Affiliate datafeed sites

You can't just grab an affiliate datafeed, shove it online and hope to get traffic from search engines. I interviewed affiliate datafeed veteran Gary Marcoccia to get an insider's view on how to go about it.

Gary is a network rep for the affiliate network AvantLink, "The Datafeed People". Here are the questions I asked him and his answers.


I'm interested in your experience using datafeeds. Can you tell me about that?

I started using datafeeds as an affiliate several years ago. Since, I have worked to build web service management systems, and functional distribution practices of the flat files. I have also had a keen interest in promoting the responsible use of merchant data by affiliates.


How do you recommend an affiliate get started with datafeeds?

Using datafeeds responsibly is crucial. For one, if affiliates don't use them responsibly they won't make any sales. To take a merchant's datafeed and put it behind a new domain with no unique value-add content is basically spamming the search engines. This does nothing for the affiliate, the advertiser or the affiliate marketing industry.

Datafeeds must be coupled with relevant content, preferably content that has been published and unique online for years. Non-related affiliate marketing content (such as articles, interviews, etc.) should outweigh affiliate marketing content (datafeeds) 2 to 1.

For example, if a datafeed is producing 500 pages of content on an affiliate's site, there should be 1,000 pages of unique content published under the same domain.

The power of the datafeed is to get product group/detail pages deep crawled and indexed for relevant searches in the search engines, and in order to do so the site must already rank for that relevancy.

A stand-alone datafeed site is not permitted in AvantLink, as this alone will not win favorable SERP (search engine results pages) placement.


Do you recommend WebMerge or some other software?  Why?

WebMerge is a great application for publishing static HTML pages from a flat database file. There are other applications that are just as valuable. The key is, however, creating a system with the use of WebMerge or similar (or your own scripts) that allows you to customize the data at some level.

In other words, you don't want to re-publish the merchant's database exactly as you've acquired it. Search engines are too smart now, and they will filter out exact replicas of a merchant's site content.

Even something as simple as changing the link names in the navigation can do wonders in differentiating the publication of your datafeed from others. Other options inlcude adding content includes, unique descriptions and/or image captions.

AvantLink has a dynamic datafeed web service that allows affiliates to publish unique, spiderable content that can be easily modified from one affiliate site to the next.


How important do you think it is that affiliates create pages that are different from pages created by other affiliates?

I think the above explanation addresses this question thoroughly. It is crucial that affiliates take steps to customize what they're publishing. SERP traffic (ie, people searching a search engine for the products they want to buy) is some of the highest converting traffic on the web. The only way affiliates have a chance at ranking in the SERPs for products is to customize their outputs.


Just how different do they need to be?

As unique as possible. The more creative the affiliate is with the output, the more likely they'll win organic placement for relevant terms.


What are some good ways of making sure that pages will escape Google's duplicate content filter and won't be regarded as "thin affiliates"?

On how to address duplicate content, please read above. Additionally, to escape "thin affiliate" status it's important that your site has a value-added element and user stickiness.

For example, creating a network effect through a forum or other user-driven content is a value-add to a site using a datafeed. Also, publish articles, and other unique content on a regular basis. If you've built a site about a topic you're passionate about this shouldn't be difficult, and it's a key element in harnessing high-converting search engine traffic.

Make your site an authority so people start linking to you naturally,
not through solicitation. If people link to you, in time you'll win rankings and the sales will follow.

Datafeeds are not a quick money making tool for affiliate marketing. Be committed to responsible use and the long haul and in time you'll be grateful you were patient, persistent and passionate!


Affiliate datafeed resources

WebMerge from FourthWorld
WebMerge is software which lets you export your database to HTML, generating static web pages from database files.

Golden Can
Golden Can allows you to add large datafeeds to affiliate sites very easily and quickly. There are two kinds of merchants available - "4th click" and free. With "4th click" merchants, 25% of the traffic and subsequent commissions go to Golden Can.

Synthasite
Synthasite is an affiliate website builder, a browser-based tool which allows you to build affiliate websites with no programming skills required. More than 100 million products are available through multiple affiliate networks. The tool is still in beta. It's suitable for "semi-technical" people.

