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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    July 14th, 2008
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    (SAS) Datafeed Questions
    I'm a new SAS merchant and working on my datafeed and need some help. (The SAS technical rep. is gone for a week - so no luck getting answers) We market full-length personalized romance, teen and kids books - the task is how best to list these products/titles in the datafeed to maximize affiliate ease use and functionality. Here are my questions:

    1) Is it possible to have more than one SAS category listing (fields 9 & 10)? (And sub-category)? So, our romance novels (for example) would fit under "books" or "gifts" as a category but I suspect "gifts" is a better fit. Also, under "subcategory" for the category "gifts" we have "personalized" and "anniversary" and "wedding" all of which apply. I understand that we can add these words within the keywords fields but worried that we'll miss certain potential affiliates if we are not able to select multiple categories.

    2) In the URL column (field 3) - do we need to add our merchant number? If so it's not specified in the spec. provided by SASA http://www.shareasale.com/m-productmassupload.cfm. When I view other merchants datafeeds there appears to be the merchant number that is provided or added. We plan to list each of our book titles and if no merchant ID is needed in this field we would provide a link like this: http://www.bookbyyou.com/lovesnextdoor/default.asp

    3) And the BIG question. How should we best use the Custom fields 1-5 (fields 15-19). In reading the many ABestWeb there appears to be various uses by affiliates. Perhaps we add the category info that we couldn't add previously? i.e. custom field 1) would be "books" custom field 2) would be "romance" custom field 4) "anniversary" or "anniversary gifts" custom field 5) "personalized"

    4) Is there a way of quickly and easily testing the datafeed. I understand that the SAS system will not accept the file is not formatted correctly but is there someone that can help with the info in the custom and category fields?

    Any suggestions or direction would be greatly appreciated.

    Mike

    PS: Want to get the datafeed right before launching new affiliate announcement on ABW.

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager ReneeM's Avatar
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    August 18th, 2008
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    Post
    Hi

    I found out through trial and error that you can only have 1 category and sub category.

    SAS does put the code the code in your url for you.

    If you send it in and it is not correct they will email you within 24 hours letting you know what you need to change.

    Oh and FYI if you call SAS and select option 3 it will take you to merchant support and they can help you.

    Good Luck
    Renee

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    July 14th, 2008
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    10
    SAS Datafeed Questions
    Hi Renee - I called on Friday and Michael wasn't in. Apparently he's the only one that can answer these questions. I called again Monday and learned Michael was away for a week. I spoke with Orlondo (spelling?) yesterday and I sent an email but no response as of yet - so I posted on ABW hoping to get some answers.

    Any suggestions on categories we should use or the custom fields?

    Thanks for your prompt response.

    Mike

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    July 14th, 2008
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    10
    DataFeed Question
    Hi Renee - read your post and thought you were with SAS then realized you're not - the calling instructions threw me.

    An extra big thanks for your help.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager
    Join Date
    December 5th, 2005
    Location
    Washington State
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    64
    Hey Mike,

    Feel free to send over your feed. I'd be happy to take a look at it and provide you with some suggestions. ReneeO (at) CelebrateExpress.com.

    Besides filling in the ShareASale Category & SubCategory values, you can create your own Merchant Category & SubCategory. I find this more useful.

    -Renee

  6. #6
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    As for the custom fields, I like to see merchants add deeper categorization in those.
    Something like this for your products:
    category -> Books
    subcat-> Personalized
    custom1-> (genre) romance, fantasy, adventure
    custom2->(target audience) women, men, kids, family

    This structure is just my opinion, you could make the category 'Personalized' then subcat is 'Books'... however you think is best with the category levels. But always give as much categorization as possible. If I don't need it I won't use the extra category depth, but if I do need it, it needs to be there or I won't include the feed in my site.
    Someday starts today
    Military Discounts

  7. #7
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    You should fill out the MerchantCategory and MerchantSubcategory fields. Most Merchants do.

    I admit I never use the custom fields since every merchant seems to use them in very different way and I'd rather not have to set up a bunch of if-elseif-else routines to use them.

    I'd love to see SAS change one of those 5 custom fields to a keyword/tags field.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renee - Celebrate Express
    Hey Mike,

    Besides filling in the ShareASale Category & SubCategory values, you can create your own Merchant Category & SubCategory. I find this more useful.

    -Renee

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    July 14th, 2008
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    10
    Wow! Thanks...
    Thanks Renee & Knight! Now we're heading somewhere.

    Just getting into this datafeed "stuff" and beginning to understand the importance beyond just SAS uses...

    In reply to your helpful comments I have some follow-ups if you have the time:

    1) Would I just add selected keywords for Merchant Category & SubCategory? As an example, we sell a ton of personalized romance novels for anniversary and wedding gifts. Sooo, perhaps Merchant Category of books, gifts, personalized, romantic AND SubCategory of romance, anniversary gift, first anniversary gifts, wedding gifts, personalized book, personalized novel, romantic gift, romantic present. This assumes that multiple words can be used within the Merchant Category and Merchant SubCategory (I believe this is true).

    2) In terms of the SAS category we have many options and areas to focus on when selecting the main SAS Category and Subcategory. That's the problem. Our personalized novels are really sold as gifts ($39) versus conventional books - people buy our books as gifts for others 99% of the time. So the categories we must decide on are either "books" or "gifts". "Books" would leave us with SubCatagory of "fiction" whereas if we picked the Category of "Gifts" we'd need to choose between, "personalized", "anniversary" and "wedding". I'm leaning toward the Category of "gifts" and SubCategory of "personalized".

