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Yahoo Store debacle
hoosierdraft




msg:3513809
 6:54 pm on Nov 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, you can tell its cyber Monday. Traffic levels go up and Yahoo Store does a melt down. Checkout has been down for close to 3 hours and probably sporadically down for longer than that. You would have thought a giant would be better prepared.

 

robsnell




msg:3514640
 7:00 pm on Nov 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now don't be fronting on my favorite shopping cart. I've been on the Yahoo! Store platform since April of 1997, and overall, as a retailer, have been very, very satisfied with Yahoo! Store. I've tried others, but have yet to find anything better.

There are 45,000 some-odd merchants that will do over $4 billion through their carts this year. There's a reason they're the biggest online store builder.

As a former Yahoo! Store developer, author, blogger, evangelist, etc. I have other issues with Yahoo!, but not with the product itself. To be completely honest, I've seen more good things happening on the platform in the past two years than at any other time in the past. My book came out 18 months ago and because of all these new features it's 60% out of date. Gee, thanks!

My biggest complaint about Yahoo! Small Business these days has been with the lack of proactive communication from Yahoo to merchants. There used to be a monthly newsletter. Been six months since I got one of those. About once a year there's a webinar for top merchants. There's a great blog, but most merchants don't even know about it. I get most of my info about Yahoo from anyone BUT Yahoo...

To give credit, my account rep replied to several emails on what was arguably the busiest day of his career, and gave me honest answers. I probably have more access to info than the average merchant because of all our stores, client stores, being a former member of the store developers network, and knowing which questions to ask.

I do think Yahoo dropped the ball here on what was a textbook marketing/PR opportunity for merchant communication in a time of crisis.

For example, there's a 37-page thread on the Ystoretools Forum with over 17,000 page views. Holy cow! I've never seen a thread that long on YST! Where's Yahoo?

I know all the product people had their hands full, but IMHO someone who was NOT an engineer should have stepped up and posted info about what was going on, even if it was to say something like "we don't know what's going on, but every available resource" was working on it. Because they were!

Also, they have our email addresses. I'm sure we'll get an email from the PR/Marketing folks in a few days trying to put a good spin on things, but an apology and a token service credit would go a long way in placating thousands of merchants.

I guess you don't want want to send an email to 45,000 merchants about an outage that affects "some merchants" (25,000-30,000?) because all that will do is increase the folks who know about the problem.

What looks bad is when the average retailer gets more information about Yahoo! and what's going on with platform-wide outages from the New York Times, CNBC, and other national media than from Yahoo itself. When that happens, it looks like some folks at Yahoo are more interested in covering their ass than in keeping merchants in the loop.

Look, I'm as frustrated as the next merchant, but I still love my Yahoo! Store.

-- Rob

robsnell




msg:3514820
 11:25 pm on Nov 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's Rich Riley's post. No email just yet.

[yodel.yahoo.com ]

By now you have probably heard about the problems that many of our small business merchant customers experienced yesterday. Unfortunately, the system outage occurred at one of the worst possible times, and despite our concerted efforts to fix the problem as it emerged on Monday, we know that we let our merchant partners and their customers down. The good news is that our systems are now operating normally, and our merchants are able to accept orders from their customers. Here�s what happened: ...

4crests




msg:3515050
 6:15 am on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wow, i'm really thankful my store is still an old legacy ystore. However, I agree with Rob. I can't tell you how many times over the years that i've seen my competitors sites go down, while my yahoo store has been pretty solid. I've been a yahoo store owner since 2001, and I really do have to say that i've been very happy. Because of bandwidth issues, i've kept my legacy store instead of upgrading to merchant solutions. This is one instance I am glad I did.

I'm sure I wouldn't be as calm about this if my site had been affected though. I really feel bad for those who lost money. Yesterday was about 1.2% of my total yearly sales. That would have definitely hurt.

Hopefully Yahoo will compensate those who had losses. It should be pretty easy for them to come up with an average percentage of lost sales. Even a small token compensation would go a long way to repairing their reputation.

incrediBILL




msg:3515054
 6:20 am on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

It should be pretty easy for them to come up with an average percentage of lost sales.

That'll never happen because they're just a service provider so the most they will do is offer a credit for the service.

What many that rely solely on Yahoo Store for their livelihood will learn is that putting all your eggs in one online basket is a stupid idea and they need to diversify their online presence to avoid a complete catastrophe in the future.

Winooski




msg:3515157
 11:23 am on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I guess I'm 98% in agreement with Rob. Yahoo! Store is indeed a very robust ecommerce platform for most merchants who have fewer than 50K SKUs.

I think the issue is the terrible communication from Yahoo!. There was no way to keep merchants from feeling rightfully incensed about the down time in a critical period, but I think a steady stream of emails from Yahoo! during the process (like, an hourly update) would have gone a long way to make people feel that Y! wasn't just in CYA mode. Also, as Rob says, proactive communication would definitely help, now as always. Why isn't there an ombudsman a la Google Guy who responds to posts in here WebmasterWorld and there in YStore Forums?

Rugles




msg:3515575
 7:46 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I remember a "yahoo guy" or "yahoo dude", something like that, way back when.

What ever happened to them?

robsnell




msg:3515620
 8:43 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think that was someone from Y!Search or Overture posting here at WebmasterWorld.

Previous Y!SB product managers posted all the time on Ystoreforums during the Store Tags fiasco, circa 2002/2003, but I don't remember any posting on WebmasterWorld.

These days, I think the folks in charge of communications at Y!SB are much more, uh, "corporate." I doubt anyone but the big cheese would be given license to post online or answer questions off the cuff.

For example, before I resigned from the Y! store developer program in April, I was "told" that as a developer I had person who was my single point of contact at Y! and all emails to anyone at Yahoo should go through my "handler."

Since I don't take direction very well, and every time I turned around I ran into that attitude, I decided it was time to bail on Yahoo. I have some awesome stories I should post someday.

Rob

4crests




msg:3515857
 3:55 am on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ystore has a message up that they will be working on the checkout system tonight from 10-12:00 PST and that some customers may not be able to checkout. I sure hope it doesn't turn into anything longer. I cringe when they tinker with things at times like this.

robsnell




msg:3515922
 6:44 am on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm still on the old cart, and I'm waiting until the dust settles (or New Year's) to jump back over to the v3 cart. About mid-day on Monday, I started switching all my Yahoo! stores back to the v1 cart on a hunch it was the new cross-sell feature gumming things up.

I wouldn't recommend jumping back to v1 to everyone because I forgot how many cool new things are in the new Checkout Manager and switching between carts can undo some things, too.

Pioneers get all the arrows. I'm more of a settler. Consider me a late early-adopter. ;) -- Rob

hoosierdraft




msg:3516405
 6:23 pm on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now all sites are down. Not just the checkout page! Incompetence spelled with a capital Y!.

jwurunner




msg:3516421
 6:42 pm on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

hoosierdraft,

Our sites are all up and running. None of us need this type of stress again. Hope it comes back up fast.

Good Luck

4crests




msg:3517758
 4:10 am on Dec 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Got the email tonight. Yahoo is refunding all transaction fees for the month of November as a compensation. It's not going to make up for the money some people lost, but it least it's something.

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