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  1. #1
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    Auctiva and others stealing Ebay bids?
    Hi Everyone.
    I just read in another forum about Auctiva and other Image hosting services that host Ebay images free for Sellers.
    The accusation is that if a customer goes to ebay from your site,then clicks on an image in the auction provided by Auctiva,for example, that they have then placed auctivas cookie on that auction,thereby nulling your cookie.
    If true, this would be most disturbing at the least,and costing us considerable commissions.
    I'm going to investigate this more, but before I hit the panic button I thought I would ask here to see if anyone is familar with this potential problem.
    Ron

  2. #2
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    The external gallery that they provide and link to from auctions will override your cookie if they click on an auction in it.

    The thing that really burns my ass is that every email they send is chock full of affiliate links. This includes the bid thank you emails which in my opinion is spam. As a seller you can opt in to these to be sent, but as the buyer that gets these emails you have never opted in. Flat out spam if you ask me.

    If I got a thank you email for every bid I placed, I'd be pissed and shouldn't get them if I don't want them.

  3. #3
    Full Member GoColts's Avatar
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    Ebay should not allow this - that is completely unfair for affiliates who work hard and spend money driving traffic only to send it to another affiliate.

    Who else here agrees Auctiva should NOT be allowed to use their ebay affiliate links when linking to an ebay auction?

    Maybe ebay will listen when they drop by.

  4. #4

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    So if an affiliate designs a site that has an ebay tool on it that sellers can use, and then use their affiliate links in some way as part of this tool or service then they are "stealing" from other affiliates?

    I am not sure I agree with others on this one. It seems like a good way to pay for the free services offered. At the same time I can see the conflict and concern of other affiliates.

    I would be more concerned on how much you are losing on ebay not tracking properly or failing to report your earnings. I believe folks are losing a lot more from that alone than all other methods combined and multiplied.

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Where the conflict comes in is that in essence these affiliate links get included in auctions on eBay's site itself. It's similar to a leak or a merchant who puts up links that overwrite affiliate links. It puts other affiliates at a disadvantage. If I link to an eBay auction and someone clicks through my link, then clicks through a link on eBay that jut happens to be an Auctiva link, then buys, Auctiva gets the commission - not me. That's not right. What a consumer does within the eBay site should not cause commissions to be negated.
    Michael Coley
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  6. #6

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    Yes, but it's not ebay itself that is doing this method. Also is the link in the auction itself, or added after a user clicks on the link with the picture?

  7. #7
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    So if an affiliate designs a site that has an ebay tool on it that sellers can use, and then use their affiliate links in some way as part of this tool or service then they are "stealing" from other affiliates?
    You're generalizing way too much here.

    The entire idea of an affiliate program is to drive new traffic and sales. The fact that Auctiva puts links in an auction that divert the user away from eBay, then directly back while setting a cookie is arguably unethical. Also setting a cookie from an email generated by an event that involved a user already being on eBay. They are stealing traffic that was already there, and making profit on it, that could have been our original traffic.

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It doesn't really matter who does it. The end result is the same.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
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  9. #9

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    Actually affiliate programs are there to drive sales period, new or old.

    Who is to say that perhaps it was setup to drive traffic from their sites to the ebay auction and part of the "by product" of such a system is what is being described?

    If auctiva or the rest are purposely doing this to overwrite others cookies and doing it on the ebay site then by all means they should stop or ebay should allow everyone to do it.

    However I still say the amount of leakage for this method pales in comparison to ebay tracking at all.

  10. #10
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if the new links policy will address this.....

    Updated Links Policy

    Starting in July, an updated Links Policy will take the place of links guidelines that were previously covered in several policy areas. Under the updated policy, only specific types of links are allowed in a seller's listings or other content on eBay, including eBay Store pages, About Me pages, eBay Blogs, Reviews and Guides, and forums.

    Allowed under the new policy are links to:

    • Any page on eBay or an eBay property including PayPal, Half.com and StubHub.
    • Photos of the item for sale, as long as the page displaying the photos does not offer, or link to, a site that offers a product or service for sale off eBay.
    • Embedded videos within a listing, as long as the content and format comply with all eBay policies for videos.
    • Third-party solutions and services directly related to the particular listing.


    A gallery of other items is not directly related to the particular listing.

  11. #11

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    Anyone have any links, perhaps testing proof, that the alleged "stealing" is actually happening? Perhaps some links to auctions where this might be happening?

  12. #12
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    Oh, I've done the testing, with the galleries and the emails. All the links are masked. You'll need the FF http live headers add-on or similar to see the behind the scenes slight of hand. It's all there though, they all go directly through Rover.

  13. #13
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=250248335153

    Click on the all items link bottom right of the scrolling gallery. Then pick any link on that page and follow the headers.

