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  1. #1
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    O.k, O.k.,

    I am NOT a dummy. (I keep telling myself) I should be able to read and follow
    the WebMerge tutorials and follow the Forum discussions (I copied and
    created a Helpfile of all the problems and fixes for a reference) and
    figure out how to use WebMerge.
    I have taken Html I & II, know basic Javascript, learned Dynamic HTML
    and Css, and taken Access database classes.
    But, I am not a programmer.
    "No problem" I tell myself. You can figure this out.
    NOT!
    I downloaded a text datafeed from http://www.gigagolf.com/affiliates/d...d/gigagolf.txt
    and used it as a test
    document to play with and understand the basics.
    I imported the text file into Access, and also Excel to create three
    seperate versions of the datafeeed to learn from. (using Office 2k)
    I started WebMerge, and all I got was a bunch of gibberish.

    From the "Sources" tab I selected the file to import. On the preset
    I selected "Affiliate feed- pipe delimited".
    I selected the "First line of file contains field names" checkbox.
    I set the Field Name delimiter as |.
    I selected the Data Delimiter as | and checked the "text values are in quotes"
    checkbox.

    I used the same pattern on the Index, Detail, and Generation pages,
    limiting the results to 10.

    I got a bunch of gibberish. I tries the Access and Excel files, same
    thing.
    I went back and changed the "Presets" to different options, more gibberish.

    What-in-the-hell-am-I-doing-wrong?

    I'm about to pull what remains of my hair out.

    I decided to take a break, ask this forum for help, and sleep on it.

    I'm determined to learn WebMerge, I think it's a good tool for affiliates.

    Is there a url I can visit, a place to get step-by-step instructions?

    Many, many thanks.

    Rick K.

    Lost in Cyberspace

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    A quick look shows that the values aren't in quotes here.

    Also I see that MOST of it's double-pipe delimited. BUT the headers AREN'T! Definitely a hair-pulling situation. I wonder what else is screwy about that feed. Makes me glad that's not one of *my* merchants (And to think some people say they LIKE feeds from outside of CJ! Maybe not you, but I think some people do thrive on the kind of unnecessary frustration caused by proprietary formats!)

    I'd handle that difference in the delimitation this way:
    Put in the "field names" delimiter as single-pipe. Manually enter || into the "data" delimiter box (yes, the same box that is for the drop-down. It also accepts manual input).

    Then cross your fingers, say a little prayer, and run it!

    If you're getting some other dialect of the Gibberishian language, it would help if you posted an example.

    PS Don't forget to put your LinkSnare ID in where it says [SITE.CODE]!

    ~Cheapskate merchants need not apply

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I think Leader has identified your problem. I also found you sometimes have to play with the delimiters when you enter them manually. You can't just type them in and have them work. I believe I had to press the right arrow key afterwards, or something strange like that. Anyway, keep this in mind if it doesn't work for you immediately when you change the delimiters. I only have one or two feeds that I need to do this to, for some reason.

    The best advise I can offer is to just keep playing around with WebMerge, eventually it will start working and things will begin to click. It took me a while to get the hang of it as well.

    Good luck!

    Andy

    _______________
    <font color="red">Call the Exterminators! We've Got <A HREF="http://www.parasiteware.com" TARGET="_blank"><B>PARASITES!</B></A></font>

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Mike O's Avatar
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    If I were you I'd pick a cleaner datafeed.

    You're trying to solve two problems at the same time -- dealing with a messy datafeed and learning WM. Better to deal with each separately.

    Another thought is to build your own "datafeed" -- say 5 items -- manually with NotePad or somesuch, and use that to learn WM with.

    -- Mike

    "Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things."
    -- Willa Cather

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Leader:
    I'd handle that difference in the delimitation this way:
    Put in the "field names" delimiter as single-pipe. Manually enter || into the "data" delimiter box (yes, the same box that is for the drop-down. It also accepts manual input)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If it's a popular format maybe I should add a preset for it? If so, please let me know the delimiters you're using successfully and the name of the format and I'll add it to the next release.

    --
    Richard Gaskin
    Fourth World Media Corporation
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any database on any site
    ___________________________________________________________
    Ambassador@FourthWorld.com http://www.FourthWorld.com
    Tel: 323-225-3717 AIM: FourthWorldInc

  6. #6
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    Thanks, all.
    I'm glad the main problem wasn't me (whew!) but was the screwy datafeed.
    I think I'll create my own datafeed (BTW Leader, you say the CJ feeds are all in the same format? May I ask how they're set up?)

    One step at a time.

    Thanks again.

    Rick K.

