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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Is There Any Reason To Limit Datafeeds To Affiliates?
    We are a merchant on SAS. We also have a complete data feed. Are there any reasons to limit data feeds to only certain affiliates? To date we have been granting access to any affiliate requesting the feed but notice many aren't doing anything with the feed. Im just looking for feedback on how affiliate managers typically handle data feed requests. Thanks in advance.

    -Brandon

  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Brandon,

    I cannot think of one good reason to limit the number of affiliates that have access to your datafeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by sthbodyjewelry
    To date we have been granting access to any affiliate requesting the feed but notice many aren't doing anything with the feed...
    You're certainly not alone noticing such behavior. However, before I go any further, let me ask you this: when you approve an affiliate for datafeed access, do you motivate him/her to put it (the feed) up in any way? Do you offer an additional candy, prize, cash, etc, etc, etc for this important further step that you want them to take?

    Geno

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    Brandon,

    I cannot think of one good reason to limit the number of affiliates that have access to your datafeed.


    You're certainly not alone noticing such behavior. However, before I go any further, let me ask you this: when you approve an affiliate for datafeed access, do you motivate him/her to put it (the feed) up in any way? Do you offer an additional candy, prize, cash, etc, etc, etc for this important further step that you want them to take?

    Geno
    You just made a very interesting point that I didnt think of. I guess my thinking was that since they were requesting a datafeed the affiliate is already motivated to integrate it into their site. We have not been offering a bonus for actually integrating the feed. We already offer a super high commission so we cant up their commission but maybe we could offer a one time bonus for the first sale or something like that. Thanks for the advice.

    -Brandon

  4. #4
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sthbodyjewelry
    We already offer a super high commission so we cant up their commission but maybe we could offer a one time bonus for the first sale or something like that. Thanks for the advice.
    No prob. Here's what I do. Works well, but not 100% if you just leave it at that and do not remind them a week later, and then for one more time some 10 days after the second reminder. Make sure those reminders are also incentive-packed.

    Best of luck, and good meeting you, Brandon!!

    Geno

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    No prob. Here's what I do. Works well, but not 100% if you just leave it at that and do not remind them a week later, and then for one more time some 10 days after the second reminder. Make sure those reminders are also incentive-packed.

    Best of luck, and good meeting you, Brandon!!

    Geno
    You have been a great help. Thanks again.

  6. #6
    http and a telephoto
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    Just a reminder that all affiliates have access to your datafeed, whether you grant them ftp access or not. They can use it via Make A Page, or can download it manually. FTP access is for those that want to grab it via ftp which is easier if they have multiple feeds to work with or if they want to automate their feed processing.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Just a reminder that all affiliates have access to your datafeed, whether you grant them ftp access or not. They can use it via Make A Page, or can download it manually. FTP access is for those that want to grab it via ftp which is easier if they have multiple feeds to work with or if they want to automate their feed processing.
    Good point.....I should have been clearer. I am referring to affiliates requesting access to FTP data feeds.

  8. #8
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sthbodyjewelry
    Good point.....I should have been clearer. I am referring to affiliates requesting access to FTP data feeds.
    I do that so I can automate the process. I would assume that's why many aff's do. There are many different things I do with feeds. Sometimes just for search, sometimes to do my own make-a-page, sometimes for the whole catalog. It's the same answer that applies to everything. It depends.

    On your original question, I would never say no to anyone wanting a datafeed. However, I would occasionally do a quality control check to see what they are doing with it. If you aren't happy with what they are doing, don't drop them. Contact them and try to work with them.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mack
    I do that so I can automate the process. I would assume that's why many aff's do. There are many different things I do with feeds. Sometimes just for search, sometimes to do my own make-a-page, sometimes for the whole catalog. It's the same answer that applies to everything. It depends.

    On your original question, I would never say no to anyone wanting a datafeed. However, I would occasionally do a quality control check to see what they are doing with it. If you aren't happy with what they are doing, don't drop them. Contact them and try to work with them.
    Mach, great advice as well. We are trying our hardest never to drop an affiliate unless we give them plenty of chances to clean up their act.

    -Brandon

  10. #10
    http and a telephoto
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    I've only said no to one person requesting ftp access to my programs, and they were removed as an affiliate. Generally, since they can get it anyways, if you have an affiliate in your program already I wouldn't deny them ftp access.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  11. #11
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Affiliates can get the SAS datafeeds on the site, but many have not been updated since 1995. I tried using one from a gourmet foods merchant a few weeks ago and all of the image links were invalid. The merchant has not responded to any of my messages and SAS just advises me to contact the merchant.

    I suspect that the FTP versions are more up-to-date than the downloadable versions on the SAS site. I wish more merchants would pay better attention to their data feeds. If a merchant doesn't have a valid feed, I can't do much to help push their products.
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
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  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    The FTP versions should be identical to the downloadable versions.
    Michael Coley
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  13. #13
    http and a telephoto
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    There is no difference in the feeds, no matter how you download them. In the past the non-ftp feeds were limited to 1000 products, but that was changed some time ago. So the feeds are identical.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  14. #14
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    One thing I am noticing is that a number of merchants are now producing datafeeds that do NOT replicate the content at their site -- product descriptions are truncated, and some data presented at the site is not included in the datafeed.