  14. #14

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    Okay, so you are saying click on the "see all my ebay items" in the flash part of Auctiva. It then takes you to that sellers store on Auctiva. From there if you click on any item link on the sellers Auctiva store another cookie is dropped (though whose cookie remains to be seen).

    So this isn't happening in the ebay auction itself, but once a customer clicks on a link going to a sellers site/store.

    Therefore if this was banned no seller would be allowed to be an affiliate. As if anyone clicked on a link going to the sellers site (their Auctiva store, their own site, or another type of store) and they had affiliate links on that site it could also happen.

    I guess it's my next question is it Auctiva's affiliate id/cookie being dropped or the seller themselves having put in their "affiliate id" type of thing (sort of like BANS)?

    The point I am making is that if I was a seller on ebay and had my own site, and signed up on EPN and then put something like BANS on my site and a link on my auctions to "see all my other auctions" would and should that be allowed? It is not against ebay's policies to allow sellers to promote their own auctions with the ebay affiliate program as that was allowed sometime ago (at first it wasn't then they changed it).

    However IF the cookie is Auctiva affiliate cookie and they are putting on sellers auctions WITHOUT the sellers or users knowledge that uses their service I could see a severe breach of TOS. I read through Auctivas TOS and didn't see anything about them using ebay affiliate program. I would think they should disclose this information.

    I am going to do some testing on this as well as the EPN tracking issue. However unless the links are directly IN the auctions themselves then it's not a violation on that part. In addition the question would be if the cookies dropped after going to the auctiva seller page is either the sellers or the auctivas would be another question.

    If it's Auctivas then I would think that the sellers should question Auctivas actions as it's not covered (as far as I can tell) in their TOS. They should disclose they do that.

  15. #15
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    If I understand this right......I get a client to my site...
    He clicks on an ebay auction,goes to ebay(my cookie and my sale now if he buys)
    He then wants to see the other photos of the item for sale and clicks on more pics,which happen to be hosted free by auctiva...At that point MY client is quickly taken to auctivas site,then back to ebay. Now my cookie is gone and auctiva's cookie is in place,giving them the sale.
    Even if they click on a widget( ie 'see other auctions') it still should be my sale....they haven't left the site since I directed them there.
    I guess the acid test would be..
    If they came directly to Ebay-no affilliate involvment...then clicked on an auctiva hosted picture do you think Ebay would pay them? Ebay would never allow anyone to steal their clients,but they allow them to steal mine?
    If this is true, I believe it is not only ethically wrong, but I really don't see the legallity in it.
    At least with some of the parasites the buyer agrees to be switched,whether they realize it or not.
    Here the buyer has no knowlege of whats happening when they click on a pic.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    I took a glance at the auctiva site. Everything appears to be free. Plus no adv. like adsense.

    I would imagine they make money somehow.

  17. #17

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    First there is no proof (yet) it's Auctivas cookie. It could be the seller themselves are an ebay affiliate.

    Second is rather interesting that people think others haven't heard of ebay. They could click on the sellers link and go to other auctions having nothing to do with the niche itself.

    Third I think when you deal with a site the size and scope of ebay, and the sheer number of products, sellers, buyers and affiliates there is bound to be some cutthroat competition and the fight for the right to cookie.

    This isn't some little merchant site that is using affiliate marketing to broaden their customer base, but instead, a huge flea market that is abusing the affiliate marketing industry in an attempt to pump up their numbers and sales further. I can't see ebay supporting affiliates in these matters as they don't really care about the little guys to begin with... just ask many of the sellers themselves.

    If Auctiva is an affiliate and that is their cookie dropping, and it ONLY happens when people visit THEIR site then I can't see how that is a violation of anything. Sure it's questionable and we can stamp our feet and fart all we want but will it stop them?

    My overall point is that it's not happening ON ebay's auctions but the cookie drops after a buyer goes to the seller listings AT the auctiva site.

    My suggestion would be to filter out those sellers using auctiva or any of these auction services if you believe they are causing leakages. Perhaps choosing sellers better is a response that you can do something about.

    Also I have been searching for someone proving this leak is real, and it's the actual sites themselves and not the sellers being affiliates. Yes, I see the cookie overwritten, and the links appear in clicking but it wasn't done without the buyer clicking at least twice on things.

    Now if this link was in the auction listing and it dropped when someone visited the auction listing that would be a major issue and need to be addressed by EPN. However what right does ebay have to tell an affiliate you CAN'T have EPN links on your own site?

