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  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    June 5th, 2009
    Posts
    6
    Help interpreting merchant uptime?
    Hi!

    There's a merchant I've been interested in for some time, but their uptime page scares me. For example, I see this:

    Online 06/03/2009
    Tempoarily Offline 05/03/2009

    Does this mean that they were offline FOR A MONTH?!

    Here's another example, slightly different:

    Online 03/21/2009
    Tempoarily Offline 03/21/2009
    Tempoarily Offline 02/23/2009

    Were they offline the entire month, or was there uptime between 2/23 and 3/21 that doesn't show up?

    If the answer is that this merchant goes offline for a month at a time, why am I not seeing affiliates complain?

    Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide!

  2. #2
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    There seem to be some data glitches in the "Uptime History" report. Probably most important, as you note, there is some mechanism by which a merchant can go from "offline" to "online" without triggering a reporting event in the system. There are also some specific dates when many merchants fall "offline" together, which I would guess might be connected either with a billing cycle (e.g. the monthly fee is applied, which takes the merchant offline), or possibly some internal review process; I suspect that these "offline" events are the ones that often aren't properly followed up with the "online" reporting events when the merchants go back online. I believe that in the past, I've also seen situations in which there are two "online" events posted without any "offline" event appearing between them.

    This month, I'm being much more aggressive about dropping merchants who fall "temporarily offline" within the ShareASale system. I've removed 20-30 merchants in the past few days, mostly because of unreasonable "offline history."

    I'm also seeing an increase in the number of merchants whose programs suddenly appear as "closed" without any notice except showing this status in the Activity Summary report. I continue to view this as a critical defect in ShareASale's system, which ought to send an email alert to all affiliates of any program whose status switches to "closed").

  3. #3
    Newbie
    Join Date
    June 5th, 2009
    Posts
    6
    Thanks for the thoughts on data glitches. I thought that might be it.

    >I continue to view this as a critical defect in ShareASale's system, which ought to send an email alert to all affiliates of any program whose status switches to "closed").

    I absolutely agree with you. My company has gotten really gun-shy about affiliate programs for this very reason. Over the years, we've lost a fair amount of money this way.

    And I agree on offline history as well. I have more questions though:

    If one of our visitors clicks on a link for a program that's offline, what do they see?

    If they're still taken to the site and make a purchase, is it recorded?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

  4. #4
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    > "If one of our visitors clicks on a link for a program that's offline, what do they see? If they're still taken to the site and make a purchase, is it recorded?" <

    ShareASale doesn't send traffic to merchants who are "offline," so there will be no transactions resulting from such clicks. Of course, some skeptics might worry that merchants who are careless enough to let their affiliate program fall "offline" are also quite likely to be careless enough to disable tracking for orders that come while they are online.

    If you've set up an alternative URL destination for invalid links, then your traffic will redirect to that URL (with the merchant ID appended as a parameter [e.g. ?merchantID=00000 ] so that you can identify the traffic in your own server log files). You set this up by inserting the URL into the field "Custom Error Redirect for 'Temporarily Offline Merchants'" on the "Edit Account Settings" Page.

  5. #5
    Newbie
    Join Date
    June 5th, 2009
    Posts
    6
    Thanks, Mark! Excellent information to know.

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