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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    How often do affiliates like to receive datafeed updates?
    I would like to know how often would affiliates like to receive datafeed updates? At KidStuffInABox, we are continuously adding to our product catalog and would like to give our affiliates access to the latest datafeed. I read on some other threads where some affiliates are unhappy that merchants don't update their datafeeds quite often. On the other hand, I would not like to burden them to keep updating the datafeed quite often.

    Is an update once a month good enough? What is the threshold? How big a deal it is to update your system? Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Oasis
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  2. #2
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    In my case, my data feeds are more or less on auto-pilot and I have cron jobs to pull them in on whatever schedule they seem to be regularly updated.

    That being said, unless you have a lot of inventory/price changes once a week is fine with me. There's only a handful of merchants that I update daily, and that's because they run lots of specials and/or have a constantly changing inventory.

    What I don't like is when the datafeed is weeks old and my visitors click through to out-of-stock pages.

    - Tim
    Tim
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  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I think merchants should update their datafeed as frequently as their selection and pricing changes. If that's weekly, they should update their datafeeds weekly. If that's daily, they should update their datafeeds daily. If that's hourly, they should update their datafeeds hourly.

    Personally, I have most of my datafeed scripts set to check for updates once an hour. If a new datafeed is available, I download it and process it automatically. I don't like getting complaints about inaccurate prices. I realize that this is overkill with most merchants, but I have the processing power to do it, it's all automated, and if there are no changes it doesn't do anything. I have some merchants that have hundreds of pricing and/or availability changes every day. I have others that make major changes once or twice a year. Even with those, there are minor updates from time to time, and I like to get those.
    Michael Coley
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    You guys made some interesting points about the out-of-stock products. We have about 4 products that we are currently out-of-stock on. We are hoping that we can stock them asap, but I have not made an entry of these products nor their product category on our datafeed. I was tempted to, that way I won't have to trouble my affiliates again when these products are available, but wanted to get some feedback here. Is it ok, if I include these products on the datafeed and mention that they are currently out-of-stock, or if there is only one product remaining?

    Thanks,
    Oasis
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  5. #5
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    Some data feeds have an "in stock" flag, and I always try to check that.
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

  6. #6
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    The problem is that the only way for merchants to submit datafeed is via email. Mine changes daily, but it takes them a day or two to put it in the system, so I guess a lot of time they would just skip yesterday's file because I already submitted a new one. Hopefully they figure a way to accept feeds via FTP, so that it can be automated, both on their end and on merchant's.
    I already send nightly feeds to other sites, so if SAS just had ftp, all we'd need to do would be write a few lines of code. Until then I don't think sending new feed to them more than 2 or 3 times a week makes any sense.
    That said, I think I didn't email them with one in a week, so I gotta go now.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demsofen
    The problem is that the only way for merchants to submit datafeed is via email. Mine changes daily, but it takes them a day or two to put it in the system, so I guess a lot of time they would just skip yesterday's file because I already submitted a new one. Hopefully they figure a way to accept feeds via FTP, so that it can be automated, both on their end and on merchant's.
    I already send nightly feeds to other sites, so if SAS just had ftp, all we'd need to do would be write a few lines of code. Until then I don't think sending new feed to them more than 2 or 3 times a week makes any sense.
    That said, I think I didn't email them with one in a week, so I gotta go now.
    SAS does have ftp. I think you need to complete their set-up before you can give your affiliates access to the ftp server. It costs $1 for every affiliate. Did you try this option yet?

    Oasis,
    KidStuffInABox

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Oasis--HEY neighbor, I see your site says you're right in Milford, MI! I'm just down the street in Commerce!

    Is it ok, if I include these products on the datafeed and mention that they are currently out-of-stock,
    Aaak, please don't...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oasis
    SAS does have ftp. I think you need to complete their set-up before you can give your affiliates access to the ftp server. It costs $1 for every affiliate. Did you try this option yet?

