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Two Quick Ways to Make Your Copy of Merchants Data Feed Different From All Other Affiliates



AliExpress by Alibaba.com


Product data feeds are really popular among affiliates because they can help produce thousands of product pages quickly and easily. Such pages can be used to drive highly targeted search engine traffic looking specifically for those products. But there is a big problem.

The problem with data feeds is the fact that a lot of affiliates use the same copies of feeds in the same exact ways. Most data feed affiliates put just the product names in HTML titles, so they all end up with a bunch of similar pages that have identical titles. And since the search engines give a lot of weight to the titles of HTML pages, those affiliates end up competing with each other for the same highly specific keywords.

Luckily, this problem has a quick and dirty solution. It's worse than going over the feed by hand, but much better than doing nothing. What I get from affiliates is that manually modifying feed simply defeats the purpose. But being able to do it automatically can help one differentiate his site from other affiliates without losing the benefits of using data feeds.

There are two basic ways to automatically make your site a little bit different from other affiliates of the same merchant.

The first way is to add some keywords before and/or after the product name in the HTML title. For example, let's say you pick a phrase "On Sale" to add after the product name. So instead of "Blue Widget #MN-3143" you have in the original data feed, you would now have "Blue Widget #MN-3143 On Sale" in the HTML title of that product page. You simply add that phrase to the titles of all products in the feed. That lets you specifically target people who would search for "blue widget on sale" or "mn-3143 on sale."

You can also use some arbitrary keywords like "Cheap" or "Discounted" or "Quality" before the product name to have something like "Cheap Blue Widget #MN-3143." The keywords you pick largely depend on the merchant's product line.

Another variation of this technique is to randomize the keywords that are displayed before and after product names in the titles. You can use a sever-side technology of your choice to pick a random keyword out of some predefined list and append it to the name of a product to form the title for the page. Your scripts would pick a new keyword for each request for the product page. Of course, that would only work if you are using a database, and do not generate static HTML using Webmerge or a similar program. That way, even though you don't control the exact keyword that is displayed for any particular page, with enough product pages you can cover a wider market of people searching with different modifiers. You should be able to cover different shopper types -- the ones looking for bargains as well as the ones looking for quality.

The second way to make your site different from others is a bit more complex, but could yield much greater results. Instead of adding something to the product names, you can try changing the names on a large scale. As I said earlier, modifying feeds by hand would defeat the purpose of using them. But if you perform a find-and-replace operation on the whole file then you can get different content without spending much additional time.

The utility you might want to use for feed modification is called sed. You can search for that name using you favorite search engine. It's sed -- the stream editor. I'm going to skip much of the technical detail on how and why it does certain things in a certain way. Instead, I will concentrate on describing practical application of sed with product feeds.

At its core, sed takes input data, modifies it according to certain rules and outputs the result -- all done line-by-line. It uses regular expressions and can perform extremely complex operations, by for now I just want to concentrate on simple replacements.

The good thing about sed is it can use an external file with multiple commands and execute them one after another for the entire input file (in our case, it's a product feed). So you can replace as many words as you need. Also, once you define those commands, you can use them for many different feeds with different merchants.

Let's go over a few examples that should illustrate the true power of this approach.

I'll assume that the merchant we are working with sells widgets of various kinds. You looked over the feed and saw that the merchant has some porcelain widgets; red and blue, large and small. One of the synonyms for porcelain is ceramic, so first thing you would do is replace the word porcelain with ceramic in all product names and descriptions.

This can be done by adding the following commands to a sed script file before running it against the feed:

s/porcelain/ceramic/g s/Porcelain/Ceramic/g

Those commands will replace your keywords while preserving capitalization. So that a title like "Big Blue Porcelain Widget" becomes "Big Blue Ceramic Widget."

To make things more interesting, let's assume that the feed already has some ceramic widgets aside from the porcelain ones. So you do not want to end up with just one kind. Instead, you want to switch them around. Remember, your goal is to be as different from the original feed as possible.

