Yahoo, eBay Sign on For More Exposure

UPDATED: Internet portal Yahoo and online auctioneer eBay announced a wide-ranging search and advertising pact designed to withstand Google’s encroachment.

As part of a multi-year partnership set to begin testing over the next several months with a full roll-out later this year, Yahoo and eBay inked exclusive agreements on key technologies as well as co-branded tools enabling them to expand their reach.

Yahoo becomes eBay’s exclusive provider of graphical ads, as well
as sponsored search advertisements, which is key to competing with Google. In
return, PayPal will be the exclusive payment service across Yahoo’s
e-commerce and advertiser networks.

Additionally, Yahoo will be added to eBay’s toolbar, which the San Jose, Calif.-based
auction service said 4 million users downloaded. Yahoo will examine “click-to-call” advertising, which would allow Yahoo Messenger users to directly contact advertisers via
eBay’s Skype Internet phone service.

The pact, which first undergoes several months of tests before a
complete roll-out later this year, was hailed as extending
advertising and exposure across the popular Internet destinations.

“EBay provides us with a great opportunity to further extend our
sponsored search and graphical advertising reach to one of the
largest and most active communities on the Web,” Terry Semel, Yahoo’s
CEO and chairman, explained in a statement.

For the online auctioneer, Yahoo’s audience “drives massive
traffic through its rich consumer content and premium services,”
according to Meg Whitman, eBay CEO and president, in a statement.

For some time, the auction service has reportedly been in
talks with Yahoo and Microsoft over a partnership that could wean
eBay from its dependence on Google.

Yahoo will not discuss how the agreement may change the look-and-
feel of its popular Internet brand, aside from saying the various
components will undergo testing over the next several months,
according to Kelly Delaney, a Yahoo spokesperson.

Delaney said while some co-branding will be evident, such as the
new toolbar, the Yahoo brand will not be apparent when serving banner
ads to eBay users.

While not providing details, the spokesperson said “there is a
revenue-sharing component” to the partnership.

Although Yahoo sees the new pact as “a great fit,” the deal
“strains the relationship between eBay and Google,” said Matthew Del
Percio, a Yankee Group analyst.

After launching Google Base, a service allowing users to
sell items, the Internet search company unveiled Google Payments, a PayPal-like product.

While eBay is Google’s No. 1 advertiser, eBay needs Google to
deliver targeted ads to “the most active eyeballs on the Internet,”
according to Del Percio.

“Ebay needs Google more than Google needs eBay,” the analyst said.

But Google assures eBay is just as valuable to its future in light of the announcement.

“EBay is a valued partner and has been for years,” said
Steve Langdon, a Google spokesperson. “We expect our
partnership
with them to grow as we find new ways to work together.”

Nevertheless, the Yankee Group analyst says
partnerships such as the one between Yahoo and eBay are becoming a
prime tactic needed by companies to compete.

A likely option for
Google is pairing with Microsoft to serve ads to the 80 million users
of Myspace.com, predicts Del Percio.

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