In an effort at full disclosure, I own Google stock. I don't own E-Bay stock.
Is it my imagination, or are two leaders of the online world acting a bit childish? First, Google pulls an immature move by running a competing event for its check-out service at the venue of the annual E-Bay convention, which of course competes with Paypal. E-Bay, in retaliation, pulls its PPC ads from Google, and then reinstates them but claims to have "tested" the alternative search engines and the results will mean less spend at Google. Come on, that is ridiculous. If you, E-Bay, weren't already doing this testing, shame on you. We even do it at our small law firm. This window of opportunity for E-Bay to conduct testing was no window at all. They could do it at any time, even while the Google ads were still running.
Of course, both of these companies may be acting a bit aggressively, and some even see it as a matter of immaturity, but this is typical technology company mischief. The only take I get out of it is that E-Bay shoud be embarassed because they apparently have not been running campaigns on all the search engines and evaluating performance on an ongoing basis. Oh, E-Bay, by the way, the demographics are different on each search engine so you WILL get better results on non-Google PPC advertising for some products and services. And even better results when you start up a new campaign reaching fresh prospects. There. The secret is out of the bag!
Maybe E-Bay just needs to hire some quality SEOs. Or, just maybe, they are still a bit upset at Google and they are trying something cute. This is what happens when "strategic partners" start competing. It's not a pretty picture.