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  1. #1
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    From what I know so far, a "datafeed" is a large listing of a company's products with images, prices, CJ-tags, etc. I am sure that many of our colleagues up here would be interested in your responses to the following questions:

    I. The datafeed comes in the following formats:
    TAB, CSV, PIPE, XML, and EXCEL.
    Which format is the easiest to convert to, for example, HTML with a program like "4W Webmerge"? Is it advisable to convert to HTML or to a script format?

    II. Are entire (converted) sections of a datafeed sometimes used by affiliates on their sites?

    III. Is the buyer of a product actually making a purchase from a shopping cart on the affiliate's site? Or is he directed for the purchase to the relevant merchant's site?

    IV. Is there a small example of a generic datafeed and the corresponding converted HTML (or PERL/CGI) file that you would not mind sharing? I need to know what to do when I try to achieve the conversion with a program in C++.

    V. Can we have an example of an internet site where a datafeed of some company is actually used?

    Thanks a million.

    huhu

  2. #2
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    My opinion on datafeeds is: if you sell real things on your website with a shopping cart and a billing department datafeeds are a good thing. If you only have an affiliate site with affiliate links on your site there is no need for datafeed.


    carneol

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager emphimy's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by carneol:
    My opinion on datafeeds is: if you sell real things on your website with a shopping cart and a billing department datafeeds are a good thing. If you only have an affiliate site with affiliate links on your site there is no need for datafeed.


    I totally not agree with you... Datafeeds very important for site deep.. and helpful for keywords.. Its converting your site content affiliate site... I think its very important for search engines...

    Datafeeds also makes your job(life) easy...

    UtOpiA StiLL uNBorN

  4. #4
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    huhu,

    Datafeeds have numerous benefits to affiliate sites and can help greatly increase conversion rates. Affiliates using datafeeds from Irvs Luggage are primarily responsible for generating over a 400% increase in Irvs sales from April when we launched the feed through July. So I admit I am a die-hard datafeed fan!

    A datafeed provides affiliates with direct product links - including pictures, descriptions and prices, which take customers right to the product instead of just sending them to the home page with a standard banner. This results in fewer clicks and much higher conversion rates. Many affiliates find they can build an entire website filled with the thousands of products in about an hour, maximizing the merchant’s exposure and optimizing the affiliate’s sales potential.

    See the rest of the article I wrote, including a link to a CJ press release about this here:

    http://www.webpronews.com/wpn-10-200...aDatafeed.html

    I find it's much easier for people to understand if they see examples first. Click here to see examples: http://www.c3scripts.com/

    Visit Chris Ditty's site and check out the FAQ
    http://www.scripts4yoursite.com/

    Then visit cditty's forum here on ABW:
    http://www.scripts4yoursite.com/

    cditty and I are are writing a new article on datafeeds for beginners. I will let you all know as soon as we finish it and it gets published.

    Hope this helps!

    Linda Buquet ~ Affiliate Management Consultant ~ Catalyst eMarketing.com
    Representing High Paying 5 Star Affiliate Programs: Irv's Luggage | Executive Essentials | DentalPlans | IntellicontactPro | zZounds| Roadloans| MORE SOON!

    [This message was edited by Catalyst on August 10, 2003 at 03:21 PM.]

  5. #5
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    Hi Huhu,

    I strongly recommend that you dive in at the deep end and spend a lot of time giving yourself an education on PHP and MySQL at php.net.

    There are various other ways to utilize a datafeed but the plain fact of the matter is that if you want to make money you need to build a unique solution to handle a feed.

    Buying a script allows you to create a site just like every one elses and the search engines will treat it as such... just like everyone elses.

    If you teach yourself how to manipulate the feed and build a database and how to use PHP to achieve all this the sky is the limit.

    Sorry guys but that is my honest opinion based on performance of canned products.

    If you do buy a script make sure that it is capable of creating pages with unique page names, titles and headers for every single generated page. If it can't do this avoid it like the plague.

    All the best, DPG.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    "If you only have an affiliate site with affiliate links on your site there is no need for datafeed."

    Just curious, why?

    Fred
    ____________________

    You might just be a redneck if..."You can't schedule a family reunion until after the parole board meets"

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador FFoc's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by buy_online:
    "If you only have an affiliate site with affiliate links on your site there is no need for datafeed."

    Just curious, why?


    I think what was being referred to was a site like the community site I have listed in my sig.

