affCAFF and Message Boards

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Importing affCAFF Promotions Into Message Boards
affCAFF comes with a simple module that creates RSS output that can be imported dynamically into a message board such as vBulletin or phpBB. It can be set up in such a way as to determine which properties you want imported and will ensure that your affiliate links are used for each item as they come in.

This page deals with setting up a vBulletin board to automatically import promotions, signup offers and news via affCAFF, creating a new post for every item. For phpBB, the affCAFF process is identical, although you will need to check the phpBB manual for information on how to automate RSS imports.

Configuring Your Feed
Firstly, you need to edit the file "acRSSOutput.php" which you will find in your affCAFF installation directory. Use the data generator to create the code/properties you wish to display and remember to set up your affiliate links. Take the code shown in STEP 2 and replace the similar looking (default) code in "acRSSOutput.php" with the new code.

You should now be able to view your RSS output in your browser:


Importing Into vBulletin
Our suggestion would be to set up a new dedicated forum for scheduling the RSS imports. The forum should block posting from regular users and allow HTML (achieved via the vBulletin Admin Control Panel).

In vBulletin admin, you should see the menu option "RSS Feeds". When expanded, you have access to the "Add New RSS Feed". Set up a new feed with parameters that you want, but using the following information where requested:


* There is little point in doing less than 12 hours as your site updates the affCAFF data once daily just after Midnight.

Once done, you can go to the "RSS Feed Manager" option on the vBulletin left hand menu and do "Run Scheduled Task Now". This will do the first import for you and from then on you should see new items imported once a day.

Some Tips
  • When importing any news feed into a BBS, the first import in particular will probably bring in lots of items. Make sure that the forum doesn't swamp any "New Posts" box or email a whole bunch of stuff to members - or at least, make them aware it's a one-off! How to do this on vBulletin.
  • Don't set an automated forum to auto-prune. If you do, the whole feed will be refreshed each time it's read and this will impact the forum and users as outlined above.
  • We would suggest turning off posting rights to users in any automated forum, but don't turn the forum off altogether or globally "Ban posts" as the automated RSS Feed Manager will not be able to write to the forum.
  • Include a Sticky thread explaining to users how the forum works and where the content comes from. This will save you hassle with people asking how they can get their information in the forum.

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