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eBay Looking for Allies Against Google 216

Posted by Zonk
from the man-the-gates-bring-around-the-cannon dept.
Vitaly Friedman writes "A report in the Wall Street Journal today talks about how eBay is looking for partners to defend against the growing threat of Google. Specifically, Google Base and the payment system in the works in Mountain View are seen as possible dangers to eBay's auctions and PayPal payment operations, says the report. Google Talk just throws some salt in the wounds by looking for a toehold in Skype's turf."
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eBay Looking for Allies Against Google

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  • Whose wounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slofstra (905666) on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:53PM (#15176438) Homepage
    "Salt in the wounds". Whose wounds? Competition is a good thing for most of us.
    • So, Ebay is looking for allies, huh? They should Google for them.
  • Oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:54PM (#15176456)
    Now we finally know what the "e" stands for in eBay. Yep you guessed it, "Evil". If you're not on Google's side you must be wrong.
    • Notice that eBay uses a little e. They're only a little evil. Whereas Microsoft is just Evil.
    • just for the record, and the people who weren't around back then, the e stands for eco.
  • by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:54PM (#15176457) Homepage Journal
    I'm sick of essentially being blackmailed by people I buy stuff off who refuse to give me feedback until I've given them feedback, even though I've just paid them £100 for an item they are yet to post.

    And fucking the Katrina victims out of Something Awful's donations was the straw that broke the donkey's back.
    • by LunaticTippy (872397) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:01PM (#15176513)
      That is an increasing problem. I've had an even worse variant of it:

      Seller sends defective product, drags replacing it out past the 30 day mark (so I can't get my money back no matter what) and then stops dealing with me. I checked the seller feedback and they had lots of mutual retractions, and every negative feedback they received (over a legitimate problem such as mine) was retaliated against with improper negative feedback.

      I decided to leave no feedback, didn't want the strike on my record.

    • Social networking services weren't made much less vapid by Google's ill-fated introduction of Orkut BETA. Your problems with eBay seem related to eBay users being jerks. What can Google do to combat the same behavior that is so ingrained in the on-line auction seller community, a community that strikes me as the next dimension of flea market vendors?
      • What can Google do to combat the same behavior that is so ingrained in the on-line auction seller community, a community that strikes me as the next dimension of flea market vendors?

        Quite simply, they can require the seller to post feedback before the buyer. If the buyer sent you money according to your terms, then they've done the only thing they are required to do.

        As it stands, I have rarely had a seller post feedback until I have given positive first -- the one time I gave negative (since the item was no
        • ...if Google controls the online payment process, the seller's feedback would be irrelevant as Google's payment system would automatically know if they had been paid in full or not.

          The only manual feedback would come from buyer's verifying whether the product they bought was as advertised and satisfactory.

          - tokengeekgrrl
  • by WarwickRyan (780794) on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:55PM (#15176467)
    Is that eBay will be forced to stop screwing their customers http://www.paypalsucks.com/ [paypalsucks.com] and improve their service.

    Oh the joys of competition.
  • Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:56PM (#15176480) Journal

    So, eBay is afraid of Google.

    I've heard many complaints so far about both eBay and PayPal - could it be that they feel Google's service will be beta^Hter?

    So see if I care... they can get all the partners they want, but if Google rolls out a superior service, they can either adapt or go sulk in the corner.

  • You don't need an ally. Just build a better widget! How do you think Google, Linux, etc. came from being an underdog?
    • You don't need an ally. Just build a better widget! How do you think Google, Linux, etc. came from being an underdog?
      Last time I checked, Linux is still and underdog.
      • Last time I checked, Linux is still and underdog.

        Underdog, fiscally maybe, but money was never the driving factor for OSS. In terms of a usable, alternative, stable, easy to use OS, Linux is definately no longer an underdog. (IMHO).
    • But when you're a company like Ebay or Microsoft or Sony, building a better widget just isn't possible for whatever reason (costs too much, corporate culture/management discourages true innovation, etc.), so it's better to try to use other means of competing, like creating artificial barriers that prevent customers from defecting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:58PM (#15176497)
    a. How about bringing back a real archive of auction results. Not the crummy 2 week limit in place now.
    b. Penalize bulk category flooders. Some categories are filled with sellers listing the same item over and over again. They should be forced to use the bulk option.
    c. 0 rated sellers should not be allowed to list without verified bank account/address info.
    d. Allow sellers to set feedback threshold restrictions on buyers.
    e. Finally, ebay should stop spamming its own users with "deals" and credit card offers.
    • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:14PM (#15176649)
      . e. Finally, ebay should stop spamming its own users with "deals" and credit card offers.

      Oh, good . . . I was worrying that the e-mail I responded to with my credit card and social security numbers might have been a phishing scam. Good to see that it may have really been from E-Bay after all.

      Q: How do you tell a genuine E-Bay e-mail from a phishing scam?

      A: The phishing scam will probably cost less!

    • How about bringing back a real archive of auction results. Not the crummy 2 week limit in place now.

