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  1. #1
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    PopShops Performance Issues
    Right now, I am once again unable to access any of my PopShops pages that use PHP, as apparently the PopShops server is not responding.

    Yesterday and this morning, I was trying to update my shops but the PopShops interface was so excruciatingly slow that I had to abandon the work each time.

    What's up with these recurring performance issues? I know it's a small, new startup, but the service seems to be "offline" or "unresponsive" far too often.

    I can understand "peak load" issues (and right now could be a peak time), but I've also had these problems at times when I've tried to update my shops late at night (Pacific time).

    Could somebody at PopShops respond substantively:

    - Do you guys know about the outages and performance issues?

    - What do you believe is the cause?

    - What specific actions are you taking to address the issues?

    - Is there some way to change your system so that load issues are resolved more "elegantly"? For example, when there are "some" load issues, you could disable the interface for affiliates; and when there are "huge" load issues, you could disable serving of PopShops "pages" (e.g. JavaScript and PHP requests would be rejected), so that clicks on valid PopShops links will pass to the merchant?

    - Are there any specific actions that we (customers/affiliates) could take to reduce load or down time?

    - I like using the PHP version for my stores, since it automates much of the updating when merchants drop products. But I realize that it probably causes a huge load on PopShops, and that if I used HTML instead, the load would be reduced and my customers wouldn't see delays in viewing MY pages (though the clickthroughs still go through PopShops -- couldn't we change that, too?). Is there some way you could offer me a way to use HTML but still receive updates -- perhaps by having PopShops generate HTML "include code" updates that could be zipped and downloaded all at once for all my shops?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador joyaz's Avatar
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    I too am currently unable to access popshops.com or my shops. And seeing that their site is down makes me wonder if they'll even receive my support email.

    Not happy...I just spent hours updating one of my sites and now the pages can't even be seen. Thanks for asking those important questions, Mark.

  3. #3
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    FYI, their automated support (trouble-ticket/CRM) system does respond, so I know that my support emails are reaching their server; of course, I don't know for sure that their staff can actually access the support emails I've sent.

    I've actually sent quite a few "support" emails to popshops in the past few days, most of them relatively low-priority. Perhaps it's time for a trouble-ticket system that allows customers to designate the priority or urgency (my earlier emails this week were more "informational," while this is a bit more serious).

  4. #4
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    Hey,

    I am aware of the situation and working hard to get it resolved. As soon as the dust settles I will post a more lengthy reply.

    - Dan

  5. #5
    Newbie Rolet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danharms
    Hey,

    I am aware of the situation and working hard to get it resolved. As soon as the dust settles I will post a more lengthy reply.

    - Dan
    I do hope you do post a significant reply soon, I run three programs and all of them are on popshops, when the only response to the issue is this, I get concerned if you are the right choice........

    When will this be fixed, what is the ETA????????????

    Give something else other than you are aware of the problem, people are losing money and we need to know when they can count on your system to be functioning correctly................

    thank you

  6. #6
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    FYI, PopShops appears to be working right now, but the "continuation pages" are all disabled -- all are now one-page sites. That does sound like a reasonable adjustment to make when the servers are overloaded.

    One issue for me is that I've been doing some testing using PPC to drive traffic to my PopShops pages, and of course I've just paused all those campaigns. (Fortunately, my current "low-budget" testing has only been sending a handful of clicks per day for most campaigns, but it does look like I may have essentially "flushed" a few dollars of my marketing budget today, sending traffic to my PopShops pages that never responded.)

    I'm curious whether Enterprise customers are having any different experience than us cheapskate Pro customers?

    Added: And now the continuation pages are back, too.
    Last edited by markwelch; January 11th, 2008 at 05:36 PM. Reason: Update

  7. #7
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    My sites appears to be working again.

    Mark - I am an Enterprise customer and yes we are seeing the same issues you are.

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the direct questions. Let me try to field them on the team's behalf:

    Yes we are aware of the current outage and performance issues. There is a pretty extensive notification system that we are tapped into and we own our own dedicated servers.

    - What do you believe is the cause?

    The causes vary wildly. Our recent growth has been phenomenal which of course leads to challenges. Sometimes a load error occurs since we are managing over 30 million dynamically updated items AND all of their iterations created from our users modifying those items. Sometimes an error within the data of a large merchant triggers a failure. It should be noted that system errors with in CJ, LinkShare, SAS or Performics directly impacts PopShops as well. Sometimes, as in the situation today, the infrastructure of the facility we are in fails.

    - Is there some way to change your system so that load issues are resolved more "elegantly"? For example, when there are "some" load issues, you could disable the interface for affiliates; and when there are "huge" load issues, you could disable serving of PopShops "pages" (e.g. JavaScript and PHP requests would be rejected), so that clicks on valid PopShops links will pass to the merchant?

