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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    I'm just curious as to how many merchants are currently offering an XML interface to their affiliates. If you know of such merchants, could you please reply or PM me with a list?

    Many thanks,

    Shawn Schwegman
    CTO, VP Sales & Marketing
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador CrazyGuy's Avatar
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    Depends on what you mean I suppose (doesn't it always )

    First off, I'm not setting myself up as an XML expert, but I think there's some confusion over the use of XML in this context.

    I see some merchants starting to offer their datafeeds in XML format - it might be me, but I can't imagine why or what anyone does with those files that wouldnt be easier/faster with another flat file.

    What I'd like to see - and maybe where you're coming from - is search results being returned from the merchant as XML.

    So ...

    Affiliate site sends a query to merchant, xml comes back for formatting and display. It's live, dynamic and lots of possible options to make it flexible.

    I can't think of anyone doing it that way - except maybe some of the search sites that serve up results that way.

    I'm doing it myself in a way on some sites as I use some database middleware (my definition) that optionally serves up its search results as XML, so I use it to serve some results to satellite sites from a central database.

    My feeling is it's prob too advanced an idea for most people - would probably need some affiliate-side scripting tools like a plug-in for sites to make it do-able for most.

    Just realised - the biggie in this field is Amazon. Their web services are XML based, work the way I described above, and there are scripts like Cusimano's ae.pl that take the hard work out of it for affiliates.

    Exciting possibilities ...


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  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    We offer xml and web services. However, as CrazyGuy implies- this is not a quick fix. Ours is not a data feed- it's a full solution. You can use our product to show real time availablity and rates on your site. You can even book the travel completely on your site- it's an amazing idea when skillfully executed!

    Jessica Hutson
    Senior Manager of Affiliate Relations/Development
    Interactive Affiliate Network

    A parasite free contract since June 2001
    http://ian.com

  4. #4
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    I think once XML feeds are more prevelant, they will become more useful. For example, if you program using COld Fusion, COld Fusion MX lets you parse an XML document into a query using only a few lines of code...very powerful stuff!

    http://www.diyautoparts.com

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador CrazyGuy's Avatar
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    @Jessica - we need to talk. I'm an underperforming ian affiliate with some travel domains that require a serious makeover.

    @DIYRoss - having recently wrestled with two auto parts datafeeds, I think your market may be the best one to blaze this trail.

    @Shawn - you should also look at Tradedoubler.com (UK aff network). They appear to have an advanced implementation of XML feeds for their merchants. Advanced meaning it's real-time, they have sample scripting for aff servers and pages, address cacheing issues etc etc.


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  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Crazy-
    write me, call me - love to talk to you.

    I'll work to figure out what we need to do then get you set up with the best account manager for you. No good reason to have an underperforming site!

    417-829-1323
    jhutson@hotels.com

    Jessica Hutson
    Senior Manager of Affiliate Relations/Development
    Interactive Affiliate Network

    A parasite free contract since June 2001
    http://ian.com

  7. #7
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    I guess amazon does this job at it's best. It's real time, and it's not a file after all, it's a nice web service, and it's a very good solution if you know how to use it.
    Other than that, i don't think XML is worth the hassle. The file size gets much bigger, and you don't have the chance to read it line by line, you have to read all the file to memory, then parse it etc. Uses too much system resources. Easy? Yes, it is very easy to use, especially if you use coldfusion, it's a piece of cake.

    But i still prefer text files, they are less system consuming, and if you code yourself a good parser.. it does the job even better then xml. I wrote myself one, which imports a 80.000 product datafeed in about 10 minutes.. and with only using 30-40 Mb of system memory. If that file would be a xml file. Both the time and memory usage would increase.

    So if anyone plans using xml.. consider it again, especially if you have a big feed.

  8. #8
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    Hi,

    Does anyone see much demand for XML based data feeds? Is there a set format for them?

    We will shortly be releasing a data feed system for our affiliate program and an XML one shouldn't be too difficult to add in conjunction with the standard CSV - If there is enough interest/benefit for it.

    On another note, would an RSS feed of recently updated brands and stock be useful to affiliates?

    Just bouncing ideas around at the moment, any input would be useful.

    Thanks,
    Kev

    http://affiliates.hiphopwardrobe.co.uk - Earn 7% commission with the UK's largest online Hip Hop clothing retailer

  9. #9
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kev @ HHW:
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Welcome Kev@HHW

    I am watching you post all over the board asking questions that have been addressed on more then one occasion, use the search and find option. If you need one to one help start a new topic letting us know you have already read the board and are now needing additional assistance, we are all eager to help.

    &lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="http://www.ssan.com"&gt;SandraR&lt;/a&gt; &lt;br&gt;&lt;font size="1" face="Arial"&gt;| SSAN &amp; AIM: SSanAssistance | MSN &amp; Yahoo: SSan_Assistance |&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

  10. #10
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    Im using Amazon.com's XML interface and its pretty easy to develop and maintain . You can see demo www.allreminder.com

    my home page always shows amazon's top 10 .. refresh more than once and see power of XML

  11. #11
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    If a merchant does not provide Web Services, then I don't think XML datafeed is better. But if a merchat does provide web services, like amazon, allposters, then why need a datafeed?

    For example, previously, Allposter's datafeed is very big and even the download and import will take long time. But now it has web services, all you need is a few lines of codes. What a difference!


  12. #12
    Newbie
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    Jessica, I joined the affiliate program but I cannot find how to use web service.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jessica - IAN:
    We offer xml and web services. However, as CrazyGuy implies- this is not a quick fix. Ours is not a data feed- it's a full solution. You can use our product to show real time availablity and rates on your site. You can even book the travel completely on your site- it's an amazing idea when skillfully executed!

    Jessica Hutson
    Senior Manager of Affiliate Relations/Development
    Interactive Affiliate Network

    A parasite free contract since June 2001
    http://ian.com <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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