A $250 setup fee applies for the setup of a Merchandiser account (for the affiliate), unless you are active in the Network for at least 3 months and have generated at least 50 orders in the most recent calendar month. You can apply for the setup via this sign-up form at the Linkshare web site
Important Note: To make sure that your Merchandiser account is being setup properly, refer to my guide:
The Linkshare Merchandiser Service - Datafeed Access to Linkshare Feeds - Tips and Tricks.
The guide starts with an explaination of how to request data feeds and what to waatch out for that it will be setup right. The main part of the guide is about how to access the feeds and how to automate the download of the feeds to your computer or server. The Guide focuses on the feed structure itself, specifically for feeds in the delimited format. I might create another guide for the feeds in XML format in the future.
Column Delimiter: Pipe (|)
Row Delimiter: LF (Line Feed or character(10))
Character values are not enclosed in double quotes (")
There are no column headings in the feed itself. See column usage below.
First Row Structure: HDR|mid|merchant name|yyyy-mm-dd/hh:mm:ss
Last Row Structure: TRL|number of items
There are 2 different layout options for the data rows in between the special first and last row data.
Which of the two layouts is being used, depends on the setting for "Attribute File" for the merchant feed. Whether it is enabled or not. You can find out, which advertiser offers a data feed and if he uses the "Attribute File" or not via this Excel document at Linkshare.
There is a reason for this unusual format.
The default feed format of Linkshare feeds is XML. Linkshare is converting the XML feeds to text delimited, which is not very easy, because the data structure and rules for delimited feeds and XML are very different.
Note: This guide is only a simple the technical definition of the file format and structure.
I might extend the document with some more explainations about the usage and format of the data for the individual columns.
Option 1. "Attribute File" = "No"
Number of Columns: 28
This are the standard column headings, if no custom and so-called "Attribute File" was specified by the merchant.
|#||Column Name||Excel Column Name|
The information about the column names can not be found (only in part) via the Linkshare interface. They are visible in the XML feeds. That is where I extracted them from for this guide.
Option 2. "Attribute File" = "Yes"
Number of Columns: 38
This are the column headings if a custom "Attribute File" was specified by the merchant.
The first 28 columns are exactly the same as for the standard feed without "Attribute File".
|#||Column Name||Excel Column Name|
*The names and purpose of each of the 10 "Custom" columns varies from merchant feed to merchant feed.
Furthermore, is it also possible that the purpose of each column varies within the feed of an individual merchant feed. Column 25. "CLASS_ID" has a different value for each custom usage within a single feed. The class id is not unique across different merchant feeds. A class id of "10" for merchant A can mean something entirely different than class id "10" for merchant B.
You have to contact each individual merchant directly to find out which of the 10 custom columns are being used and for what purpose, as well if the merchant uses them differently throughout the feed. This information can not be found within the Linkshare interface.
Other resources for advertisers and affiliates using the Linkshare network are also available here.
Other Data Feed Guides, Articles and Resources for Affiliates and Advertisers|