Thursday, 12 April 2007

Froogle UK Woes and Solutions

We've been working on listing products for Board-Lifestyle on Froogle. We have several feeds to Froogle for other UK companies and all have been fairly painless to setup other than writing the SQL to extract products records from our eCommerce system which is based around a UK customised version of Storefront. This has lead to a good volume of business for our clients.

This time its been very frustrating as we've had to work around some of the new features in Base (which is Froogle's underlying technology).

Firstly its important to stay on the UK version of base, as some of the links inside Base actually hard link to the US site. This makes it appear as if your products are appearing and disappearing from the Base system as you hop between the two sites. This has caused us no small amount of grief as we've uploaded the same bulk upload to both the US and UK systems. The upshot is to make sure have the address in the address bar at all times, and keep and eye out for changes as it will revert to the .com domain as you navigate around the user interface. Submission of a UK feed to the US base site will see it disapproved.

The other areas which have caught us out are the new attributes which Base suggests. Location appears as a recommended field, however reading posts on the Google Groups, this seems to setup the feed as a Froogle.local feed and excludes them from the main Froogle results. We have reworked the file and we'll see how we get on!

I'm a hugh fan of Google, but some of their technology has a decidedly half finished feel to it, with items remaining in Beta for extended periods of time and lacking key features. If they really are to threaten Microsoft and deliver 'software as a service' they have a lot to learn about easy of use and debugging. For example the SSL certificate on the .uk URL's is a .COM SSL certificate which drives IE and Firefox crazy with security warnings and its been like this for at least a year!


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