Updated: Changes to Accepted Business Models

Updated in response to some of the comments that have been posted, please see the last few paragraphs for further clarification. As part of our effort to focus our resources on the publishers who drive high quality traffic to eBay, we have decided to wind down three types of business models that were previously allowed in eBay Partner Network: tier-2 paid search, ad networks, and sub-affiliates.  This change will affect all countries and programs on eBay Partner Network.  To be clear, it is still allowed for publishers to source traffic to their own websites via these methods, we are just not allowing direct promotion of eBay through these models. 

The reason for making this change is simply that the quality of buyer traffic these business models have sent to eBay historically has not matched the high standards set by the rest of our affiliates.  In general, these business models directly source and redirect traffic from many different sites which the publishers themselves do not control.  This usually results in affiliate marketing that is less targeted and has a sub-par user experience when compared to models in which the publishers directly control their sites or services along with how they source traffic to them.  To provide more clarity, here are further descriptions of these business models:

Tier 2 paid search:  Using any paid search / text ad networks that place eBay ads (ads that go directly to an eBay domain) on websites not directly under the publishers’ control.  As a reminder, Tier 1 paid search, defined in our Terms and Conditions as putting paid search links directly to eBay from Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or their related networks, is already not allowed in most of our large programs today.  This change extends this restriction to all paid search / text ad networks in all eBay Partner Network programs. 

Ad Networks:  Using any graphical ad network to place eBay ads (ads that go directly to an eBay domain) on websites not directly under the publishers’ control.  This has been a model that required special permission until now but will no longer be allowed in eBay Partner Network.   

Sub-affiliates:  Any arrangement where publishers distribute their earnings from eBay Partner Network to other publishers. Like ad networks, this has been a model that required special permission until now but will no longer be allowed in eBay Partner Network.

Again, it is still allowed for publishers to source traffic to their own websites via these methods, we are just not allowing direct promotion of eBay (direct linking or immediately re-directing to eBay) through these models.

We do not expect this change to have a significant impact on vast majority of our publishers or our overall network, as these business models have been shrinking as a percentage of eBay Partner Network for some time now.  We will be working with the small number of remaining affiliates using these models to transition to other business models or swap out their links for other merchant links.

We continue to be committed to and excited about expanding our program by working with affiliates using many different business models where publishers control the websites/services on which they advertise eBay.  These include publishers with content sites, product review sites, portals, shopping comparison sites, their own social networks and forums (especially if they are product oriented), loyalty and incentive sites, deal sites, off-eBay merchant sites, and certain types of downloadable software and e-mail services.  We have seen a lot of growth in these models in the past year and fully expect to see this continue. 

We will be proactively contacting publishers who have specified that they use these business models to help them change their model or close their account by July 1st.  If you are using one of these models as part of your affiliate marketing efforts, we ask that you start ramping down these methods so that you are able to stop using them by the July 1st deadline.  In addition, we will no longer accept any new applications for these models starting immediately.   

If you have any questions on this, please contact customer service at ePN-cs-english@ebay.com.

The eBay Partner Network Team

Update

Firstly, here is a clarification of the business model definition as a few of the affiliates mentioned are not subaffiliates, specifically Big Crumbs, which is considered a Loyalty/Incentive model so Big Crumbs and similar companies are not directly affected by this change.   Regarding Pepperjam, we will continue to work with them as we have developed processes to cooperate closely on registration vetting and network quality.  We do plan to continue to work with a very small number of this type of affiliate going forward, but these are definitely exceptional cases as there is a lot of work required to make these models work well both for us as well as for the affiliates themselves.  Thus, we’ll be working to wind down any remaining affiliates with sub-affiliate models with whom we don’t have a managed relationship and/or a special contract, and we won't be accepting any more of these in the future.   To address the question of registrations to the eBay program in Pepperjam, our teams work together directly to make sure that the applications are not duplicates and that the affiliates have models that can be successful in eBay Partner Network.  For the most part, we encourage affiliates to sign up with eBay Partner Network directly unless they already have a deep relationship with the super-affiliate in question.

Hope this helps.