Lucky for eBay and Google that both the Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, and the eBay CEO, Meg Whitman, both believe in the power of “collaborative competition.”
As I have been following at this Digital Micro-Markets Blog, both eBay and Google are increasingly targeting each other’s turf, while still declaring they are the best of partners.
Just days ago, at the annual eBay Developers Conference, eBay announced the test launch of AdContext, a Google AdSense style automated, keyword-based contextual ad system for use by its affiliate network.
Today, it was revealed that Google is soliciting AdSense publisher partners to test Content Referral Network, an eBay style sales lead generation and transactional commission-based affiliate network.
Additionally, Google is set to announce the launch of an eBay PayPal style online payment system, most likely for use in its new Pay Per Action Content Referral Network.
Also, eBay Keywords is a Google AdWords style CPC keyword-based text ad product available to eBay sellers, by auction bid, for display at eBay.
While eBay Skype announced, just days ago at the annual eBay Live forum, a new “Skype Me" button for certain eBay listings, both Google and eBay are targeting Pay Per Call ad applications.
As I have said:
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.
According to Meg Whitman, Google "is both a competitor and one of our best relationships" and she speaks to Eric Schmidt (a Princeton classmate) several times a month.