What I Like About the EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets

If you’ve been following what I’ve been doing here on OpTempo you’ve probably noticed that I use the eBay Partner Network (EPN) sniplet widget a lot. I not only use it here on OpTempo but on several other sites as well. I started thinking about this after reading Don’s article, BANS , Adjusting For Success or Do Nothing And Fail. For those of you who’re regular readers who’re interested in Internet Marketing here are some of the details on what I like about the EPN toolkit sniplet widgets versus some other, popular, eBay affiliate solutions.

Why Not BANS?

One of the main problems I’ve encountered with BANS (Build A Niche Store) is that nobody loves them. Google snubs them search results and really hates them if they’re on a .info domain. Other bloggers tend reject or even Akismet comments when a link to a BANS site is in a comment, even if the comment is worthwhile and on topic and isn’t even anchored link but a person’s name. This complicates link building unless you have a good link cluster in place to support the BANS sites. If you have this, then this will make your BANS network much more effective.

The bottom line is that I’m seeing BANS as more of a hands-free domain parking solution than anything else. But, the thing is that I can accomplish the same thing with a few simple HTML pages and the eBay sniplets and not have to worry about technical details and overhead like CURL, PHP and MySQL support.

Why Not phpBay?

Google loves blogs so you’re unlikely to encounter the same indexing and placement problems with a WordPress. site running phpBay as you would a BANS. Fellow bloggers aren’t as likely to click the spam button on another blog as long as you have actual content and not just product listings. You also get the advantages of a RSS feed, pinging and so forth. Some of the techniques I use for the eBay toolkit sniplets will also work with phpBay.

What I don’t like so much about phpBay, bearing in mind I’ve only used the Lite version and not the Pro version, is that it has a lot of overhead and the look and feel of it doesn’t sit right with me. Pictures aren’t clickable without doing a hack as best I can determine (let me know if I’m wrong about this). This will impact the click-through-rate (CTR). On the overhead issue, it does a lot of processing locally on your server to prepare and display the eBay auction items where the work for the eBay toolkit sniplets are elsewhere.

While the Pro version does have more in the way of sorting and display options, call me a cheapskate but I just couldn’t see spending money to get a plugin for something that I could do about 80-90% of for free. If you feel that you need that extra functionality, like zip code sorting and affiliate link cloaking, it may be worth it to you though. PHPBay seems like a well written and well supported product.

What I Like About the EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets

First, it’s lightweight Javascript that you can use just about anywhere. There are no server side requirements like CURL, certain versions of PHP or Ioncube, MySQL setup and so forth. You can use them on sites like Blogger or various free web hosting services that don’t support PHP. There is zero load on your server except to transmit the page.

I also appreciate their flexibility. I can use them inline on a blog post or I can opt to format them for use in a sidebar. Color and layout choices make it easy to fit in to most sites and themes. I’ve gotten the best results from the larger sized inline widgets and I’ll discuss this in another article.

Lastly, it’s free. I’m always looking for an inexpensive or free way to do things provided it gets the job done. The EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets do their job very well.

On the downside, the eBay affiliate links aren’t cloaked. Is this a big deal? I’m not sure.

If you have any thoughts, questions and ideas about using the EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets, BANS, phpBay or other eBay affiliate link presentation systems, please leave a comment below.

 

 


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24 Comments »

Comment by Don
2008-06-19 12:46:19

Rrank, thanks for the mention first of all . Ok now you have convinced me I will run a few tests on The EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets. As you mentioned fee is for me, as is multiple streams and methods of providing income and The EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets might just provide that opportunity.My Bans sites are productive at the money , but it is not without a bit of work as I mentioned in the post.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-19 13:06:20

Hi Don,

It’s good to hear your BANS sites are doing well.

The EPN toolkit widgets along with Blogger blogs are great for testing out dicey niches at no cost to you. I had one hit a trend this week and I got 150 click thrus from that blog on that day.

 
 
Comment by Steve
2008-06-19 12:56:52

Thanks for more great info on EPN and BANS Frank. I am impressed with your use of the EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widget on this blog. I watch your use of the ebay snippet on this blog and like it a lot.

I have a few BANS stores right now and I know they could be doing better if it weren’t for the extra effort required to get them indexed and linked, especially the .info sites. I plan to start using EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets on the .infos I haven’t installed BANS on yet.

 
Comment by April of Scotland
2008-06-19 13:28:37

The problem I have with using blogger for ebay auctions is that when you look at the source code there aren’t any items listed. Whereas with BANS you can see all the item titles and descriptions.

That’s the great thing about BANS. For instance I have one on wallets and when I looked at my stats I saw some searches for a particular brand I had never heard of before and so hadn’t mentioned it my description. It’s all because of the way BANS is set up. That wouldn’t have happened if it was a blogger blog.

Comment by Steve
2008-06-19 13:44:25

Maybe the better solution is to have a blog that uses the EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widget and BANS store together that is linked off the blog.

