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  1. #1
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    Datafeed script suggestions?
    Mods - Not positive this is correct category but I didn't think power Tools would be apt.

    I am in the process of developing a datafeed script which will allow me more flexibility to show products on my sites.

    Exmaples of how I see it being used if for example on my auto site, I will create an Auto Parts section and feed products from various merchants into it for my visitors. Likewise for example for a Rock Climbing Site.

    The basic parts script is nearly finished and feeds can be imported into a temp database table and then admin can select products and move them to created categories and sub categories etc.

    It also has SE friendly URLs and working on the links cloaking at the moment.


    All the above I got from this forum as I am not really experienced in affiliate marketing. Anyways, my question to you is what would you recommend for a script of my purpose and and advice you could give. So just friendly chat to throw some ideas around.

    Problems I am thinking about atm include:

    how to sort large numbers of products
    a database problem when I have too many products from the feeds(this might be my bad hosting problem)
    still thinking about how to avoid duplicate content better


    Thanks,

    Matt

  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    Moved to the programming/datafeeds forum.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
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    Oks Thx Loxly,

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Depends What You Need It To Do
    It all depends what your finished site should provide the consumer.

    Are you displaying a product and comparing prices? Are you displaying the inventory of a specific merchant and subsequently displaying by product?

    Will you be displaying more than one merchant but on separate pages?

    There are plenty of scripts which can handle the requests for you.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  5. #5
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    xenyo, are you using proper indexes in your database? That will affect performance greatly, especially with a large number of products.

  6. #6
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    John,
    Are you displaying a product and comparing prices?
    Yes, that is the intention but i wanted the script to be flexible so I could choose a specific product such as Acer 5572 laptop or something generic, such as Funny T-Shirts.

    Are you displaying the inventory of a specific merchant and subsequently displaying by product?
    I would imagine around 4-5 merchants, more or less depending on the site's niche.

    Will you be displaying more than one merchant but on separate pages?
    Same page like a price comparison site .



    Mike,

    Well my initial idea was very simple .. a script that I could feed products in with datafeeds from different merchants into a temporary database table. Then another table for products that I want to publish on the site. The admin will have tools to manipulate the feeds into categories, swap words in titles and descriptions, change descriptions, etc.

    The thinking behind this was that it would be a script I could use for a number of established sites that I have already have. The script is near finished now and will be testing it on a couple of sites, although there are some changes that I will be making to it.

    I am not sure what you mean about proper indexes though, can you explain? Sorry, I am not really a coder as I outsource that to my development guys.





    Hmm, maybe if I explain a scenario, it may explain things clearer.


    For my Rock Climbing Site, I want to open a Rock Climbing Products Section.

    It will have Main categories such as Climbing Apparel, Safety Equipment, Climbing Books .... these Main categories will have sub-categories such as Climbing Shoes, Climbing helmets, etc for Apparels.

    In the sub cats - Maybe I will sort shoes into different brands ... and in this page will list the products. In the products detail page will list the available merchants that sells this brand of climbing shoes with aff links to merchant.


    I think my problem is that I am trying to do too many things with one script...heh .. If there is another script out that can do something similar to this, I would love to take a look at it.

    Thanks guys.

    Matt

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Try Price Tapestry (not mine but a good basic script). Basic but you can search by category or product and get a basic comparison. Not expensive either.

    Also if you are using a lot of feeds consider other users on the shared server or you will get booted for using too much resources. If your business is going to grow, go dedicated server.
    Last edited by John Jupp; August 22nd, 2007 at 02:48 AM. Reason: mentioning rival to my stuff
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  8. #8
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    Thx John, I actually brought PT a while ago .. had a play with it but found it a bit limiting... but looking back after your suggestion it seems like they have added some features or i missed something before. Anyways, thanks and i will take another look.

    Yeah, we have a few hosting options, some dedicated and some shared so I can see where you are coming from . Thanks again

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    You're welcome. The owner of Price Tapestry asked some time ago what price they should push their product. I suggested their current price and for what it does it's not a bad script.

    We're a little more bespoke and as we do more and more custom jobs we keep creating more and more modules for version 3 of our product. Only version 1 is currently available to affiliates but we'll roll out version 2 soon at a price between the two we advertise. We've basically finished version 3 but we prefer to concentrate on custom solutions for now.

    Our biggest challenge is going to be integrating it all into a dedicated price comparison script. Some of our custom stuff we'll be incorporating already caters for video/flash marketing, xml, csv, rss, review/rating and remote merchant submissions for short term promotions using widgets. Putting all that into a script with optional templates is going to be fun.

