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Magnet Homewood

Listing enhancements borked?

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Noticing that my sales seemed very low today I checked my sales history to discover that LL had taken over 60 x 599L$ payments in the space of 2 hours...so I'm over  50k down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This happened today between 11:28:47  and 14:05:49.

I've sent a ticket, but urge everyone to double check their own accounts.

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The best I can assume is this is negligence. Two years ago, I was investing heavy [lots of money, effort & time] with Linden Lab & had big expansion plans for here, but now just my hobby stuff remains... like an old museum frozen in time. Why? Precisely because they do this kind of move repeatedly. Forms a predictable pattern of incompetence that cannot be trusted.

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So, I Submited a support ticket on the 1st requesting a REFUND for unscheduled, unauthorized, erratic services not rendered! (see my previous post) I also requested they manually stop all of my remaining listing enhancements because the user end interface does not function, and several are "stuck" on. (as many of you know)

And gee Suprise, No help. No help whatsoever.

I was told 3 & 4 times that I "may" monitor the Second Life Commerce - Merchants Forum for updates related to issues affecting Second Life Marketplace Merchants."

Really, May I? How generous!

No resolution was even attempted , my ticket closed.

2012-10-02 10:56:16
Dakota Linden

 

Hello Drinkinstein Sorbet,

Customer Support cannot assist you until Linden Lab has finished the investigation and released an update regarding the issue.

 

------------------At least they admit they cannot help, although I think 'will' not help is more accurate------------

 
 

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Cute.

If you were billed then you would think the billing bug is "already" investigated and fixed, or at least manually resolved, otherwise you wouldn't have been billed for the enhancements.

If they're saying wait until the bug that doesn't allow people to cancel their listings is fixed, then they may post that in the sticky thread OR on the marketplace release notes page.

If you get billed for another cycle make sure to document that too.

Document everything, screen shots where possible, don't let it go.

Recommend sharing whatever happens as you go, as the forums and public spaces are the only avenues left for merchants to share and identify problems (and billing discrepencies) collectively. Let us know if and when your subscriptions have been cancelled.

You would think that the one support request would be logged and that you'll be automatically refunded and your enhancements cancelled.

Apparently they're saying that anyones subscriptions that can't be cancelled won't be able to be cancelled indefinately, which means they may bill for another cycle and that only people who submit the problem will get their money.

The lights need to be kept on, on this one.

Reduced to: heh.

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Yours is almost as precious as the response I got on my ticket.


I didn't ask for a refund, tho that's what they should have done, and they should have cancelled all enhancements and told us to apply new enhancements with our refunds if we wanted.


All I told them in my support ticket, was that not all my enhancements, that they charged me for, are showing on my Listing Enhancement page. I also gave them screenshots. I got the response on monday, telling me that they have resolved the issue 3 days ago, and have heard nothing back from me, hence they are closing the ticket.

I was like, what? When? How would I know this? And..... my Listing Enhancement page has not changed at all. Re-opening seems a bit pointless.

Then, yesterday, I got the usual TAKE OUR SURVEY email for using the support. I was going to fill it out, and then I read the questions. The survey seems to be just as pointless as filing a ticket. I love the final question tho. "Would you recommend SL to a friend?" WTF does this have to do with my support ticket?

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I filed a ticket saying I have been charged for months for things I have wanted to cancel and cannot. Dakota said when they got the issue fixed they would tell ppl to file tickets for refunds. Meanwhile I assume we can expect to continue getting billed.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

I filed a ticket saying I have been charged for months for things I have wanted to cancel and cannot. Dakota said when they got the issue fixed they would tell ppl to file tickets for refunds. Meanwhile I assume we can expect to continue getting billed.

The house always wins.

Bringing up a quote from our CEO Rod.

"We may may mistakes, perhaps even bone headed mistakes but we genuinely beleive in empowering our customers with more and more ways to be creative and (hopefully) monetize their creations. Not less."

Aside from the fact that most people out there on the internet don't have these kind of embarassing issues with a shopping cart.

Aside from the fact that you've got a team that can't handle something as simple as ads getting billed properly, or ads getting cancelled properly, or ad subscriptions (set to renew by default) that can't be cancelled.

We're not talking about one problem or bug but a handful of them all inter-related.

Not only does this just not ordinarily happen .... anywhere from a small shop to Amazon or even in brick and morter setups. Actually, it didn't even happen to this extent in newspapers or magazines before oodles of technology when everything was handled by humans and by hand.

It just smells bad Rod.

Just on the one in a million chance that you'll actually swing by and peek at the thread, lets talk about your comment.

If anything qualifies as boneheaded, this one would be it, ads and billing are one of the simpler aspects of SL. And it's not even SL itself, it's web based technology that everyone and their brother has to handle that has a shopping cart and a PayPal account.

Now let's talk sincerity.

If you really want to begin repairing trust, when you've got a situation where people are being wrongly billed (actually worse, some of them can't tell what subscriptions they actually have, whether they've been billed in error or not), what do you DO?

Just to make a point, in my last trip downtown in my city I ran this situation by a bunch of business owners ... a couple of buildings I make the rounds in. Fear not, I did not mention LL as the company in question. However, it all meshed with my own take and experience as a lifetime employer and small business owner.

