Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If I Ran The EPN Affiliate Program...

As I have noted in the past, EPN (eBay Partner Network) is really struggling to find their identity in the affiliate world. This is to be expected to some degree for a company that brings an affiliate program from an outside party to in house, but the madness seems to continue. From day one with Commission Junction they should have had one thing understood, you can't stop the cheaters. The cheaters are always one step ahead of you. Knowing that one fact, you can then work backwards from there.

If I were to take over this program right now, here are a few things I would change:

  1. Lower the ACRU payout - Yes. I know it hurts our wallets, but to pay up to $50.00 for new sign up is ludicrous. Pay $10.00 and work backwards from there.
  2. Rate ACRUs Every quarter - EPN should rate the ACRUs every quarter and grade from 0-10 with 10 being the highest. Plus this will give them 90 days to play with the money and get a better handle on who is cheating and who is sending quality traffic.
  3. Pay anyone who refers a sale - Every affiliate that sends a referred sale should earn the percentage of the final value fee. This is a fixed assumption and already figured in. At least their would be a standard everyone could count on.
  4. Communicate better with affiliates - Not everyone cheats and everyone from the day one newbie to the seasoned veteran loves to be able to be heard.
  5. Be patient with newbies - Even if a new affiliate is brand new the game, put them on some sort of trial basis or wait for payout period. Even if it ends up being a full quarter waiting period. Cheaters hate to wait to get paid and this would deter them from multiple accounts.
  6. No double standards - If I can't round trip a customer, then the same should go for EVERY affiliate, regardless of what other services you provide eBay. Fair is fair.
  7. Monitor cookie stuffing - This is not as easy at it seems, but there is a reason Las Vegas casinos hire people that have gotten caught cheating from them. Why? Because they know how to cheat.
  8. Hire a proven affiliate manager - Bring in someone from the outside who is proven as an affiliate program manager. Buy paying top dollar and running a great program will be worth the top dollar being paid for that position.
  9. Define better rules - While I understand codes of contact and affiliate agreements need legal jargon, they also must be clear and concise as well with no gray areas. Even rednecks like me need things spelled out for them.
  10. Cheaters will always exist - I said this early on in this post. If you accept this fact first, you can work backwards from there.
What things would you change if you ran EPN?

Disclaimer - If Pink Steve or anyone else from EPN reads this, please know this post is meant to help, not attack. EPN has provided a healthy income and lifestyle for me and I do not pretend to know everything although I have been affiliate marketing for quite a few years and have seen damn near everything. Please use this post as constructive criticism. Amen.

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Jonathon on September 17, 2008 at 11:46 AM said...

I would give affiliates guidelines to work with and actual metrics. Pretty hard to work toward a goal that no one from EPN will share.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. I wish they would hire you to run it.


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