Publisher Stories

Customer Testimonial - Steve Wilson

Steve Wilson has found that bargain hunters can be big winners with eBay’s new Quality Click Pricing model. Steve runs a number of web sites, including specialized eBay search sites www.localbargainfinder.co.uk and www.localbargainfinder.info (USA). He initially jumped into affiliate marketing a few years ago to monetize his ecommerce forum. Most of his sites are content-based, promoting niche products such as electronics, toys and animal care. The sites attract about 4,000 unique visitors per day – half of which are repeat visits from saved bookmarks. Steve developed his sites using in-depth affiliate tools, weaving the content around them. “My goal is to make the sites appear less like adverts or billboards for a specific product, and to be more interactive for the visitor,” he says. Having been an eBay seller, Steve focused most of his affiliate efforts on eBay Partner Network.  He test-drove Quality Click Pricing on one of his more prominent sites, www.localbargainfinder.co.uk. The site tracks down low cost but high value items in the visitor’s area.

Steve says eBay’s CPA model worked for him, but because his visitors purchased low cost items, the revenue share didn’t reflect the quality of traffic he sent to eBay. His highly engaged visitors went on to spend more time browsing items and categories, and regularly came back to check for new bargains.

With Quality Click Pricing, things changed.  It became clear to Steve that he wasn’t only being paid for transactions, but he was also being compensated for how targeted and engaged the traffic was that he was sending to eBay. This encouraged him to focus on making his site pull up a broad range of freshly changing items, and ensuring that his visitors kept coming back to check for more bargains.  Tweaks to a few search parameters and display options made the site easier for viewers to use and more likely that they found something of interest to bid on or purchase. Steve also worked on bringing in new traffic, knowing he had a high ratio of repeat visitors who would continue to visit and spend money with eBay.

“As long as my site continues to deliver fresh and varied yet targeted results, I will maintain a good level of consistent and regular customers,” says Steve. “Rather than target for short term gains, I can focus on strengthening the ratio of repeat visits to maintain a high quality score for the long term success of both myself and eBay.”  Steve appreciates the more consistent earnings and finds the new reporting more conducive to analyzing reports and statistics. Earnings are reconciled quickly, with very little or no retrospective corrections prior to payment release, both in comparison with the previous method and compared with other affiliate providers, he says.

For Steve, the new system has been a real positive, from the simplified structure to the consistent results and higher rewards. His success with QCP shows that quality counts, and that it doesn’t take big-ticket sales to be a top earner with eBay.

Customer Testimonial - Harmjan Heeling

Harmjan Heeling likes knowing that every click counts with Quality Click Pricing, eBay Partner Network’s new quality-based payment structure. Heeling operates several niche content sites promoting collectible items and vintage photography, averaging about 2,000 visitors and 3,000 clicks per day. While he belongs to a number of affiliate programs, Heeling says eBay Partner Network stands alone among them in its quest to reward affiliates for both quality and quantity.

Heeling started testing the Quality Click Pricing model on May 1.

“Immediately I saw an increase in revenue,” he says. The instant boost in earnings motivated Heeling to tweak both his paid search campaigns and his sites to drive the numbers higher. He gave them a nicer look and feel, with an eye to providing a better user experience.

For example, Heeling experimented with using fewer eBay ads on each of his sites. His sites looked cleaner and people had fewer ads to click on, but when they did click on the ads it was more likely that they really wanted to buy something on eBay. As a result, his clicks went down but the quality of his traffic went up. Heeling says that if you are going to do this, though, to make sure to tweak your product feeds because with fewer ads it’s more important to show the most relevant listings.

Another helpful change: Heeling improved his success measures by creating dozens of campaign IDs, providing detailed insight into the keywords that work and those that don’t. He can now accurately link eBay Partner Network revenue to AdWords campaigns.

In one instance, Heeling improved his ROI on a single campaign by more than 50% by refining his AdWords keyword phrases. Obviously he’s not sharing the exact keyword phrases, but he recommends testing 2- and 3-word phrases to see what works best. By linking specific keywords in the paid search campaign to his eBay Partner Network results, he can see what has worked best. Then, if the traffic from a campaign is underperforming, he can make adjustments or just delete the campaign. Under the previous CPA model, Heeling says big differences in commissions per item made quality measurement tricky, and he wound up sending thousands of visitors without compensation.

