Frustration with the eBay Affiliate Program

  • Comments: 9
  • Written on: September 15th, 2008

I just wanted to throw up a quick post to see how many other people out there have done business with eBay’s affiliate program and had difficulties getting paid?

I bought a bunch of traffic from Clicksor and generated about $14,000 in eBay commissions by referring people to eBay who bid on and won an auction.

eBay is telling me that the traffic I sent did not comply with their standards and as a result they are questioning whether they are going to pay me the $14,000 in commissions I generated.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

  1. Mark Sierra at said on September 15th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Thor, I’ve recently signed up as an affiliate of their’s and have not done anything with it yet, so I’m a little green. For what reason are they citing it doesn’t comply with their standards? Traffic is traffic and a sale is a sale. Why do they care how someone got there to give them money?

  2. James Wilcox said on September 15th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    That’s just horrible and something that would prompt me to threaten legal action against them. I would take a look at their TOS very closely and see if there is anything in there that states they have the right to determine what constitutes “quality” traffic. Sounds like they just don’t want to pay out your earnings.

  3. Thor Schrock said on September 16th, 2008 at 10:45 am

    One of the things you quickly learn in affiliate marketing is that if you want to play, you play by their rules or you don’t play.

    They say in their terms and conditions that if they suspect any of your traffic they will not pay on any of it.

    I got this note from eBay yesterday:

    Dear Thor Schrock,

    We would like to take the time to address the recent Network Quality incident and further clarify our actions with your account. We want to make it clear that we took these actions because we detected a serious Malware issue linked to your account.

    We have a tool that analyzes downloadable software out there for eBay affiliate links. When a computer infected with this malware was surfing on the eBay site, a pop-up was generated automatically (without user action) and thus dropped a cookie on the user machine. We identified the campaign id associated with the clicks from Pepperjam, and the custom id’s matched your account id. We can’t speculate if you knew that the ad networks you bought traffic from would use these malicious techniques, but we expect all our publishers to have fully vetted and trust every network and partner they buy traffic from. We hold publishers responsible for all the traffic they send to us, whether it comes from their own websites or whether they use third party ad networks to get that traffic

    These instances were also not one-time events –there were several consecutive days that the malicious activity was detected. Thus, per our T’s & C’s we reversed the earnings associated with your account. Although the specific logs and data related to these incidents are not in a format that is easy to share over e-mail, we have stored the associated evidence in our servers and are very confident that the analysis and our actions in this matter were warranted.

    Some of the ad networks linked to these Malware incidents are MediaResponder, Vomba, and Videoflare, but by no means is an exhaustive list of all the ad networks out there using “black hat” techniques.

    We hope this is helpful in explaining our actions. If you have further questions, we suggest we set up a call so we can more quickly talk through and address your concerns.


    eBay Partner Network Team

  4. garyjames said on September 16th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Thor, I read what ebay wrote to you. It seems they are holdong you responsible for malware that you had no knowledge of. I suppose they can put that in their contract and hold you to it but I also think they would be using their “heads” if they perhaps charged back the exact sales that were so called maliciously gained. If they suggest a phone call I would take them up on it. Maybe you can build an association of some kind that will get you treated better.

  5. Mark Sierra at said on September 17th, 2008 at 7:01 am

    garyjames has a good point. I don’t see ebay choosing to refund their ill-gotten money. All in all, it seems too far-reaching of them to have taken this action. I’m not condoning black hat techniques of any kind, but “infected” or not, people decided to click on the buy button.

  6. James Wilcox said on September 17th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I also find it hard to believe you would knowingly use “black hat” techniques to generate your sales. The fact of the matter is you sold items, generated eBay money and in turn they are saying “thanks but we don’t want to pay you for the money you generated for us, but by all means continue to do so.” What I don’t understand is what computer was “infected” with malware…and what their definition of malware is. It’s probably not the same as mine.

  7. Thor Schrock said on September 17th, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Here’s the clutch… eBay is exercising their rights in the T&C to shut down my payment. The reason they give is that they believe some of my traffic was the result from malware/spyware/adware traffic.

    The reason eBay is so militant is because *if* a person used that kind of traffic they would be generating false clicks (i.e. cookie-ing people who were not on eBay and had no intention of going to eBay at the moment).

    Those cookies last 30 days, so in essence a person who uses false clicks to cookie visitors has just locked in on 50% of eBay’s profits on every sale completed by that user for a month. Cookie enough people, and that person could generate a LOT of commissions from sales that eBay would have had anyway.

    In short, doing stuff like that is the same as stealing from eBay. So getting back to basics, I did not do that. BUT…

    What if someone who was trying to make money by displaying ads from clicksor decided to use a malware program to increase the number of ads they display. The ads pop, and people click (or automated clicks are generated) and commissions are stolen from eBay.

    Did I steal from eBay, of course not. But eBay also states in their T&C that the affiliate is responsible for any and all traffic that arrives on the affiliate’s behalf – regardless of who sent it.

    Apparently they can track where theis stuff is coming from and rather than just eliminating the false clicks like Google or any other affiliate network does, they simply take everything and then push the affiliate off to go try again. They took $14,000 from me, but didn’t kick me out of their program.

    Needless to say, I won’t be doing anything with them in the future on any significant scale.

  8. James Wilcox said on September 17th, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    The problem though is they tracked your affiliate ID from PepperJam…hell anyone could figure that out and falsify it with their own code. Just because they have an ID from an affiliate program doesn’t mean it was you that did it. I hate eBay anyway. The couple of times I’ve bid on something I get outbid at the last moment or I never get the item I paid for.

  9. Stephen Ralph said on September 23rd, 2008 at 4:22 am

    ?!?!?! I personally never found the eBay affiliate program all that attractive but this is ludicrous. I hope you dropped them immediately. You make an excellent point in your update on how an unethical marketer could “game” eBay but their actions in this instance are fascist! I’m not a big fan of CJ reporting, tracking, etc. but at least if eBay were still on CJ you would undoubtedly get paid!

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