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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Unusable datafeeds
    Haven't been using any datafeeds in a while, but thought I would try using
    one of the datafeeds on a site of mine this weekend. The first site I joined,
    after downloading their datafeed noticed the descriptions were the same
    for several products, each product didn't have its own description. Dropped
    that site. Another one I had joined had their descriptions cut so short that
    they were not usable. Joined another site, and after looking at their datafeed
    noticed that it hasn't been updated in almost 2 years and most of the
    products are coming up not found on their website. Will continue my search
    for a datafeed that is usable.

  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waybar
    Haven't been using any datafeeds in a while, but thought I would try using
    one of the datafeeds on a site of mine this weekend. The first site I joined,
    after downloading their datafeed noticed the descriptions were the same
    for several products, each product didn't have its own description. Dropped
    that site. Another one I had joined had their descriptions cut so short that
    they were not usable. Joined another site, and after looking at their datafeed
    noticed that it hasn't been updated in almost 2 years and most of the
    products are coming up not found on their website. Will continue my search
    for a datafeed that is usable.
    Unfortunately some merchants don't understand the value of an accurate datafeed for their affiliates. When I was working primarily on the affiliate side I ran into the same things you described. My "solution" was as you mentioned - move on.

    Now, as a merchant, we are trying to develop a useful, well categorized, and accurate feed. It's not all that easy when one is "new" on the merchant side but it's not "rocket science" either. Our inventory will be in a state of flux for a while because we are replacing many products that can be found "elsewhere" with original inventory. So our feed may not accurately reflect what is on the site - however it should be accurate for the products that are in it. We have not included pricing in the feed yet - for two reasons. One is that we are still "exploring" pricing points and the other is that people seem to buy checks based on finding the "right image" rather than on actual price (most competitors are in the same ballpark, price-wise).

    We feel an accurate datafeed is important (also) for those affiliates who depend on GoldenCAN and/or PopShops. A poor feed in SAS will yield poor results with those 3rd-party data services.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  3. #3
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    This issue seems to be VERY prevalent on ShareASale. Recently I wanted to put up a new site just for the sake of putting up a new site, and decided to just run with the first thing that I find. I went through 27 random feeds on ShareASale before I came across one that was of at least some utility.

    I've got a feeling that the other networks probably educate/groom their clients on this issue, as bad feeds are far more uncommon on the major networks.
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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I don't value descriptions as much as frequency of updates. I can go without descriptions, but I can't go without accurate prices and inventory. I'm not sure if SAS has fixed this, but the main problem is they only allow a handful of datafeed updates per month per merchant. Because of this I always seek in-house datafeeds for more frequent updates. In any event it's always best to ask the merchant if they can give you a direct datafeed and fix any issues such as missing data.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I agree with Scott. SAS only allows 8 updated datafeeds per month, unless merchants request special permission to update more frequently. I refuse to work with merchants who don't update datafeeds at least once a week, and prefer ones who update daily. I even have some who have frequently changing inventory and prices, who have built real-time feeds for me, which I refresh hourly.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    they only allow a handful of datafeed updates per month per merchant.
    I had no idea... This explains quite a bit... I periodically get e-mails from SAS merchants that state "just wanted to let you know that we updated our feed". I've been pretty amazed by this because I assumed the feeds would be updated daily to reflect inventory reductions or price changes.

    ShareASale will get a lot more conversions from price comparison websites if they allow daily feed updates. Out of stock or miss-priced items are a conversion killer. End users typically assume that I'm trying to pull a fast one on them, why else would I advertise something that was out-of-stock or of a different price...
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    as bad feeds are far more uncommon on the major networks.
    I don't have any evidence on which network has the worst feeds, but I can say CJ has a lot of bad ones too. It's all very frustrating until you get over the bad ones and develop the good ones. A lot of affiliate time is wasted trying to find the good ones.


  8. #8
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    CJ has a lot of bad ones too
    Yes, they do. And it happens often enough to be a pain in the butt. But what are the chances that of 28 feeds pulled at random, 27 of them would be utterly useless? Yanno?
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  9. #9
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh
    Yes, they do. And it happens often enough to be a pain in the butt. But what are the chances that of 28 feeds pulled at random, 27 of them would be utterly useless? Yanno?
    At CJ - YES! I get pretty much all the feeds from CJ merchants that have datafeeds, and I would say that 27 out of 28 don't have a decent or usable category structure, or have "ON SALE THIS WEEK ONLY!" in EVERY description or or or....

    One of the reasons I stopped being a datafeed affiliate No useable datafeeds. Complaining to the affiliate managers gets me no where... so stopped trying. Now I concentrate on my own clients and on my own merchant sites, and although the feeds aren't perfect, they are above average. The only reason my tea merchant doesn't have a feed yet is because of Yahoo stores stupid image hosting problems and the fact that we have to locate all the images in a separate place. I won't put up on Shareasale an incomplete feed, or one where the images could just "disappear" on my affiliates.

    I actually have lengthy discussions with my clients about their feeds. They need a LOT of education and even when they hear it from me multiple times they *still don't get it*. Except for Viator, (they do a great job on their feeds), I send back most of my other clients feeds for revision multiple times before it gets into Shareasale. The Mail Order Shoppe and my own merchant sites, I create the feeds for and had scripts created to be sure they are consistent.

    Not all merchants understand the power of feeds, nor are they able to produce something "inhouse" that works without some programming assistance.

    And that goes for merchants across all networks.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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