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  1. #1
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    Any interest in a WordPress Affiliate Feed plugin?
    I've been experimenting with affiliate technologies for the last year, getting my feet wet so to speak. While I haven't made any money yet I also didn't really expect to. I've just been feeling around to see if I really want to pursue affiliate marketing as a business venture or not. Well, I've decided that I do so I'm back and ready to start making some serious headway.

    Anyhow, back to the reason for the post (the thread title). I've already identified some markets, purchased domains, done initial keyword/trend research, etc, etc. I was thinking about going at it like this:

    • Install a blog website (actually more than one)
    • Begin writing original articles
    • Seed articles with relevant keywords
    • Organize a list of all relevantly affiliated merchants
    • Setup an automated datafeed synchronization process
    • Flag all relevant merchant products through keyword matching
    • Re-categorize all flagged products without regard to merchant to create one single cohesive categorized product offering
    • Drop a browseable view of these products on the website (like an online catalog)
    • Auto-link relevant products to relevant articles (essentially by matching blog tags to keywords in product descriptions)
    • Auto-link relevant products to other relevant products (matching keywords)
    • Do some more trend research and setup some ad campaigns
    • Do all the usual SEO stuff (submit to engines, directories, mod_rewrite urls, tag clouds, automated language translations, submit to foreign engines, etc)
    • Keep writing articles
    • Cross fingers


    The part that is missing in all of this (aside from free time) is the feed management portion. I started this outline with a blog (I'm partial to WordPress) but I quickly realized that there's no such plugin out there that can do all of these things. The closest thing would be to use one of the datafeed integrators like GC or DFF, but they don't provide enough for what I'm looking to do here. Some of the features they're missing for me:

    • ability to format a single cohesive category tree
    • ability to relabel/remap categories
    • ability to use any merchant with a datafeed regardless of their affiliation with the integrator
    • etc.


    Then of course, there's also the matter of sharing my profits with them. So some of the features that I'm essentially envisioning in this software are:

    • installs as a standard WordPress plugin
    • comes pre-loaded with a full database of merchant datafeed profiles
    • datafeed profiles can be browsed and activated by the site owner
    • activated datafeeds will be downloaded and kept up-to-date on a schedule defined by the site owner
    • all downloaded categories can be re-mapped categories defined by the site owner
    • all downloaded products can be included/excluded based on filters (regexp enabled)
    • duplicate products will be stripped out (keeper product based on lowest price or highest payout)
    • all automated settings can be overridden manually on a case-by-case scenario


    I have tons of other ideas, but this is the basic theory. So anyhow, is there anyone else out there interested in contributing to such a WordPress plugin? Whaddaya think? Good idea, bad idea, been done, you're crazy, it won't work, that's illegal, who are you anyhow? All comments are welcome.

    -tm

  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    There will be an announcement shortly about a service that may do most of what you need. They were at Affiliate Summit.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    Great! I'll hold off a little while.

    -tm

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I have tons of other ideas, but this is the basic theory. So anyhow, is there anyone else out there interested in contributing to such a WordPress plugin? Whaddaya think? Good idea, bad idea, been done, you're crazy, it won't work, that's illegal, who are you anyhow? All comments are welcome.
    From a quick scan it sounds good, about the only problem I can see right off (that's worth caring about) is that some people may activate feeds for programs they're not actually affiliates of...and then getting mad when no commissions happen.

    I'll wait for the announcement, too, but don't let the idea get too far away. They may miss the mark, or have some silly clunker aspect like putting the results in Javascript.

  5. #5
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    I had thought about that too Leader. The easiest way that I could think of to prevent users from accidentally sending free traffic to merchants is to authenticate their profiles. Unfortunately this in itself is problematic because of the lack of an authentication standard for affiliate keys. So a dummied down version would have to do instead. Something like a forced confirmation step where the user verifies that their affiliate id is correct before making a merchant active. Of course, this could also become annoying to your more advanced users so I would also plan to add this feature as a plugin configuration that can be turned on and off.

    I'll try to be patient and wait to see what comes out of the Affiliate Summit. I don't really care who builds it as long as it does all of the things that it needs to do.

    So Loxly who is actually doing this and how long before you expect to hear something official about it? hours, days, months?

    -tm

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
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    No matter who's got what, I'd still like to see an open source WP plug-in - but far simpler than the sophisticated one described.

  7. #7
    Internet Cowboy
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    I have a plugin where I can upload keywords and corresponding links to a db and it links the words to the URL. I like the idea of feed integration in a plugin, but I am no programmer.
    Tobias, have you checked out PopShops? They were in Vegas and had a really nice feed integration. They are still in beta I think, but it's pretty cool.
    I need a good video plugin for Wordpress and have yet to find a good one. I've tried several. Any suggestions there?


  8. #8
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    Webworker:

    How simple were you thinking?

