As some of you already know I do a lot of work as an affiliate marketer using Ebay and its services. While this is definitely an up and down market, there is a ton of money to be made in just about any niche you can dream up. Ebay does millions of dollars of business every single day, so theres a ton of money there for you to take part in. What you have to know going into the affiliate business with Ebay is that you won't get much help from their customer service support staff.
Take for example the issue I had when switching from Comission Junction (who used to be the affiliate company before eBay decided to do it themselves) to the Ebay Partners Network. Note the catchy and 'friendly' name that Ebay uses for their affiliate program. I was consistently doing anywhere between $50 and $100 a day from various niche sites that promote Ebay auctions, which isn't a ton of money but its a sizable chunk of extra income for me that is nice to have in the bank.
Now Ebay decides they want to run things themselves and gives Comission Junction the boot. Fine I say to myself, I'll just switch the links over on my sites and things will run smooth as always. Well F me hard on this one - I go from $100 days to ZERO! Yah thats right, I said zero money, as in the big nothing. Something must be wrong with the tracking system, maybe Ebay will have some answers and make things right. Off I go to the wonderful help support desk at Ebay and explain my situation nicely, just asking for some clarification and what not, below is what I recieve in way of support response.
Thank you for writing back to us with further information regarding your
problem with migration from CJ.
We want to let you know exactly what we have been doing to address your
posts and what some of our preliminary findings are.
First, we are tracking revenue events per click (eg. bids per click,
commissions per click, revenue per winning bid, etc) vs. our historic
averages on CJ. So far they all look either consistent or higher than
our averages on CJ pre-migration (at a summary level across all
affiliates). The one metric that is tracking a bit lower is ACRUs /
click (this stat is about 15% lower than pre-migration). Although we'll
continue to monitor this closely, we expected this as we would expect
some level of ramp-up in commissions as ACRUs have a 30 day window and
we saw on CJ that registrations can take up to a few weeks to confirm
and bid, etc. What this also means is that even if you were to delete
all your links today, you would still receive commissions from us for
customers you would have sent in the past 15 days, up until their 30 day
Second, although we can't check all our affiliates' links manually as
there are millions of pages from thousands of affiliates with eBay links
on them, we have been spot-checking individual links from several of you
who have shared theirs on these boards and contacted you directly where
we could. We have also called many of our top affiliates personally and
although we are investigating an issue or two here or there, most have
not reported any problems with their tracking. The primary issue we have
seen to date is errors in the way that some of the new links have been
implemented on affiliates' websites. We have tried our best to capture
these, along with tips on how to resolve them, in a new blog post here: http://www.ebaypartnernetworkblog.com/english/common-mistakes-when-building-new-links/.
The best way to avoid these issues is to as often as possible use the
tools provided by eBay Partner Network to re-generate new HTML links,
and then copy and paste those links directly into your sites.
As you know, although eBay Partner Network is a new proprietary in-house
platform of eBay, our tracking is actually built and managed by the same
third party (Mediaplex, a division of ValueClick), as we had with CJ.
The platform and tracking have been rigorously alpha and beta tested
with Mediaplex as well as the large external consulting firm that helped
us develop eBay Partner Network. However, in response to the feedback on
the boards, we have been working with both of these firms to re-verify
that there are no issues. We are still early in this new investigation.
One issue that has come up is that bot clicks are currently not filtered
out by the eBay Partner Network tracking system. This does not have any
effect on revenue events or commissions, but could inflate the click
counts you see in eBay Partner Network. When a website or a paid search
campaign changes their links, the bots and crawlers that index those
sites will sometimes click on those links as they re-index the sites to
determine their rankings. The issue is even more pronounced for paid
search campaigns, where we believe search engines will test most/all
links to see if they are valid by clicking on them. Because of the way
our tracking is currently constructed, those bot clicks will be shown as
normal clicks, which could have the effect of inflating the click count
vs. the actual commissions.
Other than this, no other system-wide issues have been uncovered by our
investigations to date. We will continue to investigate thoroughly and
follow up on your concerns. Tracking is a critical part of our program
and we're committed to making sure it is working 100% correctly - we can
only be successful if you're successful.
Thanks for your support of eBay Partner Network and your continued
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
eBay Partner Network Support
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that I've been doing this for awhile now and I can make my links work correctly. In doing some more surfing I've found a ton of people getting the same response and having a HUGE drop in sales. Unfortunately Ebay is in the drivers seat on this one, I just hope they don't drive everyone that uses them into the ground!