For those who are members of eBay’s affiliate program, and compared to Amazon there are seemingly proportionally fewer and fewer who stick with the program, spring and summer 2016 has seen a dramatic drop in reported conversions and earnings.
Affiliates with regular traffic and conversions have noted steady income being subjected to a huge decrease in earnings.
Recently, eBay admitted its mobile tracking was not working properly.
Then eBay admitted all of its tracking was off.
Obviously, there has been a major uproar from affiliates.
eBay is an affiliate program which for years has undergone upheavals, changed compensations terms, and a flood of fleeing affiliates. Criticism from affiliates reached such a level that eBay made its affiliate discussion forum private so only affiliates could get access and the criticism / comments would not be publicly distributed.
Similarly, when John Toskey issued a video about the tracking issue, eBay secretly released it so it is not listed via a search on YouTube. It’s not even listed on the official eBay Partner Network video page – which is odd given it is an important eBay Partner Network communication.
Here is the video – which is critical information if you are considering referring sales to eBay, or if you did not receive notice from eBay that the video had been released to address the tracking problems:
In the video Toskey claims eBay has multiple layers of transaction tracking, including third party tracking.
Now, after the video was released the following comes out:
- It will take eBay weeks, if not more, to fix its affiliate commission tracking problems. One wonders if eBay will ever have trustworthy reporting.
- Tracking problems are related to multiple pages and checkout processes. It is not a small or isolated problem.
- To credit affiliates eBay is using historical data for the affiliate and then for impacted months increasing earnings proportionally based on the historical data.
Example: if an affiliate made $1000 every month and was down to $500, presumably a $500 credit or bonus is being given.
That is the theory. Affiliates are reporting credits are far less than what they believe they are owed.
No explanation from eBay about crediting affiliates without a track record. They appear to be entirely screwed.
It’s an estimate of money affiliates earned but were not paid, without paying them interest, and without giving them anything about how the credit was calculated so that anyone can evaluate whether it is fair or not.
This isn’t specific to eBay, but usually when a company self-estimates how much customers have been harmed (recently, VW) it’s almost always a much lower amount than what is paid after litigation forces production of documents and information. Just saying.
Bottom line: This is really a shame. eBay can be a good money-maker for affiliates and Amazon is not a good substitute for many products. Many affiliates have spent years experimenting and fine-tuning their sites for eBay’s unique auctions and unique compensation program. To not get paid for that hard work, and to only begrudgingly get some credits after a major uproar, and with little transparency, will inevitably cause more affiliates to jump completely to Amazon, and that will hurt eBay overall. Even when credits are provided, affiliates are left with no tracking data which they can use to better their sites and increase conversions.
If there is a silver lining, assuming eBay can get its act together, remaining affiliates will have even less competition.
Then affiliates will get to address a major structural shift eBay is embarking upon to be more like Amazon with static product pages.
In the meantime – eBay – invest in your affiliate program, be more transparent, and don’t just reach for the bare minimum of giving some earnings credit, but more than make up for the lost earnings to overcompensate for the harm that has been caused, and try to restore goodwill with those remaining with your program.