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Google Affiliate Network - ConnectCommerce - Feature: Orange Links

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Orange Links by Google Affiliate Network (Performics)

Orange Links is the name that the former Performics gave to its feature that allows affiliates to subscribe to the automatic delivery of links by advertisers for promotional offers. Orange Links are for limited time promotions and regular creatives and not for product data feeds.

Affiliates can manage the Orange Links feature easily via the Google ConnectCommerce web interface. Just click on the "get links" tab and then on "Orange Links". Or you can also use this link, if you are already logged into the ConnectCommerce interface:

Configuration Options

Return to Network Specific Implementation Guides and Documentations or to Affiliate Datafeeds Resources.

1. Which Advertisers?
For which advertisers would you like to receive promotional links? You can select "All Advertisers" or select manually specific advertisers only.

2. Delivery Option
You have two choices for the delivery (daily) of the orange links. Either via Email (you can specify one or many recipients) or via FTP. Google only offers the option to send the files to your server. Make sure that you can setup an FTP server at your hosting provider and check that the FTP port (21) is open and not blocked by your providers Firewall. Google requires following information for the FTP option.

  • Host: this is the address of your FTP server, can be just the IP address or a web address, such as or
  • Path: If you do not want Google to dump the files into the root of the FTP site, create a sub directory, such as "Google" or "OrangeLinks" and enter the name of the directory in the form. If you have no problem with having Google dump everything into the root of your ftp site, leave this option empty.
  • Username: The username of the FTP server account you want Google to use. It requires "write" (and "create file") permission in the specified folder where you want Google to upload the files.
  • Password: The password for the FTP server account
  • Passive Mode: (enabled or disabled)

3. Link Types
Do you want only text links or banners, or both?

4. Banner Sizes
This option is only relevant, if you selected to receive banners. Following sizes can be enabled or disabled: 88 X 31, 120 X 60, 468 X 60, 125 X 125, 120 X 90, 100 X 30, 234 X 60, 120 X 240, 392 X 72, 150 X 40 and non-standard sizes.

5. Promo Types
If you are not interested in specific types of links, you have the option to select only the ones you would like to get. Google provided a nice choice here, but I think that most affiliates will either select to receive all available promotional offers only, only non-promotional links or both, rather than to specify that they only want to get specific types of promotions; but you never know. There might be folks out there that will appreciate this flexibility.

You can select from the following options (1 or many): None, Ongoing Promotion, Free Shipping, Percent Off, Dollar Off, Free Gift, Sweepstakes, Coupon, Sale, Buy x Get x, Free Gift Wrap, Product Promotion and Other

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The Delivered Files

Return to Network Specific Implementation Guides and Documentations or to Affiliate Datafeeds Resources.

The files sent out by Google have the current date encoded in the filename so you do not have to worry about picking up the files every day from your FTP or risk to lose them.

The file name convention is "OrangeLinks_MMDDYYYY.xls", MM stands for the month, DD for the day and YYYY for the year. The file for June 1, 2007 looked for example like this: OrangeLinks_06012007.xls.

A file is only being sent if there is a at least one new link that matches your settings. You will not receive an empty file without any records (a reminder for the folks who get CJ feeds, who sends a file, even if there are no records)

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The File Format

Return to Network Specific Implementation Guides and Documentations or to Affiliate Datafeeds Resources.

The extension .XLS is a bit misleading. The files are not in Microsoft Excel format as the extension indicates. They are also not in CSV format (Comma Delimited Values), what would have been logical in this instance. The files are in TAB delimited format (character 9) and .TXT would probably have been the better choice for the extension.

The line break is a carriage return + line feed (character (13) + character (10)), which is typical for windows, but not what UNIX or Linux folks would expect (line feed only).

The file includes the column names in the first row.

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The Columns

Return to Network Specific Implementation Guides and Documentations or to Affiliate Datafeeds Resources.

