August 28, 2008
Tell us what you really think. :o)
David, if you happen to read this, I like your watcher counter!
August 25, 2008
Steve, from the eBay Partner Network, put the August 20th terminations in perspective by posting that only 300 of 90,000 were released last week.
Now ePN’s actions don’t seem so unpredictable. It’s clear that certain affiliates were targeted for release. Those who were wrongly terminated and worked with ePN in a constructive manner were reinstated. There also appears to be a correlation between being an eBay/ePN bashing forum regular and termination. You can check that out by reading the forum (link below).
ePN offered this guidance: eBay wants affiliates to drive off-eBay traffic to eBay from natural searches. Steve says they will soon change the Ts and Cs to ban the “round-trip” affiliate model that Auctiva uses.
firstname.lastname@example.org View Listings | Report Aug-23-08 20:28 PDT 16 of 55
Wanted to get back to everyone on a few topics from the posts yesterday and today.
Regarding the “unbans”, we’re looking through all of the emails that we’ve received and are making calls on a case-by-case basis by reviewing the sites in detail as well as the metrics. We’ve made a few reversals where our affiliates have strong sites and have provided additional information on how they drive traffic and their plans/ideas on continuing to improve. While there have been some comments that we’re likely doing this to “make ourselves look better” I can assure you it’s not. We take the actions seriously as well as the emails we receive as it’s in all of our interests for eBay Partner Network to retain the affiliates who can drive great traffic to eBay and for these affiliates to continue to get compensated well for doing so.
Also, to provide a little context for the actions that were taken on Aug 20th, we expired less than 300 publisher accounts. While this does not diminish the impact on the affiliates who were affected, it’s a small fraction of the over 90,000 accounts that were activated since eBay Partner Network launched. Moving forward, we want to make sure we’re working as directly as possible with our affiliates by giving more reporting and insights into performance. These improvements will be coming out in upcoming releases, and combined with value-based pricing will help to allow us to continue to reward our best affiliates with highly competitive compensation, which is in all of our interests. While we will still be diligent about monitoring network quality with respect to the T&Cs, hopefully this gives all of you some reassurance that you don’t need to be nervous about checking your email.
Addressing an additional topic that has been brought up, a number of people have continued to express their concerns about affiliates who engage in “roundtripping”-type behavior by linking from eBay listings to external pages, then dropping affiliate cookies if a user clicks back through different link onto the eBay site. While this is technically allowed within the current eBay links policy and our eBay Partner Network T&Cs, we’re making modifications to an upcoming version of our eBay Partner Network T&Cs to eliminate this model. The affiliates who are currently using this model have been contacted and will be removing those links. Overall, our objective for the affiliate channel is to drive incremental activity to eBay from external sources, not to use it for merchandising-type activities, so we’re updating the terms to reflect that.
On the tone of the boards, I want to thank porksoda for the comments in the “August 20 Expirations” thread about being professional in the communications. I realize that this is a very emotional issue, but we’ll all be able to work through it more productively by focusing directly on the topic at hand.
And last, there have been a few reports of censorship on the boards. I know that our community team monitors them to remove offensive content, but I can assure you that we’re not overtly censoring these boards nor tallying any feedback made by any members. I’m as much for free speech as the next person, and while there’s a decent amount of it that’s been at my expense on these boards, it’s in all of our interest to keep the discussions open and have the frank conversations.
August 23, 2008
I took a look at my eBay Partner Network transactions today. The percentage of purchase reversals was 13% in August. There were 0 reversals in May through July.
Could it be a simple reporting change or are more eBay buyers backing out of their purchases? Did this possible trend force ePN to look at the quality of traffic sent to eBay?
ePN terminated some very vocal affiliates on Aug. 20 for sending poor quality traffic to eBay. eBay has not stated the metrics they used to classify “poor quality” traffic.
Going forward, ePN needs to set better guidelines for affiliates – IMMEDIATELY. It’s good business practice to set goals and criteria for affiliates then terminate for non-performance. Everyone involved will benefit from knowing ePN’s goals and aligning their actions to those goals.
email@example.com View Listings | Report Aug-21-08 16:50 PDT
I wanted to address all of the board posts regarding the expiration emails that were sent last night.
These actions were part of our continued effort to focus on delivering the highest quality buyer traffic to eBay via affiliate marketing. To that end, we’ve been analyzing our program closely over the last few months. I know there have been a number of requests to provide insight into all of the metrics via which we are evaluating affiliate traffic, but unfortunately there’s an active black hat community that is pretty effective at exploiting these insights so we can’t go into details on them. However, what I can say is that in addition to earnings per click metrics (EPC), we look at a variety of metrics to see how users are behaving when they come to eBay.com – how engaged they are with our site, and whether the affiliate link clicks lead to incremental buying activity. As we’ve done this, we have seen a big discrepancy in how interested and active the traffic is that comes to eBay from different sources.
