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As SLMP Burns - LL Emperors Cower in Silence?


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>I am getting sales on things that have never ever sold on SLM. After I converted them to DD.

Someone else might be able to assign a specific meaning to that, but I can't.

If you have a theory as "paranoid" as I might be expected to offer, though, I'll naturally be eager to read it. 

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Ann Otoole wrote:

I am getting sales on things that have never ever sold on SLM. After I converted them to DD.

Interesting eh?

I've noticed something kind of similar (still using MB):

After off/on cycles of sales, this past week I seem to be back to "my previous normal" sales.  However, the last two days I have been working on putting the rez script Zanara offered into each of my MB items which entails removing the current item, inserting the script, putting updated boxed item into MB.  I decided to update my product instructions/notes as well as my MP listings at the same time.

Each time I do this for a group of items, at least one if not more of those particular items sells that day.  Not sure why - maybe by resetting the box/resynching with MP/something, it moves the items to the top of search again.  Whatever...I'm not complaining. ;)

Selling things that never sold now *is* interesting Ann.

 

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The problems are never going to get fixed.  The only thing to do is accept that what we have is it and live with it.  The main reason is money.  It costs for developers and I don't believe LL has any dedicated website devs any more.  The financial screws are on by the look of some of the things they're doing and the marketplace cannot really justify the cost of its maintenance and development as it's just a sink rather than a cash generator (I doubt the usd sales make up more than a percent or two of overall sales)

I certainly don't think inworld is a better deal and I wouldn't expend too much energy on any of this. Just keep listing and hope that occasionally you'll make some money amongst the chaos.  I never really believed the day would come that I would say this but unless something surprising happens, I think it's time to start looking for a parachute..

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This is what I've been talking about with Magic Boxes being broken. You should be careful, because once it starts communicating with the website at full speed (and your sales get way better), it will stop working in a few days and send you a TRACKER_DEBUG message and your sales will be awful until you start with a clean magic box. It might start working after the scripts reset itself a bunch of times, but it will never be as good as when you put the items in the Magic Box the first time unless you start with a clean box. I toyed with dropping things in at certain times, staggering dropping things in, removing other items, and the order in which you put items into a magic box to see how they all affected sales, and there is no way a magic box is reliable.

The thing with Magic Boxes and updating items in it and seeing those sales increase, it doesn't matter if the sales increase on a Tuesday, Saturday, or Sunday, it's going to start selling a lot faster after you put a new item in the box or you set up a clean Magic Box. You will see the items you drop in the box start selling far better for a few days, and then the sales will drop off. If you switch to DD (and the grid is healthy), your sales won't slow down and will keep going like that. That's been my experience with using DD since it came out and messing with Magic Boxes to get sales a lot higher for a few days (over half a year of testing theories and playing with Magic Boxes trying to get it to improve my sales).

I really think that Magic Boxes have problems handling a large number of items. I don't know how many items you have in your store or how many magic boxes you have those items in but it makes a difference. From my experience DD (when everything is working properly, which has been by my sales data zero days since April 30th) will sell your items at the rate at which a Magic Box sells them the fastest, and DD will do it constantly provided the grid is working. This month has been bad for sales, but I have three months before that that says that DD gives significantly more income.

Given my experience with DD and messing with Magic Boxes, when you have an extremely good day with a magic box, it's how things should normally be. The month after DD came out, I broke my daily sales record three times in a single month, and I've been selling in SL since late 2008.Before that, my record sales happened on a Wednessday after deleting half of my products from a magic box and setting up only the most expensive ones.

I agree with Anne as well. A new product on DD that's good takes a week or two to start selling for me. Before, it would take months. I also made a new store under a new alt with similar products to what I sell as my mainstore (at similar prices). On my main store, it took about two months for sales to start (the market I'm entering is already high supply), and I had my first sale with DD in a few weeks.

Things have been bad in SL since those crashes on April 30th (but sales patterns are picking up today), and IMO it doesn't matter if you went from DD to MB or MB to DD or you just opened an SLMP store, your SLMP sales (and probably in world) are going to be far below normal. Daily sales have been fluctuating and they seem to crash on a Monday or Friday, which makes a whole lot of sense when considering LL work schedule. Throw things together to get out of work on Friday and roll out new stuff on Monday which breaks things (or fix the cobbled together weekend quick fix you made on Friday). I wrote an ANS script that makes daily graphs of L$ earned and the number of transactions and I've been tracking it for a while now, and it's interesting to see the patterns that form. It makes it very clear when the grid isn't healthy, that's for sure.

