The market leading auction site has brought in Blue Rubicon for a brief combining PR and public affairs work with corporate reputation management.
'The traditional model of having a separate PR and PA agency, is for us, no longer a sensible one,' said Alasdair McGowan, head of public affairs of eBay UK.
The auction site's in-house comms team has been cementing its brand reputation strategy for about a year, choosing Blue Rubicon to continue this work after a competitive pitch process (PRWeek, 30 April).
Blue Rubicon, led by MD Gordon Tempest-Hay, will work alongside eBay's McGowan and Vanessa Canzini, corporate PR and reputation manager in the UK.
Tempest-Hay called eBay 'a long-coveted account' for Blue Rubicon. 'As the flagship brand for its sector, eBay has, inevitably, faced increasing threats to its reputation,' he added.
Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chairman Peter Bingle said that eBay's dwindling budget meant his team was not doing proactive PR work for the website, simply monitoring the media.
'Over the past few years eBay had become one of our smallest clients due to internal budgetary constraints,' he said. 'It was the last of our monitoring-only clients. We wish eBay well.'
eBay hit headlines for the wrong reasons this week, when authorities in Germany had to take custody of a seven-month-old boy after his parents posted an advert offering to sell him for 79p.
eBay hired Shine as its retained consumer agency last autumn (PRWeek, 6 September 2007).