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  1. #1
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    no datafeed = dead on arrival?
    Question for the learned on this forum,
    is it pretty much a done deal that any merchants
    that want to draw top aff-pros to their program are
    NOT going to do so without a datafeed?

    Our problem is that we sell to niche market of
    new age / metaphysical customers in the main
    and I actually make many new age type jewelry
    pieces which are one of a kind. They turn over fairly fast
    and looking at datafeeds seems a taunting task to produce
    and keep up to date. Never done one before. Hard enough to
    just do my manual edits on the website to remove / add pieces.

    Is it a bad idea to even try affiliate marketing with specialty
    products? After looking around here it looks like most programs sell
    more common mass market type merchandise.
    Any comments are appreciated.
    Mike

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    a datafeed of unique individual products really seems unappropriate. perhaps you should concentrate on many sizes of graphics emphasizing what has been sold.

  3. #3
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    merlin,

    Depending on your product line and the affilaites that you are working with. Shopping or price comparison sites love you datafeed. Some will not work if you do not have it. You are a niche company and not ICE.com where they have thousands of items. Bloggers or other guys, they will not touch it.

    And if you have 10 items, you can easily create it excel and txt format. Easily. Not recommended though. And you mentioned that there is a fast turnover, so that is not ideal. Not sure how many items you have but you definately want to automate it.

    Ideally, you want to export your product list from your website. I am sure that your web store should allow you to do that. If you can, even if you are able to view it as an excel or in tables online, you can cut and paste it into excel.

    Don't throw in the towel if you do not have the IT to back you up. Work with niche guys or SEO guys. Write text and give other information or tools that will help offset your inability to provide a datafeed. no, you are not DOA.

    All the best

  4. #4
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    Herb and Eric
    thank you so much for your reply, we are a small business
    my wife and I. I basically manually edited the whole website
    at first I use NS composer and last two years Dreamweaver.
    I have been avoiding databases for reasons of lack of time
    mostly and another learning curve I'm sure.

    We have hundreds of products so I know its going to be all-nighters
    to do the DB feed thing yet I also know it would be the best thing
    in the world to have done after it's finished.

    We have started with a great hosting co. called pair.com from
    the start and now lease a dedicated server with them. we use
    a shopping cart service called americart which provides an easy
    and effective secure checkout and they do have a way to use
    database type setup.

    Have been on SAS for over a year and have only attracted about
    170 newbies and wannabies, maybe because we never offered
    the data feed or maybe because we are not an ICE.com type shop?

    I would pay for advertising our aff-program on ABW and SAS but
    I wanted to get some feedback and make fixes before wasting
    the $$ with sub-standard program offering.
    Thanks for the input,
    Mike / merlin999

  5. #5
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Mike,

    I know of some programs that does not have a data feed and they are quite successful. You subsitute that wil good text, good images (wide selection in terms of sizes, products, etc), articles, infomation, PR, etc.. I am not a SAS merchant so you might want to reach out to an account manager to help you. I think I see Carolyn here quite often but do no know her personally.

    So how is the checkout system on your site like? I am asking cos somehow, you need have the checkout system which is database (DB) driven. In order to pass the fields to the checkout DB, you will need to have the fields (such as image link, product sku, etc) in a certain layout. Maybe you can intercept the fields prior to the checkout or during the checkout. I am sure that the webhosting company or the checkout company might be able to help.

    I would not personally do any major any major ad until you have "good text, good images (wide selection in terms of sizes, products, etc), articles, infomation, PR, etc.."

    best

  6. #6
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    Thanks Eric,
    You have been very generous with your time and
    good comments, I appreciate it.
    Our shopping cart service does have the ability to
    use database , it's just getting geared up to sit down
    and pound on the keyboard line by line for many
    many hours. I have asked for a site review elsewhere
    on the site review section of ABW so you can take a peek
    if you have a moment.
    Regards,
    Mike

  7. #7
    Newbie DataFeedFile.com's Avatar
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    I think it is still neccessary for any niche stores to have datafeed file.
    The key is to update your datafeed file consistently at least once per day.

