Blasphemy at eBay

July 23, 2007, 6:26 PM UTC

What with all the exciting stuff going on in the Web world of late — Google (GOOG) laying a rare earnings turd, Facebook becoming the next Google, Yahoo (YHOO) losing altitude fast — a morsel from eBay’s (EBAY) earnings call last week was undereported. CEO Meg Whitman, vowing to rejuvenate’s core listings, promised to market more offline. She also commented briefly on eBay’s recent spat with Google. Consider this from the New York Times:

Last month, eBay temporarily stopped buying keyword advertising on Google, the Web’s largest search engine. EBay said the suspension did not have had significant effect on its bottom line. “We learned a great deal from that test,” Ms. Whitman said. “It actually had no impact on the financials of the quarter, and we learned a lot about where we want to spend money and where we think we can save money on Internet marketing.”

Think about that. eBay, once and perhaps still Google’s largest advertiser, saying that perhaps online advertising isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore. That’d be fine, say, if Procter & Gamble (PG) decided it had had enough of this newfangled form of advertising. But not eBay, an Internet pioneer. Internet advertising taking a back seat to offline marketing? The horror, the horror.

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