The Google Base Doomsday Bug

The infamous Y2K or “millennium” bug that was once promised by some cynics to set off a chain reaction that would lead to the end of the world was due in large part to early stage computer programmers’ inability to foresee their future generations’ need to go past the year “99″.

And while a similar lack of foresight in Google Base’s login interface is generally not associated with any sort of doomsday predictions (that we’ve heard of at least)–it can often lead to some needless confusion for certain merchants who list high quantities of items.

We are often asked by clients why Google is only “accepting” a certain portion of their items. This is the result of Google limiting the “Active Items” variable to just 9,999 (see below)

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Before you go off and rush to your nearest bomb shelter though, keep in mind that this is simply a glitch on Google’s part–who for some reason do not have the technical capabilities to enable 5 digits on this tab–and has no bearing whatsoever to the actual number of products that you can have listed.

So if you are a merchant listing more than 9,999 products, pay attention instead to the “Processed” and “Inserted” variables listed under “Item Status”–as seen above. This is a more accurate number that reflects the true number of items that were accepted, and will come up on Google Base and Google Product searches.

As a final addendum then while you slowly take off those tin foil hats: if you want a preview of how your products are appearing to Google Base users, you can click on the “Active Items” tab and select the “View all searchable items” option (as seen below:)
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We recommend this step to all merchants listing on Google Base (and there’s no reason not to be) to ensure that all their images/titles/descriptions/prices show up properly.

And if they aren’t, then it would be a good time to blame Y2K…

Until next time then, we’ll see you on the shopping engines.

-Tien

About the AuthorTien Nguyen is a co-founder of CPC Strategy and deals with data feeds in his waking hours and often in his sleep. He spends his free time with Rubik's cubes while rooting for the underachieving Raiders and UCLA sports teams where he graduated with a mathematics/economics degree. See all posts by this author here.

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