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  1. #1
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    Question Questions from a Merchant Regarding Data Feeds
    Hello

    CatsPlay.com would like to focus more on our Shareasale program. We are considering the option of providing product data feeds. However, I do have some questions/concerns/thoughts, and thought I might open up a discussion here to get feedback.

    Flat file data feed via Shareasale
    We are easily capable of producing a flat file data feed. However, I am a little nervous about doing so. With such a static data feed, I am concerned that we quickly would lose control of the data. When items go in and out of stock, or items are eliminated from inventory, product image URLs change, etc, etc. I am assuming we would have no way to ensure that all affiliates using the data feed would have updated their site. Although our inventory is not hugely dynamic, each and every day we do have items that go in and out of stock, and content that changes. In some cases it may be very important for data to be pulled or added, for various business or even legal reasons. I welcome your input to set my thoughts on this straight, or to agree.

    I'm interested in hearing from affiliates who currently use data feeds as well as other non-competitive merchants who offer data feeds.

    What percentage of affiliates are data feed users?

    How often are they typically updating their sites?

    Dynamic Content that could be imbedded into Affiliate sites
    My thinking has been that it may be more logical to provide some type of realtime dynamic content feeds that affiliates may imbed into their sites. This would be done via some method (XML, javascript tags, Flash content) that would deliver the product details realtime into the affiliate site, allowing the content to always be up to date. Some ideas that we have been tossing around...

    Providing selected 'functionality' from our site to be imbedded as value added content into merchant sites, content only, allowing sites to brand as their site with their headers/footers. Examples of possible content/functionality to deliver:

    -- Interactive Personalized Collar Builder
    http://www.catsplay.com/collars/index.php3

    -- Pet Gift Guide
    http://www.catsplay.com/giftguide.php3

    -- Cat Furniture Super Search
    http://www.catsplay.com/f_finder.php3

    Benefits - value added content generating more pageviews and stickiness to affiliate site, CatsPlay comfortable up to date info being displayed

    Drawbacks - affiliates prefer search engine readable content, depending how above delivered & implemented, may not be, increased bandwith to CatsPlay.com site

    Affiliates using data feeds -- would the above approaches turn you off or be appealing? Affiliates who are not using data feeds -- would the above approaches be something you may have an interest in (keep in mind implementation would probably be imbedding a generic HTML tag within your header/footer/sidebars -- that would automatically deliver the content)?

    How many affiliates are currently using XML data feeds?

    Are the above approaches foreign to this niche or are their other merchants offering imbeddable content via these non-standard methods?

    Would affiliates find value in such unique dynamic content?

    In other words, if we build it, will they come?

    Questions for Shareasale
    Brian, regarding flat file data feeds -- is there a way to upload these on a daily basis in some automated fashion, rather than emailing you the files?

    Are there any plans to consider some form of dynamic data feeds (ex. XML data feeds deliverable via some sort of Web Services?)

    Brian or data feed providing merchants -- are there any statistics available showing that merchants providing product data feeds show increased/consistently higher sales levels?

    Summary
    No flamin' folks (from die-hard data feed affiliates who think we are being big losers for questioning data feeds). I'm just seeking feedback, and I know the experts are here.

    Thanks in advance and I look forward to the discussion!

    Amy Strycula, Top Cat
    CatsPlay.com
    http://www.CatsPlay.com
    Everything Imaginable for Cats, and Dogs, Too!

  2. #2
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    Make a flat file feed available outside of SaS, and update it daily. The affiliates who are on the ball will have it automatically ingested on a daily basis. On your end, make out of stock products go to an appropriate alternate page so the affiliates that don't update as frequently don't send surfers into the trash can.
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Provide the flat file for the non-feed challenged and those seeking boorway cookie setting pages. Then signup with www.Goldencan.com and offer a dynamic feed generator for the others.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  4. #4
    Member greeneyes14j's Avatar
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    I know if you build it I will come. I've been wanting to do a store based around your products for awhile now.
    But as far as the dynamic stuff, some will feature it some wont. Me personally, I will probably put up pages describing unique products then have a link for the product page.

  5. #5
    Full Member Travelin Man's Avatar
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    I'm one of your affiliates and do like to use feeds. I'm not as advanced as many feed users but will make changes as they become available. I also like using SAS's "build-a-page" and do manipulate the code to my needs. A flat feed file outside of SAS would not make good use of your more feed challanged affiliates.

    Just my thoughts.

    TM
    Travelin' Man

    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will lead you there." -- unknown

  6. #6
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    Thanks for your responses, I appreciate it.

    I am definitely looking into GoldenCan, thanks for the heads up on that !

    I'd welcome any other thoughts. Hoping Brian will also have a chance to answer the questions I posed re: Shareasale aspects.