    3)The info about custom fields is helpful. So I'm thinking for each of our romance titles we have something like (use our pirate novel for example): custom1-(type of gift) anniversary, first annversary, wedding anniversary, romantic, anniversary present, birthday, valentines, christmas etc.)
    custom2->(target audience) women, men, mothers, fathers, working women,
    brides, girlfriend, pirate wedding)
    custom3->(genre) romance, fiction, pirate, pirate romance, pirate story, pyrate etc.
    custom4 -> (occasions) valentines, valentines day, christmas, mothers day etc.

    Does this seem like a good route?

    Once again, many thanks,

    Mike

  9. #9
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    I hope you aren't planning on putting all of those on the same line. If I were a visitor to a site with a category called "books, gifts, personalized, romantic", I'd be VERY confused!


    Quote Originally Posted by Book By You

    Sooo, perhaps Merchant Category of books, gifts, personalized, romantic AND SubCategory of romance, anniversary gift, first anniversary gifts, wedding gifts, personalized book, personalized novel, romantic gift, romantic present. This assumes that multiple words can be used within the Merchant Category and Merchant SubCategory (I believe this is true).
    ... time to set up another filter.

  10. #10
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Book By You
    Thanks Renee & Knight! Now we're heading somewhere.

    Just getting into this datafeed "stuff" and beginning to understand the importance beyond just SAS uses...

    In reply to your helpful comments I have some follow-ups if you have the time:

    1) Would I just add selected keywords for Merchant Category & SubCategory? As an example, we sell a ton of personalized romance novels for anniversary and wedding gifts. Sooo, perhaps Merchant Category of books, gifts, personalized, romantic AND SubCategory of romance, anniversary gift, first anniversary gifts, wedding gifts, personalized book, personalized novel, romantic gift, romantic present. This assumes that multiple words can be used within the Merchant Category and Merchant SubCategory (I believe this is true).

    2) In terms of the SAS category we have many options and areas to focus on when selecting the main SAS Category and Subcategory. That's the problem. Our personalized novels are really sold as gifts ($39) versus conventional books - people buy our books as gifts for others 99% of the time. So the categories we must decide on are either "books" or "gifts". "Books" would leave us with SubCatagory of "fiction" whereas if we picked the Category of "Gifts" we'd need to choose between, "personalized", "anniversary" and "wedding". I'm leaning toward the Category of "gifts" and SubCategory of "personalized".

    3)The info about custom fields is helpful. So I'm thinking for each of our romance titles we have something like (use our pirate novel for example): custom1-(type of gift) anniversary, first annversary, wedding anniversary, romantic, anniversary present, birthday, valentines, christmas etc.)
    custom2->(target audience) women, men, mothers, fathers, working women,
    brides, girlfriend, pirate wedding)
    custom3->(genre) romance, fiction, pirate, pirate romance, pirate story, pyrate etc.
    custom4 -> (occasions) valentines, valentines day, christmas, mothers day etc.

    Does this seem like a good route?

    Once again, many thanks,

    Mike
    If you use the custom fields as sub categories, don't use multiple words as different categories in each field. I can map your category to my site category with if/else/if ( to chris) but if there are a dozen words in there it may create too many conflicts. If you want to use descriptions use a custom field for keyword/tags just as lostdeviant suggested.

    (Mr. Sal where's the stick out your tongue smiley?)
    Someday starts today
    Military Discounts

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    July 14th, 2008
    Posts
    10
    Datafeed Questions
    Thanks everyone for your help.

    The MerchantCategory and MerchantSubcategory fields allow for 255 characters but I'm not sure why. As mentioned previously, I'll be selecting the Category "Gifts" and SubCategory "Personalized". Keeping in mind that I'm listing personalized romance novels - I'm thinking of MerchantCategory of "books" and MerchantSubCategory of "romance" (based on earlier posts I'm using single word versus multiple - let me know if this is best).

    On Custom Field - I'm still confused. Are they used for different descriptions beyond the long and short descriptions provided within the SAS spec? For example, our Pirates of Desire personalized romance novel might have several descriptions - one for pirate sites, one for anniversary sites and one for romantic gifts. OR should I just use one word (keywords) for the Custom Fields, for example, Custom 1 - "romance" Custom 2 - "anniversary" Custom 3 - Pirate. My problem is that I don't understand what affiliates will be using the custom fields for... Hope this makes sense cause I'm hoping this datafeed will help bring in qualified affiliates - sensing this is important.

    Also, wanted to ask within the main description field can/should we include HTML and is it recommended/used by affiliates.

    Thanks again - think I'm getting there.

    Mike

  12. #12
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    It is called a datafeed not an HTMLfeed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Book By You

    Also, wanted to ask within the main description field can/should we include HTML and is it recommended/used by affiliates.

    Mike
    We just discussed that issue in another thread a few days ago. I was very glad to discover the PHP function called strip_tags which removes HTML from a string.

    $variable = strip_tags($variable, '


    ');

    Really helped me remove HTML from feeds when importing them.


  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager
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    July 14th, 2008
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    DataFeeds
    Thanks LostD - I'll not add html to the description - also makes life easier. I'm describing a book (i.e. Pirates of Desire) and the SAS spec indicates no length restriction on the Description. This is the text that's imported and directly displayed on websites - so I'm thinking couple paragraphs max.

    Greatly appreciated - thinking I'll get this datafeed done over the weekend.

    mike

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