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  1. #1
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    How to refer to datafeeds (terminology)
    I've recently found that the term "datafeed," although well-understood in the context of affiliate programs, is often misinterpreted when I discuss these concepts with "outsiders" (and some folks I thought were "insiders").

    I'm trying to find a clear and succinct term to use when referring to the product datafeeds which merchants provide to web publishers who participate in the merchants' affiliate program. Here are some terms that I've considered using:
    • "Affiliate-Program Merchant Product Datafeed" - way too long and cumbersome
    • "Merchant Product Affiliate Datafeed" - too long and cumbersome
    • "Product Datafeed" or "Merchant Product Datafeed" - not clear enough (includes non-paid "Froogle feeds" to deliver price-comparison data without paid-advertising links)
    • "Advertising Product Datafeed" - somewhat better, but still cumbersome and potentially confusing
    • "Affiliate Datafeed" - still not unique because this term is used in the banking and mortgage industries to refer to information-sharing between related companies.
    • "Affiliate Product Datafeed" - sounds like it's information about the affiliates' products
    • "Merchant's Affiliate Product Datafeed" - cumbersome


    I've considered just "defining an acronym" (for example, the last item listed would become "MAP Datafeed" or "MAPD," but then people might think it's a datafeed of geographic (map) information. Sigh.

    Another issue, for me, is how to deal with "datafeeds" that aren't completely product-specific; for example, a datafeed that includes "links" such as category links, coupon or deal links, and links to merchant blogs or articles.

    I'd appreciate any feedback and suggestions.

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I prefer just plain "datafeed", or "product datafeed" if the context isn't clear (there are also coupon and other types of datafeeds). If I'm dealing with someone who wouldn't be familiar with the concept, I give an example or more detail.

    YASA (yet another silly acronym) isn't going to help.
    Michael Coley
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  3. #3
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    • "Affiliate-Program Merchant Product Datafeed" - way too long and cumbersome
    • "Merchant Product Affiliate Datafeed" - too long and cumbersome
    • "Product Datafeed" or "Merchant Product Datafeed" - not clear enough (includes non-paid "Froogle feeds" to deliver price-comparison data without paid-advertising links)
    • "Advertising Product Datafeed" - somewhat better, but still cumbersome and potentially confusing
    • "Affiliate Datafeed" - still not unique because this term is used in the banking and mortgage industries to refer to information-sharing between related companies.
    • "Affiliate Product Datafeed" - sounds like it's information about the affiliates' products
    • "Merchant's Affiliate Product Datafeed".
    Try substituting the word "catalog" or "electronic catalog" for "datafeed" in any of these definitions and they may become clearer to outsiders.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  4. #4
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    rematt wrote: > Try substituting the word "catalog" or "electronic catalog" for "datafeed" in any of these definitions and they may become clearer to outsiders <

    This is a very good idea, especially since "catalog" includes the concept of "information about products offered by a specific merchant" (and at least one major affiliate network uses the term "product catalog" to refer to their merchants' product datafeeds).

    Unfortunately, it just doesn't :"sound right" or "feel right" to me, perhaps because it brings some new connotations that might be confusing for some people.

    And Michael: you might be right, but my problem with using the term "datafeed" (or "product datafeed") is that I am often talking with or writing to people whom I assume will understand the meaning and context, but in fact I later learn that they did not actually understand the meaning or context -- often they are thinking of a different type of datafeed (for example, the delivery of product information from a drop-shipment company to retailers) -- or they simply don't have any idea what the term means but don't want to admit this, so they try to guess the meaning and pretend they understand, hoping to figure it out later. Of course, finding a more specific term won't help with this last group.

  5. #5
    SEO: A Specialty - Web Design: Slow or outsourced andbeyond's Avatar
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    I like the term catalog but it has such a defined image in most peoples heads. They imagine it as a printed booklet with images, descriptions, and prices read by the final consumer.

    Datafeeds are not really like that. They are not for the most part not read, and if they are they are sorted, skimmed, and manipulated by the person feeding the site.

    Using anacronyms or industry words is always a problem. Especially with several people on the call or in the room.

    Maybe the word "database" would help? For making terms like "database of products" "latest product database" "proofread the product database" etc....

    Datafeed is a word that seems to be derived and inpired by the RSS or feed aspect of an updating product data database. But most people still do not understand RSS or use RSS readers.... So feed might be confusing and not helping the issue.

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Rematt posted the same thing I was going to post!

    But I still comfortable with saying "Merchant Datafeed", and sometimes "Merchant Products List".

    Btw Mark, before you start a new revolution about what other name would be better for the "Merchants Datafeed", I think that if any blood is going to be spill, it should be about an "Standard Datafeed Format", for all merchants...

  7. #7
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    I explain it to new clients as their product catalog or product database. Datafeed is what it is, it isn't that hard to explain to outsiders that don't know the "lingo". We can't rename everything in the industry to suit other people. Every industry has it's own definitions for things and we don't need to fit into anyone else's definitions. We just need to explain.
    Deborah Carney
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  8. #8
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Right, just continue to call a datafeed and explain that it's a database file of all a retailer's products. Image, description, retail price, etc.

  9. #9
    Full Member suzie250's Avatar
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    When you find out that they didn't understand, what are they calling it?
    I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Bud Lite than Kay.

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