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February 7th, 2006, 07:44 AM #1AvantLink Free Tools: Datafeed Manager
The Datafeed Manager was our first tool. In fact, the Datafeed Manager is part of the reason why the AvantLink Affiliate Network was conceptualized and developed. All the other great reasons are reserved for another thread.
This is an advanced, deep-linking tool that is dynamic and highly customizable. And perhaps most importantly, the output pages consist of static, HTML files that are SEO-friendly. These output pages are locally cached on the Affiliate's web server for a 24-hour period. When the 24-hour cache expires, and a page is requested (either by user or SE crawler), the data is pulled from AvantLink's servers in real time, including all the most recent pricing and inventory with it (a huge benefit to merchants as well as Affiliates).
Affiliates and merchants alike are cautious about duplicate content so we have added several safeguards to help minimize the impact of many Affiliates using the same catalog. When configuring this tool you'll have a large amount of control, which helps make your distribution of the merchant's database unique. For example, you can control how many categories, sub-categories and product groups you use from the feed...this will help you target your offerings to your site's content. You can also wrap your own HTML around the output template, allowing other content elements to be included on each page (using server side includes, for example).
To get started using the Datafeed Manager follow these steps:
- Login to your Affiliate account at www.AvantLink.com. Click 'Tools' from the main menu. Once in the tool center, under 'Datafeed Manager' select the 'Sign-up for new datafeeds' link.
- On the 'Datafeed Manager: Merchant List' page, filter by the merchant you are interested in configuring a datafeed for.
- This will bring you to a 'Datafeed Subscription' page for the merchant you selected. Your next step will be to 'Select a Website for this Datafeed'. If you have more than one Web site configured to your Affiliate account, you'll have to select which Web site you want to use through the drop down menu.
- Once you select 'Next' you'll be taken to the 'Configure Your Datafeed' page. Begin the configuration of your dynamic datafeed by following the steps. There are 'Help' notes at every stage. Note: For the dynamic option being highlighted on this thread you'll have to select 'Datafeed Client' for the 'Integration Method' (first step). Remember, we have three datafeed options from every merchant available for Affiliates.
- Once you 'Save' your configuration, you'll be taken to a subscription summary page. This is where you will 'Download Datafeed Client'. There are links to 'Script Install Instructions' and 'How to change the cache folder permissions' available on this page as well.
Once you've downloaded the client, you can literally plug it in and have the whole feed published to your site immediately. The next step would be to customize the template.php file that comes with your client download. When you have finished customizing, link 'er up and sit back and watch the Googlebot sniff around, then watch the feed pages index (if you have high PR and SE exposure), and finally, watch the commissions roll in. Remember, this is a few hours of work at most and once you're done, that's it. You'll never have to perform an update again! Although you may want to visit your subscription and change some configuration options (which is entirely possible and very painless) from time-to-time.
In summary, here are the benefits of using our Dynamic Datafeed Manager:
- SEO-friendly output
- Dynamic pricing and inventory
- Highly customizable to your site's look and feel
- Unlimited datafeed configuration options
- Once integrated, no maintenance is ever needed
- One-to-one Affiliate support from AvantLink
We've classified this tool as advanced, although you do not have to be a PHP programmer in order to work through the integration. Plus, if you are in the AvantLink Network as an Affiliate, you've demonstrated that you are in the higher tier of Affiliate marketers out there. In short, this means that supporting you in whatever it takes to get this tool in place and functional is in our best interest, and we're here to help.
After reading this many of you probably have questions so let's discuss this tool. If you're thinking this is too good to be true...you're wrong! Questions? Fire away..
March 4th, 2006, 10:21 PM #2
So, do you have just plain old excel spreadsheet data feeds for people who use Webmerge and the like?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!
March 5th, 2006, 12:13 AM #3that's right..
Yes. We provide raw datafeeds and they're actually based on the ABW Standard Datafeed that ya'll outlined here -> (AddHandler's thread).. well, I don't think there's been a finalized standard, but we took it in it's current form (based on that thread) and made it available to Affiliates... and what's cool is that every merchant provides data in this same standardized format because we integrate what they give us on these specs through the tool center..
..When you are working with one of our merchants you'll always know what to expect from the data.. I think that was namely why AddHandler started that thread..to try and figure out a way to get standardized feeds (either from merchants or networks).. maybe he can correct me here if I am wrong.
Here's an overview on All the Datafeed Options (3 options) we provide through our integrated tool center..
Also, with this recent thread that input started: he's refering to the raw data that is easily accessible via an http download once you sign up for a merchant's feed. You get assigned a custom URL that includes your tracking ID and you won't have to log in to your Affiliate account to grab an updated feed...your auto-scripts just have to show up on a URL, rather than login to an FTP site.
