Qualified vs. Non-qualified credit card transactions

January 27th, 2010 by Chris

When you are a merchant who processes credit cards, especially card-not-present transactions (ie, over the Internet or phone) you will typically run into two rates on your statement. You will have a discount rate for qualified transactions, and you will have a discount rate for non-qualified transactions.

Typically the discount rate for qualified transactions is the headline you see when you sign up for a new merchant account, and sometimes providers will purposefully lowball you a lower qualified rate (2%), but hit you with a bigger non-qualified rate (4%), knowing that many more of your transactions will be processed at the higher rate.

Each provider has rules for what constitutes qualified and what constitutes non-qualified. Typically for an Internet merchant you must run an AVS (address verification system) check and run the CVV code from the back of the card for the transaction to be qualified, but even then. If the card is certain types of reward cards, or business cards, or from a foreign bank, you can still be non-qualified (this is how the banks fund their reward programs), and you can’t do much about that.

Now, pay attention, if you also send incomplete information to your payment processor, such as Authorize.net, you may also be downgraded to non-qualified. This is one of the reasons I have complained about Interspire and CubeCart not using the Authorize.net API fully. Just because a field isn’t required by Authorize.net for the system to work, doesn’t mean it isn’t needed by the merchant or otherwise would be beneficial to include.

I recently ran into this problem with one of my sites where I had a custom shopping cart developed. The developer did not set up the Authorize.net module to send an order ID with each transaction, and Visa apparently requires some sort of invoice ID (it can be meaningless and random, but it must exist) to be sent with each transaction, or they downgrade you. So I had been getting 100% downgraded Visa transactions. Lesson be learned, go over your statements carefully or it could cost you (it definitely cost me).

The fix was simple for my custom cart, but it was knowing it needed to be done that was key.

So, when using software, make sure you pass everything possible to your payment processor, even if you think it is redundant, even if it isn’t required, if you have the information, pass the information. And when signing up for a new merchant account, ask for the discount rate for non-qualified transactions as well.

Why Yahoo is the worst company on the Internet

December 1st, 2009 by Chris

So I got an email today, saying that Yahoo has decided to terminate Rightmedia, which it purchased not to long ago.

Perhaps terminate is the wrong word, they’re basically going to end all existing Right Media services for small publishers, which is most of what the company offers.

Coming on the heels of their implosion of YPN I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. YPN, of course, no longer exists really, Yahoo is going to completely farm out all advertising to Microsoft in a recent deal.

Does anyone take Yahoo seriously as a company anymore? Let us look into the past and see how Yahoo has innovated and improved, or perhaps not.

1. Yahoo starts company as a web directory, the first, becomes one of the most popular websites on the Internet, directory is manually edited by humans.
2. Yahoo starts charging for directory submissions, makes a gold mine. Search results are based on on directory listings primarily, making directory listings important for ranking well, everyone buys one.
3. Yahoo deemphasizes directory listings in their search results, but still links to matching categories, less people buy them.
4. Yahoo stops even linking to directory categories in search results, “Directory” doesn’t even get a main tab. No one buys listings anymore, nearly impossible to justify the $300 yearly fee with the paltry traffic received, only the most profitable sites should do it.
5. Meanwhile, Yahoo purchases Inktomi, an early search pioneer, to power their search results. Yahoo eventually also absorbs Lycos, Fast (Alltheweb), and Altavista, all early pioneers, all at one time the most popular search engine on the Internet, Yahoo kills them all like so many wives of Henry the VIII.
6. Yahoo inks a deal with Microsoft for search, effectively exiting the search business, all the money spent on acquisitions could have been saved if they just partnered long ago.
7. Meanwhile, Yahoo had purchased Overture, formerly Goto.com, the original PPC search engine.
8. Despite buying the creator of PPC search, Yahoo allows itself to be out manuevered and out innovated by Google.
9. Google PPC ads get smarter, like Google’s search index. Google launches Adsense PPC ad syndication platform, eventually syndicated PPC ads account for something like 85% of Google’s ad dollars.
10. Yahoo plays catchup, launches YPN, perpetually in-beta ad network sputters along through mismanagement after mismanagerment. Yahoo lets in large publishers of spammy sites but doesn’t allow advertisers to opt-out, sites make good money, for a short period of time, but advertise ROI plummets, advertisers flee. Yahoo keeps crappy partners in network, but kicks out good ones for sending international traffic, which every other network on the Internet has no problem just filtering out. Network never leaves beta, network dies.

