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eBay Partner Network terminates some affiliates
Aug 23rd, 2008 by estreet

ePN terminated some very vocal affiliates on Aug. 20 for sending poor quality traffic to eBay. eBay has not stated the metrics they used to classify “poor quality” traffic.

Going forward, ePN needs to set better guidelines for affiliates – IMMEDIATELY. It’s good business practice to set goals and criteria for affiliates then terminate for non-performance. Everyone involved will benefit from knowing ePN’s goals and aligning their actions to those goals.

steveh@ebay.com View Listings | Report Aug-21-08 16:50 PDT
I wanted to address all of the board posts regarding the expiration emails that were sent last night.

These actions were part of our continued effort to focus on delivering the highest quality buyer traffic to eBay via affiliate marketing. To that end, we’ve been analyzing our program closely over the last few months. I know there have been a number of requests to provide insight into all of the metrics via which we are evaluating affiliate traffic, but unfortunately there’s an active black hat community that is pretty effective at exploiting these insights so we can’t go into details on them. However, what I can say is that in addition to earnings per click metrics (EPC), we look at a variety of metrics to see how users are behaving when they come to eBay.com – how engaged they are with our site, and whether the affiliate link clicks lead to incremental buying activity. As we’ve done this, we have seen a big discrepancy in how interested and active the traffic is that comes to eBay from different sources.

Our responsibility in the affiliate marketing channel is to allocate our resources to best drive incremental demand to our sellers. To that end, we need to focus on partners who have had the most success in engaging users who become some of our best buyers on eBay. I understand that these actions do have a very real impact on some of our affiliates who have been working with us over the years. For that, I sincerely apologize, but these decisions are made in the best interest of eBay’s sellers and the overall health of our affiliate program.

We want to be very clear. Affiliates who received these messages of expiration last night are not being asked to stop sending traffic to us due to fraudulent activity or violations of the terms of service. For those of you who received the message, commissions are not being reversed, and you will be paid for all valid traffic you have sent to us to date, and for the next 7 days.

Sincerely,
Steve

Read the entire ePN forum topic.

Anti-Auctiva sentiment
Aug 13th, 2008 by estreet

This is the topic I meant to write about yesterday. There is a sudden dissing of Auctiva in the forums lately by eBay Partner Network (ePN) affiliates.

Examples: ePN forum, abestweb.com

Auctiva is a 3rd party solution provider for eBay sellers. In 2005, they switched their business model of 6 years to the eBay affiliate model, and away from the traditional pay per month model.

What they do best: free photo-hosting, listing tool, and scheduler for eBay sellers. eBay charges $.15 per photo for photo-hosting and $.10 for scheduled listings. Auctiva offers these for free.

When a seller subscribes to Auctiva, a cross promotional showcase is embedded into their existing listings and newly created listings automatically. This is one of the ways they drive traffic to their Auctiva store which contain ePN affiliate links.

Affiliates are complaining because Auctiva overwrites their ePN cookies. Here’s what ePN says of the overwriting of ePN cookies:

First, I hope that everyone is aware that Auctiva is a long-standing member of eBay’s affiliate program so none of this activity is new.

We constantly analyze and evaluate affiliates and their various business models that are used to drive traffic to eBay via eBay Partner Network or in this case, provide tools for buyers or merchandise other items to users that are not directly shown on the eBay sites via seller tools. One if the factors that we look at is how incremental the traffic and activity is to the eBay sites. As highlighted in earlier posts, the last cookie on a user’s machine gets attributed the commission for any actions the take, which means that affiliates’ cookies can get overwritten within the 7 day cookie latency window. Something we watch for closely is whether there are affiliates that disproportionally overwrite other affiliates’ cookies – in this case with Auctiva and similar tools, we have not found that they are disproportionately overwriting other cookies.

That being said, we’re going to continue to evaluate the existing and new business models that are being used on eBay Partner Network to make sure they continue to drive quality incremental activity on eBay sites as eBay, your sites, and the web continue to change.

Steve

This statement means the affiliate model is going to change. Me thinks it will be pretty soon.

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