eBay Adjusts Affiliate Program to Reign in Seller Tools
By Ina Steiner
eBay wants vendors to stop tying its affiliate program to their seller tools, the company acknowledged on Wednesday. After AuctionBytes learned Auctiva would begin instituting fees (see related story), we inquired of eBay whether it was making any changes that might account for Auctiva's move to a paid model.
Auctiva, Vendio and a few others "affiliatized" their seller tools, but eBay said the two programs have different purposes. Affiliate marketing is to drive incremental sales from people who aren't already engaged with eBay, and it wants to make a clear distinction between that program and the seller tools model.
Other seller tools providers who are enrolled in the eBay Partner Network (ePN) affiliate program include InkFrog, AuctionSound, EZLister.net, Iwascoding, My StoreCredit, Seller Sourcebook and AutoRevo.
Seller tools providers enrolled in ePN are welcome to use traditional affiliate marketing methods to generate revenue, and then use that revenue to fund their seller tools, eBay said. Allowed are loyalty sites, portal sites and deal sites that operate by getting traffic from elsewhere on the web, "well outside of the eBay buying flow." Vendio's Dealio, Auctiva's KickItBack, as well as FatWallet and MyPoints, are acceptable programs - as long as they drive incremental traffic from other places on the web.
eBay said the affiliate marketing channel needs to be focused on traditional affiliate marketing. Seller tools providers need to be able to focus on providing great seller tools that provide a benefit to the sellers and managing the listings and merchandising.
eBay spokesperson John Pluhowski said, "We continue to invest in our affiliates since we've launched eBay Partner Network in 2008. The program drives strong traffic from across the web to eBay that results in incremental buying activity on the site. Affiliates who drive this incremental buying activity will profit from eBay Partner Network, and sellers will benefit from our commitment to and continuing investment in the affiliate marketing channel."
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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