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  1. #1
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    Affiliate programs for comparison shopping sites
    Hello all.

    I’m developing a comparison website and would like some guidance/knowledge from those willing to share. I see that major retailers all have their affiliate programs but most require you to register with Linkshare.

    My questions are:
    1. Is it free to get linkshare’s feed on my site?
    2. Are there other feeds and are they free? CJ comes to mind.
    3. Is it really as simple as getting the feeds to display on my site?
    4. Assuming that I’m able to get the feeds to display on my site, do the products come with descriptions or I would need to write mine?

    I really appreciate any guidance or advise that can be offered. Thanks for you time!

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Interesting comment that all major retailers use LinkShare since Commission Junction is a much larger network. Would recommend that you utilize the PopShops tool set to view the datafeed you seek. You can answer most of your questions that way before signing up for the actual feed.

    Not sure if LinkShare is still charging for datafeed access, used to be $250 but that was several years ago.

  3. #3
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    You can get free feeds and free tools to display them with at AvantLink.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi

    1. Is it free to get linkshare’s feed on my site?
    No there is a set up fee to get access to the LinkShare Feed system.

    2. Are there other feeds and are they free? CJ comes to mind.
    Just about every affiliate network has data feeds, many are free to use, I think LinkShare is one of the few that charges to allow access to it

    3. Is it really as simple as getting the feeds to display on my site?
    As simple as what? Not sure what you are asking? Programming wise? Well if your a good programmer and work with databases then no issue, otherwise you'll need to look at systems to manage the data, automate the collection and updating of the data and so on. Or go with a system like PopShops http://www.popshops.com/ where all then work is done for you

    4. Assuming that I’m able to get the feeds to display on my site, do the products come with descriptions or I would need to write mine?
    Depends on the merchant. Most should have descriptions and images

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    3. Is it really as simple as getting the feeds to display on my site?
    As simple as what? Not sure what you are asking? Programming wise? Well if your a good programmer and work with databases then no issue, otherwise you'll need to look at systems to manage the data, automate the collection and updating of the data and so on. Or go with a system like PopShops http://www.popshops.com/ where all then work is done for you
    Agreed.
    You will also need to apply to each of those merchants and be accepted into their affiliate program to access the feeds.

  6. #6
    Full Member iolaire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurs
    3. Is it really as simple as getting the feeds to display on my site?
    Initially for one or two feeds its fairly simple, but grows very complex as you add more feeds. You will run into lots of issues relating to computer strain importing feeds, and if you are doing comparison there are challenges getting products in one feed to match to the same produce in another feed.

    Unless you specifically need the Linkshare merchants I recommend using the other programs which provide feed access for free.

    Assuming you can program a site your biggest problem will be how you can drive traffic to your site and why someone would visit it rather than any other comparison site small or HUGE.

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurs
    1. Is it free to get linkshare’s feed on my site?
    Looking in LinkShare's Publisher Help Center, I found this:

    http://helpcenter.linkshare.com/publ...?questionid=62

    If your request is approved, we will send you an invoice for the Merchandiser setup charges of $250, if applicable*. This fee is a one-time upfront investment to cover the setup and ongoing maintenance of your individual and secure LinkShare Merchandiser FTP Account.

    * There is no setup fee if you meet the following criteria:
    • You have been active in the network for at least 3 months and you generated at least 50 orders in the most recent calendar month
    • You are applying as a member of the LinkShare UK Network
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador affninja's Avatar
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    "If your request is approved, we will send you an invoice for the Merchandiser setup charges of $250, if applicable*."

    Some merchants will waive this fee for you. It was a few years ago, but I believe Sierra Trading Post had it waived for me.
    Your Ad Here.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Interesting comment that all major retailers use LinkShare since Commission Junction is a much larger network. Would recommend that you utilize the PopShops tool set to view the datafeed you seek. You can answer most of your questions that way before signing up for the actual feed.

    Not sure if LinkShare is still charging for datafeed access, used to be $250 but that was several years ago.
    A little bit of generalization on my part but I know walmart requires access to LS. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iolaire
    Initially for one or two feeds its fairly simple, but grows very complex as you add more feeds. You will run into lots of issues relating to computer strain importing feeds, and if you are doing comparison there are challenges getting products in one feed to match to the same produce in another feed.

