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  1. #1
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    LinkShare Releases New Enhancements
    I just noticed this in my inbox, I'm excited to hear about the rss feeds but I'm unsure which merchants have them up & running? It does seem they are listening to affiliates lately...

    Dear LinkShare Affiliate:
    At LinkShare, we are always looking for ways to improve your Affiliate experience. Below is a brief description of new enhancements that have been added to the Affiliate Interface and are available for your use.

    RSS MERCHANT FEED
    Merchants in the LinkShare Network are now able to send RSS feeds to you that are pre-coded with your LinkShare Affiliate ID. To receive RSS feeds from your Merchant partners, you will need to subscribe to the Merchant's feed and access an RSS reader (Newsgator.com and Pluck.com are two popular readers). For more information on setting up RSS feeds, select RSS Resource Page from the Home tab in the Affiliate Interface. RSS feeds do not eliminate the need for you to log into your LinkShare account, but will make it easier for you to get promotional links directly from your Merchants. Please keep in mind that Merchants may not be offering feeds right away as it might take them a while to set up the feeds.

    INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT LINK THUMBNAILS
    LinkShare has added thumbnail images of the Individual Product Links in the Create Links section of the Affiliate Interface. This makes it easier for you to find the product links you want.

    As always, we appreciate your business and thank you for the opportunity to be your innovation partner. If you have any questions about LinkShare or these features, please contact our support department at www.linkshare.com/support.

    The LinkShare Team
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  2. #2
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    agree that they are listening to their affiliates

    I am trying to push it live but it is giving me an error on Linkshare's interface. I will try to talk to somebody in LS or if some RSS guru can help, that would be great

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=87706

    I think they released it on Tuesday / Wednesday cos that is when I saw it in my merchant interface but the email started going out on Thurs/Fri I think, cos I got that announcement earlier

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glinted
    I just noticed this in my inbox, I'm excited to hear about the rss feeds but I'm unsure which merchants have them up & running?
    Probably none. Merchants are just finding out about it, too.
    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

  4. #4
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    "agree that they are listening to their affiliates"

    Disagree a bit. Out of the major networks, I would put them at the bottom. Now I think they have a lot of great merchants but the network itself is poorly run. For me goes back to such things as removing subid tracking, synergyanalytics I posted about a recent comment from them in another thread, the legal message that doesn't seem like it's ever going away and then putting valid dates on a bunch of links whose promotions had expired. Yesterday I was getting some links and it's a big mess. And take a look at :

    2003
    http://forum.abestweb.com/poll.php?d...lts&pollid=327

    2006
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=85532

    In 2003, they were actually voted the best affiliate network here. Now they're near the bottom. Went from 42% of the vote to 4%.

  5. #5
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    Well unfortunately it looks like the RSS feeds are very much in the beta stage. I found only one merchant out of quite a few I'm joined up with that offers one. That is SmartHome, good on them for trying but the feed is a bit of a mess.

    Linkshare should follow how Avantlink or Goldencan offer RSS feeds as this is the way it should be done. At the moment the Linkshare RSS feeds do not integrate with our website so we can generate links out to our sites, instead they are working like email to affiliates from merchants to notify us of offers and give us the links so we can MANUALLY add them to our websites. This defeats the whole purpose of offering RSS feeds. They can still offer news rss feeds like emails so affiliates that want them can have them but they should also make sure the most important thing is working which is affiliate links published, formatted and working.

    Since I can't post any webpage which has an affiliate link on this forum then it's difficult to show all this so I guess I will have to create screenshots - sigh!

    Ok first here is how the original SmartHome rss feed looks ( I have not showed all the cdata)

    now here is what it looks like in a raw state if I create a webpage to display the rss links. Pretty messy huh!

    ok lets filter the title so we only get the "Latest Offers" and I added some comments.

    So it should end up looking more like this if the rss feeds are set up by Linkshare & the merchants correctly with the links in the right place

    I'm only grabbing the {LINK, {TITLE} & {DESCRIPTION} in the above pages.

    As mentioned above, Avantlink have this right and so do Goldencan, lets hope Linkshare get this working how it should be and it could be the best thing Linkshare have done in years.

    Avantlink RSS Promotion feed example displayed on one of my sites

    Goldencan RSS feed Exampledisplayed on one of my sites

    btw, trust I agree but I do hope the latest attempts by LS to help affiliates i.e rss feeds & dates on links are a sign of better things to come even if they have not done this in the ideal way YET.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    ...then putting valid dates on a bunch of links whose promotions had expired. Yesterday I was getting some links and it's a big mess.
    You are right, I haven't had a chance to try the new links on LS yet with the dates until now. I just added some links for a new merchant I just joined - since they are brand new on LS I thought that all the link dates would be correct but I was wrong... I found they had a 15% promotion and it is meant to expire 2012 etc. I added it to my site but I then checked my email and found the same promotion in the email with details on it ending in April 19th 2007.. this really is quite bad and must be causing a lot of confusion for everyone, merchants, affiliates and the consumers mostly.

