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eBay Pulls Gift Cards from Affiliate Program

Members of the eBay Partner Network (ePN) will no longer receive affiliate revenue from the sale of eBay gift cards beginning Sunday, March 6, 2016. eBay informed affiliate publishers on Thursday of the new policy.

“Beginning March 6, 2016, eBay will no longer count sales of eBay-branded gift cards within checkout metrics, as they will no longer be counted as revenue-generating items for eBay. What this means for our partners is that you will no longer be able to earn affiliate commissions by driving sales of eBay-branded gift cards after March 6.”

The post on the ePN blog made it clear this policy affects only eBay-branded gift cards. However, it warned affiliates that gift cards in general are not good source of revenue for them – and it listed several other products that generated little revenue for affiliates:

“While no other merchant gift cards sold on eBay are affected by this change, you should be aware that gift cards in general can result in little to no affiliate commissions based on eBay’s revenue on these products. Because we want to make sure you are maximizing your affiliate earnings, we also want to remind you that products which earn little to no affiliate commissions include items sold by charities, extended warranties, and occasionally items sold on eBay Stores with seller fee promotions.”

eBay’s affiliate program moved to a quality pricing model in 2009, making it more complex to determine exactly what revenue a direct sale would make – rather than a straight Cost Per Action model, the Quality Click Pricing model used an algorithm that includes the incremental lifetime value of users the affiliate sends to eBay.

In 2013, eBay changed from its QCP model to a new model. A spokesperson for the program told EcommerceBytes, “we switched to our current pricing model in 2013. The current model is a more transparent revenue share with a bonus for sales by new or reactivated eBay buyers.”

More information about the pricing model is available on the eBayPartnerNetwork.com website.

And you can find the full post on the eBay Partner Network blog.

Article edited on 3/4/16 for clarity.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.