eBay Data 'Leak' Sends Google Scrambling To Mask Names

eBay exposed the real first and last names of customers, along with what they purchased, in Google search results in a customer privacy 'leak' that occurred during the weekend.

The issue resulted from an improper feed signal between the two companies, which are both still investigating the cause, according to an eBay spokesperson. 

“Once becoming aware of the issue, we worked quickly with Google and they have disabled product reviews from being displayed on Google Shopping," per the eBay spokesperson. 

The Google Shopping page features product reviews from a variety of retailers. For product reviews submitted from eBay users, the name of the customer was being displayed as opposed to the eBay username. No additional information, including financial, address was revealed, aside from the user’s name and product review, was published on Google Shopping.

The names were exposed for all types of purchases, according to one report, which Google also confirmed. Some of those purchases included highly sensitive products such as pregnancy, drug and HIV home test kits.

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"When we learned about the issue, we took action immediately and stopped displaying all reviewer names from eBay," a Google spokesperson told Search Marketing Daily. "eBay is working closely with us to investigate and resolve it."

All reviews on Google Shopping product pages from eBay.com displayed actual customer names and review dates for each search conducted on google.com, from medical self-testing kits to cookbooks, according to EcommerceBytes, which suggests a flaw in the data feed that eBay sent to Google.  

If customers used their eBay account to sell items, the location such as city, state and country also served up in search results, per the report.

The reviews from other online retailers like Target.com and Walmart.com displayed user IDs.

By morning, the real names of customers that had been displayed in the Product Reviews section of Google Shopping were replaced with dashes.

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