Google Outed As Anonymous Ebay Critic
Saturday, May 31, 2008; 3:09 PM
The Google Checkout/Ebay Paypal wars continue.
Ebay Australia currently allows merchants to accept credit cards, direct debit, money orders and checks for purchases, but from June 17 they want to allow only PayPal or cash on delivery. When the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) asked for public comments on the proposal a lot of of people responded. But an anonymous 38 page document that is highly critical of Ebay's move was submitted on May 26, leading to speculation on who the author might be.
It turns out, the title of the document, hidden in the PDF metadata, gave a very good clue "Microsoft Word - 204481916_1_ACCC Submission by Google re eBay Public _2_.DOC." An Australian named David Bromage first discovered it.
The document is still available on the ACCC's website (and is embedded below), with the title stripped out. But the Australian newspapers are all over this now.
Google's competing product to eBay, Google Checkout, is only available to merchants in the US and UK, so they don't directly compete yet with PayPal in the Australian market. Apparently, that hasn't stopped them from trying to keep their options there open.
In the document, Google says Ebay's actions are anti-competitive, that the public benefits claimed by Ebay are "illusory" and that the proposal will result in significant public detriment. They also request that the ACCC ban Ebay from the action under the Australian Trade Practices Act.
Will eBay retaliate? Last year they temporarily pulled all Ebay advertising on Google after they announced a Google Checkout party at an Ebay event. If they get that mad over a party, I can't imagine how they'll respond to this 38 page treatise on the evils of PayPal.
The full document is below. And in other news, PayPal was finally able to fix that drop down menu bug that plagued users for over ten days and was ignored until the press and blogs started to pay attention.