Online auction and shopping company eBay has announced that it’s closing the Commerce Network, a platform where companies would advertise products that would take customers to third-party sites, according to report by TechCrunch.
“Thank you for your partnership with eBay Commerce Network. We’ve been proud to see our platform evolve over the past two decades. We want to continue providing customers with the best possible selling and buying experience,” eBay said in a statement.
“As a result, we are focusing on business that complements our core marketplace and discontinuing eBay Commerce Network effective May 1st, 2019. We are committed to enhancing our advertising portfolio throughout 2019 and hope you consider exploring our advanced core advertising and affiliate marketing opportunities.”
The company said it’s discontinuing the network because “eBay is making a concerted effort to shift its reliance from third-party advertising to first-party advertising.”
Merchants that still have a balance in their accounts will receive refunds, eBay said.
“We will process and refund account balances beginning in mid-May 2019. The remaining account balance will be credited back to the original source of payment,” the company said. “If you paid manually, please reach out to customer support with your merchant ID and your PayPal or banking information.”
The move is a strategic one for eBay, as it plans to build its own database and make more money off sales, rather than ad clicks.
The eBay Commerce Network appeared in 2013 as a rebranded Shopping.com, a company that eBay bought in 2005 for $620 million. It connected consumers all over the world, in Germany, the U.K., France and Australia. The platform was still fairly small in size, with about 1,000 publishers and fewer than 1,000 merchants every day.
There’s also the issue of third-party data use collected outside of the company. Many companies, including Facebook, have shied away from using third-party data after the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.