of the PayPal-only policy "illusory."

It was one year ago in June that tensions between the two companies became public. eBay cried foul when Google planned a "Boston Tea Party" event coinciding with its eBay Live user conference. Google invited eBay sellers to celebrate user choice, but canceled the party after eBay protested. eBay retaliated by pulling its Google AdWords campaign in what it called a planned test.

eBay management was apparently so upset with Google over the planned protest party that it ejected an attendee from its closing conference Gala who was wearing a Google Tshirt.

The Australian agency has said it would rule on eBay's policy in mid-June, before it is scheduled to go into effect.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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