    If LS could get the RSS feed feature implemented properly then this could be the solution to the promotions & date problems as merchants can update all their links as they like and the changes and correct dates will be automatically displayed on our websites. LS need to get this working properly with the right formatting as I suggested in my last post but they also need to set the parameters and they way merchants can run the promotions and offers. They can't just slap up a half finished RSS Feed implementation and leave it half finished or in Beta and hope for the best like they have done with the link dates.
    Someone at Linkshare is listening to us but there seems to be some people who are responsible for implementing the features that are not doing their job properly.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks Glinted. That will give me a spring board to improve on things. Will play around with it again today

    Quote Originally Posted by glinted
    Someone at Linkshare is listening to us but there seems to be some people who are responsible for implementing the features that are not doing their job properly.
    I think there are lots of issues to debug. I saw the RSS in my interface, that is why I am testing it. No documentation and that is why my RSS code failed.

    I think there might have been a group of merchants doing some testing for linkshare prior to the launch of the RSS. I will bring your concerns up to the right people.

  8. #8
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    Eric, if you do get your feed up & running then I would be happy to try to test it from an affiliate perspective. Unfortunately I only have limited to rss/xml knowledge but I would be happy to offer any assistance I can to improve this for everyone.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks G.

    I have limited knowledge with RSS so it's been a steep learning curve

    Thanks for willing to be my test subject but I doubt that I will need your help at the moment, not because I don't want it but I am still trying to figure it out and I feel like i am a test subject myself.

    two test subjects = bad out come

  10. #10
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    Eric, I have just tried your new RSS and it works perfectly. Well done, maybe you can post details so other merchants can see how to do it.
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  11. #11
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    Gary, I had to rename the file of the RSS so can you make the change when you can.
    The previous file was named: Test
    New file name is: Wyndham Vacation Resorts- Featured Destinations

    I will write something up today or tomorrow. Thanks for all your help Glinted and one of my other contacts at Linkshare went out of his way to help me get things right.

    I will post something on ABW later today.

    Thanks.

  12. #12
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    Yes I gathered that it was only a test example, I wrote you a pm to let you know I will publish them tommorrow anyway. ok that all sounds great & look forward to more progress...
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  13. #13
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    I have been trying to find out which merchants have feeds with no luck

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Okay, for those of us apparently more "Linkshare challenged" folks out there: What on earth is that "Generate New Feed Token" business about on the RSS site for Linkshare??

    I clicked the button, and it asked me if I REALLY wanted to generate a random token, or something like that. Being a brave soul, I let 'er rip.

    Now I have some horrid hierogliphics stuff about 50+ characters long showing in a box. What in G*d's name am I supposed to do with it??

    Is there any way I can create something shorter and easier to remember on my own without hitting that dread "generate" button?? And what, I ask again, am I supposed to do with the miserable thing, uh, token?

    Is there somewhere at Linkshare where I can find information about all this, because I almost never use Linkshare, but I would like to try something in some blogs with this RSS stuff.

    Thanks for anyone out there willing and able to direct me.

    Gary the Writerguy

  15. #15
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    ggljohnson,
    when you login to LS, go to FeedSynergy Services > RSS Resource Page found on right & you will see which merchants have them, if you don't have many merchants then you may have none at this stage.

    Writerguy, the "Generate New Feed Token" button assigns a new special number for you so it is unique and your RSS feeds will work for you. That is to be part of your RSS feed url and it will only have your tracking and feed details assigned to it. Later if you have several sites running with the Feed Token & you change the token then you will need to update those URLS I would presume. So you would not want to create new tokens unless necessary for whatever reason? Why you would want to generate new tokens is not clear to me either, I would suggest just generating the one for now until further details are made available. They don't offer any documentation yet but there are plenty of resources online for using RSS.

    One thing I would like to see from Linkshare is to offer merchants tools to allow them to personalize feeds for affiliates. I don't know how it looks from a merchants perspective but LS could offer them ways to manipulate & update the feeds using grouping etc. Some affiliates might want particular requirements in their feeds .. Merchants should have tools to personalize each feed by token number and sort them by groups if they like so they can edit them in bulk for certain things.

