Customer Paradigm Blog

  • Magento Community USPS Shipping Error Bug – 1.9.1.0

    January 19, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    USPS Shipping Bug in Magento (Solved!)     Magento Bug Report: USPS Shipping Not Working in Magento Community 1.9.1.0 Cause of Bug: ZIP+4 vs. ZIP code – fails via USPS API Magento Error Message: Magento USPS Error Message: (Default) This shipping method is currently unavailable. If you would like to ship using this shipping method, please contact us. View Magento USPS Shipping Method Bug Screenshot >> Description / How to Fix: Sometimes it’s all about the little things. We just found a bug in Magento 1.9.1.0 that causes a site to not be able to retrieve USPS shipping rates. After running a full Magento Code Audit on the site, and performing a lot of other tests, we found the source of the bug: If the ZIP/Postal Code is using a US zip code, it can only be the five digit ZIP Code. If you use the ZIP+4 that the Post Office actually loves, this will confuse USPS servers ...
  • Magento Enterprise Home Page Error 404 Bug Solved

    January 15, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    From the (Linux) Desktop of a Certified Magento Developer: Magento Enterprise Error 404 for Home Page (Solved!) Are you having difficulty with a Magento Enterprise site’s home page showing a 404 error? We recently were doing an upgrade, and found a (bug) in the Magento Enterprise code base. We hesitate to say that it’s a serious bug, because if a Magento Enterprise site is set up correctly, then this shouldn’t happen. But out in the wild, with real customer data that might have been automatically imported (or carried through during an upgrade), we found this crazy issue. Here’s the scoop: Since Magento Enterprise 1.13.0.0, if a product is in the database with no name (an empty string or NULL in the value column of catalog_product_entity_url_key), it can create a 404 homepage bug when Product URL Rewrites reindexes. This happens even if the product’s status is Disabled. When you reindex the Product URL Rewrites, it ...
  • 2014 eCommerce Review + 2015 Web Trends

    January 7, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    I hope you had a great New Year and that 2015 is off to a good start! With the holidays right behind us, I wanted to give you a recap of how eCommerce grew in 2014, and some of the trends in online marketing I’m predicting for 2015. Read more below >> Online Sales Up 14% (Nov 1 – Dec 31) According to an IBM Corp report, online sales from Nov 1 – Dec 31 grew 14% from the year before. However, the average order size was down 8% from last year, to $119.33. More people are shopping than ever before with their mobile devices. People are doing a lot of research on their smartphones, but are purchasing more from tablets (13%) than smartphones (9%). Mobile Shopping Up. But Desktops are not dead. But in case you listen to the “gurus” who think that mobile is everything and that laptops and desktops are dead, people ...
  • How to Speed Up Website Speeds with Caching

    December 16, 2014

    Customer Paradigm

      Have you noticed that some sites load really, really quickly, while others seem to take forever to load? Last week, we helped a client speed up their page load times by 300%, by using website caching. What’s caching, and how does it affect page load times? Read more below >> Static HTML sites vs. Database-Driven Sites In the old, old days of the Web, all sites were made up of static pages. You had a document, like page.html, and it contained all of the content for the page. This document includes the title tag, meta description, top navigation, left navigation, content, footer and more. A static page might include a few calls to an a style sheet or a tell ...
  • Another Magento Certified Developer on the Customer Paradigm team

    December 15, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    A big congratulations! We had another programmer today here at Customer Paradigm successfully pass the Magento Certified Developer program. The Magento developer test was designed as a way to ensure that the programmer working on a Magento site has studied, understands the Magento framework, and really understands the platform inside and out. It can take 6-12 months to prepare for this test and study, and the test covers all aspects of the Magento core platform, including the Community and Enterprise systems.
  • Yellow Moon Rising Over Boulder, Colorado

    December 10, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Last night, one of my daughters noticed that a yellow moon was rising above Boulder, Colorado. I grabbed the camera, threw on a lens, and here’s an image: View full size image >> Tech Specs on this image: Canon 5D Mark III, 400 mm lens with 2x Extender (800 mm total), Handheld. 1/1,000 second exposure, f/11, ISO 5,000, 800 mm.  
  • Introducing Watchdog 3.1, Daily Sales Summary & Trigger Email Reports for Magento

    December 9, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      A long, long time ago, I worked as a professional dog trainer for search and rescue. It was an amazing job, and one that taught me lessons that I still use today. As you probably know, dogs can hear and smell things that humans can’t, and detect trouble before we can perceive them. That’s why I’ve named our latest Magento extension, Watchdog, version 3.1. More information is here >> And until the end of the year, we’re giving the extension away for free (we’ll start charging for it in January). What Does Watchdog Do? What does it do? Simply put, our Magento extension, Watchdog 3.1, helps keeps an eye on your store. It does two main things: Daily Email Summary Reporting, for sales summaries, ...
  • How to turn on Template Hints for the Magento Admin Area

