Daily Deal sites looking to distribute their deals to the largest number of sites should pay careful attention to the format of their XML feed.
Whilst it is possible for aggregators and trackers to scrape your site and pull out the relevant information, it’s a time consuming process that is fraught with danger - if you change your site, no matter how minutely, you may end up breaking the integration with some of your most important sources of traffic and revenue.
Below is a suggested XML format that Deal Zoo developed in consultation with Jonathan Clarke of Deal Pinch and a number of Daily Deal sites. This format is being used by a number of aggregators in Australia.
Tag names will likely vary, value might be price_original, description might be deal_description, fundamentally though, Daily Deal sites should be attempting to include as much information as possible.
Recommendations and suggested improvements to this format are of course welcome. Feel free to email me (one day i’ll get comments going).
Equally important to the format is what feeds you provide. A single feed per region/city that includes all the relevant deals is typically the best solution.
A single feed with all the deals can work, but it increases the complexity for aggregators, decreasing your chances of inclusion. Whilst not an issue generally for the large sites, this may limit the distribution options for niche deal sites.
Maybe it’s time to think about a microformat for deals. Microformats are a set of simple, open data formats that are designed for humans first and machines second. Establishing a microformat for deals would help the industry more effectively distribute their deals.
A task for another day…