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eBay Affiliates No Longer Allowed to Compete in PPC

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 10:05 pm

According to AuctionBytes (an online publication for online merchants): As of June 1st, eBay will no longer compensate affiliates for “paid search traffic purchased from Google.com, Yahoo.com, MSN.com, nor from any of their content networks, such as Google AdSense, Yahoo! Publisher Network, and MSN ContentAds, if it is linked directly to the eBay.com, eBay Express, or eBay Store domains.”

As strange as it might seem for someone who spends as much time on the Web as I do, I’ve never purchased anything off eBay, much less set up an eBay affiliate account, so I can’t speak from personal experience the way I do some of the other affiliate programs; however, this move could have a big impact.

Based on discussions I’ve had with folks who run the corporate LinkShare Referral Program for a certain large electronics retailer, nearly all of the company’s active LinkShare affiliates send traffic via PPC ads, not from the links that are provided for inclusion on web sites.

Furthermore, I just learned that Google is starting to bar affiliates from bidding on PPC ads also — this isn’t restricted to just eBay affiliates. I can only assume that they mean affiliates are not allowed to bid on keywords for which the parent company is also bidding. Surely they’d be allowed to pick up non-competitive phrases. Otherwise that would be even more ridiculous “punishment” for affiliate marketers who ought to have every right to advertise.

Ironically, while cutting affiliates out of the PPC game might somehow arguably improve the paid results (even though affiliates often have distinctive pricing from the parent, so I don’t buy that argument!), this move might actually lower the cost of keywords for those players who get to remain in the game — it’s economics: less competition equals lower prices. That and seeing as a lot of business comes from affiliates and resellers, it seems Google may be cutting off a finger of the hand that feeds its money-making AdWords machine.

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