Complete infrastructure overhaul

As you unfortunately likely noticed over the past few weeks, our service has been a bit choppy at times. We wanted to clarify what happened, and why we had to go through this.

We’ve been providing our tools to Yahoo! merchants for a little over 8 years now and over that period of time, our tools have grown and morphed, meaning our technological needs have also grown – and morphed. Plus, technology in general has also evolved. So after all these years, it was time for us to undertake a complete infrastructure review, which we did late last year. It quickly became apparent that there was some better hardware out there that we could use to improve our service, and so we embarked on the long journey of migrating all our existing hardware to new equipment. We held off on doing that last fall, to avoid any disruption during your very busy holiday season, and only got around to it in late february.

The process didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped and expected. We apologize again for the bumps and issues you were subjected to over these few weeks of migration. We want to assure you that we did everything that we could to make the transition as smooth as possible, but have learned quite a few tricks and gotchas that will make the next migration – in another 8 years, hopefully! – much smoother than this one.

That being said, we are very happy to announce that the move, although bumpy, was worth it: our service’s speed has gone up 40-50%.


The new hardware will also allow reports to be generated a bit faster, as well as offer better capacity for the big holiday season and other traffic spikes.

We thank you very much for your support and patience, and hope that you feel the difference and benefit from better serving times. As for us, we are now moving on to improving our tools and offering you even more goodies. We are always working with you guys in mind, trying to find new ways to make things better and easier for you and your business.

Thank you,

Michael and Jean.

Service Downtime

Last night our new web servers suddenly went silent, around 7PM Pacific Time. To make matters worst, our monitoring service failed to warn us of the downtime.

When the issue was discovered this morning at 4AM Pacific Time, it was immediately fixed. But that unfortunately means that Google Analytics data will be missing for that time period.

Any store using our latest code installation would still have loaded their pages unimpeded; however, any store still using our older code installation might have seen their pages slower to load. We urge anyone of you that has “monitus_init” installed on their store pages to contact us so we can schedule a code upgrade and avoid slow downs in the future.

We are now actively seeking the cause of the two problems (the web server fault and the monitor’s failure to warn us) to better prevent, and react to such incidents in the future.

Please accept our most sincere apologies,

Michael and Jean at

Associating product categories to items

If you have product categories containing multiple items you can now analyze the performance of those product categories right in Google Analytics. This is called Content Groupings in Google Analytics.


It is very valuable to see how groups of pages perform, as opposed to individual pages. What is the value of your best performing pages? In general, optimization is far more manageable for a few a buckets than for lots of individual pages or products. Even cross-selling rules are far easier to find than on an individual sku-level.

It’s therefore highly recommended that you take the extra step to categorize your product pages. Luckily, it’s easy to add this capability.

Google Analytics

You need admin rights in order to add Content Groupings. The main thing is that you make a note of the slot:


In your tools settings, just select the same slot:


If you don’t see Content Grouping in the tools settings, it means that we don’t have your categories information on file. Please read on.

Product Categories data setup instructions:

If you use Merchant Solutions or have upgraded to Merchant Solutions there are several ways with which to associate items with product categories:

1) In Catalog Manager:

Click on “Manage Your Tables” and edit “default-table” (If you use other tables repeat these instructions). In the “Custom Fields” section click “Edit”. Add a new field called monitus-category of type Text. Hit Update when you are done and “Save” the table.

You will now see this new field when you add or edit your items. Add the category name in this field for your items. Publish your catalog when you are done. The monitus-category field will be added to your XML feed catalog.xml, which we can then pick up. Of course, your XML feed has to be enabled. If this is not the case, you can enable the feed in Store Manager > Search Engines.

2) Send us a simple CSV file:

The csv file should be comma-separated and only contain two fields: id and category, where id is the id of the item. Click here for a sample file: categories.csv

Finally email this file to us and we will associate it with your account.

Useful tip

If you have hundreds or thousands of products it may be very time-consuming for you to add categories to items. However, if you use the Store Editor and if your catalog is categorized according to sections and products, you could use a simple RTML template to help you generate the csv file automatically. Get your RTML developer to do this for you if you don’t want to do this yourself.

Here is a sample RTML template that you could use. It uses the helper RTML template find-top-section to associate every item with the top-level category in your store. Then copy and paste the output to a text editor and save as a csv file.



Service Issue

An issue with one of our servers today produced a small disruption in our services. The episode lasted a little less than one hour, from 12:27 PM to 1:21 PM. We were warned of the issue within 30 minutes of the incident’s beginning, and were able to isolate and fix the issue rapidly.

We are sincerely sorry for the problems this may have caused you. Failures of this sort will unfortunately happen, and we are taking every step possible to make sure they don’t happen often. Our next effort will be in improving our response time.

It is to be noted that for those running the latest version of our code, your store would normally not have been prevented from displaying. The possible symptoms this would have caused would be the loading indicator running for longer than usual in your visitor’s browser (but again, the page would still be loaded and usable) and for those using some dynamic features like checkout buttons, those would not have loaded, or loaded more slowly.

For those of you still using our old code, you unfortunately would have seen slowness and, in the beginning of the incident, your page might have stalled on the monitus code. That is one of the major improvements of the new version of our tools, so if you were blocked by monitus tools, please contact us so we can see if your code needs upgrading – and we will upgrade it for free, at your earliest convenience.

We are thankful for the trust you show us by placing our code on your store, and are committed to offer the best service possible. Rest assured we are constantly improving our tools and monitoring to offer you the best possible service and turn-around in case of failures.

Thank you,

Michael and Jean.

Upgrade to Universal Analytics

As you may have noticed Google Analytics has a new tracking and processing platform called Universal Analytics. All accounts will be migrated to Universal Analytics from classic ga.js tracking at some point. If you would like to upgrade now to Universal Analytics you have to take these steps:

1) Look for the Upgrade link in your Google Analytics admin section and click on Transfer on the next page.

Universal Analytics upgrade

You must wait until the transfer has been completed before making any tracking code changes.

2) You must let us know when the transfer is complete. This can take up to 48 hours. We will then set your account to use Universal Analytics. Note that once you upgrade you cannot downgrade.

3) You will need to update the tracking code on your site. You can see the updated code in Your Account > Tracking Code. In most cases this will be a simple copy and paste over your existing monitus code, but the new code completely replaces any existing monitus code. Look out for code for example that may have been installed the footer of the checkout wrapper. That code will have to be removed.

Also note that if you have any event tracking calls on your site, e.g. to track onclick events, you will have to update those code snippets. For example, the event tracking call might look like this:

Classic ga.js: _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'button', 'click', 'nav buttons']);
Universal: ga('send', 'event', 'button', 'click', 'nav buttons');

4) Since more tracking logic has been moved server-side you should also add a couple of domains to the referral exclusion list: , and (to account for Paypal orders)

If you are in doubt about anything, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you prefer that we handle the upgrade process we’d be happy to do so for a nominal fee of $49.