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  1. #1
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    What is a Datafeed?
    A datafeed is a file that contains data broken down by different fields.
    Every datafeed is different.
    Not only the obvious differences in products, (Ciruit City has different products than The Backcountry Store) but the formats and structure of datafeeds can be drastically different as well.
    Many feeds contain a single category structure to help sort the data, others have 2 or 3 categories and there are others still with no category structure at all.
    Regardless of format, all datafeeds can be summed up as a collection of data.
    That's it.
    It's what you do with the data that makes them special.

    How Do I Use a Datafeed?
    This is an easy one to answer.
    HOWEVER YOU WANT!
    Want more detail than that? Then this gets a bit more involved. Read on.

    What Do I Need to Use a Datafeed?
    First, you use some sort of software to utilize datafeeds. Depending on what you are doing with them, what software you have and your knowledge level, there is a way for anyone of any skill level to use them.
    If you have no knowledge of database software, you might elect to open them in a text editor(notepad, wordpad, word, etc) and copy + paste the links you like.
    If you have a basic knowledge of database software and have programs like Excel or Access, you still might prefer to copy + paste but you also might start building tables and pulling data dynamically using ASP, Perl or PHP.
    If you are more advanced, you might build sites that are completely dynamic and could use database software like MySql or Sql Server and more complex PHP, ASP, etc scripts and pages.
    The options are endless in how you can use them.
    I know people who have no knowledge of databases, etc and they simply copy + paste links from feeds using Notepad.
    Sounds Mickey Mouse I thought until I saw literally thousands of pages done that way.
    And some decent cheques too.
    Then on the other end of the spectrum, I know people with hundreds of thousands of pages using PHP and MySql that they can update in next to no time.
    Again, some decent cheques.

    What's the Fastest Way to Learn?
    Do.
    When I decided to use a feed, I signed up with a merchant who had one, got it and jumped in with both feet.
    I had a little access and excel knowledge so I used them. Because I had that knowledge I decided to go with ASP as my scripting language of choice.
    ** Note: Use what YOU want. I use ASP. Many use PHP. there are pros and cons to both. If I was starting over today, I would probably start with PHP & MySql. More hosts use them and costs are lower for hosting, setup, etc. However there are many good windows hosts out there with a lot of comparable plans if you look hard enough. ***
    I had the feed, I opened it up with Excel and went... "wow... there is a lot here!"
    Course then I said "Now what?"
    I didn't know, so I copied and pasted about 50 links and then after the boredom hit, went out and bought a book.
    Ok those who know me know that's not entirely true. I went to the library and borrowed a book so long that I ended up having to buy it. It was cheaper than paying the late fees.
    Right, moving on ....

    What is a Good Book to Start With?
    Depends on your choice of software.
    Want to learn ASP?
    Sam's Teach Yourself E-Commerce Programming with ASP in 21 Days (ISBN: 0-672-31898-9)
    ** IS AN AWESOME BOOK ** If it takes 21 days then there is something wrong. I used it and published a site in a weekend.
    If you go to the Maple Ridge Library you will not find this book there .... just a little note between friends. For what it's worth, I gave them the money for it ... it's not my fault they didn't replace it.
    I'm also big on Active Server Pages Solutions (ISBN: 1-57610-608-x Published by Coriolis)
    as for PHP:
    Beginning PHP4 (ISBN: 0764543644 Published by Wrox Press)
    ** IS AN AWESOME BOOK ** My first PHP book recommended by some people here. A MUST for PHP beginngers. So good in fact, this is the only computer book I have ever bought brand new off the shelf.
    I also found PHP and MySQL Web Development to be an excellent book.
    There's tons out there, but those are the ones I found most helpful in starting out.
    Also, look online. There is so much info floating around on different boards and sites you may never need to actually buy a book.

    Can Anyone Really Use a Datafeed?
    Yes and before you ask IT DOES TAKE WORK.

    Is it Hard to Use a Datafeed?
    No and the second part of the last question's answer.
    Any idiot can take a feed and spit the data onto a website and get a couple of clicks.
    I know because I have done that. Yup, my last name is "Any Idiot".
    Now, I try to find new ways to use the data.
    Be creative, use searches, etc and so forth to present the data in unique ways that will attract visitors.
    Dumping 100,000 pages that are identical to 300 other sites with the same datafeed and 100,000 pages leaves you with a 100,000 pages and your visitors with 30 million pages that they really don't care about. That's a lot of crap to wade through for customers. It's also a whole lot of work trying to rule the serps.

