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What to Look For In Contract Negotiations

Posted on September 24, 2010 by Zach

Being involved in marketing at Gordian Project I see a lot of contracts. Add that to the fact that we have a lawyer on staff, and you get to learn about the finer points of contract negotiation; such as what certain things mean in contracts, what’s important to look for and when the right time is to push for a better deal or compromise. You also learn a fair amount of lawyer speak and legalese which can help wading through these types of things. Being a small company it’s always important that we save money when we can and spend wisely so we always push for better deals, less restrictive terms and shorter contract lengths. Our motto when it comes to contracts and agreements are, “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” This rings true in life and in business. When a contract slides across my desk or enters my inbox here are some of the things I care about, they also tend to be my first points of negotiation.


Of course pricing is always going to be the main negotiating point. Many times that can be represented as a one time or monthly flat payment, a percentage of sales or a combination of the two. Don’t forget to run the numbers for the different options, especially if you are working on a combination of flat payments and a percentage. In the short term a higher percentage and lower flat payment may look good, but in the long run you might be paying more than a lower percentage and higher flat rate would have you pay. Don’t forget to shop around and do your research, if you know someone is getting a good deal then you have an idea of the concessions that are available.

Contract Length

Contract or agreement length is one of the next items I usually look at. I normally look out for the red flags and ask the following questions. Is the contract trying to lock you into a two or more year term? What is a term you are comfortable with concerning this contract? How does the renewal work? Is it automatic or are there more negotiations? When thinking about these questions you want to make sure that you are looking at the costs for the entirety of the term in order to understand the costs structure and what you are getting for those costs.


Terms are another point I always look for. Some of the key questions I ask are: How do they want you to pay? Do you need to keep a minimum budget? Are there payment terms? If there are when will you be receiving the invoice and when you get the invoice how long until payment is due? Most often I push for invoiced payment terms, with the industry standard 30 days from the date of the invoice. These payment terms give us plenty of time to receive and process the invoice and typically we are able to hold onto the dollars longer than other options with these terms.

Contract Termination

Contract or agreement termination is like an opt out and if good termination language is in place the length of the actual term becomes a bit less important. This enables one of the parties to end the contract, usually with a written notice and a certain length of time. For example, the agreement may include language that lets either party terminate the agreement for any reason within thirty days of written notice. I almost always try to get this included if it’s not already. This is important because if the service or product is not working out the way you wanted or priorities have changed, you are able to get out of the agreement without staying for and paying for the entire term of the agreement. Beware of people who will not even think about adding this for you, sometimes they are just trying to lock you into an agreement without caring about your goals or priorities.

If I can’t get some kind of contract or agreement termination I certainly make sure that if it makes sense there are performance metrics that need to be achieved. Doing this at least holds the other party to some kind of performance levels with which you are aware of beforehand. Sometimes this means completing projects, increasing sales, reducing cost, etc. That way, especially if you can’t get out of the contract via termination, you both understand what kinds of things are expected during the term of the contract or agreement. If these are not achieved typically the contract or agreement is terminated. A common mistake here is not putting in a timeline; make sure that if there are performance goals, both parties understand when and how those are to be achieved, as well as when they will be evaluated during the term of the contract or agreement.


Amendments are simply something you need to keep in mind. Sometimes there may be a need to make an amendment to the agreement such as adding or removing an additional service. Just watch the language in the amendment to make sure you are not agreeing to anything you are not aware of, or that it’s not increasing or extending the term of the original agreement unless that's what you want.


I include goodwill as a caveat, sometimes people push so hard for a good deal or better terms that they forget about other opportunities and values. If you use up all of your goodwill getting a great deal there may be none left for co-marketing, press releases, white papers, blogs, social media promotion or other items that might be more valuable than a better deal.

I hope that helps, I would be interested in what others look for in contracts or agreements as well! Happy negotiating! offers its customers tens of thousands of plumbing, home improvement, and building products in a range of categories including Kitchen and Bathroom, Water Heaters, Lighting, Pumps, Tools, Access Doors, Valves, Commercial and more. Individuals and businesses can shop quickly and easily at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Woot Acquired by Amazon? Who Else is Hoping for Better Deals?

Posted on July 1, 2010 by Zach

As reported yesterday by Internet Retailer, Amazon is buying Woot, one of the pioneers of the one deal at a time model (Interested in creating your own one deal at a time store? Check out Dealo - end shameless plug).

