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

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

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.

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

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.”

Google Page Rank drops for e-commerce

October 30th, 2007

Has anyone else seen Google Page Rank drops for e-commerce sites during this most recent PR update?

I’m beginning to wonder if Google is trying to degrade SERPs for specific products.

Yahoo deliverability - this time it’s personal

October 28th, 2007

I’ve written about Yahoo deliverability earlier, but now it’s personal.

The mailserver I use is being deferred via a 421 code by Yahoo, and judging by the fact I’m on shared hosting and the mailserver IP has been spotted on some minor blocklists, I’ve got a virtual neighbor with a problem.


In this case, Yahoo is definitely not deferring my mail because of content (I’ve tested this) but they’re taking action because of the originating IP address.


August 5th, 2007

iConcertCal is a neat little plug in for iTunes that will scan your iTunes music library for artists and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts and new CD releases. Pretty cool.

It’s such a clever idea, I just have to wonder why Apple hasn’t included it already in iTunes.

iPhone wifi madness

July 30th, 2007

Well, not madness, but something definitely weird.

I was wondering if anyone has seen any iPhones getting onto networks they should not be on. I am aware of a situation where an iPhone jumped on a wifi network with WEP and MAC Address filtering enabled.

The thing is, the iPhone only had the WEP key, but the iPhone MAC address hadn’t been authorized and iPhone still was granted an IP address via DHCP.

When I tried my iPhone on the network with the WEP key and but no MAC address authorization, I could not get on.

Another wrinkle is that the successful iPhone had been synched to a Mac laptop that was previously allowed on that network. Could that be it?

Google Start Page for iPhone?

July 25th, 2007

I was hit with this referrer string by an iPhone using visitor… URL makes me think that it’s an up and coming iPhone specific Google start page. The IP was from the AT&T network.

iPhone battery update

July 19th, 2007

One thing to note, I think I’m getting better battery power now after a few full battery drains and then leaving the iPhone to charge overnight. Once I fully charge the iPhone, I am getting the power plug icon.

Yesterday, without wifi on and without using the iPod, I got about 24 hours worth of standby/active email/Web time.

Still not awesome, but better than what I have been seeing. It looks like I will have to charge every night. Here’s hoping that the battery time improves as I drain/recharge it.

iPhone’s built in RSS Reader

July 15th, 2007

Why yes, there is an RSS reader built into the iPhone. To access RSS feeds on the iPhone, all you need to do is enter the RSS feed URL into the Safari address bar. The feed is seemingly fetched through Radical, huh?

In fact, one of my readers clicked through my RSS feed and I was able to capture the referrer and user agent.

Http Code: 200 Date: Jul 15 17:21:13 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 9887
Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3

Some iPhone camera pics

July 15th, 2007

In case you were wondering about the iPhone picture quality, here are two pictures I took on Friday night in Old City Philadelphia. Of course, there is no flash or zoom on the iPhone.

Korean War memorial statute Philadelphia
Korean War Memorial Statue

Philadelphia building in lights
Building bathed in light

Will It Blend?

July 11th, 2007

Just for you non-iPhone owners out there - let’s see if the iPhone can blend.