Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 62
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    February 6th, 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    16
    Badly formatted datafeeds I dont understand
    Don't get me wrong, I love shareasale but I dont understand the problem with merchants having bad datafeeds!
    How do they "Merchants" expect us to promote their products with badly formatted datafeeds?

    Here is a example using 89 SAS DataFeeds / showing csv view of the GOOD and BAD
    Only 42 of the 89 DataFeeds were formatted correctly

  2. #2
    Newbie
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    38
    Scriptfeed,

    The information you have provided (via your link) is fantastic. Actually showing a comparison of the datafeeds is fantastic.

    However... I'm not sure this is a merchant problem. After looking through several of your "bad" datafeeds (including ours!), it seems most have the same formatting problem. Generally, the "bad" datafeeds have some fields that are cut in half with the remainder of the info pushed to the next product line. It seems the three fields most frequently cut in half are the ProductDescription, Thumbnail and LastUpdated fields. For reference, I looked over the following datafeeds: Modern Artisans, Nature Hills Nursery, Bill Bam, Buying Barstools, InkLiquidator, Arabian Bazaar and Southwest Blades. Didn't have time to scan every datafeed, but of the seven listed above, each seem to have the same exact problem.

    I have compared our datafeed (in spreadsheet and .csv formats) with the information you show. I cannot find any characters or entries that would cause the information in a field to be "cut" and sent to the next line.

    Perhaps Brian could shed some light as to what may be causing this? It would also be informative to know if all affiliates are experiencing this datafeed problem...
    Bart at <A HREF=http://www.modernartisans.com>Modern Artisans</A>... Artful Living for Home, Garden & Soul.
    <A HREF=https://shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=4349>Shareasale Affiliate Program</A>

  3. #3
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    1,220
    Don't see those issues myself. Engravable Gift Collection for example:

    Parsing from the database:
    http://skaboodle.com/eg.php

    Parsing the feed file (4313.txt):
    http://skaboodle.com/eg_raw.php



    links are not permanent, but will remain for a while
    Last edited by mobilebadboy; April 4th, 2006 at 09:50 AM.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    3,550
    scriptfeed,

    Thanks for the info. It is great to see so many at one time displayed to compare, finally someone like you that knows how to put these feeds together is here to help.

    I've downloaded many before and have seen some of the problems with the feeds, so I always knew we (everythingfurniture) were not alone. It would be great to see a fix, solution to the feeds where they have some type of standard formatting.

    With everything furniture for example, I have seen many affiliate sites created that are great customized and many that are just thrown up as they are, but wit hthe bad formating in it. One of the problems we have discussed with partners is the way the info is sent through if your using feed from yahoo as in our case. We are still working on this and I know yahoo is also working to improve some of the ways the merchants add information, but this is the info I have gathered so far and basically in their hands.

    I any affiliates are using, planning to use, or have had problems with our feed from everythingfurniture.com and everythingofficefurniture.com post away and let us know any and all that needs done.

    I want to see shareasale have the best feeds from anywhere too.

  5. #5
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    9,944
    I think it has to do with Excel only being able to hold so many characters per line. I have the same issues and it drives me nuts!
    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!

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager dculpepper's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 23rd, 2005
    Location
    Collins, MS
    Posts
    108
    Hello scriptfeed,

    I would have to agree with modernartisans. If I take our feed as an example, sometimes it seems to be cutting the description field off and is pushing the rest of the description to the next product line... even cutting off in the middle of a word at times.

    According to Shareasale documentation we don't have a limit on the number of characters that we can use in the description but maybe that's something that we could pay more attention to in the future.

    I also see that it cut the LastUpdated field into separate parts on couple of our products. We don't generate the LastUpdated field so I would have to assume that is added in by Shareasale and we wouldn't have any control over that field. Not sure what we could do there...