    Quote Originally Posted by baygrafix
    If I understand this right......I get a client to my site...
    He clicks on an ebay auction,goes to ebay(my cookie and my sale now if he buys)
    He then wants to see the other photos of the item for sale and clicks on more pics,which happen to be hosted free by auctiva...At that point MY client is quickly taken to auctivas site,then back to ebay. Now my cookie is gone and auctiva's cookie is in place,giving them the sale.
    Even if they click on a widget( ie 'see other auctions') it still should be my sale....they haven't left the site since I directed them there.
    I guess the acid test would be..
    If they came directly to Ebay-no affilliate involvment...then clicked on an auctiva hosted picture do you think Ebay would pay them? Ebay would never allow anyone to steal their clients,but they allow them to steal mine?
    If this is true, I believe it is not only ethically wrong, but I really don't see the legallity in it.
    At least with some of the parasites the buyer agrees to be switched,whether they realize it or not.
    Here the buyer has no knowlege of whats happening when they click on a pic.

  18. #18
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    First there is no proof (yet) it's Auctivas cookie. It could be the seller themselves are an ebay affiliate.
    No, all the ID's are the same regardless of the seller. Tom from Auctiva has admitted it publicly on thier own and eBay forums anyway.

    My suggestion would be to filter out those sellers using auctiva or any of these auction services if you believe they are causing leakages. Perhaps choosing sellers better is a response that you can do something about.
    Can't, Auctiva deliberately changed all their credits to images or flash so you can't filter them.

    However what right does ebay have to tell an affiliate you CAN'T have EPN links on your own site?
    Every right in the world. Read the TOS. They've been expiring affiliates for "poor quality" recently. For eBay, this is "poor quality"... their paying for traffic they already have. Doesn't get any poorer than that.

  19. #19
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    If I'm understanding correctly, in order for an Auctiva cookie to be set, the site visitor has already left an eBay property page?

    If I'm correct, then the leak described has less to do with Auctiva, and more to do with eBay.

    Nonetheless, a concern and a leak. Perhaps a significant one.
    Kevin Webster
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  20. #20
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    It has to do with eBay allowing it to happen. Why they allow it is beyond me, since they're paying for traffic already there.

    Do I blame Auctiva for doing it? ..... No.

    Do I think it should be allowed? ..... No.

    By the way, they also own Sellathon and all the Sellathon galleries are the same way. Paid Sellathon users can't click on a link in thier paid stats without setting an aff cookie either.

    ChannelAdvisor has the same type galleries and they don't do it like Auctiva and Vendio.

  21. #21
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Well, that's an agregious error on eBay's part then. I would hope they would see it here, and respond.
    Kevin Webster
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  22. #22
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    I would hope they would see it here, and respond.
    This discussion has happened on thier own boards many times and they haven't responded.

  23. #23
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    First, thanks to all who are responding to my questions.

    Kevin,..as I see it there are two separate instances. One is when the auction has additional pictures to better describe the item. Clicking on them takes you to auctiva,or vendio's site. You then have to click back to ebay to bid.
    My concern there is that in this action a cookie is placed nullifying the original cookie placed by the affiliate site that the client started the buying action from. If this is true that the cookie is replaced just by the client clicking on a pic for a better description of the product,then this is just wrong!
    The second instance, and I think the one most are referring to here is when a client clicks on a sellers store. If it is an auctiva store then I believe the original affiliate would then also lose the cookie.
    But both of these actions are taken FROM EBAY'S Site.
    The first is a continuation of the original inquiry by the client while possibly attempting to purchase an item and any removing/replacing an affiliates cookie is just thievery in my opinion.
    The second instance could be considered leakage I guess...doesn't make it right though.
    My original question was...Is this true? I don't have proof that these cookies are actually being replaced, and that is what I want to know.
    I have auctions that show what I am talking about, don't know if I can post them. But I will give the auction numbers if you like.
    Ron

  24. #24
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    From the "classic" (read: correct) view of how affiliate marketing works, then in all instances listed the argument is with eBay, and not any third party.

    In any instance, when a merchant allows a visitor to leave their site (willingly, as in not in the case of spyware/adware, etc.), than the merchant is at fault.

    Granted, the advent of community generated sites (such as eBay is) makes the classic definition harder to ENFORCE, it does not make it null and void.

    I would urge eBay to find a way to supress these cookines, since it's unlikely they would want to stop the links.
    Kevin Webster
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  25. #25

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    Ebay is not going to change their policy. Sellers are allowed links to their own sites, more information pages, and things like the gallery and store listings.

    I seriously doubt they are going to change their entire policy site wide for alleged leaks in the affiliate program.

    Again, folks have to leave the ebay site and click on another link on another site in order for the cookie to be overwritten.

    Seems the customers are very low quality traffic in the first place if they want to leave ebay to click on a auctiva link and check out deals on another site (which in turn leads them back to ebay ironically).

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