Third Party Tracking Audit Update

We wanted to give you an update on the third party review of the eBay Partner Network tracking systems since we've mentioned it a few times on the blog and boards. We commissioned the audit when some of our affiliates last summer highlighted discrepancies between their monthly earnings when our program was in Commission Junction and the earnings they saw as they transitioned onto eBay Partner Network.  We took these reports seriously and did a significant amount of analysis ourselves.  In addition to our own analysis, we had an audit performed by ImServices Group Ltd., a leading provider of independent consulting and verification services, including process reviews, activity, and privacy audits for Web sites and other interactive media companies.  You can find out more information about ImServices here.

The ImServices audit was very comprehensive and included a number of different methodologies, including: creating and checking hundreds of individual tracking events (including clicks, Bids, BINs, and ACRUs), analyzing the eBay Partner Network databases to validate that the sample transactions are representative, reconciling data feeds and database contents from different parts of the tracking systems, and validating our system access controls and software QA procedures.  In addition to the physical data analysis and transaction checking, there were numerous interviews with engineers and team members as well as many documentation reviews to ensure that ImServices had a full understanding of the systems, data, and behavior.

ImServices concluded their audit this month and presented their findings.  They concluded with the following line, contained in their letter summarizing their findings:  "ImServices validated that conversion events are properly attributed to Publishers that generated leads as outlined in eBay’s Advertiser Terms and Conditions."  They confirmed our systems were working properly and able to track and properly attribute commissions to our publishers.

We're pleased with the findings of the audit, but just to be clear this is not a guarantee that from time to time new issues won’t pop up.  There have been several issues that we've addressed and issued makegoods for this year such as the ACRU tracking issue in May as well as the most recent issue from Nov 13th - Nov 17th.  The first happened and was addressed before this audit.  The second happened due to an upgrade to the system after this study was completed and has also been fixed.  We are going to continue to work hard to make sure these don’t happen, and that when they do we communicate with you our affiliates as quickly and transparently as possible.

There has been a lot of change in the eBay Affiliates Program with the launch of eBay Partner Network, the many changes on the eBay website itself this year, and most recently the challenging economic times.  We know from speaking to some of our largest affiliates and reading the boards that all of these factors have introduced some fluctuations in affiliate earnings so we felt that it was important to share the findings of the audit with you.


The eBay Partner Network Team