    Oasis,
    KidStuffInABox
    That's for affiliates, I meant they don't have ftp access for merchants

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Oasis--HEY neighbor, I see your site says you're right in Milford, MI! I'm just down the street in Commerce!



    Aaak, please don't...
    That's cool. Actually, I run my show from Farmington Hills. Not too far away from Commerce though, I pass through your neighborhood every weekend to go ski at Alpine Valley. Do you like the new Lifetime fitness club that opened in Commerce? I still can't PM, so send me an email at Raj (at) wcteam.com. May be, we can chat off the air.

    Oasis

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demsofen
    That's for affiliates, I meant they don't have ftp access for merchants
    Demsofen,
    I didn't quite get it. Besides posting your datafeed, why else would you want to use SAS ftp? Am I missing something?

    Thanks,
    Oasis
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  12. #12
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    I'd like to be able to post datafeeds via FTP instead of email. That way we could submit it more often

  13. #13
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    NO!!!

    Send a feed quarterly and just send what to add or delete monthly!
    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!

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demsofen
    I'd like to be able to post datafeeds via FTP instead of email. That way we could submit it more often
    Now I get it. You are right. May be we should ask Brian about this. It will be easier to upload the updates as and when we make changes to our catalog. We already have made three changes to our product database this week.

    Oasis
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  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    NO!!!

    Send a feed quarterly and just send what to add or delete monthly!
    SSanf,
    That is a good idea. May be we can implement this one. Let me talk to my web admin.

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  16. #16
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Add as much as you want to your own site.

    BUT!!!! If you delete a product, do not delete the product image because that will make affiliate sites look like hell.

    Make deleted items product pages redirect to the item category page so that even if you don't have that specific item, the customer will be shown what you have of similar interest. That way when you make changes you aren't messing up affiliate sites that back you up too badly.

    Also, never delete pages of out of date products because they could come up in searches through SEs caches for at least three months or more. Just redirect them to the relevant category pages with items of similar interest.

    Do that with out of stock pages as well. When the item is back in stock, stop the redirect. Then, you have automatically fixed all affiliate links going to the once again in stock item.
    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!

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    Add as much as you want to your own site.

    BUT!!!! If you delete a product, do not delete the product image because that will make affiliate sites look like hell.

    Make deleted items product pages redirect to the item category page so that even if you don't have that specific item, the customer will be shown what you have of similar interest. That way when you make changes you aren't messing up affiliate sites that back you up too badly.

    Also, never delete pages of out of date products because they could come up in searches through SEs caches for at least three months or more. Just redirect them to the relevant category pages with items of similar interest.

    Do that with out of stock pages as well. When the item is back in stock, stop the redirect. Then, you have automatically fixed all affiliate links going to the once again in stock item.
    Right now, we have this set up in a different fashion. The links for discontinued products goes to a page where it says that this product is no longer available with a link to our main page so that visitors can get into our site and browse other products.

    Oasis
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  18. #18
    Member infoscott's Avatar
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    I used to work in the computer supply chain back when Internet catalogs were first coming available. For any particular SKU we would have one field that would indicate in which stage of the lifetime of a product that SKU was at. Having this information was critical not only in how to stage a products release and manage customer expectations, but also for retiring a product and support of retired SKUs.

    In the datafeeds, at a minimum products should be coded for the following four stages:

    New - (advance product notice) - Product will become available, but is not currently shipping

    Active - Product is current and shipping

    Discontinued - Product is no longer current, but some may still be available in the supply chain.

    Retired - Product is discontinued and no longer available in the new product marketplace.

    Additionally, it's also nifty if there is a "Constrained" flag for active SKUs.

    ---

    With this kind of product aging information, the affiliate can decide how they may want to cycle out links to less active products yet still maintain good customer support and expectation management.

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infoscott
    I used to work in the computer supply chain back when Internet catalogs were first coming available. For any particular SKU we would have one field that would indicate in which stage of the lifetime of a product that SKU was at. Having this information was critical not only in how to stage a products release and manage customer expectations, but also for retiring a product and support of retired SKUs.

