Quality Paper Feedback

We’ve received lots of great feedback on the white paper on quality in affiliate marketing that we published with SEMJ. The issue will be sent out in hard copy to their subscribers next week. We were invited to do an interview on Bruce Clay’s SEM Synergy show on Webmaster radio, which ran last week. You can listen to the full show, which includes an interview with Sean Golliher from SEMJ, here. We also heard from affiliates and others via Twitter (follow us on twitter) and comments posted on other blogs and forums. Here are just a few of the comments: Pat Grady from RhinoFish says:

“This is an excellent paper. It’s short, sweet and to the point. I wish it contained more details about how they are discerning incrementality, some of their metric ideas are decent, others aren’t as correlated once the underlying mechanics are understood. I’m happy to see eBay leading the investigation of quality, they’re on the right track but still do have a ways to go. I compliment them on being willing to discuss (publish) this information and more in regards to their experimentation, policies and the things driving both.”

Sonia says:

“I have been bumped up to the $40 ACRU level since January so I guess according to eBay’s standards, I’m bringing in quality visitors. Last year I was focused on quantity instead of quality, but have turned things around and started focusing on adding content to existing sites instead of building more and I’m starting to see better results because of it.”

- Congratulations, Sonia! We’re glad to hear that the quality over quantity focus is working for you.

Sallie from Affiliate-Marketing-Adventure says:

“I like the fact that in the paper they acknowledge that small affiliates can outperform large affiliates in terms of traffic quality. This is attributed to the “great care” we put into our web sites. That’s something I’ve believed all along - as I’ve said before, “content is queen!”

- Sallie, this is exactly what we’ve been finding. Feedback has been great from smaller affiliates who are earning more money by focusing on the quality of their content. Affiliate marketing is a two-way street: the more we can help our affiliates improve their performance, the better we both get paid.

Alan from Affiliate Confession had a few criticisms for us:

“While I’m sure the data gathered by eBay in the last several months as outlined in the above mentioned report has been helpful in peering into the activities of affiliates and helped them better adjust their pricing structures in paying these affiliates, it is woefully incomplete and somewhat flawed. I say this for several reasons but the biggest is that they have not been running their affiliate program and gathering data long enough to really understand what’s going on… Affiliates don’t know how much they will be receiving for these new eBay members until the 10th of the following month that they are created in. This makes it difficult for the affiliate to keep track of their revenue actually earn from eBay…Can you really determine what a new member is going to do for their lifetime with such a small slice of their activity?”

- Alan, we appreciate your feedback. Please do keep it coming. While it may seem as though we only started gathering data after the move to an in-house network, we’ve actually been collecting and analyzing data for years. Moving to an in-house affiliate network gave us much more rich data, and confirmed much of what we had been hypothesizing previously. With the overall size of our affiliate programs, we have a huge amount of data and a top-notch analytics group that is making sure that the analysis and algorithms we use are very robust.  While no prediction method is 100% perfect we’re extremely pleased that we’re able to reliably differentiate quality across our affiliates and reward people for it appropriately.  We’re going to continue to work on refining our pricing algorithms as we go.  In regards to the timing for valuing the ACRUs on the 10th of each month, we’re working on ways to improve on that so that affiliates have more real-time feedback.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on the paper and campaign. All of your comments – positive and negative – help us make the program better. Feel free to post more comments or send us feedback directly at twitter We’ll do our best to get back to everyone in a timely manner.


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