    Maybe Brian and Shareasale will have some suggestions.
    [SIZE="2"][LEFT][B]David Culpepper, SubscriptionAgent.com[/B]
    [URL=http://www.subscriptionagent.com/aff/index.html]Affiliate Program Info[/URL] | E: [email=david@subscriptionagent.com]david@subscriptionagent.com[/email] | [URL=http://twitter.com/dculpepper]Twitter[/URL] | [URL=http://www.facebook.com/DavidCulpepper]Facebook[/URL]
    30% Commission & LIFETIME Cookie![/LEFT][/SIZE]

  7. #7
    Newbie
    Join Date
    February 6th, 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    16
    Character Limit per item row
    We ran a test this morning and found a safe Character Limit per item row.
    Data Feed Safe Character Limit = 1024

    What does this mean?:

    If the total of Character in every column "Listed Below" equals 1024 the datafeed will be formated correctly. Everything over 1025 will cause a bad datafeed.

    ProductID
    Name
    MerchantID
    Merchant
    Link
    Thumbnail
    BigImage
    Price
    RetailPrice
    Category
    SubCategory
    Description
    Custom1
    Custom2
    Custom3
    Custom4
    Custom5
    LastUpdated
    InStock

    Example:
    ProductID: 453670891 = 9 Characters
    Name: Allure = 6 Characters
    MerchantID: 6719 = 4 Characters
    Merchant: MagazinesQuick.com = 18 Characters
    Link: http://www,thelink.com = 22 Characters
    Thumbnail: http://www,thethumb.com = 23 Characters
    BigImage: http://www,BigImage.com = 23 Characters
    Price: $100.00 = 7 Characters
    RetailPrice:$101.00 = 7 Characters
    Category: Magazine = 7 Characters
    SubCategory: Magazine Sale = 13 Characters
    Description: This is a great magazine. = 24 Characters
    Custom1:
    Custom2:
    Custom3:
    Custom4:
    Custom5:
    LastUpdated: 2006-01-05 18:19:32.293 = 23 Characters
    InStock:

    Total of 186 Character
    This including tabs / spaces

    If I have made a mistake forgive me in advance!

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager dculpepper's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 23rd, 2005
    Location
    Collins, MS
    Posts
    108
    Quote Originally Posted by scriptfeed
    We ran a test this morning and found a safe Character Limit per item row.
    Data Feed Safe Character Limit = 1024
    Okay out of curiosity, where does this limit come from? Is this a MySQL limitation or a limitation in the program that you are using to parse the feeds? Happy to make any changes that make your job easier but I would like to better understand why the changes are necessary.

    I can add a limit to the number of characters that are exported for the description field in our next datafeed update. That should take care of this problem.

    Any other suggestions?
    [SIZE="2"][LEFT][B]David Culpepper, SubscriptionAgent.com[/B]
    [URL=http://www.subscriptionagent.com/aff/index.html]Affiliate Program Info[/URL] | E: [email=david@subscriptionagent.com]david@subscriptionagent.com[/email] | [URL=http://twitter.com/dculpepper]Twitter[/URL] | [URL=http://www.facebook.com/DavidCulpepper]Facebook[/URL]
    30% Commission & LIFETIME Cookie![/LEFT][/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Newbie
    Join Date
    February 6th, 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    16
    Datafeeds limit to the number of characters
    Here is a Example Datafeed the has 21 rows with 1 row that has exceeded the number of characters 1024.

    1. Extract the csv file and open with NOTEPAD
    2. Under Format make sure "Wordwrap" is turned off.
    3. Look for the row xxxxxxxxx and remove 1 character from that row and you will see what Im talking about.

    Here are some links about this issue
    http://groups.google.com/group/micro...0aa5378c7ae0ea
    http://businessintelligence.ittoolbo...handle-698359#


    I hope this helps


    "number of characters 1024" does not apply when using sql databases


    Quote Originally Posted by dculpepper
    Okay out of curiosity, where does this limit come from? Is this a MySQL limitation or a limitation in the program that you are using to parse the feeds? Happy to make any changes that make your job easier but I would like to better understand why the changes are necessary.

    I can add a limit to the number of characters that are exported for the description field in our next datafeed update. That should take care of this problem.

    Any other suggestions?

  10. #10
    Member RWorld's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 18th, 2005
    Posts
    101
    I think it has to do with Excel only being able to hold so many characters per line. I have the same issues and it drives me nuts!
    Why would Excel have anything to do with it?

    The best thing to do is parse the csv or txt files directly using a script - straight into your database. If you start copying and pasting into excel etc, then you are asking for trouble!

    There is no 1024 character limit in mysql, and SAS doesn't specify a limit for the description field, so I'm not sure why there wuld be any need to truncate this field.

