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  1. #1
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    Rover: eBay Global Tracking Update
    I got the email (like the rest of you):

    I emailed them right off with the following:
    "Are you nuts??? You're making a major change that will take me weeks to do and I could never be done right b/c there r so many pages right before xmas??? Delay the mandatory conversion date until at least February 15 2007. I have better things to do just before xmas than to change links that already work."


    Rover: eBay Global Tracking Update

    Introduction

    The eBay Affiliate Program is excited to announce the release of our re-architected affiliate tracking infrastructure, termed Project Rover. Project Rover is eBay’s new HTML tracking methodology that has been built in coordination with Commission Junction. Utilizing a single redirect on an eBay hosted domain (http://rover.ebay.com), Rover will decrease the number of redirects a user must follow and allow for a more robust and efficient affiliate program. In order to take advantage of the benefits this initiative creates, we are asking all eBay publishers to migrate your links and URL format (i.e. click-through URLs) as outlined below. While we realize this will involve some time commitment from you, we are confident that taking these steps will lead to more effective affiliate marketing campaigns for all eBay publishers. We’ve outlined the steps below that will help you migrate to the new link architecture as quickly and effortlessly as possible. And as always, we are here to help you should you have any questions: http://forums.ebay.com/db1/forum.jspa?forumID=118.

    Project Rover Overview

    Project Rover has been designed to work seamlessly with the Commission Junction interface, increase the effectiveness of our affiliate’s marketing campaigns, and will be rolled out to all countries.

    Benefits of the new link structure include:

    Reduced Ad / Cookie Blocking: Rover decreases the potential for Ad / Cookie Blocking by utilizing an eBay hosted domain.

    Limited Redirects: Rover will use fewer redirects reducing the risk of user drop off and improving speed and performance.

    Global Infrastructure Improvements: Rover will enable eBay and Commission Junction to develop increased global tracking capabilities, allowing for more seamless international affiliate promotions.


    Please note: With respect to Commission Junction’s LMI initiative, eBay publishers do not have to migrate to CJ’s new link structure. All eBay publishers should instead adopt Project Rover for all eBay links. All current reporting capabilities will remain supported upon migration.

    Migration Steps and Schedules

    Pre-Migration

    To help our publishers receive the benefits of project Rover as quickly as possible, we will be conducting a “Pre-Migration”. Pre-Migration will incorporate the initial phase of Rover tracking into the current eBay Affiliate Program infrastructure. You do not need to do anything to participate in Rover Pre-Migration but you may see minor fluctuations, especially in your click metrics, during this transition. Pre-migration will occur worldwide beginning September 14th, 2006 and will rollout on a country by country basis.

    Affiliate Link Migration

    To complete your transition for Project Rover, we ask that you migrate all eBay Affiliate Links through Commission Junction worldwide to point to the new Rover domain. Using the link structure below, please migrate all of your links between September 25th, 2006 and November 15th, 2006.

    Banners, Buttons and Logos: All active Banners, Buttons and Logos will be available within the Commission Junction interface on September 25th, 2006. Please note that expired creatives will not be available in the interface.

    Flexible Destination Tool and Keyword Linking Tool: Link generation tools will output updated Rover links by September 22nd, 2006.

    eBay Tools: eBay specific tools, including the Editor Kit, Product Kit, RSS Feed Generator and the Rest API GetSearchResults call, will automatically update to Rover links beginning on September 22nd, 2006. No affiliate action is needed for these tools!


    Both the current and new Rover systems will run in parallel during the migration. All links must be migrated by November 15th, 2006.

    Rover Link Structure

    All Rover URLs will use the same server name, rover.ebay.com, regardless of the target destination domain or eBay site.

    The general form for Rover links is as follows:

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1//1?SID...XXX&loc=TARGET ENCODED URL

    (PlacementID) and AID pair: The PlacementID and AID pair is a country and tool specific value that associates the click with the correct eBay Affiliate Campaign.

    The PlacementID and AID for each country will be provided in our follow up communication on September 25th.


    PID: Publisher Site ID available in the Commission Junction Interface.