      I agree with the rest of your proposals, but if I were E-Bay, absolutely no way I would do this.

    • You can actually turn off the spamming in the email preferences. It's buried somewhere, but it is there.

      Also, there could be a dozen other points (like redress for those that have been ripped off in the early days of ebay when they refused to do anything at all).
    • My biggest pet peeve with them is crap being in the wrong category. It makes it such a chore to look for something to buy.
      For example lets go with wholesale lots of PCs [ebay.com]
      The first 20 results are single buy laptop computers and then we have

      TEKTRONIX 840 850 860 AUXILLARY 500 SHEET PAPER TRAY
      100 x Antistatic Anti Static Bags ESD (6"x9")
      MAKE OVER £1000 A WEEK ON EBAY (100% PROFIT)
      Mystery Box Of Computers
      3 more single computers.
      LAPTOP REPAIR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
      Wholesale Lots- Buy Computers and MAKE A LOT
    • by djmurdoch (306849) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:59PM (#15177055)
      f. And they should try offering "Customer Service" in response to questions/complaints.

      I received a "free listing for new sellers" offer, listed an item at too high a price, and it didn't sell. After the auction, someone who had been asking questions during the auction wrote to me to ask if I would re-list it at a lower price. E-bay would not let me respond to the question, because I had "exceeded my daily limit of messages". I never did get a straight answer about what the limit was, just that I could raise it by giving them my credit card information. I had a "conversation" with 5 or 6 different monkeys passing me boilerplate FAQ answers, but never any answers to the questions I actually asked.

    • f. Run real auctions. In the real world, the bidding is allowed to continue until the bids are far enough apart to make it obvious there will be no more of them. You don't have a problem with "snipers" tossing out a new bid just as the gavel falls at a real auction. Allowing snipers to control the auctions has a negative financial impact on sellers and discourages buyers.

      g. Get reasonable about locations. I live less than 10 miles from the Canada/USA border and have a postal address in both countrie

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:03PM (#15176535)
    Maybe if Paypal didn't confiscate its customers' money at will, they wouldn't have this problem.
  • Paypal scrapes a % of your money for every transfer and they're making standard bank interest. If competition seeps in, they'll aim for the lowest fees. More competition is better for the consumer now.
  • by TheRecklessWanderer (929556) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:04PM (#15176548) Journal
    Can I be against both?
  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:10PM (#15176608)
    I actually was willing to drive an hour to shop at Wal-Mart; there was nothing even remotely like it in the major cities.

    I actually was willing to learn to type "http://www.google.com" instead of "http://www.altavista.com" to search on Google; even from the outset, no other search engine came close to their level of quality (read: good search results).

    Nowadays, Wal-Mart routinely grinds competition unto the dust. Woe betide the small businessman whose future neighbor is a Wal-Mart Supercenter. They're big, monopolistic, anti-competitive, predatory . . . all of the wonderfully evil traits which characterize success in our free enterpise system. This makes them fairly well hated, the price of success.

    Nowadays, Google is percieved as the ultimate digital destructor - crushing internet opposition wherever it rises, brutally redefining markets and networking in that fashion most likely to lead to their own growth and the demise of competing technologies.

    Either you love free enterprise or you hate it - either way, I wouldn't trust it!

    • Yeah... except everything which Google does is FREE!
    • I actually was willing to learn to type "http://www.google.com" instead of "http://www.altavista.com" to search on Google

      Dude, have you ever heard of a bookmark?
      • Why, I remember having to memorize the IP addresses of sites which I wanted to go back to - and they had to be entered in binary! Seriously, you kids and your name services and your bookmarks and your heliotropes and your aeroplanes . . . all this technology is getting to be too much.
    • Nowadays, Google is percieved as the ultimate digital destructor - crushing internet opposition wherever it rises, brutally redefining markets and networking in that fashion most likely to lead to their own growth and the demise of competing technologies.

      Yeah, that's why GMail is the world's biggest webmail service, MSN Messenger and Skype died in the face of Google Talk, Google News is the world's favourite news source...

      Face it; Google's strength is in search. That's it.
    • There's nothing wrong with crushing opposition as long as all your customers like you and don't miss the opposition. I certainly don't miss Altavista, and I love Google's services. As long as Google's services are excellent, I'm not going to care that their competition has withered away. And unlike some monopolists, it seems that Google doesn't use any sideways, evil methods of killing their competition; they simple make better software, everyone uses it, and abandons the competition.

      The problem with mon
  • by heresyoftruth (705115) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:19PM (#15176698) Homepage Journal
    I would jump on a paypal alternative. I juat want to use my online payment service to buy adult goods along with the non adult goods. I hate that Paypal makes a distinction, and doesn't allow that. The alternatives for payment for adult goods just aren't widespread enough to use, in my opinion.
  • just wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by vee_voojagig (969925) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:21PM (#15176729)
    can't they just wait until steve ballmer f***ing kills google
  • and i should feel sorry for ebay why?

    the answer is simple. compete. offer more, better, cheaper, faster, and easier than google does.

    good luck ebay!
  • by comforteagle (728960) * on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:23PM (#15176746) Homepage Journal
    I setup a tagging system for ebay last night using the scuttle bookmarking application: fyndr.com [fyndr.com]. ebay's UI is just too brutal to deal with and top down from sellers to buyers. Also, and I couldn't believe this, but ebay charges for categorizing products in more than a few, limited, categories... making products harder to find! coo coo!

