eBay’s affiliate program, the eBay Partner Network, announces major changes today. Affiliates will no longer be paid by action (when buyers buy something, or when a new eBayer signs up for an account), but will instead be paid when links to eBay are clicked: in the jargon of the affiliate industry, they’re switching from a CPA model to CPC. To be known as Quality Click Pricing, this new payment model will, say eBay, better reward affiliates who send high-quality traffic to eBay, while those who send lower-quality traffic will see a decline in pay.
The exact details of the new pricing structure are very obscure. eBay say that
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.
A preview report to compare the new system with affiliates’ existing payouts will be available from the last week in August.
I spoke to eBay affiliate Eddie St Clare from Auctiontrax, who told me: “Going CPC makes sense for many ePN users. Though it’s nice to be able to meet ePN requirements and send ‘quality traffic’ with ‘engaged users’ to eBay – that traffic actually has to make a purchase for the ePN member to benefit. Ultimately, an affiliate has very little control over traffic behaviour once on an eBay page, so it’s good to now be rewarded for just sending quality traffic, which is not necessarily dependant on making a purchase at first visit.”
The change itself isn’t particularly surprising: eBay have been making drastic changes to their affiliates’ program since bringing it in-house last year, culling many affiliates whom they said were not sending quality traffic to the site. Those ex-affiliates countered that if they were only being paid by action, what did the quality of the traffic matter? Now we know.
The new program is effective for all new affiliates from 1st September, and for existing affiliates from 1st October.
I’ll be talking to someone from the eBay Partner Network later in the week, so if you have questions you’d like answered, please post them in the comments.
Updated: FAQs document (pdf) here has some more detailed information.