    I've got a good design team and we have a heavy workload. Trying to do all that plus launch retail sites and continue with affiliate marketing is a full time occupation needing more hours in a day than currently exist.

    If everything we're doing works out fine then come the New Year I'll be in a position to slow down a bit.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  10. #10
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    Xenyo,

    Indexes are used, amongst other things to quickly locate data, esp when using the WHERE statement. What does this mean to you?

    It's simple. On your rock climbing site, you are going to want to have a page that lists products from the Climbing Shoes category. Your script will call, from your database, all products from the table WHERE category equals Climbing Shoes. Using the category column as an index, MySql groups these items together so it can find them quicker.

    Here's a link:
    http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/4.1/...l-indexes.html

  11. #11
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    John,
    Look forward to it.


    Mike,
    Yeah we have categories and sub-cats.

    One question though that has been bothering me is how do people using feeds auto update their prices, availability etc. Still trying to get my head around this one. For example if the merchant changes their price for a few items, stop stocking something.

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    That's down to the merchant to update their feed although saying that, we do have a custom script the merchant incorporates into OsCommerce and ZenCart whereby an affiliate could get a raw datafeed directly from the merchant if the merchant includes the script on their server. It basically interrogates the cart and produces a csv file for download from direct url.

    That way stock levels and current prices are continually available. We have had a slight problem interrogating the "specials" option on Zen but we expect to resolve that soon.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  13. #13
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    Xenyo, you basically are going to have to reimport your datafeed. I know you mentioned that you are using an admin interface that allows you to make changes and select which products you want to show, you'll have to work around that.

    You could use the UPDATE statement to simply update the price and availability columns in your database for approved prodcuts. I have no idea what you are using for values so this is very rough but something like:

    Code:
    $sql_query = mysql_query("INSERT INTO Products(Price, Availibility)
    VALUES ('$price', '$availibility') WHERE Sku = $sku AND Approved = 'yes'") or
    die (mysql_error());
    would change the product's price and availibility on products that have already been approved. I used the SKU as the way to match the product because merchants rarely change skus on products but you could use UPC if that was available.

    Of course, this doesn't cover when a merchant removes a product from their feed completly. For that, you might have to clear the database and reimport it.

  14. #14
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    Thanks Mike,

    Yeah I think that would work for updating, looking at the SKUs on most feeds, I dont think there is much chance of 2 products being the same ... even if so, we can just put a check for each merchant feed or something.

    As for removing products, couldn't we just check if the feed no longer contains the SKU for each product of the merchant? If no maybe an admin, verify to delete.

    I am a bit picky when it comes to my sites, I suppose thats the reason why I am developing custom scripts instead of using a purchased one. During my few days of delving into the datafeed world I have noticed the following.

    1. The quality of feeds from merchants vary.
    This is the primary problem for me and I think for feed users in general. As mentioned in a few other threads, without a common feed format, i.e. Categories ... its very hard to make things automated to any quality if using multiple feeds.

    For example, feed 1 may have a great category structure like Kitchens>Bread Knifes but feed 2 maybe have the same product in Households>Cutlery . And this example is quite an easy one to resolve.

    I suppose this is a good thing in respect of the harder it is, the less competition there is.

    The way I think I am going to resolve this problem will be by manual sorting. The script will make it easy for admins to manipulate products and categories. Am I right to assume that it doesn't really matter how I alter the products database table .. as long as the merchant ID and SKU ID remains the same. I suppose I am only after updating the price and availability. Not sure how overworked my database will be during updating though .

    2. PriceTapestry
    Further to John's suggestion I had a deeper look into PT and found it really good actually. Its quite limited in that it only has one category level and not many options to edit data. But it works and takes very little time to set up a site.

    My main problem with it is that it uses javascript as output.(Don't think there is an option not to anyways). I always prefer not to use javascript for SEO purposes.

    However, as the site says, its a price comparison starter kit and for that I think it over delivers.

  15. #15
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    Whoops... ignore the javascript PT part ... Just found that it can show output in html.

  16. #16
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    It does not matter if you change things on the datafeed like category structure, whatever it takes for the feed to "fit" into your site.

    I have a site that does pretty well using a heavily modified version of price tapestry. I threw out the category structure and made up my own with multiple levels of subcategories.

    1. The quality of feeds from merchants vary.
    I think that is one of the biggest challenges. There are certain ways, as you said, to work around this but after it's said and done, you need to have a whole seperate script and database table to keep track of things during reimports.

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