11. Yahoo buys Right Media, an innovator in small publisher advertising. Creator of an exchange to match up small publishers with small advertisers. Does some innovative things like allowing “R-Rated” sites (and labeling them as such), something most networks do not touch (but should, look at how much money R-rated movies can make). Eventually, Yahoo kills Right Media, reasons unknown.
12. Meanwhile, Yahoo inks deal with Microsoft to outsource all PPC advertising, effectively killing the original PPC search engine.

For all these reasons, I hereby crown Yahoo, the worst company on the Internet.

Watchout: eWeb Financial, Work from Home Opportunity

November 17th, 2009 by Chris

Have I become the guardian of Internet get rich quick gimmicks and or misleading business promotion opportunities? Apparently, I guess, since so many of my recent blog posts deal with such. I suppose this has something to do with the recession, people are out of work and other people are looking to prey on those out of work.

I am reminded all the time of that episode of “That 70′s Show” where Jackie falls for a modeling agency scam getting her to pay $200 for headshots and consulting. Jackie only realizes it is a scam when the agency gives Donna the same pitch (Jackie believes she is far better looking than Donna and if the agency is also interested in Donna, it must be a scam). Funnily enough my brother and his wife fell for this same scam in real life.

Anyways, I digress, late last night and then again today a company called eWeb Financial called me about a work from home business opportunity. They said I filled out a survey saying I was interested in such things, when pressed they could not answer where or how I filled out said survey. They called my home number in an obvious violation of the do not call registry which I am on. Of course, I know I would never fill out such a survey, I already happen to make quite a bit of money. I decided to be a little snarky and rather than just hangup I laid the sarcasm on the salesman pretty thick explaining how successful I am and he kept pushing, saying “You can always have another poker in the fire.” and whatnot. It was funny, really, how hard he was working, and I was just messing with him.

Anyways, doing a little research with Google I find their website, ewebfinancial.com, which is a great example of frontpage-template-quality design. And a few other complaints such as this one here.

As near as I can tell this company sets up turnkey affiliate shop sites and then charges you a few hundred dollars for them. For anyone interested in this work from home opportunity let me set a few things straight for you.

Marketing thin-affiliate sites no longer works, hey, I used to do it myself, I made… I don’t know… $40 or $50,000 doing it over the years, but it hasn’t worked in awhile. It worked for a little bit when only a few people were doing it either because only a few people knew how to do it or a few people had the technical knowledge to do it. There is even a tutorial on this site on setting up Amazon.com affiliate sites. But then, everyone started doing it, and the search engines reacting by hitting all sites doing it with bans and penalties, and algorithm shifts, and now it just doesn’t work.

Even if it did work, these aren’t the types of sites you can just “build and they will come” you have to have some way to direct traffic and link-weight too them. Ask yourself, do you already have link-weight you can send to such a site? Do you even know what link-weight is or how to get it? If so, you have no business even trying these things. But, of course, they don’t work anymore anyways.

If you want to make money with affiliate merchant datafeeds you gotta do something other than just duplicate the product catalog on a dummy site. You need an angle, and there are only so few, and most require advanced programming.

I figure if these guys call me twice in an 18 hour period, they gotta be hitting up others too, so let me save you some money, just say no. There are far better, easier, cheaper, and more reliable ways to make money online. Pick a topic, get a free blog from wordpress or blogger, and start writing.

