Questions about the Eastwood Datafeed for Affiliates

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?

Data feeds 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.

An affiliate 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.

Some argue 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?

Data feeds 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 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

How much do data feeds cost?

Eastwood's 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 "", 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 to use.

Field Names:
We also need a name to call the fields, these are called "Field Names," and may look like this: "buyurl," "enddate," and "available."

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. 

How 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 key.

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 html files.

How to turn data into web pages

Turning data 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.

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