I use PopShops, but this probably affects all datafeed users.

I recently noticed a lot of clicks (but not enough to suggest a bot) with some merchants but zippo sales. I realized they are not unique clicks on PopShops, so I checked out a few shops. I found that in some cases almost all the items led to the correct page (some went to a home page), however, an "Out of Stock" notice was on the merchant product page. In one case, the merchant also added an "email us" note to be advised when the item was restocked.

This info won't show up in an item's description, but is certainly going to adversely affect an affiliate's ability to accurately promote a merchant. There is simply no way to click on thousands of items first to make sure they're in stock, let alone update them since they're not going to show up as "Inactive in Datafeed" in PS. Others using merchant datafeeds will also have no clue, as thousands of items that aren't available are still included in a datafeed.

I wrote to one merchant, gave them examples & told them I had to pull nearly all their items. They eventually wrote back thanking me and saying they would check into this. But no further word since.

I realize that this is easier for the merchant rather than updating their datafeed, but it's wreaking havoc with affiliates being able to effectively promote merchants. You bother to cherry pick items but they're not available. Your readers are scratching their heads, getting annoyed—and clicking away from your site.

Just swap merchants? Well, when you check out the competition, you may find they allow toolbars, commissions are very low, they also do the same thing or other issues. It just ain't that simple any more.

Sigh. There's so many brush fires. This is just another one. Any suggestions about this particular one?