eBay Announces their own affiliate infrastructure

Today, Ebay announced the launch of their new affiliate linking infrastructure, called Project Rover. According to the Ebay email:

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.

In short, Ebay is moving their affiliate links to be hosted on their own domain.

Ebay touches on a few hot topics with their explanation. This is the technology Ebay was eluding to when they assured affiliates that CJ's Link Management Initiative would not affect them.

Cookie Washing and Ad Blocking have been issues for a long time, though the cookie issue has been raised recently with extra urgency. Surely cookie washers can't delete cookies from the Ebay domain.

Ebay also touts more robust tracking with "limited redirects". Surely with every hop a click takes from domain to domain contributes increasingly to a lost user. And with CJ's "random" domains, there's lots of hopping going on.

All good things. But is something deeper going on here? Is CJ being disintermediated? This move at least puts CJ in a very weak position as they can be switched out in a flash once the program is humming along on the new links.

So, start up your html editors folks. We've got some links to change out. This is getting old.

Update
Shortly after the initial announcement, Ebay sent a correction on their new link structure. Since emails get lost, here's the current instructions on their link structure:

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/PLACEMENTID/1?SID=KEYWORD&AID=XXXXXX&PID=XXXXXX&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).

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 08:58:32 PM in Affiliate Marketing
Scott Jangro

By Scott Jangro

Scott Jangro is a co-founder of Shareist. He's an entrepreneur, an old school affiliate marketer, web developer, a dad, a cyclist, and golfer.

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