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August 25, 2008

300 ePN affiliates terminated out of 90,000

Filed under: eBay — estreet @ 7:34 am
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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.

steveh@ebay.com 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.

Thanks
Steve

Entire thread on ePN forum

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