    The issue that I see here is that SAS does not support automatic FTP upload yet,
    you literaly have to email them your new file (this is what I heard from many merchants).

  8. #8
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    mike, shoot an email to me
    eric.ewe /at/ fairfieldresorts.com

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    The key is to update your datafeed file consistently at least once per day
    And what about those few merchants, that the last datafeed update was made on, or before 2005?

    I guess you know who they're by now.....

    There are some merchants that sell the same products all year around, so they may not need to do that many feed updates, but even those merchants should at least update their feed at least a couple of times a year so their products don't look that stale even if they are.
    ...

  10. #10
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    And what about those few merchants, that the last datafeed update was made on, or before 2005?

    I guess you know who they're by now.....

    There are some merchants that sell the same products all year around, so they may not need to do that many feed updates, but even those merchants should at least update their feed at least a couple of times a year so their products don't look that stale even if they are.
    Once a day is an over statement. It varies from store to store and product line. If you are selling widgets and you have unlimited supply with no/little price fluctuation, heck, you don't have to update it for months. Mine is done when there is a change in product or price. Don't fix something when it is not broken

  11. #11
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    I don't use data feeds. I make each page with lots of unique content and look for just the right product mix. This might mean one product from six different merchants. I don't mean take the same product from six different merchants to compare prices, but I look for unique ways to merchandize different types of products.

    For me this is very creative, lots of fun, and profitable.

    So I guess I'm trying to say there's lots of different kinds of affiliates out there. Be patient, sometimes I miss new program announcements, or I'm just swamped with existing commitments.

    Lily

  12. #12
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    I make each page with lots of unique content and look for just the right product mix. Lily
    Mike, you need to be talking to Lily.

    Datafeed is a good complimentary tool and some affiliates use it like the bible. Some don't care about it

  13. #13
    http and a telephoto
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    Mike you have 170 current affiliates, do you communicate with them? Have you asked them what they like/don't like about your program? Have you made graphics that highlight the uniqueness of your product line? Do you have a stable group of products that aren't one of a kind? (I haven't gone to your website yet). Are non-affiliate sales good? In other words, is there a market for your products without affilites promoting them? If you have best selling types of products, even though they are one of kind, have creatives that feature those items and show past examples.

    Survey your current affiliates to get their feedback, they are an audience that already expressed an interest in promoting you.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Lily
    I don't use data feeds. I make each page with lots of unique content and look for just the right product mix.
    For me this is very creative, lots of fun, and profitable.
    Hi Lily,
    If there ever was a perfect aff for us it would be you and others that develope
    unique /stuff / content / products / etc. I have even added or started making
    specialized types of jewelry for some of my old affiliates from our old indie
    aff program. Thank you for your comments. Mike

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Mike you have 170 current affiliates, do you communicate
    with them?
    .. have creatives that feature those items and show past examples.

    Survey your current affiliates to get their feedback, they are an
    audience that already expressed an interest in promoting you.
    Hi Loxly,
    I haven't done a very good job with communications at all.
    It seems like Those that have joined with a few exceptions
    are those that join every aff program they could find
    and put all banners all on one page hoping for the best,
    because they read somewhere you can make a boat load of
    money like that.

    Chicken or the Egg.
    The vast majority of existing affs haven't sent any
    traffic since they joined let alone generated any
    sales / commissions. Some ZERO hits in over a year.
    When I sent out an announcement email to them about
    our recent domain name change we have about 20 or 30
    email bounces, which leads me to believe that they
    are no longer in business.

    Having said all that - you gave me a good 2 great suggestions
    about a survey and asking want they want and need to
    get better results and make some graphics of past pieces so
    customers can get the idea of what we offer.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  16. #16
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    When I sent out an announcement email to them about
    our recent domain name change we have about 20 or 30
    email bounces, which leads me to believe that they
    are no longer in business.
    You're at SAS...

