Datafeed Studio v2.2 – Automatic Price Compare/ Amazon Lookups


A new month, a new release of Datafeed Studio.

2.2 has a host of new features to make your affiliate life easier, and a few back-end fixes to make things tick along faster, especially if you your product database comes in at around the million product mark.

First of all, let’s get on to the good stuff. Affiliate store sites created with Datafeed Studio now have a new “Auto Price Compare?” option.

If you enable this option then the software will attempt to build and display an automatic price comparision ‘box’ for the product currently being viewed based on its title.

Obviously, this isn’t as accurate as manually defining the matching criteria yourself via the ‘Price Compare’ field of a product but in my tests it does a pretty good job, and is a great help if you quickly want to get a store off the ground (or using it as a test of a niche before you devote further time to it).

Naturally, if you have defined the ‘Price Compare’ field already on the product, it will override the automatic price comparison feature.

Pretty cool, huh?

But wait – it gets better 🙂

As Chris Tarrant says before he quickly whips the cheque away, “we don’t want to give you that!“. v2.2 also sees the introduction of the similar ‘Auto Amazon‘ feature that can be set at store level.

If enabled, Datafeed Studio will do a web service call to Amazon to get the closest matching product in Amazon’s database – and will add it to the list of matching products when a product is viewed.

This, in combination with the aforementioned ‘Auto Price Compare’ feature makes it a doddle to display products without you manually having to define the exact price matching criteria, or manually adding Amazon products to your Datafeed Studio database via the existing ‘Amazon Search / Amazon Products’ tabs.

Essentially, these two features save a lot of time – and that’s one thing all of us are short of. Previously my Hulk Toys test site was a one product, one display price type site for 90% of the products as I never had the motivation to enter price compare details for ALL the products, but now with the two new Automatic checkboxes ticked, far more products have more than one price automagically showing. Result! 🙂

So, what else, Mr Studio?

Well, v2.1 has already made the whole shebang a lot faster with its fancy page caching, but v2.2 also ups the stakes with a far more efficient feed import mechanism.

Why? Well, I began noticing that even though the size of my product database wasn’t growing by much, database queries were slightly longer as the weeks and months went by. Investigating this I found that it was due to MySQL really not liking database tables that have frequent amounts of database inserts and updates as it results in fragmentation (which basically slows everything down).

So from v2.2 does things differently. Essentially when an feed is now imported, the existing products table is copied to a fresh new table and the import is performed against that new table. Finally, the old table is dropped and the new unfragmented table takes its place. This has had a significant effect on performance, and has even cut import times by around 40% for me.

v2.2 also has a new ‘Clone Product’ feature. Regular readers will know that my preferred way of using Datafeed Studio is to create ‘custom products’ with your own unique content, and then set the price compare field on the custom product to show prices from the feeds (many advantages – including your custom content will not disappear if a merchant suddenly drops a product).

The new ‘Clone Product‘ feature is a quick alternative to creating a new product, it will create a new product based on the content of the product you are viewing, with the description, images, price, etc. all copied over for you to customise as you see fit. Just a nice touch, really.

Another nice touch is the ‘Price Compare’ field of a product can now accept standard search phrases such as ‘+xbox +elite’, instead of the full SQL to generate a list of matching products.

Wow, this post is getting far too long and my two young nippers are hovering around me so I better end this quickly, there’s a few other bits’n’bobs, including WebGains parser support, see the full ChangeLog in the distribution for full details.

Grab it here.

(If you are upgrading, you will need to run admin/bin/patch.php from the command-line, or upload and execute ‘patch.sql’ via phpMyAdmin after extracting the zip file to get the full v2.2 experience.)

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