    To scriptfeed: What exactly constitutes a "bad" datafeed in your testing?
    You can't expect every feed to meet spec perfectly - with a little adaptation, I have found it's not too difficult to formulate exceptions to cover "badly formatted" cases.
    Every datafeed I've used so far can be "tweaked" to fit as required.


    Edit: Although I think it would be really useful to have a subforum where we can post the names of merchants who have rubbish datafeeds - i.e. thousands of items with no (or wrong) subcategories and other issues - not intended as a "name and shame", but more to try to educate merchants in how to provided useful data.
    <font size="1"><strong>[URL=http://www.thechesszone.com]TheChessZone[/URL]</strong> Chess sets and supplies.<br><strong>[URL=http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=9515]Join our affiliate program[/URL]</strong> Up to 12% commission!

  11. #11
    Newbie
    Join Date
    February 6th, 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    16
    re: Don't see those issues myself
    Quote Originally Posted by mobilebadboy
    Don't see those issues myself. Engravable Gift Collection for example:

    Parsing from the database:
    http://skaboodle.com/eg.php

    Parsing the feed file (4313.txt):
    http://skaboodle.com/eg_raw.php

    links are not permanent, but will remain for a while


    You said "Parsing from the database"
    Parsing from the database:
    http://skaboodle.com/eg.php


    Engravable Gift Collection
    Datafeed that was downloaded 4-03-06
    This link above is NOT parsing from a database. Itstead its parsing the txt file that was downloaded from shareasale's ftp location.

    Parsing from a database will NOTshow if a feed has exceeded the charactor limit

    This is why your not seeing the same using your php script / sql database

  12. #12
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    9,944
    Uh, hello!!

    A lot of us use Webmerge and that means an excel or similar file.

    Additionally, we use spread sheets to change or add categories since so many f*up merchants don't provide any. And, we don't use them out of the package. We make our feeds unique.
    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
    Member RWorld's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 18th, 2005
    Posts
    101
    A lot of us use Webmerge and that means an excel or similar file.
    But the feeds aren't provided as an excel file - .txt or .csv aren't they?
    I don't understand.

    And in any case, if webmerge is screwing up the formatting of feeds, the merchants can hardly be to blame for that.
    <font size="1"><strong>[URL=http://www.thechesszone.com]TheChessZone[/URL]</strong> Chess sets and supplies.<br><strong>[URL=http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=9515]Join our affiliate program[/URL]</strong> Up to 12% commission!

  14. #14
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    9,944
    Webmerge isn't screwing up anything. A data feed that cannot be used with other common tools is very limited as to what can be done with it.

    Sure, if you want copycat sites, limited by only being able to list things under each merchant, I guess, you don't need to work with your feeds.

    I and many others need feeds that will be good in Excel.

    SAS seriously needs to address this.
    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!

  15. #15
    Newbie
    Join Date
    February 6th, 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by RWorld
    Why would Excel have anything to do with it?

    The best thing to do is parse the csv or txt files directly using a script - straight into your database. If you start copying and pasting into excel etc, then you are asking for trouble!

    There is no 1024 character limit in mysql, and SAS doesn't specify a limit for the description field, so I'm not sure why there wuld be any need to truncate this field.

    To scriptfeed: What exactly constitutes a "bad" datafeed in your testing?
    You can't expect every feed to meet spec perfectly - with a little adaptation, I have found it's not too difficult to formulate exceptions to cover "badly formatted" cases.
    Every datafeed I've used so far can be "tweaked" to fit as required.


    Edit: Although I think it would be really useful to have a subforum where we can post the names of merchants who have rubbish datafeeds - i.e. thousands of items with no (or wrong) subcategories and other issues - not intended as a "name and shame", but more to try to educate merchants in how to provided useful data.
    The datafeed offered by Shareasale is formated "Pipe Delimited"/ CSV so Most Affiliates use software or scripts that can work with csv files or Pipe Delimited format.

    This 1024 character HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SQL DATABASES
    If your datafeed file "txt" or "csv" exceeds this 1024 character limit, How do you Import the Feed to your sql database without making mods to the datafeed so all rows are formated correctly?

