What made you decide to create FusePump?
The technology that Robert Durkin, my Co-Founder and CTO, had previously developed enabled us to easily extract data from websites. When we started talking to affiliate networks about product feeds it was obvious that there was a market opportunity for us to build, manage and distribute these on behalf of e-commerce companies.
Our services fall into three areas:-
Creation of product feeds. Our bespoke technology platform enables us to create highly rich, reliable product feeds simply by consuming the client's e-commerce website. No technical resource whatsoever is required from the client.
Distribution Tools. We have created dedicated tools to assist with the use of product feeds. The two tools we currently have in market are FeedCreator, a self-service feed filtering and customisation platform (search FeedCreator on A4U for URLs to link to) and AdCreator, a tool that creates dynamic advertising units from the feeds that incorporate your affiliate tracking for you. We have also started to deploy custom widgets.
Feed Marketing Services. We customise feeds to suit individual publisher integrations (e.g. price comparison websites) as well as providing custom feeds for use with search, e-mail and display advertising depending on the individual requirements of the client. We consult with the client to determine the best strategy for this.
There is currently talk at the IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Council to this year create best practice guidelines on API’s & Feeds. How much of a challenge do you think this will be to implement?
It depends how ambitious these best practice guidelines are. FusePump will be involved and will assist the Council where required. The key difficulty is that each client and vertical is very different. Even within retail, individual retail sectors may offer very different types of information on their products and pricing structures.
Producing a single feed standard is not possible, however creating a set of guidelines on quality, update frequencies and some degree of per-vertical core attribute list, is.
How often would you say the average feed is updated?
Once per day is the most common frequency still. Whether this is frequent enough is down to each sector and client.
The most frustrating thing about working with feeds?
We don't get frustrated working with feeds. We love feeds (at least the ones we build for our clients). Seriously though, the issues working with poor quality feeds in the market are numerous and the most frustrating thing really depends on what you're trying to do with them.
How can affiliates benefit from a datafeed on their site, bearing in mind potential duplicate content issues?
Affiliates need to use feeds to create their own unique user-experience on site. At the end of the day, a feed only contains data and there are many ways of being creative and imaginative about how that data is presented. Mash-ups using third party such as Google Maps can be a great way of creating a value added user experience around feed data.
Monotonous search applications and repeat product listings might create duplicate content issues, so its worth considering contributing editorial to product data from a feed and trying to add value around a niche.
How are feeds going to evolve over the next year, if at all?
I think it's more about the applications than the actual feeds. The applications will determine the evolution of feeds that power them. For example, we're starting to see clients thinking about their feed marketing strategy overall and not just isolating feed activity to one channel like affiliate or price comparison.
Ultimately if you are going to power a large number of applications with feeds then they will have to be more rich than they currently are (contain all the required attributes), be reliable (up to date on the required frequency) and most importantly optimised to maximise each of the applications individually.
More information on FusePump can be found here.