    November 14, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Need a quick way to turn on Template Hints for the Magento admin area? It’s easy to turn them on for the front-end of the site, but if you need to do this for your Magento Admin area (for example, you’re building new modules or funtionality into the Magento admin area), it’s a little bit more complex. To turn on the template hints for the Magento Admin area, simply open /app/etc/local.xml and add the follow code: <config>         …         <websites>             <admin>                 <dev>                     <debug>                          <template_hints>1</template_hints>                         <template_hints_blocks>1</template_hints_blocks>                     </debug>                 </dev>             </admin>        </websites> </config>  
  • I’m Paranoid: Human Testing vs. Automated Testing

    November 12, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      It’s possible that I’m paranoid. But one of the most frustrating things in the technology world is when something that was working perfectly yesterday… stops working today. But nobody notices for a day or two. Automated testing scripts don’t always catch this. And it’s not ideal to rely on your customers to tell you that things aren’t working. This inspired another daily process for us here at Customer Paradigm. Read more below >> Automation vs. Human Testing. About a month ago on the Customer Paradigm website, the contact forms stopped working properly. (I was the one responsible. I did a minor security update, ...
  • I’m a Google Analytics Addict, and that led to a discovery

    November 5, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      I’m an addict. I admit that I often have a window open on my computer, watching how many people are visiting the CustomerParadigm.com site at any given moment. To me, it’s fascinating where they’re coming from (all over the world) and what they’re looking at (we have a lot of content pages). One of the frustrating things is seeing so many people visit, but not convert. Then last week, I had a flash of inspiration. Read More Below >> Reducing Barriers. We’ve done a lot to lower the barriers. I’ve often preached about creating a site experience that makes it as easy as possible to contact us. For example, someone picking up the phone to call is a little higher of a commitment activity than filling out a contact form. Picking ...
  • Amazon continues to dominate eCommerce (although they’re losing money)

    October 24, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Amazon has 23% marketshare for online retail sales (2nd quarter for 2014), according to an Internet Retailer estimate:http://www.internetretailer.com/2014/10/23/amazon-q3-revenue-increases-20 Even though their sales were up, Amazon lost half a billion dollars due to things like their faulty phone. A research report this week pegged the number of Prime-eligible items at more than 30 million, an 11% increase from the second quarter. For the first nine months of 2014, Amazon’s sales were $59.66 billion, an increase of 22% during the same nine-month period in 2013. And how much did Amazon spend to generate this amount of business? Amazon spent only 0.5% of their revenue on marketing. Their marketing increased 40.5% to about $2.81 billion for the first 9 months of 2014.
  • How to get an image to go viral on social media

    October 22, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      Social media works best when it’s a conversation with fans of your organization, who contribute images and content, because they love your brand. This weekend, I was flying over Copper Mountain, Colorado, and managed to take an ariel photograph that I shared with my skiing buddies. Copper Mountain saw it, and then shared it (with my permission and blessing) with the 63,506 people who like them on Facebook, the 19,100 people who follow them on Twitter, and their 17,336 followers on Instagram. Many of whom then retweeted and re-shared it as well. Kind of cool! Why did this photo go viral / become shared so much? What did I get out of it (besides a newsletter article)? And what can you learn for social media success in the ...
  • How an expired SSL certificate can drive traffic away, even if you’re not using it

    October 14, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      Thanks for all of the positive feedback on the full moon / lunar eclipse images… they seem to be a hit. A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how sites that adopt full SSL (everything in https) may start to see higher search ...
  • Eliminating Single Points of Failures with Payment Gateways

    October 9, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    One of the issues with any complex eCommerce site is the issue of single points of failure. This cropped up yesterday with a Payment Gateway issue, but we were able to quickly bypass it… saving customer orders in the process. What’s Redundancy? What’s Redundancy?When you’re paying for Web hosting with a company, you’re paying for multiple redundant power connections. You’re paying for multiple Internet connections. You’re paying for multiple cooling systems. And you’re paying for a backup diesel generator on the roof, so that when that construction guy accidentally cuts a power line, your site is still up and running. Your Website probably runs on multiple hard drives in a RAID-array, so that if one drive fails (and they all do at some point in their lives), the other one can keep going and you don’t lose functionality. Our phone system relies on a couple of systems to work properly. An extended power outage, ...
  • Blood Moon – Full Moon Lunar Eclipse Photos from Oct 8, 2014

