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May 21st, 2009, 03:55 AM #1What to do when a product feed goes haywire
I believe this has been covered someplace in this forum, but it bears repeating, especially now while many merchants are trimming programs, switching networks, cutting commissions and cookie days, losing marketing staff, or even going out of business.
What to do when you see problems in a merchant's product feed:
1 - Let the merchant know.
Sometimes the merchant isn't aware that their feed is causing problems or their images are broken. If I know the affiliate manager, I get in touch with them, first with an IM via AIM or Gtalk if possible, then with an email.
If I can't find who's managing the program, I call whatever phone numbers I can find on their site, and keep asking for referral numbers until I find the right person. If I can't find a phone number and a responsible person on the other end of it, I email the person noted as in charge on the network listing.
Then I set a 7-day follow-up to check the feed in PopShops. If things haven't improved, I keep trying.
2 - Let PopShops know.
An email to MattJ (email@example.com) and/or a copy of the email sent to the merchant can do wonders. Remember: PopShops does not control the content or quality of the feeds. It's not Matt's fault when Little Sister Susie's Heavenly Homemade Chocolate HashBrowns LLC's datafeed contains broken images, typos and all-around bad stuff. (My apologies to Little Sister Susie's HHCH LLC if such a company actually exists!)
3 - Stay positive and continue to follow up.
Sometimes the exercise can turn into a veritable manhunt worthy of Elliot Ness, but the results are worth the detective work it may take to help the problem get solved.
One merchant had a data feed filled with broken images, duplicate listings and outdated products. A few days of digging got the person in charge of their online sales activities and affiliate program. Turns out that they weren't aware that they even HAD a datafeed. The forgotten feed hadn't been updated for well over a year. They got to work on the problem rapidly, and the new feed sparkles with fresh images and current products.
• broken images
• rogue code, including visible HTML
• improper spacing in titles or descriptions
• foreign characters in titles or descriptions
• misbehaving links,
• insane pricing (like one merchant who lost their decimal points, yielding prices like $9800.00 for a knee-length skirt - a phone call sorted that out in 48 hours)
Your help may keep your favorite merchant's product feed from ending up under a sofa gathering dust-bunnies. The few minutes it takes to follow up may make a huge difference. Better they find out from us than from a quarterly financial report that leads them to cancel their affiliate program because they're not making any sales.
May 21st, 2009, 07:55 AM #2Originally Posted by Caseyfern
May 21st, 2009, 08:25 AM #3
Nice job Casey!
Very thorough guide and some good advice. It shows that your persistence regarding the merchant paid off.
I had a similar experience where I contacted the merchant regarding problems with Popshop and he also was not aware of what Popshop was. He was the merchant/owner of the store (small mom and pop) but not familiar with exactly what Popshop did. Perhaps he was just sending data files to PS or Popshop was pulling them on autopilot. It was just surprising to me.
May 21st, 2009, 02:41 PM #4
Thanks Casey, for laying out this fab datafeed sleuth tutorial!
Yep, persistence is the key, the right and left hands don't always know what's going on. I found out from one merchant aff rep that they had no idea what the PS feed was. But from the numbers I gave them, they identified one feed as only top sellers which I passed on to Matt. Somehow their main feed was swapped by CJ with their top seller feed.Renée
Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz
May 21st, 2009, 05:26 PM #53 - Stay positive and continue to follow up.
Sometimes the exercise can turn into a veritable manhunt worthy of Elliot Ness,
June 16th, 2009, 04:14 PM #6
This process is how we were able to find and resolve the Avenue (CJ) problem yesterday. A few phone calls got me to the person at United Retail who could make a difference and fix the issue. I got an email this morning that Avenue should be back and fixed up all pretty very soon.
Moral: Polite Persistence Pays.
June 17th, 2009, 12:56 AM #7
Thank you for your polite persistence. I just checked and I see that Avenue is back at Popshops. Yeah!
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
June 17th, 2009, 08:12 AM #8
Here's hoping that a new fresh Avenue feed is forthcoming, restoring the categories!