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  1. #1
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    I'm venturing into data feeds and I'm just wondering how you update them? Doesn't that require a lot of time and w*rk?

    That is, if you have 10-15 different merchants with feeds on your site and you use a program like web merge, every time a merchant updates the feed you have to manually update your site, right?

    I'm sure I've gotta be missing something but each of the datafeeds I've played around with has required me to clean them up in Excel before putting them on my site. For even 10-15 merchants it seems like it would require a LOT of upkeep on an ongoing basis.

    Is there any easier way to streamline this or do people not put prices on their sites to keep from having to update the feeds so often or ...?

    Sorry, I know what I'm trying to ask is coming out a bit garbled but I hope someone can make sense of it.

    Thanks,
    Kip

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador FFoc's Avatar
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    My datafeed sites update themselves automagically every "x" (depends on how often the feed is updated) and rebuild. Look in Programming Corner under the latest topic asking for a perl script..

    --
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  3. #3
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    I update all of my sites once a week. You should be able to code most or all of the job to make your job very streamlined.

    The largest problem is merchants changing things arround - either renaming categories or changing the feed format itself. There is nothing you can do about that part.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador cditty's Avatar
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    I generally updatre mine like FFoc. Setup a cronjob and forget about it. Focus on other things for the site and not the content.

    I agree with chrisk about the categories. Merchants....leave the feed format alone once you have it set unless you just HAVE to change it. I and others have been run off by more than one affiliate program because they changed the categories too often.

    Chris

    ----------------------------
    Scriptsforyoursite.com - Featuring datafeed import scripts for Backcountry Store, Coldwater Creek, Mondera.com and many more.....

  5. #5
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    Ah, I think I see now. Thanks. Two other quick follow ups if you all don't mind:

    1. Is there an easy way to update with just the changes in the feed and not the whole feed itself? I read through a couple of pages of posts in the programming section and it seemed like the updates were of the whole feed.

    2. I'm assuming that you just go with the information in the script and don't make changes? I think that is what I'm hung up on. I've been cleaning up the feeds, but if you want to update the feeds it's almost impossible to go back in and clean up the feeds each time the datafeed gets changed.

    Do I have this right (or sort of right?)

    Thanks so much,
    Kip

  6. #6
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    You need to code something that will take the raw feed and create the same site each and every time without 'cleaning up' anything by hand. It must also add new products and get rid of the old ones..

    If you dont code it this way, you will never keep on top of it and your prices/inventory will become stale.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager Allen Nance's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by chrisk:
    You need to code something that will take the raw feed and create the same site each and every time without 'cleaning up' anything by hand.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well if that's the case, would anyone be willing to share with us dummys, any scripts, programs, where to get them, websites that offer the programs or such that would help us get datafeeds going?

    I am not ept at writing code, and would have to find something off the shelf, or close to it that would work.

    Allen

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Mike O's Avatar
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    Well, I'm pretty new to feeds myself.

    But the way I've done all of my pages -- those made manually and those made with feeds -- is to not show prices on the pages.

    That lets me update the pages pretty rarely. If there's an occasional product that has gone unavailable, the merchant's default page will normally be enough to get the visitor interested and looking around the merchant's pages anyway.

    -- Mike

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador FFoc's Avatar
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    Kip:
    1 - Yep - you have to retain the last feed download and run a comparison on the two to figure out the difference (there are several small programs which will do this for you)..

    2 - if the feed requires serious clean up, I just drop it and go with another merchant who's feed doesn't.


    Gearshopper:
    I started out by using a couple tutorials on building database sites using PHP/MySQL - I put some links up in this post: http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?q=Y&s=...583#7116008583

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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    I created a spreadsheet that tracks all of of my feeds, and let's me know when I should use WebMerge to update the feeds. This is if one is using WebMerge and creating static feeds, not perl or PHP and doing it on the fly at your site.

    I haven't gotten this far yet, but I am going to have excel fire up Webmerge and update the databases automatically with a macro.

