eBay Affiliates Will Have to Dig Deep for New Users
By Ina Steiner
eBay is changing its affiliate pricing at the end of September to reward them for attracting new and reactivated buyers to its marketplace, and less so for driving repeat visitors to the site. In an announcement on the eBay Partner Network (ePN) blog, eBay said it would move to a category-based compensation structure, but fell short of providing the actual pricing plan.
In a post on the ePN blog in April, eBay had hinted that it might start offering lower compensation for repeat visitors. An eBay spokesperson confirmed this, telling EcommerceBytes on Friday it would vary by category.
She said the company would be sharing more details of the new pricing in the coming weeks on the ePN blog. While eBay does not disclose the number of publishers in the program, she said there were more than 300,000 websites globally driving traffic to eBay via eBay Partner Network.
Communications Manager for eBay's affiliate program Scott Parent told affiliates in the announcement, "As first shared in past blog posts, we will continue to compensate you competitively for the traffic that you send us, but we will also include an incentive to help eBay expand its customer base," referencing a "meaningful bonus" for driving transactions from new and reactivated buyers to eBay.
eBay has been touting its growing customer base to help convince Wall Street of the success of the various multi-year turnaround plans CEO John Donahoe has launched since 2008, and promised analysts that it would double the number of active users to 200 million by 2015.
eBay will rely on emerging markets to for 40% of new-user growth, and affiliates may find they must do the same in order to maintain revenue. eBay's spokesperson confirmed that U.S.-based affiliates can earn revenue from international users and vice versa.
In 2009, eBay made a major change to its pricing structure, moving to a "quality click pricing" model rather than a simple Cost Per Action payment for new users and bids or revenue. eBay determines quality by considering the amount of short-term revenue and long-term value the traffic generates for eBay - and affiliate compensation also includes other sources of value to eBay like PayPal and advertising revenue.
But the quality pricing meant less transparency.
eBay told affiliates ("publishers") on Thursday that the ePN program would work to become more transparent by enhancing the Transaction Download Report and by sharing additional tips, data and best practices to help optimize the new pricing model.
eBay also disclosed it would modify the way it tracks Buy It Now and Bid items.
For a "Buy It Now" item, you will be compensated if a user makes a purchase within 24 hours. For "Bid" items where a bid (not necessarily the Winning Bid) is placed within 24 hours of the initial click, we will extend the period in which you are credited for winning auctions from seven to 10 days, which is the maximum length that an auction can last.
Thursday's announcement can be found on the eBay ePN blog.
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 email@example.com.
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