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager dculpepper's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 23rd, 2005
    Location
    Collins, MS
    Posts
    108
    So you are parsing the data directly from the text file. Wouldn't it be better to dump the data into a database?

    I'm by no means a php/mysql expert but I have experimented with it using examples given here at ABW and have found that I can manipulate the data to fit my needs as I import into my database. I think that would eliminate some of the problems that you are seeing.

    Or maybe I still just don't understand...
    [SIZE="2"][LEFT][B]David Culpepper, SubscriptionAgent.com[/B]
    [URL=http://www.subscriptionagent.com/aff/index.html]Affiliate Program Info[/URL] | E: [email=david@subscriptionagent.com]david@subscriptionagent.com[/email] | [URL=http://twitter.com/dculpepper]Twitter[/URL] | [URL=http://www.facebook.com/DavidCulpepper]Facebook[/URL]
    30% Commission & LIFETIME Cookie![/LEFT][/SIZE]

  17. #17
    Member RWorld's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 18th, 2005
    Posts
    101
    Webmerge isn't screwing up anything. A data feed that cannot be used with other common tools is very limited as to what can be done with it.
    I've still yet to find out exactly what the problem is here - as I've said, I am not having any problems with dealing with datafeeds.
    If the issue is that the tool you are working with cannot handle the datafeed properly, then I suggest that is the fault of the tool, not the datafeed.


    If your datafeed file "txt" or "csv" exceeds this 1024 character limit, How do you Import the Feed to your sql database without making mods to the datafeed so all rows are formated correctly?
    I still don't know where this 1024 figure came from! Is this a limit in excel, or something else? Personally, I just parse the .txt file using PHP and do not have any problems. What exactly are you trying to do that is causing problems when the line is >1024 characters?
    <font size="1"><strong>[URL=http://www.thechesszone.com]TheChessZone[/URL]</strong> Chess sets and supplies.<br><strong>[URL=http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=9515]Join our affiliate program[/URL]</strong> Up to 12% commission!

  18. #18
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    9,944
    Bully for you.

    The rest of us are having problems with some of the feeds because there are too many characters in the product descriptions.

    The feeds should be compatible with tools commonly used by most affiliate marketers and that is all there is to it.

    Just because you neither see nor understand the problem does not mean there is no problem. I have long been annoyed at the same things scriptfeed has pointed out so well.
    Last edited by SSanf; April 4th, 2006 at 05:59 PM.
    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!

  19. #19
    Newbie
    Join Date
    April 21st, 2005
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    The feeds should be compatible with tools commonly used by most affiliate marketers and that is all there is to it.
    I guess the question is "which tools are problematic?"

    Excel does have a DISPLAY limit of 1024 in a cell as was pointed out and when you click it, it overwrites stuff from the edit box at the top, but that doesn't mean you can't have more data, it's just hard to edit but can be done in Excel still, or copy/paste that one cell to notepad to edit it, then back.

    SQL or MYSQL could still potentially be a problem if you set the size of the column too small. ie: a char/varchar of 1024 characters instead of a TEXT field.

    I think the real key is to look at the TOOLS and find out where the problem is.

  20. #20
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Take off eh?
    Posts
    3,249
    and excel is not a proper datafeed tool ... let the flaming begin
    ================================================================
    Been away, now I'm back. Not as much, but I'm back & starting from scratch. Where I was, was fantastic. Where I am now, less so. Things have changed, become harder. So have I. Game ON!!!
    ================================================================

  21. #21
    Member RWorld's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 18th, 2005
    Posts
    101
    Bully for you.
    No need for condescension


    The rest of us are having problems with some of the feeds because there are too many characters in the product descriptions.
    So you suggest a blanket limit on the length of this field because the tools you use are not suitable? Bit shortsighted, no?

    Just because you neither see nor understand the problem does not mean there is no problem. I have long been annoyed at the same things scriptfeed has pointed out so well.
    When did I say there was no problem? I am trying to understand the problem so maybe I can help out by making suggestions as to how to get around it.
    I don't think I'll bother in future.


    I think the real key is to look at the TOOLS and find out where the problem is.
    Exactly. If there is no problem in the datafeed, trying to make merchants adhere to field length limits because some tools can't handle them is not the way to go.

