Is Google hitting eBay while they are down?

September 24, 2008

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Ever since 9/16 when fp30 rolled along with a bunch of finding bugs, we have seen sales plummet in many categories with apparel and jewelry being hit the hardest.

While most sellers are focusing in on some of the eBay finding wackiness, one seller noticed google had all but disappeared as a ‘source’ of traffic in their advanced store reports.

Based on that tip, we started doing some looking and saw some very unusual behaviour.

Here’s a search for a popular Nike product’s model number:


Notice that the second, third and fifth search results are all for eBay international sites and not “.com”

I’ve run literally hundreds of searches and you have to really work now to find eBay in the organic (and even paid I’ll add) google results.  Interestingly enough, when I did find the occasional eBay listing in the index, it was an FP30.

Note that eBay’s pagerank (PR) doesn’t seem to have changed – it’s at 8/10.

Theories on what is going on
I have a couple of quick theories on what’s going on:

  • Given their track record in the last couple of weeks, it’s possible that eBay has done something to mess up the crawlability of the site.
  • It could be that eBay has asked google to not crawl anything but fp30 dramatically reducing the number of eBay listings in the google index (this doesn’t seem very smart, but hey anything’s possible I guess)
  • It could be that Google is using this tough spot for eBay to kick them in the ribs and has decided that eBay listings are ‘not relevant’ and yanked them from the index.

Personally I think the last theory is the most probable given the near overnight disappearance of eBay’s listings from the Google index.

Readers – any insights into what you are seeing/think is going on?
SeekingAlpha Disclosure: I am long eBay and Google