    Does Using a Datafeed Make You a Spammer and a BHO Loving Trick for Click Loser Like Some Other Duck Has Said?
    Uhhhhhhhh No.

    There. You now know enough to sound like you know something about datafeeds.
    You also have some good books to look for if you want to get started.
    Need help?
    Ask around here. Just give it a go before asking the basic things.
    One of us will know how to help you. Not me though, I just sound like I know what I'm talking about.
    And now you can too!!!
    Cheers.



    ...



    What are you still doing here?

    Go get a book!!!

    Cheers!

    <b>Education is Key</b>
    <a href="http://www.parasiteware.com" title="Parasiteware.com">Parasiteware.com</a>
    <br>
    Game on!!!! - The DawgFather

  2. #2
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    with datafeeds ? is it a file u download ? than sort out the data ?

    wouldnt that mean someone who utilizes datafeeds would have to update the feeds often ? just in case of updates

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador FFoc's Avatar
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    yes. to all of that..

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  4. #4
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I had the feed, I opened it up with Excel and went... "wow... there is a lot here!"
    Course then I said "Now what?"
    I didn't know, so I copied and pasted about 50 links and then after the boredom hit, went out and bought a book.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    lol, I did that too when I first started.

    Ebudae

    If you understand, things are just as they are...
    if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

  5. #5
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    s2kinteg916
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> wouldnt that mean someone who utilizes datafeeds would have to update the feeds often ? just in case of updates <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I know people who make use of the datafeed, but don't include prices. By doing this, they rarely if ever update their sites. They promote the product not the price.
    Also, there are many merchants who simply don't need to update their prices more than once or twice a year and only change their datafeed when they do.
    And of course, there are those merchants who should update their prices due to the number of changes, but don't. I don't like them so much.
    CJ had some merchants that were notoriously bad for that. When I was first starting out, I had one merchant there that was by far the largest datafeed of all the ones I received from CJ. It also had the most out of stock items, incorrect pricing and dead links of all the others combined.
    10 ABW bonus points to the person that figures out who that was

    Essentially, how often you need to update your datafeed site depends on a few factors.
    1) frequency stock &/or price changes in the merchants feed
    2) how you are using the data on your site & what data you are using.
    3) your datafeed agreement with the merchant
    Some merchants require you to update your sites every 24 hours, some weekly, biweekly and there are many that don't care.

    &lt;b&gt;Education is Key&lt;/b&gt;
    &lt;a href="http://www.parasiteware.com" title="Parasiteware.com"&gt;Parasiteware.com&lt;/a&gt;
    &lt;br&gt;
    Game on!!!! - The DawgFather

  6. #6
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    Popdawg,

    I am just getting started with product data feeds and I appreciate your description and use of them.

    I have a question about the large groups of affiliates (CJ, LinkShare, beFree, etc).

    Would you recommend a newbie joining these groups or joining directly with the merchants? Are there advantages of one route over the other?

    If large groups, which one?

    If merchants - any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Bo

  7. #7
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    BO;

    BeFree, IMHO, has the best selection of FREE datafeeds. I set up a couple of websites using their feeds just last month, and am already getting good results.

    Also, take a look at WebMerge as a program to generate your webpages from datafeeds (if you aren't already a user).

    Regards,

    FRANK
    Baertracks
    http://bemorecreative.com

  8. #8
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    Frank,

    Thanks. I'm now a member of the big three so I'll check out some of the BeFree merchants. Is there an easy way to find out which ones offer datafeeds? I haven't seen a good way to find out that information directly via a search.

    Bo

  9. #9
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    Hi Bo,
    As Baertracks mentioned, BeFree has a great selection of free feeds. You can get a comprehensive list of merchants offering feeds directly from Scott. He will probably talk with you to make sure you have the technical resources/knowledge to utilize them before approving you. At least that's what was done when I signed up a while back.

