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Datafeeds - getting traffic

Posted: Wed 10 May, 2006 11:07 am
by Callanish
Is anyone being successful using datafeeds? I assume that merchants are making money from them, but as an affiliate I'm struggling.

Note: I have no issues with the technical side of generating pages or sites using datafeeds via Webmerge or php/SQL, nor with getting the pages spidered by Google, MSN etc.

It's just that the pages and sites never get any real traffic. I've tried 'pure' pages (one product, one product image), category type pages (many products on one page) and mixed product pages (products from more than one merchant on one page) to try to avoid duplication penalties but nothing works.

The traffic I do get never converts either. I suspect those who are successful with feeds do some kind of preselling, or extensive Adwords campaigns.

Any ideas?

Posted: Thu 11 May, 2006 2:46 am
by Nick
Hello Callanish,

Personally I think it depends on what you are using datafeeds for, which AM network your are using, how busy and how well trafficked those pages that you are using them on are. And what sort of conversion rate you are expecting.

Datafeeds used in a comparison pricing engine can work very well. Using them to produce standalone content on a page could have questionable results if that is the only content you are relying on - and anyway what sort of conversion rates are you expecting ....anymore than 1% - 5% depending on the product you are marketing is pretty good.

Also which AM Network is important too because there are some Networks that I really do question their tracking capabilities and reliability. I would never ever use a datafeed direct from a merchant running their own Affiliate Program - then again I have not seen many indies that offer a datafeed - with the exception of the Amazon's of this world.

If you are using datafeeds you sound like you have been involved with AM for a while so if you want to offer a little more info about how and where you are using them, the traffic and the Network you are using, I might be able to offer a few more useful comments.

If you don't want to disclose this info here, why not PM me?


Online and Affiliate Marketing Consultant

Posted: Fri 12 May, 2006 10:01 am
by Callanish
Nick - thanks for the response.

I guess I'm expecting a conversion rate similar to any normal affiliate page; the trouble is that the pages are not getting enough traffic to get customers. I suspect the search engines are now clever enough to degrade datafeed pages in the SERPS even if there is other content on the page.

I'm using Shareasale feeds, only from the top EPC merchants.

I agree that a price comparison service would convert, but I'm reluctant to pursue that because of the work involved in cleaning the feeds - none of them are usable as they come, and need categories and subcategories to be added manually. Then I suspect to get traffic I would have to use Adwords and monitor the cost and conversion closely.

I'm using the feeds on new sites and on sites that already get reasonable traffic (500-800 uniques/day) to other pages from PFI.

Posted: Fri 12 May, 2006 3:45 pm
by Nick
Callanish - I have not worked with ShareaSale previously so am not familiar with the quality of their feeds or tracking. Only US based Networks I have worked with are CJ and LinkShare.

I guess if you are working with ShareaSale you must be targetting the US market to a large extent - and with all the SE changes,particularly over the last 12 - 18 months - well, it really is a lot harder to get a decent ranking over there, and of course this impacts on traffic.

I do most of my work in the UK where I have always found it easier than than in the US, but having said that things are a whole lot different over the last 18 months, even over there. I have one site that has been up in the UK since 1996 and 2 years ago was getting 10,000 - 12,000 uniques a day - now am lucky to get more than 1,000 - 1,500 uniques a day now. Sadly G is responsible for pushing so much traffic and now it is like trying to work in the dark trying to figure out SEO rules that will and won't work reliably. Only thing that we all know is that volume and quality of backlinks is so important.

Also I am sure that no matter how much G denies it, I have a gut feeling that any concentration of Affiliate Links will have a negative effect on a sites rankings. And for that reason, and also the issue of scumware, that I am experimenting a whole lot more recently with cloaking of those links. Mind you, it's a lot more difficult to consider that with datafeeds.

Then you have the issue of outgoing links degrading the content on a page. What happens then if most of that content is driven by a datafeed? I recently tried put up a set of mini-sites some of which used newsfeeds from content from Yahoo and Google. Those sites with the dynamic data did not seem to perform as well as those without, even though it was good content being constantly refreshed.

With the exception of maybe here in NZ and Aust where competition for traffic is much less, we need to look at new ways of getting traffic - innovative ideas! Maybe even looking to exploit some of the backdoors in G.

