I’ve been writing reviews of products for affiliate and niche marketing for quite some time, and the one I probably refer people to the most is datafeedr. Datafeedr is two things, a WordPress plugin that creates an affiliate product store, and an online service to manage datafeedrs.
This post is part of the WordPress Affiliate Store series.
What is a datafeed? Let’s say I’m the US retailer Best Buy. I want to be able to allow online affiliates to promote my products, and I know that just providing text links and banner ads may not be enough. It may not be enough, because most affiliate and niche based marketers like to link directory to products and product pages whenever possible (it increases conversions). So I have my IT guys create a text file with all the products for sale at Best Buy, and this file is what we call a “datafeed”. Then I have my marketing people work with my merchant account providers people and make this “datafeed” available through an online affiliate house, like Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network, LinkShare, or ShareASale.
So, let’s say I own a web site and I want to use this “datafeed” to put images and descriptions of Best Buy products on my site. How do I do it? If you contact some of the affiliate networks they’ll make the datafeeds available, either by sending them to you in FTP, email, or allowing you to download them. So now you’ve got this raw data file, probably in CSV format – now what? You need a way to manage it. There are some scripts you can buy or download that will import datafeeds and manage them.
My experience that there is no “datafeed standard” and that your mileage may vary. What I mean is, the datafeed from Best Buy might work fine, but the one from Guitar Center might not. That’s because one company might have thumbnail images, and another only large images. Maybe one datafeed has 10 word descriptions, and another 1,000. No matter how good the software is, no two datafeeds are the same – and every scenario can’t be anticipated.
What datafeedr does is take the datafeeds from a merchant, they “massage” the datafeed to make it usable with common elements, and then put it into the “factory” – or the online portion of datafeedr. Once in the “factory” you can choose products from different merchants, create categories, and setup your own affiliate store. Datafeedr now has tens of thousands of merchants across dozens of affiliate houses, and millions and millions of products to choose from.
Once you create your affiliate store in the datafeedr factory, then you download your stores flat file, install and activate the “datafeedr WordPress plugin” and you can import that store inside of your WordPress powered web site or blog. The power of datafeedr is not only the ability to create and manage your own affiliate store, but the ability to import and manage it inside of WordPress.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you already know Online Marketing Intern Bill Field. He was the first one I selected in my Online Marketing Internship. He’s been through a lot in the last two months, working every day on his assigned web site. One of the things he was asked to do was setup a datafeedr affiliate store, so I asked him to write a review of that process (having never seen datafeedr before). I didn’t even explain to him what a datafeed was before it started, I just pointed him to my WordPress Affiliate Store series, and told him to get started.
Here’s his review of datafeedr:
As I’ve worked as an intern over these past couple months John has introduced me to various new techniques for SEO, site design, site optimization and affiliate networks. The most recent lesson was how to integrate Datafeedr into my assigned site.
One thing I’ll say before going any further, when you sign up for Datafeedr make sure you watch the introduction videos. They offer a lot of help and answer a lot of questions you might have. You might also want to browse through the support forums and check out questions other people are asking. They do have a tips and tricks section on the support forum that comes in handy. I did not see any questions in the support forum that were unanswered. It appears the support team is very responsive to all questions asked in the forum.
Datafeedr is a pay per month service that gives you access to hundreds of merchants and literally thousands and thousands of products. It doesn’t matter what you’re promoting on your site, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll find a merchant with the product on Datafeedr. When I first logged into Datafeedr to select my merchants and products I was overwhelmed with the process. There were just so many merchants available and I had to ensure I only chose those that we were approved for. Plus the number of products offered is staggering.
The first step is to select your merchants. This is a fairly easy process. You just need to be sure that you only select merchants that you are approved for. If you choose a merchant you’re not approved for, you won’t be getting any commissions for any products you sell. Overall, choosing the merchants was an easy process, even for a newbie like myself.
After you’ve selected your merchants the next step is to choose the products you want included in your datafeed. This was actually the most time consuming part of using Datafeedr for me. Because the site I’m assigned to covers such a broad range of products I had to use some pretty extensive search queries to sort through all the merchants and find the various products I was interested in. The search function in Datafeedr is very thorough and allows you to narrow down the list of products to exactly what you want to promote. It took me awhile to get really comfortable with the search function and how to properly narrow down my list of products. But once I’d spent some time with it I became more comfortable and was able to narrow down my list of products to exactly what I wanted.
After you’ve selected all your products you simply download the feed, which is just a text file, and then import that feed into the Datafeedr plugin installed on your site. From there it’s just a few simple steps and you have a nice looking, well stocked store. For a more thorough explanation of Datafeedr and walk through of the setup on your website you can visit John’s overview here – Series on building a WordPress affiliate store.
I’m still tweaking my store for layout. I just want to change the look of the posts a little bit. But my store is running and I now have thousands of products to offer up to my visitors. If I was to try and add all these products by hand, it would take years and years to do.
I have no qualms about recommending Datafeedr to anyone. I didn’t even know what a datafeed was before the lesson John gave me. But reading his post on how to integrate Datafeedr I was able to successfully build, import and setup my own store with thousands of products. I did have to ask for help from John a couple times, but they were minor problems that should not preclude anyone from thinking about using Datafeedr. Keep in mind, I’m totally new to data feeds and except for those couple minor problems I was able to get my store up and running by reading John’s review of Datafeedr and viewing the beginner’s videos on the Datafeedr website.
It’s quite amazing to think that a person like me, with no prior experience to data feeds, can, within an hour, have a store added to my WordPress website and offer such a wide variety of products to my visitors.
To see Bill’s work in action – check out his assigned Online Marketing Internship web site: Best Gifts For
If you’re interested in creating a WordPress Affiliate Store or Niche web site I strongly suggest you check out datafeedr. In addition, be sure to read the rest of the posts in the WordPress Affiliate Store series here on jtpratt.com. *Disclaimer: if you follow that link and signup I will get an affiliate commission for recommending you to the service. That’s how we pay the bills around here.