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  1. #1
    Member IronChef253's Avatar
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    Lack of follow-up
    I was looking down the list of affiliates who have joined my program in the last couple of months and was surprised to find that I couldn't locate our banners / links anywhere on several of these sites!

    Is it common to find that affiliates will sign up to your program and not "follow through"? and why does this happen?

    Im guessing that they sign up for multiple programs at once and then forget to do the banners and links...

  2. #2
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    What exactly is your program? You might have posted it already and I missed it.

    Sometimes they sign up and will get links up eventually. Could be very busy or they want the merchant available when they're ready to put up links.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronChef253
    I was looking down the list of affiliates who have joined my program in the last couple of months and was surprised to find that I couldn't locate our banners / links anywhere on several of these sites!

    Is it common to find that affiliates will sign up to your program and not "follow through"? and why does this happen?

    Im guessing that they sign up for multiple programs at once and then forget to do the banners and links...
    I'm a newbie affiliate, and i'm trying learn affiliate marketing and it's not easy. there's 100 - 500 things that come blasting at me that I need to take care of.

    I admit that I made a mistake of signing up with almost *all* merchants, now it's so hard to add links for each one of them.

    Again, I'm speaking for myself here... don't know what other affiliates have to say.
    I wish I didn't sign up for all of them at once, but just signed up when ever I was ready for a merchant.

    Some merchants deactivate relationships with me after seeing no activity.

    That's fine with me, I will re-apply to their program, whenever I feel ready for them.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Sometimes the problem is you join and they send you an email stating your site is under review. Then after a short time they accept you and expect you to add them now! I just put them on the back burner and add them when I have time. You would think that they are paying you for adding their site.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    i work really hard on putting links and promoting some merchants.

    and some times I spend like 1 to 2 weeks on just one merchant.

    but sometimes its quite disappointing as a newbie to not get paid for all that work.

    I only get paid when I make a sale, and if my site it popular. and not other wise.

    It's only been 3 months since I started, and it will take time before anything happens - i am now focusing on buyer's experience.


    But not getting paid immediately for adding links is a good thing. It gives me the freedom to build my site the way I want to without being obliged towards any merchant.

    Some merchants offer cash like $5 for adding links, and this probably gets many affiliates to get active with your links.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Basically it is a matter of timing. Often affiliates sign up for a program and then it may be a month or two before they actually set links or banners live. Busy, proscrastination, forgot all about the program, started seeing action on one merchant and got distracted from activating others etc etc.

    I'd say try calling their attention to your offer again or maybe offering a timed incentive.

    Best of Luck
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  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    A typical program can see an activation rate as low as 1%. A well managed program with aggressive activation campaigns and promotions might see 10%, 20%, or even better. If you want to learn about activation campaigns (and three days crammed full of other tips and best practices), check out Andy's Affiliate Manager Certification Seminar later this month in Chicago. Last I heard, there were five seats left and their early bird pricing was still in effect.

    People sign up for a variety of reasons, and you have to motivate them into action while their interest is highest (when they first sign up).
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  8. #8
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    If you have a too aggressive acquisition and activation strategy, one might piss off some of the affiliates by too many email/calls. Starts out slow and work from there

  9. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I'm not talking about aggressive contacts, but giving them everything they need to get started in their welcome email plus an aggressive incentive for them to get started immediately. Andy explains it much better than I do.

    I know his techniques work with me. I have a backlog of nearly 1000 merchants wanting to get on my site, and Andy's usually jump to the top of the list.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Smile Great posts gang
    To Michael C and the rest who are posting info on activation of campaigns - great info to have!! Thank you for your educational comments.

    As a merchant - I would like to think (dream) that every big hitting affiliate on the net would immediately jump on my program. However, I've learned in my time here that regardless of my personal belief in my program that this is not how it works. What I'm learning here is that Affiliates have to have a "reason" to act (past a merchants biased belief in his/her program).

    Using my early education here, we made the announcement yesterday about our $50 add on bonus to inspire activation and I'll be darned - It is stirring interest. Also it has inspired a couple questions and / or suggestions from affiliates that can only benefit the program and affiliates with whom we are partnered. That to me is a very positive step forward. I realize that there is much more that I can learn in order to become a knowledgeable AM and valued merchant partner - and so I am very pleased that I made the decision to go "back to school" in Chicago this month.

