On April 1st eBay moved off of Commission Junction, and onto their own platform for managing their affiliate program. Their new platform goes by the name of “eBay Partner Network” (EPN). This was potentially a great move by eBay, offering more direct support, better reporting, better tools, more customized administration, etc.
Now it’s 15 days into the new program, and from what I’ve seen, there are some potentially major problems going on with the program in the name of revenue earned by its affiliates.
The biggest issue seems to be the amount of revenue generated as compared to the previous CJ program. My own personal experience shows the same issue. I normally generate at least 1 transaction per day, and average about $2-$5+ per day. I converted my links over to the new program on April 1st, I didn’t see my first transaction until April 10th. It’s now April 15th, and I’ve generated 6 transactions for a total of $6.80 or a $2.27 EPC. On Commission Junction I would generate about $10-$15 EPC. So we’re talking about a pretty drastic difference here. I don’t want to come to any conclusions based on my experience just yet as I’d like to wait it out until the end of the month. Expect an update to this from my end come early May.
This seems to be quite a bigger issue, and eBay seems to be somewhat ignoring it. If you take a look at their partner network forum, it just has a ton of posts with people complaining that their revenue is way lower than what it was on CJ. One thread with the title “Has anybody seen and commissions or leads yet?” has 237 posts (at the time of this writing). eBay representatives have responded, basically saying that there is no problem, but they will continually monitor everything to make sure nothing is wrong.
I don’t like to use myself as an example for the issue since I really don’t do that much in affiliate sales just yet, but I’m happy to use others to prove a point:
Username flyinglotta: This user is one of the bigger affiliates posting on the forums, that was doing about $500/day when the program was on Commission Junction. He is now seeing a 50% drop, doing about $250/day, a loss of close to $8,000/month. You would think that an affiliate generating this much would be able to get some sort of personal support from eBay, but he can’t even get a direct e-mail address or phone number to get help. He’s forced to wait on public answers on the forum from representatives that probably need to have a lawyer go over any response they give before they post it.
My other concern in this realm is that there is no third party anymore. What I mean by this is that there is no company overlooking to make sure commissions are accurately paid out and tracked for. Essentially an auditor. eBay could realistically just do whatever they want and pay whatever they want, and nobody could really argue with that. Commission Junction was the third party before.
There are all sorts of stories similar to this not only on the eBay forums, but also on other forums. One of the arguments eBay is using is that there are thousands of affiliates, and relative to that number, not enough seem to be contacting them with issues to make it an issue. The other side of this story is that not everybody is complaining on their forums, and there is not exactly an obvious way to contact eBay.
The forum link is only on the dashboard homepage. Not everybody wants to post publicly. There is no “Contact” link of any kind in the admin section…making it a bit hard for somebody to complain. The only thing that I have found to contact eBay directly was to go into the help section, click a category, which will also have a link to contact them if it doesn’t answer your question. I did this earlier this month, only to receive a canned response that didn’t answer my question, and was obviously outsourced and not somebody directly working in the program.
I think there is a lot of room for improvement on the reports that eBay offers. Now that everything is in-house, reporting capabilities should be way better in terms of tracking where links are coming from, what is being bid on, where they clicked to bid, etc. I don’t want to get into this right now because eBay seems to be working to continually improve the program, and I have a feeling this will be worked in the future as there are now more affiliates to give feedback.
Are There Really Issues?
I think this is the question of the day. I think there are generally enough complaints from people that literally have switched over and are seeing lower numbers after the switch to say that there is a problem. At this point in time, it’s less about the affiliates like me who think there are issues as I don’t do high enough numbers to make an example…but some of the bigger guys seeing a difference and complaining should say something is up. I think for the smaller guys, we should give it the full month before starting to really complain there is an issue.
For now, those of you having issues, please respond to this post with a comment (there is no need to register, so it’s easy to post) and give a little background on the issue you’re having. The most important information you should post is the following:
When did you change your links to the new program?
What were you averaging per day in February and March 2007?
What was your EPC for Feb and Mar 2007?
What kind of results comparatively have you been seeing in the new program?
Maybe if enough people respond and comment, and compile it one place, we can take it to eBay and make some changes.