Google Checkout Lost Tracking Data

    September 7, 2007

Google has begun to notify merchants using Google Checkout that Google Checkout pixel tracking was temporarily disabled from July 10 to July 18 due to an issue associated with system maintenance earlier in the month. Pixel tracking allows internet retailers to send Google Checkout conversion data to third parties. While disabled, the feature was unable to report conversions. Many online merchants have worked hard to integrate Google Checkout data with comparison shopping engines, affiliate networks, analytics vendors, third party bid management firms and others. Google has been contacting affected merchants via email and leaving the notification of third parties in the hands of those merchants. The notification to merchants states “To help you account for traffic generated by your affiliate and SEM partners during this time, we’ve generated and attached a report for you that identifies the total sales volume and number of transactions associated with each of your online marketing partners.”

Merchants who have yet to implement Google Checkout pixel tracking are obviously not affected. The report provided by Google is helpful, however, internet retailers who depend on real time accurate conversion data to perform functions like calculating affiliate commissions, measuring CSE and PPC ROI and automating bid management in paid search campaigns are likely to have done so without accurate data. The notification well after-the-fact is likely troubling to many retailers and third parties who depend on timely conversion data to make decisions and work with one another. Moreover, merchants deciding between alternative payment systems such as Google Checkout, PayPal Express and BillMeLater would be wise to research the dependability of each system, along with other factors, before making a decision.

A list of conversion tracking vendors can be found in the Google Checkout Merchant Help Center.

Ryan Douglas manages Paid Search and Comparison Shopping Engines for, an online retailer of home improvement products including Access Doors.