    Of course, there are always limits on what you can squeeze into a datafeed -- SAS, for example, only provides 5 "custom" fields, but some merchants have products that could easily fill 10 or 15 custom fields in addition to the "standard" fields.

    In some cases, merchants will deliver a custom datafeed that includes additional data fields, to affiliates who request it.

    As noted, ShareASale only maintains ONE set of data for each merchant, which is accessible from the datafeed page, ftp, or via Make-A-Page. As noted, some merchants haven't updated their datafeeds in quite a long time, despite changes to their product line or pricing.

    Of course, some merchants (like QuoteProducts, whose program I manage) haven't updated their datafeeds recently because nothing has changed -- the product mix and pricing are unchanged. (They will be adding about 1,000 new products later this month, and I'll update the datafeed then.)

  15. #15
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Evangelist
    Affiliates can get the SAS datafeeds on the site, but many have not been updated since 1995. I tried using one from a gourmet foods merchant a few weeks ago and all of the image links were invalid. The merchant has not responded to any of my messages and SAS just advises me to contact the merchant.
    I know, this wasn't one of my clients, but check your PM.

    Geno

  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Hi Brandon,

    No reason to limit affiliates from accessing your datafeed. However, you should monitor where traffic and sales are coming from often as some affiliates might not know against rules or if they uploaded your products to Froogle or others knowing or unknowingly.

    I wrote about this before here Froogle - appreciate the sales from a reason given to us from one of our merchants

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks to everyone who has replied to this thread so far. It has been quite informative, you guys are great

  18. #18
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    One thing I am noticing is that a number of merchants are now producing datafeeds that do NOT replicate the content at their site -- product descriptions are truncated, and some data presented at the site is not included in the datafeed.
    Mark, I've personally been trying to write different product descriptions for our feed.

    One reason is to help avoid duplicate content issues. I noticed that within a month of launch, our homepage text showed up on hundreds of affiliate pages. If we all end up supplemental, that doesn't help anyone, so I started making an effort to provide distinct content in the feeds at least.

    Another reason is that most affiliate sites are referring to our site, so language designed more to recommend a product at a merchant than to get a product into a cart seems like it should convert better.

    While the affiliate should do their part to get the customer ready to buy as they refer them on, I also think it's important to do my part to close the sale once they get to me. If the affiliate's product description is "Top-quality widget" and my product description is also "Top-quality widget" I can't do that and we both lose.

    While best practice for affiliates with a small feed like ours would be to rewrite much of it for their own uses, most don't, so writing content specific to the feed seems like the way to go. Are you saying you'd prefer that it matched?

    As for FTP, this is one where I really wish affiliates could comment as they apply. I have a feeling many of those requesting ftp access make the same request of every merchant that comes along, and rarely do anything with the bulk of the feeds. I'd love to see an app come in with a comment like "Hey, I think your products would fit well in blah category, on site x. I have the site set up to automatically grab the feeds via ftp so I never miss a product update..."
    Eathan Mertz

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  19. #19
    Full Member gamweb61's Avatar
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    Red face
    Quote Originally Posted by sthbodyjewelry
    We are a merchant on SAS. We also have a complete data feed. Are there any reasons to limit data feeds to only certain affiliates? To date we have been granting access to any affiliate requesting the feed but notice many aren't doing anything with the feed. Im just looking for feedback on how affiliate managers typically handle data feed requests. Thanks in advance.

    -Brandon

    Brandon, I just joined your program after reading your post here.

    I have some "affiliate feedback" for you.

    Your thumbnail images need to be smaller that 640x480 pixels. Kindly that to heart. I believe most affiliates like to use smaller thumbnail images, a few like to use the larger, full-size images. Reduce your 640x480 images down to 120x90 thumbnails perhaps. (I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)

    Merchants need to have merchandise thumbnails in a consistent size throughout their database too. I didn't check if all your images were the same size, but this is also important. (I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)

    I have a website that I planned to promote various jewelry merchants. I found 8 SAS merchants with databases. Sadly, only 2 of the merchants had databases that were "useable" to me (various issues)... The other databases I downloaded, and after examining them, I decided they were not useable to me. So I wont be doing much with them... (Did I mention, I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)

    (Now I need to add a post to Geno's thread...)

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=79787
    Last edited by gamweb61; February 13th, 2007 at 05:17 AM.

  20. #20
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamiziuk
    Merchants need to have merchandise thumbnails in a consistent size throughout their database too. I didn't check if all your images were the same size, but this is also important. (I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)

    I have a website that I planned to promote various jewelry merchants. I found 8 SAS merchants with databases. Sadly, only 2 of the merchants had databases that were "useable" to me (various issues)... The other databases I downloaded, and after examining them, I decided they were not useable to me. So I wont be doing much with them... (Did I mention, I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)
    I completely agree. Consistently sized images in general makes it much easier to deal with web page layouts.

