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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Affiliate Links in eBay Messaging Allowed?
    I had one of the AH HA(!) moments today while answering one of many daily queries about an eBay item. What a great way to snag a click through! But is it against policy to add an affiliate link or two to an eBay messaging response? I needed to direct the sender to a different eBay item in our store so I quickly created a link with the eBay flexible destination tool and added it to the message.
    I re-read the eBay policy which stated that email promotion needs additional authorization from CJ. I proceeded to CJ where I could find nothing about it anywhere.
    I assume this would be considered email promotion but I'm not certain. Anyone know for sure?

    Ed

  2. #2
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    I embed the affiliate code in links I create when answering questions at my site's forum, so I don't see why you can't do it in a response to a question via email, especially since it is a one-on-one correspondence.

    Sometimes you have to look beyond the rule to the reason for it being created in the first place. I think what eBay was worried about when making this rule, is the ones who send out spam emails to people who have not signed up to receive email from the sender. I'm sure they don't want to get flooded with complaints from people receiving unsolicited email promoting eBay. But, a one-on-one correspondence? I'd go for it.

    If you've gone through the time and effort to find the item for somebody, why shouldn't you receive compensation for your efforts if it results in a sale?

    And if it turns out that eBay objects to you doing that, then start a forum at your site and let people post their questions there. I used to receive questions via email, but then I realized I was often answering the same question over and over again. By having people post questions at a forum, all your visitors benefit from the questions and answers. In addition, other people will contribute valuable information.

    The only downside, is the idiots who come and join the forum just to add their spam links to questionable sites. It requires a daily clean-up, but fortunately there are ways you can ban them from ever coming back.

    Just my humble opinion, so if you still have doubts, send a question to the eBay affiliate team via email. They have always been very courteous about responding to emails.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    The forum idea is good advice. I like to keep a close eye on eBay queries because I can many times convert to a sale or even gingerly motivate them to purchase from our website. I suppose the same thing could be accomplished through a forum. I'm going to seriously consider that...

  4. #4
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    You need to tread carefully here. I did not realize that you were talking about sending people back to eBay from eBay until I read your question in the other thread about embedding links on your shipping calculation page.

    This scenario fits into that same logic outlined in my answer to your other thread. If somebody visits eBay through a link from somewhere else and writes you an email, and you respond by embedding your affiliate code in a link then you will be over-writing the commission somebody else earned.

    When I talked about a forum, I wasn't talking about promoting the items I sell on eBay, personally. I was talking about somebody asking a question about where they can find something. For example, say somebody is desperately looking for a Green Widget and posts a question asking where he/she can buy one. There is nothing wrong with saying, eBay is a great place to find Green Widgets, and embed the affiliate code in a link that sends to them to eBay.

    One of the search engines might pick up the thread, and somebody else looking for Green Widgets might end up at my forum and click the link. If you sell Green Widgets at eBay, and embed your affiliate link in the post at the forum, there's nothing wrong with that. Because somebody clicking on that link would be arriving at eBay through your efforts.

    In both of your threads, what you are proposing to do, is steal commissions from other people by taking advantage of the traffic eBay is sending to you, whether through email or clicking on a postage calculation link that lands them at your site.

    The whole purpose of the affiliate program, and why they pay commissions, is for you to send people to shop at eBay. It is not for you to make commissions from people already shopping at eBay that eBay has referred to you to answer questions or calculate shipping charges.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    So much for the AH HA(!) moment. [[Conscience kicks in]]
    Glad I asked!

    Our primary promo is search engines. I experimented with Google Base to list all the individual products in our new web store...

    I think I'll finish this under the Google topic...

    Ed

  6. #6
    mega crap martyogelvie's Avatar
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    I visit this one message board often and they use ebay affiliate links on a lot of links. The readers of this board often point out and link to auctions on ebay. Those links are somehow automatically embedded with the rover.ebay link and I see the same aff id on all of the links not just from specific posters. Part of me thinks this is cookie stuffing but if your not tricking the clicker into clicking on the link plus your letting the reader know, hey, check out this ebay auction.. then it seems up and up to me..

    I see no problems with it.. if its your board, what about someone elses board?
    for instance; would Tracy be ok with someone coming to her board and linking to ebay using their ebay affiliate ID??

  7. #7
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    If my understanding of your question (and the situation) is correct, I believe it would be appropriate for you to use store referral fee links (?refid=store or similar) in your emails.

    Quoting from this page:

    pages.ebay.com/help/specialtysites/referral-credit-faq.html

    emailed links to buyers qualify for credit if there is a referring ID in the URL that you send to a prospective buyer
    If a seller emails a buyer with a link to an item or search in a Store, you must add a referring ID code to the end of the URL (?refid=store or &refid=store, depending on which part of your Store you direct buyers to). Learn more about Store Referral Credit.