    I like the CJ feeds myself ... but the BeFree ones are a close second. That may be because of the the consolidated payments offered by CJ.
    Also, there are some SWEET feeds offered by various merchants with forums here.
    Take a walk through the various merchant forums here and you will see some.
    Cheers,
    PD

    &lt;b&gt;Education is Key&lt;/b&gt;
    &lt;a href="http://www.parasiteware.com" title="Parasiteware.com"&gt;Parasiteware.com&lt;/a&gt;
    &lt;br&gt;
    Game on!!!! - The DawgFather

  10. #10
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    Popdawg,

    Thanks for the insight to the BeFree and CJ datafeeds. The way I understand things is that Linkshare charges a $250 setup fee to access their merchant's datafeeds (if you are approved by the merchant of course). Is this the same for BeFree and CJ?

    Also, sorry for another newbie question. You mentioned getting a list of feeds directly from Scott. Pardon my ignorance, but I don't know who that is. Is he associated with BeFree or someone else?

    I've just discovered this great forum and these awesome resources. I think I have some innovative ideas on how to put datafeeds to good use.

    So far, I've been putting some things together using perl databases with pretty good results on some of the medium sized feeds from independent folks like Art.com and Allposters.com.

    Those datafeeds are around 100K entries with pretty extensive category strucutes. Right now, 100K seems to be about the limit of my search algorithm. I need to add some caching to grow much bigger or scale any.

    I'm curious, do any of you all use the Amazon or Ebay XML product feed? What are your opinions of their approach?

    Thanks,
    Bo

  11. #11
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    Hi Bo,
    Linkshare is $250
    CJ is $250 (I think, its around here somewhere) Unless you hit $10000 in sales in a month, then it's free.

    The Scott I was referring to is from BeFree.
    ABW Username ScottJ ... He's floating around here somewhere right now actually. Hi Scott if you see this

    As for Amazon & Ebay XML feeds, I don't use them. XML has been on my to do list for ages. Sadly, it ranks towards the bottom right now. I have enough to do that I just don't have time to get into it.
    I'm all about the asp/php right now.

    Btw, I sent you a pm.
    Cheers,
    PD

    Education is Key
    &lt;a href="http://www.parasiteware.com" title="Parasiteware.com"&gt;Parasiteware.com&lt;/a&gt;
    &lt;br&gt;
    Game on!!!! - The DawgFather

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Did someone utter my name? Oh, hi Pop.

    Drop me an email, Bo.

    --scott

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  13. #13
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    That's the best feature of BeFree.
    Telepathic contacts

    Oh and another good feature of BeFree feeds;
    I have never had a BeFree feed fail or not show up.
    CJ I had literally months of problems and went weeks without getting feeds at times. That said, the feeds have been working like a charm lately.

    Education is Key
    &lt;a href="http://www.parasiteware.com" title="Parasiteware.com"&gt;Parasiteware.com&lt;/a&gt;
    &lt;br&gt;
    Game on!!!! - The DawgFather

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    You'll find Scott is very responsive to requests and questions, and he knows his stuff!

    Merry Christmas Scott J.

    Fred

    You might just be a Redneck if - Birds are attracted to your beard...

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Thank you Fred! Merry Christmas to you as well.

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    AOL/Yahoo: sjangro

  16. #16
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    Popdawg and all,

    Thanks so much for the info here on this thread. It is very helpful to me right now and is allowing me to get some traction on datafeeds.

    Scott, I'll contact you via email about BeFree and your resources there.

    It is great "foruming" with everyone. I also hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a great holiday season.

    Take care,
    Bo

    PS - Popdawg, I got the PM - thanks again!

  17. #17
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> CJ had some merchants that were notoriously bad for that. When I was first starting out, I had one merchant there that was by far the largest datafeed of all the ones I received from CJ. It also had the most out of stock items, incorrect pricing and dead links of all the others combined.
    10 ABW bonus points to the person that figures out who that was <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Catalog City - Pay-Up Pop~!

    Brian
    aka Cyclone

  18. #18
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    lol Checks in the Mail Cyclone
    Well done

    &lt;b&gt;Education is Key&lt;/b&gt;
    &lt;a href="http://www.parasiteware.com" title="Parasiteware.com"&gt;Parasiteware.com&lt;/a&gt;
    Game on!!!! - The DawgFather

  19. #19
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    I'm about to take the plunge into the copy PHP and MySQL Web Development that's been collecting dust on my desk for 4 months. The thickness of this book is intimidating.

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