Better Category Stats At eBay Partner Network

Good news for eBay affiliates, the eBay Partner Network will be expanding their stats starting next Wednesday October 22nd so you will now be able to see the specific categories where your sales are being generated. Not only will you be able to see the top level categories, but you will be able to see down to the 3rd sub category level.

An example report screenshot is below:

eBay Categories Report

This is great news because many sales that eBay affiliates generate are not always in the categories or products they’re targeting. Since an eBay cookie lasts for 7 days once you send over one of your visitors, they can end up buying either closely related products to what you feature on your site or they may buy something not even remotely related.

This will now allow you as an eBay affiliate to see if your visitors are making purchases of related items and armed wth those stats you can now start to target items you may not have thought about in the past. For instance, maybe you have a BANS Store featuring model trains and in your research looking at the new category report you see that you are getting several sales in the antique model ship category, whodathunk? You can now include this category on your site or build a out a completely new site featuring these items.

You can also use the report to see the related categories that are already doing the best for you and likewise expand your efforts in that area. Maybe your model trains site specializes in HO scale Tyco trains, but you find many visitors are buying HO scale Lionel trains once they get to eBay, you can now put more emphasis on that category to feature it more prominently on your site.

At the present time you can download your eBay reports and see some of this information already, but the new category report coming out on October 22nd will allow you to get a quick look at the specific categories, in neat charts and graphs, where your sales are really happening. You can then act accordingly and tweak your Build A Niche Store site or whatever other kind of site you are using to take advantage of the eBay affiliate program.

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eBay Affiliate Earnings Bounce Back

September was an awful month for my eBay affiliate earnings. It was one of the slowest months in a long time, down from a high of just under $1,200 in July. In the first 19 days of September, affiliate earnings were only $179.13 or $9.43 per day which had me seriously concerned. In the same time period in July, earnings were at $694.95. That works out to $36.58 per day. What makes September even weirder is that eBay affiliates received an email on Sept 12th stating that revenue had accidentally been over-reported on Sept 5-9. Fantastic, I thought, I was having a terrible month and eBay has actually overpaid me.

However, as bad as September was, earnings for October seem to be back on track. As of the 4th of this month, revenue is already at $176.74 or $44.19 per day. Of course, this seriously makes me wonder just what the heck was going on at eBay in September.

I’ve read many a complaint on the eBay affiliate forums, but have never experienced anything remotely like what others have. I remember reading about someone who had been sending 10,000 people a day to eBay and saw that drop to something like 1,000 to 2,000 a day after eBay brought their affiliate program in-house. I didn’t follow up on that, so I don’t know what happened to this individual, but that was an obvious problem. I’m not sure that’s the case with my issue. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes with affiliate earnings. Traditionally Saturday is the slowest day for Adsense earnings, but one Saturday in August was nearly a record and the next Saturday was right there well below average.

Large swings in income from one source of revenue to the next is nothing new. I’m not terribly alarmed, but I will be posting at the eBay affiliate forums and BANS forums to see what others are experiencing.

Thankfully my highest earning Build A Niche Store is leading the revenue race as usual with another store in the same niche, only much wider in scope, running a close second. So far October is looking good and it would be nice for a couple of stores to be doing well instead of just one providing 80% of my eBay income. We’ll see how it all pans out at the end of the month, that is provided we have anything that resembles an economy left in the United States.

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Build A Niche Store Changes

Build A Niche StoreBuild A Niche Store users received an email a few days ago outlining some major changes to the main BANS website and forums implemented recently. The design of the BANS site has changed completely to better reflect a more professional look and feel to come into line with where the developers want to take the product.

The forums have also been changed with better organization of topics, updated rules, no signatures at the bottom of posts any longer, no affiliate links allowed and unfortunately, no discussion of products that compete with BANS. Also, name calling and derogatory comments in the forums won’t be tolerated. It’s too bad that it happens, but many forums I’ve belonged to have deteriorated into a free-for-all and the developers of Build A Niche Store aren’t going to let that happen.

Here’s a selected snippet from the email that pretty much sets the tone of how the developers feel:

Like we said – BANS is in many ways at its beginning. Whether it evolves into what it can be rests with the collective user base as much as it does with us.

We will take BANS as far as it can be taken IF it remains a supported product amongst its users.

If that dies or doesn’t evolve BANS as a project and platform is over. It either becomes what it can be or it sinks into oblivion.

With a project like BANS there is no middle ground.

From the tone of the email to the changes to the web site and forums it appears that BANS is being targeted to a more serious affiliate audience than it has been in the past. While BANS is a great product and the earnings potential is very high (people have reported in the forums making over $10K per month), it is not a product for everyone. Frankly, there are lots of BANS websites I run across that shouldn’t even be taking up bandwidth on the net. For whatever reason, the concept of content just doesn’t see to sink in with some people. Throwing up an eBay affiliate store shell with nothing but auctions will earn you exactly nothing.

