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eBay Partner Network Impressive in Scope and Functionality

Posted on 5.05.2009

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating in a panel on alternatives to contextual publisher programs at the AdSpace conference. One of my fellow panelists was from eBay and that encouraged me to take a second look at the program opportunities. Since eBay left Commission Junction, the auction site has over time built a highly-competitive program that affiliates are going to be very interested in as a way to monetize their Web properties (or applications).

Let's look at the eBay Partner network in more detail and the tools they provide. 

Link Generator: For those not wanting to mess around with deep integrations, eBay's Link Generator is a very quick way to participate in the program. Publishers select between eBay and links, the link type (sending traffic to the home page, to search results, to Item ID's, to specific seller stores, or custom URLs) and can even geo-target links. The eBay Partner network identifies the location of the user and will redirect the user to a particular landing page based on that location - very helpful if you only want to list local items or restrict users from seeing non-country specific listings. Affiliates (eBay partners generate a link and copy the code - available either in both JavaScript and HTML). Here's a sample from the link generator: Search for software deals on eBay

Creatives Generator: Publishers more interested in using display-type advertisements will probably use the Creatives Generator. The tool enables publishers to choose from a variety of ads (graphic and interactive) for use on their websites. While eBay covers most of the major IAB formats, there are only a handful of options for traditional banners, Flash and logo-type ads currently available . There are actually more sizes and types of ads (video for example) listed than are actually available, leading me to believe that over time the Creatives Generator will be the most utilized of eBay Partner Network tools.

Widgets: For those that classify themselves as a little more tech-savvy, eBay Partner network has made widgets available. There are actually four classifications of widgets (the Editor Kit, RSS Feed Generator, eBay To Go, and Custom Banner) each offering some valuable functionality for partner publishers. 

  • The Editor Kit enables partners to add real-time eBay listings to their website (and filter results by category, keywords and other criteria and customize the look). Publishers choose the dimensions and theme, select content, set up tracking, and deploy the JavaScript code snippet. Sample of the widget is below:

  • RSS Feed Generator is perhaps the most customizable of the widgets available. Publishers can generate track-able RSS feeds with dynamic eBay content that provides users with live listing information. Publisher partners can build their RSS automatically (a vast improvement from the previous DIY version) and refine the listings they receive by excluding search terms, setting a price range, displaying all listings or auction and BIN only, pushing items from a specific seller ID and even have some geo-targeting capabilities to restrict what listing will appear. An RSS feed URL is provided which can be parsed as needed, integrated within existing applications or whatever your creative mind comes up with. I set up a quick example using one of my personal domains in which shows G1 Android Accessories
  • eBay To Go is the third type of widget available in the eBay Partner Network. The widget enables publishers to showcase specific listings and users interact with them. Publishers choose between displaying single items, multiple items, from specific sellers or entire stores. Visually, eBay To Go provides the best and most unique experience. A sample eBay To Go widget is available on the same site as the link above displaying G1 accessories.
  • The Custom Banner Tool (beta) in the eBay Partner Network lets publishers to customize flash banners with real-time eBay listings. Publishers can choose from available templates or design their own, then filter search results based on keyword, category, seller and more.

Overall I am very impressed with the eBay Partner Network and encourage affiliates to check out their offerings as they can add a very special dimension to your existing Web property.

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