Regardless, I get to chat with employees from Microsoft, tech companies, service companies, lawyers, you name it. Networking is kind of my thing locally.

So after all the chortles and the smirks and the eye rolling after telling this particular story, I get a unanimous answer.

"You come in like gangbusters, replace the offending employees if this isn't a first time deal, make your apologies and make some moves to rectify the situation the best you can for damage control."

Suggestions have been mostly practical and do-able on your part.

You email all concerned and apologize.

You do not charge anything for the mistake period (Darrius put a price tag of roughly $58,000 worth of users ads you have out there, as a good a number as any, which wouldn't break your piggy bank, in fact sacrificing one disposable head at the company would make up for it).

You email every customer asking if they'd like support to manually cancel the recurring billings.

You also include in that email a list of every outstanding ad per customer so that they can pick and choose which ads to have manually canceled.

And most importantly, you take steps to make sure that mistakes like this don't happen again and that your people are competent enough and that your quality control is enough to follow through with the needs of the customers in the future.

Offhand comments also included the legality, because when it comes to RL funds ... this isn't. Explained that this was "game money" or "virtual currency" and got treated to another round of eye rolling, chortling and smirking and questions as to why people would willingly invest in something fragile enough to have no consumer protection or recourse.

I'm pretty sure if I ran this as a formalized polling of a mix of businesses, the reaction would be the same.

So now I'm going to quote you again:

"We may may mistakes, perhaps even bone headed mistakes but we genuinely beleive in empowering our customers with more and more ways to be creative and (hopefully) monetize their creations. Not less."

This is boneheaded, I'm sure on this we agree. We can probably agree that this isn't at all empowering or helping merchants monetize their creations.

The plan here is to just continue happily billing away indefinately until the problem is resolved and then to only refund people who have taken the time to ask for refunds.

My question to you as a CEO is again: What do you DO? I know what you've SAID.

Business owners in my area are waiting to hear the punchline on my next trip downtown, because silly stories brighten their day.

 

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Didn't we used to disagree all the time? You're no fun!

You might get a kick out of a couple responses. No one I ever met downtown ever heard of SL, and I kept it to a hypothetical "game", so they probably thought I was talking about "that facebook game" or EA ...

A short funny lawyer said: Too bad they're not a law firm, because that kind of billing would be result in being disbarred.

An accountant said: Line items without the lines, why didn't I think of that?

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

Didn't we used to disagree all the time? You're no fun!

I know .. and I am sorry. I really did try to summon up a goodly amount of disagreement. But to be honest, what you wrote resonated with me so loudly that anything I might have written just rang hollow in comparison. You nailed it perfectly .. and I could not with any measure of honesty disagree with a bit of it.

 

 


Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

You might get a kick out of a couple responses. No one I ever met downtown ever heard of SL, and I kept it to a hypothetical "game", so they probably thought I was talking about "that facebook game" or EA ...

A short funny lawyer said: Too bad they're not a law firm, because that kind of billing would be result in being disbarred.

An accountant said: Line items without the lines, why didn't I think of that?

LOL Yes indeed, they (LL) have truly discovered the ultimate winner's game. They have stumbled .. apparently quite happily so .. onto a set of conditions in which they can practice the utmost in customer-abusive behavior, incompetent or at least irresponsible professional activities, and wind up making even more money as a result ... with no negative repercussions! Perhaps such might get a lawyer disbarred, but I'd bet those assembled to pass judgement on the misbehaving attorney would quietly tell jealous tales of how they wish they'd lucked into similar circumstances.

/me privately ponders taking on a new method of customer service .. telling everyone to stick it .. and wait for the bucks to roll in non-stop.

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you two are beginning to scare me with this bromance stuff..  however it's nice to see a bit of harmony here.


I'll add a little dischord to say that strictly speaking it is game currency and doesn't exist. 

The way to look at this is that whilst those lindens being taken from people's accounts for payment * are not real dollars.  They will be when the person cashes out - which means LL is reducing the inworld income of merchants, which ultimately reduces their usd returns from the platform.

This problem has minimal affect on their bottom line except that they're receiving less commission from the lindex because the merchants are cashing out less which may (unlikely but possible) be offset by those same merchants having to bring money in to pay their inworld bills.

A better way to look at it is that LL has withheld repayment of convertable game tokens, which has ultimately reduced the rl incomeof their customers by around 58,000 usd (? can't remember the figure).

I suggest this is why LL aren't particularly bothered as it's not directly affecting their bottom line, only their customers.  Not only don't they behave as if they recognise us as customers but also they seem to steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that this is affecting people's rl incomes.

Dealing with LL is like dealing with petty criminals - they'll rip you off sooner than look at you, you are never guaranteed to get what you pay for and you have no recourse.  What's worse of course is that we know this and still encourage them by continuing to deal with them.  Fun huh?