I hope this information is helpful, Gary M
March 9th, 2006, 10:03 PM #4
Okay, I set up the datafeed manager for your pet supplies merchant. I uploaded it to my web site, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to make modifications to the template.php.
I guess you really do need to know some php to get that done?
For example, the name I want for my website is "Pet Stuff." I put that in the configuration. But in the templete.php, it shows up as "pet_stuff." How do I get "pet_stuff" to display as "Pet Stuff"?
And while we're at it -- how can I get it to be the "index.php" file for my domain so that going to my domain in a browser shows the datafeed as my main website? The way it works now, I have to type in mydomain.com/pups/shop to get the datafeed to show up.
And I really don't know enough about modifying the php and/or style sheet and/or html to make the store look "professional." As it looks right now, it's pretty crude, because I haven't modified the template.php at all.
I really, really would like to utilize the dynamic datafeed advantages of your datafeed manager, however, it looks like I'll probably just download the datafeed and massage it into shape with a datafeed script I know how to use. Which, unfortunately, does not let me dynamically update the data like your script would.
March 9th, 2006, 10:40 PM #5
There are comments in the template.php file that explain where to add your html, and/or how to move around the variables like navigation, etc.. You do not need to know PHP in order to customize the template although it is a little advanced.. also, there's some documentation available through the tool center..
>> And while we're at it -- how can I get it to be the "index.php"
>> file for my domain so that going to my domain in a browser shows
>> the datafeed as my main website? The way it works now, I have
>> to type in mydomain.com/pups/shop to get the datafeed to show
You can't.. It resolves in a folder below your root level (as you saw when you uploaded the files and navigated to the rudimentary feed..)
This tool is not intended to be used as a stand alone website. This is a 'catalog' (complete or sub-divided into categories or depts) that should be plugged into an existing relevant site. For example, if you had a site all about pets and supplies, creating a link in your navigation called 'pet store' would be appropriate, using this web service datafeed client as the 'pet store'. Here's a good example..
When you first intall and navigate to the feed, yes, it will look crude. work through it, though, b/c it's pretty powerful once it's integrated.. and again, the content it outputs is not intended to exist as a stand alone web site. For most success, add this client and it's output to an existing site that's already established on the web.. and the benefits of the content being spiderable will shine..
If you would like me to take a look in more detail at what you're working on please email me the URL, and we'll go from there..
Regards, Gary M
Last edited by GravityFed; July 6th, 2007 at 06:15 PM. Reason: updated example site
March 16th, 2006, 10:39 AM #6
- Join Date
- June 28th, 2005
- NY State
Is it possible to modify the Datafeed Manager to work off of a downloaded raw datafeed file? I would like to limit the products displayed on my site and change the product categories. I'm thinking that if I could work off of a modified local datafeed file, I can accomplish what I want.
March 16th, 2006, 05:48 PM #7
Thank you, Gary M
March 16th, 2006, 10:24 PM #8
- Join Date
- June 28th, 2005
- NY State
Hi Gary, I guess I wasn't clear. Is it possible to modify the php web service client to operate off of a modified version of the raw datafeed file on my own server instead of getting the data from avantlink.com server? I'm in the process of learning PHP so I'm not sure if this would be possible. Would I be waisting my time trying to do this?
March 17th, 2006, 08:10 AM #9
Hi, I just re-read your first post as well. I should have been more clear, sorry about that! It looks like you are looking to limit your feed publication down to only certain categories. You can edit your web service subscription(s) and change it/them to only the categories you want and you're feed will be updated automatically on your side if your using the web service client..
As far as using the web service script on a local file, no it can't be used for that. The whole point of the web service script is that it keeps you from having to download and update a raw datafeed file and it provides the same seo benefit as static html pages.
If you want to use a raw datafeed file we provide that option as well and there are many third party utilities (check out WebMerge) for taking the raw file and turning it into datafeed pages.
If you have further questions or you're still confused please contact me directly..
Thank you, Gary M
March 17th, 2006, 12:28 PM #10
- Join Date
- June 28th, 2005
- NY State
Gary, Thanks for your help! I will check out WebMerge.
March 17th, 2006, 01:51 PM #11
March 23rd, 2006, 03:29 AM #12
I've just downloaded the Altrec feed. Is it fully customized ? Because as far as I know, the only instruction is to change the chmod and where to upload the files onto the web server.
March 23rd, 2006, 08:18 AM #13drop me a line..
Which version of the feed to you grab? Are you talking about the datafeed client script or the raw feed?
Why don't you contact me directly and we'll figure it out..
March 23rd, 2006, 12:11 PM #14let me try again..
redsand, sorry i just re-read your post/question. ..Then my response..
'HA I responded before my angry caffeine fix was taken care of this morning.
Let me try again.. your post reads like you're using the client. If so.. no it's not customized at all. It comes in a very ugly version to keep people from using it in it's raw form.. needs a little love. This way there's a better chance people will add their own navigation systems, headers, footers or various other includes of content. Through the web service client, we're trying to minimize exact replicas of merchant's databases being widespread published through the tool..