    Unless you specifically need the Linkshare merchants I recommend using the other programs which provide feed access for free.

    Assuming you can program a site your biggest problem will be how you can drive traffic to your site and why someone would visit it rather than any other comparison site small or HUGE.
    Please pardon my naive question. Which "computer" are you referring to exactly? Is it the one that will host the site, which in my case will be a 3rd party, or another computer that's needed to sort of administer the site?

    I will be outsourcing the programing of the site; however, I do expect to do most of the coding after the first few datafeeds. I might be in over my head as I'm only comfortable in C/C++ but I guess time will tell. Are the APIs in a different language?

    My niche market will take care of the traffic.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    You can get free feeds and free tools to display them with at AvantLink.
    Thanks! I'll look them up.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Looking in LinkShare's Publisher Help Center, I found this:

    http://helpcenter.linkshare.com/publ...?questionid=62
    [/list]
    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Thanks all!

    Another newbie question. How much work is involved in maintaining linkfeeds to the site daily?

    Also, my site is currently being coded but all the affiliate programs that i've seen requires the site to be up and running before being approved. Is there any way around the catch-22? The coder requires me to provide him with the API in order to display the products.

  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Another newbie question. How much work is involved in maintaining linkfeeds to the site daily?
    You need to automate the whole process else there is a lot of working involved in grabbing and updating the feeds. I believe the tech name I am looking for is that you need to set up CRON jobs that will automate the collection of data feeds from any feed source... techies correct me here

    In terms of need to apply/need feed. If you can put up a small static version of your site before hand then that would solve the "no site" issue, or when you get rejected email the Affiliate manager and explain to them what you are doing so that they will approve you

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  15. #15
    Full Member iolaire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurs
    Please pardon my naive question. Which "computer" are you referring to exactly? Is it the one that will host the site, which in my case will be a 3rd party, or another computer that's needed to sort of administer the site?
    I mean your "web host" which will quickly turn into the need for a dedicated computer or process to convert these feeds from being located on say the LinkShare FTP site, to be in your database and displayed in some fashion on a site.

    For example, lets say you are importing x feed with 5,000 items you import it into a database, so some custom stuff on it and display it on a website using some sort of database to website code.

    That seems fairly simple - you do it on shared hosting with no problem. But then you see that this works, maybe I'll add Buy.com data Home_and_Outdoor products, all 177,102 of them. Suddenly you are parsing almost 200,000 records each update, your host starts saying your database install is taking up to much CPU or RAM fix it or move... Plus lets say you now have 1,000 or 200,000 product pages that you hope google might craw - and each page hit starts using up all your "hosts" resouces...

    To learn of some of the issues search for the very detailed data-feed posts from MarkWelch. (This is why everyone keeps recommending services like PopShops that do the database work for you - but you have to work within their framework.

  16. #16
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    Thanks Chris! I don't know why I never thought of making it static initially.

  17. #17
    Full Member iolaire's Avatar
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    To get some background on the datafeed processing make sure you read the static post at top of:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=193
    titled: Building UNIQUE autoupdating bulletproof datafeed sites that sell.

  18. #18
    Member vicjg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurs
    Please pardon my naive question. Which "computer" are you referring to exactly? Is it the one that will host the site, which in my case will be a 3rd party, or another computer that's needed to sort of administer the site?

    I will be outsourcing the programing of the site; however, I do expect to do most of the coding after the first few datafeeds. I might be in over my head as I'm only comfortable in C/C++ but I guess time will tell. Are the APIs in a different language?

    My niche market will take care of the traffic.
    Have you found someone to outsource the work to?

    I've worked with a few comparison sites and have been doing the database end of it for the last 10 years.

    If you're interested in outsourcing it, let me know. I might be available.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicjg View Post
    Have you found someone to outsource the work to?

    I've worked with a few comparison sites and have been doing the database end of it for the last 10 years.

    If you're interested in outsourcing it, let me know. I might be available.
    Yes. It is being coded as we speak.

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