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  1. #1
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    Is a datafeed appropriate for my business?
    Hi All,

    I'm a new merchant trying to correctly set up my affiliate program.

    I am still trying to figure out this data feed thing. Seems like you create a database with image urls and product info to send out to affiliates. They can then create automated pages displaying your products.

    I am selling wedding invitations (you can personalize them right on my site) and all the designs are exclusive to my store. Basically, I do not want anyone reselling my designs or products as their own, or advertising them at lower prices through their own "store" (not sure this is possible, since everything has to be purchased through my store anyways).

    So, are datafeeds still relevant to my site? Sorry if this question sounds stupid, but I am still learning.

    Thanks,

    Autumn

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    If you have more than about 20 or 30 designs then a datafeed can be useful. Check with the network you sign up with though as the format for a datafeed is different for each one.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    The datafeed that you create will be for affiliates to presnt your products in a way as to encourage people to visit your site and buy your products.

    There is always the possibility that some affiliates will use your datafeed in a way that is not good for your business. That could happen to you even if you do not have a datafeed though, as people can scrape your content from your site anyway and use it for their own site.

    Having a datafeed is a good idea because most affiliates are going to work to a mutual benefit.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the help..

    I have about 45 designs, and each design has 5 related products, so it ends up being a number in the hundreds.

    Thanks for the advice. I will go ahead with the datafeed. I suppose I could always put some restrictions on promotion in my program terms.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorigen
    Thanks for the help..

    I have about 45 designs, and each design has 5 related products, so it ends up being a number in the hundreds.

    Thanks for the advice. I will go ahead with the datafeed. I suppose I could always put some restrictions on promotion in my program terms.

    Yes, make sure you are very specific right from the start. Make sure that your T&Cs let the affiliates know what they can and cannot do.

    Many merchants have found that some affiliates will push the boundaries and take advantage of merchants who do not have specific rules about what is allowed.

  6. #6
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    First, I absolutely think you would benefit from having a datafeed, in part because some affiliates won't seriously consider working with merchants who don't have datafeeds, but also because creating a datafeed extends your products into PopShops and other datafeed-aggregation services that your prospective affiliates may use.

    Second, you wrote: > "I have about 45 designs, and each design has 5 related products, so it ends up being a number in the hundreds." <

    My suggestion is that you consider very carefully how to incorporate these products into a datafeed, and what product titles and descriptions you will use.

    One issue is that some affiliates will combine your product information with others, possibly using PopShops or another tool, and on the affiliates' merged pages, there might be no context that says "wedding invitations" unless you include that as part of the title. (Some affiliates choose not to display your product description, and some won't even show your business name.)

    Another issue is that some affiliates might object if there are "too many SKUs" to match common search phrases. If you chose to include the words "wedding invitation" as part of every product title, and you have 225 SKUs, then it might be difficult for affiliates or customers to sort through such a huge list.

    A couple of years ago, I worked with a company that sold posters with famous quotations. There were always two poster sizes (large and small), and there were often multiple designs for the same quotation. I decided to create several different datafeeds, so affiliates could use whichever one they wanted. (Of course, affiliate networks will only post one datafeed -- I simply posted the "extra" feeds on our web site -- and most affiliates will probably only use the datafeed delivered through the network).

    These issues apply to a number of other businesses, and you may benefit from looking at how your "competitors" handle datafeeds. I put "competitors" in quotes because you should not be looking just at vendors of wedding invitations, but other custom-imprint products. Certainly, look at how Loxly Gallery and TinyPrints handle their datafeeds (both use ShareASale). You might also benefit from looking at how shoe and clothing merchants (including t-shirt merchants) deal with the issue of "sizes" and "styles" in their datafeeds. Search here on ABW for discussions about the problems that arise when some merchants include a separate SKU in their datafeed for every single product variation.

    You probably add new designs frequently, and you probably don't "retire" older designs; I also expect that you might choose to expand the number of options. That means that 45 x 5 is just a starting point -- when planning your datafeed, consider whether it will be manageable if you offer 120 designs in 8 different variations, or 600 designs in 18 variations.
    Good luck!

    Finally, when you consider what restrictions to place in your Terms and Conditions, spend some time searching through the Merchant Best Practices forum here. New "ideas" come up all the time; one recent unpopular policy prohibited affiliates from using the merchant's trademark/domain in page-titles or meta-tags.
    Last edited by markwelch; November 10th, 2008 at 03:15 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorigen
    Hi All,

    Basically, I do not want anyone reselling my designs or products as their own, or advertising them at lower prices through their own "store" (not sure this is possible, since everything has to be purchased through my store anyways).
    Hi Autumn,

    Not sure I understand this... why would an affiliate advertise a lower price than your store offers?

  8. #8
    http and a telephoto
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    Affiliates won't use the datafeed to create their own "stores" to resell your items unless you have a dropshipping program that allows them to. They will use the datafeed to make pages or links to your products on your site. They need to be able to show your images of your invitations to get visitors to click through to purchase them.

    Right now the Loxly Gallery datafeed only shows the price for the default recommended size of an print, we are looking at ways to include the other sizes available without listing duplicate products. Perhaps using one (or more) of the custom fields.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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