 
Comment by jfc
2008-06-19 14:53:07

Hi April,

I’m always doing a lot of eBay searches and have been for years now, going back to when I was selling actively on eBay, so that isn’t something I had thought about in relation to BANS. Thanks for bringing that idea up.

I suppose phpBay would work the same way since it uses the RSS feed as well.

 
 
Comment by Don
2008-06-19 14:28:09

Steve I can tell you that it I have a test site set up like that and Google still doesnt care for it. It the .info factor IMO

 
Comment by Houseboat Rentals
2008-06-19 16:38:05

Frank, this sounds like a nice option. I happen to have a spare website setting around I might try this with.

How are your conversions with this compared to Bans. My Bans site do not have very good conversions. People seem to be finding them just not selling a lot.

I’ll have to go over and read Don’s post.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-19 17:01:54

Hi Denise,

As always, it’s a matter of good keyword selection to start with then building links and working toward ranking well for your primary keywords as well as long tails. And maybe getting lucky with a trend or two.

What I’ve found easier with the blog approach is building up the long tails. While you can do this in BANS, Google seems to love blogs so much more when it comes to this. That makes the impact of changes to target long tails greater. And, as more people come in, the conversion rate (ie money) improves and the CTR becomes less erratic.

 
 
Comment by Discount Gift Cards
2008-06-19 16:42:22

Frank,

Yet another excellent post. EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets, BANS, and phpBay Pro - Oh my! LOL

I have learned so much from you about how to properly use the eBay Partner Network (EPN) sniplet widget. Any chance you will do a post on how to use the eBay editor kit sniplet widgets with Squidoo?

Rhonda

Comment by jfc
2008-06-19 17:04:37

Hi Rhonda,

I know some people have tried some methods for getting eBay into Squidoo pages but I haven’t tried this method myself yet. I’ve only used Squidoo for link clustering at this point.

 
 
Comment by Dinheiro
2008-06-19 17:36:19

Frank, you’re a programmer, why not do your own wordpress ebay plugin? It’s not very difficult and with that you can even integrate more with your wodpress posts, better than epn.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-19 17:52:15

Hi Dinheiro,

I don’t know PHP that well, yet. Most of my web related programming has been in ASP.NET and C#/VB.NET, ie the Microsoft platform used primarily in business.

Comment by Dinheiro
2008-06-20 14:50:08

It’s not very difficult. if you want frank, we can join some “efforts”, just email me at the email i’m using for this comment.

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Comment by Robert
2008-06-20 00:13:16

With phpBay, the images can be made clickable by a small edit to the results template file. It’s a quick fix. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t become a click option in the interface at some point though.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-20 00:18:26

Hi Robert,

I was kind of surprised by that oversight. I have seen the hack to make pictures clickable and it seems like it would work.

 
 
Comment by Malcolm
2008-06-23 07:42:35

I have the ebay account and would like to try this out since i dont have BANS yet. But where is the tookit you mentioned located? Is it under the widgets section and i have to select the eBay Editor Kit? Please help me out. I’m pretty lost here. But when i click on that, it keeps asking me to signin again. But i cant seem to be able to get it at all, funny…..

Comment by jfc
2008-06-23 08:26:18

Hi Malcolm,

It is under the widgets section, the editor kit.

One thing that you might be running into is that you will need to have both an affiliate account and a regular eBay account. You are required to be logged into the eBay main site to create the sniplet widgets.

 
 
Comment by Malcolm
2008-06-23 11:42:45

Thanks for your prompt reply. I guessed right then. I do have the user acct also, but forgot my password, lol. Gotta get a new one.

 
Comment by Vintage Coffee Tin
2008-07-02 13:21:13

Hey Frank,

The information keeps comin’. I guess I’ll give these widgets a try. i have a new hockey related domain (aged of course!) coming to me in a couple of days. Perhaps I’ll try a blog/widget setup as a test run. My hockey related Bans site was working well until .info Limbo kicked in.

Are you able to share any results of the ebay widgets (privately perhaps). Don’t mean to dig into your affairs but would love to know if it’s worth the time investment. A “trust me - go for it” or “let’s wait and see..” would suffice.

Bruce

Comment by jfc
2008-07-02 16:45:40

Hi Bruce,

I’ve seen very good results from using these widgets here on OpTempo and about 25 other blogs and mini-sites where I’m using it. As always, the effectiveness of a campaign on a site is tied to keyword selection, building links and other SEO techniques. In the end, it doesn’t matter exactly what gets a visitor to the site as long as once they get there they quickly continue on to eBay and buy something there.

 
 
2008-09-18 16:45:27

Hi Frank,

Where is this widget that you speak about? I tried searching EPN Toolkit Sniplet Widgets - but it’s all you in the SERPs.

In my EPN account under tools/widgets there is nothing with this name?

Thanks

Comment by jfc
2008-09-18 17:27:56

Hi Kinsey,

You’re on the right track. Tools | Widgets then Editor Kit. That will take you to the ‘Sniplet Editor’.

Comment by kinsey
2008-10-04 10:57:05

k - thanks :)

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