    In the datafeeds, at a minimum products should be coded for the following four stages:

    New - (advance product notice) - Product will become available, but is not currently shipping

    Active - Product is current and shipping

    Discontinued - Product is no longer current, but some may still be available in the supply chain.

    Retired - Product is discontinued and no longer available in the new product marketplace.

    Additionally, it's also nifty if there is a "Constrained" flag for active SKUs.

    ---

    With this kind of product aging information, the affiliate can decide how they may want to cycle out links to less active products yet still maintain good customer support and expectation management.
    That's a very effiecient way of handling it Infoscott. I would definately like to include the product ageing flags on my datafeed. You guys on ABW are awesome. Thanks for all the great feedback

  20. #20
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    Yes, I've always thought that SAS will implement a FTP datafeed file upload eventually, but haven't happened yet. Right now, affiliates can get FTP acceess on the datafeeds. However, for merchants to update the datafeed, we need to email attach the file and email it over to SAS. Generally, it takes a few days before I get a response that the datafeed was updated.

    This is one part Brian and SAS can try to work on for sure, at least from the merchant side.

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eink4u.com
    Yes, I've always thought that SAS will implement a FTP datafeed file upload eventually, but haven't happened yet. Right now, affiliates can get FTP acceess on the datafeeds. However, for merchants to update the datafeed, we need to email attach the file and email it over to SAS. Generally, it takes a few days before I get a response that the datafeed was updated.

    This is one part Brian and SAS can try to work on for sure, at least from the merchant side.
    True. In fact now I am debating on automating this process - an email which sends out our datafeed every night, or may be once a week. My other concern is - do I send only the delta (added and deleted datafeed) file or the whole of it

  22. #22
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    You might ask Brian, and also suggest that he implement an automated method so that it's updated quicker.
    Michael Coley
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  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infoscott
    I used to work in the computer supply chain back when Internet catalogs were first coming available. For any particular SKU we would have one field that would indicate in which stage of the lifetime of a product that SKU was at. Having this information was critical not only in how to stage a products release and manage customer expectations, but also for retiring a product and support of retired SKUs.

    In the datafeeds, at a minimum products should be coded for the following four stages:

    New - (advance product notice) - Product will become available, but is not currently shipping

    Active - Product is current and shipping

    Discontinued - Product is no longer current, but some may still be available in the supply chain.

    Retired - Product is discontinued and no longer available in the new product marketplace.

    Additionally, it's also nifty if there is a "Constrained" flag for active SKUs.

    ---

    With this kind of product aging information, the affiliate can decide how they may want to cycle out links to less active products yet still maintain good customer support and expectation management.
    Infoscott, thanks to your advice, I am planning on including the product aging information to our datafeed. I even thought of including an additional field - a drop-ship indicator. Affiliates, let me know if this information would be useful to you?

    Thanks

  24. #24
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Right now, we have this set up in a different fashion. The links for discontinued products goes to a page where it says that this product is no longer available with a link to our main page so that visitors can get into our site and browse other products.
    I really like going straight to the catagory MUCH better. The fewer clicks for the customer to find a product of real interest, the better. But, it is sure better than a dead page. However, I hate those no longer available pages because they are very discouraging to the customer to keep shopping on your site. The customer needs to see some products in their face, even the wrong product, when they get to your site.
    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!

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager Oasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    I really like going straight to the catagory MUCH better. The fewer clicks for the customer to find a product of real interest, the better. But, it is sure better than a dead page. However, I hate those no longer available pages because they are very discouraging to the customer to keep shopping on your site. The customer needs to see some products in their face, even the wrong product, when they get to your site.
    SSanf,
    I will try to implement this one. I haven't paid too much attention on this issue until now. We have only one admin for all our sites and he takes time to get to all the requests.

    What do you think about adding drop ship information to the datafeed?

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