Posted Thursday, September 23, 2004
Introduction to Froogle
Froogle is a new service from Google that makes it easy to find information about products for sale online.
By focusing entirely on product search, Froogle applies the power of Google's search technology to a very specific task: locating stores that sell the item you want to find and pointing you directly to the place where you can make a purchase.
It is located at (http://www.froogle.com) and (http://froogle.google.com).
What does it mean to online merchants like you?
How do you submit your products?
Is is worth the trouble?
As an extension of the Google search engine that millions of people around the globe use daily to research products before they purchase, listing your product in Froogle is a free way to extend the reach of your marketing efforts to millions of customers.
There are two ways you can get included in Froogle:
1. The first, though not the most effective is to let Google or Froogle crawl your site and pick up the information for itself. This is likely to result in inaccuracies in your product listing.
2. The second, and more effective way is to submit a *data feed* directly to Froogle.
Okay, so how do I start? First, get an account
To submit a data feed to Froogle, you need to first get an account with them. To get an account you will need to send Froogle the following:
1. Your contact information
2. Store Name
3. Store URL
4. Numbers of products
5. Product Categories
6. Affiliate Information
You can either send them an email at mailto:email@example.com or use this form at (http://services.google.com/froogle/merchant_email/)
To be eligible to submit a feed, you must sell products via your website and ship them to the buyer.
If you sell services or custom products that do not have fixed prices, use your website only to promote an offline business, or are an affiliate marketing site, your site content may be crawled by and included in Google's web search, but it will not be included in Froogle.
Once you're accepted, you will receive an email from Google with your account information: login ID-password. This last email will also contain FTP instructions.
Next: create & send the data feed - that's it. :)
Not so simple - but pretty straightforward.
The Data Feed Format
The Froogle data feed is nothing but a tab-delimited text file. That is, your product information in columns separated by tabs.
A tab-delimited text file
The first line of the file is the header - must contain field names, all lower-case.
One line per product (use a new-line or carriage return to terminate the line).
Exactly one tab must separate each field, If there are extra tabs inserted between fields in a line, or at the end of a line, that product will be dropped.
HTML Tags, comments and escape sequences may not be included - description must be plain text.
Basic Fields, Extended Fields & Headers
: This is the URL of your product page.
: Full descriptive text about the product.
: The current selling price of the product.
: URL of the product image.
: Category to which the product belongs
: Unique identifier for your product.
There are more *optional* fields called Extended fields that you can use to further specify your product info, such as color, size & shipping cost.
Optional extended headers may be used to flag special features of your file. You must use these header if you use HTML escape characters, or include book, music or video products or use quotes in your fields.
To download Froogle's official data feed format go to: (http://www.siteall.com/froogle/datafeed.asp) (PDF)
Rules To Follow When Creating The Feed File
Quotes, Tabs & Newslines
When quotes, tabs or newlines are present in your name, description or other fields, you must wrap the entire field (that contains the quotes or tabs) in quotes.
Data feeds for your online store must be submitted at least once a month. You can however submit your data feed file once a day.
Currency & Availability
Right now, Froogle accepts only prices in US dollars. All your products must be currently available for sale.
Removing Products & Offers
To remove certain products from the data feed you either
1. Set the expiry date to some predefined date or
2. Create and send an update data feed file with the products marked for delete, or
3. When you send in the next feed remove those products completely.
Upload Your Data Feed
You can upload new feeds daily, weekly, or monthly. You must upload a new feed at least once a month, because Froogle will automatically expire your old data after a month. The content in your feed must be the same as the content visible to users on your web site.
The name, description and price you provide in the feed must be the ones on your product URL page. The image URL should be that of the actual product image on the website.
One Last Thing
After you upload your feed for the first time, notify Froogle via email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that Froogle can confirm receipt and verify the accuracy of the format. Be sure to include your name, title, phone number and username in the email.
Is It Worth It? - It certainly is.
If you spend just a little time surfing around Froogle, you'll see very quickly that some products have clear & enticing descriptions, while others seem to be random snippets from the product page.
It's not enough to show up in the search, if the searcher doesn't click through to your site. Those with clear descriptions are from the sites that have taken the time to give Froogle their data feed. And those are the merchants who are winning on Froogle.
So, don't wait; submit your product data feed today!
For further information, visit these links
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