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Data feed — a file (.CSV, .XML, .XLS or any other type) that lists a merchant’s
product information which merchants provide to affiliates enabling them to feature the merchant’s products right on affiliate-built websites [more here].
Cleanup — the act or process of cleaning up [source].
Unclean data feeds have been an ongoing problem. Once exported from merchants’ databases they would often have unnecessary data migrate through. From HTML code to special characters (like & ampersands and ” or ‘ quotation marks), and from whitespace to other things… they would frequently contain data that would make them difficult for affiliates to work with. The less savvy affiliates would consequently just skip merchants with poor data feeds and move on to working with the advertisers that provided clean ones instead.
Beforehand, to make unclean data feeds usable, good affiliate managers would work with coders (in-house or outsourced) to write scripts that would tidy up the problematic product feeds.
Yesterday, however, FMTC quietly rolled out an invaluable addition to their merchant/advertiser toolbox — a brand new Datafeed Cleanup tool.
The solution is available to Premium (read: paid) subscribers only, and the price of using the tool depends on whether you run your program on one or multiple affiliate networks.
Having just “test-driven it” personally, I can report that on a 7,000+ SKUs data feed it took me only 14 seconds to upload the CSV feed to FMTC and then 45 seconds for the tool to tidy it up and download the clean feed to my computer.