Seducing Google's Little Sister Froogle: 2


In the conclusion of this series, Rookie will take a look at how to setup and submit your product data feed to "Froogle" - Google’s search engine that people around the globe use to research products before they purchase, and a free way to extend the reach of your marketing efforts to millions of potential new customers.

There Are 2 Ways You Can Get Listed
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. The second, and more effective way is to submit a data feed directly to Froogle, by first creating an account with the following details about you and your company: Your personal contact information, store information (including its name and URL), your product information (number of products, and product categories), plus your affiliate information.

You can use this form.

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, nor will Froogle accept a data feed under these conditions.

Google say it takes anywhere between 5 to 10 business days to respond. My experience and from what I’ve heard from other merchants, is that it takes about a week. You will receive an email with your account information: login ID and password. This last email will also contain FTP instructions.

The Data Feed Format
The data feed file format is a tab-delimited text file. The first line of the file is the header, which must contain field names, all in lower-case. Use the field names from the text below, and in the same column order. One line per item (use a new-line or carriage return to terminate the line). The following field elements are forbidden as part of the basic format. If you want to include them as part of the basic format, products that contain errors will be dropped from the feed.

Tabs, Carriage Returns, or new-line characters may not be included in any fields, including the description. Exactly one tab must separate each field, If there are extra tabs that are inserted between fields in a line, or at the end of a line, that product will be dropped. All HTML tags, any comments and escape sequences may not be included, and the description must be plain text.

There are more fields called Extended fields that you can use to further specify your product information, such as color, size, shipping cost and more. Optional extended headers may be used to flag special features of your file. You must use these header parameters if you use HTML escape characters, or include book, music or video products or use quotes in your product descriptions or names.

If you have many items in your feed, only some of which change daily, you can provide updates-only files as a more efficient way for you to delete, add, or change offers for items. You can upload a full file later if a large percentage of your inventory changes.

Rules To Follow When Creating Feeds
You can download Froogle's official data feed format in PDF format.

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. You must also set the quoted extended format header value to "YES".

Submission Frequency: 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. Currently the FTP server does not accept more frequent updates and returns an error.

Currency & Availability: Right now, Froogle accepts only prices in US dollars. All your products must be currently available for sale.

Removing Products: To remove certain products from the data feed you could either set the expiry date of the offer to some predefined date or create and send an update file with the products marked for delete. Or 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 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 product page.

After you upload your feed for the first time, notify via email at 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?
If you spend just a little time surfing around Froogle, you'll see very quickly that some products have clear and 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! To make it easy, try FroogleFeeder to create, verify and submit your Froogle data feed files. Good luck!

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