In a move designed in part to streamline the process and reward affiliates faster, StubHub will begin paying its affiliates program members based on the types of tickets they sell, not on the amount of tickets they sell.
The change takes effect tomorrow, August 1, and in a recent email to ticket sellers the company said the move will “allow you to focus your efforts on the ticket genre that makes you the most money. This will also eliminate the wait time for performance incentives to be distributed.”
In addition, the company has stopped allowing the ability to direct link to StubHub, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, from the major search engines Google, MSN, Bing and Yahoo. Seller can continue to use PPC ads to drive traffic to their own Web sites, and from there they can link to StubHub.com.
Emily Panos, partner marketing manager for StubHub, oversees the company’s affiliates program and told TicketNews that the changes should help to motivate sellers. “In addition, this model allows StubHub to provide extra bonuses on a more flexible basis. For example, right now, we are able to pay an extra 1 percent commission on NFL and Concert tickets, which are in high demand and have a higher average order size. We plan to roll out these extra bonuses throughout the year, allowing our affiliates to market tickets that provide the highest return.”
Panos said the company decided to make the changes, in part, because affiliates wanted to be paid faster and only once per month. “The old structure paid out monthly commissions in two payments. The first payment was the base commission for all affiliates, regardless of total sales. Based on the total tickets sold, affiliates could then earn additional performance incentives which were paid out eight weeks later.”
She added, “We listened, and our new payment structure addresses that concern, paying the affiliates in one payment shortly after the close of the month. We are excited about these new changes as we feel they will benefit the entire network of affiliates and promote long term growth of the program.”
The new commission rates are for concerts, NFL and NCAA football StubHub will pay 8 percent per ticket order, for MLB tickets, which is part of a partnership deal with StubHub, the company will pay 4 percent. For motorsports, such as NASCAR, the NBA, NHL, NCAA basketball, theater and other sports StubHub will pay 7 percent.
The changes are not without some controversy, however, for some sellers.
For example, sellers may find the changes confusing, and they will have to revamp their PPC strategies. Also, will they want 10 different categories for commission payments based on the genre of ticket? The affiliate programs for TicketNews’s parent company TicketNetwork, TicketsNow and RazorGator, all continue to pay a flat commission rate instead of by the genre of ticket.
“We all knew this was coming after StubHub’s commission-reversal debacle last month,” said Patrick Lucas, who manages the TicketNetwork affiliate program. “They issued a temporary fix, but hinted it was only the beginning.”
Panos declined to say how many members are in the affiliates program, but she said it remains strong and highly successful. “StubHub is very selective about who we will work with and insist that our affiliates adhere to our guidelines for compliance and promotions. We consider our affiliates an extension of our best-in-class marketing team.”
She said that StubHub has received positive feedback from affiliates because “the new structure is more flexible” and allows them to better “control their marketing dollars” and structure their programs for maximum benefit. “This model also incents smaller affiliates to benefit from our program incentives. We see this as a win for everyone.”