AbestWeb datafeed forum

AvantLink section at AbestWeb

Datafeeds 101 - A Beginner's Primer
An introduction to affiliate datafeeds by Linda Buquet and Chris Ditty.


Some affiliate networks providing datafeeds

AvantLink
ShareAsale
Commission Junction
LinkShare

August 5, 2006

Related Links

Comments (26)

Zachary Shine
Said this on August 26, 2006 At 10:51 pm
Allan, Great article. Very informative and useful. If I may add, I am currently testing DataFeedFile.com. I think they are the newest and most innovative datafeed solution for affiliates so far. If you do not already know about Datafeedfile you probably should.

[Thanks for the tip! Allan.]
Steven
Said this on August 31, 2006 At 05:32 pm
Don't forget http://www.feedshare.com , which provides a very nice datafeed system. Like AvantLink, it also offers a raw feed, JavaScript and template store but their PHP store front is much more dynamic and acts more like a real online store.
Michael Mundy
Said this on September 14, 2006 At 04:56 am
Another useful resource for building websites around affiliate datafeeds is Price Tapestry (Price Comparison Script for PHP and MySQL) www.pricetapestry.com plus a resource for integrating affiliate XML datafeeds is Magic Parser for PHP www.magicparser.com
Laura Childs
Said this on September 14, 2006 At 08:34 am
Hi Allan:
This was a great read. I'd always been intrigued about using datafeeds for online income and website content, but it all seemed too time consuming or difficult. Still I knew that not too many affiliate marketers and website owners were employing datafeeds, so I was certain that my chances of site success were pretty good... When RSS2Blog hit the market it was capable of many things - one of which was using merchant datafeeds - so I played with that feature for quite some time and had some success (still quite time consuming and somewhat costly for the new website owner), but things really became easy when I began using a script that merged datafeeds with a WordPress blog. I was so excited about it I made a screencast video showing how in 20 minutes you can add hundreds of products to your website (instantly or trickled in over time) and offered the videos to friends and visitors (the videos are free). Your readers may be interested in how simple this makes using datafeeds. The resource page is here: http://www.smartzville.com/datafeeds/ (links to the step by step 20 minute training videos, datafeed providers, etc.) At first I wasn't certain that a datafeed driven site could do well, but since I've started building these online stores I'm now working less for more money. Please keep publishing your great newsletter content! Yours is one of the few that I open immediately and read from start to finish.
George
Said this on September 25, 2006 At 10:34 am
Another software to build modern blog based sites using datafeeds is SEO Blog Builder. Just got it and its v v good. Also does other kinds of pages.
Tim Stalker
Said this on February 11, 2007 At 10:31 am
If your programming skills are up to par or if you have access to a programmer, I recommend using a database and making your affiliate site dynamic. I use two content management systems, Drupal and Xaraya, to wrap features around the data, things like reviews and price comparisons, with guides for product use, etc. The problem with tools like WebMerge in my mind is that they lend themselves to thin sites in the hands of an unskilled user. Static pages aren't enough unless the niche is small and pages few.

[Thanks for the tips! Allan.]
Alex
Said this on April 22, 2007 At 11:40 pm
It is 2007 and i am in the process of starting my 1st datafeed affiliate website. Do you think it is too late to enter the game? Anyway thanks for good information provided.

[If you create a site which is genuinely useful and unique, you have a very good chance of success. If you create a site which is very similar to hundreds or thousands of others you'll struggle. One thing to ask yourself is: Who will want to link to my site. Create a site that people will want to link to. Allan.]
Allan Marshall
Said this on May 16, 2007 At 10:27 pm
You can build a site based on Shopping.com Data feed using free script from the site datafeedscripts.net. I like Demo2 skin.
smaxor
Said this on August 7, 2007 At 12:08 pm
Yeah that's all fine and dandy however I think you missed a large portion of the feed market which is PPC->Feed sites. Yes if you're just going to search engine rankings all the extra content is great. However if you're buying PPC traffic and sending it to your Feed Store I think you're much better off without a lot of other distracting info. As well as this is quite a time and money drain to create and provide.
Carsten Cumbrowski
Said this on March 11, 2008 At 09:28 pm
Well, your post is a pretty old, so I don't blaim your for leaving my data feed resources out of your post :)
Well, it's nothing that cannot be fixed. Here it is:
http://www.cumbrowski.com/datafeeds/

hehe.. I hope you like it and find it useful. It's actually the portal page for several additional pages, articles and guides. Cheers!
Jeff
Said this on March 25, 2008 At 01:49 pm
Good stuff Allan,
I've been checking your site out for some time, but it seems like I always see something new. Lots of good ideas here.
Martin Wood
Said this on May 29, 2008 At 06:00 am
I think you've hit the nail right on the head regarding unique content.

