Bad News for eBay Search Affiliates

eBay seems to have taken a page out of Mary Poppins, “A Spoon Full of Sugar helps the Medicine go down…” they recently announced that they are increasing their payouts! Yeah Sugar!!!

But, alas, they are no longer going to pay affiliates for search marketing efforts where they direct link from Google, Yahoo, MSN or their Content Networks.

Many of the top eBay affiliates utilize direct linking and run millions of keywords across these networks, they have been spending a lot of money promoting eBay for some time. I asked one of their top performing affiliates what that means for their eBay program. “As of June 1st, we stop promoting eBay” says one top affiliate. Another top eBay search marketer had this to say “I guess that has been looming for several years now. Sounds like they learned as much as they could from the affiliates.”

This could be a fairly big blow to the search engines, I wonder of this signals a move from eBay to stop promoting their site through the major PPC advertising engines?

I wonder what those top affiliates are going to do with their search campaigns; I doubt they are going to take all that effort and just throw it out the window. I myself have a bunch of search campaigns running for eBay and am starting to wonder how hard it would be to convert these campaigns to Overstock, Amazon, Buy.com or Wal-Mart.

It has been nice working with you eBay!

About Adam Viener

Adam Viener is the Chairman & Founder of imwave, inc, a leading performance search engine marketing agency. Imwave focuses primarily on building and launching effective pay-per-click search engine keyword marketing campaigns for companies paying commissions on sales and leads generated. In both 2009, 2010 & 2011 Imwave was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies by Inc. Magazine. Imwave recently announced they had served over 5 Billion ads for their clients!

Adam, a serial internet entrepreneur, founded one of the first commercial internet service providers (ISPs) in 1993. He has a deep understanding of internet technologies and profitable internet marketing tactics. Adam currently sits on the publisher advisory boards for Commission Junction and the Google Affiliate Network.

Social Media:

Twitter: adamviener

8 Responses to Bad News for eBay Search Affiliates

  1. eBay Tips says:

    Good article. I new about the increase in payouts, but somehow the other slipped past.

    Your probably right about many of the top marketers moving to another company. Even a company the size of eBay would have to be able to feel the loss of all that free advertisement!

  2. Brook Schaaf says:

    The way you describe this move, it seems like they feel they don't need search affiliates anymore. I wonder if this is really true and how their internal numbers will look after the search affiliates drop out. My guess would be that some of those clicks that were going to eBay no longer will be doing so.

  3. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    "This could be a fairly big blow to the search engines,"

    I don't know. That was one way of sending traffic but you can make a landing page, it's how I've always done it. So if some of the top spots were direct and that is removed, maybe someone else will just move up.

    Also when talking about this somebody mentioned some kind of redirect way that was ok to do in within the rules. I have no idea how any of that works myself tho.

  4. I guess eBay got enough Keywords and Ads from the referrer data that they can do the PPC advertising themselves. May be that is not true, but I would watch out for eBay PPC ads showing up where your best performing ads for eBay used to to come up.

    Jonathan. Answer to your question. You use a script on your site to link to from the Ad. That script on your site does 2 things. 1) kills the referrer and 2) redirects the user to the advertisers site without a delay

    For the user is it happening too fast and the same as if you would link directly and for the advertiser is the difference that he can't see anymore that the traffic came from a search engine and which keywords the visitor used.

    Its a bit technical, but that is what it boils down to.

  5. Indeed, this has been long in coming. I'm writing this while at the ACCM (www.accmshow.com) and I can tell you that, already (the affiliate session won't run till Wed.) the sessions are filled with more sad news for people like Brook ;)

    MultiChannelMerchant (putting this show on w/ DMA) is also reporting on affiliate programs being audited and taken in radically new directions.

    On Wednesday, Amanda Watlington will be speaking on a panel I'm moderating re: something that nobody has yet discussed (that I know of). That is, the impact Google's Universal Search initiative will have (it will be severe) on affiliate marketing. Considering how affiliates have failed (IMO) to successfully monetize video, podcasts, etc. I don't see how this will help them or affiliate networks. It only hurts them.

    In the end, eBay is simply trimming the fat. They're eBay. Lands End is Lands End. These companies are all very, very active in something that they were not over the last few years — search. They don't need a middle layer.

  6. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    "That is, the impact Google's Universal Search initiative will have (it will be severe) on affiliate marketing."

    Here we go again. You said the same thing about Froogle. Froogle failed.

    First, this Univeral Search might not even take off. Time will tell.

    Second, the SERPS still are mainly comprised of websites. I haven't seen too many videos in there for the traffic I'm getting.

    Third, affiliates are getting into video and such. Probably ahead of most merchants and can cover more ground. You always think negatively when stuff like this happens. The reality is this is new opportunity for affiliates and where there is money to be made, you'll find affiliates there.

    Fourth, it's Google. Clear frontrunner in search but there are a couple of others that get some users and Google isn't the only way affiliates get traffic. Affiliates are all over social this and that, Web2.0.

    So when people with videos showing up on page 1 Google start getting lots of traffic, you don't think they're going to figure out how to monetize it? Word will get out.

    So Universal Search severe on affiliate marketing, no. Affiliates are quick to adapt. New opportunity, it's great.

  7. I guess eBay got enough Keywords and Ads from the referrer data that they can do the PPC advertising themselves. May be that is not true, but I would watch out for eBay PPC ads showing up where your best performing ads for eBay used to to come up.

    My Comment from the weekend was "swallowed". Here it is again.

    Jonathan. Answer to your question. You use a script on your site to link to from the Ad. That script on your site does 2 things. 1) kills the referrer and 2) redirects the user to the advertisers site without a delay

    For the user is it happening too fast and the same as if you would link directly and for the advertiser is the difference that he can't see anymore that the traffic came from a search engine and which keywords the visitor used.

    Its a bit technical, but that is what it boils down to.

  8. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    As far as ebay:

    "In the end, eBay is simply trimming the fat. They're eBay."

    They're more than doubling the payouts to affiliates in about another week. You can still do PPC for ebay to a landing page. June 1st, I'm going to increase my PPC for ebay to take advantage of the vastly improved offers for affiliates. So are many:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=89660

    So they're going to get more promotion from affiliates and affiliates are going to make more money.

    Trimming the fat?

    "We're pleased to let you know that we've recently expanded our Affiliate Program to allow all sellers to join the program and get rewarded for driving traffic to eBay.com – even if it's to your own items!"

    http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200705151059582.html

    Maybe what I and many others have suggested they might eventually do:

    http://affiliate-blogger.com/2007/05/19/ebay-affi

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