The new program is still being refined but it appears it will pay different rates based on region and category. This will make it difficult for affiliates to plan their marketing strategies.
Also they seem to be planning to do away with the bonuses for new and reactivated customers. In the past an affiliate received a 100% bonus for purchases made by new eBay buyers or those who had not made a purchase in the last year. This is particularly odd as just a few months ago eBay pushed the importance of NORBs in their blog with specific actionable steps to earn double commission by sending new or reactivated buyers to its marketplace.
To replace the bonuses eBay has said it would move to a system of “strategic bonuses selectively to partners that demonstrate an ability to acquire high-quality buyers for eBay.” Somehow I doubt I will be one of the “selected” ones.
The one potentially positive change is that eBay plans to implement cross-device tracking. So if a user starts on their desktop but places the order from a phone you will still get credit – within the original cookie window of course.
Why the Changes
It is no secret that eBay has been seeing a decline in total revenue volume. They have increased fees to try to pick up some extra revenue growth and are reducing marketing expenses to increase the bottom line.
You have to wonder if the bean-counters have taken over from the marketers. I don’t see how a combination of higher fees, reduced marketing expenses and alienation of the affiliate community is going to help things.
Affiliates are still reeling over the cookie period changes where eBay went from a seven day cookie period to a 24 hour one. That doesn’t sound so terrible after all Amazon, the most successful affiliate marketer, has a 24 hour cookie. The problem for eBay affiliates is that auctions are 7 days. People will come to the auction from your link but wait to snipe the auction at the end. By then your cookie has expired.
So affiliates are sending visitors to eBay and getting no compensation.
What to Do
Until eBay publishes the new ePN rate card, affiliates will be in the dark about the impact of the changes. These things rarely work to the benefit of the average affiliate, though larger partners may be in better shape.
eBay CEO Devin Wenig has made it clear that 2019 is the year of marketing and general expense scale-back. While recognizing the risk to growth the focus will be to improve profits.