My new tool, Datafeed Studio (http://datafeedstudio.com) like many others allows you to generate niche stores (and more) from datafeeds but also allows you to override feed information with your own content, accept user reviews, do product price comparison, etc.

Nobody wants a host of cookie-cut thin affiliate websites, that's why these tools should just provide the building blocks to support great content that are a benefit to the end-user.
Said this on March 14, 2009 At 04:53 pm
I have created a datafeed importer plugin for wordpress

http://www.digitalquill.co.uk/datafeedplugin/index...

it allows the user to create a template and then have the plugin create wordpress posts from that template.

You then have the power of wordpress, with its ability to be easily skinned/themed along with the power of datafeeds to create a huge site in a matter of minutes
Said this on March 17, 2009 At 08:21 am
I have created a plugin for wordpress that allows you to create a site from a csv datafeed using the power of wordpress as a CMS back end.

It allows you to upload the datafeed, and then use the columns to create a template for each post. This means that you can add your own custom content to each post making it unique.

It will also handle updates if you use a unique key for each post, meaning that when your merchant releases a new datafeed you can update your site automatically.

have a look at http://www.digitalquill.co.uk/datafeedplugin
Said this on September 6, 2009 At 01:43 am
My favorite is still AffiliStore.
It's a free download and does the job.
Installation was very easy with a self install set up.
Your site can be unique by switching and altering the HTML template.
Don
Said this on December 14, 2009 At 03:27 pm
Like Avantlink a lot. There is now a conversion for using BANS (Build A Niche Store) with Avantlink. It lets you setup affiliate sites quick with dynamic Product content from Avantlink merchants.

Here is the demo site: http://Because-its-there.com

Product can be found here: http://webnicheempire.com/buy/product_info.php?cPa...
Said this on March 18, 2010 At 03:35 am
hi thanks for the post,,,nice...
Said this on May 3, 2010 At 07:09 am
Hello, nice affilliate....I like it..
Said this on May 12, 2010 At 06:41 am
very nice affiliate article thank you
Said this on November 22, 2010 At 12:51 pm
nice post with good stuff
Said this on July 18, 2011 At 03:31 pm
Great post, thank you all very much. Does anyone have a perspective on the value / impact of content derived through user forums v. editorial content such as articles, blog posts etc.

Thanks!
admin
Said this on July 18, 2011 At 07:24 pm
Bill, in my experience it's much easier to earn affiliate revenue from editorial content than a forum.

With editorial content, YOU are in control, so you can create a slippery slope which leads the visitor to take the action you want, such as signing up for a newsletter, or clicking an affiliate link.

If you do own a forum, you need to create a strong way to distract your forum users and lead them to other parts of your site, where you are in control of the process.

Also, in my experience people using forums seem to be very single-minded, not easily distracted. So AdSense click-throughs are much lower on a forum than on editorial content pages. I'm talking about a forum in the Internet marketing niche. Your experience may differ.

If you want to discuss this further, our affiliate forum (the link is at the top of the page) would be the best place to do so. This page is about affiliate datafeed sites.
Said this on September 15, 2011 At 06:09 pm

Thank for the response - makes perfect sense!

Said this on September 24, 2011 At 03:11 pm

I use popshops for my main pages. Quick easy and nice templates. Tell me what you think www.cyclepartspro.com. It's my first site using a datafeed.

Said this on September 5, 2013 At 03:11 pm

I made program that can download milions of affiliate products very quickly, It uses prosperent API: http://najweb.net/affiliate-datafeed-downloader-fr..., also there is coupon API downloader. Enjoy.

Said this on October 17, 2013 At 04:54 am

I made some templates for Price Tapestry datafeed script, check them out here http://www.pt-templates.com... mail me for a discount.

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