Affiliates: Make API Love The eBay Way

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Sean Crotty from eBay discusses their Affiliate Program, discloses the one API call that affiliates demanded the most, and lets us in on a big secret: a product category just waiting for someone to turn it into some serious cash.

Affiliates: Make API Love The eBay Way
Ebay Affiliates Find Love With APIs

Do you use eBay’s Affiliate Program? Tell us about your experience on WebProWorld.

In a nutshell, the affiliate program pays participants for each referral that comes through their link. The big money comes from active registrations, where a new referral either bids on an item, or conducts a Buy It Now purchase, within 30 days of registering with eBay.

Sean Crotty

Affiliates Platform Program Manager Sean Crotty chatted with WebProNews recently about eBay’s affiliate program. As the program manager, Sean has worked hard in getting the word out about what eBay can offer. He’s frequently referenced on eBay’s developer forums as a resource, and will be taking a more active role there soon.

Developers who were fortunate enough to attend JavaOne got to see Sean and Greg Isaacs discuss the affiliate program, including an overview of the API calls. Around 950 developers jammed the room, interested in joining the 18,000 developers Sean cites as already being part of the program.

Having a link as a conduit to eBay, a method used by hundreds of affiliate marketers who utilize paid search, presents one of the simplest ways to get potential registrants and bidders to eBay. That requires keyword research, something which eBay enables through the GetPopularKeywords API call.

Seeing that supply of keywords proved beneficial, but now as Sean points out, they’ve made it more effective. By building an application using that API, GetPopularKeywords lets users see demand as well as supply.

That’s a huge advantage to those who want to target their keyword buys for paid-search as effectively as possible. Affiliate marketers who have been awaiting the debut of MSN Advertising should see that paid-search market open in October.

Sean noted how API usage has had a big impact on affiliate business. Those using the API calls to build applications tend to see returns increase by a third over those who do not. ecently, Sean’s team delivered a new API, the XMLToHTMLTransform call.

Developers have been clamoring for a way to get XML data returned in HTML format via API calls. As eBay has been very actively courting the developer community to help it maintain its dominance in online auctions, the company was quite willing to respond to demand and get this call developed.

That courting of developers, via the eBay Affiliates program, could be worth a considerable payoff to those who participate. eBay sees affiliates make thousands of dollars each month.

It’s not just the small shops, which comprise a majority of eBay’s affiliates, who want a piece of the action. Sean mentioned how Verizon SuperPages has developed what he considers one of the top apps out there that use the APIs.

One of the most interesting uses of the eBay APIs comes in conjunction with a Google Maps API. Sean had written on Google Blogoscoped how he’d like to find out who might be good at writing such an application.

The answer comes from the eBay Motors and Google Maps site, where Adam Trachtenberg has written an application that combines the two effectively. Searches for makes and models of vehicles show up on the map, with links to the vehicle description on eBay available via the handy Google pushpins.

But will anyone take advantage of the one category that hasn’t seen significant affiliate support? We asked Sean what product category he’d like to see get some API developer attention. He said the industrial and large equipment category hasn’t even been touched.

Developers, there’s your early holiday present from WebProNews. Join eBay’s Affliate API program and start writing. Somewhere there’s a market for big equipment just waiting to be tapped.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Affiliates: Make API Love The eBay Way
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