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Google Still Plays Catch-Up With eBay

Traffic figures for the competing e-commerce sites are on opposite ends in the spectrum, according to an Internet metrics company.

When it comes to e-commerce, Google can't touch eBay.

Last week, Google Base received 844 times fewer visitors than eBay and Google Checkout received 71 times fewer visitors than PayPal, according to figures released on Friday by Internet metrics company Hitwise.

Google Base in particular appears to be suffering. The search giant's free submit-it-yourself content repository experienced an 18% decline in traffic between July 2006 and January 2007. Google Checkout saw a 362% gain in visitors during the same period.

Hitwise research director LeeAnn Prescott attributes Checkout's traffic growth to aggressive promotion.

eBay and Paypal showed gains of 1.3% and 1.9% respectively during this period.

eBay also led in terms of session time -- the amount of time users spent at the site. eBay visitors spent an average of almost 20 minutes on the site, compared to 8 minutes for Google Base. For ad-supported sites, longer session times are generally better.

For transaction-oriented sites, shorter session times are more desirable (assuming the transaction gets completed) and there at least Google appears to have performed better than the competition. The average session time for users of Google Checkout was roughly two minutes less than the average session time for PayPal users.

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