I have been getting a question a lot over the past few weeks, so I thought I would write a little post to help answer it. My guess is there are a bunch of people out there that have the same question, but haven’t asked it yet.
The question is:
What are custom X-Paths and Bulk Lists for Tactical Arbitrage?
I’m assuming that this question is coming from those of you just starting to use Tactical Arbitrage or those of you who are wanting to take your sourcing skills to the next level.
Regardless of the reason, it is a pretty easy question to answer (I’ll try not to use any crazy lingo or tech speak to help explain).
Let’s start with the easy answer:
X-Path allows you to scan sites using Tactical Arbitrage that aren’t on the Tactical Arbitrage sourcing list. So you are able to reduce your competition and increase your sourcing abilities.
Bulk Lists allow you to upload a file to Tactical Arbitrage, click a button, and automate the scanning of hundreds of different pages. This is how the “source while you sleep” occurs.
It’s really that simple.
Now if that didn’t satisfy your desire for knowledge (or you would like some additional information), I will go into a bit more detail below. It’s going to have a few more techy terms, but I’ll try to make it is easy as possible.
X-Path is a fancy way of describing where things are on a website. If you weren’t aware, each webpage you pull up (including this one) is bunch of HTML and CSS code. It kinda looks something like this (this one is for Priceline):
Now as a human, we have an extremely hard time reading all of this mumbo jumbo (or code). That’s where your favorite browser comes in (like Chrome or Firefox).
XHTML is a fancy way of giving things on a website a label. For example:
That is how a computer reads a list. Notice that we don’t know what in the world any of those things means. It’s a list of random strings of text. Does 2 mean the number of tacos I had last night? Or does it represent the number of cats I have?
So let’s give that same lists some labels.
Number of Cats: 2
Where I am currently sitting: Chair
Year I graduated: 2013
Number of loads of laundry that need to be done: 17
Favorite kinds of beer: Craft
See how the labels provide a context for the list? That is exactly what XHTML does for websites. For example:
Product title: Starbucks cup
It gives a context to the HTML of a store’s website.
Now X-Path is like a set of instructions to tell an outside software (like Tactical Arbitrage) where to look for things on a website. It’s like Google Maps for websites. It says things like: Look for the price of an item here. Look for the product title here.
So a custom X-Path for a website allows you to tell Tactical Arbitrage how to scan a site that isn’t on the list of sourcing sites.
And if you want a slightly different take to a bulk list that exclusively works with the Library search function of Tactical Arbitrage, check this out:
“Scholarly” Book Bulk Categories. This is my dad’s unique library search bulk list he has been building over the last month. I have been running this list over the last few weeks and have been loving the results.