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Ebay can't whore out its front page fast enough with the company making an embarrassing gaffe as its transitioned ads from IBM to Sun Microsystems.

Many of you will have noticed the "Powered By" logo that appears on eBay's homepage. It typically has a well-known server vendor inserted in that slot.

What many of you probably don't know is that the "Powered By" bit is a tad deceptive. True to its business model, eBay auctions off an advertising slot on its homepage to the highest bidder, so well placed sources tell us. Ebay certainly has hardware from all kinds of companies, making a lone Linux file server tucked away in a back room enough, for example, to justify the Powered By IBM claim.

Photo of ebay and Sun ad

http://pages.ebay.com/ebay_IBM.HTML

The speed at which eBay can sell out its homepage does create the potential for problems to arise. Today, you'll see that Sun - instead of IBM - powers eBay on the back of its Java technology, Solaris operating system and UltraSPARC servers. What's the link underneath the Sun ad? Well, http://pages.ebay.com/ebay_IBM.HTML, of course. We don't expect that sucker to be around for very long, so click while you still can. Perhaps the url wasn't included in the auction?

Sun had long been present on eBay's homepage until the company started to see its server revenue dip. Since then, wealthier rivals have taken over the prestigious spot. Sun, however, recently launched a new "Sharing" ad campaign depicted by the emaciated bluish S barely visible in the eBay plug. Investors pray that "Sharing" means winning back market share and that it isn't just some cheesy slogan thought up by the marketing department.

How we long for the days of more musclar slogans and "dot-com grade" Sun gear. ®

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