    I have seen datafeeds where large numbers of products were obsolete, image URLs broken, data feed files corrupted, no thumbnails, missing product images, etc. All kidding aside, there are numerous data feeds on SAS that are more than 2 years old. Someone at SAS really needs to review this and get merchants to update their data feeds.

    I have also found most SAS data feeds to be unusable. I will be trying one of Geno's recommendations this week. I suspect his data feed will work as expected.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamiziuk
    Brandon, I just joined your program after reading your post here.

    I have some "affiliate feedback" for you.

    Your thumbnail images need to be smaller that 640x480 pixels. Kindly that to heart. I believe most affiliates like to use smaller thumbnail images, a few like to use the larger, full-size images. Reduce your 640x480 images down to 120x90 thumbnails perhaps. (I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)

    Merchants need to have merchandise thumbnails in a consistent size throughout their database too. I didn't check if all your images were the same size, but this is also important. (I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)

    I have a website that I planned to promote various jewelry merchants. I found 8 SAS merchants with databases. Sadly, only 2 of the merchants had databases that were "useable" to me (various issues)... The other databases I downloaded, and after examining them, I decided they were not useable to me. So I wont be doing much with them... (Did I mention, I prefer "square" thumbnails, 120x120 or so)

    (Now I need to add a post to Geno's thread...)

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=79787
    gamiziuk thanks for the feedback. It is in our plans to implement a better thumbnail system. Hopefully that will be completed in the coming month. Thanks for the helpful reply.

  22. #22
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    We send Share A Sale updated feeds every week. Should I make sure all of our affiliates update their sites with the new feed every week or do most of them know this?
    Thanks!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by janla2112
    > "We send Share A Sale updated feeds every week. Should I make sure all of our affiliates update their sites with the new feed every week or do most of them know this?" <
    Thanks!
    You'll have a mix of different affiliates, and some of them will not update their sites with new datafeeds, so your old product data and pricing may linger for years. Others will update irregularly. Some will update religiously.

    I think most affiliates know that they should update their sites to reflect new datafeeds, but except for affiliates who've set up a completely automated system, there is a "time factor" that most affiliates will only invest if they think it's justified by earning potential.

    My best suggestion would be an email to your affiliates, clearly stating the reasons why it's important to update their sites using your current datafeed (new products added, old products deleted, some prices increased, some prices decreased). If you've enhanced your datafeed in some way (new fields, better descriptions, etc.) then mention that, too.

    Some merchants almost NEVER change their datafeed, because their product line and pricing almost never change. Others may update the datafeed only at long intervals (my client QuoteProducts.com hasn't posted an update since December 31, but will add 1,000 new products in a week or so; since products are "printed on demand," no products have been deleted, nor have any prices changed since the program's launch).

    Other merchants have weekly or daily updates.

    An idea: perhaps it would make sense to include, as a column in the datafeed, some information about the "expected life" of a row of data. For example, if the product is "on sale" this week only, indicate that; if the product price has changed 3 times in the past 12 months, indicate that; if the product is on closeout with limited inventory remaining, indicate that. Then, affiliates who don't update frequently might consider using only the data that won't become stale.

  24. #24
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    You'll have a mix of different affiliates, and some of them will not update their sites with new datafeeds, so your old product data and pricing may linger for years. Others will update irregularly. Some will update religiously.
    Some of the automated affiliates test to see if the file has changed. If it has, then they do any one of a number of things from there. I don't like 100% automation. If it changes, I grab and import into a test DB and check it manually before making it live.

    On another note, I'm finding that goldencan is a real handy timesaver. For me the time saved is worth it. I wish everyone who had a datafeed would use them so we had an option.

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    You'll have a mix of different affiliates, and some of them will not update their sites with new datafeeds, so your old product data and pricing may linger for years. Others will update irregularly. Some will update religiously.

    I think most affiliates know that they should update their sites to reflect new datafeeds, but except for affiliates who've set up a completely automated system, there is a "time factor" that most affiliates will only invest if they think it's justified by earning potential.

    My best suggestion would be an email to your affiliates, clearly stating the reasons why it's important to update their sites using your current datafeed (new products added, old products deleted, some prices increased, some prices decreased). If you've enhanced your datafeed in some way (new fields, better descriptions, etc.) then mention that, too.

    Some merchants almost NEVER change their datafeed, because their product line and pricing almost never change. Others may update the datafeed only at long intervals (my client QuoteProducts.com hasn't posted an update since December 31, but will add 1,000 new products in a week or so; since products are "printed on demand," no products have been deleted, nor have any prices changed since the program's launch).

    Other merchants have weekly or daily updates.

    An idea: perhaps it would make sense to include, as a column in the datafeed, some information about the "expected life" of a row of data. For example, if the product is "on sale" this week only, indicate that; if the product price has changed 3 times in the past 12 months, indicate that; if the product is on closeout with limited inventory remaining, indicate that. Then, affiliates who don't update frequently might consider using only the data that won't become stale.
    Great info Mark, I saw you joined our program, thanks for that and hopefully we can work together to maximize our returns

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