Just remember this, if there is an easy way to make money online, a million Indians and Chinese are ALREADY doing it, and they’re willing to do it for a few dollars of profit, you will never compete.

Steal of a Deal on New vBulletin

October 26th, 2009 by Chris

Internet Brand’s, vBulletin’s new owners, annoyed some people when they rolled blog & CMS functions into a new vbulletin suite with project tools as well.

Most license owners felt like they were being forced to pay for software that they’ll never need or use (project tools, and maybe CMS), just to continue using their blog software.

It is a valid complaint, project tools are a niche product that only applies to work environments, most communities are not work environments.

However, they have since seemingly fixed thing, smoothed things over. For one, they changed the licensing scheme, probably for the better. You now only buy the license once, and it is good until the next major release. So if you have a vb 3.1 license, and two years later 3.9 comes out, you can upgrade. Currently you need to renew yearly. So instead you’re just renewing if you have 3.1 and 4.0 comes out (major release).

Now…they could do what Interspire has done in the past and make major releases that aren’t seemingly major and force you to upgrade, and that wouldn’t be good, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Secondly, until Oct 30th they’re running a big sale on licenses. Just go here and get your 4.0 VB Suite license for only $130 (if you have an existing license) that is cheaper than a standard forum license, and it includes the CMS and blogs and whatnot, and that gives you free upgrades for the life of 4.x. But only until Oct 30th. Not a bad deal at all.

Things I dislike about Elance

October 23rd, 2009 by Chris

So, I post a project on elance, and I get many responses, and they’re all the exact same.

“We are pleased to introduce ourselves as programmers and coders…”

They’re all the same, they’re all from India, even the ones that say they’re from the US are from India, which annoys me to no end.

I’m not xenophobic, but I prefer to work with people from more developed countries. I don’t know if it is a cultural thing or what, but in my experience most Indian programmers lack intuition to do small things that are needed to improve efficiency and user friendliness. They also seem to have a problem grasping the big picture, or understanding what your goal is for what you need. The end result is needing to micromanage them to the nth degree, which requires so much time you might as well do it yourself.

Whereas people from western cultures, you can tend to tell them what you want to accomplish, and they can fill in a lot of the blanks without input from you.

I tend to only consider Indian programmers (or other foreigners) for tiny jobs then, things that I can very discretely define. I have a job right now, directory website, very simple, small, and they’re having the hardest time getting it. Additionally, I’ve gotten 30+ Indian bids, but not one from North America, normally I get more than that. I post a very very specific brief, and they come back with a list of features (shopping cart? Hello?) I didn’t even ask for. It is almost as if they assume I want a directory just like their last job, whatever that may have been. Or perhaps they simply don’t care enough to read my brief and instead are just replying to as many as possible in hopes of finding work.

The problem is there is just so many of these misunderstanding bidders, that I am just completely turned off from Elance at this point and am just thinking about doing it myself. I did a little php last night and this morning, and it was nice to do that again, I haven’t programmed in awhile. Fun even. I could probably crank this job out in 8 hours or less, of course with the Baby that equates to 3 days, but still, I could do it.

Maybe I will, but I think it’ll be awhile before I post on Elance again. If I wanted a bunch of form letters from foreigners wanting to do business with me I could just open up my junkmail folder.

Global Market Exposure

September 24th, 2009 by Chris

My Netbiz post was pretty popular. So when some guy named Chad called me today feigning to be a customer so I’d call him back I decided that I’d give “Global Market Exposure” the same treatment.

The call started out somewhat funny.

Him: “I was just on your website and I’m actually calling from Google.”

Me: “So you work for Google?”

Him: “Well, I’m calling from Google and….globalmarketexposure.”

Me: “So you’re calling from Google.”

Him: “I work for Global Market Exposure, we’re an adwords qualified company working on behalf of Google” (finally, half-truth!)