    Still has some hair left

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>May I ask how they're set up?~Rick K. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Unfortunately, a cut 'n paste would most likely lose its formatting. So I'll try to describe it. Here goes:

    As I recall, you can choose how you want CJ feeds delimited. I picked TAB. (A lot of database types like Pipe, but some merchants manage to get pipes into their descriptions. But so far I've never seen an extraneous tab in my feeds.) It's been so long now that I forgot all the options available for the CJ feed, but I do remember that there were choices.

    The field names are pretty straightforward. More importantly, they stay the SAME from feed to feed!! For instance, the product name field is ALWAYS labeled "name"--never product_name, or Title, or ITEMNAME or any of the other 50 trillion ways outside feeds name the "name" field! And the SKU is always SKU and not item_number.

    The above is very important when trying to compile a site without having to make a new template for every single merchant.


    I do want to clarify that some merchants DO submit junk to the CJ feed, and occasionally it can cause a bit of baldness. But IMO it's still better than feeds that are all different by design! With the CJ feed you learn pretty quick what to look out for and once you've learned that, you can just deal with it in advance instead of having to troubleshoot after-the-fact. There is the occasional merchant that manages to prove that nothing's foolproof, though...

    More specifically,
    What IS standardized is this: Fields always have the same names. The fields are always in the same order. And the delimiter will always be the one you picked (pick one that's NOT likely to come up naturally in written descriptions). There is a "lastupdated" date, so you can see at a glance if a particular merchant has updated their feed or not (no running feeds that haven't changed!).

    What's NOT standardized is the quality of the information IN the feed. Some merchants think repeating the product name in ALL CAPS is a good thing to do with the description and keywords fields (AUGH!)! Unfortunately, there's not much to be done about merchants who don't know how to write.

    On the other hand, some merchants submit perfect, "feed-clean" data, with real descriptions in the description field, real keywords in the keyword field, and real names in the name field!

    In other words, the format of the *feed* is standardized--but the quality of the data itself is NOT! Actual *data* quality is up to the merchant, and therefore that part still varies wildly, even with CJ feeds.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If it's a popular format maybe I should add a preset for it? ~Richard <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I hadn't seen this variance between field names/data before I clicked that link Rick K. posted.

    But, I have run across the double-pipe before. It seems that feeds coming from C. Ditty's feed-generation service ( http://www.ezdatafeed.com/ ) use this format. I've only got one merchant using his service, but he's got a few popular merchants signed on. So I'd expect demand for a double-pipe preset to grow...

    ~Cheapskate merchants need not apply

  8. #8
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    THIS IS THE ANSWER!!

    Try this. Save the data feed as txt and open it in WordPad. Search and replace all the double pipes with single pipes. Copy and paste this in your spread sheet and see if it works. Save the spread sheet.

    If not this is the method I usually use. Save the data feed as txt. Open it in WordPad. Delete all existing commas. Next search and replace all pipes with commas. Then replace all double commas with a single comma. Copy and paste into your spread sheet. If it works save the spreadsheet as csv.

    I do the latter all the time and it always works for me. Highlight the first blank spot in the text on WordPad to find the first pipe and replace all with commas.

    This is an important work around that took me some effort to figure out. I couldn't even USE about half the data feeds I get in Webmerge without doing this first. I think this hint should be put somewhere that people can find it easily rather than be lost in this thread.

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!
    Affiliates, before you use CJ merchants, Read This! Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

    [This message was edited by SSanf on February 26, 2004 at 07:56 AM.]

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SSanf:
    _THIS IS THE ANSWER!!_

    Try this. Save the data feed as txt and open it in WordPad. Search and replace all the double pipes with single pipes. Copy and paste this in your spread sheet and see if it works. Save the spread sheet.

    If not this is the method I usually use. Save the data feed as txt. Open it in WordPad. Delete all existing commas. Next search and replace all pipes with commas. Then replace all double commas with a single comma. Copy and paste into your spread sheet. If it works save the spreadsheet as csv.

    I do the latter all the time and it always works for me. Highlight the first blank spot in the text on WordPad to find the first pipe and replace all with commas.

    This is an important work around that took me some effort to figure out. I couldn't even USE about half the data feeds I get in Webmerge without doing this first. I think this hint should be put somewhere that people can find it easily rather than be lost in this thread.

    __Mr.Merchant,_ if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!_
    __Affiliates, before you use CJ merchants, http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?q=Y&a=...76006894&p=1__ Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

    [This message was edited by SSanf on February 26, 2004 at 07:56 AM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That seems like a lot of work. And in the case of the feed cited above, it appearsd as though the double pipes serve a valid purpose to denote empty fields (did I misread that?).

    I'd much rather have WebMerge automate this stuff for y'all, so you can spend your time focusing on designing great sites.

