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  1. #1
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    How on earth are these data feeds useful?

    I have looked at quire a few in spreadsheets and frankly, I don't get it.

    I have one with thousands of furniture products. The category they give is "home/family" and the sub category is "furniture". This encompasses everything from bean bag chairs to umbrella stands. And they seem to be entered into the feed in random order. Is there some way that programs such as webmerge can sort them into anything that makes any sense? Something that I, a human, don't see? If so, how does that work?

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!

    Farewell, CJ! I loved you when you were young and pure. I will try to remember you that way. Disclaimer: Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, datafeeds need a fair amount of tweaking before they can be usefully fed into applications like Webmerge.

    I'm learning to use Mysql so I can run queries to select the data according to keywords and create separate tables.

    You can enter a query to extract all the rows where the 'name' field contains the word 'chair', for instance.

    It's a lot of work, but worth the effort. I built two sites last week using Sonicfactor RXO, which is like a free, more basic version of Webmerge.

    It took a lot of effort setting everything up, then, once it was right, hundreds of pages were generated in seconds.

    Oddly enough, I'm not interested in manually creating links any more...

    Next is to learn PHP to get the full flexibility and power.

    I got my parasiteware sweatshirt!!!
    (Gordon, eat your heart out :-) )

  3. #3
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    A datafeed is only as useful as the programmer setting it up allows it to be. I don't recognize the datafeed you are referring to but it seems the category & subcategory designations are too broad. Too often the programmer has little concept of how the data is to be used in the real world and the merchant has little idea of how the data can be presented and relies on the programmer. I've been blessed (or cursed) by having to actually use the programs I write so I'm a little more critical with what often passes for a datafeed.

    There are some excellent ones such as BackcountryStore and zZounds. A few others are more cumbersome than they need to be. Some are plagued with minor mistakes like SuperStore Elec. which incorrectly uses apostrophes to indicate plurals (i.e. radio's for more than one radio) causing the datafeed user to program around their mistake. Another common error is missing fields in some records, causing the remaining fields to shift during import.

    I've written all my pages in VBscript/ASP to read Access databases and I'm not familiar with Webmerge. Perhaps it may be helpful to look at the merchant's own website to see how they've used the data, how they've broken it down into subcategories. If it makes little sense on their site, then the data categories they provide won't make much sense on your site either. Press them to make the datafeed consistant throughout and broken into relevant and useful subcategories.

    Wayne

  4. #4
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    In that case, I'm NOT missing anything. Most of the data feeds I have seen are about as useful as snot on a doorknob.

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!

    Farewell, CJ! I loved you when you were young and pure. I will try to remember you that way. Disclaimer: Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

  5. #5
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    I think datafeeds can be a very useful tool. The more I use them, the more I like them. Alot of the feeds available are poorly done. But I have been contacting many of the merchants with feeds and to my suprise many of them actually have added fields when requested.

    If you using CJ and searching, copying an pasting, even crappy datafeeds will save you time. Think about it, you have 2000 products and if you use webmerge you could create a simple template to display the product name, description and use the BuyUrl. Now you might still do some copying and pasting but all you need to do is go through and extract the data to your liking. Searching CJ, then creating the html, and then copying the first set of html or copying the product name then the image and pasting into your doc.

    Have not done a scientific study but I bet you could cut down your product pages production time by 1/3?

  6. #6
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Um...I'm not too convinced. If I have to do all that mucking around with the feed, my current method may be best and my present way lets me do a whole lot with keywords. I just guess it depends on the quality of the feed.

    I have only found one or two that were worth the time it took to download them.

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!

    Farewell, CJ! I loved you when you were young and pure. I will try to remember you that way. Disclaimer: Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

  7. #7
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    You are right most of them are useless. The only thing is if you can fix the data and make it work. If you don't have a way to do it they aren't worth having.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Ssanf,

    I just sent you a PM. (A friendly one)

    Fred

    You might just be a Redneck if - Birds are attracted to your beard...

  9. #9
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    Reading this thread cracked me up!

    NorthernStudio
    You are correct "A datafeed is only as useful as the programmer setting it up allows it to be"

    I am very happy to be associated with wonderful merchants willing to learn new ways while I develop and work with programs that are advanced enough to make webmerge look like FrontPage.

    Happy weekend everyone

    Workign on the Datafeed Toledo Sword created with the help of everyone here at ABW! More for me I say!