The new Quality Click Pricing reporting has helped Heeling stay on top of his sites as well as his paid search traffic, showing which parts are working well, and which might need some work.

“With the Quality Click Pricing system, I get paid for all my traffic, and that’s the way it should be!” he says.

With his focus on optimizing his sites and improving his user experience to send more qualified traffic to eBay, we hope he keeps the quality clicks coming.

To your continued success,

The eBay Partner Network Team

Affiliate Spotlight: EarthLink

Shannon Lisecki, Senior Strategic Partner Manager of EarthLink, one of our long-time affiliates, took the time to share some of her insights with us on various industry related topics. earthlink1

As a leading national Internet service provider, Atlanta-based EarthLink has earned an award-winning reputation for outstanding customer service and its suite of online products and services to facilitate a safe and secure Internet experience.

Q: What percent of your overall commissions earned does eBay Partner Network represent?

A: Well, if I told you this, I would have to kill you. In all seriousness, we do not disclose that level of financial detail. However, suffice to say, eBay Partner Network (ePN) is a valuable and significant part of our advertising and partnership revenue stream. I see our ePN relationship continuing for a long time.

Q: How do you evaluate the economics of different advertising options on your website?

A: We look at the overall revenue stream to the company based on the placement and on our user experience. We may elect to go with direct partnerships, advertising, or affiliate advertising, or use one of our content providers. We also look for opportunities to promote specific items that interest our demographic.

Q: Which industry thought leaders impress you the most?

A: I was impressed with Lorrie Norrington’s presentation at a recent event. I look forward to seeing how eBay is able to capitalize on the secondary market [Editor: here Shannon is referring to eBay’s unique strategy of growing by being the best marketplace for out of season, outlet inventory, overstock/returns, and liquidation inventory on the web.].

Q: How did you get started in affiliate marketing?

A: EarthLink’s first foray into affiliate marketing was with eBay via CJ and Amazon.com Associates program. We later expanded our use of affiliate marketing to include additional advertisers on CJ and other affiliate networks. We continue to use affiliate marketing selectively on our site.

Q: How long have you been a member of ePN?

A: We joined the ePN as a beta partner. We have been an eBay affiliate as long as I have been at the company. Our affiliate relationship with eBay started on or before 2001.

Q: What new directions do you think the industry is headed in?

A: I think the industry will continue to move towards rewarding quality buyers and cracking down on shady practices.

Q: What concerns you most about recent developments in affiliate marketing?

A: EarthLink’s core business is Internet access. While we have affiliate relationships, we don’t use all the bells and whistles that most affiliates use. Many of the recent changes in affiliate programs have not affected our implementations.

Q: Which sites or feeds do you read on a daily basis?

A: I am old school. My husband and I read the paper. We get the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the New York Times. There is something relaxing about reading the paper in the morning or, even better, in the evening after the kids go to bed. For my daily online fix, I check out searchengineland.com, searchenginewatch.com, sphinn.com, eBayinsiderblog.com, ebaypartnernetworkblog.com and affiliate-blog.amazon.com. I also use Google Alerts to keep up on my latest interests. I am on my.earthlink.net throughout the day getting my fix of breaking news, weather and my eBay watch list.

Q: One tip that you can share with other affiliates about improving their performance on ePN?

A: Your best bet for success is to bring quality buyers to the eBay site. That means understanding your users and highlighting eBay opportunities that resonate with them. For EarthLink this means integrating eBay throughout our start page including our “my eBay” feature, which allows real-time tracking of our users’ personal bid, watch, sell and won lists. We use eBay’s API and XML feed to pull in listings on our web search result pages and our deals page (deals.earthlink.net). Every year, I am always surprised at some of the listings that resonate with our users. Our users were very interested in the cave home that was for sale earlier this year. Not only did they look at the listing, they then went on to buy other items on the site. I am always looking for interesting content or popular products that I can promote. I rely on the eBayinsiderblog.com to find it.

Thank you Shannon, for letting us get to know you! We wish you and EarthLink continued success.

Amanda eBay Partner Network Team