    In the meantime, I relish the ongoing "OJT" education I am continuing to get by my affiliation with this forum and I thank you for your helpful comments. Look forward to meeting you all in Chicago.

    Good thoughts cause lasting smiles!
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  11. #11
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Hi Alan,

    Activation bonus is always very nice but sometimes, it might be expensive. Other things that you can do is to build relationship with some good guys on ABW. There are some super duper nice ppl here and at times, relationship counts as opposed to $$. Got 2-3 affilaites at the summit and they would not even look at our program if I did not speak to them personally.

    Have fun...

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe
    Hi Alan,

    Activation bonus is always very nice but sometimes, it might be expensive. Other things that you can do is to build relationship with some good guys on ABW. There are some super duper nice ppl here and at times, relationship counts as opposed to $$. Got 2-3 affilaites at the summit and they would not even look at our program if I did not speak to them personally.

    Have fun...
    Yes, a good relationship definitely helps.

    I like affiliate managers that offer help, and I made a list of merchants to get active with based on the help and support I got.

    I can't act immediately and add everyone's links. I need to plan and design first and look at the big picture from the buyers perspective.

    but, affiliate managers that offer help and support and merchants with good affiliate tools like coupons and clearance links will get higher priority on my site.

  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe
    Activation bonus is always very nice but sometimes, it might be expensive. Other things that you can do is to build relationship with some good guys on ABW. There are some super duper nice ppl here and at times, relationship counts as opposed to $$. Got 2-3 affilaites at the summit and they would not even look at our program if I did not speak to them personally.
    It's all relative. I'm sure the $$ you spent at the summit to get 2-3 affiliates is more than most merchants spend on activation campaigns.

    It really takes both. Part of the reason Andy's activation campaigns are so successful is because he has built a great reputation in the affiliate community. But he doesn't rely just on his reputation and relationships. He uses every tool available to distinguish his progams and encourage people to start right away.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  14. #14
    Member IronChef253's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe
    Activation bonus is always very nice but sometimes, it might be expensive. Other things that you can do is to build relationship with some good guys on ABW. There are some super duper nice ppl here and at times, relationship counts as opposed to $$. Got 2-3 affilaites at the summit and they would not even look at our program if I did not speak to them personally.

    Yeah...I am definately understanding why being an affiliate manager is similar to being in sales.

    I have been trying to reach out more to my affiliates but am finding it difficult...most don't seem to respond to a personal email. I have called a few of them and that seems to be the best way to actually establish contact. I WANT to have that relationship with my affiliates but am finding few who are interested in communicating with me directly in return...

    Prior to my arrival here there really was zero outreach. The affiliate program was sort of sitting on the back burner of someone who already had many more important things to do. I would like to build it...add the element of personal interaction to the affiliation process. Are there any affiliate meetings / events in the Seattle / WA area?

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Thanks Eric,

    Good point and well taken. It will take time to build long lasting relationships with our affiliate partners. There are no shortcuts. Chicago is a starting point in many ways as it will be the first time that I have the opportunity to personally meet and visit peers.

    In my younger business / marketing days we did not have email or the internet - meeting and shaking hands was the order of the day! (miss that a lot) Flights, hotels, rooms, meetings, meals with clients, bonuses and other incentives, lost time from the office; these were all big expenses. But they were expenses that I viewed as an investment because I was building for the long term and those clients (affiliates) would be the fuel that would propel us in the future.


    I view development of new relationships with online affiliates the same way. So while we build the relationships we seek, one step at a time, I don't mind investing in getting new partners going. Speaking only from my own internal belief system, if I TRULY believe that who we are and what we do IS a quality product, then I am willing to fund the short term add ons in order to develop long term relationships with those who can benefit us both. Certainly nothing takes the place of personal meetings - but even then I don't mind throwing bonus dollars into the "sales force kitty."
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  16. #16
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronChef253
    I was looking down the list of affiliates who have joined my program in the last couple of months and was surprised to find that I couldn't locate our banners / links anywhere on several of these sites!

    Is it common to find that affiliates will sign up to your program and not "follow through"? and why does this happen?