    It's not possible to make specialized parsers for every feed, but if you find common patterns to multiple feeds that require modification please let me know which feeds and what those modifications are and I'll expand the presets list to include those.

    --
    Richard Gaskin
    Fourth World Media Corporation
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any database on any site
    ___________________________________________________________
    Ambassador@FourthWorld.com http://www.FourthWorld.com
    Tel: 323-225-3717 AIM: FourthWorldInc

  10. #10
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    While it is certainly annoying to have to do this, in reality the time involved is about 5 minutes max to get the feed ready for use and it beats not being able to use the feed at all. Anyway, there it is. You have a way to use the feeds if you want to. I have never been unable to get a feed to work using this method and I have done quite a few, now. You might have to leave the double commas in your feed. Just try it and see which ever works. I would have to see the feed to know.

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!
    Affiliates, before you use CJ merchants, Read This! Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

  11. #11
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    =================
    You say the CJ feeds are all in the same format?
    May I ask how they're set up?
    =================

    I have had good luck with generating websites using WebMerge along with BeFree and/or CJ datafeeds. The datafeed managers of both groups have been very helpful and responsive to my questions.

    You can recieve BeFree feeds free of charge. However, you will need to insert your affiliate ID into each BeFree feed. That's a simple find/replace operation and no big deal (unless you forget to do it!)

    Techically you are to pay a one-time $200 fee to CJ for the set up to receive their feeds. Sometimes they will set this up for you without making a charge. Those feeds come with your affiliate ID already inserted. You can add or delete merchants at a later date.

    In using webmerge to create multi-tier sites it is very important to have the "Primary Category" and "Secondary Categories" (or something equivalent). I have found that most BeFree merchant feeds include these fields, but CJ feeds do not. It is also possible with a bit of database manipulation to combine feeds from BeFree and CJ into one database. This works well when you want to combine the resources of two or three merchants into the same website.

    Below is a list of the standard fields for CJ and BeFree. Most merchants only provide the essential information, e.g., product name, Description, Product ID, SKU, price, buy URL, image URL, impressions tracking code.

    BEFREE DataFeed Fields:
    Manufacturer Name, Brand Name, Product Name, Short Description, Long Description, Product ID, Product Image URL, Product URL, Buy URL, Tracking Tag, Primary Category, Secondary Categories , Manufacturer Part Number, SKU Number, UPC, Sale Price, Retail Price, Discount, Discount Type, Shipping Information, Shipping Time, Shipping Price, Currency, Product Availability, Quantity on hand, Start Date, End Date, Keywords, Product Status, FutureUse1, FutureUse2, FutureUse3, Product Classification

    Commission Junction Datafeed Fields:
    PROGRAMNAME, PROGRAMURL, LASTUPDATED, NAME, KEYWORDS, DESCRIPTION, SKU, MANUFACTURER, MANUFACTURERID, UPC, ISBN, CURRENCY, SALEPRICE, PRICE, RETAILPRICE, FROMPRICE, BUYURL, IMPRESSIONURL, IMAGEURL, ADVERTISERCATEGORY, THIRDPARTYID, THIRDPARTYCATEGORY, AUTHOR, ARTIST, TITLE, PUBLISHER, LABEL, FORMAT, SPECIAL, GIFT, PROMOTIONALTEXT, STARTDATE, ENDDATE, OFFLINE, ONLINE

    Have a Creative Day!
    FRANK, Baertracks
    Be More Creative

  12. #12
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    Hi Baer

    Do you have a step by step for using CJ feeds or know where one is? I can't get my cj feed running at all.

    Thanks

  13. #13
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    Carbod;

    There is a glitch in many BeFree datafeeds that may be causing your problem. There is a trailing space in the header in most BeFree feeds for the field name "Secondary Categories ". WM reads this at Seondary_Categories_" If, however, you logically set up your tag at [WM-FIELD: Secondary_Categories] there will be a mis-match.

    By the way, I am putting the final touches on a WebMerge tutorial for creating Multi_Tier websites. I hope to have a beta version posted this evening. Stay tuned!

    Have a Creative Day!
    FRANK, Baertracks
    Be More Creative

  14. #14
    Full Member kapsat's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Baertracks:
    Carbod;

    By the way, I am putting the final touches on a WebMerge tutorial for creating Multi_Tier websites. I hope to have a beta version posted this evening. Stay tuned!

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    looking forward to that

    dave

  15. #15
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> By the way, I am putting the final touches on a WebMerge tutorial for creating Multi_Tier websites. I hope to have a beta version posted this evening. Stay tuned! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    THIS, I need!

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!
    Affiliates, before you use CJ merchants, Read This! Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

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