    October 8, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      We love to help our customers shoot for the moon with their Websites and interactive marketing campaigns. So in that fashion, I was up a bit early today to watch the full moon lunar eclipse, known as the blood moon, high over Boulder, Colorado. In case you missed it, or it was cloudy at 4:15 am (as it was in New York), I’ve posted the photos here. Enjoy! Oh, if you’re wondering why the moon turns red… Have you ever seen the red glow of the sun in the early morning or at sunset? When the Earth is right between the Sun and the Moon, the sun’s rays shine through Earth’s atmosphere. All the Earth’s air turns the sunlight red; this is what shines on the surface of the moon. This morning’s full moon, lunar eclipse, taken over ...
  • Godaddy’s Two Factor Authentication System DOWN – Oct 7 2014

    October 7, 2014

    Customer Paradigm

    I’ve been on a bit of a security kick recently…  but there’s a downfall, too. Perhaps it’s because I shopped at Target (and got a new credit card when they were hacked), and then shopped at Home Depot (and then just got a new credit card after they, too, were hacked). Recently I turned on 2 step authentication for a few services, including for this Website, as well as my Godaddy account. However, it appears that the 2 factor / two step authentication for Godaddy is DOWN right now (Oct 7, 2014), and the codes aren’t being sent. So… what that means is that instead of being ultra-secure, I’m locked out of their system until they get the 2 step / 2 factor authentication fixed. If you don’t know, two factor authentication is a more secure system, so that when you log in, you need: Your username Your password + a special code that is sent to your ...
  • Important Magento Security Patch – Oct 3 2014

    October 3, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Magento today sent out an alert to patch ALL Magento sites – both Community and Enterprise – for two potentially serious security flaws. Before I delve into what to do, I want to talk about why this update means that Magento is more secure (instead of worrying that it is less secure). One of the wonderful things about an eCommerce platform that has more than a 250,000 active stores in use is that everyone is looking at security. So if anyone finds something, the entire community can be notified. Unlike in the closed-source world, where nobody is able to actually look at the source code of the site, and determine if there is a security issue, open source basically says, here’s the blueprints to our lock. And rather than only a handful of people looking at the issue, a quarter of a million users can continuously evaluate security. No system – physical or electronic ...
  • eBay to Spin Off PayPal into new and separate company

    September 30, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    The news today is that eBay is going to spin off PayPal into a new and separate company. This should be great news for PayPal adoption, because any site that competes with eBay (i.e. Amazon) has been reluctant to take PayPal. What this means for Magento is not clear, however. eBay purchased the Magento platform a couple of years ago for nearly $500 million, as a way to ensure that the payment method would continue to be a strong payment option in the leading eCommerce software platform. By controlling the development of the Magento platform’s software, eBay could ensure that PayPal was tightly integrated and was offered as a default option to everyone.  This strategy has worked well.  Most merchants running Magento offer PayPal as a payment option.  It’s especially important for mobile and tablet users, who don’t want to type in a credit card number, billing address, etc into a shopping cart system. ...
  • The Internet has transformed the world economy, and Net Neutrality is a major reason why.

    September 13, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Net Neutrality is important; this is the response written by Jeff Finkelstein, founder of Customer Paradigm, as filed with the FCC during their public comment period: I cannot state strongly enough that bifurcating the Internet into a slow lane and a fast lane will dramatically reduce competition and limit consumer choice in the marketplace. One of the amazing realities of the Internet is that any company that puts time and effort into building a website – big or small – can aggregate people, interests and purchasing, regardless of geography. The Internet has allowed small companies, started by a single person, to compete on a global scale. Creating jobs, and more consumer choice in the marketplace. In 2002, I founded a Website development company, Customer Paradigm (http://www.customerparadigm.com), based in Boulder, Colorado. We’ve worked with some of the largest brand names in the country. But honestly, I prefer to work with smaller organizations in a lot of ...
  • Magento not sending emails to an exchange server? DNS records to the rescue.

    September 12, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    I’ve seen this happen a couple of times this week, so I thought I’d briefly write about it. A Magento storefront is taking orders, but the emails aren’t coming into the the company’s corporate email system. Usually it’s an Exchange account, but not always. Email gets through to a Yahoo email address or a Gmail account, but not to a corporate email account, or to their customers who are placing orders on the Magento Enterprise or Magento Community site. If this is happening to you, here’s where to start the troubleshooting process: 1. Make sure that the email that you are sending from is from the same domain that the Website is using. For example, if your Magento site was www.CustomerParadigm.com, you’d want to make sure that the email addresses for the store are something @ customerparadigm.com. 2. Make sure that your Website actually has permission to send out emails on behalf of your domain. ...
Read more


Customer Paradigm
5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103, Boulder, CO 80303
Call us toll free: 888.772.0777 or 303.499.9318

Customer Paradigm Star Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer Paradigm 4.9 out of 5 based on 32 ratings. 22 user reviews