    SID: Shopper ID (SID) is an affiliate defined variable used to monitor the specific link that produced each transaction. The SID can be up to 64 characters and is URL-encoded (%20 for a space, %2E for a comma, etc).

    loc: Target URL or landing page where user will be directed and must be URL-encoded (ex: http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2F).


    We appreciate your efforts in helping us improve the eBay Affiliate Program’s tracking system and are excited about the benefits it will provide. Thank you for continuing to promote in all of our eBay Affiliate Programs worldwide.

    Sincerely,

    The eBay Affiliate Team

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    That is nuts but I'm skeptical that the old links won't track after that date. They're one of CJ's biggest merchants with who knows how many links out there. If they don't track, CJ doesn't make money. Will have to ask CJ about that one.

    Sent them an email. It's really stupid to make this kind of change right before the holidays. It would be a disaster for them if the old links don't track. If that is in fact the plan then they need to postpone this.
    Last edited by Trust; September 14th, 2006 at 10:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Full Member TLE's Avatar
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    IMHO, this is great news for eBay affiliates, keeping in mind something like Textpad should make easy work of changing the links.

    In addition to the outlined benefits, this will eliminate the double dns lookup (Akamai) issue on every CJ link. Also nice to see eBay tracking completely off CJ/Mediaplex's name servers.

    The only weird part is for eBay to leave the PlacementID/AID till the last minute:
    The PlacementID and AID for each country will be provided in our follow up communication on September 25th.

    Tuan

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It certainly looks like a good initiative to me, although they should have done everything possible to allow it to be backwards compatible.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    It is a good initiative but they should do it after the holidays. And any old CJ links should still track.

  6. #6
    Full Member apex-auctions's Avatar
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    Check you eBay links most ebay.com links do not redirect correctly. If you use the flexible destination tool. They all point to ebay.com not the page you intended.


    errrrrrrrrrrr

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    i do not quite understand this new change.

    are they merging all their ebay programs into one ?
    earn commission no matter which ebay site they sign up at ?

    is that the new link format allow you to promote all ebay sites using one link instead of the present situation that you have to pick which ebay site's links to use ?

  8. #8
    Full Member TLE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrindavan
    are they merging all their ebay programs into one ?
    From a tracking infrastructure standpoint, yes. For example, the France notice went out this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vrindavan
    earn commission no matter which ebay site they sign up at ?
    No

    Quote Originally Posted by Vrindavan
    is that the new link format allow you to promote all ebay sites using one link instead of the present situation that you have to pick which ebay site's links to use ?
    Yes with one link structure, but within the link, you'll still have to designate your eBay site.

  9. #9
    Full Member fg20878's Avatar
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    I don't see any benefits for affiliates. Lots of work to change links. Am I missing something here?

  10. #10
    Full Member TLE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fg20878
    I don't see any benefits for affiliates. Lots of work to change links. Am I missing something here?
    The main benefit is that eBay's tracking is completely off CJ/VC's network, and not subject to the baggage (cookie block & network reliability) that comes with it.

    I just checked and the rover address resolves to servers within eBay's network.

    Tuan

  11. #11
    Full Member fg20878's Avatar
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    If the redirecting does not go through CJ, how can CJ report impressions and clicks independantly? This sounds like Ebay is moving its affiliate program to in-house.
    Quote Originally Posted by TLE
    ...
    I just checked and the rover address resolves to servers within eBay's network.

    Tuan

  12. #12
    I like traffic lights
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    This is HUGELY good news for eBay affiliates.

    Now, no more MULTIPLE redirects on the pathway to the final ebay destination URL. The pathway used to go through one of CJ's "random" domains, the good old qksrv.net (blocked by many including Norton and poisoned hosts files), then through the original commission-junction.com ( to allow for old cookies - this should have been phased out years ago) then through mediaplex (another one blocked by many) then finally to an ebay domain.

    I recall estimating we were losing 10-15% of clicks to the multiple redirects.

    I recall also recommending a LONG time ago for CJ to switch to an "out-of-band" tracking system where the tracking info is sent to CJ by the merchant in a seperate communications channel.

    Ah yes - here it is - http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...&postcount=135 (February 2004) FINALLY!!!

