EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 157 - December 18, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 7

Auction Software FAQ: What Is the eBay Affiliate Program?

By Andy Geldman

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In this column, I will answer some common questions about software for online auction users. Some of these questions are ones I have been asked, while others address areas that are not well understood, or have myths to dispel. If you have a question you would like to see answered here please contact me at the email address below.

Today's question is "What is the eBay Affiliate Program?"

Several new services for eBay buyers have appeared recently; examples include auction monitor Nabit (, geographical searcher AuctionMapper (, and RSS feeds from MarketGizmos ( A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into these projects, so why are they all free? The answer: these services - and many others - support themselves by being members of the eBay Affiliate Program.

So what is the eBay Affiliate Program? Simply put, eBay pays Program members if someone clicks on one of their links to eBay, and then joins eBay or places a winning bid. Commissions are generous, from 40 percent of eBay's fees for a winning bid, and from $12.00 for a new active registered user. Note that eBay alters their commission structure from time to time, and affiliate programs for international eBay sites have different rules.

If you have your own website, perhaps already with links to eBay, it might pay for you to join the Program and convert them to affiliate links - there is certainly nothing to lose by doing that. But before you dive in, here are two common mistakes that eBay affiliates make: firstly, you can't include affiliate links on any eBay-owned page, such as your About Me page; and secondly, you can't use affiliate links to promote your own eBay listings or Store (or those of anyone you are connected with).

eBay provides a lot of tools for its Affiliate Program members, including banners and buttons; the "Editor Kit" for displaying live eBay listings on your site; and the eBay API, for writing custom applications.

With API access now being free ( and the eBay Developer Challenge encouraging innovative new applications (, we are likely to see many more services that benefit from the eBay Affiliate Program.

eBay Affiliate Program:

About the author:

Andy Geldman is a freelance ecommerce and IT consultant, and webmaster of Web Retailer, a guide to eBay software and services Andy lives in London, England and can be emailed at andy.geldman @

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