Ebay Partner Network vs Adsense

Posted on November 19, 2009 by

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Since EPN (Ebay Partner Network) switched to the CPC model, I was wondering how it compares with Google adsense. I don’t do much volume with either of the two. Still with the limited volume that I do with both the programs, I can see different strengths and weakneses and concerns.

Though the adsense model is much different from the epn model, which is still kind of evolving, since both are cpc based, similarities can be drawn.

With Adsense, the model is simple, established and straight forward. With epn since they came from a cpa model and at least haven’t clearly defined how the new cpc model works, there are doubts and concerns.

Before I delve into the concerns I have with epn, let me first talk about its strengths. A major difference between the two is about content. EPN through its API and datafeed, provides a good deal of content to the publishers. I use the ebay api to pull data from ebay on the fly and parse it and display them on my site using php. This makes my site’s content visible to the search engines and crawlers. Ebay content helps me with my seo, and most of my visitors for my ebay site come from organic searches when the users are searching for a specific product. With google adsense, you need to develop all of your content and then monetize it. With epn, you can use epn’s content to get traffic to your site and in turn send traffic to ebay and make money.

Show Me the Money

In my experience I get better returns from ebay than from adsense. Its because of the simple reason that my ebay site is product specific and the user come to my site after searching for a specific product and finding my site in the search results. The click through rate I get from my ebay site is much higher and so is the earning.

So it must be all Hunky Dory then, Ebay wins!

I wish.  Epn has been changing its model quite frequently. Not long ago it was with CJ. Then it moved inhouse and then it changed it model from cpa to cpc. With an everchanging situation, its difficult for publishers to be confident. I don’t put a lot of effort in growing my ebay site or creating new niche ebay sites, since I am not sure what new change from epn will hit me next.

Plus there has been many concerns and discussions in affiliate forums about epn throwing out affiliates without much explanation. That’s not a warm and fuzzy feeling either. What if I put a lot of effort on my ebay site(s) and then ebay decides to cut the chord.

Quality Click Pricing, what is it?

With a not so clear quality click pricing cpc model, ebay hasn’t addressed major questions. Since ebay provides datafeeds, its very normal for web spiders/crawlers to click through the data feed links on an affiliate site. That increases the number of clicks and the affiliate may not have a lot of options other than making sure all the ebay links are nofollows, to avoid those extra clicks.

Does epn not count those clicks while calculating the quality click pricing. If not then the cost per click for the affiliate will suffer. And if epn doesn’t count out the bot clicks, then the large number of clicks being generated by the bots can be considered fraudulent clicks and the affiliate may in turn get punished/kicked out from the program.

In Conclusion

Ebay is a great vendor to promote for affiliates of all kinds. But with all the changes, concerns and lack of clarity and may be some lack of transparency, I am not too thrilled about it. I know I can grow my ebay business if I try, but unless I have a good feeling about the program I don’t want put a lot of effort into it.

In comparison, Adsense is more stable, you get what you expect.

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