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  1. #1
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Merchants: Do you understand how affiliates use your feeds?
    I don't think MANY Merchants/AMs/OPMs have a clue how their Affiliates use datafeeds.

    Here we are going into the Back-To-School season and Merchants are making stupid changes to their feeds.

    TWO major shoe merchants are gone from our site. One AM replied back when I asked why no categories - they said "We have put our resources and time elsewhere in more important areas."

    Really? Thank you Payless Shoe Source.

    The other I don't expect a response from as their OPM is Gen3. Merchant removed gender from their feed - not found anywhere.

    Really? Thank you Shoe Metro.

    Merchants: We use feeds for what they were intended to be used for, and then some - to IMPORT and place YOUR products on our websites. YOU have categories, bread crumbs, etc. on your website - can YOU imagine if you did not have these things? No one would be able to navigate your site and find the products they are interested in.

    Without proper feeds no one will ever find your products on our sites - because you won't be there...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    If you are a Shoe Merchant and we don't have you on our site, AND you would like the spaces once occupied by Payless Shoe Source and Shoe Metro - please contact me...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  4. #3
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    UPDATE:

    Holy crap on a cracker - Gen3 responded...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  6. #4
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    UPDATE:

    Holy crap on a cracker...
    Heh - that's the second time I've heard that...

    But it's the first time I've heard this...
    Gen3 responded...
    ...and that is sad. Very sad.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  8. #5
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    What a coincidence. I was going to post a rant earlier today about shoe/apparel feeds that don't specify gender. Got sidetracked digging up other merchant's feeds to fill in for the ones I wasn't going to be able to use any more.
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  9. #6
    Affiliate Manager GeekGalJuj's Avatar
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    As an AM- I can say that while there are some great feed users, part of the problem is that there is a discrepancy somewhere between what partners say the importance of the feed is to the program and meaningful data we actually receive that proves it's vital.

    If a merchant can't track back your sales and see that feeds are providing a meaningful source of revenue it becomes harder for them to justify updates to feeds (which often involves multiple teams that may be even more difficult to convince the necessity of) or the importance of maintaining a feed.

    The issue of how an AM can prove to the rest of the company stakeholders the value of feeds can be really difficult. The teams that we have to work with are often uneducated on what our partners do(and their importance), or more likely- have been given orders about who has the top priority for the way the feeds are created/sent (i.e.-other channels that drive more meaningful revenue that is traceable back to the feed).

    There are a lot of moving parts on the back end, and unfortunately- even if the AM knows how important it can be for your business if they can't track it back to meaningful information/data it becomes very difficult for them to voice your needs and give them an appropriate rank in the other teams' queues.


    Just something I've seen with some of the brands I worked with in the past. Not necessarily saying it's the same in your case.
    Julia Kozuck-Hochstein
    Head of Affiliate Marketing- Zoro.com
    affiliate@zoro.com

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  11. #7
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    You can't measure success with a sh*t feed...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  12. #8
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    Merchants can't track the clicked link back to the feed? Seems like it should be possible, and if not ... it should be possible. Track clicks and sales to the feed links and see what it shows. Maybe feeds are important and maybe not. Would be interesting to know.

  13. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Convergence has a great point. Many affiliates that utilize datafeeds WON'T bother until the datafeed is in good shape. If your datafeed isn't right, you'll get a lot of people sign up for the datafeed, but very few will use it (and those that do will probably not generate much results).
    Michael Coley
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  14. #10
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    What's worse is a decently sorted feed that gets stale and unproductive or gets replaced with complete chaos and messes up everything an affiliate may have already put into it. Removal is sometimes the only remedy because trust is shot. No matter how badly we may want to feature specific products and write about what makes them special, if the feed is unreliable, it is a waste of time.

    As an example, I had a horrible time with one small feed in April after going to great lengths to get the strangely formatted feed to work at all the previous Oct. and finally got it going OK again.. then noticed that no new feed was available, but 75% of the images were not where they were supposed to be. How could this happen? What are they thinking? I don't know, but I'm done trying to work with merchants who don't care to participate at least minimally.

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  16. #11
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    I have been dealing with ranting with feeds for a long time.
    It is inexcusable for an apparel feed to not contain gender until its a specialty site that obviously caters to only one gender. Gender is just a no brainer for an apparel site. I can't stress this enough, especially shoes.

    Categories are a different thing. Categories are so subjective that I don't like using them. Every merchant has their own categories so for me, its easier to look at the product and figure out where that product should be placed. Also if you hard code a category the merchant changes the words slightly and you have to fix it. Much better to use the product name.

    What I never understood about datafeeds and the merchants reluctance to create that is shouldn't it be trivial to create one? I mean all sites with even a couple scores of products are run by a database which contains all the info (needed for a datafeed) about a product. Why doesn't it take less than an hour to create the datafeed file simply by querying the database that makes the site. We are in the age of computer automation of this type of thing should be simple. Then you create a cron to upload this every night or so. You give any competent programmer access to your database and he/she should be able to make very good datafeed that self updates in less than a half a day and you never have to worry about it again as long as the structure on the original database remains constant which they should.
    Expert who says Moo

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  17. #12
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    regarding decently sorted: I don't know what you mean. You give me the information and I'll sort it myself. As a programmer I can sort anything in my database anyway I want (this is what databases do). If I wasn't a programmer, I would dump the datafeed into a spreadsheet and then use that to sort it the way I wanted. Regardless as long at the information is current I don't care how its sorted in the datafeed.
    Expert who says Moo

    a.k.a. OJMOO

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  18. #13
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    regarding decently sorted: I don't know what you mean.
    I went on to describe what I meant: a feed that I had been able to sort only with difficulty (due to null characters in the feed) that gradually lost its images without a new datafeed being available. I notified the merchant about it when the issue began in June, I sent them a complete list of the products and the missing images. The datafeed has still not been updated. I am accustomed to sorting my own feeds and creating or rewriting categories but I am not able to make images appear out of thin air. I suppose I could go to their site and copy the image locations one at a time, but why bother when those images can move as easily as the ones they already gave me.

    I am not about to sort through feeds with 12,000 products and one category: Clothing (or shoes or underwear), that would require viewing one image at a time to decide gender if all I have to go on is a product name like Slim Blue Pants or Brown Penny Loafers. If they don't care, why should I?

    I definitely agree with you on the importance of at least helping us target the right gender. Stores are always sorted into departments, they don't expect customers to dig through racks or bins full of mens, women's and children's shirts to find what they are looking for, why do they dump everything into datafeeds and think it is a useful tool?

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