eBay Takes on Google's Audio Ads

ebaymmlogo.pngAs reported by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, eBay will be expanding it’s MediaMarketplace ad auction system into radio time through a partnership with radio ad auction startup Bid4Spot. eBay started MediaMarketplace last year to sell ad time on national cable networks for a coalition of well-known advertisers, including Home Depot Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard.

The announcement puts eBay up against Google, which last year acquired Bid4Spot competitor dMarc Broadcasting for $1.24 billion. Google has already soft launched an audio ad auction system and, in April, struck a deal with Clear Channel to sell ads across all the company’s 675 stations and recently started selling ad space on Dish Networks channels.

eBay’s Encino California based partner, Bid4Spots, has been selling radio ads in the US for the past two years and recently expanded to the UK last month. The partnership will allow advertisers to buy unsold radio inventory from 2,300 radio stations in the top 300 media markets in the United States through eBay’s MediaMarketplace or Bid4Spots own site.

The Journal cites the $20 billion radio-advertising business as an attractive market, but highlights eBay’s experience in cable advertising. eBay’s initial foray into cable was balked by networks wary of an auction system depressing ad revenue until the Oxygen channel agreed to participate in a test. It may be more of the same may for radio advertisers.

It doesn’t appear that eBay is assisting advertisers in creating spots, something that is crucial to getting smaller advertisers to participate. Google is helping with ad creation, as does competitor Voices.com.