    Email bounces don't mean the aff is out of business. Heck, some of them bounce on the day they sign up (the "welcome" email bounces)!!

    They probably just never updated their email addy in the SAS interface. I contacted one I knew from here to tell him his email address was dead, and he said, "so THAT'S why ShareASale merchants are so quiet!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew, DFF
    The issue that I see here is that SAS does not support automatic FTP upload yet,
    you literaly have to email them your new file (this is what I heard from many merchants).
    There is a beta FTP upload option according to the autogen "feed updated" response, but I have so few changes that so far I've just kept emailing mine. Plus I've got beta-phobia

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Once a day is an over statement.
    I'll say!
    Google Base wants updates at least every 3 days, in order to show up where it counts. What an utter waste of time!! Nothing substantial (and maybe just nothing, period) is going to change for months, at least!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  17. #17
    http and a telephoto
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    No one is going to update a datafeed once a day... it isn't like datafeeds magically appear out of the air, if you did daily updates you wouldn't have time for anything else....
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  18. #18
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    No one is going to update a datafeed once a day... it isn't like datafeeds magically appear out of the air, if you did daily updates you wouldn't have time for anything else....
    Well, that depends.

    If you have a merchant that have daily specials and you're making good money with that merchant, I guess you can run a daily CRON job automatically.

    But you have to trust the merchant well enough, to know that they are not going to switch around the content that is under a specific field name overnight. I had a couple of merchants messing up my tables because they decided to switch around the content of Custom1 and Custom2 from one feed to the next update, and also the ones that go from normal product names, to ALL CAPITAL PRODUCT NAMES.
    ...

  19. #19
    http and a telephoto
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    Sorry Mr Sal, I was referring to small merchants that are doing the feeds themselves. Of course there are corporations and merchants that update constantly and affiliates that cron them into databases automatically.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  20. #20
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    I think it is still neccessary for any niche stores to have datafeed file.
    The key is to update your datafeed file consistently at least once per day.
    No it isn't necessary for a niche store that has most all custom pieces with constant turnover in stock. And what loxly said:

    No one is going to update a datafeed once a day... it isn't like datafeeds magically appear out of the air, if you did daily updates you wouldn't have time for anything else....
    And with custom one of a kind pieces, even once a day wouldn't hack it. And even though some people believe in it, not everyone wants to use a dynamic solution, for any number of reasons. Besides, any way that forces a merchant to take on a daily burden (and possibly an unnecessary wasteful expenditure), can do nothing but take away time from the core focus of the business.

    I've worked with crafters' websites and there is no way to keep up with a custom inventory; even once a day often isn't enough. How merlin999 is doing his site updates is cumbersome enough.

    merlin999, yes you can do an affiliate program without a feed at SAS, because individual page linking is available and like loxly said, you can create category-specific creatives. But affiliates wouldn't know if items were out of stock if they custom link to products, so they'd have to grab a few graphics for their own hosting to use for display and just link to the categories.

    IMHO, your best bet is to do what you can with what you have, create some simple category banners and text links, and try to get together an assortment of exemplary pieces that typify your most popular categories of items that would be likely to convert best, and create a small stock of "evergreen" products for each category that stay pretty much static - and do up a small feed with those.

  21. #21
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    Thank you webworker and others for comments, I am encouraged by
    the positive feedback about not having a datafeed or at least being
    able to attract good affs without one or even a smaller one.
    Mike

  22. #22
    Full Member clyderose's Avatar
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    SAS allows merchants to upload a fresh datafeed only upto 8 times a month i usually try to keep the datafeed updated as soon as there is a necessary change like product price changes or addition of new products/deletion of products.

    I end up updating the feed around 2 -3 times in a span of 30 days. Sometimes there are problems and end up updating the feed twice a week. So im quite fine with SAS's 8 times a month limit.
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