Oodle Feed FAQs

Oodle Feed Frequently Asked Questions


What is meant by a full set of listings?

Each feed sent to Oodle represents a set of listings: "classified ads in the Oak Town Free Press", or "cars listed on SellAnything.com". A feed with a full set of listings means that all currently active listings for the set are included. Any listing in the set that is not included in the feed is assumed to have expired, and is removed from our search index.

What characteristics should the page referred to by a listing url have?

The purpose of a listing url is to allow users to click and go directly from our search results to the actual page on your site that contains information on the listing in question. As such, the listing url should refer to a page that:

  • is specific to that listing
  • has useful information about that listing
  • does not require registration or the filling out of any forms in order to view listing information

In those occasional cases where an item becomes unavailable, but Oodle has not yet received a feed update reflecting this, the listing url for the item should take users to a page clearly indicating that the listing is no longer available.

What is image_url used for?

The picture provided via the image_url field of a listing is used to construct a thumbnail image which then appears next to the listing in our search results. This picture must be specifically related to the listing, and is generally expected to be an actual picture of the item being listed. Furthermore, if we are to display a thumbnail of it in our search results, your robots.txt must allow us to download the image. We encourage our feed partners to provide us with the largest image available.

Why is robots.txt relevant when I'm sending you a feed?

If the feed contains any image_url fields, then we need to download the images at these urls in order to generate thumbnails for the listing. This is only possible if your robots.txt file allows us access to the urls that these images are at. Please give access to "oodlebot" in your robots.txt.

# Example robots.txt entry where all images are in an /images/ subdirectory.
User-agent: oodlebot
Allow: /images/

What if an item listed is free?

If the price of an item is specifically 0, then a 0 value should be put in the price field, such as:


If the price is merely unknown (but not necessarily free), please see the next question.

What if the price of an item listed is unknown?

If a listing has a price associated with it, but its specific price is not known, then it is best to supply an empty price field, as with:


or to leave the price field out of this particular listing entirely.

It is much more common to have a listing with an unknown price than a listing whose price is 0 (free).


What does it mean to say that XML is well-formed?

An XML document is said to be well-formed if it meets the requirements for well-formedness as defined by the W3C. Since this is a technical definition, it is possible to have a computer program check whether an XML document has this property.

The reason well-formedness is important is that it greatly eases automatic machine parsing of a document.

How can I check that my XML is well-formed?

There are a variety of publicly available XML validators and formedness checkers that you can obtain and pass your document to. A common one on many versions of Unix is xmlwf.

If you have perl, libxml, and XML::Simple on your system, you can run:

perl -e 'use XML::Simple(); $xml = XML::Simple::XMLin("./oodle_feed.xml")';

and if it runs with no errors, your document is well-formed.

As a last resort, an online XML formedness checker can be found here.

What are some things to watch out for in creating an XML feed?
  1. The characters & and < cannot appear as-is in document text.

    They must be escaped by &amp; and &lt; respectively, or the block of text the are a part of must be put into a literal text CDATA section. Examples:

    This line with its unescaped & and < is **not** well-formed XML.

    This line with its escaped &amp; and &lt; *is* well-formed XML.

    <![CDATA[This line with CDATA-enclosed & and < is *also* well-formed XML.]]>

  2. The encoding attribute should not be set to utf-8 when the document is actually ISO-8859-1 encoded.

    Many xml feeds we receive have, as their first line:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

    This is perfectly valid xml, but in many cases, the actual character encoding used for the feed is ISO-8859-1. So, when you are checking that your feed is well-formed, if you get a format error in the feed file, but you can't see any obvious error at that location, consider changing this top line to:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>


How often do you update my listings?

We update your listings at least daily, upon noticing that the feed file has been updated. We generally notice within 15 minutes of its update that a feed file has been changed, and download the new version for processing.

Why don't I see all of my listings in Oodle?

This could be happening for a variety of reasons. Among the most common are:

  • We do not have a valid location for the listing, and so cannot place it.
  • The listing was found to be a duplicate of a listing supplied by a different source, or even a duplicate of another listing in the same feed.

If these do not appear to be issues, please contact us at [email protected].

Will my listings appear in the Oodle network?

Yes. Your listings will appear both on Oodle and in Lycos and the other marketplaces that we inform.

Paid Inclusion

How do I get my listings into Marketplace on Facebook?

Currently, only listings posted directly on Oodle or on Marketplace, as well as listings from members of our paid inclusion program show up on Marketplace. If you are interested in being part of this program, please contact our sales team at [email protected]

How do I become a paid customer?

Please contact our sales team at [email protected]

Trouble with my feed

My feed won’t submit

We are sorry to hear you are having trouble submitting your feed. Before submitting a ticket to us, please make sure to try one more time, and make sure you fill out all the required fields and also click the “test feed” button. If it still doesn’t work, please use the fields below to describe your issues.

  • - name
  • - email
  • - feed URL
  • - website
  • - copy and paste the error message that showed up on top of the submission page

I don’t know how to create a feed. Can you help me?

We are sorry to hear you are having problems with your feed. You should find all the instructions and examples you need on our Feed Guidelines page, which describes the whole upload process as well as contains links to category-specific examples and specifications. We hope that helps. 

If you want to use a paid service to prepare your feed, try a service like GoDataFeed.We have received good feeds from sites that use this company to prepare their data. We don’t have any arrangement with GoDataFeed, or any connections with their company.


We currently only provide personalized feed upload support for customers in our paid inclusion program. You can read more about our paid inclusion program here

I can’t see my listings on Oodle

If you only submitted your feed a few days ago, it is possible it is not live yet.

If your feed previously worked and now your listings are missing, please provide us with some details and if appropriate someone will get back to you.


Can you crawl my site for me?

No. We don’t usually crawl sites anymore. However, it is easy to submit a feed with your listings to us. Read about that here.

How can I change the URL you fetch my feed from?

If you changed the URL you want us to fetch your feed from, please don’t re-submit the feed through the submission tool. Contact us with your details and we will updated your configuration.

What countries do you support?

We currently accept feeds with listings for the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and India. Please use the “country” field and the country’s two-letter ISO code to specify what country your listings are in.

How do I get my feed removed from your site?

We are sorry to hear you decided to remove your feed. Please submit the following information and we will remove your listings from Oodle.

  • - name
  • - email
  • - feed URL
  • - website
  • - reason for removal