 

*(and remember this isn't the first time - since at least 2007 there have been periods where inworld classifieds have been paid for and never appeared in search and there was the period when people would be double billed for tier and (iirc) if LL didn't repay it and you went for a clawback from your credit card company LL would suspend your account until you cancelled the clawback)

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Good points and mostly agree, except that I never consider it game money at all. I realize some of it is semantics and some of it doesn't apply on an individual level. It does however equate to money to LL and all of it affects their bottom line.

To paint it in broad strokes, look at it this way...

It's all real money because L$ have been purchased with real money. If you make L$1,000 from nothing, it's not "your" money whether you cash it out or not, it was purchased with real money by who knows how many other users. Part of the system depends on churn. The more it churns the less liability there is.

You probably wouldn't take LL to court over losing ad money purchased with L$ if you weren't the one that purchased the original L$. Therefore it's "game money" that came out of thin air.

However, lets say a million dollars USD worth of L$ are purchased. It sits in an LL bank account.

The more ways LL can find to siphon that million dollars off, the less for the users, so I'm with you there.

Now say that the marketplace commission comes out to say $100,000 USD worth of game money.

Because that money has now been "spent" by users, LL can now cash out that very real $100,000 from their bank account.

So every sink, fee and game that LL plays is actual income to them, and "was" very real money to everyone that purchased those L$ in the first place.

I look at it as "our" money until LL takes it in one form or another. They don't have to allow cashing out, they could charge more fees, more sinks if they wanted to, but they don't

But the whole scheme of nickle and diming it out of our collective pockets rather than being more honest and clear about pricing is rather underhanded.

I think it's real currency in a fictional representation. Purchased by real people with real money and very real to LL.

If they shared exactly how much they made and how much they keep, published in real dollars, people would be in for a rude awakening.

So to pull something like this, perhaps you and I individually weren't ripped off. But collectively as the people who purchased the money in the first place ... we are, because LL is certainly taking it out of their RL bank account.

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Heck, I created my own marketplace, not for SL, on my own website, and have yet to see any issues at all. Let's take in mind that I have almost no coding experience. Yeah, most of what I'm using is all created by a web marketplace company, but I had to integrate a number of different apps and services from other companies. Not 1 problem at all. Not with billing, displaying, nor deliveries. My customers can use any credit card, plus paypal, and the cost for processing is not even worth talking about. My customers do not pay anything extra cause they used a different payment method, which LL charges extra for. Plus, I get the money from purchases immediately. It took me a whole day to set up. Even adding new products is a snap.

In SL, LL issues are just depressing, from a merchants standpoint. How they handle these problems makes it even worse. From my point of view, LL should just hand the marketplace off to another company. LL can't fix basic problems on their own platform. What made them think they could handle a marketplace? And.... it's not like LL doesn't pay these people well. Matter of factly, from stats found on the net, LL pays them 25-50% more than other web marketplace companies.

Really, the only reason I'm not ranting and raving like crazy, is I'm riding a high that I got on tuesday. I released a new product, on my website, about a week ago. On tuesday, I noticed a ton of traffic, and tracked down where it was coming from. I had posted a commercial thread on Daz's forum, to promote the new product. Note - LL doesn't allow us to do this on SL's forum for SL products. This is even more significant, as I do not sell thru Daz, and I'm a totally independent merchant. Well, the reason I got all this traffic to my site, was because the creator of the avatar that I made the animations for gave me a major endorsement on my commercial thread posting. I couldn't of asked for a better endorsement. Here is a quote from it. Midnight_Stories - "This looks brilliant. I'm going to buy it now. This is very hard stuff to do so my hat's off to you. I don't think people realize what an excellent product this is !!!". This Aussie makes the most amazing Werewolf/Lycan avatar that I've ever seen, and it's a joy for me to animate.

Here is a look at the product, too bad it is not for SL.

 

Yeah, I know, shameless plug, but I seriously have no shame in my game, nowadays. Oh, and I'm actually making money on Youtube now, and my stats are going up every single day.

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It's no secret that Dart and I have had very dramatic and energetic disagreements in the past. All to be expected from people like he and I that do what we do with care, attention and passion. But this is one of those times where even two parties as diametrically opposed as we two can be can also be united on a single point.

For me the one clear and strident sentiment that shone through in Dart's post was the concept of Integrity. It's something that Dartagan has shown often enough for anyone, myself included, to credit him with maintaining even in the toughest of debates.

While we can pull numbers out, bat them around and total things up so one side or the other looks a winner, what really matters most in this whole debacle is the lack of Integrity shown by the management of Linden Lab.

Dartagan highlighted exactly the problem .. in all its glory .. when he repeated Rod Humble's quote regarding the true intent of the Lab. Rod spoke pretty words. If they had any substance they would have been reassuring words too. But we sit now face to face with an example of how words can be tossed onto the fire without any personal or professional cost to the speaker.

Irregardless of whether Linden Dollars are "Real Money" or not, for all it matters they could be marshmallows .. what matters is the actions that demonstrate the honesty of Rod's words. We have heard Rod speak of their intent, but we have not yet witnessed him back up that speech with concrete actions that prove him out.

There are precious few things that go into making the Marketplace work properly. It's not rocket science to make an online sales site work properly; 100's or perhaps 1000's of other websites do it with ease. Medhue points out in his post just above this that he's done it on his own. