EBay affiliates to be managed in-house

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Online auction company eBay has announced plans to launch a new affiliate program, titled The eBay Partner Network, on April 1. This network will replace the seven-year-old program it had with one that is managed in-house and incorporates all of eBay's global properties.

This move follows the news that over the past 18 months, eBay has “invested in its infrastructure,” making improvements to its backend and technology in order to improve the integration of data analytics and search functions.

Will Martin-Gill, senior manager of Internet marketing and head of business development for affiliate marketing at eBay, said that this was part of the company's wider move to bring its marketing data in-house.

“We're starting to take a closer look at all of the touch points we have with buyers and customers,” Martin-Gill said. “We think we can be a lot smarter about where and how we are touching different folks.

With the new platform, eBay and Half.com will no longer run their affiliate programs through ValueClick's Commission Junction platform. Affected eBay and Half.com affiliates will be required to move their affiliate links over to the eBay Partner Network by May 1.

However, other properties owned by eBay, such as Tradera AB, ProStores Inc., Reseller Marketplace, Media Marketplace, eBay Stores and StubHub will not be affected and will continue their relationship with Commission Junction. 

The current eBay affiliate network has 100,000 members globally with about 60,000 members in the US. Martin-Gill declined to comment on the amount of business the affiliate network provides eBay but did say it was “significant.”

He also said that eBay has been growing its internal team and will have a support staff in place to handle affiliate concerns and questions in time for the program's launch.

“There are a number of commerce-related content sites on the Internet that may be using a variety of tactics — such as banner ads and paid search — to monetize their sites and we hope that some of these folks will give us a try,” said Martin-Gill, adding that for some publishers an affiliate link to eBay would be “value-added” rather than pure advertising for a visitor.

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