Archive for November, 2007

Yahoo Store Shopping Cart Goes Down, Owners Howl On Cyber Monday

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Good grief, Yahoo Small Business really fouled it up big time on “Cyber” Monday. It seems that the shopping cart for both Legacy and Merchant Solutions stores went down for at least 11 hours. Holy Moly.

Considering the types and size of stores that use the Yahoo platform, you’re talking a good guestimate of thousands of dollars lost per store. I’m sure people will be looking for alternate solutions after this.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Yahoo e-commerce store offerings, there are actually two types of platforms, the old pre-2004 legacy stores that are built upon proprietary RTML based templates and if I remember correctly, I believe this platform was bought by Yahoo. Needless to say, RTML is an incredible pain to work with and there are a few small businesses which specialize in RTML programming.

The newer Merchant Solutions stores feature HTML based templates, but doesn’t allow for as many products in a store because of performance issues. And yes, Yahoo charges a per product insertion fee.

From what I’ve read, there was a big update pushed to the stores just before Q4, which included an updated shopping cart and cross sell functionality. Apparently some legacy stores which reverted to the old cart during the outage did restore functionality.

When I worked on the platform, Yahoo tech support was wanting in many areas. Aside from the hold times, a clueful tech was hard to fine and system status messages were not at all verbose. For some reason, Yahoo tends to push updates all the way up to Thanksgiving (I’ve seen it happen when I worked on this platform) and it seemed like this one was a doozy.

The official word out of Yahoo so far is not enlightening, but the store owner comments are. After reading about the outage, I agree with the owners, there is no excuse for Yahoo whether it was traffic or a borked shopping cart.

LargeSmall non-existent

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Looking through my log files, I find a crawler from a company that doesn’t yet quite exist on the Web, the user agent sans descriptive URL looked sorta spammy, so I had to Google them.

Not much on the homepage but a three columned div layout with a Web 2.0 green background, a commented out section in the source code about who is investing in them, and this hyperbole filled description….

“…an exciting new disruptive media and content publishing technology with many interesting applications.”

If anyone can parse that quote (into meaningful dollars), please let me know. All I know is that they are sending a crawler out to fetch feeds, how they are going to parlay that into content, I’m not sure.

Host: 74.86.17.253
/feed/
Http Code: 200 Date: Nov 25 13:42:48 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 21847
Referer: -
Agent: LargeSmall Crawler

Holiday 2007 E-Commerce post

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Christmas is a month away and the 2007 holiday season has officially begun. While online merchants have been preparing for weeks, if not months for these next three and a half weeks, let’s go take a look at e-commerce trends for holiday 2007.

-Since Christmas arrives on a Tuesday this year, this means that the UPS ground deadline looks to be about Tuesday, December 18th for the lower 48. This is good, since the usual cutoff is about the 13th or 14th of December.

-I liked this roundup of Holiday promotions the WSJ found.

-Yes, we should be just a little skeptical of the claims that “Cyber Monday” as being the biggest shopping day of the year online. Hint, it’s not. Mondays are usually the highest traffic days for most Web sites (hence Cyber Monday) but you’ll see that the days just before the UPS ground shipping deadline are the highest volume shopping days. So for Holiday 2007, look for the numbers on Monday December 17th and Tuesday December 18th.

-From the “well, duh” department Web Research Drives More Real-World Purchases. You don’t say…

-It’s interesting that Google has reintroduced the Products link at the top of their homepage. Interesting to note that the link reverts back to Video if you click on some internal Google pages, I’ll bet that the Products link is there just for the holiday season.

However, I’m a little perplexed that with the apparent troubles of Froogle and of Google Base and the ongoing promotion of Google Checkout, why doesn’t Google name the link Shopping rather than Products? Don’t they want people to think of shopping with Google? Products just sounds so generic.

As someone who used to work in retail once said to me, “Christmas comes once a year and we know exactly what day it is.”