An Introduction to the Eastwood Datafeed for Affiliates
What is a data feed?
A data feed
is a large file filled with lots of information about a merchant's
products. A data feed can also be thought of as the main building
block to form a database. Data feeds can contain anywhere from a
handful of products, to tens of thousands of products. If you want
to access the Eastwood data feed, you must be prepared to use a
very large file. Though the file is zipped when you download it,
once it is unzipped it is around 3 MB. One of the most important
things you'll need is a tool like WebMerge
to translate the data feed into pages that visitors can view, initiate
purchases from, and be included in search results.
What are affiliate data
feeds used for?
are converted into individual products and include descriptions,
links for images, links for visitors to click, pricing and more.
The affiliate can take the information in the feed and build individual
pages for each product, or put multiple products on each page.
data feed may also enhance a site that already has some sort of
specific content. Utilizing an affiliate data feed means your
site will have more exposure on the web through search engine results,
and will have a higher number of pages published.
Advantages of using
a data feed
Using a data
feed means more exposure on the web. More exposure for your affiliate
site, and more exposure for the merchant's products.
that using a data feed means that the results at the search engines
will be flooded with worthless redundant information. This is a
possibility -- if everyone made their pages the same way. However,
there are many ways in which you can make your web site not only
stand out, but be of value to your site visitors, those using search
engines, the merchants, and most importantly you. Later, we'll cover
some of the things you can do to enhance the value you put into
your data feed based web sites.
How are data feeds delivered
to an affiliate?
can be delivered a number of ways, but usually involve the use of
File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Eastwood has two ways of
accessing the data feed: one through Commission Junction and one
through EZDatafeed.com. Eastwood updates the feed every Friday evening,
helping to ensure fresh content is being published on the web. If
you would like access to the datafeed, just email email@example.com.
How much do data feeds
outside feed is free; CJ charges $250 for access through their site.
What is actually in
the data feed?
Remember, the feed is filled with products. Each product in the
data feed is called a Record. Another way to look at it, is if there
are 3,500 products in the feed, then there are 3,500 records --
one for each product.
Each record (product) has information associated with it. This information
is found in individual "Fields" For example, you'll see a couple
of fields like the URL for the product's image location "http://www.eastwood.com/images/us/local/products/detail/p13039.jpg",
and the main category for the product "Welding>Gas & Accessories."
Most feeds contain many more fields, and sadly not all of them are
the same. Some feeds may have twenty or twenty-five different field
names. Eastwood's feed has 33 fields, not all of which you are required
We also need a name to call the fields, these are called "Field
Names," and may look like this: "buyurl," "enddate,"
So we have
records, fields, and field names. It would be nice if these
were organized into a table, so we could simply look at it like
a spreadsheet, wouldn't it? Well, that's exactly what all
this data information fits into – a table. One of the tools you
will need that we'll talk more about later, is a tool to view the
information in the data feed. For example, MS Excel or other
programs work well.
is the data in the feed separated?
If you open
the data feed in something like WordPad, or your favorite text editor
(Notepad is usually too wimpy to look at data feeds), you'll see
all of the fields jammed together, so it will look like one big
file full of stuff. Fortunately, data feeds are formatted or Delimited
where each field is separated by something called a delimiter. The
Eastwood feed is "pipe" delimited. Maybe you can see the
little vertical pipes between the different fields, they look like
this | . The pipe character
should be on your keyboard at the extreme right, above the Enter
How a data
feed is delimited is very important when we want to import
it into Excel to clean it up, or when you use WebMerge to make your
How to turn
data into web pages
feed information into a web page that visitors can view, deliver
value to the visitor, and be found in search results at major search
engines, can be accomplished a couple of ways. One way is to utilize
a script located on the web server to convert the information on
the fly. This method, utilizing scripting languages like PHP,
Perl, or CGI is very fluid and configurable, but requires programming
knowledge. Some scripting methods do not allow for easy spidering
by search engine robots. We will focus on another method, utilizing
a tool called WebMerge
to build what are called static web pages that are uploaded to your
server complete and ready to be spidered.
SECTION - Preparing Your Feed