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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    AvantLink Datafeed Horror Show
    So I signed up with AvantLink and have been adding merchants with datafeeds right and left. Today I started to actually hook into the datafeeds. I've only looked at 4 program datafeeds so far, but I want to weep, cry, tear my hair out.

    The program so far:

    1800Pools
    Affordable Diabetes
    All Sport Protection
    SkiShop

    The problems....

    No MPN's, but it appears that MPN's are being stuck into the SKU field for all of them?? Hey, a SKU is not a MPN!

    No UPC codes? No UPC code columns in the datafeed? I know AvantLink allows for UPC code, does anyone use it? UPC's are how you get the big exposure people....

    So I just tried another one, Alpineer. Another program with no brand names, no MPN's, and no UPC codes.

    Have I just wasted my time by signing up to 100 programs that are totally useless? Where are the UPC codes, Manufacturer, MPN's that will allow me to actually do something with this data?

    Why don't I even see a UPC column in the feeds I'm downloading?

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  3. #2
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    I just did another one, AlpineWarehouse. It is rated with "excellent" datafeed quality by AvantLink's internal algorithm.

    I've got news for AvantLink... It has very poor datafeed quality. In the comments section it has "contains brand names" as a selling point. Uhhmm, let's break out the champagne (*not*).

    Once again, no MPN's, no UPC codes, and not, in the least bit usable by a price comparison website.

  4. #3
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Don't these merchants list in Google Shopping, where UPC codes are required? Well, where is the data AvantLink?

  5. #4
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Horror show? Ouch. I usually hear the opposite, that our feeds tend to be better.

    I am not sure what the data quality scores are with the merchants you listed, but I can tell you they probably aren't the highest on the network.

    I am sorry but I don't know what you mean by "MPN".

    We do have a standard in place for feeds, that includes a required 7 data columns for all merchants. You can see the merchant datafeed specs here.

    Merchants are encouraged to include as much data as possible, but as you could probably guess for many merchants it's challenging enough to just get the required fields.

    Here is a recent thread on our forum category that talks a lot about feed features, etc... in case that helps.

    http://www.abestweb.com/forums/avant...st-166682.html

    AvantLink Datafeed Info/Tutorial: Datafeed Manager
    Last edited by GravityFed; July 8th, 2013 at 06:28 PM. Reason: typo/link

  6. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Gary,

    I'm sorry, I have to concur with isellstuff. Worked on feeds this weekend, Just terrible. Example: Eastern Mountain Sports feed is rated 3 stars. Should be 3 stars out of 10. No way is that an "Excellent overall feed quality". Again, sorry...

    BTW -

    MPN = Manufacturer Part Number
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  8. #6
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    MPN=Manufacturer Part Number. You call it Manufacturer ID I believe

  9. #7
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    So how do our feeds compare to other network feeds? Since the words "horror" and "terrible" are being used in this thread, I would like to know.

  10. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary-avantlink View Post
    so how do our feeds compare to other network feeds? Since the words "horror" and "terrible" are being used in this thread, i would like to know.
    1. GAN
    2. CJ
    3. LS
    4. IR
    5. SAS
    6. AL
    7. PJX only reason they are at the bottom is because they do not offer compressed feeds.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  11. #9
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Hmmm maybe someone should do a poll.

  12. #10
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    The feeds at the other networks are better than the feeds at AvantLink - even though some of them are bad too.

    You have to work on one of your feeds forever to make it usable - if you can even make it usable.

    I hate having to try to use one of your merchant's feeds.

    The same merchant at CJ and AvantLink will have a much better feed at CJ???

    You need to crack down on some of the merchants you have so they will improve their feeds with you.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  14. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post

    Now - time for AL to add additional columns to the feed choices (NOT XML silliness).

    If the fields are there, affiliates can pester the merchants to get them filled.

