The death of eBay Partner Network?

15 replies
eBay sure has a way making those who bring them customers/traffic/revenue feel loved.

Until now, eBay Partner Network has paid for sales and leads. With Quality Click Pricing, we will now instead pay affiliates for each click sent to an eBay site.

They've already made adjustments to lower their payouts. Now it looks as if they're going to start phasing out the referral altogether. I'm glad EPN is just an incremental part of my business instead of the core like it was a year ago.
#death #epn
  • Profile picture of the author adamv
    I've been finished with ebay for some time now. For a while, it seemed like every week they would come up with some change to the whole program that was bad for their sellers and / or affiliates.

    I have not been paying close attention but it seems like the horrible ideas they come up with are a little less frequent now but it still seems like they're sabotaging themselves, almost as if they are trying to put themselves out of business.

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    • Profile picture of the author barbling
      Back in 2005 I was in the top 20 of earners for the eBay Affiliate network. Those were the delightful times!

      Ever since they moved from CJ to their own platform, life has been not exactly as peachy as possible.

      I love the eBay affiliate network but yes indeed, they certainly do not appear to have their affiliates best interests at heart. Wah.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sarah_Lyle
        Originally Posted by barbling View Post

        Ever since they moved from CJ to their own platform, life has been not exactly as peachy as possible.

        I love the eBay affiliate network but yes indeed, they certainly do not appear to have their affiliates best interests at heart. Wah.
        I so agree, I've noticed a drop since they left CJ ebay are hardly worth bothering with anymore
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Holmes
    About 80% of my income still comes through EPN, and has taken more than a few hits over the past year or so with the move from CJ and then The Tier based pricing model, Now this Click Based pricing may be last time i let myself be screwed by what was once an awesome affiliate program.
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      • Profile picture of the author Greg Jacobs
        I have spoke to some people involved in the test for the new CPC rates, and their view is that it has actually increased their bottom line.

        Time will tell the truth of course, but dont be so quick to nay-say.

        At the end of the day there are humans behind the curtain at EPN that are working hard to present a robust and fair solution for all parties.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
        Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post

        Based on my experience, I even shut up shop on eBay, now just use them for the odd very rare purchase.

        The less I have to do with that company now, the better I feel.

        It's a shame really, as eBay was one of the founding huge internet companies that inspired so many of us in the early days...
        Back in the day, I did quite a bit of eBay business. In my biggest year with them I had over $200K in gross sales. They "fee'd" me out of business. I felt like I was working for them.

        I've wished since those days that another player would come along and give them serious competition in the auction market. It would take someone like Google who already has the traffic. I've never looked at the numbers, but I bet that Amazon has taken a chunk of the business over the past several years - prices are similar and you don't have to deal with all of the unknowns.
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          • Profile picture of the author Kingdom_Mines
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            • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
              Originally Posted by Kingdom_Mines View Post

              Ebay looks like a sad place, is this all true or rumours?
              Here's the full email...

              Today we're announcing Quality Click Pricing, a new payout structure designed to further reward the affiliates who drive incremental transactions on eBay and who send valued buyers to our sites.

              What's Quality Click Pricing?

              Until now, eBay Partner Network has paid for sales and leads. With Quality Click Pricing, we will now instead pay affiliates for each click sent to an eBay site. The price paid per click will still depend on the short-term and long-term revenue of the traffic that the publisher drives to eBay, but will now also take into account the incremental value of that traffic to eBay, i.e., whether a sale happened as a direct result of the publisher's actions. The greater the incremental revenue and the higher the expected lifetime value of the customers an affiliate sends, the higher the EPC and total earnings the affiliate will receive. Earnings Per Click (EPC) will be set daily for the previous day's traffic.

              When will this change take place?

