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6/14/2007
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Google Cancels 'Freedom' Party To Appease eBay

The online auction site reportedly canceled its search ad purchases in response to Google's planned promotion of Google Checkout at an eBay event.

Google's call to "Let Freedom Ring" sounds like a repudiation of censorship. In fact, it was Google's challenge to eBay to accept Google Checkout.

Google had planned to host its Google Checkout Freedom Party in Boston today in conjunction with the commencement of the eBay Live developer conference. The company wants to rally support among eBay sellers sold on processing their online sales using Google Checkout, something eBay, as the owner of the competing PayPal service, doesn't allow.

Google's cry for freedom, however, only freed Google from eBay ad revenue. The online auction site reportedly canceled its search ad purchases in response to Google's agitation.

EBay didn't respond to a request to confirm this.

Google was no more forthcoming. "We don't comment on individual advertiser relationships or spending," said a Google spokesperson via e-mail. "EBay has been a long-time partner, and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship."

A cursory effort to generate a Google search results page with paid eBay links today suggests that eBay has indeed withdrawn its text ads from Google Search. Google queries like "eBay stuff" or "garden gnomes" or "dolls" returned no paid eBay links. Searches for those same terms on Yahoo search and Live Search, however, did return paid eBay text ads.

Whatever the cause of the mysterious absence of eBay text ads on Google, Google appears to have recognized that the price of freedom is too dear: The search company yesterday decided to cancel the Google Checkout Freedom Party planned for this evening.

"EBay Live attendees have plenty of activities to keep them busy this week in Boston, and we did not want to detract from that activity," explained Tom Oliveri, a member of the Google Checkout Team, on the Google Checkout blog. "After speaking with officials at eBay, we at Google agreed that it was better for us not to feature this event during the eBay Live conference. Google is constantly reaching out to new users and sellers, and we are available to privately discuss any matters of concern with individuals as they relate to Google products."

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