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  1. #1
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    EPN does it again, steals $37,000 from two affiliates!
    I've copied it here in case it 'disappears' from ebay (thank goodness for the free speach we are blessed with here!)

    http://forums.ebay.com/db2/topic/Eba...That/510153792

    Tip: Make sure you keep at least 2 weeks worth of raw server logs for every site you run traffic to eBay Partner Network.

    I am writing this post in hopes that it may save another affiliate from what I've gone through over the past weeks.

    Ebay Partner Network has served as a significant source of income for me for the last 8 months or so. I went from mere double digit monthly earnings in January of 2009 to doing thousands of clicks every day by building numerous content niche websites and putting hundreds of hours into SEO'ing them. My websites were whitehat and powered by phpBay Pro.

    In the past few months, I've done quite well as my sites started to age and take top rankings in search engines. I started to see ways that I could scale up and was planning to launch a brand new network of websites as well as some international search marketing campaigns.

    After a particularly good series of days earnings-wise (my earnings were about 25% higher than usual), I got an email from Ebay Quality notifying me that my account was suspended and asking me for a week's worth of server logs as well as information on how I drove traffic.

    I complied fully with EPN's request for information, except for one issue. As all of my sites are hosted on a dedicated server I rent, my server had been set to process logs (through AWStats) and delete old logs once processed to save disk space. I realized that would mean it'd be impossible for me to provide the logs, as they had already been deleted. I sent an email explaining the situation and asked if the AWStats reports would suffice.

    Days passed, and I got another generic letter from eBay Quality notifying me that I needed to send in raw server logs in the next 72 hours. At that time, I immediately set my server to keep all server logs, and emailed eBay back that I would send them the most recent logs I was keeping. After a few days had passed, I sent eBay the raw server logs my server had collected.

    eBay then sent me a reply stating "we don't need to see logs for your current traffic because right now your account is suspended" and that they needed to see logs for traffic earlier in the month.

    I was faced with an insolvable dilemma. There was no way I could retrieve the logs in question, as they had been deleted during processing (earlier in the month).

    The only logs that I could provide were the logs kept since I had set my server to retain logs. I once again emailed eBay explaining my logs situation, and asking if there was any other way I could prove that my account was clean.

    This time, eBay took much longer to respond (11 days). eBay Quality notified me that my account would be expired. "As you have failed to comply with our request for server logs, we do not have sufficient evidence to clear your case." The only way for me to appeal this termination would be to "send us one week's worth of raw web server logs as previously requested".

    I don't know what I can do. There is no way I can provide the logs from earlier in the month (as they've been deleted), all I can do is provide the logs for my traffic since I've been suspended (because my server was not set to retain logs before that time period).

    So now, my account's expired, and I have no idea if I will ever see my pending EPN commissions (over $17,000).

    To any pinks that may be reading this: To the best of my knowledge, I've driven clean organic traffic to eBay via SEO. I enjoyed being an eBay affiliate, and if there's any way I can restore my account, please let me know. If I committed a violation, it was not intentional, and I would be completely willing to take any action to remedy any problems. I have put in thousands of hours of work promoting eBay, and I hope that I can continue to do so in the future.




    I felt like I had written this myself - I have had the EXACT same thing happen to me today with over $20k in commissions gone without knowing if I will ever see them again.

    I see two really big EPN problems here:

    1- Why are these logs even requested? Surely what traffic visits our sites is our own business. It's the traffic that visits eBay which is the only traffic that should be important and that information should come from eBay's logs.

    2- If there is a chance that logs are going to be requested, let affiliates know! I have not seen anywhere in the user agreement or terms that we should keep these logs.

    Keep us all informed how you progress with this one friend. We are riding the same rollercoaster now.

    Regards.

  2. #2
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    These kind of stories really make me sad. As I know the countless hours I put in SEO and building sites, etc, this has to be a real blow.

    There are laws that protect the privacy of the user and requesting logs should be done with proper warrant approved by a judge.

    Is this written in their TOS?

    There should be an association for the protection of the affiliates with lawyers prepared to deal with things.

    From my own experience, the bigger the merchant, the bigger the risk. Try smaller merchants and replace those ugly e-bay blocks with affiliate offers.

    Cheers
    [URL=http://www.pexcornel.com]Pexcornel blog[/URL]

  3. #3
    I like traffic lights
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    Nothings gonna change until someone convinces the Feds to act on eBay's inter-state wire fraud.

