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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Google Guys Kicked from eBay Conference?

Trogdor in the forum reports (see the Google/ eBay fight post for some background information):

On Saturday, June 16, I saw the clash of the giants get physical. I was at the closing gala for the eBay Live 2007 conference as an exhibitor.

The conference itself had some interesting features: attendance was lower than eBay had expected, there were fewer exhibitors as well (various eBay organs took up nearly 50% of the trade show floor), and eBay announced they were lowering their rates on some auction styles. From those items, draw what conclusions you will.

But that’s not what I’m here to highlight for you. Like I said, I was at the finale. With Kool and the Gang performing for a rather packed dance floor, I noticed some big guys move past me, their white polo shirts saying “eBay Security”. Along with them was a man working for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, as well as the first speaker from the opening party (the opening party where CEO Meg Whitman talked about a lot of things and avoided mention of Google).

This quartet tapped the shoulders of two young men in front of me. They turned around, and on a black polo shirt I spied the Google logo. “Let’s go have a chat,” said one of the security men; he clearly was not asking. The Googlers smiled and complied, and they moved with their new handlers to the edge of the dance floor. I considered edging closer or taking pictures, but didn’t want to get kicked out myself.

The men talked to each other for 5 minutes, and the discussion seemed cordial enough. The Googlers were then escorted out of the building.

I’d spoken to some other Googlers – actually sat near some girls at the opening talk. When the PayPal statistics came out, they guffawed a little – I got the feeling that some of the things PayPal was bragging about, Google had already surpassed. The other things, Google hadn’t yet, but it was just a matter of time.

I couldn’t call any of them spies per se, as they were wearing Google shirts and gave out Google business cards. So it was quite surprising that the two guys in front of me at the finale were given the boot. Makes you wonder what what they did to become unwelcome at eBay’s party ...

Update: Paul in the comments points to another post that makes it likely that these two weren’t Google employees, but that due to their Google shirts (and perhaps the fact they were indirectly promoting Google Checkout in their conference chats), they were possibly mistaken for Google employees in any case by the security.


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