The template.php file found in the folder named for the merchant, ie, out of the two folders you upload- not the folder called 'avant_includes', is highly customizable and it's CSS supported (there's a style sheet right in the template.php file..). You can add your site's HTML code to this file, then link it to your site's nav and you're off and running with new, relevant site property... it's a good time of year to plug in relevant categories to existing sites out there. By holiday madness you should have some decent indexed pages..
no maintenance, static html output, customizable, with lots of configurationi options..
contact me if you have troubles.. gary m
March 23rd, 2006, 01:10 PM #15
Just a quick post to say your datafeed tool is great. So easy and so easy to modify. Great work AvantLink Team!Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
7 Days A Week Marketing
March 23rd, 2006, 01:29 PM #16
March 23rd, 2006, 02:06 PM #17
HumbleFish, Yes this tool is integrated in the network. It's part of a more complete tool center that allows you to subscribe to tool configurations using a web service datafeed client or RSS>
>> And what does my host have to have to run it?
The only requirement is that your server is PHP compatible.
Thank you, Gary M
March 23rd, 2006, 09:53 PM #18
I'm on it, Gary.
I'm weaking it so it'll be different from anyone else.
March 24th, 2006, 03:55 PM #19
March 27th, 2006, 07:52 AM #20
HumbleFish, We Love you, too
Hopefully you can get PHP configured on your server.. and check out not only the web service datafeed client but several of the RSS-based tools...
April 16th, 2006, 06:13 PM #21
Gary Speer here. I started asked some questions early in this thread about configuring your datafeed manager. I understand from your response, and from the rest of this thread, that it's not designed as a website, but as a product catalog to use on a website.
I'm still trying to figure out how to configure the template.php accordingly. I actually haven't gotten a website at the url yet, but I can reach the datafeed manager by going to /pups/shop/shop.html.
Here's my problem: I was testing ways to modify the template.php. I went down to the bottom of the file, just above the </body> tag and created a one-row table with the text "Just winging it" inside the row.
I uploaded the modified template.php, went to the website, and saw nothing. BUT -- if I click on the last category link in the box on the left side of the template in my browser, it goes to that last category and displays the test "Just winging it" below the category navigation panel.
The text ONLY shows when I click the last category link. And even though I removed the table from template.php and uploaded the template.php WITHOUT the "Just winging it" text -- IT STILL SHOWS IN A BROWSER??
1. What have I done wrong?
2. How can I eliminate the "Just winging it" text that won't die??
3. How do I modify the template.php so that the store has links and/or graphics I wish to use to modify it as I try to integrate it into my site.
P.S. I don't know whether I'm allowed to put the link on the forum here so that you can check it out, but I'd be glad to PM you with the specific doman and link.
April 16th, 2006, 09:57 PM #22
writerguy - I don't think that you have done anything wrong...
I think the CACHE updates every 24 hours... so sometimes it takes longer to see the changes site wide... I could be wrong..
But what ever it is Avantlink is on it...
they do a great job helping people get set up..
April 16th, 2006, 10:24 PM #23
Hi Gary.. AddHandler is correct..
There is a 24 hr cache system where we cache the HTML & content locally on your site.. from the time each file it called to from our servers. This is why you saw your test table on deeper links.. and not on /pups/shop/shop.html ..you were already viewing /pups/shop/shop.html before you added the test table..and therefore the output html for that page was cached locally on your web server.
Within the folder where template.php is located, there is another folder called 'cache'. If you clear the 'cache' folder you'll see your changes..
As far as your question....
>> How do I modify the template.php so that the store has links
>> and/or graphics I wish to use to modify it as I try to integrate
>> it into my site.
All you have to do is add your HTML between <body> and </body> in the template.php file.
Here's a tip: The two primary variables of importance in the template are '$page_navigation' and '$page_content'.. the page nav varible outputs the navigation of the top level in your configuration.. the page content variable is where categories, sub-cats, product group and product detail pages will output.. so the best way to add your existing HTML template is to paste the html (between body tags) using absolute references directly into template.php.. then you can add '$page_navigation' and '$page_content' in the appropriate locations..
If you would like to email me your Affiliate site URL I'd be happy to take a look for you.
Thank you very much for your post...and for working with AvantLink!!
October 3rd, 2007, 01:32 PM #24Datafeed manager
I am using the Avantlink datafeed manager to setup a merchant catalog on my site. I don't know if this issue was already answered or not, but I need to have output pages with .php extensions. Is this possible?
October 3rd, 2007, 02:50 PM #25
No not with the current datafeed client. All the output pages will have the .html extensions.
Are you having problems setting up the tool? If so, feel free to contact support[at]avantlink.com if you have any questions.
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