I'm sure that many Wooters (especially those who have used Woot for a while) are excited about this as I have heard many a deal hunter comment about the lack of good deals on Woot lately. It will be interesting to see what if anything Amazon does with Woot, we saw them acquire Zappos and continue to let them run the company almost independently. I could however see them replicate Woot, fold it into (Friday sale anyone?) or continue to let it run and expand as it has, hopefully with better deals. Needless to say it will be interesting to watch it unfold.

If you are interested in a little Woot humor check out their rapping monkey video about being acquired.

Little Giant has been hard at work engineering pumps that their most loyal customers have been waiting for. is your destination for the new Little Giant TSW Sump Pump System and their NXTGen Condensate Pumps.

Google’s Downtime Costs Company Updwards of Seven Million Dollars in Revenue

Posted on July 1, 2010 by Chad

Recently, Google Adwords made an announcement, on their blog, that Adwords stopped serving Ads sometime around 1:40pm pacific time, on June 29th, 2010 and lasted for about 3 hours. Nothing has been announced as to what caused the glitch at this time. I had a few inquiries go out to some of my Google reps, but it seems even they have been kept in the dark at the moment and very few people know the full situation in detail. While not greatly affected we could certainly tell looking through our reporting that something was up with Adwords.

I did however do some quick math based upon Google's 2009 financial tables.  Last year, Google made over $22,889,000,000 in advertising revenues, which includes Google and Google's network sites. These two areas were affected by the downtime. With some math, based on 365 days, you can figure out that 3 hours of downtime would have contributed to approximately $7,838,698 plus change, in loss of revenue, and that's not even calculating this year's growth into the equation. 

Google updated their blog around 4:40pm to let us know that the situation was completely resolved and that they are working to prevent something like this from happening again.


Why Building a Backup Payment System is Worth It

Posted on June 1, 2010 by josh

PayPal Payment Processor Payment Processor

You may or may not know that on Thursday, May 27, 2010, PayPal suffered from a significant issue. This was nothing like the $2,000 per second outage that PayPal faced in August of 2009. A logic error with PayPal's risk model led to a higher-than-normal chance of transaction decline. According to a source at PayPal, the issue affected PayPal's direct payments system (not PayPal Express Checkout) and their virtual terminal. I was told that this was an "all hands on deck" incident for PayPal.

The issue began just before 8:30AM PST and lasted until about 4PM PST. I was notified by our customer service team that there was an issue with transactions just before 9AM. They came to me to let me know that a number of transactions were declined for, seemingly, no good reason. Later in the day, I received an update that the issue affected approximately 15% of transactions for PayPal. Although, we were likely to see a higher fail rate in our customer service center, since customer's who had experienced an issue were likely to contact us, try again, and fail, again. We saw a fail rate of closer to 50 - 60% during the issue period.

In development, we had already planned to begin development shortly on a backup payment processor process. In August of 2009, we had been directly, and severely, impacted by an downtime. We knew that we would face payment processor issues, again, at some point. Apparently, it's inevitable. Given the number of customers who contacted us about the current issue, and the untold number of customers who did not contact us, and the thousands of dollars in lost revenues, and the poor customer experience, we knew that we would need to bump this project in priority to A1 status. So, at this point we had already had experience transacting securely with two payment processors, and had already begun work in mapping out the new process. The dev began.

By about 4PM we had wrapped up testing the new process and were ready to push it live when I received a contact from PayPal that their risk model issue had been resolved and that transactions had returned to normal. Classic. Well, we didn't beat the PayPal clock, but we did learn some things.

1) Payment processors fail. As much as I'd like to believe that they're committed to five-nines up-time, I know that will never happen.

2) Customers hate getting errors at checkout, especially after they've already entered their credit card information. I know it makes me uneasy when it happens to me; you don't have to have more than one phone call from a panicked customer to know that you've really wrecked the whole experience.

3) It's not a very difficult problem to solve. Chances are you have spent a great deal of time, energy, and resources negotiating rates and developing a system and reading through an API manual and following PCI requirements.

Building a backup system is still likely worth the time and effort, if not for the untold number of lost transactions, for the customer experience. Now I am left wondering, though, 'What happens when both processors fail at the same time?! ... I am kidding, of course; we just direct them to use Google Checkout.



How to Decipher Your UPS Bill

Posted on May 11, 2010 by Jeff

It doesn’t matter what phone you’re carrying, smart or not, at the end of the month we all endure the madness of deciphering a three to ten page cell phone bill (+/-). I mean really what is a Federal Excise Tax? CNET and others have actually gone so far as to write guides, “How to read your cell phone bill”.

