Home / Is the eBay Affiliate Program Worth Your Time?
Home eCommerce Blog Is the eBay Affiliate Program Worth Your Time?

Is the eBay Affiliate Program Worth Your Time?

Any online seller worth their salt is always looking for ways to maximize their income. This includes adding passive streams of revenue, and one of the most popular passive streams available is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is basically the process of selling products for someone else, but without all the legwork. In many cases you can get paid for someone else's sale just by funneling buyers through to their site.

The eBay Affiliate Program has traditionally been one of the most popular options for prospect affiliate marketers. It makes a lot of sense at first glance. If you're selling on eBay anyway, and you sell to visitors funneled from your own website, you can get paid twice. Of course, you can also get paid for money spent on other sellers' products.

It sounds like a win-win. So why has there been so much derision, criticism, and all around scoffing mockery as to the efficacy of the eBay affiliate program? Is it really worth your time? Today's the day you find out, as we go through the data together.

Crash Course in the eBay Affiliate Program

How eBay's Partner Network Works

To get started, it's worth talking about how the eBay affiliate program works in the first place. To get started with your affiliate marketing, sign up on eBay's Partner Network site. After that, you'll receive a suite of tools to advertise for eBay. Once your ads are up and running, you can track your progress and revenue through the affiliate analytics tools provided to you upon signup.

Basically, you get paid between 50 cents and a dollar when a reactivated user (one who hasn't made a purchase on eBay in over 12 months) clicks through one of your ads and begins bidding on products. There used to be base pay for new users, but that compensation system has been dismantled. You earn additional funds whenever transactions are completed thanks to your click-throughs.

Simple, right?

Maybe not.

Late last year, October 1, to be exact, eBay made a drastic change in the way its referral data is collected. You see, cookies (small pieces of data sent from websites to be stored in user's browsers) are used to determine which sales on eBay came from where.

It used to be that these cookies would remain active from an affiliate referral for up to seven days, the same amount of time many of eBay's auctions last. Since October 1, however, these cookies only last for a paltry 24 hours.

And because most savvy online bidders don't bid until near the end of the auction, to avoid inflating the item price unnecessarily, many affiliates are no longer receiving credit for the bids that were brought in directly due to their marketing efforts.

As you might imagine, this policy change hasn't gone over all that well. Take a look at the comment section in that last link to discover just how badly people are hurting from the restructuring.

Forum Feedback

The eBay seller's forums are alight with complaints. A particularly vocal affiliate decided to post some tasty data bits for our appreciation. Take a look.

First you have his earnings in 2011. Not too shabby: He had some impressive spikes and fairly consistent earnings throughout the year, all by just running his websites as he normally would.

Graph - Affiliate Earnings 2011

 

But take a look at his latest earnings report:

Graph - Affiliate Earnings 2013

If you take a moment to look at the numbers on either side of the graph and compare them to the ones above you'll notice something quite strange. In 2013, his click-throughs far outstripped the numbers from 2011. In fact, he was driving more than twice the amount of traffic to eBay for the first three months of the year, but his earnings were paltry in comparison.

The earnings in 2011 were more than $2,500 for the whole year.

Chart - Affiliate Earnings 2011

Yet in 2013, with close to three times the clicks, he pulled in just shy of $100 for the entire year.

Chart - Affiliate Earnings 2013

Nor is this particular user alone in his woes. Another member of the Warrior Forum, a hotbed for affiliate marketers, issued an impassioned and lengthy retraction of any and all praise he had issued for eBay over the years. In this post, the former eBay affiliate vented his frustrations in eloquent clarity.

According to him, the average affiliate was taking a loss of up to 70 percent in earnings. The way eBay had requested affiliates to set up their advertisements worked completely counter to the way the new 24-hour cookie policy affected business, claiming that the e-commerce marketplace had effectively “double-crossed” them.

With so many complaining, it's hard to argue the logic.

Final Summation

Unfortunately, the eBay affiliate program doesn't seem like it's a viable option any longer. The fact that auctions are lasting longer than the affiliate's referral cookies, and that bidders won't usually bid until the end of an auction, is a real buzz kill. It basically guarantees that any auction that lasts over 24 hours won't result in any money for the affiliate who promotes it.

This is especially disappointing when you consider the fact that these affiliates are the ones increasing the prices by driving the bids. Without the additional traffic, those prices stay low, and the affiliates get no reward for their trouble.

One wouldn't think it would be such a problem, when more than half of eBay's listings are “buy it now”; however, more than half of eBay's annual revenue still comes from auctions. So the numbers don't really reflect the traditional listing's efficacy for the affiliates.