    If the fields are there, the network sales team can show the merchants that merchants with GOOD datafeeds seem to have higher sales. See this over and over again on ALL the networks. Crappier the feed, lower the merchant's sales...
    Needed fields just aren't there. Merchants are lazy and will provide the least amount of information they can. Most AMs/OPMs really don't understand a good feed...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  16. #12
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    For merchants who have a lot of categories, and where you want to select those you want to actually use, the selection boxes are just too small.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  17. #13
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence
    Most AMs/OPMs really don't understand a good feed...
    Now there's an understatement!
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  19. #14
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Needed fields just aren't there. Merchants are lazy and will provide the least amount of information they can. Most AMs/OPMs really don't understand a good feed...
    I was wondering if I was seeing a datafeed bug on the AvantLink side of things because the feeds were so sparse.

    I couldn't understand why AvantLink would rank so highly in the recent poll with feeds of this quality???

    I'm about to go through every consumer products datafeed on AvantLink and I will update this thread with the results.

    For me, a high quality datafeed will have:

    1) UPC codes !!!
    2) Manufacturer + Manufacturer Part Number
    3) Shipping Costs and Free Shipping Offers
    4) A well structured Taxonomy
    4) Additional attributes (color, size, format, etc)

    I think I have about 80 - 100 program datafeeds to examine. So far, they have been very, very sparse with no useful data, from my perspective due to no unique identifiers.

  20. #15
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy View Post
    The same merchant at CJ and AvantLink will have a much better feed at CJ???
    This is a clue for AvantLink. Do they have a bug or do they need to be more pro-active with their merchants?

    I repeat... Google Shopping FORCED merchants to provide UPC codes or Manufacturer + MPN. Just about all merchants are in Google Shopping. Where are the unique identifiers on AvantLink?

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  22. #16
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Needed fields just aren't there. Merchants are lazy and will provide the least amount of information they can. Most AMs/OPMs really don't understand a good feed...
    Been there, done that! We look at the feeds to make sure that they appear filled but since we don't employ them we don't always catch the mistakes. Have considered asking an affiliate to go over a new one and write an audit in exchange for $100. Of course have to fund that myself so its money out of pocket.

  23. #17
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    1. GAN
    2. CJ
    3. LS
    4. IR
    5. SAS
    6. AL
    7. PJX only reason they are at the bottom is because they do not offer compressed feeds.
    Thanks for listing this Convergence. I agree with your ordering although I can forgive pepperjam for not having compressed download. I have signed up with Impact Radius but haven't started with their feeds yet. I was starting with AvantLink first just because of the recent ABW poll where they ranked so highly.

  24. #18
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    I couldn't understand why AvantLink would rank so highly in the recent poll with feeds of this quality???
    Because the majority of affiliates don't process AND use the feeds the way we do...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  26. #19
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    There is no shipping costs column in the AvantLink feed format. AvantLink, if a merchant offers free shipping and they set shipping costs = 0, then it will show up as Free Shipping on price comparison websites. This is very useful data.

    ShareASale is the only other network that is missing shipping data in their feed format.

  27. #20
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    I agree with some of the comments here. The AL feed is sparse. I was happy to find a vendor in AL that I was working with in GAN. But when I downloaded the feed and looked at it, it simply didn't have the data that I needed. I didn't try to incorporate this merchant's feed. Now I am signed up with the merchant but can't promote it because of their feed quality or lack there of.

  28. #21
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    I take it sam_park that the merchant did have the required data in their GAN feed?

  29. #22
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    I take it sam_park that the merchant did have the required data in their GAN feed?
    I'd say nearly all the merchants making the move from GAN to another network did not bring their complete feed with them.

    It would be so easy for a network to do what Impact Radius appears to be doing - offer TWO feed formats: Network and Shopping.com.

    Why not Network (thin and weak) and the Google Shopping format?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  30. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    I take it sam_park that the merchant did have the required data in their GAN feed?
    Yes, they did in their GAN feed.

  31. #24
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Why not Network (thin and weak) and the Google Shopping format?
    This is a very strong idea which should be adopted by all networks.

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  33. #25
    Affiliate Manager
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    Gary - An AL merchant here. Is there a way for merchants to view their feeds after uploading? I've spent a good deal of time cleaning ours up, adding Google standardized categories, etc. Yet we still get a quality score of one. It'd be great to have a visual check.

    And for the frustrated publishers - We'll start including the unique identifiers. As noted they are required for Google Shopping. We have them and I suspect 95% of other merchants do also.

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