    Im guessing that they sign up for multiple programs at once and then forget to do the banners and links...
    CJ & LS merchants usually identify which network they are on but other merchants either from "in-house," "indy," or other networks neglect to this. This is very important to include in any e-mail correspondence because often affiliates will sign up for many/multiple merchants at one time.

    Any correspondence should include the network the merchant affiliates with and/or a link to where the affiliate can start to generate links. You'd be surprised at the number of e-mails I receive that keep me guessing. Some merchants should identify what they sell too.

    I have signed up with merchants expecting and/or anticipating more types of creatives than actually offered.
    If I can't get a product link (picture product link) I will become frustrated.

    If merchants only offer text and a limited selection of banners, I will concentrate on other merchants who offer more creative flexibility in terms of what types of creatives are being offered:
    • are the banners artistic or are they just going to junk up my pages?

    • are the banners available in a variety of sizes/shapes?

    • is there a choice for the webmaster in terms of promotional creatives including but not limited to "store front" -- [and I forget the term of the other type of creative --I think it is drm--some affiliates really like it-- the point is availability of choice]

    • are search boxes available?

    • the most important creative for me is the capability that allows me to get the specific product link (with a clear picture) of the exact merchandise that I would like to sell -- this is why Linkshare's Advanced method is best in this regard


    One more thing -- sometimes a merchant with be well known for "Product X" and will concentrate lots of energy to the promotion of "Product X" thinking that all affiliates are wrapped up with the wonders of "Product X" when an affiliate might have joined to promote a lesser known item "Product aa1."

    Merchants should ensure that all their products can be promoted.
    You'll never know if a certain affiliate can start a craze for "Product aa1" if the creative capability is lacking.
    Last edited by Rhia7; August 4th, 2006 at 03:26 PM.
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  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Thanks Rhia
    Great information to have!!
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  18. #18
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I've been doing this since 2001.

    I have many merchants that I just don't get around to putting on my site.

    I like to use data feeds. I may be just getting ready to put out a merchant feed and then when I take a look at it the information is just plain garbage.

    The feed is full of html - full of mistakes - half of the caterories or sub-categories are missing by the products - there are so many duplications in the feed that the feed can start out with 6,000 items and by the time I sort and find and delete all of the duplicate items in the feed there are only 4,000 items left - and etc.

    There is mis-spelling in the feed. All of the spelling mistakes have to be corrected before I can use it.

    It going to take me a lot of time to clean up the feed enough that I can use it.

    And then guess what.

    Geno tells us that there is a feed with 6,500 items in it and that all we have to do is load a php template site to our server - It will automatically update so that we will never have to deal with updates - so if you were us which site would you get out first??

    Naturally - Geno's site got put on my site - not the one that was going to take me forever to get out.

    The more tools - and easier tools and ways to help us build your site within our site - you will be the first merchant put on the site when we are adding merchants.

    Of course - you have to earn our confidence that you are a trust worthy merchant.

    We expect to be paid for every sale we make for you - every month - and on time.

    The better the tools you offer the affiliate - the quicker the affiliates will add you to their sites.

    When you offer feeds they should be free to the affiliates.

    You need to have a download page on your server where we can access the feed directly from the merchant.

    It makes no sense at all when a merchant gives the feed free to the network and then the network makes the affiliate pay $250.00 for the feed.

    That is nothing but a crock of bull - if you want the affiliates to use your feed to make money for you - you need to make arrangements for the affiliates to get access to your feed for free.
    Last edited by BurgerBoy; August 4th, 2006 at 03:45 PM.

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  19. #19
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    I've been doing this since 2001.

    I have many merchants than I just don't get around to putting on my site.

    I like to use data feeds. I may be just getting ready to put out a merchant feed and then when I take a look at it the information is just plain garbage.

    The feed is full of html - full of mistakes - half of the caterories or sub-categories are missing by the products - there are so many duplications in the feed that the feed can start out with 6,000 items and by the time I sort and find and delete all of the duplicate items in the feed there are only 4,000 items left - and etc.

    There is mis-spelling in the feed. All of the spelling mistakes have to be corrected before I can use it.

    It going to take me a lot of time to clean up the feed enough that I can use it.
    OOooh, and some merchants would expect the affiliate to pay an upfront fee in the neighborhood of $200 for a product feed riddled with intrinsic flaws.

