The Datafeed Standard is an attempt to solidify the diverse formats and configurations found in data feed files. The standard will benefit Merchants, Affiliates, and affiliate networks.
The format and delivery should function for "script" enabled affiliates.
The foregoing standard is not meant as an all-inclusive document, rather a basic framework representing minimum goals for the formatting of datafeed files.
Many affiliates have expressed concern over the lack of a standard format for data feed files originating from merchants and affiliate networks. Data feed files have diverse configurations, most notably differing field names (column headers), different arrangement/order of field names, and different types of delimiters. Some data feed files do not have any header information (field names). This lack of commonality has lead to many affiliates deciding to have relationships only with merchants/networks who provide data feed files with a consistent and similar format. Simply put, many affiliates will not publish products from merchants whose datafeed format is either incomplete, inconsistent, or differs so much from other merchants so as to be too difficult to integrate into the affiliate's process.
A standardized format will mean more affiliates will use the feed. Utilizing the standard will attract higher quality affiliates with more experience and motivation. The standardized feed can be more easily integrated into the affiliate's publishing mechanism, meaning the product information published will be more accurate, and complete. An easy to use, standardized format will also allow affiliates to update the feeds in a more timely fashion, ensuring less stale or incorrect product and pricing information will be published and exposed to the buying public.
Affiliate Managers can utilize the datafeed standard in a cut and paste fashion when "encouraging" their IT departments to produce a standard format available for their affiliate sales channel.
With fresher datafeed generated product content, and a larger number of qualified affiliates, Merchants will convert more visitors to booked sales.
The standardized format will mean faster site development and maintenance, by utilizing templates already developed for other merchants and feeds. Because field names will be standardized, the same scripts used to generate product pages for one merchant can be used more easily for other merchants. The same reasoning applies to templates used by WebMerge enabled affiliates.
Tab delimited text file.
Text file, should be available as a minimum in the following formats (In order of preference):
2. Plain Text
3. Zip (Windows)
File Transfer Protocal. FTP should be used in order to facilitate the automated download of updated (fresh) files containing new/revised product information. (Note: Many script-enabled affiliates will not utilize a datafeed if the process of downloading cannot be automated).
1. Do not concatenate fields.
2. Do not remove fields (Columns). All fields should remain, even if a field is not used.
3. No Spaces in Field Names (example: "Product_Name," not "Product Name")
4. Keep fields in the order presented below.
Changing any of the above items will "break" the affiliate's import code, and will not allow their process to continue.
Required Field Names
Optional Field Names
‡ A maximum 75x75 pixel size is recommended