Me: “Did your company used to be called Netbiz?”

Him: “No, we’re much better than Netbiz, we can get you uploaded to the first page of Google within an hour. We-” (Did they choose to inappropriately use the word “upload” to sound more technical? I was so impressed with his masterful use of Internet jargon!)

Me: “You don’t actually work for Google, you just setup adwords ads for people, something they can do themselves. ”

The call degenerated rather quickly from there on.

Why doesn’t Google weed out companies like this that use confusing sales tactics? Quite frankly I think it gives Google a bad name. It is also highly unethical to represent ads as search placements, they’re not, they’re ads.

For the record, companies like Netbiz or this new outfit, Global Market Exposure, place advertisements through Google Adwords. Adwords is an auction based advertising system whereby the highest bigged gets slot 1, the second highest slot 2, etc. With each bid being modified through internal Google systems that judge quality and click through rate (a high bid no user will ever actually click on because the ad sucks isn’t going to do Google any good). Anyone can do this yourself for free.

This advertising differs 100% from Search Engine Optimization. Which is the practice of painstakingly building and tweaking your site so that it ranks better naturally in the unpaid main search results. There is no quick fix for search engine optimization, and as a general rule if someone says they can give you a top listing automatically or within hours, they’re talking about placing adwords advertisements, not doing SEO for you.

Using one of these companies is akin to using someone to put an ad in the phone book for you. Maybe the person is an expert at phone book ads, and maybe you’re too busy and don’t have the time. But you could probably do it yourself, and you could also probably setup your own adwords advertisement yourself. Plus, since you’ll not be using a middleman, you’ll be spending less money and so more easily obtain a positive ROI.

Caveat Emptor.

On an unrelated note the company uses the domain google-placement.com looks to me like a trademark violation. Anyone want to place a wager on how long that lasts? Anyone know a Googler to forward that juicy tidbit to?

Best of the Web Directory Submission Coupon

September 13th, 2009 by Chris

Best of the Web is, in my opinion, one of the top three web directories for promotion. I use it, I recommend you use it. Directory submissions as link popularity builders aren’t as powerful as they once were, the rise of blogs and the rise of cheap useless directories (plus the malaise at DMOZ and Yahoo) has seen to that. But they still help, and while it costs money, for certain sites, such as ecommerce sites, your one time fee can be earned back on a single sale. So, I do recommend it.

Anyways, you can use the coupon code “SINCE94″ to get 20% off your order through the end of September.

Aftermath: Results of a Hacker Attack

August 27th, 2009 by Chris

My literature site was one of the tens of thousands infected by a worm recently. This new type of attack works by not attacking insecurities on your site, initially I was worried it was from a backdoor or other weak script on my server, but rather it attacks webmasters at home by infecting work PCs and then sniffing for FTP passwords on that PC or on another PC on the network.

I am not sure if it was my network/PC that provided the entry, or that of someone who was doing work on the site at the time, but entry was gained via FTP. Luckily, since each user FTP account is restricted to their own directory, no system files were affected.

However, let me start at the beginning.

In late July I was told by my host that my server was dying. The hard drive was on it’s last leg and needed to be swapped out. They could give me a new hard drive, but then I’d be responsible for moving sites over, and there would likely be some downtime, I don’t like downtime, it costs me money. I argued with them asking why they could not merely mirror the drive, they said they didn’t do that sort of thing. Finally I settled on just getting a new server, but since I had paid for some serious upgrades to the current one I was worried about getting railroaded on the price on the new one.

Kudos to The Planet they didn’t railroad me at all. Instead they offered me a better server for about $100 less per month. Needless to say I took it, but that added a large deal of work for me to do in securing the new server, doing setups, moving files over, etc.

I had server hardening done by a company I had used in the past and proceeded to move most of the server files over. I got all of the static site files move, shut down the forums on the old servers, copied over the SQL databases, turned the forums on at the new servers, and tossed .htaccess files on the old server to redirect all requests to the new IP to cover the period of DNS uncertainty following a move.