    UncleScooter:

    Is the link plugin that you're using aLinks?
    http://www.wpplugins.org/plugin/alinks

    I just checked out PopShops for the first time and it looks like a promising product. It pretty much covers everything that I'm interested in (aside from the fact that it's not a WP plugin). Unfortunately, they still suffer some of the same issues as the other datafeed integrator solutions.

    1. You are reliant on their service. If they go down, go away or just stop communicating with you then your business could be in jeopardy as a result.
    2. Their merchants are yours, not the other way around. You are subject to their merchant offering and do not have the ability to add your own. This is already an issue that I've seen between GC and DFF.


    As far as video goes I haven't tried any WP video plugins myself, but there are plenty available in the plugin database. Go here http://wp-plugins.net/?filter=video and click on the Media heading.

    Hey Loxly, were you talking about PopShops by chance?

    -tm

  9. #9
    http and a telephoto
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    Yes I was talking about PopShops, and they have several WP Plugins planned. I would rather use something that has the data on their servers, they will update frequently so I don't have to... lots of neat features that will keep me as an affiliate happy for a long time and me as an affiliate manager that can recommend their service to my affiliates happy also.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    Internet Cowboy
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    Yes, it is aLinks and it works seamlessley with Mike Nunez' Bounce.cc plugin so if a link I post to a merchant's site in alinks is from a web site that has a program I am in, bounce.cc turns their raw link into my affiliate link and aLinks allows me to control the anchor text. It's a nice combination and it allows me to use links right from the merchant's site instead of having to turn them into affiliate links. I am glad to see popshops is officially open now.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobius
    UncleScooter:

    Is the link plugin that you're using aLinks?
    http://www.wpplugins.org/plugin/alinks
    I've looked at that plug-in, but don't want *every* instance of a word or phrase turned into an affiliate link, just some, and I don't know if that's what it does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobius
    Webworker:

    How simple were you thinking?
    As simple as using PHP includes, with the product links hosted locally on my own site.

    I've printed out your first post, and will go through it and think over what a non-tech would be able to easily manage.

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobius
    The part that is missing in all of this (aside from free time) is the feed management portion. I started this outline with a blog (I'm partial to WordPress) but I quickly realized that there's no such plugin out there that can do all of these things. The closest thing would be to use one of the datafeed integrators like GC or DFF, but they don't provide enough for what I'm looking to do here. Some of the features they're missing for me:

    • ability to format a single cohesive category tree
    • ability to relabel/remap categories
    • ability to use any merchant with a datafeed regardless of their affiliation with the integrator
    • etc.


    -tm
    Hi Tobius,

    You mapped that challenge and the ideal solution very well.

    We do have WordPress plugin in the works. You will have the ability to relabel/remap categories and depending on how you setup your custom folder system the ability to create a singel category tree. Right now we plan to have the plugin available by Affiliate Summit in July. However since Dan, our developer is scary good it may be sooner.

    Currently we do have a thread here on ABW. We will post updates on WordPress and other plugins there.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  13. #13
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    Dan, our developer is scary good
    Good to hear, what's scary (to me... LOL) is that I've just actually had a bright idea for when a plugin is available.

  14. #14
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    I would love to hear more...hows the progress? Is it going to be an open source or paid version"?

  15. #15
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    I've been working on it, but it's been in my spare time so there are no huge leaps and bounds to report yet. Aside from that I've actually been thinking about the business model. In the spirit of keeping things fair I want to take from the takers and give to the givers so I was thinking of something like the following.

    Version 0.1

    Once the software has reached version 0.1 (mostly functional) I will make it freely available to anyone that registers for a license key. This will include all features.

    Earn Your Way

    Anyone who helps out by doing things that benefit the application will be recognized and rewarded with future credit. Examples of helping out would include things like testing new features, reporting bugs, providing code patches, adding new merchant datafeed profiles, doing research, and so on. Examples of future credit would be months/years added to their license key redeemable following the 1.0 release. This award system will continue beyond the 1.0 release as well.

    Version 1.0

    Once the software has been finalized and is determined to be bug-free and feature-complete it will be made available as a paid software solution. For those without credit the cost for this service will be based on a regularly recurring monthly/yearly fee.

    Free Trials

    For those that didn't have the privelege of using the application before the release of 1.0 or just weren't active enough to earn future credit there will be free trials available. Those free trials will most likely be for one month.

    There are other details to hammer out, but that's the basic idea so far.

    -tm

  16. #16
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    Hi Tobius,

    I'd be interested in helping test and finding out more about your plans for the plugin. I've been considering building something similar myself except working with some of the available APIs. My only issue is the learning curve of the development side. lol

    At any rate, definitely keep us posted!

  17. #17
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    Hi Tobius,

    This looks very interesting. i'm no programmer but do have an engineering background so would be willing to help with testing and maybe documentation.

    Regards, David

  18. #18
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    Sounds great. Do pm me when the scripts are ready, I can help to do some serious testing.

  19. #19
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    I just got back from vacation and saw all of the interest and it's very encouraging, thanks. I'm looking forward to having something functional (0.1 status) by the end of May so I'll keep you posted.

    -tm

  20. #20
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    I actually started working on some of my own stuff so will probably end up passing afterall. I think you have an awesome concept though, one you should do great with.

    I ended up deciding to do mine as a bunch of individual plug-ins with a framework plug-in containing all the common functions and admin stuff so I only install the stuff that I need on particular sites and can possibly market them individually for folks who don't need a huge package kinda thing. Not 100% sure on the marketing aspect yet. Mainly just trying to get tools built so I can fill up the empty domains that I've had unused for too long.. heh

    One of these days the lightbulb will click and I'll finally 'get it' with all this affiliate stuff. Of course Lox is always there to beat on me in IM to remind me of all the stuff that is still on my list.. heh... (yes Deb, I know.. ImageKind... working on it.. looked at the IK rss and sas link structures over night.. )

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Hey, Tobius and Shawn, I'm sure I'm not alone when I ask that you both keep us advised as this develops.

    Personally, I would be delighted for the opportunity to test-and-use either or both systems if possible. Please add me to any "lists" you're keeping.

    I use WordPress extensively and have several blogs, including a couple which are almost exclusively "online stores," with the ability to add relevent product related copy via the blog function. Lately, I've been trying to get an easy way to put GC on a blog, some random/feature product displays of SAS datafeeds, and blog entries.

    So, hey, if I could be involved in the testing, it would be a delight.

    Gary the Writerguy

  22. #22
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Ingram
    I actually started working on some of my own stuff so will probably end up passing afterall. I think you have an awesome concept though, one you should do great with.
    Thanks for the compliment and good luck with yours too. It's always good to provide users with more than one option (monopolies suck).

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Ingram
    Mainly just trying to get tools built so I can fill up the empty domains that I've had unused for too long.. heh
    Hehe, this is the driving force behind this application for me as well. I actually have dreams of an AI suite that can do things like:
    • pull products from datafeeds
    • use synonym databases to suggestively re-write product descriptions
    • pull articles from repositories
    • pair articles with products as cross-sells and link seeds
    • manage subscribers
    • deliver personalized newsletters to subscribers
    • do keyword research on product descriptions and articles
    • use keyword research to suggestively re-write content
    • use keyword research to query whois and suggest domain mirrors
    • use keyword research to manage budgeted ad campaigns
    • use complex automated reports to create new brands
    • plus hundreds of other things, including telling me how much money I made the previous day


    Oh if it were only that simple ... I think I'll just start with the Wordpress plugin and go from there.

    -tm

  23. #23
    Member Tobius's Avatar
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    I was just poking around to see, once again, if someone else has already done this. I did actually find a Wordpress datafeed import script and it's a much simpler tool than what I, and I assume Shawn as well, are envisioning. None-the-less I know that some of you, like webworker, were interested in simpler tools so I'm passing it along. It's not open source, but it's available today.

    Link to the article where I found it (a users review):
    http://www.volodymyrzablotskyy.com/i...import-script/

    Link to the product page:
    http://www.wordpressdatafeedimport.com/wpdfi/

    Link to a video demo using the tool:
    http://www.wordpressdatafeedimport.c...ew&w=783&h=536

    It costs $137.00 to purchase and I'm not sure if it's worth it or not, but you can be the judge of that. I do like the way that it schedules the products to be released on the website periodically instead of all at once. I don't like that it only works on uploaded csv files. Anyhow, just thought I'd share. If you find other like-minded products add them to this thread so we can keep track of what's out there.

    -tm

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    I've got that WordPress Datafeed Import script and use it some.

    I've drawn a little traffic to some blogs on which I use it, but not yet sold a product through it.

    It's a pretty good script. The only problem I have with it is that it loads an entire datafeed into your blog at one shot -- then uses WordPress's advanced-date functions to make the posts visible at the intervals you select.

    The biggest problem with that idea is the way WordPress creates categories for every post, whether visible yet or not. As a result, you can end up with categories listed on your blog which will show nothing but error messages since they are technically "empty" until the date and time the datafeed product placed in them becomes visible.

    I haven't found a way to deal with that elegantly. I either ignore WordPress categories and simply "dump" all the products in the feed into a single, general category like "General," "Footwear," "Kitchen Gadgets," etc., based on the nature of the merchant and datafeed.

    I was one of the people who beta tested the script for its creator, Teli Adlam, and I would certainly recommend it based on my experience and her integrity as a person/programmer/marketer who's very familiar with WordPress.

    Having said all that, I've used the script to populate a number of blogs. You should certainly go there and have a look around using the links Tobius posted above. Then decide for yourself!

    Gary the Writerguy

  25. #25
    http and a telephoto
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    One way around the "whole datafeed imported" problem is to just upload parts of the datafeed. Break it into parts you want and upload just those. I haven't looked at the script, will get in touch with the creator and see if she has a version that as a merchant I can poke around with.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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