As of April 1, 2008 the program will be dropped from the largest affiliate network – Commission Junction. They handle the reporting and pay affiliates in behalf of customers like Yahoo!, Home Depot, and Buy.com. Commission Junction is owned by ValueClick (which recently had some bad news of its own).
eBay started their affiliate program in 2001 and it has more than 100,000 affiliates globally. For those unfamiliar, an affiliate marketer is a person or business who promotes eBay’s products on their web site, blog, or forum and makes money each time they refer a sale.
Affiliate networks make it easier for affiliates – one place to manage and get paid for all of your sales. It’s also one place to go to get the code to place affiliate links on your site. Those links identify you as the person who referred the sale. Existing affiliates must move to the eBay Partner Network by May 1st. Not much time to change all those links.
I asked a newer affiliate, Ariel Adams for his perspective. Adams blogs about luxury watches and makes money referring people to auctions that sell watches on eBay. He talked about problems with reporting and how he can’t tell which watch sells. Mostly though it’s a huge problem to change all the links (and too bad there’s not a tool to help this process, because so far eBay hasn’t offered a lot of details on how the quick change is going to happen).
“This creates a huge inconvenience for people like me because we rely on lots of existing links, which now all need to be changed. For me we are talking 100s of links, and so far I don’t see anything that can make the switch particularly easy.”
For long-time affiliates this is an even more daunting task. However, if the reporting and flexibility improves, it could improve things long term. For now, there aren’t a lot of specific details from eBay about how the new program will work.