eBay clicks CJ/VCLK to the curb with ePN.

March 17, 2008

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Today eBay flexed its muscles and moved its entire affiliate program to what looks like an internally developed system called the eBay Partner Network (ePN).

Commission Junction (CJ) the affiliate component of ValueClick(VCLK) has long touted eBay as its largest customer.  I noticed the stock down a little bit today, but I’m guessing that Wall St. hasn’t pieced all of this together yet.

What’s worse for CJ/VCLK are these three scenarios:

  1. Emboldened by eBay’s ease of leaving, CJ sees other large publishers leave the system.
  2. What if eBay decides to compete directly with CJ and offer other publishers into the eBay Partner Network?
  3. I’ve often wondered when Amazon will decouple it’s amazing affiliate (associate in their lingo) system from Amazon and offer it as a stand-alone service, within the family of Amazon Services offerings (S3, FBA, M@, etc.)

At ChannelAdvisor, we don’t have a direct affiliate offering, but we are definitely seeing the trend where our retailer customers would prefer to go direct with their largest affiliates and I think what we’re seeing here is the beginning of a lot of changes in the world of affiliates.

SeekingAlpha Disclosure: I am long Google (GOOG).