I write this post as a response to the termination of my eBay Partner Network (i.e. eBay’s affiliate program) account. Recently, I received an email notifying me that this website, PlayboyPlanet.net, is a violation of the eBay Partner Network’s Code of Conduct. Therefore, without warning, I was told that my partner account was terminated, my pending commissions were confiscated, and all links to eBay items on this website must be removed. I strongly disagree with this decision and in this post I explain why.
I am not removing any of the links to eBay items from this site – yet. Not because I am trying to defy the eBay Partner Network, but I want everybody to see the items to which this site links. Why does this website violate the Code of Conduct? Because this website contains adult content (i.e. content related to Playboy Magazine). I might add that there’s no sexually explicit content, nothing depicting sexual intercourse. There is adult content on this website, but nothing sexually explicit.
Either way, there’s no need to terminate my account and confiscate commissions without warning in order for me to remove affiliate links. Once my account is re-instated and my commissions are returned, I will gladly remove all links from this website in order to comply with the eBay Partner Network.
The most risqué thing on this website is the banner ad for Playboy TV in the post above this one. The adults only warning says sexually explicit because I am redefining sexually explicit for liability purposes. I would rather err on the side of extreme caution.
As stated right in the email I received, eBay says its partners shall not place links in connection to topics that eBay Partner Network in its sole discretion determines. Meaning, eBay has discretion. eBay can decide how to apply the guidelines in each case. I strongly disagree with the application of the guidelines in this case.
I could understand terminating my account if I were promoting eBay generally on an adult website, or promoting non adult related items on an adult website. I could see how amalgamating non adult eBay items with adult material could be a problem and, therefore, a violation. The idea is that an eBay item or seller isn’t discredited in some way. But let’s review the eBay items I linked to from this site and that demonstrates the absurdity of what the eBay Partner Network just did to me.
As you can see above, there’s an adults only warning and a disclaimer. There’s nothing nefarious about this website. This website is mainly links to Playboy Magazine related items on eBay. I place Playboy Magazine product links on a website dedicated to Playboy Magazine.
eBay has an entire category dedicated exclusively to adult related items called Adults Only. See http://signin.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?AdultSignIn&t=1&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fsch%2FAdult-Only-%2F319%2Fi.html&_rdc=1&hc=1&hm=uk%601d72f%2Bkw5ipwsu%7E%7B
These aren’t items I link to on eBay from this site, but here’s just a small sample of eBay listings you can find: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hustler-4hr-H11AS1-ALEXIS-TEXAS-JENNY-HENDRIX-BRIANNA-LOVE-RICKI-WHITE-DELATORI-/252083312625?hash=item3ab15617f1 and http://www.ebay.com/itm/BIG-BOOTY-TRYOUTS-STARRING-ALEXIS-TEXAS-DANI-DANIELS-XXX-DVD-XXX-/231688864337?hash=item35f1bb8251 That’s just a very small sample of what you can find on eBay.
The products linked to from this website are a bit softer core than the two links I posted above and yet on a website that contains an adults only warning and disclaimer. My standard is I wouldn’t want children to see a bikini contest and I would put an adults only warning for photos of women in bikinis. In wanting the eBay items linked to on this website marketed on non adult websites, the approach the eBay Partner Network is taking means turning objectively adult items into non adult items. I would rather err on the side of caution by treating something that might technically be a non adult item as an adult item. Sure, there’s no nudity in this http://playboyplanet.net/lot-of-5-1993-playboy-magazine-apriljulyseptembernovemberdecember-2/ But would the eBay Partner Network believe that item should be marketed to children?
The products linked to from this site match the content of this website and the content of this website matches the product links. How is that? How do product links match a website eBay calls a Code of Conduct violation? Well, that’s because a person can go onto eBay the auction site and SELL Playboy Magazines.
This means it would be perfectly acceptable for an eBay seller to sell the very content on this website, but it’s unacceptable for an eBay affiliate to link to such items from a website with the same content! It’s unacceptable for an eBay affiliate to place links to Playboy Magazine items on eBay from a website dedicated to Playboy Magazine, because it’s an adult website because of the Playboy Magazine content.
This means that it would be impossible to promote many products on eBay in the eBay Partner Network without an alleged policy violation, unless you place links to those items on a non adult website. Therefore, the only way an eBay affiliate could promote Playboy Magazine items would be to post the link to that item on a non adult website (e.g. some kids website or maybe a news website of some kind), in which case the content won’t be on a website with an adults only warning and disclaimer. That’s not what I am saying. That’s what eBay Partner Network is saying.
In fact, merely posting links with images of some listings on eBay would very well morph any non adult website into an adult website, consequently making it a code of conduct violation to promote those eBay items from that website. That means for placing links to eBay items a website would become a code of conduct violation. This also means that eBay itself couldn’t post affiliate links to its own listings!
What I write above is why I believe the eBay Partner Network decision was wrong and should be reversed. How can it be acceptable to sell Playboy Magazines on eBay, but it’s unacceptable for an eBay affiliate to link to Playboy Magazine listings on eBay from a website that’s mainly links to Playboy Magazine listings on eBay? This is one of those cases where eBay should, in its sole discretion, reverse its decision.