Because product rating stars are not supported by the Amazon Product Advertisment API, ASA2 tries to provide access to this data.
Product rating stars are not officially supported by the Amazon Product Advertisment API! Use these ASA2 proprietary capabilities at your own risk.
The technical ways to access the product rating data may change over time, so ASA2’s ratings feature can not be guaranteed.
You can completely disable the rating stars with option Disable rating stars:
If you experience empty rating stars on your site although the product has ratings, it is very likely that ASA2 ran into the captcha on the product ratings site. By default, ASA2 reads the ratings from that page every time the product gets refreshed via the API. If you have many products on a page which have to be refreshed or you are using the serverside cronjob (Product Update Cronjob), the ratings page will get accessed many times in a short time. Sooner or later this will lead to running into a captcha and thus ASA2 will not get access to the data.
Solution: Advanced ratings mode
Since version 1.6, ASA2 features the advanced ratings handling mode. You can activate it on the options page in sections “Ratings” (see Advanced mode).
Please note that after switching to the advanced mode, it will take some time until you will see the first results!
When it is active, ratings will not be refreshed with every product data refresh, but being transfered to a queue. This queue gets processed via an own cronjob or via the WordPress cron API. The frequency can be configured. This way, the amount of product page accesses can be controlled and the captcha will not apply.
For a comparison between the default and the advanced mode, see the following flowchart:
In advanced mode, requests for product ratings will be added to a queue instead of being processed immediately. When the Products section is being used, all Repo items will be added to the queue. Once the queue contains items, controlled processing can start.
To get a detailed view about what items are in the queue and what their status is, go to section “Ratings” in the ASA2 main menu:
To ensure the interval between the requests to the product ratings page, there is option Refresh lock duration.
The minimum possible interval is one minute. Experience has shown that even with a one minute request interval, the captcha page may occur. The recommended and default request interval is three minutes.
By default, ratings queue processing recurrence is matched with the refresh lock duration. It can be configured with option Refresh recurrence:
It supports all WP Cron API recurrences, which can be managed with plugins like WP Crontrol. Those depend on visitors requesting your pages. If your site does not have a visitor in hour, there will no rating being processed. Therefore the server side cronjob Ratings Refresh Cronjob is recommended. If you use it, set option Refresh recurrence to “Never / Server side cronjob”.
It is recommended to use the server side cronjob to refresh the ratings. See Ratings Refresh Cronjob for more details.
When using the advanced ratings handling, ASA2’s dashboard will show an additional metabox with statistics. Line chart “Recent results history” shows the development of ratings queue processing of the last 12 hours.
If you experience more captcha results than successes, you should activate the Suspend refresh option for at least 12 hours and increase your Refresh lock duration. ASA2 can have a look on the results too, with feature “Automatic monitoring”:
With this option active, ASA2 checks the amount of captcha results per hours. If it exceeds the successful results over a period of 12 hours, your site is blocked for requests to the product ratings page and ASA2 will automatically set a refresh lock duration of 12 hours. Experience shows that after this time, a site is not blocked any more.
It is recommended to use the option “Automatic monitoring”.
If the Advanced ratings mode approach described above does not work on its own and you continue to have little or no success in getting ratings, you should consider using proxy servers. As a result, each request to receive the ratings is routed through a proxy server, thus disguising its origin. If the proxy server(s) used work reliably, very good results can be achieved with this method.
The use of proxy servers is only supported as part of the Ratings Refresh Cronjob.
To use the proxy server feature, you must enable it using the option “Use Proxies” in section “Ratings / Proxies”.
After that you will find the new section “Proxies” within the main menu item “Ratings”.
After clicking the “Create new proxy” button, the form for saving the proxy data will open. Necessary inputs are host and port of the proxy.
All common proxy types are supported, standard and recommended is “http”.
If the proxy server requires authentication, you can enter username and password in the respective fields.
You should only use proxy servers with the highest level of anonymity (Elite Proxies / Level 1). We have had average experience with servers available through freely accessible lists. They may work initially, but often only for a short duration. We have had the most stable and best long-term experience with account-based or paid proxies.
The current best and free recommendation is to use Webshare’s “Rotating Proxy” feature. It is available to you immediately after a free registration on Webshare.io.
After you set up a proxy server, ASA2 will automatically use it when running the Ratings Refresh Cronjob. In this process, statistics about the particular proxy server are collected, based on which ASA2 decides whether it is suitable for further use or not. You can see this data in the overview list.
Based on the ratio of successful and failed accesses, a score is calculated for each proxy. If this score is too low, ASA2 will stop using the proxy. This ensures that proxies that initially work well are automatically sorted out if their performance becomes worse. The threshold value is 50 by default and can be adjusted in the options (“Ratings / Proxies > Minimum Score”).