    Ok well this is really looking good and what Eric has done is now created a clean & probably the first working Linkshare RSS feed for current promotions. Here is what they can look like after you create a page to display them on your website. The following screenshot image shows them in the first part as they are and second after some formatting to fit with my website style. This is great news for those of us who want more automation and now the merchants can take full control if we want them to update our promotions for us, no Javascript needed and hopefully lots more personalization for our feeds in the future.. This is a big step forward by Linkshare and I'm one of I'm sure several others who requested they offer us RSS and thankfully they have.
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  16. #16
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    Out of 14 merchants with several being premium merchants I guess none of them have feeds yet.

    Seems a waste to go through all that big news about being able to add feeds to my blog and get them in my reader when its only for certain merchants or affiliates.

  17. #17
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    Well the tools are now in place as proved by the above so it's up to the merchants now to start using them. We can also let them know too... Some of them will probably need some documentation on how to add RSS Feeds like Eric has achieved which I guess will be offered soon.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggljohnson
    Out of 14 merchants with several being premium merchants I guess none of them have feeds yet.
    At present, I know that one premium merchant have it besides myself. 1) Smarter Home.

    I know that there is another merchant that is working with LS in their testing cos I heard something mentioned when I spoke to them.

    I am sure that some merchants will jump on once their LS acct manager is issues a manual or a info to ask merchants to offer it.

    Quote Originally Posted by glinted
    Well the tools are now in place as proved by the above so it's up to the merchants now to start using them. We can also let them know too... Some of them will probably need some documentation on how to add RSS Feeds like Eric has achieved which I guess will be offered soon.
    It is on my todo list to write something up

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Hey, Eric,

    I may possibly be losing it, or something, because I went back to Linkshare just now to try retrieving the URL for your RSS feed again, as I failed to keep it from a few days ago.

    I can't find anything under "Generate Links" that shows a link to the RSS??

    Has Linkshare moved the resource? Have I forgotten how to get there? Have you deleted it? Has a comet hit the Earth??? ... uh, oh, well, anyway.

    Gary the Writerguy

  20. #20
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    Hi Gary,

    This is the link you want to pull up.
    https://ssl.linksynergy.com/php-bin/...esources.shtml

    If you are pulling Test-Wyndham feed, I moved it to invisible or inactive. Sorry cos that was a test feed. I have a new feed up and I promised that I will not move or rename it.

    I will be typing something up over the weekend to help affiliates and merchants.

    I did suggest a few things that Linkshare should do to clean up their feed and where it should show up. I know they are working with a test merchant (not Wyndham VO) but I just threw in my ideas.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Thanks, Eric,

    I got it.

    Gary

  22. #22
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    Most welcome and thank you!

    I am no professional at RSS and it's been a steep learning curve for me. Glinted, you and a senior member of ABW really helped me a lot. Thanks all

  23. #23
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    Your welcome Eric and I look forward to seeing what you type up for the merchants this weekend or when ever you get time...

    I have noticed several other merchants have feeds up now but none of them work for me. Eric, your feed is the only working one that is available and the merchants definitely need some guidance from Linkshare on how to generate the feeds. The problem seems to be with their links mainly, they aren't including links with tracking but are going to pages on their website as normal links.

    I see CJ just announced and released a new RSS feature but there is no merchant feeds available yet there.

    Avantlink have a good system because every feed works the same and has affiliate tracking including and offers us promotions that are published to our sites. I'm sure Linkshare merchants could easily be offering the same thing as Eric has shown.
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  24. #24
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    Is LinkShare charging affiliates for the RSS feeds like they do for the datafeeds?? Unless you are going to throw the feeds into a reader you will have to program them into your affiliate site. Gary at AvantLink showed me how to do this so I could teach affiliates.

    I have been testing some of my affiliate who have RSS feeds for our merchant page. I put it into my Outlook RSS reader and then watch for updates when I change a coupon expiration or add a new one. Its cool when you see the affiliate RSS feed light up!!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by glinted
    Your welcome Eric and I look forward to seeing what you type up for the merchants this weekend or when ever you get time...

    I have noticed several other merchants have feeds up now but none of them work for me. Eric, your feed is the only working one that is available and the merchants definitely need some guidance from Linkshare on how to generate the feeds.
    I will have something typed up over the weekend and published on Monday. I will write something for affiliates and also merchants. I hope to do that along with my taxes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Is LinkShare charging affiliates for the RSS feeds like they do for the datafeeds??
    Chuck, it is free.
    At present, I know 3 companies are working on it or have it.
    Cellhut - direct RSS link w/o LS tracking
    SmarterHome - w/ LS tracking
    Wyndham Vacation Resorts - w/ LS tracking

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