In the past, I would have strongly recommended MonsterCommerce to anyone wanting to start a drop ship ecommerce website as a home business. These days, however, I’m having second thoughts about that recommendation and here’s why.
In this blog post, I talked about how a blog on an ecommerce website can really add content value to your site. And it’s true! But if you’re planning to use MonsterCommerce, you can forget a blog. I spoke with MonsterCommerce tech support the other day and asked about the ability to integrate blog software like WordPress. I was basically told No. The best I could get out of them was that the ability to add a blog to a site was “in the plans for future releases”.
Two of the largest competitors to MonsterCommerce are Yahoo! Stores and FinestShops. I posed the same question to each. I was told “sure, no problem”. (That’s why you see a lot of Yahoo! stores with blogs on them).
It’s not only blogs that MonsterCommerce disallows, it’s nearly any kind of 3rd party plug-ins. MonsterCommerce has long held a short leash on how data can move in and out of their eCommerce platform. Data import and export, for example, is done by way of a proprietary solution called Dataport. Another example is QuickBooks integration which is done by a proprietary solution called MonsterBooks. In both cases, you must pay extra for those products. Even FTP is disabled on their platform. What they call “FTP” is actually their own proprietary file management system which disallows certain file types like php and xml.
Whenever I have approached this subject with MonsterCommerce (about 3rd party application plug-ins) I am told it’s a ‘matter of security’. However, I suspect revenue also has something do with it. By locking all these doors and then selling the keys to the subscribing merchants, they create extra revenue streams for the company with those ‘add on’ products.
However, MonsterCommerce plug-in restrictions make it difficult to take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies such as Blogs, RSS, and XML feeds. While the rest of web moves forward, MonsterCommerce lags behind in a Web 1.0 world. If you want a very basic eCommerce provider, MonsterCommerce does the basic job. But sooner or later, you’ll outgrow the basics and need more advanced features like these in order to stay competitive.