What is eBay Smoking (or Maybe Drinking)?

In order to bring you this amusing and puzzling anecdote, I must admit something. I google Vinography occasionally to see what comes up. OK. I’ve gotten that off my chest. Of course, I’m not super embarassed about that because everybody does it. C’mon. You know that at least once you’ve typed in your own name into Google just to see what comes up. If you haven’t, you probably should, if only to make sure you know what’s out there to find.

Those of you who do that regularly, I wonder if you’ve ever found yourselves for sale on eBay?

Now this is not just sort of an amusing coincidence. It is downright creepy and bizarre.

Let me explain. In order for that little ad to show up on the right hand side of my google search results, someone had to purchase the keyword “Vinography.” This means they need to have a Google Adwords account, and that they need to type that keyword into the interface, decide how much they want to pay for every time that someone clicks on that ad and press a button that says “buy this keyword.”

Obviously eBay has some level of automation that results in some rather silly ads being automatically generated with words that don’t quite make sense, like the one that occasionally shows up for Used Pinot Noir. But the keywords still need to be purchased by someone. Some real person had to actively make the decision that they wanted to buy Vinography as keyword. Pinot Noir I understand. But Vinography?!?

Which leads me to the title and point of this post. What in the world is eBay smoking? If I owned eBay stock, I’d sell it on Monday morning, because any company who spends money advertising things that they could never possibly sell is too big, has too much money, and doesn’t keep track of its cash well enough to make me confident as a shareholder.

Besides, I don’t appreciate the implication that Vinography can be bought and sold quite so easily, thankyouverymuch. A blog has its standards, dontcha know?