    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    The more tools - and easier tools and ways to help us build your site within our site - you will be the first merchant put on the site when we are adding merchants.

    Of course - you have to earn our confidence that you are a trust worthy merchant.

    We expect to be paid for every sale we make for you - every month - and on time.

    The better the tools you offer the affiliate - the quicker the affiliates will add you to their sites.
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  20. #20
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    I've been doing this since 2001.

    I have many merchants than I just don't get around to putting on my site.

    I like to use data feeds. I may be just getting ready to put out a merchant feed and then when I take a look at it the information is just plain garbage.

    The feed is full of html - full of mistakes - half of the caterories or sub-categories are missing by the products - there are so many duplications in the feed that the feed can start out with 6,000 items and by the time I sort and find and delete all of the duplicate items in the feed there are only 4,000 items left - and etc.

    There is mis-spelling in the feed. All of the spelling mistakes have to be corrected before I can use it.

    It going to take me a lot of time to clean up the feed enough that I can use it.

    And then guess what.

    Geno tells us that there is a feed with 6,500 items in it and that all we have to do is load a php template site to our server - It will automatically update so that we will never have to deal with updates - so if you were us which site would you get out first??

    Naturally - Geno's site got put on my site - not the one that was going to take me forever to get out.

    The more tools - and easier tools and ways to help us build your site within our site - you will be the first merchant put on the site when we are adding merchants.

    Of course - you have to earn our confidence that you are a trust worthy merchant.

    We expect to be paid for every sale we make for you - every month - and on time.

    The better the tools you offer the affiliate - the quicker the affiliates will add you to their sites.

    When you offer feeds they should be free to the affiliates.

    You need to have a download page on your server where we can access the feed directly from the merchant.

    It makes no sense at all when a merchant gives the feed free to the network and then the network makes the affiliate pay $250.00 for the feed.

    That is nothing but a crock of bull - if you want the affiliates to use your feed to make money for you - you need to make arrangements for the affiliates to get access to your feed for free.
    Another thing affiliate managers need to do is to have a toll free phone number - someone to actually answer the phone when we call - and someone that is enough of a tech to answer questions that we ask instead of telling us that they don't the answer - they just answer the phone.

    A lot of affiliates are just starting to get into the business and they really need some help getting it all figured out.

    I just learned to use php and I've been wanting to use it for a year now - but no merchants were willing to help you out with it.

    If some of the merchants had had someone who would have talked to me and helped me out their entire feed would have been on my sites a long time ago.

    That was their loss - and now they wonder why They aren't on my sites.

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  21. #21
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronChef253
    I was looking down the list of affiliates who have joined my program in the last couple of months and was surprised to find that I couldn't locate our banners / links anywhere on several of these sites!

    Is it common to find that affiliates will sign up to your program and not "follow through"? and why does this happen?
    I was following through for one merchant (affiliated with CJ) the other night
    and as I was testing the links, I followed a link to the merchant site and I saw a big gif of a good looking female that encouraged the visitor to call a 1-800 # and/or to press the chat button and chat online.

    This is a merchant that sells items at tops maybe $50 but most of the items are under $50 (usual item is ballpark $22). This is a site that displays products in plain view and it is not really necessary to have a chat interface or to encourage telephone calls.

    So I hit the chat button and I said to the female rep "What happens to the webmaster's cookies from the originating site when the visitor chats with this interface?"

    She responded, "I don't have access to that information."

    [Well, honey, your merchant is not going to have much "access" to my web sites]

    Then the afffiliate manager wonders why I am not motivated to use the company's banners/links?
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  22. #22
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    I was following through for one merchant (affiliated with CJ) the other night
    and as I was testing the links, I followed a link to the merchant site and I saw a big gif of a good looking female that encouraged the visitor to call a 1-800 # and/or to press the chat button and chat online.

    This is a merchant that sells items at tops maybe $50 but most of the items are under $50 (usual item is ballpark $22). This is a site that displays products in plain view and it is not really necessary to have a chat interface or to encourage telephone calls.

    So I hit the chat button and I said to the female rep "What happens to the webmaster's cookies from the originating site when the visitor chats with this interface?"