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Couldbe Yue wrote:

The problems are never going to get fixed ... I never really believed the day would come that I would say this but unless something surprising happens, I think it's time to start looking for a parachute.

This.

If sales are what keep you in SL then you'll have to use a different web-based ecommerce system rather than rely on LL for anything.  If good reliability, customer service and communications are what keep you in SL then ... what?

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PeterCanessa Oh wrote:

This.

If sales are what keep you in SL then you'll have to use a different web-based ecommerce system rather than rely on LL for anything.  If good reliability, customer service and communications are what keep you in SL then ... what?

then what??  my advice would be to stop the drugs they're taking,, there's never been those three since i arrived in 2006. anyone who stays because of those probably deserves everything they get - just for having such low standards

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>The problems are never going to get fixed. 

I'm way past expecting them to fix anything, at least without some kind of very unpleasant staff turnover first (don't hold your breath).

I'm devoting most of my rhetoric at this point just to the idea that they should try to slow down on finding new ways to break things that at least still work a little bit. 

Mostly, I think the impending magic box shutoff is pure evil, no matter how you slice it.

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>This is what I've been talking about with Magic Boxes being broken. 

Repeating this more often doesn't make it less untrue.

>and there is no way a magic box is reliable.

Did you try attaching it to your avatar while on Linden land?

How do I know that you didn't?

>I really think that Magic Boxes have problems handling a large number of items.

No. The Marketplace, itself, has problems handling a large number of items. This is only made worse by sims where box rental being advertised being deliberately borked in order to create support for DD, as was done just about the same time that DD was first announced. Should it happen again, there are ways around it, though, which don't require us to give up other utlities that the box continues to offer. 

> I don't know how many items you have in your store or how many magic boxes you have those items in but it makes a difference. 

A magic box containing over 700 items will flawlessly deliver any number of things to my alt as quickly as my alt can order them, provided that the box believes it is rezzed on Linden land. 

Please try it yourself and get back to me when you actually have some idea what you're talking about on this point.

> I broke my daily sales record three times in a single month

I'm ahead of that so far myself... and without DD. 

>sales (and probably in world) are going to be far below normal.

Nope. Not in my case.

My sales have been way up since the Lindens have been too busy covering their butts in various ways to create additional problems for me or for my boxes. 

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>LINDEN LAB SPEAKS !

And please note that while it says "The Commerce Team" at the bottom, it does not say "CommerceTeam Linden"... anymore.

(edit)

" We will not be requiring Merchants to migrate to Direct Delivery before August 1, 2012, and will give at least a 4 week notice for any shutdown dates."

Wow.

Finally something in an adult voice.

What do you suppose just happened?

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PeterCanessa Oh wrote:

LINDEN LAB SPEAKS ! 

And admirably comprehensive, if concise, it is too.

WOW... it was actually more descriptive than the normal "we are aware of the situation and when we have more infromation we will get back to you" statement.

A few points from the comments:

 

  1. So Commerce Team deployed changes to the MP system and yet I do not recall there being ANY notice of implementation of this new code into production.  Did I miss this announcement?  Did the commerce team post on the grid status or florums or anywhere that they were making changes to a sub-system of MP that could (and DID) impact production operations for us Merchants?
  2. Related to point 1, we all now know and can confirm that all the anomalies we notice this past week actually was from a secret LL code release to MP.  Of course LL wouldnt have the guts to 1) tell us they were doing this change beforee they did it ,  2) tell us immediately after we all started noticing these serious anomalies ealier tis week.  They felt it was best that we guess and speculate on what LL did to the system.  Arent they nice.
  3. I  read that they are saying No money was taken from customers that was not transferred to the Merchants.  Yet we have heard from some merchants that say they had proof that the customer bought an item, received it, was charged full price for it, and yet the merchant did not receive any money.   THIS is not the sign of a STUCK / QUEUED transaction that they abandoned.  Its of a transaction that processed and yet failed to pay the merchant.
  4. The deadline for MB retirement has now moved to August 1 and Brooke has publically stated that we all will get 4 weeks notice.  remember that folks.

BUT at least all our pressure in the forums and maybe to Rodvik has forced Brooke and company to post an update to us.  To bad it takes this level of public shaming to get the commerce team to communicate with us.

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PeterCanessa Oh wrote:

LINDEN LAB SPEAKS ! 

And admirably comprehensive, if concise, it is too.

Woot!!!  New target date to shut off Magic Boxes - not before Aug. 1, 2012 - with at least a 4-week prior notice!