    What will be of major interest to ALL affiliates will be the sales increase that eventuates from this change, because it will tell everyone the exact percentage of sales via CJ that are being lost for ALL MERCHANTS affiliates.

    I disagree with the "don't make this change before the silly seaon" posts - make the change (it's LONG overdue), but keep the old links active until next year.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador
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    Yeah, if they're only going to track the new links then 2 months (right before the holidays) is not enough time to change them all out. I think they'll eventually extend the date. We'll see.

  14. #14
    Newbie emcgea's Avatar
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    Hi, can anyone explain the new system in plain english, I've got a few hundred links to change, and at the moment I have not got a clue what to do.

  15. #15
    Full Member TLE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apex-auctions
    Check you eBay links most ebay.com links do not redirect correctly. If you use the flexible destination tool. They all point to ebay.com not the page you intended.


    errrrrrrrrrrr
    I just replied to you on the eBay board.
    Tuan

  16. #16
    I like traffic lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by emcgea
    Hi, can anyone explain the new system in plain english, I've got a few hundred links to change, and at the moment I have not got a clue what to do.
    You don't need to do anything yet.

    The new links aren't live.

  17. #17

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    Leave it to ebay!

  18. #18
    I like traffic lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakedgamer
    Leave it to ebay!
    I don't quite get this.

    They've just done something that will probably increase everyone's commissions by maybe 10% by recovering traffic lost to blockers like Norton.

    Apart from the cancelation of old links prior to Christmas, I don't see any reason for a head baching icon.

    And hopefully when they figure out (with our help) that pulling those links right then is a bad idea, they'll probably extend them through until next year.

    But, hey, if you find out the new links increase your income by 10% why WOULDN'T you be replacing the old links as soon as humanly possible?

  19. #19
    Member SALocalcom's Avatar
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    I've made a few "rover" links thru the "flexible destination tool". They work as intended, but do not track click-thrus as verified by ebay. Ebay told me to continue to use the old link server if I wanted to track click thrus. I like the idea of ebay going to a seperate server, but not recording click-thrus is a problem.......not to mention the fact that I've got some 300 links made with the flex tool.
    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin-1752[url="http://www.salocal.com/goldwing/goldwing_tech.htm"][/url]

  20. #20
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    Drewbert,

    Changing links like this suck any time of the year, but to get an extra 10% is cool. I'll try and get the links swapped out when I can, but who is to say that in the conversion there won't be a glitch that kills sales. Either, I could make a mistake, since my ebay links are tied to the content of the page the link is on. Or ebay could have a technical problem with these links tracking since it is done differently than before. Or the most likely, I'll miss a few links because there are so many.

    If this does what is prmoised, that is wonderful, but this is the time I have to make money, I don't like screwing around with the stuff that already works. I would have been much happier if they had done this 2 or 3 months back, when it was summer and fixing mistakes wouldn't cost me much money one way of the other.

  21. #21
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    Lets be honest. Why are they doing this?

    Think.

    Who is being cut out of one part of the equation? keep them for now during the holidays to not make people do a major switch, but why are they giving a smaller company which is prone to supporting adware and other scum a piece of their money?

    Ebay is a good company, they are good Internet neighbors. They are bigger than CJ. Think of why they are doing this and be happy.

    I predict 6 months.

    I am happy.

    Chet

  22. #22
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    I always said they're the perfect merchant to go indy. Just another step.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    but do you know why there is no need to change Editor Kits links ?

    is it really no need or
    impossible to change ?

  24. #24
    I like traffic lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrindavan
    but do you know why there is no need to change Editor Kits links ?
    Because editor kit links are javascript that pull the code from eBay's site?

    They generate the actual links dynamically from their end each time someone loads your page.

  25. #25
    Full Member TLE's Avatar
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    Jarrod just posted this on the eBay board. It's a good summary, on eBay's part, as to the core issues behind the change:

    "This change revolves around two major points. First, we are now using an eBay domain, rover.ebay.com. Because this is solely eBay marketing activity, using eBay cookies, we believe that we can improve the amount of traffic that our infrastructure can track. Although it is in a single domain, it is the same domain that we use for our business. In addition, we have limited the redirects - which increases the odds a user might get dropped off - which improves speed and performance. Hope this helps."

    Tuan

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