Let’s imagine you’re at a party.
You’re standing with two friends, and a girl you don’t know walks into the room.
“Ugh, I can’t believe she’s here. I hate her,” says friend number one.
“Really?” replies friend number two, surprised. “I think she’s fantastic. She’s really funny and sweet, we really get along well.”
Confused? I know I would be.
This (thankfully fictional) situation is very similar to the internet’s viewpoint on the eBay Partner Network.
So, what’s the deal? What’s really going on with the eBay Partner Network?
That’s what this review is set on finding out. We’re going to discuss both the good and the bad of eBay’s affiliate program and see whether or not this is a viable option for your affiliate marketing business.
eBay Partner Network Review: To Auction or Not to Auction?
The Best Features of eBay’s Partner Network
Hundreds of Millions of Opportunities
eBay currently boasts over 100 million users that are active around the world and over 800 million listings.
That’s an incredible number!
This general retail website has any item imaginable for sale. That means that this affiliate program is viable for nearly any kind of affiliate marketer, no matter what your niche is.
Each month, you’ll receive your commissions from eBay, as long as they’re over $10. This is a great benefit to affiliate marketers, both because of the reliability and low threshold.
Your commission is calculated out of what eBay earns for each transaction. So, you’ll be getting 50%-70% of what eBay gets (not a percentage of the sale price). The difference depends on the category (with Parts & Accessories and Fashion giving you the highest possible commissions).
More than that, eBay also offers some interesting bonus commissions.
For example, if you refer a brand new buyer to eBay, or reactivate someone who hasn’t bought anything in 12 months, you’ll get double your commission!
The other commission bonus is only applicable to new affiliates. For the first three calendar months, new affiliates will get double commission on any referrals.
Help for Ad Creation and Placement
If you’re not good at designing ads, don’t worry. eBay’s Creatives Generator is a great tool that will help you design appealing ads for your website.
Prefer to customize things yourself? Not a problem! Customizable banners give you the ability to pick and choose how your ads show up and what products are shown. Just type in your search criteria (adding filters such as keywords, categories or even specific sellers) and the banner will find current, relevant products on eBay to present in the banner.
Intuitive Link Generator
There are currently 13 different eBay websites globally. So if you refer traffic from a different country to eBay with your link, will you still get a commission?
Absolutely! The eBay Partner Network equips you with a handy Link Generator that’s easy to customize, sending your readers wherever you need them to go. More than that, these links are automatically geotargeted, so users are redirected to the local eBay website for their country.
That way, you don’t lose out on any international commissions!
Extra Gadgets for High-volume Sites
If you run a website with extra high traffic, eBay has some special features just for you. Using the Product Feeds feature, you can download information in bulk about eBay listings and run it directly into your database. This makes it easier to set up comparisons, find deals for your readers and so much more!
If you’re a programmer, eBay can also give you access to their API, allowing you to develop your own applications through the eBay system and expand your business even more.
The Highlights and Low Points of the eBay Partner Network
- Plenty of products to choose from. Over 1,000 new Buy It Now listings are posted every day, in nearly any category you could imagine.
- Free to join. No sign-up fees for new affiliates.
- Consistent payment. Available through PayPal or direct deposit.
- Great startup bonus. Double commission for the first three months.
- Intuitive tools for ads and links. Driving more traffic from your site and earning you better commissions.
- $10 threshold. One of the lowest in the industry.
- Centralized system for international purchases. Your users will always be directed to the correct site, and you’ll receive international commissions without having to sign up for a separate program.
- Must have high-quality traffic to be approved. Some affiliates have complained that it’s difficult to be accepted, but sites with a good amount of quality traffic won’t need to worry.
- Slow customer service. Another common complaint among users. Your only contact with customer service is a contact form online. However, the Help section is pretty comprehensive.
- Items not always available. If you’re referring traffic to an auction, that auction will end and your link will go to a product that’s no longer available.
- 24-hour tracking cookies. This adjustment has caused quite a bit of strife to eBay Partners. Let’s take a deeper look into what this means for you.
The Problem of 24-hour Tracking Cookies and How to Overcome It
In October of 2013, the eBay Partner Network implemented changes to its pricing system. This adjustment included changes to commission rates, as detailed above, as well as adding in the new buyer referral bonus.
However, there was another change that was not so well-received.
As of 2013, tracking cookies on both Buy It Now items and auction listings are only 24 hours. That means that your referral must make a purchase within 24 hours in order for you to get a commission.
How does this work for auction items?
Well, let’s say you refer someone to an auction that ends in 10 days. That person clicks on your link, and is automatically being tracked. If they make a bid on that auction within 24 hours, and 10 days later win the auction, then you’ll get a commission.
The problem that many affiliates found is that people are unlikely to bid on something until much closer to the end of the auction. So if your referral adds the item to their watch list but doesn’t bid until 10 days later (at the end of the auction) then you won’t get a commission.
But I think they’ve thrown in the towel too soon.
The fact is that, while there are still many auctions available, there are also an incredible amount of Buy It Now items for sale on eBay. Many businesses use eBay to sell their products, and thus have a constant supply of Buy It Now items for sale.
When affiliates focus on Buy It Now items and auctions that are ending within 24 hours, they can still make decent commissions from eBay.
The Final Verdict: Is the eBay Partner Network Worth Joining?
I’ll admit, the eBay Partner Network does have its downsides. But, really, so do all affiliate programs!
While 24-hour tracking cookies aren’t ideal, eBay makes up for this with plenty of user-friendly features that are beneficial for affiliate marketers. With double commission bonuses, an incredible variety of products to sell, and help for creating ads and links, this affiliate program has quite a lot going for it.
By optimizing their affiliate site to adapt to the short-term tracking cookies, affiliates can still make good use of the eBay Partner Network.