I came across something today that I found intriguing; eBay, obviously a huge advertiser on Google AdWords, is bidding on the keyword “ebay”. That alone is not strange; most every advertiser with a known brand choose to bid on their name, even though they are most likely tops in the organic (free) search result.
Quite simply, they more real estate on a search results page that you control, the better. If you are eBay, you do not want users heading off towards Amazon or another retailer to make a purchase, thus purchasing the top spot for your brand name is usually always worth the cost.
What made this interesting in this case is that eBay sites take up basically every organic listing on the page (with the exception of the omnipresent Wikipedia entry, which is not going to be taking business from eBay), and none of eBay’s competitors are advertising on the paid results for their brand. With tens of thousands of clicks per day I have no doubt, this means to me that eBay is paying quite a bit for advertising on their brand name, paying for clicks that in this particular case they would undoubtedly end up getting for free.
This could be an oversight, or it could be that their ad budget is so big that this is a drop in the bucket, or it could be a defensive move, as not advertising under the term ‘ebay’ could invite competitors or affiliates to do so.