Thursday, 1 March 2007

Lost on the eBay trail

Yesterday Kev was shopping around for sailing jackets. After finding what looked like a bargain on eBay, he wanted to find the new price in the shops. But he hit a brick wall on Google when he tried to filter eBay out of the search returns. You can filter out domains from the returns, but that's not easy when you're dealing with something as sprawling and ubiquitous as eBay and it's related properties. I expect you can do some clever things with regular expressions to make your filter, but how many people have the time, knowledge or desire to do that?

Last summer eBay and Google announced that they will be cooperating internationally (whatever that means). So, it's probably not the best time to be suggesting that Google provide plug and play filters to block eBay and other Internet property magnates. I'd even go so far as to suggest that it would be a great project for Google's summer of code this year.

After years of vigorous pursuit of search engine domination, web marketeers will be outraged by the notion. By cooperating, although companies risk losing visitors, these are disgruntled users that don't want to be there. Showing consideration for internet users will enhance brand perception and enrich the Google experience. It's a matter of quantity over quality I guess.

When Kev finally found a new version of his jacket, he was able to use the Google search bar as a calculator to compare costs - so that gave him back some of the time he lost on the eBay trail.

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