eBay, like many companies, run affiliate schemes by which they pay websites for sending them traffic. It’s cheap compared to many other methods such as paid search, because they generally only pay for traffic that converts to sales (although in eBay’s case they have other actions such as opening an eBay account that also generate commissions). eBay’s affiliate scheme is called eBay Partner Network (ePN)
I’ve experimented with various types of ePN links on TameBay over the last few months and there are certainly some that are dead ducks (e.g. eBay’s Daily Deal banners – no one clicks on them and the few TameBay readers that do really aren’t interested in purchasing Ed Hardy and Superdry clothing!)
Some links such as specific daily deals do generate a few pennies in ePN traffic, but nothing worth shouting about – mostly ePN income for TameBay is insignificant. We get a few clicks here and there and earn a few Euros each month but it wouldn’t pay for more than a couple of pints of beer most days.
Yesterday however was different – HP held a fire sale of their last remaining refurbished TouchPad tablets. I held off posting the story about them on TameBay until two hours before the sale was due to start at 6pm CT and as is pretty normal with TameBay articles it was picked up within minutes by Google and also made it to the top of Google news. Within a couple of hours it had driven over 500 page views, a few hundred clicks to eBay, and generated sales on eBay – people were actively searching for the TouchPad fire sale and TameBay made it easy for them to find and buy them.
Lessons for affiliate publishers
The results were impressive as can be seen from the attached graph of daily clicks and earnings. This drives home the lesson that, if you’re a publisher driving traffic to eBay, highly qualified targeted traffic is much more profitable than more general untargeted affiliate links.
If there’s a high profile event that is going to drive traffic and you want to make money from it then timing is everything. In the past I would have most likely posted the story a week or at least the day before – by holding off until a couple of hours before the event TameBay was one of the most recent stories on Google, thus one of the most relevant, and more importantly at the top of Google results at the right time.
Keywords are just as important as on an eBay listing – TameBay’s top searches included “HP” and “TouchPad” but also “$99”, “6pm”, “Sale” and “Fire Sale”. Driving traffic before the items were priced for the sale and available to buy makes no sense – buyers may not come back to purchase, but if you drive traffic at the right time buyers will purchase immediately.
If you’re a publisher who makes money from affiliate programs we’d love to hear of your successes as well as tactics that don’t work so well. For anyone that sends traffic to eBay we’d recommend giving it a whirl and signing up for ePN if you haven’t already – if you get the right traffic at the right time there’s money to be made.
Fantastic execution there Chris 🙂 I always notice you’re on top of Google News for anything eBay. I am not an affiliate publisher but some people I know are and one of the keys to success they have is being indexed by Google News and keeping an ear to the ground on news about their niche.
Do you have any tips on being accepted as a publisher on Google News?
Great result, Chris.
When we looked at becoming a member of EPN we were refused. Odd given that we drive both buyers and sellers to eBay!
Joining EPN is harder than it might appear, and the rules once joined are quite complex from reading their terms!
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