Then I bought a rental property, and doing the negotiations with the realtor coupled with my wife going back to work and me becoming the primary daytime caretaker of my then 10 or 11 week old son (since I work from home), I was quite busy. After arranging our purchase agreement for the property my brother and I spent two days straight, working dawn to bedtime, gutting and renovating the upstairs unit. It was on Monday, the first day of our two day blitz, that the hackers attacked.

That weekend prior I had noticed a script not working under MySQL 5 (old server had MySQL 4, it was a left join issue). The script creator, a friend, whom I have an arrangement with (he handles the software, in exchange I provide him with content), was told and started working on it, and an hour or so after he started the hackers hit.

Hundreds of IP addressed logged into the server and started replacing index files, this was in the wee hours of Monday morning, I didn’t notice. I went to work at the rental building the next day also without noticing. I didn’t notice in fact until 3 AM on Tuesday morning when I got up to feed the baby. I was just too damn tired on Monday to notice and because there was no Apache downtime, I didn’t get any alerts as I would have in such a situation.

So I stayed up until 6 or 7 AM on Tuesday fixing the problem, that was a rough night. This hacker attack inserted iframes into index pages that would initiate a drive-by-download when users visited. Unfortunately for them, they failed. Their goal is to stealthily insert the code and then have it go unnoticed for weeks or months, in my case it was easy to see, and I would have noticed it easily had Monday been a normal day.

See, they inserted their iframe into a block of PHP code on my index page, oops. All they did was break the PHP causing the index page to throw a parsing error. No infected page was served to users, and the homepage of the site was effectively down. Now, you never like having your homepage go down, but this site gets almost all of it’s entry traffic through subdirectories, and having the homepage break for a day, thus informing me of the attack, would be better than having nothing happen and having me not notice it.

So, 3 AM on Tuesday morning I notice the site broken. I think it’s odd for me to have left a parse error like that on a life page without double checking, so I pull up the file, check it, see the malicious iframe, and immediately go into defense mode. First step, change all passwords. Second step, fix the index page. I SSH’d into the server and scanned for other changed files, using linux’s timestamps they were easy to find. They had changed about 50 or so index.php files (50 may seem like a lot, but the site has 4000+) in subdirectories. However, those files were all deprecated, the site switched to using cached plain index.html files awhile ago, so again, no infected files were served to users.

At this point I still didn’t know how access had been gotten, I was worried about script vulnerabilities most of all, and I looked, and looked, and looked, and couldn’t find anything. I was especially doubtful it was a script vulnerability because nothing was inserted into a MySQL database, and the php files that were edited could only be edited by root. I knew they didn’t have root, both because I was confident in the security of my root access, and also because only one site on the server was compromised (likewise, none of my other sites on any server were compromised).

I also suspected, though I did not yet know, that a keylogger on my own PC could have been the culprit, so I installed a few new AV programs and did a lot of scans to make sure my system was clean.

Eventually I figured out it was an FTP attack, but I felt fine about it. Passwords had been changed, logs checked and they didn’t FTP to get any important files, they didn’t touch any of my backend files where the database work is done, just those handful of index.php files with the iframes that never got served to visitors.

So, like two weeks later, I get a notice from one of my forum members. When visiting some of the pages on the site they were warned by Google it had malicious code. So I go check Google Webmaster Central where I have an account with this site verified, and yes, they report malicious code on many pages as recently as the current day. They’re also supposed to email you when that happens, I never got the email. They had apparently had parts of the site flagged for 10 days or more. Additionally, they had pages flagged that the hackers never touched. Had I not been busy with baby and business I may have noticed traffic plummeting, but I normally get traffic dips this time of year between school semesters, so I’m not sure I would have (though, this is now the lowest traffic has been in nearly 8 years probably).

