Thursday, June 14, 2007

Google/eBay spat over stunt takes page from "PayPal Wars"

eBay canceled an ad campaign it had planned to run with Google in retaliation for a publicity stunt planned by the search giant. Evidently Google's Checkout intended to rain on PayPal's parade during the "eBay Live" user convention in Boston this past weekend. Checkout had organized a "Freedom Party" near the site of the Boston Tea Party as a tongue-in-cheek protest to eBay's policy banning Checkout from their auction site in order to preference PayPal. Google canned the event following a protest by eBay, but evidently Meg Whitman wants to make sure Eric Schmidt learns his lesson, hence the ad campaign retaliation.

My question is, are the guys at Google Checkout using The PayPal Wars as their playbook to wage war against eBay? That "Freedom Party" sounds an awful lot like the stunt we pulled at PayPal during the first eBay Live conference. Readers of my book should recall how we set up shot at the hotel next to the Anaheim convention center and handed out free PayPal T-shirts the night before the conference began. The next morning, during Whitman's keynote address, about one-quarter of all the attendees were wearing PayPal shirts. That made her pretty mad, too.

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  • Wow! That's the first thing I thought of, Eric, when hearing about the spat. Let history repeat itself, I envisioned.

    However, one major difference is both of these companies are very corporate now. I remember the grand distinction you make in your appendix between being part of a corporation and being an entrepreneur who'll deliberately not be part of bureaucracy. So now, it almost seems like these 2 "grownups" are cry-babies about who's going to adhere to protocol most.

    It's precisely this moment that I'd like to see some "childlike" (as opposed to "childish") startup make its move(s) right now, baby. Let some innovative minds out there propose alternatives to name-your-own-price auctions and pay-our-own-way services and find-our-own-way search engines.

    I really was hoping for a different set of storylines in this soap opera. I wanted to see eBay simply adultlike ignore the existence of the party, and state ever so silently without having to give Google publicity that their own eBay Live party was great, and there was no better party in town. I also wanted to see Google proceed anyway; it did let down the people who made plans to attend that party, those who wanted to say, say Two Thousand Two party to do over out of sight/site.

    It has been said that Google is made of very bright people. However, I often wonder what about all the applicants/candidates Google has rejected over the years. If one of those comes up with ideas that rebrand search and auctions that overtake the frustrations current Internet users have, they'll be Havin' a Party!

    By Anonymous QuestingElf, at 11:22 PM  

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