It's strange when one considers how popular Amazon's affiliate program is, and it also keeps a strict 24-hour cookie policy. The difference there is that Amazon is an actual online retailer, and not just a marketplace. There's no timed auctions, and the range of products available is even greater than that of eBay.

Even so, there are better options for affiliate marketers to consider, such as ClickBank, Neverblue, or LinkShare. If you're serious about getting into affiliate marketing, these are some superior choices.

Have you had any success marketing products as an affiliate? Let me hear about it in the comments.

Also Check Out: Guide to eBay Dropshipping

Wait! Want Some FREE Supplier Details?

Discover four of the most profitable niches on eBay and get details for the best suppliers for these niches. Enter your details below and we will send them instantly.

Thanks! Please check your email inbox.

Your list of profitable markets and supplier details are on their way to your email inbox.
Be sure to add support@salehoo.com to your safelist to ensure we can deliver the free suppliers details to you.

If you haven't received an email from us in 5 minutes, please check your spam folder or email us at support@salehoo.com.

6 Comments Add your comment
Nice article- definitely looks like ebay isn't an option anymore, which is too bad. It's one of the few sites with the brand recognition to actually convert traffic outside of Amazon Reply
I was an EPN member for over a year. I was banned for no reason as I had done no wrong. EPN claimed the I was generating non-bonafied transactions and reversed 100% of my earnings just shy of £2300. I was NOT generating non-bonafied transactions. I emailed them to ask for the evidence of me apparently generating non-bonafied transactions of which EPN replied with "They are not at liberty to say" (or words to that effect). So EPN stole £2300 from me without proving that I did any wrongdoing. I'd like to see that work in a court of law.

VERDICT: Good program to earn money BUT be warned that EPN will steal your hard earned money at a moments notice without proving that you done any wrong doings. Reply
Hi getting approved on eBay partner network is now instant and open to anyone. Payments are not fast if you get any at all. What happened to me with eBay partner network has also happened to some of my friends and if you do a google search you will find that what happened to me and some of my friends has also happened to many others around the world. I reckon that anyone claiming to make money with eBay partner network are paid by eBay partner network to say so. You know, a bit like those scam websites that use fiver.com to state that they have made thousands in one month. This is the type of business that eBay partner network are proving to be with the more time that passes.

Anyway, here is what happened to me with eBay partner network along with some of my friends along with the rest of the world that begins to earn good money with eBay partner network.

The moment eBay partner network begins to sort out payments (first week of the month) for the previous month earnings,
they either issue an AS77on your account (termination of your account due to low quality traffic) or an LS43 on your account (termination of your account plus a 100% reversal of all earnings due to non bona fide transactions).

What is interesting to note is that after some extensive research, me, some of my friends and the rest of the world did nothing wrong. We have all had good quality traffic (BUYERS) and NOT clicked on our own content as that would be classed as non bona fide transactions.

So what is the problem

Now after some extensive research, it is evident that eBay partner network issue out AS77,s when earnings are low and issue out LS43's when earnings are high.

Conclusion:
eBay partner network get you to join by telling you how easy it is to make money and offering double commissions for the first 3 months making the payment structure look brilliant along with eBay's so called trusted name. This is enough to make most people think that eBay partner network is the best thing since the invention of the wheel. eBay partner network does not want you earning money. Why would they. You spend hours if not days sending traffic to eBay. Traffic turns into buyers. eBay earns money. But now they have to give it to you via the eBay partner network program. low and behold, You have just been issued an AS77 or an LS43.

Join eBay partner network at you own risk and expect eBay partner network to legally steal your money.
Reply
There is nothing good about ebay partner network. You only have to do a google search to know that. Ebay partner network tucked me up like many other people around the web. I genuinely earned £1376 in a particular month and they stole the money from me claiming code; LS43 claiming that the money was obtained via fraud. I clicked on NONE of my own content and I have no friends that know about my content. Yet ebay partner network was legally allowed to steal my money. Ebay partner network are scammers. Reply
Ebay Rocks! I am not sure what the other folks are doing but for my site I am driving a decent amount of traffic and have conversion rates on par with smaller networks. I like the reach of Ebay and the ease of working with them. Perhaps others are not a well versed in affiliate programs as I am. Also I have great offers to make. In any case I hop you'll give any channel a shot. The best way is to test and learn and see what works best for you Reply
Free Member
yes the eBay partner network has pretty much become a scam for them to get customer sales up and then not pay the affiliates, to be honest we should think about a class action lawsuit against them, they really need to be held accountable, lmao I love this faker about claiming how ebay is great Reply
Already a member? Login to comment
Go Back