As I describe in my “eBay vs. Google: eBay AdContext contextual ad network set to launch”, eBay unveiled this weekend a new, automated keyword-based contextual ad system for use by its partner network.
According to eBay:
eBay AdContext is our new contextual ad tool. It will scan the content of a Web site and automatically return relevant eBay ad content. For example, a Web site about sports could use eBay AdContext to display ads for sporting goods listings or eBay search results for memorabilia related to a specific sports team. When a user clicks on the eBay ad, they are led directly to the eBay site (either to the listing, the category, or the search results page).
eBay AdContext was developed using eBay's keyword selection technology, which uses proprietary eBay data to match contextual eBay ads to the Web page. The contextual ads take into account the popularity of certain keywords on eBay, not just the keywords on a given Web site, making them relevant to what people are actually shopping for on eBay.
The new automated eBay AdContext product differs from eBay’s current manual ad placement system for promotional partners. Currently, partners create their own selection of eBay ads on their Web pages, by manually entering specific keywords and categories as search terms in order to return listings. eBay AdContext, however, will automatically read the content of the Web site—which may change daily—and surfaces ads that are most relevant to that content.
eBay currently says its AdContext network will only be used to place eBay ads leading Internet users directly to the eBay site. Once the system is in place, however, it is not a stretch to predict that eBay will seek to further monetize its technology and network of partners by opening up the system to any advertiser and any Website, much like Google does with its AdSense. Additionally, eBay will easily be able to leverage its existing PayPal customer network. At present, however, as I said in my "Google and eBay take each other on":
While Google and eBay rollout the new, competing services, however, each company asserts that it is not in competition with the other. Each company has a vested interest in keeping the other as an ally, while they become competitors; eBay is one of Google’s largest AdWords customers and, as such, Google delivers much traffic to eBay, in exchange for much money from eBay.