Data feeds are a great tool for affiliate marketers to build robust sites dedicated to an individual merchant. The data feeds enable affiliates to create database driven sites with up to date product information for a company.
The catch is that it’s not easy. There is a learning curve to either use an off the shelf product like WebMerge or to build your own solution for converting data feeds into HTML pages.
However, there are options out there that make data feeds more accessible to the average affiliate. Cusimano.com Scripts are available for a variety of merchants that enable affiliates to use the cgi-bin Perl scripts into existing websites or to create standalone websites.
You can see an example of the audible.pl : Digital Audiobooks Store Generator at http://www.myaudiobooks.com/. This is one of the Cusimano.com static store generator scripts. There are also dynamic store generator scripts available, such as the DySE::InstrumentPro : Musical Instruments Store Generator – sample at http://www.everythinginstruments.com/
For affiliates that really want to simplify the data feed process, there is a service called ScriptFeed.com that touts that affiliates can “create thousands of static html pages using affiliate data feeds and auto install the HTML pages to any website. In less than 5 minutes you can build an entire data feed website with up to 40,000 real HTML pages. No programming experience needed.”
In addition to the data feed output produced by ScriptFeed.com, this service also incorporates Google AdSense (with the affiliate’s AdSense ID) on the pages. An example of a ScriptFeed.com template is http://magic-trick.us/
There are also wizards by a number of folks that will enable affiliates to create individual pages with any or all product images, information, and links from a merchant on the affiliate site without hand-coding any HTML or downloading any data feeds.
The InstrumentPro Product Display Maker is an example of this sort of tool. Affiliates can not only specify the manufacturers, categories, product names or product descriptions they wish to feature, but they can also tweak the results by defining the width of the results and the fonts displayed.
The affiliate is able to make their customizations and then click a button to generate the HTML with their affiliate links built in.
Whichever way you go with data feeds, it’s important to build in your own unique content, whether it be product reviews, ratings, or any other creative display. After all, search engines and people want something of value, not just another cookie cutter site.