Last week we reported that eBay has banned Google Checkout, something that is likely to backfire on the auction giant, which owns rival payment processor PayPal.

Silicon has today published a timely analysis of why eBay is more likely to suffer than Big G.

Meanwhile, I have been looking for the smoking gun that might force Google to retaliate, leading to the possible banning of eBay from its search results. Hard to imagine it could come to that, but who knows?

eBaymust spend many (tens of?) millions on Google Adwords, buying up all kinds of keywords and phrases. And hell, it even buys letters too, like the letter 'E':

eBay even buys letters on Adwords

Google must love this sort of thing. Nevertheless, you have to feel that eBay would come off worse in a streetfight with Google, despite its relationship with Yahoo.

As an online brand eBay is one of the best known, but many consumers begin their product searches on search engines, and Google is the biggest by some distance, so a ban would eat into eBay’s earnings just like it does with any other company. Not being listed on Google is bad news for a company of any size.

Could Google ban eBay from its organic listings? It would need some firm evidence before doing so, and so far I can’t see any major issues with eBay, from an SEO perspective.

But what about Adwords? Would Google prevent eBay from using its contextual ad network? Would it turn down the tens of millions eBay must spend to achieve such widespread visibility? You’d think not, unless there was a serious reason

Well, it turns out that there is something serious going on, albeit at a relatively small scale. You see, eBay users are selling click fraud services, according to an article on Blogging Stocks.

A search on eBay for ‘Adsense clicks’ returns a number of auctions, where you can purchase “5 Google Adsense clicks each day for 5 days” for a Buy-It-Now price of just $1.99.

Blogging Stocks’ Michael Rogers says: “This raises some interesting questions, chief among them: doesn't this violate eBay's listing policy against 'encouraging illegal activity'? Or perhaps this is one of those grey areas where eBay chooses to look the other way - particularly considering that the particular ox being gored here is rapidly turning into their number one competitor.”

This is something that eBay needs to quickly address if it is to avoid further damaging its relationship with the internet Motherlode.

Google is already on dangerous ground with regards to click fraud. It needs to pacify advertisers, who are become increasingly concerned about paying for clicks.

Is this the smoking gun?

Chris Lake

Published 11 July, 2006 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (5)


Howard Harkness, Owner at Pro-Count, Inc

I looked on ebay today, and did not get any hits at all with "adsense clicks" in title only, and only one hit for full listing search. And it didn't promise adsense clicks, only URL hits.

Looks like the folks at ebay can move pretty fast when they want to. Now if they would just start enforcing the excessive shipping policy for real instead of just talking about it...
Violins, Violas, Cellos, and Accessories

about 12 years ago


Corey Katir, Manager at iqbator

Why you need to Fight Click Fraud

I have been reading and thinking a lot about the dilemma of Click Fraud. I
believe Click Fraud is more of a danger to existing Google AdSense
publishers who are honest than Google.

I also read about eBay promoting click fraud with allowing people to place
dishonest ads. Shame on eBay!

See below:

also see:

I believe Google has created tremendous value with Google AdSense. Google
and Google AdSense Team should be congratulated for such achievement.

Let me show you how I mean this.

Here is my reasoning:

First, I like to pose this question:

How much is your website worth if you generate revenue from Google AdSense?

Let's say your website makes a good $30 per day on average.

This is how we calculate the value of your website:

Yearly income = $30 x 30 x 360 = $32,400

Value of the Website= $32400/interest rate = 32400/.07 = $462,857 (this is
assumed that the income will never end and is good for ever

Of course if the income grows, the value will be even more)

How many websites do you think make over $30 per day? If the answer is say
10,000. Then total value created is: 10,000 x $462857 = $4,628,570,000.
That is more than $4 Billion.

Google should be congratulated for creating such a wealth.

I am 100 percent sure not many honest AdSense Publishers are aware of this

If they knew, they would also be more protective of the existing AdSense
system and the integrity of the AdSense system. Hence, I believe Google
should plan a campaign to educate the honest Publishers of such value and
the fact that Click Fraud can jeopardize this value.

If the Honest AdSense Publishers recognize this value and also recognize the
danger that such value could be jeopardized by Click Fraud, they will take

This might relieve Google from Burden of fighting Click Fraud alone.

I suggest AdSense Publishers boycott eBay. We must fight along Google to
eradicate Click Fraud.

about 12 years ago


Mr Ebay

over 9 years ago



This might relieve Google from Burden of fighting Click Fraud alone. I suggest AdSense Publishers boycott eBay. We must fight along Google to eradicate Click Fraud.

about 8 years ago



I've been waiting for a feature like this! Yesterday while I was listening to a nostalgic tune from high school I thought to myself, "I wish I could share this with my HS friends on my FB page", and now I can.

Thanks for the update! Looking for more integration in the future.

over 7 years ago

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