              We plan to phase the introduction of Quality Click Pricing to ensure existing publishers have enough time to understand how this affects them.
              • New publishers that join the eBay Partner Network as of September 1st will be paid out under the new system. This includes all publishers joining as they transition from TradeDoubler and affilinet.
              • Publishers that joined eBay Partner Network prior to September 1st will remain on the current pricing system until October 1st, when they will begin to be paid under the new Quality Click Pricing payment structure. Before October 1st, and starting the last week in August, existing publishers will have access to a preview report to see how their new payouts compare with the existing payment structure for them.
              How can I find out more about this change?

              We know that you may have questions about Quality Click Pricing, so we have put together several resources to give you more information about it:
              • Read more about this change and some of the reasons behind it on our blog, including a FAQs document.
              • A new set of pages on the eBay Partner Network site that explain how Quality Click Pricing works in more detail will be available later today.
              • Two new videos that explain the concept of Quality Click Pricing (one available today and a second that will explain new reports on September 1st).
              • In addition, we will hold two live webinars to explain the change and give publishers the opportunity to ask questions. Find out more about the webinars.
              We will also be on the boards more frequently over the next few days to answer publishers' questions.

              We are very excited about the launch of Quality Click Pricing, as it will allow us to reward publishers who are driving high quality, engaged and incremental traffic to eBay. We are also committed to continuing to invest in helping our publishers succeed with eBay Partner Network, and to ensuring that everyone is rewarded fairly for the value they generate for eBay.

              We look forward to working with you on this new endeavor. Thanks for your continued support!
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  • Profile picture of the author Clyde Dennis
    Saw that...

    At this point it does appear they seem intent on making themselves extinct. Fortunately I milked that cow while it was still producing sweet milk and jumped off back when they first started down the path of self destruction.
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    • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
      Follow-up email, probably because they realize the reaction so far has been overwhelmingly negative...

      Dear Affiliate,

      Following the announcement of Quality Click Pricing, I realize that there are going to be a lot of questions, so I wanted to take a moment to speak with you about why we're making this change.

      Since we launched eBay Partner Network, we've continued to invest in the platform and have made many improvements to the quality of our affiliate program. Quite simply, quality in eBay Partner Network means that eBay's affiliate spend results in incremental transactions and incremental high lifetime value users. Said another way, we are working to make sure that our affiliate marketing spend delivers transactions that would not have otherwise occurred and new high value users who may not have registered on eBay.

      We've taken a number of steps to make sure that eBay Partner Network delivers on this promise so that we can continue to invest in our affiliate program, but we've been missing one key piece: fully aligning affiliate payouts with the true value of the traffic, transactions, and users that they deliver. Our first step towards aligning compensation with actual value was our Value Based ACRU pricing, which we launched in the US last year. With Quality Click Pricing, we will go further; compensating each affiliate not only for the value of your ACRUs, but also the incrementality of the transactions you drive.

      By fully aligning our compensation with quality, we hope that the affiliates whose earnings increase under the new payout model will find ways to drive even more of your high quality traffic to eBay. For affiliates who will initially earn less, we'd like to see you test some of our suggestions and work to improve the incrementality of your traffic, as this will increase your earnings and benefit eBay. From our experiences with our beta publishers, we know that with optimization increasing your payout is a real possibility.

      We have not taken this decision to change our compensation model lightly. The eBay Partner Network team has put a lot of effort and thought into the move to Quality Click Pricing over the last year, and we've involved numerous publishers in a beta program and previews of the system. From the results that we have seen for eBay and for our publishers, I feel strongly that this is a very positive move for the future of our affiliate program and I am personally excited to see the continued improvements in quality that it will drive.

      We know that change is not always easy, and that any change like this has a large impact for each of you on a personal level. I'm sure that there will still be additional questions moving forward, and to help address them, we're setting aside time to engage more with you on the discussion boards, and will hold a live webinar on Friday 21st August at 9am PST. You can visit the blog for more details. I look forward to the dialogue and to continuing to build our mutual success on eBay Partner Network.

      Steve Hartman
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      I see this as a continuation of eBay's attempt to shift away from auctions and more toward a storefront style site - with the regular stabbing in the back of any affiliate who is not a super-affiliate.