Take that same madness and multiply it by 400 to 500 pages and you have an average Gordian Project weekly UPS bill. That’s right, multiply that for a month and we’re comparing a couple thousand pages to our three to ten page cell phone bill example.  UPS provides the following sample invoice. The “summary of charges” is simply defined as being broken out by billing option, adjustments, and other charges. It’s those adjustments and “other” charges you want to look out for. In fairness a glossary of detailed terms is also provided. However, sifting through all those pages to identify the charges, calculating the individual dollars associated to them, and then watching for trends week to week is all but a full time job.

UPS Sample Invoice

If you’re experiencing similar frustration or just interested in better understanding what you’re cutting a check for I would recommend enrolling in UPS Billing Data. Along with your physical or PDF invoice, UPS provides the raw data in CSV, XML, or EDI format.  That raw data (CSV only) can then be used in conjunction with the UPS Billing Analysis Tool to, “create customized reports, organize your billing data from multiple accounts into a single data file, and integrate the information into your company's business systems.” The tool is helpful but limited.

To simplify the review of data I built an excel file to calculate the dollars, quantity, and average weight of each of the 97 billing options, adjustments, and other charges. Now, by simply dropping the weekly UPS Billing Data (CSV only) into the “Data” worksheet and selecting the weeks to be compared in the “Summary” worksheet the file sifts through all those thousands of pages of billing data, identifies the charges, calculates the dollars associated to them, and provides a high level view of the weekly trends. Long story short you know what you’re writing a check for.  


How Google Checkout Lost 2/3 of Their Market Share in One Day

Posted on October 22, 2009 by Brian

At Gordian Project we use Google tools extensively.  Adwords, Analytics, Apps, Chrome, Website Optimizer, Webmaster tools, Checkout, YouTube, we use them all.  We’ve even got some nice press about our development of Google Checkout pixel tracking for affiliates and our utilization of Google Checkout combined with other Google products to improve overall marketing efforts.  We’ve had a good relationship with Google, have enjoyed several dinners with our Googlers, and have enjoyed the annual Christmas gift we receive from the Adwords team.  Unfortunately, that positive momentum has taken a severe blow.

A couple weeks ago Google Checkout’s finance team performed a review of our account and decided that a reserve would be required to “offset any refunds, chargebacks, or other claims against [our] balance.”  The notion in general was quite surprising since no other payment processor has ever set a reserve requirement on any of our accounts.  More surprising, though, are the amount of the reserve relative to our account activity, the lack of details as to how it was determined and what could be done to reduce/remove it.  This led to a fairly passionate phone conversation with a Google Checkout team member followed by a discussion with my management team as to how to proceed with Google Checkout on and

First, let’s tackle the sheer amount of the reserve.  Before sharing some numbers, for those unfamiliar, “Other Activity” is the bucket Google Checkout uses for refunds, chargebacks, claims, etc.  Each day a merchant has a starting balance, purchases, other activity, a payout, and an ending balance.  Starting Balance + Purchases – Other Activity – Payout = Ending Balance

For the Google Checkout account in question…

  • When looking at “Other Activity” the reserve requirement represents:
    • 786% of our highest “Other Activity” on a given day in 2009
    • 4,561% of our average daily “Other Activity” over the last 12 months
  • The reserve represents 670% of our average daily “Purchases” in 2009
  • At our Q3 2009 average weekday payout, and the fill rate from Google, it would take over 5 months to fill the reserve.  This would be even longer if we reduce our promotion of Google Checkout as a payment option.
  • When combined with our average “Ending Balance” Google will be holding over nine times our average daily “Purchases”.

All of you merchants out there know nine days of cash is unprecedented and ridiculous.  Particularly for an account that has been with Google Checkout since inception, without a single issue with respect to meeting our refund, chargeback, and claim obligations.  We currently offer Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AMEX, PayPal, and PayPal Pay Later along side Google Checkout.  None of these other payment methods, through which we transact significantly higher gross dollars, have required a reserve, most make funds available in a day or two, and at competitive rates.  Google Checkout stands alone in this reserve requirement.

When we challenged Google Checkout on these points they responded with:

Once the reserve is filled, no more funds will be withheld from your future disbursements. Furthermore, your ending balance is not included in the reserve. It is highlighted on the Merchant Help Center that Google initiates payouts within two business days of charging an order; therefore, Google is not effectively holding money back from you and these funds are not included in the reserve.

