One of my best friends does a lot of business on eBay as he has some sort of a partnership with a family friend who happens to own a pawn shop. When I started Carbon Fiber Gear, I knew that a lot of my affiliate sales through the site were going to be done through the eBay Affiliate Program. For those not familiar with the program, it offers you 50% of eBay’s revenue on top of $25 per user registration. It drops a cookie on a user that has clicked your affiliate link, which lasts 30 days. This means if this person buys anything on eBay over the next 30 days, you will get paid out. I never really understood the power of this until I found out that the majority of the people I was referring to eBay from Carbon Fiber Gear were actually buying totally different things.
This got me thinking about how I can try and monetize on this a little better. The first thing I did was show Alex how to create an affiliate link with my ID and his tracking (so I knew it came from him). I told him to try and use the affiliate links as much as possible, for example when somebody asks him a question about one of his auctions, he could respond to the question and somehow get the affiliate link in the response. He doesn’t really get that many questions, so it’s pretty limited. I needed to figure out a way to do better.
This is when I thought of an idea where he could do something like link his pictures from his auction to the same auction, but using the affiliate link. More than likely a buyer would be clicking that picture, which would generate an affiliate sale for me. On top of that, anybody else that clicked it and bought something else would do the same thing. Plus, if any of them bought anything else over the course of the next 30 days, I would make money on that too. Genius!? This was going to make some decent money I thought!
Before acting on this great plan, I decided to check the affiliate programs terms & conditions just to make sure there was nothing in there about this. Was I glad I looked:
(5) Affiliate Links. You may use affiliate links to promote your own eBay listings or eBay Store, those of your Agents or those of anyone else with whom you are affiliated. eBay may terminate this provision at any time with 7 days notice. You may not include affiliate links on any ebay.com page or eBay-owned page, such as an eBay listing or eBay Store.
Unfortunately eBay does not allow this, and immediately stopped my evil plan dead in its tracks. I’m glad I looked, I could have potentially gotten kicked out of the program and forfeited any future chance to make real money with it. This is also a good lesson learned, always make sure and read contracts and terms & conditions docs…especially when you are doing something that you think might violate them.