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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Exclamation Datafeeds Hardly Ever Updated
    Why do merchants on ShareASale hardly ever update their datafeeds? I have checked about 15 feeds from various merchants and only about 3 had been updated in the last 6 months. Something seems seriously wrong here. I also use datafeeds from all the other main networks and most of them are updated daily or at least weekly.

    Is it the interface or the tools the merchant updates the feed with on ShareASale causing a bottleneck, are the affiliate managers just lazy, are the product catalogs so good they never need updating? What is the reason?
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  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I believe SAS only allows a certain number of updates per month per merchant and I'm not sure if there is a way to automate this. This is one of my biggest complaints about SAS and I wish feeds could be updated daily when applicable. What I usually do is ask merchants for an external feed.

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  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I believe SAS only allows a certain number of updates per month
    SAS allows 8 updates/mo., which amounts to 2 a week, so that shouldn't cause any merchant to hold off for any really undue amount of time.

    If they really need more update slots, I would hope that SAS gives them an option for it (perhaps for an extra fee?). I wouldn't know about that though, since I've never come anywhere near the limit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glinted
    Is it the interface or the tools the merchant updates the feed with on ShareASale causing a bottleneck, are the affiliate managers just lazy, are the product catalogs so good they never need updating? What is the reason?
    Short answer:
    In short, the reasons vary by individual merchant, but chances are it's one of the last two possibilities you mentioned.

    Answer with my reasonings included:

    I think the tools are fine...not significantly different than uploading to Froogle/Base/WhateverIt'sCalledToday from the tech standpoint (except SAS demands they be compressed into .zip or .gz files, which is ridiculous when sending up a feed that's puny to begin with)--although there is one hitch: Uploads do NOT work when SAS is accessed with FireFox. I have to switch to IE to get it to work. And, the "upload unsuccessful" message doesn't give any clue that it's a browser incompatibility issue, so it's conceivable (although very unlikely, IMO) that a few are being hung up by that.

    I'd go with the last two: Some merchants are lazy, but there are indeed some catalogs which are stable enough that they don't need much updating (or only need it during a busy season).

    For a seasonal example, GoodBulbs is in the period of having lots of updates--I just upped a new one a few minutes ago--but after the 15th or 16th of February (when I switch to taking pre-orders for the next season and send up the feed with everything back on it), I'm not going to have to touch the thing again until about October or November.

    Also, it can be dicey if just 1 or 2 things have changed, especially if there are a lot of items in total. For everyone who likes up-to-the-minute updates, there's someone else who will be irked at a merchant for putting a "new" date on a feed that has only a microscopic difference. What actually works best varies by program--some categories are conducive to customers picking a "similar" item when confronted with an OOS, while some other categories aren't favorable for that at all.
    Last edited by Leader; February 11th, 2008 at 06:03 AM.
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Exclamation
    In our situation it wasn't worth the hassle to upload when the affiliates can't use the widgets, make a page etc.

    Non of those affiliate tools work on SAS with databases over a certain size, I believe it's about 20,000 items.
    With 43,000 items and growing to about 55,000 in a few weeks it wouldn't benefit the majority of our affiliates.

    We are sending out updated feeds directly to our approved affiliates in the SAS format. That way if you're setup to work that format it's all the same internal system you can use.
    Last edited by PetsWarehouse.com; February 11th, 2008 at 07:52 AM.
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  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    I also have a merchant that has a feed that is too big to take advantage of the internal tools, and have it available outside Shareasale and it is in Popshops. That particular feed won't need updating for a year.

    When we needed more frequent updates during the Halloween season for HalloweenMart, we were given an increase.

    Other networks may have feeds that *look* like they are updated daily, when in reality there may be no changes at all.

    One thing that may stop some merchants from updating more frequently in any network is getting the feed into the correct format for that network. In some cases, the data coming from the merchant is not easily manipulated into something that affiliates can use, so that feed is going to have fewer updates, but be a better feed in the long run.
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  6. #6
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    We must be using different merchants. About 2/3 of my merchants seem to up date about every 6 weeks at least.......some more often............and yes there are a few that go for a year without updating. I assumed that was because their smaller number of products was less likely to change.

    Also, it appears that when a merchant ceases to update their datafeed, chances are they are loosing interest in their program and are moving toward ceasing operation.
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  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witzer
    Also, it appears that when a merchant ceases to update their datafeed, chances are they are loosing interest in their program and are moving toward ceasing operation.
    Not necessarily, as Debbie and I stated there are other reasons.

    You can pickup the phone or email to check.
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  8. #8
    Newbie psurplus's Avatar
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    As a merchant with over 50,000 items (and growing quickly), it has been a chore to keep publishers up to date with every little detail and new product being offered.

    Formerly SAS allowed 4 uploads per month, now it is up to 8. I see this as good direction and getting closer to unlimited (daily) uploads of datafeeds. We are using ChannelAdvisor to process all of our datafeeds, and SAS is the only one we cant submit with CA. Big reason behind it (and I've pushed around CA to add scheduling functionality to support SAS) is that CA pushes feeds every 1 day and SAS can only take 8 a month. With our product database changing daily (3300 new products in the last week) and minor changes to existing items, it is imperitive that merchants have the abiltiy to upload feeds daily. We have to manually export the feed from our end, zip it, then FTP it, which can take about 45 minutes depending on download/upload speeds. Why force merchants to manually submit a feed when it can be submitted in their sleep? I believe that if this ability is added, you would see SAS supported by CA (and others) which could bring a lot of new merchants, and/or enable existing merchants to upload/update their SAS feeds regularly.

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    There is another service/company that is suggested by SAS for non yahoo stores but can't find their link right now but if they have a yahoo store I would suggest yourstorewizards.com for their automated feed service. They are recommended by SAS and by me too as they are same ones we have been suggestion to clients and been using their service with EF since day one with no problems.

  10. #10
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    it would be nice if shareasale offered an xml of somekind which would give back to the affiliates the information whether a datafeed has been updated or not

    something like the "datafeed update xml" zanox offers and affiliatewindow as well

    so you "call" this xml datafeed -unique for each merchant- and you get back the time&date it was last updated so you know whether it was updated or not

  11. #11
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    For me it's the tools. With a smaller feed, I would much prefer a robust online management system with import, export and edit options. I could edit online for product additions from week to week and export/edit/import as needed to make any wholesale changes to pricing, categorization, etc.

    There is an online system, but it's kludgey to work with and has no export option. Without the export option, any changes made online also have to be saved to an offline copy or future wholesale changes would be impossible, so the online version is moot. I've suggested the export option, but was met with resistance.
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