      A couple real interesting tidbits from the eBay FAQ at

      See #3 in that FAQ and make note of the data mining that eBay / PayPal is performing. From talking with eBay's counsel, this privacy invasion and use of PayPal's purchase history is scarier than you could imagine.

      See #26 - unless you make more than a few dollars from eBay per day, you're in an aggregate accounting pool. This will be the vast majority of eBay affiliates.

      Basically, eBay doesn't want you.

      Finally, I love how eBay has a 7-day cookie, even though many auctions last longer than that. Now, eBay will set your 'EPC' payout "daily" based on your prior day's traffic (#2 and 13 in FAQ), which is not fully consistent with the statement in #2 that your EPC is based on a long-term, lifetime value of a customer.

      The statistical analysis to fully perform what is stated in #2 and #3 on a per customer and per affiliate is mind-boggling.

      Personally, I think it's all bunk.

      eBay keeps moving farther away from anything that would allow affiliates to figure out how much money their traffic is generating. There's a reason for that.

      Elsewhere, you know you're making a set amount, or a set percentage, based on the purchase amount. With eBay, let's get to the bottom line here, you have no clue and have to accept whatever eBay says they'll give you.
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  • Profile picture of the author visit_faraz
    After reading this I really dont know what to do?
    I had been creating a few sites based on ebay products only (something similar to bans but it is a different and better script) and now I think I may have to stop and see the kind of results i get from these sites before I
    go on and create new ones.

    I was actually thinking of building at least 10 sites this month.
    I have already completed 4 and I want to wait now before I build more.

    Is there any alternative to ebay?
    My head is spinning now as I was looking forward to earning more from this.
    After reading your posts ( I didnt quite understand the email they sent ) it seems I better stop doing whatever I was doing.

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  • Profile picture of the author TrishOleary
    Boy I sure miss the good ole days of eBay! So sad what has happened over the years.

    I was just getting ready to start building several niche sites for the holidays for EPN but now, I think not!
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  • Profile picture of the author jakesellers
    It's like ebay's always trying to come up with the most complicated solution to reach their goals, probably because somebody there proposes a bet-the-company change, cooler heads water it down, then it's retrofitted to all the exceptions to their core offering, auctions. 5 free auctions a month with a bunch of if, ands, and buts with a higher completion fee, for example.

    They have the tracking to make a more sane and friendly affiliate program that would actually increase their business. They should pay CPC from their widgets, and CPA for everything else.

    Also, there should be an opt-in mechanism for listings for partner referrals that pay on the gross sale, say 10%, not a percentage of ebay's revenue. One of my first EPN sites was for boats, but it steamed me my piece of referring a $5,000 sale could be as low as $50. They could also make stores/classifieds/kijiji work with their tracking and create a self-serve CPA network where store admins could design their own affiliate programs and other advertisers could use ebay's CRM features for lead generation - that would be huge.

    EPN's gone through lots of changes, but it's still one of the best ways to keep a fresh rotation of stuff on your site that people want to click on and buy and should continue for the forseeable future.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Changes that continually downgrade tracking of earnings on EBAY worry me as they are connected to Paypal - when will the chnges start infiltrating the banking system with extra costs, etc? I for one think maybe it's time to start finding an equivilant alternative to Paypal, just in case.

    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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    • Profile picture of the author The Expert
      I read a review by a beta tester on a different forum who said that his earnings with the new payout program vs. the new program were almost the same...and when they varied, they actually were on the side of him as an affiliate making slightly more than under the old model.

      I guess how "active" your traffic is once it gets to ebay will have a big impact now as well as the price point that they buy at.

      This entire thing is Ebay's continual fight to scrub out Cookie stuffers. They may lose MILLIONS each month to the large number of BH crews that are always finding ways around EPN's tracking systems.

      If you visit their forums (like I do) the majority of the talk is all about giving up on EPN for it seems like it's achieving the goal Ebay set out to achieve.
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