Very happy about this!  Thank you for pointing us to the link, Peter. :)

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Well better late than never..... :catindifferent:

Wonder which ones of us gave the "information provided by Merchants on the forum and directly to the Marketplace development team helped greatly in identifying the root cause of these issues. Thanks to those who provided information."

Nice of them to recognise the help when they're assisted. Thank you Lindens for addressing these major issues.

The important bit is "as we get close to June 1, is around Direct Delivery migration dates. We will not be requiring Merchants to migrate to Direct Delivery before August 1, 2012, and will give at least a 4 week notice for any shutdown dates."

Great they relented. Continuing on the current path was crazy. Everything would have imploded.

I wish them good luck on it and hope they manage to salvage this wreck and restore marketplace to at least previous operating level. Hopefully they have some extremely talented people working on it now :matte-motes-stress:

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Josh Susanto wrote:

>
This is what I've been talking about with Magic Boxes being broken. 

Repeating this more often doesn't make it less untrue.

>
and there is no way a magic box is reliable.

Did you try attaching it to your avatar while on Linden land?

How do I know that you didn't?

>
I really think that Magic Boxes have problems handling a large number of items.

No. The Marketplace, itself, has problems handling a large number of items. This is only made worse by sims where box rental being advertised being deliberately borked in order to create support for DD, as was done just about the same time that DD was first announced. Should it happen again, there are ways around it, though, which don't require us to give up other utlities that the box continues to offer. 

>
 I don't know how many items you have in your store or how many magic boxes you have those items in but it makes a difference. 

A magic box containing over 700 items will flawlessly deliver any number of things to my alt as quickly as my alt can order them, provided that the box believes it is rezzed on Linden land. 

Please try it yourself and get back to me when you actually have some idea what you're talking about on this point.
 

Heh.  I wasn't going to address this...again, but as an addendum:

I have done similar updating to my MB over the years but have never had this particular situation happen plus had predictable, steady sales until the last couple of months.  I mentioned this because, as Ann had something interesting happen recently on the MP, my situation was likewise interesting (to me at least...lol) and notable because of not happening in the past.

I currently have 37 items active in my MB.  During holidays, especially Christmas, this is increased by another 20 or so items.  This relatively small number of items would not be bogging down my delivery system.

Darrius mentioned having various MBs and renamed them by type of product.  I was always afraid to change the MB name...just never know. ;)  I would like to hear from others if having multiple MBs has been beneficial re: MP delivery.  Even with my few items, putting like items together would be handy for me.  I'm assuming renaming the boxes is fine as well?

Edited for grammar.

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Using multiple magic boxes becomes more essential the more items you have. My delivery solution with MB is using layered redundancy, combined with not overloading the boxes. I find more than 50 items per box causes issues. So for 300 items you need at least 6 magic boxes, but optimally you would use 18.

Sometimes there would still be mass failures with 6 magic boxes. This is where redundancy comes in to save the day :catembarrassed:

In this example I copy these 6 boxes into locations at two other regions. Being able to receive orders from separate regions is important. This way if one sim is very slow, or maybe even two sims have crashed or something awful, at least one location should be able to get a delivery through somewhere.

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I did say that the new date would likely be 1st August :)

I'm curious to see whether the fix to the cross linked listings puts everything back to how it should be or whether it just halts further issues.  That's the big question!

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Might as well post here, this bothers me:

"Performance continues to improve on the Marketplace web site. With our deploy last week, we fixed a couple of JIRAs and order processing sped up, which led to some orders getting stuck in the Queued state (which means no money has been taken from the customer nor have any items been delivered). Orders got stuck because other portions of the system struggled to keep up. Stuck orders were Aborted, and a fix was made to decrease the number of orders getting stuck in the Queued state going forward while we work on a longer term fix.
"

It makes no sense.  The JIRA's that were fixed last week were just a couple of variables, one to send redelivery to the recipient instead of purchaser and the other that corrected an ANS field.  To state that "and order processing sped up" is somewhat disingenuous since neither of those changes could have influenced the order processing speed.  Maybe i'm reading it too literally?

Either way, the architecture remains so utterly wrong here such that if one bit goes faster, the next bit collapses in a heap.  Make it TRANSACTIONAL and be done with it.

The temporary fix then is to cripple part of the processing so that downstream processes can keep up? 

See the chapter on "Capacity planning and Scaling".

We were told that Magic Boxes needed to be replaced because they couldn't handle the number of orders.

What are you proposing to replace Direct Delivery with since it seems that ... it can't handle the number of orders?


 

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Sassy Romano wrote:

I did say that the new date would likely be 1st August
:)

I'm curious to see whether the fix to the cross linked listings puts everything back to how it should be or whether it just halts further issues.  That's the big question!

