eBay Partner Network Changing the Rules

The eBay Partner Network (EPN) is such a wonderful moneymaker, depending on how you play it...EPN allows us moneymakers to place affiliate links, banners and flash displays in places like Blogger, Squidoo and Hubpages. People head to the eBay site through our links and we score! Unfortunately, there's been a recent email bulletin sent out by the EPN people claiming that they are making a major set of policy changes which is going to reduce our abilities to profit:

Important updates to the Network Code of Conduct include the following:

* eBay Partner Network does not compensate for sales that come from invalid click activity, which includes, but is not limited to the following:
o clicks generated by a publisher clicking on their own ads
o automated clicking tools/traffic sources/robots
o activity generated by other deceptive software
* Publishers may only place links and/or promotional content on sites they own. Affiliate links on third party sites such as Craigslist, MySpace, etc. are not allowed.
* You will not redirect any traffic to middle servers for the sole purpose of masking your referring source of traffic. This includes the use of URL shortening services (including but not limited to tinyurl.com, short.to and cloakedlink.com).

There's been some confusion about what this all means exactly, (see Network Code of Conduct for more). Some say it means no more EPN on Squidoo or Hubpages. However, there was never any specific mention of either of those sites in eBay's language. What they did "seem to say" is that you can't put tiny URL links or re-directs on your sites to mask eBay partner links, and that you can't use eBay links on sites that don't allow these affiliate links under their terms. Way to confuse the masses eBay Partner Network! If it's a "partner network", I'd think that means we all work together. Instead, eBay's recent notice gives current, active EPN members til August 1st to get their sites straightened out. That can mean a lot of work for those of us with lots of internet properties around the net! There has been a lot of buzz on the eBay Partner network forums, with EPN staff chiming in to clear some things up, sorta.

Of course the hubpages community is up in arms about this, discussing the amount of work it will take to remove all of the capsules from their hundreds of hubs. Luckily, one of the Hub staff members has mentioned they have sent communication to EPN, but will also be working on a built-in tool with hubs to allow mass removal of all eBay modules off your hubs, should this be necessary. The Hub staff also kindly suggested they would switch things over so that they would get 100% of the eBay revenue. At least they're finding solutions to help the masses, rather than getting in the way!

My advice is either get working to remove your eBay affiliate links from places that they shouldn't be (i.e. sites like article directories, myspace, facebook, squidoo, twitter). Remember that Squidoo uses eBay revenue sharing modules, so you should be most concerned with removing affiliate links you may have placed into your lenses. It will mean time and work, but it will also mean staying in this eBay moneymaking program, which is starting to look like it wants to be exclusive to your own properties, such as websites you pay to run. We've all got a good 10 days or so to get our butts in gear, so maybe break your internet properties (Blogger blogs, Squidoo lenses, Hubs, etc) into manageable lists and check off your progress as you examine them and remove the improper EPN links.

And of course my other advice is to tap into the many other moneymakers that you can choose from online. Diversify. These programs change rules and go out of business all the time, so constant worrying over one will just be too much stress...So don't stress over EPN and find more ways to make money online!

PS: On a side note it seems as of today 7/20 that the EPN reporting system is having some issues, so don't despair if you're not seeing stats on your dashboard. If you are, maybe I should despair! ;)

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