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Why Shawn Hogan got fired from eBay Affiliate program?

In my last blog for Highest Google Adsense earners in the world we saw the top most earners from Google Adsense. These guys are really making very good amount of money from Google Adsense. Apart from Google Adsense, these guys are doing great in other income sources as well. As i stated in the title of this post, Along with Google Adsense program Shawn Hogan was also one of the top Affiliate for eBay.

Shawn_HoganShawn Hogan, the CEO and founder of Digital point solution, make lots of money from Google Adsense and Affiliate Business. Shawn Hogan started his online business back in 1995-1996. Back in  1999 he started with the eBay affiliate program. By year 2004 he became top earner for eBay Affiliate program. Shawn hogan was more than happy with his income. During that time, eBay was really surprised with Shawn’s income, on the other hand also happy with Shawn Hogan, since along with Shawn hogan eBay was also making good money from his affiliate business. In order to help out Shawn to increase his income and drive more traffic to eBay, Shawn Hogan was assigned someone to be” Go To” person(Nowadays, affiliate manager) who will help Shawn Hogan for anything within the eBay system.

According to the reports, Shawn Hogan was paid staggering $28 Million as affiliate commission by eBay buy the time he got fired from eBay affiliate program in June 2007. On 24th August 2008, eBay filed suit against Shawn Hogan for defrauding eBay and eBay affiliates in a cookie stuffing scheme. As per eBay, out of the total 26000 affiliate members, Shawn Hogan alone was taking nearly 15% of total income through defrauding.

What made Shawn Hogan fired from eBay Affiliate program?

As per the information obtained, eBay had been cooperating with the FBI since June 2006 to find out the affiliate marketers whose success was a bit too be true. In order to root out the game which with the top affiliate, eBay created a software which was names as “Trip Wire”. This software was like an online string operation to track the traffic source and purchased which were done from this visitors.

The cookie stuffing scheme from Shawn Hogan

Most of us might be aware about the most widely used widget “Geo Visitor“. This widget is widely used by the bloggers and webmaster, which showed web page users where on a map their readers were coming from. This widget was developed by Shawn Hogan. According to the reports filed with FBI, this widget engaged in “cookie stuffing”. Any one click on that widget, you receive a tracking code(small piece of code). If in a later date, those visitors went to eBay and make any purchase, those tracking code would signal eBay that it was due to Shawn Hogan affiliate link. Now the issue was, even if these visitors never clicked on Shawn Hogan affiliate link, still he would get the fraction of that purchase amount which the visitor paid to eBay.  As per the FBI files, Hogan’s widget stuffed nearly 650,000 eBay cookies which was tracked by using “Trip Wire”.

How “Trip Wire” was used to root this issue?

eBay installed a small gif file on its Homepage. The size of this image was so small that it was not visible to any users, sat on the homepage invisibly.This gif file was served to the users whoever visit the home page of the eBay and spent time looking at the merchandise for sale.Users showing Shawn Hogan’s cookies wouldn’t get this gif image file. From this, eBay was instantly able to see that these traffic where no where send by affiliate id of Shawn Hogan, but the cookies where signally for Shawn Hogan. This way “Trip Wire” software was used to track how the eBay’s Highest affiliate was able to make his income. As per the FBI’s report filed by eBay, it was found that 99% of their traffic was bogus as per the trip wire report.

As per the information provided by Shawn Hogan to FBI, the use of this widget and other tricks was known and allowed by eBay and Shawn Hogan’s  personal affiliate manager assigned by eBay. eBay was not bothered about the use of such tricks since eBay was also making very huge income through this affiliate program.

I hope this post provided some insider information about Shawn Hogan and eBay Affiliate program. If you liked this story, please help to share this. You can subscribe for my future post through the below subscription option.


  1. wow. never heard of such trick. i almost did not believe that he earned that huge amount of money just for affiliates. unfortunately, he need to seek other sources of income since he got fired

    thanks for sharing this one Dev as this would serve as a warning for affiliate marketers who plans to utilize any tricks

  2. I actually heard about this Cookie Stuffing thing just a few days back… It’s good that eBay actually investigated the matter and brought the truth behind it…thanks for sharing this rare piece of news with….

  3. wow!! @Dev
    Nice post, and this post is fully informative . I really like this article .
    I’m glad to see the solution is here is written by you.

    Your article is also well written and Informative + Helpful.

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hello Siddharth,

      I always try to provide information which helps and also informative to my visitors. I am glad that you find it really helpful..:)

      Thanks for the comment!!!

  4. Hello, I have also heard about this Cookie stuff in ebay and just some few days ago, i heard about this. It is wonderful that eBay team did their investigation well and got the stuff exposed! thanks for this.

    1. Hi George,

      You are right.. eBay took little long to root the issue. But its really good that eBay took the firm decision to remove such bug and also the person which tried to be dishonest with their terms and policy even if was its top affiliate.

      Thanks for your comment!!

  5. That was indeed some great sizzling news to have a crunch upon…!! Thanks a lot for sharing such big news with us.
    Expecting more like this from you. 🙂

  6. Hello Dev,
    Woweeeee….. Is that so? I mean the story comes out to be so buzzy and spicy in itself. I mean this is like a fact for me, an amazing fact.
    Surely going to share in between my friends. 🙂
    Thanks for this awesome post. 🙂

  7. That’s a huge amount that Ebay had been paying to Shawn through affiliate program. They finally smell something wrong and made the investigation. Good for both parties. Did Shawn return back the bucks ?

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