    Amy Strycula, Top Cat
    CatsPlay.com
    http://www.CatsPlay.com
    Everything Imaginable for Cats, and Dogs, Too!

  7. #7
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Banners don't work. Product links do work. Product links with a picture work best.

    I would be very happy to put your product links on my web site, Amy. I'm not a datafeed junkie but I do use them as an efficient way to locate products I need. SAS's Make-A-Page feature is very flexible and useful to me.

  8. #8
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    Thanks to all who provided insight on this topic. As a result, we've gone live with GoldenCAN (free of 4th click!).

    In addition, we have created a tool to allow affiliates to manually generate product and category links.

    Details at

    http://www.catsplay.com/revshare.php3



    Amy Strycula, Top Cat
    CatsPlay.com
    http://www.CatsPlay.com
    Everything Imaginable for Cats, and Dogs, Too!

  9. #9
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Amy,

    Geno here (from RussianLegacy.com) Welcome to ABW!!

    Quote Originally Posted by catsplay.com
    What percentage of affiliates are data feed users?
    If taking the total number of our affiliates as 100%, about 15%. However, they send most targeted and best-coverting traffic.

    Quote Originally Posted by catsplay.com
    How often are they typically updating their sites?
    Serious affiliates - once a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by catsplay.com
    How many affiliates are currently using XML data feeds?
    Since SaS doesn't support this format, we cannot use it with them (and you won't be able either... at least, at this stage). No thru-SaS-tracking will be available.

    Good luck, colleague and welcome again to ABW!

    Geno

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Any good threads on this whole build a page from SAS?

  11. #11
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    Hi Patrick

    Sorry, but I don't think I understand your question. Maybe someone else does?

    Amy Strycula, Top Cat
    CatsPlay.com
    http://www.CatsPlay.com
    Everything Imaginable for Cats, and Dogs, Too!

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Hi Amy and Welcome to ABW

    I was curious to know if you think you will be moving forward with a Datafeed in the very near future? I looked for an email addy for you but couldn't find one here and I think you need a certain amt of posts here before you can accept Private Mesgs. Thanks Amy and from the looks of it, it looks like your pretty upbeat and serious about getting your AP going strong

    Patrick,

    You can try a search here at ABW and see what it comes up with. Here is one thread that was pulled up if the link works

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ght=build+page

    This search at ABW pulled up a bunch that I didn't go through

    http://forum.abestweb.com/search.php?searchid=212442

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Packy
    Hi Amy and Welcome to ABW

    I was curious to know if you think you will be moving forward with a Datafeed in the very near future? I looked for an email addy for you but couldn't find one here and I think you need a certain amt of posts here before you can accept Private Mesgs. Thanks Amy and from the looks of it, it looks like your pretty upbeat and serious about getting your AP going strong
    Hi Patrick

    We'll be providing our feed via GoldenCAN (free of 4th click!), and we went live with them earlier this week so you can access it now.

    In addition, we have created a tool to allow affiliates to manually generate product and category links.

    Details at

    http://www.catsplay.com/revshare.php3


    Thanks!


    Amy Strycula, Top Cat
    CatsPlay.com
    http://www.CatsPlay.com
    Everything Imaginable for Cats, and Dogs, Too!

    (ps. where is it that I can create a sig? I can't find it for the life of me and I have to keep adding mine manually to my posts).

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Thanks Amy,

    I did take a look at GoldenCan today but haven't jumped into it yet but most likely will try it. It seems to be a pretty interesting concept IMO. I'll also take a peak at your tool you mentioned. I did just throw up a few more links to catsplay on my pet site. New so not a lot of traffic yet,

    As to the signature, I think you have to have a certain amt of posts for that also but I could be wrong. If you look on top of the page you should see User CP, its right next to the Register link. Click that and you should get to all you info Amy.

  15. #15
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Offer a seperate feed of products that you are sure to have almost all the time for affiliates who update rarely. "On your end, make out of stock products go to an appropriate alternate page so the affiliates that don't update as frequently don't send surfers into the trash can."
    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!

  16. #16
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    Offer a seperate feed of products that you are sure to have almost all the time for affiliates who update rarely. "On your end, make out of stock products go to an appropriate alternate page so the affiliates that don't update as frequently don't send surfers into the trash can."
    another option isto offer a dynamic feed.. you host the feed on your server affiliates are able to pull shareasale encoded data from it.. as is done by the merchants who offer dynamic website templates... this is my perfered method of recieving your feed...

    the feed is always up to date, I never haveto worry about it.. contact ChetB at
    Proudmedia about this method of delivery.. he created it...

    As for Golden can most likely will not use it... as it is delivered as javascript.. and is not seen by the SE's... if I do use it it will only be for coupons... and specials...

    Joe
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

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