Friday, June 15, 2007

Google Is In the Doghouse

Well, sometimes even big boys don't play nice with other children and need to be hit upside the head.

Earlier this week, Google ticked off their biggest customer and learned a lesson in the process.

It seems that Google has been trying to convince eBay to allow buyers to choose between eBay's proprietary service PayPal and the Google service Checkout when paying for items purchased on eBay. Google debuted Checkout a year ago this month. To date, eBay had not agreed to share its electronic payment business. Frankly, I doubt that I would be willing to give up a piece of a lucrative business that I had 100% control over without some major quid pro quo.

Some genius at Google decided to stage a "Freedom Party" in Boston, timed to coincide with eBay's scheduled conference for its online buyers. The purpose of the demonstration was to lobby eBay to permit their clients to use Checkout.

*shakes head sadly* I can't imagine how Google thought this was going to endear them to eBay--who, by the way, was estimated by NetRatings to be the top buyer of search ads on Google during the first quarter.

eBay took exception to Google's planned party and expressed its displeasure in the most direct manner possible.

According to Thursday's Wall Street Journal (WSJ), "eBay said that late Monday it stopped buying ads from Google that appear next to Web-search results in the U.S. An eBay spokesman said the move was part of the company's 'constant experimentation to see what works best' in advertising online."

Yeah, right. Let's call it what it was: eBay got angry, picked up its marbles and went home, leaving Google standing alone on the playground saying, "Oh, rats!"

Google may have been a bit slow on the uptake, but they learn fast. They cancelled the "Freedom Party" and explained that "after speaking with officials at eBay, we at Google agreed that it was better for us not to feature this event during the eBay Live conference."

Well, duh.

eBay isn't saying when they might return to Google for online ads. Rumors are they are shopping among Google's rivals for another display ad service.

I'm thinking Google needs to be bringing roses and candy as a make-up gift.

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