They’re obviously missing the point, the fact that after the reserve is filled the money that is earned is paid out in two business days is irrelevant to a merchant.  You are still holding the pool of cash.  By their logic we wouldn't care if the reserve was $1.00 or $5M as long as after it was full we received new money in two days.  Heck, make it $10M.  Yes, every dollar that goes in is paid out in two days on a last-in-first-out basis but we in essence must give tens of thousands of dollars to do business with Google Checkout.  The only way we can compare this with their competitors is to compare how many days of cash each holds at any given time, for whatever reason.  Many hold less than one, a couple hold one to two, and Google Checkout now wants to hold nine.  Additionally, our merchant accounts allow us to keep transaction fees through the month for debit at the end, which is another cash flow plus over Google Checkout.

So Google is in left field in terms of understanding the language of the merchant, and the amount of our reserve is extremely high compared to our volume of business.  So, to the second point, how did they come up with it?  Maybe that will also shed some light on how we can work to have it reduced or eliminated.  After some prodding, our Google Checkout contact responded, “For clarification purposes, the way we determine whether an account should be placed on a reserve is based on a proprietary set of rules…  However, the way we calculate the reserve placed on your account is an industry standard formula that other processors use.”  So the obvious… how, for a given account, can an industry standard formula result in a reserve requirement for Google Checkout but not for any other major payment processor in the industry?

Our subsequent request for the “industry standard formula” returned the high level variables included, without their values or the formula.  The variables included are, “your chargeback exposure, your refund exposure, and your delivery exposure.”  Given the numbers above I’m pretty confident chargebacks and refunds aren’t the culprit, which leaves delivery.  Google wants to cover the dollars that have been ordered but not shipped.  In essence, by setting a reserve that covers dollars in open orders Google is deciding we can’t have our money until the point of shipment, rather than at the point of order.  On average, Google keeps the cash for our work in process.  The point at which to charge a customer should be a decision made by the merchant, not the payment processor.  Some merchants offer only fast moving products that are always in stock and opt to charge at the point of shipment while other merchants may offer special order or hard to find products with lead times and opt to charge at the point of order, possibly to procure the special order items.  For the latter group, Google holding a reserve to cover the open dollars is a de facto trump of the business decision to collect up front.  Whether the former or latter group, it’s a business decision and shouldn’t be under the purview of the payment processor.  Most payment processors don’t even have shipment data.  They don’t need it; they simply process transactions, which yields no exposure.  Even still, lumping our total open dollars on top of our average “Other Activity” I couldn’t get anywhere near the reserve requirement Google calculated.

Ultimately, in fact, no specific changes or improvements have been recommended and the rep in our call finally agreed that our best bet is to hold our breath, cross our fingers and hope that the magic Google machine makes a better decision next time.

At the least this issue highlights Google Checkout’s lack of maturity relative to the payment processing space they have entered.  At its worst, this issue represents a seemingly arbitrary, punitive move to support Google’s interest income goals.

This has led us to strongly reconsider our approach to promoting Google Checkout as a payment option.  This year, across our sites, Google Checkout was presented as the first option in our checkout flow.  In light of these events, we have moved Google Checkout to be the last option in our checkout flow and in the first couple days noticed a drastic drop in Google’s share of our payment processor pie, to about 1/3 the previous level.  Interestingly, overall daily sales have increased noticeably.

Checkout Options

Just prior to completion of this post, Google Checkout reduced our reserve by about 29%, without sharing the new calculation.  At our new, lower sales volume through Google Checkout, this reserve, without including our average Ending Balance, is over 20 days of “Purchases” and will take over a year to fill.  Although I appreciate the reduced reserve, I’m not sure we’re making progress, or making sense.

If as the shimmer of “Google” begins to fade, and it inevitably will, this is how they begin treating customers, I’m betting on PayPal.



The Costs Associated with Unsalable Inventory

Posted on October 15, 2009 by Arianna

As I looked at our warehouse, I felt overwhelmed at the number of items we have in stock, and began to wonder how long these products have just been sitting here.  This made me contemplate, “Does it really matter that we have so much stock? We’re going to sell it one day, and if an order is placed, then at least we know we have it in stock and ready to ship.”  The question that I should be asking is: “Does it really matter that we have so much inventory obsolescence?” The answer to that issue is yes.  There are large costs that are incurred by carrying inventory that will become or has already become obsolete.

