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After spat, eBay back to Google advertising

AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - After a spat between two of the world's largest Internet companies, online auctioneer eBay Inc. resumed running advertising through Google Inc. on Friday.

EBay pulled ads from the world's most popular search engine June 11 in what the auction company billed as an experiment to determine the most effective means of getting customers to visit the shopping site. The move, however, had smacked of blatant retaliation as it coincided with a June 14 party that Google had been planning to siphon attention from eBay's annual user celebration in Boston.

In the past week, eBay - one of the biggest buyers using Google's AdWords marketing program - increased advertising on Google rivals, including Yahoo Inc., IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s Ask.com and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.com.

EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said the experiment proved that eBay didn't need to spend as much on Google ads, which generally run to the right of Google's regular search results.

Durzy wouldn't provide dollar or percentage figures but said that eBay's pullback from AdWords in the United States would be ''significant.''

''Overall the takeaway for us was that we weren't as dependent on AdWords as some out there may have thought,'' Durzy said.

He said traffic to the site was higher during its 10-day experiment compared with the same time a year ago, and eBay sales don't appear to have been dampened.

''Other partners - Yahoo and AOL and MSN - really stepped up and provided a lot of value,'' Durzy said. ''And natural search continues to drive a lot of valuable traffic to the site.''