So for the last few days I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how Google is seeing malicious code on pages where I have gone over them, again and again, with a fine tooth comb. I even rebuilt apache entirely on the server. I could find nothing, and Google kept reporting seeing it.

So today I was going to finally cancel the old server, I had left it up because stupid search engine crawlers don’t update their DNS quickly enough. Regular ISPs will do it in hours, but for some reason search engines can go weeks without updating DNS. So I SSH’d to the server to check things out, I checked netstat and sure enough, a bunch of Yahoo Slurps and a few Googlebots were still poking around on it. I thought, this is stupid, I know I setup an .htaccess redirect, why isn’t it working? So I go and read the .htaccess file.


I had never checked the old server after the attack, I never changed the password on it. Turns out both the new and old servers had been attacked simultaneously, and while the new server had the attack stopped quickly, the old server let the attackers keep on coming for weeks. Eventually they replaced my redirecting .htaccess with one of their own which redirected visitors to their spam site, this in effect infected all URLs on the site.

So, for the handful of Googlebots that were using the old DNS (and anyone else), when they’d visit the site they’d see the infection and flag the URL, but since most Googlebots had the new DNS, they saw a clean site and that is why I was seeing inconsistencies.

I’ve lost a lot of money over this incident, probably over a thousand dollars in lost ad revenue because of the traffic loss, assuming I can get the Google warnings removed quickly now. Assuming there is no long term losses in traffic or search rankings I think I got off light. It is a lot of money, but it was an important lesson to learn. I never thought to check the old server. Money lost or not, I’m just happy to finally know the cause of the malware flags, and to know that I have corrected the issue. I’ll be able to stop stressing out over something I couldn’t figure out.

What follows is a list of IP addresses that were involved in the attack on my servers. Obviously these IPs are just infected members of the hacker’s botnet, but I thought it was worthwhile to block them in my firewall, and I include them here if any of you want to do the same. The first IP in the list has special significance, it was the IP that did the .htaccess modifications on the old server, all the other IPs just edited (over and over) index files.

Introducing: Two Step External Links, a Nofollow Replacement

July 22nd, 2009 by Chris

Last month Google announced a change as to how they handle the rel=nofollow link attribute.

To simplify, PageRank, or link weight, is passed from one page to another through links. To decide how much each link gets the total weight the page has to offer is divided by the number of links on the page. Previously Google, and other engines, removed rel=nofollow links from this equation entirely. Meaning if you used rel=nofollow on your external links, especially those submitted by users such as in blog comments and forum posts, you allow more weight to be passed through your internal links, thus benefiting your site. You can read more about this topic in the above linked post as well as in these two articles: All About Link Popularity & Pagerank; Site Architecture: Optimizing your Internal Links.

The change is that rel=nofollow is added back into the equation, and the weight rationed to the nofollow links simply is never delivered, it goes to the abyss, it is vaporized, never to be seen from again. This change was done quietly around a year ago, Google only just spilled the beans last month, but this would explain the roughly global PageRank drop (where most sites lost PR) that occured back then, all the nofollow links within Wikipedia alone would vaporize a large amount of the Internet’s overall weight.

What this means for site owners is that where you thought you were once conserving PageRank, you’re now just hurting yourself. You should remove all nofollow stamps on all internal links, all of them, and on external links they’re now pointless for link weight conservation.

We can choose to go back to the other methods of link weight retention, methods that we used prior to the invention of nofollow, but many of them are also likely poisoned by this change (such as running through a redirect script blocked by robots.txt) and others have accessibility issues or may be considered blackhat one day.

Instead I immediately thought of a solution that doesn’t aim to block all link weight leakage, but instead aims to mitigate it as much as possible, this is done through two concepts. Depth and link ratios. The deeper a link is in your site, the less PageRank it’ll tend to pass, and the higher the internal link/external link ratio on any given page, the less will be lost.