You can achieve that with the following set of commands:

s/porcelain/MYTEMPKEYWORD/g s/ceramic/porcelain/g s/MYTEMPKEYWORD/ceramic/g

In the example above, I used MYTEMPKEYWORD as a place-holder. That let us make sure that we are not losing the original keywords.

What happens there is:

all "porcelain" is changed to "MYTEMPKEYWORD' then all "ceramic" is changed to "porcelain" then all "MYTEMPKEYWORD" (which used to be the original porcelain) is changed to "ceramic"

and then the same thing should be done for all capitalized keywords.

You can use anything in place of MYTEMPKEYWORD as long as it does not already appear in the feed. You want to use some unique keyword.

Once you are done with those keywords, you can change something like "Metallic" to "Shiny Metal Finish" -- assuming that makes sense for a given product line.

Adding that to a command file would give you:

s/porcelain/MYTEMPKEYWORD/g s/ceramic/porcelain/g s/MYTEMPKEYWORD/ceramic/g s/Porcelain/MYTEMPKEYWORD/g s/Ceramic/Porcelain/g s/MYTEMPKEYWORD/Ceramic/g s/Metallic/Shiny Metal Finish/g s/metallic/shiny metal finish/g

That would also change "Blue Metallic Widget" to "Blue Metal-Looking Finish Widget."

As I said earlier, you can add as many commands as you want for different words and phrases. And with enough such small changes, you will be able to reach traffic that is not already covered by your competing affiliates. While a few hundred affiliates with their data feed sites might be displayed for a keyword "blue porcelain widget" -- there might be just a few (if any) covering "blue ceramic widget" for the same merchant.

Even something like

s/TV Set/Television Set/g

along with diagonal sizes and brand names might help you stand apart from the rest of the affiliates who use the same feed. Any change is better than having the same exact content as others.

I encourage you to download a copy of sed and check it out. Once you get a hang of it, you will be able to automate the whole process. And if you are already using scripts to refresh merchants' feeds and rebuild sites automatically, then you can plug sed in the middle and modify feeds on the fly.

Also, if you are having a hard time coming up with words to replace, you might want to check out Princeton's WordNet. You can even download the word database and use it locally on your desktop.

Konstantin Goudkov manages an affiliate program with a merchant that carries 2500+ gifts. If you enjoy working with companies that treat affiliates like valued partners then be sure to check us out.

You can find more information about our program at: http://www.genericgifts.com/affiliate_program.jsp

AliExpress by Alibaba.com


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eBay Cuts Back on Affiliate Marketing  EcommerceBytes

eBay is cutting compensation up to 70% for certain affiliates who drive traffic to its site effective today, January 19, 2019, a further sign the company is engaged ...


Twitch Partners Feeling Burned After Affiliates Receive Features That Took Them Years To Earn - Kotaku
Twitch Partners Feeling Burned After Affiliates Receive Features That Took Them Years To Earn  Kotaku

There are Twitch streamers, and then there are Twitch streamers. The platform has tiers: hobbyists, affiliates, and partners. The latter two titles must be earned ...


New NAD Decision Addresses Affiliate Links - Ad Law Access
New NAD Decision Addresses Affiliate Links  Ad Law Access

As part of its routine monitoring, the NAD requested substantiation for various statements that a BuzzFeed staff member had made about a moisturizer in.


How does revenue work with YouTube, Twitch and Patreon - Polygon
How does revenue work with YouTube, Twitch and Patreon  Polygon

YouTube has a mission: help make their creators money — but not exclusively through ads. At VidCon last week, the company announced a number of new ...


Publishers say affiliates generate more revenue than other types of marketing - ZDNet
Publishers say affiliates generate more revenue than other types of marketing  ZDNet

A recent survey points to a bright future for affiliate marketing and social engagement.


Top 10 Affiliate Programs to Increase Your Revenue in 2018 - Business 2 Community
Top 10 Affiliate Programs to Increase Your Revenue in 2018  Business 2 Community

If you're either in the business of e-commerce or lead generation and you're not taking advantage of affiliate marketing, you're missing out on one of the best ...