Inventory obsolescence happens when inventory is no longer salable; this tends to happen when we have too much inventory on hand, when products are out of season, or when demand is decreasing.

Warehouse and Supply Chain Managers need to be aware of the costs associated with inventory obsolescence so that they can properly manage their departments and budget accordingly.  I’ve put together a basic list of costs associated with stocking unsalable inventory.

Below are some of the costs that are associated with stocking inventory that is no longer salable:

Labor Costs- Labor spent on obsolete inventory is wasted labor. Employees have to spend time stocking products, picking, relocating, and taking inventory. The more inventory on hand, the more time is spent on performing these activities, thus the higher the costs.

Equipment Expenses- When inventory begins to grow, the need for racks, shelves, pallets, and maybe even a larger warehouse also grows. Not only are these costs fairly high, but these tools can also become damaged and worn.  When this happens these tools will need to be replaced. Equipment expenses are ongoing operating costs. 

Opportunity Costs- This affects us more than the others. When obsolete items are stored, the opportunity to stock more of the products that are in a higher demand is out of the question. Not only are customers not provided with the newest trends or “in” products, but the sales that could be acquired are essentially lost.

There are other types of costs that should be taken into consideration. Charles Atkinson’s article on When to Get Rid of Stock explains that when a company realizes that it is not profitable to keep such inventory, their best choice is to get rid of the stock they do have. Whatever the outcome maybe, the key is to develop some type of inventory obsolescence program that will save the company money in the long run.



First Hand Experience: A Lesson in PayPal Fraud

Posted on August 6, 2009 by Archives

PayPal a Force to be Reckoned With

With the rapid growth of online sales, there has also been a rapid growth in the number of people using PayPal. In fact Monday’s outage was a huge testament to the role that PayPal now plays in eCommerce.  Considering that sources like CNet revealed “The outage could be costly for those who rely on PayPal to handle e-commerce transactions. PayPal says about $2,000 in payments per second flows through the system, meaning that a one-hour outage would cut out about $7.2 million in commerce.” PayPal provides customers a safe and secure way to check out online.  PayPal allows customers to not only pay for items they purchase, but it allows users to transfer money between other PayPal users. PayPal accounts can be funded with an electronic debit from a bank account or by a credit card.

To access a PayPal account you need to have the username and password of the account. The username of a PayPal account is the main email address (primary email address) used to register the account. The owner of the account would also set up a password to be used along with the username to access the account. The security system is quite secure as long as the username and password of the PayPal account are known only to the actual owner of the account. If these details are available to anyone else it would mean that the security of that PayPal account could be compromised. Anyone acquiring the username and password of any PayPal account can access and perform all functions that the actual owner of the account could do. Although PayPal has a security key, PayPal identity scams have become more frequent. 


Account Exposed

I personally had an experience in which I had an eBay account and a PayPal account which was compromised. Someone sold fraudulent items under my eBay account (items they never intended to ship), linking my PayPal account to the sales.  They then collected the funds by transferring them from my account to theirs. When the eBay buyer realized their money was taken and no product was delivered, they started a claim with PayPal and in return the money was deducted out of my account!  I ended up not being liable after we fought the claims and PayPal did an investigation, but the accounts had to be closed and were no longer usable and it was a big hassle and I didn’t even realize that this was all going on until I saw debits coming out of our checking account.

There are a few ways that your PayPal account can be compromised. Being careless with your information is an obvious way for your account to be compromised. Writing down your information on paper or choosing a simple password, is another way. A common way the fraudster can get your PayPal information is by sending an email to the account owner notifying them of certain activity in their PayPal account. For these PayPal email scams to work, the receiver of the email is instructed to login to his or her PayPal account by clicking a link in the email. Once the user clicks the link in the email, he is taken to a web page that closely resembles a regular PayPal login page. This page is in fact a fake and is hosted by the fraudster (not PayPal) with the sole purpose of collecting confidential login details from the actual owner of the PayPal account.  These are referred to as fishing scams.


Account Protection

To avoid these types of PayPal fraud scams there are a few things you can do. One is to never use a simple password such as your first or last name, strong passwords should consist of a capital letter, a lowercase letter a number and a symbol if the service will allow all of the characters mentioned above to be used in the password. Two, never click links on emails to access your PayPal account. Also, type in the complete name of the PayPal website to the requested login, what you will see is that the URL is often a letter or two off or a play on words, for example Three, login to your account periodically and look for any strange or unexpected transactions.

