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  1. #1
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    Categories in SAS Datafeeds
    Out of about 10 to 15 SAS datafeeds that I've looked at, only one had their products properly categorized. The rest have one category listed for every product.

    How come proper categories aren't required by SAS for the datafeeds?

    I've seen a couple of people on here, who balk at proper categorization and want every product listed in one category. For those who like that setup, how do you sort the products on your site?

  2. #2
    Newbie eprussakov's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    You have a point here, dechast, and I totally agree with you. I believe, merchants are to take care of their affiliates by placing products in the categories where they belong... Maybe ShareaSale has to be more strict about it and then they (we, merchants) would not have any other choice but to do it right.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Spencer's Avatar
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    This is not a shareasale merchant problem only. I see this everywhere. It is the biggest problem one faces when dealing with datafeeds in my opinion. When I'm looking at which merchant to promote and give priority to, it's the datafeed that usually makes up my mind. If I have to go thru 20K products and sort them all myself, it goes on the back burner for a bit.

  4. #4
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    Look at the bright side:

    Though it's a pain in the butt to manually sort and categorize, you can at least be fairly well assured that there aren't 100 or more virtual duplicates being fed to the SE's.

    A far better standard of living is garnered through honest, amitious effort than through standing on the corner with a tin cup.

  5. #5
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    From a merchant's point of view:

    My issue with the categories is that
    a) the categories on my website don't necessarily match what SAS asks us to provide
    b) many of my items are in multiple categories ex. a great gift for Valentines day may also be appropriate for Mother's Day, it may also be a Home Decor item as well. From my understanding of the SAS categories I'm not able to do multiple categories for a single product.

    The category issue isn't unique to SAS - Shopping, Amazon, Froogle, PriceLeap and others all require different category naming standards.

    Perhaps the industry should standardize? :-)

    However I completely understand wanting specific products for specific holidays, groupings, or other reasons. I'm more than willing to work with an affiliate and generate datafeeds of specific products to fill those niches. Generally these feeds can be turned around in a couple of business days.

    My 2c, but if sorting through the datafeed is daunting, just ask the merchant, I for one am more than happy to select a few great products for you.

    Cheers,
    Dara
    www.DetailsArt.com

  6. #6
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Dara,

    You can provide your own category tree using the "Custom" fields at the end of the datafeed file. The ones listed on ShareASale are only for our own organization... the ones that are most beneficial to the affiliates are those that have their own custom categories built out. If you need help, call our office or email...
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  7. #7
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Many merchants have figured out a work around.

    I find a column that has catagory1>catagory2>catagory3>catagoryEtc.

    I just take this column and use the > marker to do a text to columns and it breaks into catagories.

    Some will use a : instead. The result is the same.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    b) many of my items are in multiple categories ex. a great gift for Valentines day may also be appropriate for Mother's Day, it may also be a Home Decor item as well. From my understanding of the SAS categories I'm not able to do multiple categories for a single product ~Dara
    AAAKKK!

    Please, don't put the same item in the feed extra times--that causes infernal on-site duplication that's sometimes impossible to be rid of!

    Please come up with some way (perhaps by mentioning all the possibilities in a custom field) that doesn't cause the same darned product to come up all over our sites. Even with people differentiating their sites from each other, it can't be good for SEO to have too many copies of the same product/description on the same site, either.

    I'm not saying not to have categories from the merchant-side! Far from it! But they should be done in such a way that it doesn't automatically cause duplications when the feed is run "as is."

    I've seen a couple of people on here, who balk at proper categorization and want every product listed in one category. For those who like that setup, how do you sort the products on your site?~Dechast
    Alphabetically by merchant is usually it. For one, most of my merchants only cover one "supercategory," so there's not much need. For instance, all the "crafts" stuff can go in a knob rather than be divided (quilting, doll clothes, etc.). Dividing it further puts the money pages more clicks away from both the Googlebot and the real people. Bad.

    Plus, I figure, I want get the humans over to the merchant, then if they decide to buy later, I've got that cookie on. If they keep milling around MY place, and then go directly to the merchant later, that's no cookie and no commish for me. Secondly, Google *used to* do a great job of listing all my pages as individuals, hence no need to sort, since the customers weren't exposed to the big list anyway.