    Primarily, the aff links are banners of various sizes with the occasional text link thrown in under the forums, and some scattered content links..

    Heavily sales-oriented sites (product comparison sites, etc) almost require a datafeed if you ever intend to go beyond just a handful of pages...

    --
    "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own." – Benjamin Disraeli
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    Ford Fox-body Owners Club -- http://www.ford-fox.org

  8. #8
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    quote:
    Heavily sales-oriented sites (product comparison sites, etc) almost require a datafeed if you ever intend to go beyond just a handful of pages...


    Definitely!

    Even when the comparison is between, "stop searching and buy the thing that's on the page" and "Go back to Google in the hopes of finding something else!"

    After using a feed, it's quite discouraging to type for 1-2 hours and only end up with ONE page!

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    I asked the question, becuase carneol talked about a shpping cart. Implying that if one didn't have a shopping cart, one didn't need a datafeed.

    I didn't understand how it was such a waste of time.

    Fred
    ___________

    You might just be a redneck if..."You can't schedule a family reunion until after the parole board meets"

  10. #10
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    quote:
    Many affiliates find they can build an entire website filled with the thousands of products in about an hour, maximizing the merchant’s exposure and optimizing the affiliate’s sales potential.


    I find this statement disturbing and misleading (but only because I do lot's of customizations with the datafeeds I get and can in no way get a datafeed, generate code for it and have it runnig with thousands of pages in an hour).

    I would love for you to do some analysis and report your findings. Primarily, of the 400% rise in sales Irv's has experienced from datafeeds..... what percent of that increase has been attributable to sites that were generated in an hour via a canned package vs others where customization has taken place.

  11. #11
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    What happypoon said...

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Mike O's Avatar
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    Hi, huhu:

    I'm still pretty much a newbie on datafeeds myself, but here are my answers to at least some of the questions you asked:

    I. Easiest format to use: I think tab-delimited or pipe-delimited give the fewest problems.

    II. I think some affiliates use virtually the entire feed, while others select just a specific area or product category to concentrate on and only use that part of the feed.

    III. I think generally the buyer goes to the vendor's website and uses the cart there. That's the commoner approach anyway.

    IV. See the WebMerge site for their tutorial describing how their program works. I had inherited and expanded a "C" program that did similar things, but tossed it out and bought WebMerge as soon as I got a look at WM. WM is only $79, and writing your own equivalent of that would take darn near *forever*!

    The basic idea is that the datafeed is supplied in rows and columns, each row covers one product. WebMerge takes each row and builds a .html page from the column entries you specify by replacing special "tags" in your "template page" with the column entries.

    V. Example pages: I'd doubt anyone would want to show you their pages for proprietary reasons, but you can download a free trial version of WM that has a set of sample pages generated with WM.

    -- Mike

  13. #13
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    Thank you, Mike, and everyone else who has responded to my message about datafeeds. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that datafeeds are considerably preferable to hand-made pages that take forever to construct and maintain. Naturally, if too many people are using the datafeeds from the same company, without that many changes, we end up with the usual phenomenon of too many competing pages on Google, etc.

    huhu

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    With a data feed you can move beyond the regular mom and pop affiliate business. You can do things that leave the rest of the crowd drooling.

  15. #15
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    quote:
    With a data feed you can move beyond the regular mom and pop affiliate business. You can do things that leave the rest of the crowd drooling.


    In an hour and with no technical skills? I don't think so!

  16. #16
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    Poon & DPG,

    Sorry you find the comment "disturbing." I'm certain that it sometimes takes much longer if you are doing a lot of customization. But I don't really think the comment was meant to be misleading.

    Right after I launched the Irvs feed I had several affiliates email me and say "look at the new luggage site I built - it only took me about an hour to build with the datafeed" One even said - I timed it and it took less than an hour. The sites I looked at were great!
    Although some of them did say they still had some work to do on some graphics.

    I was brand new to feeds then and didn't think to ask them how they did it. My assumption was these guys were very feed savvy and already had standard site templates they had previously built and just sucked in the data.

    According to a 4 1/2 mouse review of WebMerge in MacWorld "The program is also speedy; it generated hundreds of fairly complicated pages for us in less than 20 seconds."

    Regarding Irvs sales increase. I have no way to know who is doing what with the feed or how they generate their sites. I assume some are using a canned approach, some I know are datafeed pros who do this alot have found ways to make the process somewhat streamlined and automated and I'm sure for some it's a laborious and long customization process.