Nanobiotix 2018 Annual Results Paris Stock Exchange:NANO - GlobeNewswire
Nanobiotix 2018 Annual Results Paris Stock Exchange:NANO  GlobeNewswire

Paris, France and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, March 15, 2019 – NANOBIOTIX (Euronext: NANO – ISIN: FR0011341205 – the “Company”), a clinical-stage ...


LPL affiliate Private Advisor Group launches new plan to attract wirehouse brokers who may want to go RIA - InvestmentNews
LPL affiliate Private Advisor Group launches new plan to attract wirehouse brokers who may want to go RIA  InvestmentNews

LPL Financial's largest affiliate, Private Advisor Group of Morristown, N.J., is launching a new platform its partners believe will give it the ability to attract ...


Disney sees Q3 year-over-year earnings growth, thanks partly to ESPN's affiliate revenue growth and - Awful Announcing
Disney sees Q3 year-over-year earnings growth, thanks partly to ESPN's affiliate revenue growth and  Awful Announcing

Disney's earnings calls have often featured questions about ESPN struggles. But not so much this time around, with ESPN seeing year-over-year growth.


Viacom expects revenue growth in 2019 - MarketWatch
Viacom expects revenue growth in 2019  MarketWatch

Viacom Inc. said it expects revenue to grow in the 2019 fiscal year as the company augments its pay-TV business with production and licensing fees from...


What Will Disney's Near-Term Revenue Growth Look Like? - Forbes
What Will Disney's Near-Term Revenue Growth Look Like?  Forbes

Disney (NYSE: DIS) had a mixed first half of the calendar year, despite solid gains in core segments – as both earnings per share and revenues came ahead of ...


The Walt Disney Company Reports First Quarter Earnings for Fiscal 2019 - Associated Press
The Walt Disney Company Reports First Quarter Earnings for Fiscal 2019  Associated Press

This *content* is a press release from our partner Business Wire. The AP newsroom and editorial departments were not involved in its creation.


Cars.com Reports Third Quarter 2018 Results | News - Cars.com News
Cars.com Reports Third Quarter 2018 Results | News  Cars.com News

Cars.com Inc. (NYSE: CARS) (“Cars.com” or the “Company”), a leading digital automotive marketplace, today released its financial results for the quarter ended ...


How programmatic auctions are creeping into publishers’ commerce links - Digiday
How programmatic auctions are creeping into publishers’ commerce links  Digiday

It was only a matter of time before publishers' commerce operations started to get a little more programmatic. Over the past year or so, a number of publishers, ...


Newsonomics: With an expanding Wirecutter, The New York Times is doubling down on diversification - Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
Newsonomics: With an expanding Wirecutter, The New York Times is doubling down on diversification  Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

Its new Wirecutter Money vertical is the Times' latest attempt to broaden its revenue base beyond its core news product.


What is Performance Marketing: An Intro Guide for 2019 - G2 Crowd
What is Performance Marketing: An Intro Guide for 2019  G2 Crowd

Performance marketing is the newest trend in digital marketing. It's ever growing, collaborative and fast-paced manner allows businesses to expand their ...


Cars.com Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results | News - Cars.com News
Cars.com Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results | News  Cars.com News

Cars.com Inc. (NYSE: CARS) (“CARS” or the “Company”), a leading digital automotive marketplace, today released its financial results for the quarter ended ...


How BuzzFeed and The New York Times are using Black Friday to drive commerce revenue - Digiday
How BuzzFeed and The New York Times are using Black Friday to drive commerce revenue  Digiday

Here's what's new among six publishers that see this as one of the most important weeks of the year for their commerce revenue businesses.


21st Century Fox Posts Higher Profit, But Cable Revenue Growth Lags - The Wall Street Journal
21st Century Fox Posts Higher Profit, But Cable Revenue Growth Lags  The Wall Street Journal

21st Century Fox said its profit rose in its latest quarter, but the company's cable-network business reported weaker-than-expected sales.


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