  4. #4
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jammster

    This time, eBay took much longer to respond (11 days). eBay Quality notified me that my account would be expired. "As you have failed to comply with our request for server logs, we do not have sufficient evidence to clear your case."
    When the judge and jury are a single party that is involved in the dispute, the chances of winning your "case" are not very good. Case...lol. That was good.


  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Thanks for this post. I wasn't aware that we had to save our server logs. I have server logging turned off to save disk space and increase performance.

    I've turned logging back on just in case. I've already endured one round of "where does your traffic come from" and "You must show us your referrers".
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  6. #6
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    I don't understand why they are so concerned about the server logs and where the traffic comes from... If the affiliate is making money, then presumably eBay is making money. If there is "bad" traffic then there will be no sales and the EPC will be 0 so the affiliate will make no money. Their quality click system should take care of this, right?... If all of these affiliates that are getting terminated were owed a lot of money, then they sent REAL sales to eBay - why does eBay care where they came from??? I'm sure I'm missing something, but I don't understand. What terms could be violated to get traffic to your site that then goes on to ebay and makes a purcahase? I could see if there was automated traffic (bots, etc) that were not not generating any sales, but then the EPC would be 0 so that's not the case. What is eBay so concerned about that they are suspending and terminating affiliates that are sending them REAL sales and new customers???

  7. #7
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    If they terminate affiliates they don't pay you the commission they owe you and they make more money.

    GREED

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

  8. #8
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    But that's a very bad long-term strategy. Get rid of your best affiliates and don't pay them a month or two of earnings... Surely EPN is not that short sighted. Something else is going on that they are "looking" for and they can't manage/find on their own. I don't see what it is though - anyone understand it???

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador affninja's Avatar
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    Guilty until proven innocent. With no real opportunity to do so. Brilliant.
    Your Ad Here.

  10. #10
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Maybe the economy is hurting their bottom line real bad.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  11. #11
    I like traffic lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by seether777
    But that's a very bad long-term strategy.
    But if the employee is being paid a bonus based on minimising expenditure, then the short term strategy is more important to the employee, and if he knows the pink slips are on their way soon, then what does he care if he shreds the affiliate program and the people in it in the meantime?

    Shirley, there is some way of contacting someone higher up in the eBay chain regarding this. I'm sure they don't know what the hell is going on.

  12. #12
    Member Hapexamendios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seether777
    I'm sure I'm missing something, but I don't understand. What terms could be violated to get traffic to your site that then goes on to ebay and makes a purcahase? I could see if there was automated traffic (bots, etc) that were not not generating any sales, but then the EPC would be 0 so that's not the case.
    I don't think you're missing anything, I think they're just that damned stupid. Judging the quality of the traffic you send is completely on their end. I can't think of a single reason they would need anyone's server logs. All they're succeeding in doing is convincing affiliates to diversify or even drop EPN altogether. Really great strategy EPN team!

  13. #13
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    To those having issues, have you tried personally contacting Mike Kansa at EPN?

    I've had a couple interactions with him, and while it occasionally takes up to a week to get a response, he doesn't ignore you like the rest of EPN staff do. I'm firmly convinced that emails to "regular" EPN email addresses redirect to /dev/null.

    mkansa@ebay.com
    707-834-3548
    EPN - Cautiously, but paranoically, optimistic.

  14. #14
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    Mike ignores email and phone calls. He will tell you its out ofhis hands but I have it on good authority that he has more say than he cares to let on. When I asked him if they treated all affiliates the way they were treating me he laughed! Any sort of response from ebay takes days if not weeks and you never get a solid answer. I regret ever putting time and money into EPN. All I want now is the money I am owed and I will walk away quietly

  15. #15
    Full Member GoColts's Avatar
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    If ebay requires access to server logs doesn't that give them the keys to our traffic and our niche marketing strategies? I assume there is a good reason why ebay eliminated direct linking for affiliates -- they could obviously have determined the highest converting keywords their affiliates were using before pulling this move. Can't they do the same type of manipulating and stealing with server logs?

    This server log requirement seems at the very least - Unethical - in an affiliate partnership environment.
    "God moves imperturbably, slowly, and with perfect organization. The only wise rate at which to live is God's rate. God get things done and they are done right and He does them without hurry. He neither fumes nor frets. He is peaceful and therefore efficient." - Norman Vincent Peale

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Interesting. Considering how little time they have to respond to publisher emails, how do they find the time to sort through gigabytes of raw log data?

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  17. #17
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    I'm certainly not a litigious person but this is starting to smell like a Class Action to me.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Has anyone noticed a pattern here?

    It looks like people who are getting flagged all seem to be using the following:

    " phpBay Pro. "
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

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