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.

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