    She responded, "I don't have access to that information."

    [Well, honey, your merchant is not going to have much "access" to my web sites]

    Then the afffiliate manager wonders why I am not motivated to use the company's banners/links?
    I agree 100%. It also happens that some merchant are running adsense ads on their product pages.

    I won't put out any merchant that has live chat or other leaks on their pages.

    All that is is stealing money from the affiliate that sent the customer to the merchant.

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  23. #23
    Member IronChef253's Avatar
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    Whats this PHP thing about BurgerBoy? I know of PHP but I haven't heard of how it applies in the world of datafeeds.

  24. #24
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronChef253
    Im guessing that they sign up for multiple programs at once and then forget to do the banners and links...
    No, as an affiliate I wouldn't forget.

    I've made my personal information and social security number available to your associated network & for that reason alone I wouldn't forget.

    As an affiliate manager you have to keep in mind that the affiliates are not being paid up front and affiliates often have day jobs, night jobs, family obligations, etc. etc. the list could go on.

    What do you think is more important to the affiliate: the obligations, responsibilities, and distractions of the affiliate's daily life or the banners and links of your wonderful company?

    As an affiliate I sign with the networks and the merchants associated with those networks in good faith.

    If I applied to your program that means I can visualize using your creatives and promoting your program in either one of my existing sites or a one of my potential sites but your program's creatives might hold a secondary place in my mind momentarily. Once I start to earn money with your program, your creatives become more important.

    You might have to wait a little while.

    If you threaten to drop me me because I don't put your banners up soon enough for you, you are guaranteeing bitter feelings. I also have a "big mouth" -- if for some reason I feel some merchant has treated me unfairly or I don't like a certain merchant's manner [whatever] there's nothing holding me back from writing about it here [either explicitly or in cloaked terms]
    Don't worry, I believe I am a fair person and I enter all my relationships (affiliate and otherwise) in good faith.

    If your program outlined certain requests and/or directions in your Terms of Service and I pledged that I would follow your guidelines, if you have me as an affiliate you can be assured that I will follow your guidelines to the letter.

    In terms of communication/relationship: I prefer an e-mail.
    The type of e-mail that can really influence my behavior as an affiliate is what I call a "real e-mail."

    A "real e-mail" is addressed to me and can be anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph but if I feel that it was actually typed by a real affiliate manager who really wanted to write a short e-mail to me, that means something to me.

    If you are an affiliate manager with a PM account on ABW you can PM me here.

    Please don't telephone me unless I have been making so many commissions with you that I can buy a Porche.
    Last edited by Rhia7; August 4th, 2006 at 04:46 PM.
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  25. #25
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronChef253
    Whats this PHP thing about BurgerBoy? I know of PHP but I haven't heard of how it applies in the world of datafeeds.
    If I built a feed of 6,000 items by hand I have 6,000 static pages on my site and every time you update your feed I have 6,000 pages I have to update basically by hand.

    If I have that with 20 merchants - I have 120,000 pages to update.

    With php you have 1 page for the index. 1 page for the category. 1 page for the product. 1 page for the buy. 1 page for the header. 1 page for the footer. 1 page for the sub-category. And whatever other pages you want.

    These are all templates. Within the template you have php includes of what you want where. This is basically how it works.

    You give the php the address of the feed to use.

    With the example above you only have 7 pages on the server for the merchant and the feed instead of 6,000 pages.

    When a customer clicks on a link on the page the php reads the merchant's datafeed and builds the page on the fly that the customer requested.

    When a SE clicks on the page to index it the php builds the page on the fly for the SE from the merchant's feed and the SE indexes the page just like it would a static page on the site.

    When the merchant updates their feed - or database or whatever the updates are automatically updated on your site because the php is still connecting to the merchant's feed to build the pages.

    Your site is always up to date with the merchant's site without you having to do anything.

    Sure beats having to build pages by copy and paste and by hand doesn't it.

    You put a merchant on your site and then forget it and move on to the next merchant you want to put on your site.

    See this thread to learn more about this http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=60200

    Sorry it took so long to answer you.

    I had to go and do a honey-do job for my wife.
    Last edited by BurgerBoy; August 4th, 2006 at 04:58 PM.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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