Next month, eBay's affiliate program is killing its "rover" links and forcing affiliates to update their links on their websites, apps - anywhere they appear, including their YouTube channels. The eBay Partner Network informed participants it will no longer use links that begin with "rover.ebay.com" to track their links.
Instead, eBay Partner Network will use a new tracking link format that complies with industry standards, it said. The new format fully supports Tracking Prevention Frameworks such as Apple Webkit ITP, Mozilla Firefox ETP, and Microsoft Edge Tracking Prevention, it explained.
- As of Thursday, February 18, 2021, all ePN tools and widgets and eBay's Data Feeds and Browse APIs will automatically start serving the new tracking links.
- Affiliates will have until March 31, 2021, to replace all of their rover-based links with new tracking links using officially supported tools, such as the EPN Link Generator, Smart Share Extension, Data Feeds, or eBay's Browse API and Deal API.
For now, the new tracking supports only the most common eBay landing page targets - support for additional landing pages will be added over time.
Further bad news: eBay's Legacy APIs will not support the new tracking links. eBay said it would provide a document in the coming weeks to help members of its affiliate program make the switch to eBay’s Browse APIs, which do support the new tracking links.
eBay also warned affiliates that links created or modified using third-party applications "are not guaranteed to support the new tracking."
Presumably the change means that affiliates who don't or are unable to convert their existing "rover" links will be sending traffic to eBay, but they won't be earning referral revenue.