Personally I would hope the rumours are true and that MSN does end up buying Yahoo, at least it might do something to make G realise that they are not God. I have no doubt that G is doing things to make life difficult for Affiliates - after all the less money going to AM, means more money going to PPC.

Whereabouts in NZ are you based?

Posted: Fri 12 May, 2006 4:25 pm
by Callanish
Nick -

I'm in Otago. It's amazing how much of the same ground we seem to have covered. I remember the days not so long ago when I could throw up an ODP clone and get 7,000 visitors a day after a couple of months. Even the popunder earnings were great! Those days are gone forever I think.

I suppose getting traffic is every affiliate's main concern. Datafeeds are one new area I've been trying, without much success. I've also tried Adwords campaigns, buying blocks of 'visitors' (ha ha), SEO Elite, PFI, article writing and other strategies. The trouble is, it now takes months for traffic to build.

Due to painful experiences in the past, I vary the types of site I make - handmade, RSS feed based, Wikipedia content, search engine results feeds and others. Niche sites or very tightly focussed pages seem to work best now - there are still a few areas with little competition. I also vary the affiliate income sources - CJ, Adsense, Clickbank, ad agencies, independents.

As to affiliate link cloaking - I tried this with a program called Uresk which calls the links from a database. To be honest, it seemed to make no difference to traffic or conversions.

My ideal would be Google, Yahoo and MSN about equal in web coverage, so that if one engine didn't like a site it still had a chance with the other two. Google's dominance is deeply unhealthy.

From what I can see on other boards, some people are successful just going for volumes of sites - usually subdomain based. I haven't tried that yet...

Posted: Sat 13 May, 2006 2:19 am
by Nick
Hey Callanish, I have been back in this Country for 4 years now and you are the first person I have come across that has been into AM to a similar depth - a pleasure to meet you mate!

Did you get into this while overseas or have you picked upon AM from here in NZ?

I can't believe the number of people that I've met even in the IT and web design game, that think AM is something like Amway :lol:

Is this a full time biz with you .... do you do any consulting?

I combine my own sites with consulting work here in Auckland - the only trouble is that very few companies understand the need for solid AM and Online Marketing advice - and are sometimes a bit hesitant to pay the $$$. It doesn't worry me because there is just not enough hours in the day anyway - but I find it sad that there are so many businesses that pay thousands to have a site built and then become disillusioned when they don't get the traffic. Talk to them about meta-tags and they think you're in the clothing business. :lol:

There is a huge need in this country for people with hands-on AM and Online Marketing expertise, but so few people with real experience. Makes it easy to get good ranking here in NZ, but it really is holding e-commerce back in this country.

I've thought a few times about running some AM and OM courses here, but don't really know if the effort would be sufficiently financially rewarding.

The other thing is that we need a locally based AM company here in NZ buddy in Australia owns one of the main 2 AM companies there - asked me 2 years ago to try and get things off the ground for him with an office here. I spent 6 months on it and could not believe the sad response I got from even the largest companies. The average response was something like "we're Dick Smith...what do we need an Affiliate Marketing program for?" ...oh duh! You mention what it's done for a little company called Amazon and they say something educated like - "..oh no, I've already planned my holidays for this year, and I wouldn't want to go to a place like the Amazon for my holiday..... :!: :?: :!:

Anyway would be great to have a chat sometime.

Posted: Thu 24 Aug, 2006 9:52 am
by Impacthost
Through personal experience nothing beats original content. Sure Google may have spidered your website, but 9 times out of 10 if you have not already been banned you will be placed in supplemental listings. As Callanish stated about those "sub domain sites". I have known some very successful people doing this (its called blackhat SEO). Earning up to 10k usd per day. But from personal experience it worked great a few years ago. But the search engines are getting smarter and smarter every day.

In my opinion, original content is king and will be around long term. I try and build a website where your visitors are creating the content, that way you can focus your valuable time elsewhere. Make sure your website creates value for your user. Word of mouth is very powerful and will also help you in your seo efforts.

Posted: Thu 24 Aug, 2006 2:03 pm
by Nick
Hello Impacthost

Could not agree more.... see posting on: ... c&start=30

Am curious to know if you are the hosting company I was looking at yesterday as I am about to organise hosting here in this country...we have hosting in US and our own server in the UK but need to bring a couple of our own sites onshore.