The suggestions above will help you keep your PayPal account safe, while lowering the risk of your account being compromised.



Posted on July 21, 2009 by Ellen

I’ve been thinking about something lately and I need your help. Can someone please tell me why every article, blog post, news report, or ANY informational piece in our space has had recession tunnel vision?  Entrepreneurs in eCommerce have quickly shifted focus from the latest fads and trends in user interfaces and vendor partnerships to best practices in hiring, strategic cash plans, etc. and all as a result of the recession.

It seems that the recession is the driving factor behind the influx of attention made on best business practices.  This just cracks me up – as if these things should not be a major focus in BOOM times.  We should be doing this (concentrating on efficiencies, market share, employee retention rates, etc.) all the time!!  I have to admit, I am guilty of writing posts like this myself.  Just imagine if all of the business owners, politicians, whoever should be named, crunched these same numbers when the economy wasn’t forcing everyone to pay attention and do so?  What if we were motivated and “entrepreneurial” enough to make these meticulous calculations when things were going well?  If we all acted as if “economic Armageddon” (as we all like to call it around here) was just around the corner, just think about how much leaner and meaner our businesses, industries and economy would be as a result.  Those that are successful, those that survive and move through these difficult times are those that are proactive, those that are prepared and ready for what’s next, they create their own competitive advantage in doing so.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that different times call for different strategies, but it just seems like strategies such as particular hiring, sensible cash plans and market share maneuvers are important regardless of what the economy is doing.  How about from now on, don’t just ride the market cycles, drive them.


Buy, Build, or Leverage? Reassessing the Value of Third Party Relationships

Posted on May 6, 2009 by Zach

Recently, Elastic Path presented a great webinar on the topic of Buy, Build, or Leverage? It was a really great webinar which presented some great information and posed some interesting questions. Now of course Elastic Path is an eCommerce vendor and therefore certainly have some reasons to push their own product, however, overall I thought it was very interesting and that they did a good job of presenting the points and issues from all sides.

Since the Gordian Project uses a custom platform there are many instances where our problems and solutions can get technical in nature and be solved by an array of solutions. While our platform is mostly custom we have certainly assimilated solutions which we would rather buy or leverage than build such as LivePerson, PowerReviews, Google Analytics, Mcafee Secure, etc. All of these solutions we decided not to build, find a partner and then integrate their solution into our platform, each provides value for us in its own unique way. Most of these solutions were relatively easy to come to an agreement on, integrate and begin using. The webinar does a great job addressing this and I applaud them on their great presentation.

This webinar got me thinking about possible issues though and what we have faced in the past. What happens when things do not work out the way you intend or a solution is no longer providing the value you are looking for? Our saga in this regard has been the site search and merchandising elements of our website. When our website was first created it had custom site search functionality which worked well enough, nothing spectacular, no killer bells and whistles. After several years with this solution we decided that something more robust was needed, preferably with better search, marketing and merchandising capabilities. After looking at all of the options we decided to take on a 3rd party vendor who was considered best of breed in this field. After all negotiations were finished, and documents were inked, we were able to begin the task of integrating the solution, which was no small task. 

The solution worked especially well for most of our commitment with our partner, but issues with scalability arose when taking into account multiple websites.  Product upgrades on their part, required further development on our part became frequent and with less and less accurate notice.  Website changes on our part required cooperation on their part.  While there were few there were enough reliability issues and while any downtime is inopportune, two weeks before Christmas can really hurt an internet retailer.  Finally, there was a hefty price tag associated with the service.  In looking at all of these pieces together, the perceived value of the service began to dwindle. 

With all of that in mind, late last year we decided to forgo renewing our contract and instead decided to build something in-house.  While our solution would have fewer bells and whistles the resolution would be more than sufficient for our current needs, and far better than what we had initially. After some intense planning and development, using what we had learned, taking notes from what industry leaders were doing, and utilizing the research available to us, we created, what is in my opinion a pretty great solution.  It’s our own, and we have full control. While we continue to make tweaks it has been a very positive experience, and it turned out to be a financially smart decision as well. offers its customers tens of thousands of plumbing, home improvement, and building products in a range of categories including Kitchen and Bathroom, Water Heaters, Lighting, Pumps, Tools, Access Doors, Valves, Commercial and more. Individuals and businesses can shop quickly and easily at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.