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Thread: HTML and Flash Widgets have quit again

  1. #1
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    HTML and Flash Widgets have quit again
    I first noticed the problem at 02:25PM today (Saturday).

    central time

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the heads-up. I have pulled my one and only Ticketmaster widget and this time it is permanent. Very disappointing. I get a decent percent of my sales from that "artist" widget, so it may be a long term loss if people don't click on a specific concert and then look around, but so be it. I suppose I can put a text link in, but it won't have the same appeal, I am sure. But a big display that says "we have no tickets" doesn't look very good, and I have the tour schedule on my home page.

  3. #3
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    PS: (Too late to edit message): I weakened and created a static iframe. I had done this once before when the widget stopped working (back last December) so I had one around I could update with current shows. A rather annoying thing to have to do, but with only one widget, for one artist, it was feasable. If anyone needs an artist format widget, feel free to contact me. Unfortunately, I don't have PM privileges, nor am I likely to get it at the rate I post, but if you want the code and can contact me, feel free.

  4. #4
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    Example
    Just to be clear on the problem:

    Using artist "Daughtry" for an example.

    His artist widget is populated with some dates. However, the widget dates start incorrectly with 11/30/2009. His first tour date actually begins 10/19/2009 on Ticketmaster. So... only the tickets that went on sale Saturday 09/26 are listed in the widget.

  5. #5
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    The symptom is changing. That is indeed the current symptom for the artist widget. Since my artist has no newly announced concerts, the result is "no concerts found". I have no idea if yesterday the artist widget would have found newly announced concerts, but I do know that for most of yesterday, the regional widget wasn't working either and also showed no results (including the sample in the Management Area, which is working now).

    This morning, the regional widgets are working, and the artist widget is showing newly announced concerts as you noticed. Let's hope that means that they are in the process of fixing it; last time it went through phases of improved operation as well. (Whether I start using it again, or just manually update my static code from now on, remains to be seen).

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much for staying with me on this, shuvee!

    I believe the regional widgets are missing data as well. Using Topeka KS, as an example, the widget dates start on 11/14/2009 in EventEngine if you choose all categories. Ticketmaster is showing the first event for Topeka on 10/02/2009.

  7. #7
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    Ah, ok. So it's all the same problem of the feed not having all the events, but (presumably) just recently added events. On Sunday, the California sample widgets in the Management Area showed "no events" and today they are showing events - but probably only recently added ones. I sure hope the folks at Buy.at/Ticketmaster are doing as much analysis as we are!

    As I said, I have a manually coded equivalent now, so I can sit back and be amused. I don't have to change it until Wednesday when the first event takes place, and when I will have to drop that event and add the next one at the end.
    Last edited by shuvee; September 28th, 2009 at 03:07 PM.

  8. #8
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    The problem appears to be fixed now.

  9. #9
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    Rock Stars
    I'm checking U2 and Metallica in the event engine for flash. Nothing but "We currently have no tickets on sale for Metallica" is displayed. Daughtry is still missing more than half of his shows.

    However, In HTML, they are populated... with their bass-ackwards dates. heh heh

    I think I'm going to be ill over this. I knew it would happen... A lady emailed me to rant that she missed a show on Sunday because she saw on my site that it was sold out, then her friends told her today it wasn't sold out at all. Oh dear... I really need to remove a few hundred unreliable widgets from the site. The uptime in September has not been good for TM widgets.

    The widget message is misleading. I wish it would say that the feed has failed, or that there are technical difficulties, something like that.

  10. #10
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    They could manually add a message and a link when they are aware of a problem, but there is probably no way to program for it. Clearly there is a feed; it just doesn't have all the data, and it probably requires human intelligence to detect that. With a little clever wordsmithing, and capturing the search argument so they could try to send you to actual listings, could go a long way toward getting some of the sales.

    It's hard to believe this is still not fixed, nor even acknowledged. I didn't report it this time, but I presume you did since you don't have a practical workaround?

  11. #11
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    Shuvee, again, thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one in the world who is still using the widgets, and notices when they fail! I did report it immediately on Saturday afternoon in the Management Area. I clicked the box to send a copy to myself and the message did come come through to me. I have not had a response, which is odd. I've always had some communication before, typically a request for examples.

    Last night around midnight, Daughtry and some other artists who were partially populated did lose all of their data. I took this as a good sign, since I figured someone had to clear the file in order to rebuild it for the artists' view. Still waiting for results in the artist flash widgets, but this one is always the last one to come back alive.

    I found and removed all but one of our artist widgets, and was about to start on the venues, when the co-owner of the site had a melt-down. He loves them because they are extremely attractive. Plus, it is a time consuming task to remove them... could take a week or more. So, he wants me to continue to put in more venue widgets. And... find or write a program to put in the header to determine every five minutes if the widgets are feeding or not, then not display them. Yes... okay... right... I don't think this is possible. Silly silly man, and a professional programmer at that. It would definitely slow down the site, to have a script running all the time... if it is even possible. Bah humbug... I won't do it.

    Connie D. in Houston

  12. #12
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    Hi Connie.

    Yes, we must be the only two! Actually, I think the Ticketmaster affiliate program is still overlooked by most performer sites. Which is fine with me. And I assume that they have still not pulled all the stops out because they are growing and changing and are happy with their current affiliates, some small and some large.

    If you want to program, you really need to access the feed yourself and dispense with their widgets. I believe you can get the feed, and using it yourself you can apply some programmed intelligence. Detecting that it is incomplete (vs. not there at all) isn't at all easy. Concerts could disappear because they are cancelled or postponed. That happens. Sometimes just one concert for an artist (some sort of conflict, bad weather, illness); sometimes a group of dates. So it isn't enough to detect that a concert (still in the future) that was there yesterday isn't there today and conclude that something must be wrong. But, from a web site perspective, you can probably detect anomolies which are then reported to an administrator (you), and you can decide whether to go into "bypass" mode, so to speak.

    Were it me, I would write something that reads the feed on a schedule, rather than on every page display. Even once an hour should suffice. Yes, you might not be the first site to list a new show, but you could possibly handle that by forcing a manual update (e.g. when you know that a certain big name act has new concerts on sale).

    Given the fact that fixing the European date problem in the HTML widgets has not happened - something that would take only a few minutes - I tend to doubt that any major upgrade that can handle feed issues more gracefully is likely to happen So, it's up to you to decide how much work you want to do.

    Valerie, in CO or NY

  13. #13
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    They're back!
    Artist flash widgets!

    I am tempted to reinstall a few... but no... I think they are just too sneaky to live in my world at this time. Maybe later if they settle in nicely and stick around for a while. They could be back only for a one-night stand.

  14. #14
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    More good news!
    I received an email from affiliatehelp this morning, with a request to send screen shots when the widgets become problematic. It included the email address of the person who can look into the issues. Oh joy!

    I would like to share this info with everyone who is affected, but don't know how to go about making this happen. I would gladly post my generic yahoo account email address here, that does not include my site name, if that was allowed.

  15. #15
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    I haven't a clue what is allowed, but I think email addresses are. I'm pretty sure I have seen them and the posts have not been deleted. But, I am not 100% certain.

    Maybe one of the regulars will tell us (but then, they may not be reading this thread).

    I find it very frustrating that one must post 250 times to get PM privileges. It's simpler than measuring quality, but I'm not sure I will live long enough to get to 250, unless there are more interesting issues like this one with Ticketmaster!

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