Product Datafeeds: The Next Level

I’m still absorbing the message from the keynote.  I thought Dr. Cialdini was slow to get started but his research and points were top notch. Hoping to learn more about datafeeds and how to use them in this session.

Scott Jangro – President MechMedia – moderator
Brian Smith, Singlefeed
Larry Adams, Google
Shergul Arshad, StyleFeeder

Scott has been in affiliate marketing for 10 years – at the beginning it was very few people that had access to the product data – he wanted to give data to everyone that asked for it – good things & ideas started to appear – it was a good thing to give the data out
He is now an affiliate publisher that uses datafeeds in business everyday – build niche commerce websites

Shergul – data feeds can be dry he has heard, so he will start with a story – stressful flight experience – went to the Bank & sees Larry – Stylefeeder brings in 1000s of products & they separate them out based on each individual users style

Brian – got started as affilate for ancestry.com and netflix – now runs Single feed – they help merchants be successful on commerce sites

Scott’s goal is to raise awareness of product data feeds – best practices

What improvements have been made to data feeds?
Larry – roughly half of merchants provide feeds – has not seen a lot of improvement or innovation on merchant side, but has seen more creativity on publisher site – deriving interesting information that provides value – mining the feed for interesting data
They are trying to find ways to make the data more accessible – the network is trying to be the facilitator

Shergul – 30% of data feeds are excellent, 40% need some improvement, 30% are just really bad – retailers must be shown what they are missing with bad data – more tools available for innovation with open source

Brian agrees that not much has changed in last 6 years, but in the last 18 months they have become more complex with more product attributes – which is good for doing more creative things – but that means more work for the merchant – taking a long time for merchants to see value of data feeds, but they are finally paying attention

Scott has seen more access to product API

API vs. data feed

Shergul thinks that it depends on what you are doing as an affiliate site – API is good for smaller site – with a large site it is not a scalable solution – he doesn.t think it is either or

Brian thinks eBay & amazon has good APIs but not everyone understands them or has access – people are still paying with them and learning

Larry – different applications for the two techniques – APIs are becoming useful for creating a real time contextual ad unit – the data tends to be fresher than a datafeed

Scott data feeds have never been more accessibility – he believes they are all now free from all the networks

Larry recommends finding good datafeeds, be selective

Scott has a successful costume and shoe site – so it is possible to work within one vertical according to Shergul
Brian start with a good niche & API if you are just starting out, do it right – amazon, eBay, shopzilla, shopping.com – figure out how you can access it, how you can use it – go from there

Larry shop from your competitors sites and find out what you like/what you don’t, what features you like

Shergul – biggest obstacles of data feeds are categories, descriptions – some merchants feel that they have to put everything in the sales price column – err on the side of more information

Brian they pull data in, then SEO it, optimize it, correct it and then send it out

Standardization – can it happen?

Larry – first thing that comes to mind is categories – standardization of your own feed as a merchant – make sure everything has a price, descriptions are consistent amongst products

Shergul – companies such as Golden can & popshops are doing well – soft goods tend to not have upc codes attached so that can make things difficult

I had to leave the session a bit early, so not sure if they discussed best ways to use a datafeed, which is really what I was interested in.  Definitely something to research further on my own.  With that it is time to go to lunch.

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