    Between the cleaner UI of a bookmarking system, the tagging, and purposefully active userbase I'm hoping fyndr can put a, yeah yeah, web2.0 face on the old web1.0 beast.

    • Also, and I couldn't believe this, but ebay charges for categorizing products in more than a few, limited, categories... making products harder to find! coo coo!

      Thats actually there as a preventative step against spamming your wares as everything under the sun. If they didn't do this, people would be ticked off about no category control and inaccurate product listings to a much larger degree.
      • I doesn't bother me that you can only pick one category for free. What does bother me is you sometimes have multiple categories for the same thing.

        For example there is a Car Audio section under Consumer Electronics and a Car Audio section under eBay Motor. People to the search in two places to find what they are looking for.

        • "What does bother me is you sometimes have multiple categories for the same thing. For example there is a Car Audio section under Consumer Electronics and a Car Audio section under eBay Motor. People to the search in two places to find what they are looking for." This where I think tagging becomes so useful... a listing can be in both places and the person looking will likely find it, but not in such a nasty way.
      • If there weren't so much noise on ebay it would be easy to demote or punish users for spamming. It can't be done currently because of the sheer volume of noise... you'd never see the link to block a user or to inflict damage on their reputation... which is a key part of dealing on ebay.
    • Social bookmarking for an auction site? That seems...counterproductive. Why would I want to draw attention to the auctions I'm interested in? So more people will bid and drive my cost up? No thanks, I'll keep the hard to find listings hard to find.
      • It sounds weird until you consider how easy it is to add an entry for a seller. Think about how hard it is for a seller to get information onto ebay. Repeating that ardous process isn't an option. Here comes the genius of the boomarklet. Click... tag tag. Done.
    • [...]I'm hoping fyndr can put a, yeah yeah, web2.0 face on the old web1.0 beast.

      So, how exactly are you trying to improve eBay by adding an utterly horrible interface? Seriously, Web 2.0 is synonymous with weird interfaces. (And yes, the concept of throwing a hundred words into a box and making the more popular ones bigger is utterly horrible. I don't care what other people are interested in, I want to navigate to what I'm interested in. Hiding the interesting-but-unpopular links between huge words is no
  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:27PM (#15176778) Homepage
    Here in Silicon Valley, the most often spoken line is now "We would fund your company, it's brilliant, but Google would just copy it, so no."

    Google doesnt even have to do anything anymore... the fear of Google is killing the whole tech industry. They are the online version of Walmart, crushing every business within their grasp, and forcing everyone to play by their rules.

    Just ask any online business not on page 1 of a search result, if you can find one that's still in business that is.

    Anything Google even might possibly copy, isn't happening at all, just like Microsoft used to do - and did very well. Google will crush everyone just as effectively in the end.
  • by AusIV (950840) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:43PM (#15176904)
    If eBay wants to fight google, they should stop being one of google's biggest advertisers. Search for any noun on google, you get an ad telling you that it can be found on Google. Example:

    A search for George Bush provides:
    George Bush
    Looking for George Bush?
    Find exactly what you want today.
    www.eBay.com

    A search for Eggs provides:
    Eggs
    All your favorite collectibles!
    Eggs and more -aff
    Ebay.com

    A search for Milk provides:
    Milk
    Save on Glass and Glassware!
    Milk and more -aff
    Ebay.com

    In fact, I dare you to find a noun you can search for on google without coming up with an eBay add. As near as I can tell, eBay is Google's single largest advertiser. If they want to hurt google, they should start by cutting off some funding.

  • About time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jason1729 (561790) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:59PM (#15177054)
    Paypal has been an extremely customer hostile company for many years. The only reason a lot of people use them is there's no viable alternative. If Google come up with something good, nothing can save paypal from its own history.
  • "eBay is looking for partners to defend against the growing threat of Google."

    They could perhaps try being creative for once. I haven't seen any new ideas from eBay beyond "Yeah, we can buy PayPal!" I'm personally sick of having to sift through offers of "information CDs" and "ZOMG just like the real thing only not!" to get to what I want, to the point where I think eBay could seriously use a personal blacklist feature for blocking search results from certain sellers.

    If nothing else, they need to encourag
  • eBay currently gets a huge percentage of it's traffic through paid advertising with Google.

    Now, because Google might infringe upon it's payment system and dabble a bit in online auctions, eBay will move it's advertising focus to someone like Yahoo or MSN that wouldn't send them anywhere near the referrals they get from Google?

    Anyone else besides me see that concept being a bit like tossing the baby out with the bathwater?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm quite willing to admit that I am hopelessly eBay addicted. I ca

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