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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    More info on datafeeds
    Thanks Redsand for bringing this up from the affiliate perspective...

    We are a new merchant with CJ and a few Affiliate partners have requested product links. I see the "product catalog" in the Manage Links area. Is this where i set it up? Is there a cost? I'm sure our programmer would rather do the xml feeds outside of CJ, but i don't think we'd do both. I also see that we must be "qualified" to set up a product catalog. What's that about?

    what's the best way to set up?


    Jeff (FSO)
    www.familysavingsoutlet.com

  2. #2
    Member
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    Maybe you should ask CJ...

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    i wanted to get outside perspective. Obviously, CJ will recommend their tool, which i'm finding isn't always the easiest and best way to go. I'd like to be a little more informed before i jump into it.

    Jeff

  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    I get my feeds from CJ every week and you have a greater chance of being included in sites like mine if your feed is available directly through CJ. There are people that don't get the CJ feeds that will take them in any format, but since I get mine all in one place I don't want to go hunting for external feeds. There are a few that get emailed to me directly from the merchant, so those I use because I don't have to go hunting for them.

    And I don't use xml yet, so if you offer only xml you are limiting the number of people that will be able to use it.

    My sites use a format that uses feeds exclusively, so even if I am part of your program, chances of me making links and putting them up are slim to none. Chances of me using your feed are significantly higher.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks for the info Debbie. (worth more than 2c. :-) CJ must wait to introduce this part of the program to new merchants---overload already exists! I definately have an idea that we're missing out on business by not having it.

    Jeff (FSO)

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador cditty's Avatar
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    I think CJ waits until you ask and then answer when they get around to it. If you want a quick solution, check out my ezDatafeed site at http://www.ezDatafeed.com.
    Recycled Talent - Architects of custom scripts and snippets, perfectly written to suit any need. We stay on top of the latest technology so you don't have to.
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  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    Jeff (FSO)
    As a merchant I would invest the time to provide the datafeeds to your affiliates yourself. Provide a place on YOUR SITE that allows your affiliates to grab your datafeed as well as banners and links.
    For example:
    http://affiliates.shoppingwarehouse.net/

    Ask for feedback on your datafeeds and listen to the people who use the feeds. Make it easier for them and they will use it. Provide a place that they can create and download datafeeds with the fields they want. This will get your datafeed used by a lot more people. Which is the purpose of you as a merchant wanting to provide a feed in the first place.

    You simply have more control over the feed if YOU SUPPLY IT
    PLUS you can supply it for FREE it cost a $200 one time fee for YOUR
    AFFILIATES to get access to YOUR datafeed from CJ
    (They do give FREE ACCESS to anyone who makes
    over $10,000 in sales in one Month)

    I get the CJ feeds and I get feeds straight from the merchants. I find that the feeds that come directly from the merchant are a lot better than the same merchants feed provided by CJ. CJ has requirements for supplying a datafeed through them, and frankly, their feeds could use some real work. IMHO

    Besides the affiliates are YOUR affiliates get them coming to your site and communicating with you.


  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    What Debbie said!

    I like my feeds coming through CJ and hardly ever get around to putting up the ones that don't--if ever. I don't see any benefit in having to adjust for a bunch of individualized formatting, at all. The nuisance of CJ feed quirkies (which often get into their feeds, BUT NOT ALWAYS), is more than replaced by the nuisance of an outside feed that fits no template I've got, and would force me to have to make one up special (or mess with the outside feed to "cram it into" my current system).

    Another problem with outside feeds is more basic: I usually forget they exist! And even if something finally reminds me, by then I've lost the info for accessing them. Then I'm stuck having to hound it out--or, just putting that merchant back on the back burner. Ease usually wins and I go on to a merchant with an in-CJ feed.

    On the other hand, CJ sends a reminder every week when my CJ Feed is generated, and I have their ftp addy bookmarked, so both problems never come up with the CJ feed.

    And I'll also second what Debbie said about the XML format. Not many know what to do with it except "real" coders--a small subset of the amount of people who can use standard datafeeds.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    This is a tricky issue and I'll try to give you my point of view. I have access to CJ datafeeds, but I just haven't found the time to build a system to extract them. This only because I have access to these feeds externally so I don't need to pull them from CJ at this time. Personally I prefer an external datafeed because they're updated frequently, especially if they're connected directly to your database. This makes for much fresher content. I prefer a datafeed that's very fresh and I don't want feeds that are updated only once a week. I think CJ only updates their datafeeds every few days or so, so this isn't good for providing fresh content.

    On the flip side if you use the CJ system you'll help eliminate a few newbie affiliates who will spam search engines to no end with your data, thus devaluing the information in the eyes of the search engines. When the search engines see the same data across hundreds of websites, they'll devalue the information and give less traffic to each site that uses it. Using the CJ system will ensure that only serious affiliates can access your data. The $200/$10,000 restrictions help eliminate affiliates who can't pull their weight.

    Either way you go, it's a good idea to screen datafeed requests because you don't want affiliates to ruin your data. Also make sure your terms and conditions are clear and make sure affiliates don't run out of control with it.

    XML is a good choice because it's another screening method. It really depends on how you want your data to be used and what level of affiliate you want to use it. Lower level affiliates might be turned off to XML, but it might also attract a different breed. If you really don't care what happens to your data and you want it to go everywhere and anywhere on the net you should just go with a private external datafeed. They're much more accessible to anybody and everybody. You can create a CJ datafeed later, but see if maybe you can format it in exactly the same fashion as CJ to start.

    This way if your affiliates build for your external datafeed at first, then you create a CJ datafeed, they can switch over with minimal effort. I just think if you create a fresh external datafeed that's updated in real time, there's no need for any affiliate to use the CJ datafeeds. The more processing your data goes through, the more stagnant it'll become before it reaches the net.

    Hope this helps!
    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  10. #10
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I prefer external datafeeds using XML. I have enough code written for this already that adding a new XML feed is usually trivial and mostly involves testing to be sure the data is mapping correctly onto my various site's catalogs. If you have an XML interface where I can query based on a particular product category and get back the applicable data, all the better.
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks everyone for the perspective. Very helpful. We do have concerns about how our products are shown/represented. We license our software through various publishers who are very nervous about their brands being tarnished. As much as i want to rush into it to catch that missing revenue, i think we'll have to tiptoe into it.

    thanks again,

    Jeff (FSO)

  12. #12
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    I'm stuck with using the product catalogs in CJ for most merchants. I do mangle some feed materials to make static links.

    My only complaint with the CJ product catalogs is that you are usually told there are over 1000 products available and you must use the search box. But this system is not intuitive. It returns product links only if your search term matches the wording used on the individual product. if you don't use the right keyword you don't see the product.

    I wish that entry page could have a pre-prepared list of possible categories or keywords to work from.

  13. #13
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    I think the best thing to do is offer feeds through CJ, a in house feed and XML feed I get CJ feeds and they are OK but some are really terrible. Most times if a merchant offers an in house feed, it is usually much more usable if the merchant adds categories that are more than 1 tier. CJ has a set number of fields and if you have an in house version you can better customize it. (Whoops this is what SuZe said)

    I'm not using XML but it is the wave of the future and getting a start on it now could not hurt.

    Also being selective with it would not be a bad idea.

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