eBay and Google Fight in Epic Breakup Battle

25 November 2014

Earlier this year Google announced a break up with eBay in the most drastic way possible, by dropping their links in Google search results. Back in May of 2014, Panda 4.0 included exclusions for eBay results in Google’s algorithm update. So, it should come as no surprise when eBay dropped Google’s Adsense for Bing ads. While this may only affect mobile users, for now, it could be a signal of things to come in the most epic business breakup story of the year.

Panda 4.0 and Google’s Bold Breakup Move

With a little digging we discover this breakup began when Google rolled out Panda 4.0 back in May 2014. Shortly before Google announced the Panda 4.0 roll-out, all sub domain queries for eBay dropped at least 10 spaces down in search, with many search queries and keywords falling off the charts altogether.

Historically speaking, this change is huge and signals something stronger than just the ebb and flow of SERP results. Originally SEO writers thought this was temporary, but the results over the following months were telltale of a huge fight between two global businesses breaking up a bad relationship.

eBay Retaliates by Dropping Google Ads

On its mobile app eBay serves up small adverts, like thousands of other retail sites do, to supplement income on mobile apps. In their bold move to counter Google’s SERP drop, eBay dropped Google ads in favour of Bing’s ad program.

Of course, this is just smart business sense, but it may signal a swing towards Bing products and away from Google’s governmental grip on online business politics to come. With a loss of over $200 million following the Google SERP drop in May, eBay may likely be rethinking their partnership with Google in other ways too. Since eBay is only testing Bing ads on mobile devices, it shows the business savvy of their response to Google’s grip.

The Test Results are in, Says Mark Ballard

Ballard, director of research at RKG, confirms that this small test was indeed a big move and came with very interesting results all businesses should take a look at. Bing clicks went up from 25% to 36% between financial quarters 1 and 2, while Google ad clicks stayed a steady 38%. On the other side of the financial coin, eBay now drives a whopping 30-90% of ad impressions for mobile devices for Bing ads.

Any companies noticing drops in click-through rates may find that eBay is the culprit. Also, since eBay is now accounting for a major income loss for Google, other businesses may follow suit as Google heads into an advertising decline.