    Currently the system is setup to first disable interface and then as a last resort impact live shops.

    - Are there any specific actions that we (customers/affiliates) could take to reduce load or down time?

    One of the biggest wears on the system is when users put on autofeed but set it to a generic term like "books". Since are calls are designed to be dynamic this puts a huge load on the servers.

    - I like using the PHP version for my stores, since it automates much of the updating when merchants drop products. But I realize that it probably causes a huge load on PopShops, and that if I used HTML instead, the load would be reduced and my customers wouldn't see delays in viewing MY pages (though the clickthroughs still go through PopShops -- couldn't we change that, too?). Is there some way you could offer me a way to use HTML but still receive updates -- perhaps by having PopShops generate HTML "include code" updates that could be zipped and downloaded all at once for all my shops?

    We think that dynamic solutions like PHP are far more sustainable than non-dynamic solutions like HTML. We will continue to work to make those more reliable.

    - What specific actions are you taking to address the issues?

    We are continuing to invest heavily in hardware as we grow. We have doubled our server capacity in the last six months and just recently added even more hardware that will double our capacity yet again. In fact our growth has been so fast that we are seeking relocate to a facility with a larger infrastructure that can handle our rapid growth.

    We are constantly working on ways to streamline the way our data is integrated, cleaned, organized and displayed for our users. The new hardware we are adding will enable us to utilize several new approaches that are going to make the platform much more stable. It takes development time to make these improvements, much less take care of daily business/support needs.

    Our team is small but dedicated and working on not only on fixing problems but proactively developing solutions. We will continue to do so.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  9. #9
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    Angel - Thanks for such a descriptive answer regarding the problem.

    A quick question: As much as I want to see the new upcoming Search feature become available, isn't this going to load down the servers even more?

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msladybug
    Angel - Thanks for such a descriptive answer regarding the problem.

    A quick question: As much as I want to see the new upcoming Search feature become available, isn't this going to load down the servers even more?
    Actually it won't for two reasons: a) The search itself is being improved to bring back more relevant results; b) with the new search will come something we call the merchant catalog which basically lets the search only focus on your (the users) merchants rather than searching through our entire catalog and then filtering.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  11. #11
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    Excellent, That's good news. Thanks Angel

  12. #12
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Angel, How do I set an autofeed's term? I seem to always get everything and the kitchen sink when all I really want are other items in the same data-feed catagory.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel Djambazov
    b) with the new search will come something we call the merchant catalog which basically lets the search only focus on your (the users) merchants rather than searching through our entire catalog and then filtering.
    This being the case, wouldn't that be justification to make it available to all accounts and not just enterprise? I got the impression from a post from Jessie in another thread that it was only going to be available to enterprise because it would put a higher use on resources - or something to that extent.

  14. #14
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    Shawn, I don't think Angels' and Jessie's comments conflict at all. Jessie indicated that the search function would be limited to Enterprise users because it uses lots of resources; Angel simply explained how PopShops had been able to reduce the (search) load from "unacceptable" to "acceptable" by changing the way the searches happen.

    I need to go back and look again at the explanation of the benefits of upgrading; when I last checked, I didn't see a very clear reason to pay the extra fee (especially given that the current performance issues seem to impact all PopShops users equally).

  15. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    Angel, How do I set an autofeed's term? I seem to always get everything and the kitchen sink when all I really want are other items in the same data-feed catagory.
    Hi Lostdeviant,

    getting smarter and will allow you to couple and exclude words. However it is not quite yet smart enough to differentiate on category. So if you search for "tents" and then for "plasma tv" back to back you will get mixed results in the autofeed.

    If you are getting the whole kitchen sink it might be because you are browsing through a the various merchant's product offerings in a non targeted manner. The more targeted and contextual your search for products the better autofeed will currently work.

    We are working on improving the technology by exposing the rules that power autofeed which will allow you to designate how you need autofeed to work.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Shawn, I don't think Angels' and Jessie's comments conflict at all. Jessie indicated that the search function would be limited to Enterprise users because it uses lots of resources; Angel simply explained how PopShops had been able to reduce the (search) load from "unacceptable" to "acceptable" by changing the way the searches happen.
    Exactly right Mark
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Shawn, I don't think Angels' and Jessie's comments conflict at all.
    Doh, my bad.. Looks like Jessie's post was about a search box - I'm assuming displayed to shoppers.. Thats what I get for power-skimming the forum the other day... heh

  18. #18
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel Djambazov
    Hi Lostdeviant,
    ...
    If you are getting the whole kitchen sink it might be because you are browsing through a the various merchant's product offerings in a non targeted manner. The more targeted and contextual your search for products the better autofeed will currently work. ...
    no, I only add items from a single category/subcategory to a shop. I don't pick things at random. I group things that belong together in my shops.

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