    FYI - I wrote that particular article more for merchants to try to help them understand what a valuable tool datafeeds are. I don't think I ever implied a newbie or non-technical affiliate could build a site in an hour - I think that would be impossible!
    I was trying to convey the benefits to merchants in that article - to get them to provide feeds for the technically savvy affiliates that know what to do with one.

    Linda Buquet ~ Affiliate Management Consultant ~ Catalyst eMarketing.com
    Representing High Paying 5 Star Affiliate Programs: Irv's Luggage | Executive Essentials | DentalPlans | IntellicontactPro | zZounds| Roadloans| MORE SOON!

    [This message was edited by Catalyst on August 11, 2003 at 10:31 AM.]

    [This message was edited by Catalyst on August 11, 2003 at 10:32 AM.]

  17. #17
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    quote:
    In an hour and with no technical skills? I don't think so!


    I agree 100%

  18. #18
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    [Edited Out]

    Read the message and it didn't make sense.

    Just woke up sorry

  19. #19
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    I stand to my opinion and for the future I see that SEs can only serve with corresponding search results, when they block all those pages.
    And hopefully they will do soon.


    carneol

  20. #20
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    quote:
    Originally posted by carneol:
    My opinion on datafeeds is: if you sell real things on your website with a shopping cart and a billing department datafeeds are a good thing. If you only have an affiliate site with affiliate links on your site there is no need for datafeed.


    carneol


    I agree, no need for datafeeds.

  21. #21
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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by carneol:
    My opinion on datafeeds is: if you sell real things on your website with a shopping cart and a billing department datafeeds are a good thing. If you only have an affiliate site with affiliate links on your site there is no need for datafeed.


    carneol
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I tell you what.... this thread sure is titled appropriately.

    carneol...... You should not speak your opinions when they are obviously based on total lack of understanding and the subject is something you obviosly have no experience in.

    What you said couldn't be farther from the truth. Merchants do not provide a datafeed in the hopes that affiliates will sell their products through their own shopping cart.

    The links provided in a affilate merchants datafeed are still "affiliate links" and are not to be used with your own shopping cart at all!

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the education happy, but everything you said demonstrates that datafeeds are not worth beeing considered to use. I strongly hope that SEs will soon punish all those unnecessary thousands and hundredthousands of websites which block the web and deliver search results which are mostly irrelevant.

    carneol

  23. #23
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Poon I beg to differ. Datafeeds are the bread and butter of shopping cart programs designed to populate real merchant sites. I install many Point of Sale systems that integrate the inventory in a brick-n-mortar store with the owners web e-catalog. Just mark the items you want on your web site or eBay power sellers storefront and push the upload button.

    Datafeeds without any "buy buttons" were an abortion requested by Dupers running shopping comparision sites. Next step in the mutation of datafeeds is BHO's popping up comparision pricing alerts based upon common SKU's, model #'s and descriptions. Why do you think CJ has one huge consolidated datafeed?

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  24. #24
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by carneol:
    Thanks for the education happy, but everything you said demonstrates that datafeeds are not worth beeing considered to use. I strongly hope that SEs will soon punish all those unnecessary thousands and hundredthousands of websites which block the web and deliver search results which are mostly irrelevant.

    carneol


    AHH, there's nothing like the sound of the competition screaming in the morning...

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  25. #25
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    quote:
    Poon I beg to differ. Datafeeds are the bread and butter of shopping cart programs designed to populate real merchant sites.


    OK, fine tell me one "affiliate program" here that allows you to place orders for customers through "your own shopping cart" and then ship / forward them to "your customers". I'm not aware of a one!

    Notice I said :
    "The links provided in a affilate merchants datafeed are still "affiliate links" and are not to be used with your own shopping cart at all!

    Of course, many drop shippers and other companies do provide datafeeds that are specifically used with your own shopping cart but that is not an affiliate based arrangement and you have to consider fraudulent purchases as well as other items.

    Carneols post said -
    "If you only have an affiliate site with affiliate links on your site there is no need for datafeed." This is as far from the truth as you can get!

    Every merchant here that offers a datafeed does so in via an "affiliate relationship" and the feeds "OFFERED BY MERCHANTS HERE" are not intended for use with a shopping cart.

    If I'm wrong, I'm sure hope some people here do me like I did carneol and tell me how stupid I am .

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