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Some EPN answers to new rule changes

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Here are some answers regarding new rule changes to the EPN program. These were pulled from the EPN forum.

Thanks for your questions and posts on the terms and conditions. Although we’ll try to post a few more detailed responses early next week, we wanted to post a few answers to some of the questions that have come up that we hope will give you some insight into the approach we’re taking here.

There were a number of questions on the “Third party re-directs for the sole purpose of masking a referring URL” no longer being allowed.

The objective of this change is to make sure that we have as much insight as possible into the sources of our traffic. We still want our affiliates to use services that allow them to do things like track their traffic and optimize for SEO, but we also require that you give us insight into the actual pages from which your traffic is originating. This means that if you use a system that re-directs clicks, it must be able to show us the URL from which the traffic originally came.

Another set of posts has asked questions about the clause that says “Affiliate links on third party sites such as Craigslist, MySpace, etc. are not allowed.” One question was “does this mean ‘direct to eBay’ Rover links, or does it mean I can’t place links on my MySpace page that go to MY personal site that has eBay affiliate links on it?”

We’ve tried to make it clear that we’re talking about “direct to eBay” links (or any automated redirects to eBay). You’re allowed to link to your own site that has eBay affiliate links as long as it’s within the TOS of the 3rd party site.

A related question was: “Can we use affiliate links on third party sites like Blogger, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, Squidoo or article sites where we “own” the IP of the content but not the actual site?”

For blogging platforms like WordPress, we’re requiring that publishers use the download-and-install versions of the products so that they have full ownership of their sites. For other promotional methods such as Twitter, etc, it is ok for your links to lead to your own websites that have links to eBay, but not to lead to eBay directly.

Some folks asked about the clause dealing with trademarks: “…our partners may not use promotional methods that violate intellectual property or proprietary rights of third party trademarks. This includes, but is not limited to, using a third party trademark (or a term confusingly similar to it) in your URLs.”

I think there was some good discussion already on this thread about this. In general here we want everybody to make sure they are abiding by the intellectual property rights of third parties. If we run into issues with a particular affiliate, for some of these we’ll have to evaluate on a case-by-case basis as they occur and decide what best course of action is.

Will affiliates be punished for overlooked or un-editable historic links that now break the new rules? Is 1st August going to be enough time to get this all done?

We’re going to be practical in enforcing these policies as they go into effect. If there is a reasonably small portion (and diminishing) of clicks coming in from an archived campaign where the links were obviously built before the changes, we’ll deal with them appropriately. If a publisher has the bulk of their traffic coming from links that break the new rules that were implemented right before August 1st, that’s a different story…

Again, we’ll be back with a few more detailed responses early next week. Hope this helps in the meantime.

As for me, I’m in the process or removing my link masking on all EPN sites. Frankly, I don’t see the great benefit on the sites that these are in place, and I’m worried that this will bite me in the ass down the road.  The ‘pink’ didn’t go into detail on section B and that is where I’m mostly concerned with.

5 Comments

  1. Even though it ‘appears’ that SEO redirects are still okay, I’m still going to be reverting back to straight rover URLs. It often seems ‘simple’ is better when dealing with evolving EPN policies. Good thing I stayed away from trademark domain names.

  2. It looks like there’s another new post on the ePN forum about converting WordPress.com blogs over to self-hosted WordPress blogs like ePN is now requiring.

  3. Thanks Jim! Good info. Personally, I’m glad I went with self-hosted from the get-go. But I’m sure this will affect many, many people. Thanks for commenting!

  4. I spent a few $ having someone design a webpage to integrate with my toy review blog, now i’m going to have to spend more money on a blogspot script. I seem to have to change my entire campaign every 6 months because eBay wants a new reason not to pay me. I’ve never had a company (I work as a marketing consultant) doing so much to dismiss leads.

  5. Hello Larry

    Thanks for commenting. I agree, it definitely can be difficult to maintain compliance with EPN, but it seems worth it (for me at least).

    Are you migrating your WordPress/Blogspot sites off to self hosted applications?

    hanji

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