Product feed

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A product feed or product data feed is a file made up of a list of products and attributes of those products organized so that each product can be displayed, advertised or compared in a unique way.[1] A product feed typically contains a product image, title, product identifier, marketing copy, and product attributes.[2]

Product feeds supply the content that is presented on many kinds of e-commerce websites such as search engines, price comparison websites, affiliate networks, and other similar aggregators of e-commerce information. Product data feeds are[3] generated by manufacturers, online retailers and, in some cases, product information is extracted using web scraping or harvested web harvesting from the online shops website.

Product feed applications[edit]

While product feeds differ in content and structure, the goal remains the same - deliver high-quality (fresh, relevant, accurate, comprehensive) information so that shoppers can make a buying decision.[4]

Product data feeds are often delivered between manufacturers and retailers,[5] and are also used within a variety of online marketing channels that help shoppers locate the product they wish to purchase and drive the traffic to the retailers' website. These marketing channels include:

  1. Price comparison websites - Feeds are the product descriptive content needed to run sites that compare pricing (price comparison websites), attributes (mostly in vertical search portals) and availability.[6]
  2. Paid search affiliates - PPC campaigns use API's that receive a range of attributes within product feeds to determine campaign keywords and bidding.
  3. Affiliate networks – affiliate networks funnel products though their platforms from merchants to affiliates.
  4. Marketplaces – receive product feeds from their big merchants (eBay and Amazon for example).[7]

Feed formats[edit]

  • After announcing the importance of quality product data feeds,[8] Google has updated its feed requirements.[9]
  • Other product listing sites use proprietary formats that are either plain text or XML format.
  • Emerging RDF format: Semantic web standards such as RDF are taking root. It is expected product feed will soon adopt this new web standard.