    When you include a link to your eBay Store on other Web sites or anywhere online including emails, you must include a referral code at the end of the URL. The referral code tells eBay's system that a buyer came to your store from your Web site promotion outside of eBay. For example, if you include a link on another Web site to your Store's main page, the URL should include the referral code (shown in bold):

    ://stores.ebay.com/yourstorename?refid=store

    And another page about this is here:

    pages.ebay.com/help/specialtysites/referral-credit-steps.html

  8. #8
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    That is, assuming of course that the buyer provided their email address, and that you can actually email the buyer through your own email program and not through "my messages". If you're dealing through "my messages" that probably won't work either. (Not sure.)

  9. #9
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    I visit this one message board often and they use ebay affiliate links on a lot of links. The readers of this board often point out and link to auctions on ebay. Those links are somehow automatically embedded with the rover.ebay link and I see the same aff id on all of the links not just from specific posters. Part of me thinks this is cookie stuffing but if your not tricking the clicker into clicking on the link plus your letting the reader know, hey, check out this ebay auction.. then it seems up and up to me..
    You're not allowed to post your eBay links on someone elses' board without their permission. eBay considers it spam and I agree.

    If you own the board however that's a different story. A lot of boards forbid eBay links. If I own a board and allow or encourage eBay links, I'm certainly entitled to roverize them. It's not even close to cookie stuffing. It's also possible with a little RegEx magic to automagically replace anyone elses' PID that tries to spam your board.

  10. #10
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy
    You need to tread carefully here...

    The whole purpose of the affiliate program, and why they pay commissions, is for you to send people to shop at eBay. It is not for you to make commissions from people already shopping at eBay that eBay has referred to you to answer questions or calculate shipping charges.
    I just re-read the posts again. I do agree with Tracy. She is absolutely correct.

    One big problem that I can see with promoting ebay according to ebay's own rules, is that it is very easy for commissions from legit affiliates to be overridden by other legit affiliates who are also following the rules.

    How about those scrolling galleries, which are accessible directly from auction listings, that contain links to "view all items" and those items are showcased at off-ebay sites that contain affiliate links back to ebay? As far as I can see, this is "ebay legal" too. But it stinks!

    My solution? I'm actively working on finding and promoting merchants other than ebay. It wouldn't be in my best interests to completely stop promoting ebay at this point, but I'm definitely diversifying...

    (edited for clarity. Still not sure that what I'm trying to say is entirely clear. Sorry.)

  11. #11
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby131313
    You're not allowed to post your eBay links on someone elses' board without their permission. eBay considers it spam and I agree.

    If you own the board however that's a different story. A lot of boards forbid eBay links. If I own a board and allow or encourage eBay links, I'm certainly entitled to roverize them. It's not even close to cookie stuffing. It's also possible with a little RegEx magic to automagically replace anyone elses' PID that tries to spam your board.
    All good points. I like the way you think, Bobby!

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Just for clarification... I received an eBay messaging email (through eBay 'My Messages') regarding a peripheral we had listed for auction. The peripheral wasn't compatible with his operating system. So I included a link to my listing for the appropriate item in my response back, also using eBay messaging (not regular email). I edited the link into an affiliate link in order to reap the benefit if he decided to purchase anything. There seems to be an ethical dilemma about this practice that I'm trying to sort out.

  13. #13
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    Just for clarification... I received an eBay messaging email (through eBay 'My Messages') regarding a peripheral we had listed for auction. The peripheral wasn't compatible with his operating system. So I included a link to my listing for the appropriate item in my response back, also using eBay messaging (not regular email). I edited the link into an affiliate link in order to reap the benefit if he decided to purchase anything. There seems to be an ethical dilemma about this practice that I'm trying to sort out.
    This is my opinion. I could be wrong.

    Since you used "my messages", I really don't think you will get any credit from the sale.

    If the buyer had unchecked "hide email address from seller" and you had checked the message through your regular email program and responded with a link using the ?refid=store option, you could then have received a partial credit on your final value fee from ebay, IF the buyer clicked through your link and made the purchase.

    As far as I can see, this is within ebay rules.

    Most affiliates are well aware that the last cookie gets the commission. As long as it's all within the merchant's rules, which it seems to me like this scenario would have been, I don't see a problem.

    In this particular case, since you were providing customer service and pre-sell information, I don't see a specific ethical problem?

    Here is how I understand the situation. In other affiliate marketing scenarios, it might have gone down something like this:

    Let's just say the buyer followed Affiliate A's link to item X. Item X turned out to not be what the buyer wanted. Buyer then went to Affiliate B for information. Affiliate B provided info about item Y, and buyer then purchased item Y through affiliate B's link. Affiliate B would get the commission.
    Is there an ethical dilemma here? Not that I can see. It's how the whole thing typically works, isn't it? (I think this is the case but if not please someone let me know!)

    OK. In this particular situation, replace affiliate B with "the seller of item Y", and replace the affiliate links with "store referral credit". Is there an ethical dilemma here? Assuming all ebay's rules have been followed, I don't think there is technically a problem.

    The biggest problem that I can really see is that ebay's rules, in my opinion, leave a lot to be desired as far as protecting "Value add" affiliates like Tracy. To me, THAT is one of the biggest problem associated with promoting ebay. It should actually perhaps be turned into a separate topic for discussion (?)

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