    Do some of the feeds need cleaning up? - you betcha! That's another macro in excel. If you are doing your pages dynamically (PHP - perl) at the server, then that's just part of your script - a much longer story.

    Fred
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  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador cditty's Avatar
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    In my opinion, this is the best site out there for feeds.

    http://www.scripts4yoursite.com



    Chris

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    Scriptsforyoursite.com - Featuring datafeed import scripts for Backcountry Store, Coldwater Creek, Mondera.com and many more.....

  12. #12
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kip:
    I'm venturing into data feeds and I'm just wondering how you update them? Doesn't that require a lot of time and w*rk?

    That is, if you have 10-15 different merchants with feeds on your site and you use a program like web merge, every time a merchant updates the feed you have to manually update your site, right?

    Thanks,
    Kip<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't have anything automated script-wise either, so unlike these coders I know what you're talking about!

    First, I don't put prices on anything except for one merchant in one section. That means that all but one of my merchants doesn't have that price-accuracy pressure.

    As for *inventory,* MY merchants tend to keep substantially the same inventory over time. I didn't AIM for this, specifically, but it has worked out that way. That means that in a month or so, they'll still have the great majority of what they had the month before. If you have chosen many merchants with ever-changing stock, that will = more work for you!

    The thought of updating "every time they do" sounds daunting, but most of my merchants aren't all that antsy to update their feeds. If I pull the "lastupdated" field out of the Big Huge Feed, usually about 10 places (out of about 45 I get feeds from) will come up as having had an update within a month's time. There are also still some 2002s in the list (lastupdated 2002, that's the other side of the coin--not enough updating on their part)!

    One of the reasons for my reluctance to do updates is because Google seems awful at catching a "moving target." Presenting a fairly stationary target gets much better results from Google and any other engine that's not being paid to come by every couple of days.

    Of course, nothing should be ignored so long that it becomes overly choked with OOS (out-of-stock) stuff either! Instead of using a raw number of items to determine how much OOS is too much, I go by percentages. A little 100-product feed with 12 OOSes is too old and NEEDS updating, bad! But if there's 3000 products in the feed and 10 of them are out, Oh Well, Too Bad. I'll spot-check pages to check availability and extrapolate from the results--no way I'm checking each one of thousands of items.

    The worst feeds are the ones that COME WITH lots of OOS when the merchant sends it up! Those only tend to get looked at ONCE, cussed out, and forgotten.

    On a lighter note, I must be magically repelled from merchants who change their stock every week or so, though, because I've only got ONE that fits *that* description! It's probably a subconscious part of merchant-picking that has given me this effect. I hate *shopping at* stores that are always "something new, something different", instead preferring the stable and familiar kind where you always know where everything is, "just like home". Even though I didn't realize it at the time, it seems that I applied this criteria to my merchant selection process, because my merchants aren't too likely to go and change things.

    As for WebMerge--it's a LOT less w*rk to do upd*tes than it is to do the original setup. That's because the templates are already made (make sure you save the template for EACH merchant so you don't have to redo the spin/intro)! So it's just a matter of running it again with the new dataset, after doing any cleaning up you need to with the feed.

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

  13. #13
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    Thanks to everyone who responded. I don't think I'm techie enough (yet! ) to implement the coding that what I want to do requires so I will stick with webmerge and Chris' scripts for now until I learn more.

    Thanks again!

    Kip

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Kip,

    I am from the same school of thought as Leader, and have the same sort of habits (concerning datafeeds). It is not as hard as it sounds.

    You can be successful with both WebMerge (see their forum here), or Scriptsforyoursite. Both offer good support. The next version of WebMerge will have ten-times as much functionality as the current version, and will be easier to operate - with lots of examples.

    Don't be discouraged, go for it.

    Fred

    You might just be a redneck if..."Your talent in the local beauty pageant was making noises with your armpit"

  15. #15
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    Thanks Fred. I spent the whole day today trying to get a handle on MySql, Php, etc. to try to learn enough to do the coding but I'm just not getting it right now. I definitely am going to take the suggestions of you and Leader to start with.

    Thanks,
    Kip

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