Our responsibility in the affiliate marketing channel is to allocate our resources to best drive incremental demand to our sellers. To that end, we need to focus on partners who have had the most success in engaging users who become some of our best buyers on eBay. I understand that these actions do have a very real impact on some of our affiliates who have been working with us over the years. For that, I sincerely apologize, but these decisions are made in the best interest of eBay’s sellers and the overall health of our affiliate program.
We want to be very clear. Affiliates who received these messages of expiration last night are not being asked to stop sending traffic to us due to fraudulent activity or violations of the terms of service. For those of you who received the message, commissions are not being reversed, and you will be paid for all valid traffic you have sent to us to date, and for the next 7 days.
August 21, 2008
I went through self-checkout at the grocery store yesterday with a $13 purchase and requested $50 cashback. I only got $25.
Incensed at the error, I called to the attendant. The attendant is a lovely African-American woman with her hair done up to there and her fingernails polished.
I say, “I pushed the button for $50 cashback, but it processed it as a request for $25!”
She looks at me and says,
Honey, sometimes you get what you need, not what you want. Maybe that $25 needs to stay in the bank.
I laughed all the way home. The world is a good place.
August 20, 2008
FeeBay is going FreeBay with lower Buy It Now insertion fees. But hold on! Expect more Paypal fees as eBay bans Money Orders and Checks. Wow! Sellers are going to love this. NOT!!!
Paper payments end this October
Beginning late October 2008, all items listed on eBay.com must be paid for using one of the following approved payment options:
* Direct credit or debit card payment via a merchant credit card account
* Payment on pick-up
Paper payment methods such as checks and money orders will no longer be accepted on eBay.com.
By January 2009, all approved electronic payment methods will be integrated into eBay checkout. For example, buyers will be able to enter their credit card number directly into eBay checkout, and the payment will be routed to the seller’s Internet merchant account or to their PayPal account.
Please note that the new payments policy will not apply to the vehicles categories in Motors, capital equipment categories in Business & Industrial, Mature Audiences and Real Estate.
This is an eloquent analogy about selling on eBay (and building eBay services):
If you choose to invest time building sand castles, you have to anticipate the waves. I’m not telling you not to build castles. Just don’t cry when they wash away. Get yourself a castle mold so that you can easily rebuild. Be prepared to plop another one down the moment the wave receeds.
The analogy is from seller exdwh:
August 14, 2008
This person has 17,800 people in their network and earned about $2,700. That’s around $130 per month. Very interesting. I love hard numbers.
August 13, 2008
This is the topic I meant to write about yesterday. There is a sudden dissing of Auctiva in the forums lately by eBay Partner Network (ePN) affiliates.
Auctiva is a 3rd party solution provider for eBay sellers. In 2005, they switched their business model of 6 years to the eBay affiliate model, and away from the traditional pay per month model.
What they do best: free photo-hosting, listing tool, and scheduler for eBay sellers. eBay charges $.15 per photo for photo-hosting and $.10 for scheduled listings. Auctiva offers these for free.
When a seller subscribes to Auctiva, a cross promotional showcase is embedded into their existing listings and newly created listings automatically. This is one of the ways they drive traffic to their Auctiva store which contain ePN affiliate links.
Affiliates are complaining because Auctiva overwrites their ePN cookies. Here’s what ePN says of the overwriting of ePN cookies:
First, I hope that everyone is aware that Auctiva is a long-standing member of eBay’s affiliate program so none of this activity is new.
We constantly analyze and evaluate affiliates and their various business models that are used to drive traffic to eBay via eBay Partner Network or in this case, provide tools for buyers or merchandise other items to users that are not directly shown on the eBay sites via seller tools. One if the factors that we look at is how incremental the traffic and activity is to the eBay sites. As highlighted in earlier posts, the last cookie on a user’s machine gets attributed the commission for any actions the take, which means that affiliates’ cookies can get overwritten within the 7 day cookie latency window. Something we watch for closely is whether there are affiliates that disproportionally overwrite other affiliates’ cookies – in this case with Auctiva and similar tools, we have not found that they are disproportionately overwriting other cookies.
That being said, we’re going to continue to evaluate the existing and new business models that are being used on eBay Partner Network to make sure they continue to drive quality incremental activity on eBay sites as eBay, your sites, and the web continue to change.
This statement means the affiliate model is going to change. Me thinks it will be pretty soon.
August 12, 2008
Working while camping is where it’s at. Today, I’m at the 2nd Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Campground of the season. This time we’re in Caledonia, Wisconsin.
Jellystone offers free WiFi and I haven’t seen the kids in hours.
There is a clicking noise in the branches above my head. I wonder if it’s some kind of cicada or katydid?