Ebay sent me mail again this morning, and not the usual bullshit (things you look at once, usually because it was linked, and it spends a week hounding you about). No, they’ve lowered the payout threshold for their Ebay partner network. I’d forgotten all about that!
Back when I started another website of mine, Hungry Hacker… well… no. When I first started it, we were a trashing mail order of sorts. Things were rough, so I’d scrounge around in salvage, at flea markets, and suchlike, looking for treasures, and selling them to folks. We had a modest amount of success, in that it put food in my mouth for a couple of months, but we soon found better ways to make money, and I left the domain dormant for a while before starting it again as an almost Wiki-style community blog for a few friends and I.
Getting back to the point, one of the main things I wanted to do was no bullshit advertising, however I was still poor as shit. So what we hit upon was the idea of doing affiliate marketing, but on our terms. No dynamic HTML. No images, and absolutely no Macromedia content. Just text links, to relevant searches (for example we had an article about JTAGing a Dish receiver, so we’d link to ebay searches for the receiver and so on). This method didn’t perform amazingly, but it did perform - we used Amazon as well, and someone bought a Kindle after we’d linked to it, which was very welcome.
I’m not sure if Ebay didn’t like it, or we were splash damage, but at some point they changed the way their program works and we simply weren’t driving enough traffic to them to ever see a payout (as opposed to getting paid every couple of months at worst). Despite the fact I’ll almost never make any money out of it, curiousity got the better of me and I checked everything out, and knocked together a small script to create text links again (without resorting to their slow website). So for example I can link to Amal Monoblock 375⁄25 Fuel Bowl Cover. No bullshit on this page (check the source!), they get their stupid impression and a click-through, and I don’t have to deal with worrying about how Ebay’s search API has changed since I last tried to link to something.
I plan on fixing the script up a bit, it’s terribly rough. I’d like to have it so I can link to sold items (if I’m trying to demonstrate the market value of something), and things like that, but for now it works.
Update: Ebay sent me an email with something about valid URL shorteners and such. Not sure if what I’m doing is okay under the program or not - so I don’t think I’ll bother adding new links. What I might do instead is write a Pelican plugin for using the API to generate the links (though I hate the goddamn extra bullshit they want me to include).