In a move that has disrupted the tech industry, eBay had quietly dumped Google AdWords for Bing Ads for their mobile site, in a move that could be seen as payback for Google’s hefty penalty against eBay earlier this year.
Back in May, reports came out that Google had penalised eBay for bad SEO practices, which made search results for eBay drop by up to 50%, resulting in a potential loss of up to $200 million in revenue.
Up until that point, and during the hardship, eBay used Google AdWords exclusively for its ads on the site, both mobile and desktop. Recently, however, eBay quietly made the move to dump AdWords for Bing Ads for its mobile site, which some consider as a form of payback for Google’s search penalty in May. The change in habit has only happened for ads on eBay’s mobile site, whereas eBay’s desktop version is still serving Google AdWords.
The new mix in ads got people talking about what was going on behind the scenes. As Search Engine Land‘s Ginny Marvin writes:
Maybe, though the fact that eBay is testing a move to Bing Ads on mobile only to start shows that the company isn’t making brash moves to get retribution against Google for the organic search penalty.
Regardless of eBay’s future intentions, Google has suffered in the stock markets since eBay’s change in behaviour was noticed. Between November 12 to 15, the NASDAQ saw Google share price dropped by 2.5%, showing that the actions of eBay are not being ignored by investors, although issues with Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop, including Facebook’s plans to launch a new professional network, have also contributed in the fall.
Even though we are now (fairly) sure that the new Panda algorithm wasn’t the sole cause of eBay’s $200m loss, eBay wasn’t the only one to suffer unexpectedly in SEO. Still, the fact that eBay has broken a years-long tradition of exclusively working with Google AdWords means that Google isn’t standing as confidently as it’s used to anymore.