It’s possible that the way the product has been advertised in the past by affiliates and the way it has been represented on the main site that too many of the wrong kind of people have been attracted to BANS. Any product that assists affiliates and makes it easier to make money online can certainly fall into the hands of the get rich quick types of people who are looking for more reward with little to no work.

On a more positive and exciting note, there are now 12 new BANS templates with 3 layouts each, for download in the forums. While several people have developed some nice templates for a nominal fee, these new templates are available for free when you become a member of BANS. They actually look pretty nice compared to the stale looking ones that have been around for years and will give users many more options. 

It is great to see the changes on the main Build A Niche Store website, in the forums and the new templates. Again, BANS is not a product for every one, but if you’re willing to put the effort into it and build a decent eBay affiliate niche store, you can earn some pretty good income with it. My BANS websites earn me around 25% of my income.

You can check out the new web site and learn more about Build A Niche Store here.

PS – This will be the last post for several days as I’ll be on vacation celebrating my wife’s birthday. I’ll try to approve new comments and check my email once a day, but if you don’t hear from me till next week, it’s because we’re chillin’ on vacation. Peace.

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eBay Partner Network Changes Terms For ACRU’s

eBay Partner NetworkYou know, I could probably look it up, but I have no idea what ACRU actually stands for. However, for new eBay affiliates, what it actually is, will mean something different than it has in the past. It used to mean that eBay partners received a minimum of $25 for one of these which is a new eBay member sign-up who ends up placing a bid within 30 days of joining.

That has all changed as of today, again, for new affiliates only. New partners who sign up with eBay after August 1st will get paid for new eBay member sign-ups based on the quality of their traffic. The range will go from $1 per sign-up to $50. When I first read about this I thought there might be every level of payment in $1 increments, but it turns out there are only 4 levels that break down as follows:

Traffic Quality – Payment
Very Low – $1.00
Low – $10.00
Medium – $28.00
High – $40.00
Very High – $50.00

This looks like a pretty good payout, but it remains to be seen how eBay is going to determine traffic quality. And the way they are determining your traffic quality won’t be decided until the following month of when your ACRU’s are posted. In other words, if you get 6 new eBay sign-ups in August, you won’t know what traffic quality level you’re at and what you will be paid until the 9th of September.

One issue I see is that there are several days during the month when traffic takes a huge spike and doubles or triples from the average number of clicks I normally send to eBay. This seems to be some sort of a searchbot anomaly and greatly skews your EPC. It also would be nice if eBay would give some clearer guidelines as to what they define as low, medium, high and very high quality, especially since your level can change from month to month.

Suppose you send PPC traffic to a BANS store and it doesn’t work in that you get lots of clicks, but no buyers or no bidders. Is eBay going to take into consideration the numbers of clicks you send, bids that are place and winning bids placed. What about overall numbers of sales, will high volume affiliates be compensated accordingly? With eBay not disclosing their methods as things have been clearly defined in the past this leaves the door open for all sorts of issues and unhappy affiliates. It might be in eBay’s interest to be a little clearer on what they expect from the traffic being sent their way.

New affiliates will end up being the guinea pigs for this new ACRU payment system from eBay as affiliates who signed up before August 1st won’t be subject to the payments. However, later this year, all affiliates will be moved over to the traffic quality system for ACRU’s. I just hope my traffic quality comes in at medium or better. 

ACRU’s are only a small part, around 10%, of my total revenue from eBay, so this won’t be that big of a deal when the change goes into effect for all affiliates. But for those that do earn a lot of income from signing up new eBayers, this might have a huge impact on their bottom line. Let’s hope eBay works all the kinks out of this as soon as possible.

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Build A Niche Store Earnings Exceed $1000 For July

Build A Niche StoreJuly is already a record month for my Build A Niche Store sites through the eBay affiliate program and with 5 days left (of accounting) in the month it should be a record by quite a large margin. As of July 26th total earnings from eBay are at $1,063.45 and total earnings from Build A Niche Store Sites are $1,047.57. I have a couple non BANS sites earning a trickle of cash from eBay.

eBay Build A Niche Store Record Earnings

This is the first time earnings for BANS and eBay have exceeded the $1,000 mark as the next closest month was $893.54 for total eBay earnings. The month started out very slow and I was anticipating riding out the summer slump not earning that much through eBay. During the first week of July, total earnings for eBay were a measly $80.46 and by the end of the second week they were only at $242.02. However, the next 12 days have been great, earning more than $800 or around $66 per day.

I do have one store that continues to be the revenue leader bringing in slightly more than $800 and the plan is to continue to build on that store and work on another store in the same niche, but expanded to cover a much broader range of products. And of course there are 9 more BANS stores that get tweaked on once in a while.

It is interesting to note that the best producing BANS store is also the first store I built. Finding the right niche, with a popular, high priced item that sells for $400 or above is what makes all the difference. You can learn how to find one of those niches here.

If you’d like to know more about how to make money with BANS, you can read my 7 part tutorial series here and read about the most basic steps to getting started with BANS.

If you are interested in using BANS you can buy Build A Niche Store here.

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