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  • Upload Product Corruption / Support Delays

    Has anybody else seen problems when uploading/importing products? We have seen intermittent corruption of various fields within the product record(s). Most of the time, a field will just be totally blank. (Not always the same field, either.) In addition, it is quite common for the custom file names to not be created properly. We routinely check this after an upload/import, and fairly consistently (1 out of 4-5 uploads), the products can't be accessed using the custom file names. Regenerating the custom filenames again, fixes the problem.

    I reported this problem on March 3rd (Ticket # BLQ-538-73172), got a couple of responses that weren't germane to the problem, and then (at my request), was told that it would be escalated to Level 2. That was FOUR DAYS ago! Now, the ticket shows as "Unassigned". This morning, I opened another ticket (SIF-190-49726), asking if someone would check the status of the original ticket. I never got a response to the new ticket, and if I try to check the status, the ticket is gone.

    This sort of thing happened to us once before, where a ticket lost its assignment, and nothing happened for DAYS. It seems like there is something wrong with the tech support system.
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  • #2
    Now five days without a response.
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    • #3
      Finally got a response from tech support after over 5 days. Unfortunately, it didn't address a single issue from my original ticket from March 3rd, or any subsequent issues raised during my initial communication. <sigh>
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      • #4
        Perhaps it would be helpful to explain this in a different way:

        Situation: Because of the constant stream of changes to our products database, across multiple channels, our company must upload/import ALL of our products at LEAST once a day. Sometimes we upload/import 3-4 times a day. The total size of the upload file is about 25 megabytes. We also make extensive use of the custom file names feature, which necessitates the regeneration of these file names after the upload is complete.

        Ideal solution: As an optional step, zip the file, reducing its size by 10 times. (From 25 megabytes down to 2.5 megabytes.) Because of the smaller file size, it takes a LOT less time to upload, and a lot less bandwidth to transfer. Upload the file. Once the zip file is received, an integrity check is done on the zip file, which verifies that the file is intact, and was received without error. The file is then unzipped on the 3dcart end, imported, and then if the store owner is using custom file names, those names are automatically regenerated. That's it. Fast, simple, accurate, and efficient. No wasted steps, and no need to babysit the process.

        3dcart solution: 3dcart recommends that the upload/import file be a maximum of around 5-7 megabytes. So, that 25 megabyte file must be split into 4-5 parts. Now, instead of a single upload/import, there are 4 or 5 processes that must be performed, wasting a considerable amount of time. 10 times as much data is being transferred over the Internet, which takes longer, and makes it significantly more likely that one or more of the upload files is corrupted during upload. (Worse still, there is no way to tell if the file was actually corrupted in some way.) After the upload(s) are complete, you must remember to update the custom file names. If this isn't done, some products won't display correctly. Because of intermittent problems with the custom file names feature, you must manually check a few products to make sure that they can be accessed using custom file names. If not, you must manually update these names again. Because of intermittent problems with the import process itself, you may experience corruption of the product record itself. (This was the original reason for my ticket.) This corruption ranges from missing fields entirely, to partially missing data within a field. Because of this, ALL products should really be checked for validity, but that's pretty much impossible. As a result, a product might not be available until the next upload/import cycle, without us even knowing. Many times, I'll get a message from Google AdWords, saying that one of our pages is reporting a 404 error. That generally means that the custom file name entry in the product database is empty, even though it is correct in the upload file.

        Ok, which way is better? I hope it's pretty obvious. I guess what I'd like to see is somebody from 3dcart saying, "These are good ideas. Let's see if we can get this done." Start by eliminate the file size limitation. If there is a problem with files larger than 5-7 megabytes, there is a larger problem that is being ignored. File size really shouldn't matter. Offer the OPTION to zip the file prior to upload. Offer the OPTION to automatically regenerate the custom file names after an upload/import. Improve the import process to be more bulletproof. Work with customers like me to figure out exactly why this is failing on a regular basis. If it is a problem with my upload file, I'll fix it. (In fact, I've written a custom program to do just that. It takes out certain ASCII characters that give the upload/import process fits.) If it's a problem on the 3dcart end, then they should fix it. There are solutions to these problems, but both sides have to be willing to find them. I'm willing.
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        • #5
          You have a very specific need that is not supported well by the features of 3dcart. What I've learned is that 3dcart is really only interested in helping when it would be helpful to a lot of customers. From a business perspective, I understand that. They need to spend their time of the things that are most profitable to them. As a business owner, and someone who also has some unique needs that 3dcart won't support, I also understand the frustration.

          Have you contacted them to request a quote for custom implementation?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wcsjohn View Post
            You have a very specific need that is not supported well by the features of 3dcart. What I've learned is that 3dcart is really only interested in helping when it would be helpful to a lot of customers. From a business perspective, I understand that. They need to spend their time of the things that are most profitable to them. As a business owner, and someone who also has some unique needs that 3dcart won't support, I also understand the frustration.

            Have you contacted them to request a quote for custom implementation?
            Yes, I've learned the same thing. The irony is that I came to 3dcart from another large cart, because the other company had this foolish (to me, at least), idea that all suggestions, whether good or not, had to be "voted" on before they were considered. In general, only those suggestions with a lot of customer appeal would be considered. (Even if the suggestions submitted would have made things easier for everyone.) It wasn't too long after I got to 3dcart, they implemented the same thing. It drives me crazy.

            As a business owner myself, and as a part-time programmer, I too understand the logic of focusing one's efforts on features that are more profitable. However, how many times does the technical support staff have to deal with issues like mine? That costs money too, especially when I've offered a pretty good solution to a number of issues related to uploading and importing. It seems to me that having a fast and reliable upload/import process would benefit 3dcart, as well as me and other customers who use this feature. I'm not sure why something so basic should be viewed as requiring some sort of custom implementation. The feature is already offered. I'm just suggesting ways of making it better. I admit that the automatic generation of custom file names is more of a convenience, but other people have complained about the cumbersome nature of the existing procedure, and once again, I've offered a solution to that as well. (There is a thread in the Feature Requests area on this very topic.) Will any of my suggestions ever get enough votes to be considered? Probably not, but they are still good suggestions, and I think they should be considered on the merits, not just on the popularity.

            In any event, waiting five days for a response from tech support just isn't the kind of support I expect from 3dcart. (Especially when the response really doesn't deal with the issues at hand.)
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            • #7
              I finally got a detailed and reasoned response from 3dcart tech support, from someone who obviously took the time to read the entire ticket and do some research on the issue(s) I reported. No solutions yet, but it's a start.
              www.stsi.com
              Network Infrastructure and Fiber Optics (AMP/Tyco, APC, Belden, Corning, Hubbell, Leviton, Ortronics, Panduit), Audio, Computer, and Video Cables, and much more!

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