Changes to eBay affiliates' program

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The eBay Partner Network (a.k.a. the affiliates’ program) has announced some changes to their terms of service effective from 1st August for existing affiliates. Minimum payouts have increased from 5 units of your currency to 25 (so £25, $25, €25 etc., depending on what you’re paid in). URLs which mask the source of traffic (including some URL shortening services) may no longer be used. And what will perhaps have the biggest effect: affiliates may no longer link from sites they do not own. Affiliate links direct to eBay from third-party sites – including MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Squidoo, and Blogspot – will no longer be permitted.

If you’re linking from a third party site to eBay, the only way to do that now is to have your own site as a middle stage between – say – Twitter and eBay. It’s a clunky way to do it, and it’s going to lose a lot of your traffic. People with free-hosted blogs (and those who are on ought to be aware they’ve been breaking WP’s ToS for a while now!) need to move to self-hosted versions: it’s a pretty easy job to do, but give me a shout if you need assistance (or WordPress hosting or customisation 😉 ).

New accounts will also have to verify the domain listed on their account; while this isn’t yet being required for existing affiliates, I would bet that it will be in the future, so anyone deriving a significant income from this program might like to get themselves verified sooner rather than later. They also might like to consider whether such a precarious business model – these sweeping changes have been introduced with ten days’ notice – is really a good idea.

If you need clarification on the new policies, eBay has set up a thread for that, though it must be said, at the moment, there are more questions than answers.

6 Responses

  1. (including some URL shortening services) may no longer be used.

    What happens if you run one of those url shortening services and put your ePN links in a frame above?

  2. @ # 3

    eBay is one of those shoot first kind of companies though. I can only imagine the phone calls required to fix a suspension over this.

  3. shootfirst, you got that right…whether they hit the target is another matter as the target is always moving from jumping through an incredulous list of hoops and jumping to exactly the right height!

  4. As mentioned on the forum, a nasty those using twitter, facebook, myspace, blogs, and so on, to promote eBay sales.

    Sad as it is I’m an eBay fan. I rarely speak out, just get on with it. I really do understand eBay’s thinking. Thus time, I just don’t understand their action.

    eBay, rightly, want only that small % of paid for affiliate traffic which provides repeat sales. They don’t want the noise.

    I’d tighten the screws. I’d insist on traffic coming only from previously approved (for content by category) sites. I’d favour sites, large and small, which gave their users added value while driving their expenditure to eBay. I’d favour sites with real content related to the items on sale. I’d try to establish a category based ‘best match’ process for affiliate approval and payment terms.

    eBay had ALL the right thoughts but took the wrong action. The solution seems a blunt instrument. Yes, they need a sledgehammer to eliminate the fraud and dross, but they also need be sure that babies are not thrown out with the bathwater. Their solution seems to favour the big and impersonal, the easy to implement rather than the optimal, it’s the sort of solution that survives in the corporate world but makes less sense outside.

    For me it’s not a massive deal, a small % of my eBay fees, but it colours my view of eBay and there must be others like me. I gave prominence to eBay advertising and sent niche market buyers to spend some of their hard earned cash on their site. From August 1st, I’ll no longer be able to do that because my site is hosted by Google. Yes I could relocate away from Google but why on earth should I do so when I can just give that advertising space to other credible competitors..

    To quote another “I wonder just how many feet eBay has in which to shoot itself”.

    Rant over. Spoke my mind. Back to work.. Tis madness.



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