LinkConnector is a small affiliate network that is around since 2005. One of its features is called "Naked Links", which provides some SEO benefits to the advertiser who utilizes this feature. LinkShare also offers advertisers to make a product data feed available to its publishers through the LinkConnector network.
LinkConnector has a few merchants that provide a data feed, 40 to be precise when I last checked in December 2007. You can get a list of all LinkConnector merchants who offer a product data feed via the following URL:
You have to be logged in prior using this link or it won't work. Their login screen does not redirect to the page that was originally requested and made you bounce to the login page.
The LinkConnector help to the product feeds feature is very basic. You can have a look at it at the following URL: https://www.linkconnector.com/member/help.htm?help_id=36
I talked with some folks over at the network and they said that a more detailed documentation will become available soon.
Feeds can be downloaded via the affiliate interface on the LinkConnector website. The direct download link for an advertiser feed has the following structure.
You have to replace ADVERTISERID with the actual numeric ID for the advertiser you want to pull the feed for. You also have to be logged in to be able to pull the feed, which is a problem for automation. I tried to pass along my login credentials via a link that looked like the one below, but it did not work.
I will maybe provide a VBScript that does a login and then pulls the feed in a little bit. A script like this could be written in any programming language, but it is not that easy, because you don't have just to pull content from a URL, but also pull cookie data from the first request and then send those cookie data with the actual request for downloading the feed itself.
I talked to the guys at the LinkConnector network about the option to be able to pull feeds via HTTP by passing along the username and password of the affiliate account and they said that they will be looking into this option. I have a good feeling though that they will make it available eventually, because it is also in their interest. It is easier to manage and to provide access than it is via FTP (see last paragraph) and HTTP works fine, if the product feed to pull is not too large in size.
Standard CSV Format, which means the following:
Column delimiter: COMMA
Row delimiter: CRLF or Carriage Return + Line Feed or for the programmers among you: CHR(13) + CHR(10), the standard windows line break
All values are enclosed in double quotes, no matter if they are actually numeric or not. Every value is basically treated as a string.
The format follows the CSV specifications by the book, which means that double quotes within the content itself are okay, but replaced by 2x double quotes (" becomes "").
Keep in mind that empty fields also have 2x double quotes. This is important if you parse the CSV files yourself without using a tool or programming class that handles the CSV file management for you.
Note: Here is a little trick for how to change the format to something that is easier to use for imports into a database, let's say a pipe delimited feed without the double quotes around the values.
1. Remove the double quote at beginning of each record and the one at the end of each record
2. Then replace ",""," with "||"
3. Then replace "," with |
4. And finally replace "" with ".
The first row of the feed contains the column-names. No spaces or characters are used for the column names and no headaches will be caused by it. The LinkConnector data feed has a whopping 50 columns.
Most of the 50 columns are not required though.
|ProductID||50||X||Unique product identifier for a product with the feed|
|Type||Blank or one of: book, music, video, other|
|Categories||60||A category hierarchy starts with the top category and ends with the lowest category where the product is actually attached to. The individual product categories are separated by " > ".|
|Title||80||X||Name of the product|
|Description||65536||X||Detailed product description, no line breaks!|
|Price||X||Selling price in US dollars (decimal number x.xx)|
|URL||X||URL to the product page (direct link to advertiser's website without affiliate ID encoded) Does not track!|
|ThumbURL||URL to your thumbnail image|
|ImageURL||URL to your product detail image|
|Retail||Blank or retail price in US Dollars (decimal number x.xx)|
|InStock||1||Blank = N/A, Y = Yes, N = No|
|Quantity||Blank = N/A or quantity in stock (integer)|
|Availability||Blank = N/A or the number of days to ship (integer)|
|PromoText||100||promotion information, text|
|Shipping||Blank or shipping cost in US dollars (decimal number x.xx)|
|ShippingWeight||Blank or shipping weight in pounds (decimal number x.xx)|
|ShippingSurcharge||Blank or shipping surcharge (decimal number x.xx)|
|ShippingClass||20||Blank or your shipping class (shipping classes are not a standard and should only be considered as "FYI", because the classes can vary from merchant to merchant)|
|UPC||15||Universal Product Code (UPC)|
|ManufacturerID||20||Manufacturers Product ID|
|Model||20||Model (e.g. "Escort" for a Ford Escort)|
|Classification||Blank, new, used, refurbished, open box, returned, overstock or liquidation|
|Condition||Blank, new, like new, very good, good or acceptable|
|EAN||15||EAN Number, European Article Numbering code|
|Currency||3||Currency code, blank = USD|
|Language||2||Language code, blank = EN|
|ShipTo||2||Country code where the merchant ships to (e.g., US), Blank = worldwide|
|ShipFrom||2||Country code from where the shipments originate, Blank = US|
|Format||Blank, cd, tape, minidisc, LP, EP, 45, paperback, hardback, audiobook, ebook, mp3, itunes, ogg, sacd, wma, dvd or vhs|
|ISBN||ISBN or ISBN13 number for books|
|ReleaseDate||15||Release date (text, no format specified)|
|Director||30||Director name (movies)|
|Starring||30||Starring actors, headliners (movies)|
|Rating||10||Parental rating code, R for movies, M for video games for example.|
|Keywords||255||Keyword list, not specified, but assume that multiple keywords are separated by comma|
|Commission||Commission amount in US dollars (decimal number x.xx), can be blank = n/a|
|SubCategory||30||Sub category name|
|Gender||1||Blank, M = male, F = female|
|AgeGroup||15||Age group (text), such as adult, teenager, child, baby etc.|
|AgeRange||15||Age Range (text), such as "10-15" or "10 to 15"|
|NRFSize||15||National Retail Federation - NRF standard size see NRF website for available standard size and color values.|
|Color||15||Color, e.g. black, white, pink etc.|
|NRFColor||15||NRF standard color|
|Link||Contains the affiliate link with target = _blank and Title as anchor in HTML Format.|
LinkConnector also provides access to product data feeds via FTP. Contact your responsible contact at LinkConnector to request details about the access via FTP. LinkConnector provided me with a document that describes the naming conventions of the feeds that are made accessible via FTP to some affiliates.
Here is the content of that document:
"FileName","Record Count","File Size(MB)" "001234-pfo-005678-01of01.csv","404","0.2"
(this example is a separate file per merchant feed, a merged feed would be called 001234-pfo-manifest.csv)
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