The New LinkShare Merchandiser API and Other Affiliate Web Services

Sam Harrelson was a bit quicker than me this time with reporting about LinkShare’s launch of their Merchandiser Services Query Tool web services API. I am just kidding, but it is usually me, who points out advances in API, web services and data feed technology in affiliate marketing.

Interesting to note is that the new Merchandiser API is a REST (REpresentational State Transfer) based web service, like their Automated Link Generator web services and not SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) like their first web services API, the Link Locator web services. I do not know the reason why LinkShare decided to use REST for their new web services, but it is certainly not such a good idea to use two different types of web services instead of only one. I am wondering if LinkShare will change their Link Locator web services to be REST based sometime in the near future.

I said it time and again that I welcome any decision by networks to make their platform more open and accessible by automatic means. Web services are an old technology and Amazon.com and eBay were early adopters of this technology in the affiliate marketing space, but that used to be the exception until the “rise” of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 did not only brought us shiny pastel colored AJAX based web interfaces, but also the wide availability of web services and other types of API. The term “mash-up”, which is the creation of something new based on things that already exist, became part of the vocabulary. Mash-ups were and are only possible because of open APIs provided by websites and services.

The big networks were late adopters of APIs. Commission Junction was the first of the big US affiliate networks that made web services available to their publishers.

Zanox, a German affiliate network that launched in the United States in late 2005 was actually an early adopter of web services technology. Their Zanox Developer Kit (ZDK) supports already access to virtually every important data via an API, merchant information and product information as well as transaction data and other statistics. Commission Junction did some catching up and made access to reporting data available via their web services API in July 2007.

LinkShare hopefully gets the message and know now, what they have to provide next. This is not an attempt to downplay their achievement of their product data API, but I want to keep them motivated and inspired while they are at it. For more information about the new LinkShare Merchandiser Query API, check out the post at FinalTag.com.

APIs do not have to be fancy SOAP, REST, XML-RPC (XML Remote Procedure/Program Call) or SAX (Simple API for XML) based web services. AvantLink, for example, provides access to important information via an API that is a much simpler solution and returns data in delimited text format. Be It simple or not, any solution is infinite times more than having no API at all.

The Performics Orange Links feature is nice and good, but sending link data via FTP once a day is not cutting it today anymore. I am surprised that Performics did not announce an API for their affiliates yet. They used to be ahead of the game when it came to technology. They obviously lost that edge. Well, if Google will be able to finalize their DoubleClick acquisition, that will may be change. Google is very technology oriented and has a number of web services to access a number of their products already.

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Web services are the future. Why? … because they enable access to content and any other type of data. Web services allow the creation of platform independent applications and widgets. The world goes mobile and networks. Proprietary applications will become eventually a niche for special purposes. APIs provide the basis for the creation of useful applications that are accessible from mobile devices or from within open social networks such as Facebook.

I updated the affiliate data feed (and web services) resources at Cumbrowski.com with the details to the new LinkShare web services. You can find information to the other available web services and old-fashioned data feeds from the big networks and smaller networks too, the ShareASale feeds, ClickXChange feeds and Dark Blue Content feeds for example.

If you are new to web services technology and do not know what SOAP and REST are, check also the resources and information to web services at Cumbrowski.com.

Cheers!
Carsten

Do you have any comments to web services and data feeds in affiliate marketing? Please let me hear them! Use the form below to submit your comments to this post. Thank you!

About Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the “about” section.

Twitter: ccumbrowski

One Response to The New LinkShare Merchandiser API and Other Affiliate Web Services

  1. Kawika says:

    Great post, thanks! LinkShare has come a long way on their APIs and webservices, but they still have a long way to go to make affiliate marketing as valuable as it could be!