The file contains 14 columns
  1. Advertiser Site Name: Text, the name of the advertiser, such as "Sur La Table"
  2. Link ID: Text, unique ID for the link in ConnectCommerce. The Link ID is alpha numeric! It is also a ConnectCommerce internal ID, which you will not find encoded in the affiliate link for the offer. I would use that as Key in your system as well, in combination with an indicator that this is a ConnectCommerce link, in the case that you advertise offers from different advertisers from other networks or in-house programs as well.
  3. Link Name: Text, the title for the link. It seems to be 64 characters in length only, but you might want to specify 128 characters in your database, just to be safe.
  4. Merchandising Text: Text, the description for the link. From what I saw so far, does it seem to have a maximum length of 255 characters
  5. Alt Text: Text, the alt text for the banner image (if available). Its most of the time the same as the link name, but you might want to use it.
  6. Start Date: Date (YYYY-MM-DD), the date when the link becomes valid.
    Example: 2007-06-01 for June 1, 2007.
    Make sure that you do not publish any link on your website before that date.
  7. End Date: Date (YYYY-MM-DD), the date when the link will expire. Make sure that you pull the link at the end of that day. It is not specified, what time zone it is, probably Eastern Time . There is no option for the advertiser to specify a time (this is also true for the Start Date), so it might be the case that the link expires during the day of the end date. The safe route would be to pull the links at midnight Eastern Time, on the day when the end date starts. An alternative option is to ask your merchant partners directly and implement some additional logic on your end to use the maximum time possible for the exposure of the link on your website.
  8. Clickserver Link: Text, the affiliate link to the advertiser offer. Your affiliate ID is already encoded in the link, so you can use it as it is, without the need to change it. The URL looks something like this:
    The actual numbers for 000 and 999 are in reality much longer than just three digits. They are usually 17 digits long (each).
  9. Image URL: Text, the URL to the banner image (optional). It looks very similar to the link to the offer itself, but instead of "/tplclick?" does it use "/tplimage?"
  10. Image Height: Number, the height of the banner in pixel s. Important! If no image URL has been provided by the advertiser (text link), the value for image height will be "nothing" as in "". It is not "0" as you might would have expected. You might want to import it into an alphanumeric table column instead of a numeric one for this reason.
  11. Image Width: Number, the width of the banner image in pixels. See description for the column "Image Height". The same notes and tips apply here.
  12. Link URL: Text, this is a plain text link without affiliate ID, directly to the merchant offer (not redirected via ConnectCommerce). The Link URL is optional and not provided for all Links. It is empty in those cases.
  13. Promo Type: Text, the type of link. The value seems to match the name of each type that was used in the web interface for the configuration, such as None, Sale, Product Promotion etc. I have not seen all of them yet. You might want to double check that only promotion types with the following names will be allowed and configure an alert, if it has a different value. The values: None, Ongoing Promotion, Free Shipping, Percent Off, Dollar Off, Free Gift, Sweepstakes, Coupon, Sale, Buy x Get x, Free Gift Wrap, Product Promotion, Other
  14. Merchant ID: Text, the unique ConnectCommerce internal ID that identifies the advertiser. Like the unique link ID is it also an alpha numeric value rather than a number. It is short, usually a letter followed by a four-digit number.

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What about product data feeds from Google?

Return to Network Specific Implementation Guides and Documentations or to Affiliate Datafeeds Resources.

Google affiliate product data feeds are not available automatically to affiliates. There is also no web interface to request access, nor a list with advertisers who offer product feeds. Google states the following regarding the access to product data feeds by affiliates in their network:

"(Google Affiliate Network) has over 125 advertisers with product data feeds available. If you wish to receive any of these data feeds, please contact affiliate support ( We never charge affiliates for use of these feeds but we will start you off with just a few if you've never received them from us before."

Note & Update 2008! The provided email might not work anymore. The quote is from before Google's takeover. However, Google has now a support site up for publishers that you might want to check out.

You will have to ask them, which of your advertisers offer a feed and then get them enabled for your account. I am not sure, if you can request of data feeds via email, but FTP is for sure an option, actually only to have Google to send the feeds to you and not the options to pick up the files at a FTP server on the Google side.

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Build Your Own Links (BYOL)

Return to Network Specific Implementation Guides and Documentations or to Affiliate Datafeeds Resources.

Google Affiliate Network now provides the option to build deep links into the advertisers website via their "Build Your Own Links" (BOYL) feature. Note: this feature does only work, if the advertiser enabled it for for his advertiser account in ConnectCommerce.

Google provides at their support site detailed instructions for how to manually create custom links to an advertiser website. The provided tool also supports bulk processing of up to 2,000 links that you can upload in Excel format via their web interface.

You can also create redirect links dynamically in your website code, if you know how to do that. The link structure for those links is described here, using a practical example for illustration purposes.

This feature is relatively new and long overdue. This should make things easier for database-driven affiliate sites like price comparison sites.


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