You did say Aug 1st.  How could I have for a moment doubted you?  /me hangs head

 

Yes that is the big question. Forgive my skepticism that it is all fixed now.

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I definitely think that LL is constantly working on things that we're not aware of. There is a lot of software behind SLMP besides the RoR front end, and that's the only thing most users see and file JIRAs for. It's the only part of the SLMP equation that LL barely keeps us informed on. If the software and hardware behind handling transactions is having problems, we have no idea. If they get changed, we have no idea. The fluctuations in sales that I see make too little sense to be just the market fluctuating. Last weekend was bad, the weekend before that was ok. Both were surrounded by statistical opposites on monday and friday.

Release notes for anything never detail all of the changes. However, they usually include the important things that people need to know about because it will affect performance of the product they're using. LL's release notes only include a few JIRAs that were addressed. It would make no sense that it would take them on average 2 or 3 weeks to squash two or three bugs.LL isn't informing us of things that happen with the other software in the SLMP stack. We should at least get a weekly post in the forum on everything important that could affect sales that changes with software or hardware. If something massive comes up with the communications backend, they should tell us about it.

This won't work if CTL doesn't have control over this, and I have a feeling that may be the case. I don't know how the internal structure of LL works. If I did, it'd be a lot easier to figure out what's going on.

My sales data shows that sales dropped off very steeply for me April 30th and they never even recovered to average since then. The thing that is interesting from most of my data is that sales would crash, slowly ramp up linearly, and then crash again. That makes me think that LL would work on something and change things, it would crash SLMP sales (at least for some users) and it would slowly ramp back up.

The next steps for SLMP should be fixing how transactions are handled. They need to be made more atomic and each step of a transaction should be able to be started from again should something fail, either automatically or by customer/merchant interaction. They also need to just get it stable and working faster, either by throwing more hardware at the problem or optimizing and fixing software.

EDIT: They have to be doing things to the SLMP software stack that they're not telling us about. SLMP release notes for May 10th have no information about speed ups, yet CTL says that they saw a speedup from changes they made.

I am starting to think that my DD sales were good because I was an early adopter and not a lot of people moved to DD. The big migration from MB to DD before the June 1st deadline probably had a ton of merchants changing over in a few months which completely flooded the system. I could see LL delaying the termination of MBs to make sure the switch to DD is a lot slower so they can deal with problems better. Shutting boxes off in such a time frame was a bad idea because it would force everyone to get DD all at once (probably at the last chance possible). There's a ton of products on SLMP (over 3.4 million listings created by my guesses from IDs), and to move a significant number of those to a new system in a few months wasn't a very good move.

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Sassy Romano wrote:

Might as well post here, this bothers me:

"
Performance continues to improve on the Marketplace web site. With our
, we fixed a couple of JIRAs and order processing sped up, which led to some orders getting stuck in the Queued state (which means no money has been taken from the customer nor have any items been delivered). Orders got stuck because other portions of the system struggled to keep up. Stuck orders were Aborted, and a fix was made to decrease the number of orders getting stuck in the Queued state going forward while we work on a longer term fix.

"

It makes no sense.  The JIRA's that were fixed last week were just a couple of variables, one to send redelivery to the recipient instead of purchaser and the other that corrected an ANS field.  To state that "and order processing sped up" is somewhat disingenuous since neither of those changes could have influenced the order processing speed.  Maybe i'm reading it too literally?

Either way, the architecture remains so utterly wrong here such that if one bit goes faster, the next bit collapses in a heap.  Make it TRANSACTIONAL and be done with it.

The temporary fix then is to cripple part of the processing so that downstream processes can keep up? 

See the chapter on "Capacity planning and Scaling".

We were told that Magic Boxes needed to be replaced because they couldn't handle the number of orders.

What are you proposing to replace Direct Delivery with since it seems that ... it can't handle the number of orders?


 

 

Sassy, I agree that parts of that statement don't make sense:

I've got another "Queued" order as of today, so whatever was done hasn't solved that problem.

And, if you look at the Answers section here: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Getting-Started/I-have-3-items-in-queue-for-delivery-that-i-purchased-3-days-ago/qaq-p/1538385  apparently, this shopper has items stuck in Queued and their money has been taken and not refunded.

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Quote of the week ....

'we fixed a couple of JIRAs and order processing sped up, which led to some orders getting stuck'

The Commerce Team

 

But at least the Commerce team haven't lost their skill in using the dreaful and meaningless  "going forward' catch phrase.

 

^L^

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