    However! I still appreciate it when merchants bother to do correct categorization. There are times, holidays for instance, when I *DO* want to pull out only certain categories from a feed! Also I have a few niche sites I've got sitting around, that I haven't had the heart to go ahead and eBay off yet, and for those I need to be able to get at least the main categories of items.

    I just take this column and use the > marker to do a text to columns and it breaks into catagories.~Ssanf
    What software does that?
    I've got a couple of merchants with that kind of category field, and with enough variety that I'd love to break them down a bit more than usual...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
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    I stand corrected. I just went back through reading this thread and saw where Brian mentioned the custom fields. I checked 4 or 5 of the datafeeds that I have downloaded and sure enough, the merchant has categorized the products based on their site categorization.

    On the feeds I looked at, custom4 had the categories if anyone is curious.

    This helps me tremendously.

  10. #10
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    Merchant provided categories are irrelevant and its better to create your own anyway so you can use the same feed on a number of sites with *different* categories. I setup my own categories via a management backend for each site. The backend lets me specify which fields in the database we will search and what we will search.

    For example say I had a site with the feed from Planet CDROM I would do a quick inspect of the products available and do a keyword analysis to see what software terms people are searching for and then setup my categories based on thay info.

    For example I would have a "Business Software" category so I would search the Name and Description field for the word business and display those products in the Business Category.

    Prolly giving away some trade secrets here but merchant providd categories are a very easy work-around. Similarly duplicate items are not really a big deal anyway as the method above often creates categoes with products in more than one.

  11. #11
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    From another merchant's point of view: The vast majority of our products fall into one or two of the SAS defined cateogories. Some don't really fit well in any of them. We supplement the SAS categories by adding our own category definition to the "custom1" field at the end of each line.

    Now a question from a merchant to all the affiliates: Would it help you more for us to include a category hierarchy? You can already pretty much determine the hierarchy from the category names (ie: missbras, misscorsets, plusbras, etc...), but we could provide the parent categories and the subcategories in a hierarchy (ie: misses > missbras, misses > misspanties, plus > pluscorsets, etc) if it would be helpful.

    Comments?

    Larry Hiscock
    Dainties.com

  12. #12
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    I find that categories and the subcategories in a hierarchy are very helpful. I can just do a text to columns in excel and then break them up and sort them in a lot of ways.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    AAAKKK!

    Alphabetically by merchant is usually it. For one, most of my merchants only cover one "supercategory," so there's not much need. For instance, all the "crafts" stuff can go in a knob rather than be divided (quilting, doll clothes, etc.). Dividing it further puts the money pages more clicks away from both the Googlebot and the real people. Bad.

    Plus, I figure, I want get the humans over to the merchant, then if they decide to buy later, I've got that cookie on. If they keep milling around MY place, and then go directly to the merchant later, that's no cookie and no commish for me. Secondly, Google *used to* do a great job of listing all my pages as individuals, hence no need to sort, since the customers weren't exposed to the big list anyway.
    Leader,

    I was just checking out the datafeed for perfume.com. Over 4000 products
    and everyone has Personal Care for Category and Cosmetics for
    SubCategory. So are you saying you just put all 4000+ products in the
    Cosmetics category on your site. They do not use any of the Custom fields
    to break it down into more categories. I've been listing the datafeeds on my
    site by merchant, but I can usually break them down into more than just
    one category. Not sure of the best thing to do with this.

    Wayne

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    What software does that?
    I've got a couple of merchants with that kind of category field, and with enough variety that I'd love to break them down a bit more than usual...
    I use a PHP split() function call. It's really simple if your system is based on PHP

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  15. #15
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    Well, from a merchant's point of view, this thread has certainly been helpful...
    We were not aware that affilaites wanted a category breakdown beyond what is given by the generic shareasale categories.
    I have added a category breakdown to the "custom4" header in our datafeed (this should be available once it is posted by SAS). Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

    Bart Leatherman
    www.ModernArtisans.com

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