  10. #10
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    Hey what's wrong with the Toledo Swords datafeed ? JK

    As the feed is there to help increase sales , I'm sure most AM's will correct to your needs. It's that most AM's don't know how to present the feed , nor bother to find out. Nor does anyone give them the needed feedback.

    IMO

    Cliff

    Toledo Swords - Collectible Heirloom Armory
    http://www.toledoswords.com

  11. #11
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    Datafeeds are truly a wonderful thing, but most of them need a lot of tweaking to get things to work well. If I make a datafeed based shopping site, about half the developing time is spend massaging the datafeed and optimizing the database, but it depends much on the specifics of the database. That's what I like about the LinkShare program, that the feeds are standardised. It makes it a lot easier.

  12. #12
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    I don't think it is to your benefit to leave this thread thinking that the feeds are useless. I wouldn't be building my shopping sites without them. I can't think of a better way to get links to a few thousand items up in a few hours.

    Like most computer-related tasks, there is a degree of knowledge & experience required, but none of it is "rocket-science."

    The data itself, if the feed is set up properly, should never require tweeking, mucking around with or otherwise touching in any way other than importing into your database. The real work is upfront and involves interpreting how to retrieve and display the data and this will vary for every datafeed. Once this work is done, very little work is required other than downloading and importing the updated feeds. I'm currently using about a dozen feeds on my new site, adding more when time permits, and it takes less than an hour to update all of them.

    Don't give up on 'em. I never looked at Webmerge, but it may be a start. Or hire a programmer to help with your first one. The process of adding new datafeeds will be apparent when you have the first one up and running.

    Wayne

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> As the feed is there to help increase sales , I'm sure most AM's will correct to your needs. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Yes, that's been my experience. The merchants I've contacted about their datafeeds have been helpful and receptive to suggestions, even from a "newbie" like me.

    Wayne

  14. #14
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Hire a programmer? Why? What's a programmer supposed to do with a feed that sucks, re-write it for the merchant?

    The merchant may need a programmer, though.

    Good grief, after mucking around with the feed and wasting a lot of time, I went and got the images and links and had the pages ready to go without the feed in a few hours. Now, I am just waiting for some information on how to modify the SAS links for a yahoo store merchant and I can upload the pages.

    The feed would have been nice if it were done well but what a time waster it is in the current form.

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!

    Farewell, CJ! I loved you when you were young and pure. I will try to remember you that way. Disclaimer: Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    Yep, datafeeds are the future, Ssanf - don't give up on 'em.

    What you call mucking around wasting time is a valuable learning experience which might pay dividends in the future.

    I got my parasiteware sweatshirt!!!
    (Gordon, eat your heart out :-) )

  16. #16
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    True, you shouldn't hire a programmer to fix a datafeed that has been set up incorrectly from the start. Sounds like you picked a lemon for your first datafeed. My point is that my experience shows datafeeds can be used with success and are worth investing time and/or some money in incorporating into a site.

    Again, I don't know which merchant/datafeed you are referring to and I hope they get their act together before I get around to adding them to my site. There are a lot of good feeds available from the merchants that participate in these forums and I wouldn't write the datafeed concept off based on your initial experience with a dud.

    Wayne

  17. #17
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    >>In that case, I'm NOT missing anything.

    Making a 100,000+ product site in 4 hours isn't of interest to you? Hmmm...

    >>Most of the data feeds I have seen are about as useful as snot on a doorknob.

    That's cuz you have indy merchants instead of nice, standardized CJ ones

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  18. #18
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by cinst:
    Hey what's wrong with the Toledo Swords datafeed ? JK <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Cliff,

    There is nothing wrong with your feed I wrote that wrong.

    With the help of those involved at ABW you built a wonderful feed. When I stated working on your feed I am loading your feed, up it took all of 3 seconds to load your entire feed. It’s fast because it’s a GOOD FEED! I APPLUAD you for taking the time and listening to our needs!

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the complement. But just when I thought I was done , I had to add another column of info. Seems that the url to the large image is TOO big , and the url to the thumbnail is TOO small , for some affiliates , so I had to make a column of url's to images that are JUST right.

    Also have affiliates asking me how to use the datafeed. Talking about the blind leading the blind.

    My CJ affiliates that don't know how to use feeds want me to have the feed on site like a CJ catalog. Like I can figure that out. What a can of worms , I don't even have time to add more products till I get this thing just right.

    I can't wait till I ask you guys what to do with our mailing list. THAT will be an interesting discussion.

    All the Best,

    Cliff

    Toledo Swords - Collectible Heirloom Armory
    http://www.toledoswords.com

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