The solution thus is what I call, Two Step External Links this is really just a visible static page redirect, instead of the automatic redirects that have been used in the past. This type of redirect actually has exists for as long as the Web has, only it was primarily used for liability reasons at government, school, or medical websites where the sites did not want any perceived liabilty for the quality of the content their external links pointed to. What is new is using this method of link for PageRank retention.

Now, you’re supposed to use rel=nofollow on your blog comments and forum posts because you do not exercise editorial control over those links and you do not want to be blamed if they point to bad neighborhoods. But suppose you’re a really good blogger and have a 20 link menu on your blog, but then you make a really good post and get 200 comments on it, all with an external link. If all of those comments are nofollowed, you lose 90% of your PageRank on that page, 90%. If all those links are not nofollowed and not otherwise redirected, you lose 90% of your weight still, and you also open yourself up to the “bad neighborhood” linking liability (plus you’re rewarding potential spammers, thus encouraging more spam, and we hate spam don’t we precious?) If, however, you use my plugin for your blog you recycle 95% of the 90% of weight you’re losing back into your site, meaning instead of losing 90% of your original weight, you’re losing 8.5%.

How it works is, as I explained above, through depth and ratios. You have a visible redirect page that has your fully menu on it and the external link, but since there is just the one link vs your menu (as opposed to 200 vs your menu), it is vastly out numbered by your menu, and so you mitigate the link weight you lose.

I have had developed two plugins for this system. You can download them here. One is for vBulletin, the other is for WordPress. Each plugin has a whitelist so you can exempt certain domains from redirects. Each has a setting to allow the redirect page to itself have a meta refresh redirect on it (to automatically forward after X secondS), and each has a setting to set the external link on the redirect page to nofollow or not (I recommend nofollow). The vbulletin plugin also has a setting to only show it to guests (users not logged in).

The WordPress plugin is really easy to install, just upload it to your plugin directory, the vBulletin plugin requires a few file edits. In both cases if you run other plugins that modify the same parts they may not work, and in both cases it has been tests on both the newest and slightly older versions of the software.

The plugins are free to use, they are in my opinion completely white hat, and both are extremely effective at retaining link weight within your site.

Also both redirect systems are powered with a simply query string and so you can easily send links through them from anywhere else on your site once installed, such as your custom CMS or from within articles where you write the links manually, to then redirect those links as well if you want.

Wee Little Interspire Review Update

July 21st, 2009 by Chris

Well, I officially got tired of waiting for a reasonable way to input product variations, so I fixed it myself.

I sat down today, the baby miraculously slept for 3 hours, and I cranked this out. All told, it took me 4 hours to build a new frontend that allows me to quickly add product variations, potentially cutting down the time required by dozens of hours per product for complex products.

Note, I am not a professional programmer (not in my definition), I’m a bit of a hack. I may have been considered professional at one time, but as my interests moved from being a freelance developer to SEO and site management, my programming skills never improved further, so now I’m pretty far behind true professionals. I also was completely unfamiliar with the database schema and had to familiarize myself with it. And yet… 4 hours later, here it is.

Again, the issue with their cart is that suppose you sell a T shirt, that comes in 10 colors and 10 sizes. They require you to enter pricing information for every possible combination of color and size, even if they don’t change the price at all. Then suppose you add gift wrapping as a yes/no option. That then ups the form lines you have to fill out from 100 to 200, just that.

With my script instead you define a price for 10 colors, define a price for 10 sizes, and define a price for no gift wrapping and yes gift wrapping, 22 total definitions, as opposed to 200.

In my original review on Interspire’s cart I provide an example that results in 103,680 definitions you must manually fill out. My script does the same thing with 50. Would you rather fill out fifty form fields, or one hundred thousand form fields?

Anyways, this script is for sale if anyone wants it, $50, what a bargain for all the labor it’ll save you. Just paypal $50 to paypal at thebeasleys.org and I’ll email it to you.

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