    I do understand frustration though - my take on this is that people needt to adapt
    <font size="1"><strong>[URL=http://www.thechesszone.com]TheChessZone[/URL]</strong> Chess sets and supplies.<br><strong>[URL=http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=9515]Join our affiliate program[/URL]</strong> Up to 12% commission!

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 19th, 2005
    Posts
    1,270
    Wait till you get to the part where... the datafeed has 999 products in it...
    and every single product SIZE is considered a new product.. so they list each SIZE with it's own SKU... BUT... they all have the same name.. description.. price... etc..
    So there are actually only 333 products... not 999...!!! Just small medium and large of the same product... stupid stupid stupid.....

    LOL... talk about SPAM... A lot of merchants just pump out a crap feed and then sit back and wonder why their program isn't taking off....

    Some peoples kids.. huh..??

    IMHO...
    if a merchant puts out a feed that is in CSV format... it is meant to be opened in Excel or similar programs or TOOLS... so it better fit...
    If not... give it to us in TAB delimited text format so there are NO LIMITS for the MySQL users....

  23. #23
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    9,944
    Quote Originally Posted by AddHandler
    IMHO...
    if a merchant puts out a feed that is in CSV format... it is meant to be opened in Excel or similar programs or TOOLS... so it better fit...
    If not... give it to us in TAB delimited text format so there are NO LIMITS for the MySQL users....
    And, what do you suggest is the solution for the people who do NOT use MySQL? That they just don't use the merchants who have NO LIMITS? Or, perhaps, adapt and do it the famous MySQL way which no doubt will be supplanted by some new idea of a good idea next year. I think if a merchant wants to maximize their exposure, they should provide a feed that all the affiliates can use. There are a whole lot of us who like and use Webmerge and we are sick and tired of "fixing" crappy feeds. This is a real sore point with me as it obviously is with scriptfeed who started this thread.

    It isn't like Excel is some obscure tool, you know. And, you can sure do a lot with it to be creative when customizing your feeds so long as the merchant has provided a feed that will work with a tool that is very commonly used by affiliates.

    Why would they NOT give us a feed that works in Excel? How dumb is THAT? Some merchants are even smart enough to put descriptions in TWO columns so you can use either one or both if you want a longer description. Now, THEY are on the ball.
    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!

  24. #24
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    1,220
    Quote Originally Posted by mobilebadboy
    Parsing the feed file (4313.txt):
    http://skaboodle.com/eg_raw.php
    This one ISN'T parsing from the database. It is parsing the FLAT FILE (4313.txt) directly.

    I tried it both ways.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager dculpepper's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 23rd, 2005
    Location
    Collins, MS
    Posts
    108
    After talking to scriptfeed on the phone today, I understand where he is coming from and we will address this issue in our next datafeed update. But speaking as a merchant...

    We have many, many people who use our feeds everyday. We have even on occassion created custom feeds for affiliates that have a specific request but unfortunately I don't have time to try every tool that is available to affiliates so I may not understand exactly what it is you need to make your life easier. I've never tried to use Webmerge and I don't open my feeds in excel... maybe I should but in over two years, this is first time that this problem has ever been mentioned to me.

    Instead of getting frustrated and deciding that a merchant has a crappy feed so I'm not going to work with them. Let them know what you need... they may not be aware of the situation.
    [SIZE="2"][LEFT][B]David Culpepper, SubscriptionAgent.com[/B]
    [URL=http://www.subscriptionagent.com/aff/index.html]Affiliate Program Info[/URL] | E: [email=david@subscriptionagent.com]david@subscriptionagent.com[/email] | [URL=http://twitter.com/dculpepper]Twitter[/URL] | [URL=http://www.facebook.com/DavidCulpepper]Facebook[/URL]
    30% Commission & LIFETIME Cookie![/LEFT][/SIZE]

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Sorting by Formatted Date
    By yintercept in forum Rakuten LinkShare - LS
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: December 18th, 2008, 05:59 PM
  2. Dont Understand
    By jamiesoprano in forum Commission Junction - CJ
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: September 1st, 2007, 04:47 PM
  3. Something I dont understand about this business...
    By grove in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: February 6th, 2006, 03:17 PM
  4. Women just dont understand
    By Gordon in forum Virtual Family and Off-Topic
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: March 3rd, 2005, 01:09 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •