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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    Hi there!

    I realize how important it is to our affiliates that we categorize the data feeds we offer outside of CJ.

    Although there is no column in our feed entitled 'category', the product names reflect the style name, and are the same as what 'category' would include (I believe, depending on how you want to group the items on your site). Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    The feed is delivered to our affiliates already sorted/grouped by product name.

    Is there something else you might suggest we include in our datafeed to make things easier for categorizing them on affiliate sites?

    I value your insight on this as I work to improve our program.

    Thanks everyone and...
    Happy Friday!

  2. #2
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    Hi Liz,

    Maybe you should mention you're talking about Rugman.com

    Often I prefer to have a column in the feed that contains the categories, instead of product names that reflect the style names. It's possible to make a nice categorized site with both feeds, but with a 'category' column it's just easier.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I always suggest that merchants include the full category hierarchy that they have on their sites. For example: Apparel > Women's > Tops > Denim.
    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

  4. #4
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    Using a product name for a category name does not seem to be viable unless there are many products with the same name. If it is part of the product name and you expect the affiliate to create categories based on part of the product name, then that is something most people won't take the time to do.

    And I second what Micheal said about a hierachy, as long as it doesn't go too deep! Usually 2-3 levels is good, in my opinion.

    You said on the datafeeds available outside CJ, what about the datafeeds in CJ?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    I'm looking at this from the perspective of a consumer, but it might be useful as well for the purpose of organizing the feed.

    Does your datafeed provide fields for size and shape? I once had a terrible time trying to find a 4 foot round area rug as most rug stores don't have a search feature that allows for size and/or shape. Over time I became less concerned with most other features I desired as the dimensions and shape were my limiting factors.

    Just a thought.

  6. #6
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    Hi there - sorry for the delay in responding and thanks again for your input here people!

    Hi Loxly - not sure if you're a member of Rugman's affiliate network but our CJ feed is quite limited. They don't allow us to go in and update it regularly on our own - we have to go through them so instead we offer a much more extensive list of items through our in-house feeds, while our CJ ones are limited. (Please see my below, later statement for clarification of this statement)

    Rhea - our feed provides fields for size but not for shape since 99% of our rugs are rectangle in shape. We do carry the odd round or oval from time to time but not regularly enough to warrant a field in a feed for it. I can see how you might have had a hard time finding what you were looking for! Anyhow we definitely offer a field that organizes the rugs by dimension.

    Hope that answers your questions. Any other suggestions to us on how to best develop our datafeeds are always appreciated!

  7. #7
    Internet Cowboy
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    Does color play in to the hunt when consumers are looking for a rug? Maybe general color categories like earth tones, pastels, solids etc.
    I am a Rugman affiliate but have not gotten to your datafeed just yet.
    The fact that you are in here asking these questions tells me that I need to make it a priority because there is apparently an AM in place who will ask and take advice from affiliates. That says a lot.

    I am adding you to my mix now
    Scott


  8. #8
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    YES! Color schemes definitely need to be addressed. I think this is the one place that we can create new and different sites for people that focus on colors when decorating. I saw *ONE* poster site doing this (they don't have an affiliate program) and I wish lots more decorating oriented programs would offer color categories.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    There is a more practical reason to adding a category or categories to the feed. Michael hinted at it above.

    Categories are used to allow proper "drill-down" navigation from a top level page to individual products. If there are no categories, it becomes a much larger challenge to get a site visitor to the correct product, if they land higher up in the hierarchy.

    If there were a way to break off common information from the product description (for example), you might be able to build categories that way. << hint for datafeed users wishing to enhance their pages

    Just my observation...

    Fred

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    Glad to see that you're all continuing to post in response to my inquiry - your input really means a lot to me and the rest of my team here at Rugman!

    Scohaz - thanks for the kind words - looking forward to hearing from you.

    I won't say what exactly we're working on at this point (love our competition but you know how it goes) - I will say that we're always working hard on site search optimization and that a lot of focus has been placed on development of color categories for the very reasons you have mentioned above. I'm happy to report we can look forward to an even better Rugman in coming months.

    FYI - I just picked up a phone message from CJ that was left in response to what I posted here today and it seems I may have inadvertently misinformed some of you. My apologies - I'd like to clarify that I'm not saying CJ won't ALLOW us to update or expand our feeds - they most certainly will.

    It's simply more efficient for us to do it in-house, which is why we offer a larger, private feed - for your benefit. To reiterate - we DO offer CJ feeds as well - we simply ALSO offer in-house feeds for your convenience.

    Additionally - when I say our CJ feeds are limited, what I'm saying is that we only offer a small number of items in our CJ feeds compared to our in-house ones. Please note this is not an issue where CJ won't allow us to expand it, it's simply the number that was decided on by my predecessor.

    Your comments are welcome.

    Hope that clears up any misunderstanding as a result of what I posted earlier today... I'll be calling CJ later this afternoon to clear it up with them directly, and get more details on what was wrong with my earlier statement.

    In the meantime, hope I've cleared up any mix-up for whoever it was who reported to CJ about the issue.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me - open communication is the name of the game with me.

    I'm in meetings most of the day today so for any one who contacts me privately, please allow me some time to get back to you.

    Cheers!

  11. #11
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    I didn't contact CJ, and maybe they read it themselves, but I am concerned that the CJ feed doesn't have all the products. I am looking at adding your products to my sites and although you have a large outside feed available, now that I am signed up for the CJ feeds, I prefer to work with them because they are all in one place and all in a common format. I prefer not to have to go to each merchant site and go hunting for feeds, if you know what I mean. It takes time and I have to *remember* what merchants have outside feeds.

    I would ass-u-me that even if the outside feed has a different layout, the CJ feed would have the majority of products, and have them categorized. There are several columns for categories. Two-three deep is plenty to work with, in my opinion.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    Hi Loxly

    I can understand how having to go to every merchant individually can be frustrating and difficult to keep on top of. In order to accommodate each of our affiliates individual needs as best possible, I'm trying to be as flexible as I can.

    You're right - our CJ feed does not have all the products that we offer in our in-house feeds. That's what I was trying to say earlier when I said our CJ feed is limited - I meant by us - not by CJ.

    Since you've made mention of it, I'm going to look into what I need to do to expand our feed in CJ and offer more selection and more current product through those CJ feeds as soon as I can. Please note that where our in-house feeds are concerned, I regularly email the updates to our datafeed-receiving affiliates myself, so you don't need to come to me - I bring them to you.

    However, in keeping with the theme of being as flexible as possible, I've contacted CJ to get the ball rolling on what we can do to make our feeds through CJ more appealing and more versatile for you. I'll be getting more details on how best to tackle that tomorrow and will get back to all of you accordingly.

    Please message me if you'd like me to send you a private feed for now. It's up to you - either way I look forward to doing all that I can to ensure you all have what you need to be successful as an affiliate of Rugman.com.

    Everyone else - although I'm going to look into what can be done with our CJ feeds anyhow now that Loxly's voiced a desire to see a better feed there, please let me know if expanding our CJ feeds is what you're gunning for yourselves. If there's enough of a desire for it, I'll have more ammo to bring to our meetings at Rugman in order to move on it as soon as possible.

    Best regards,

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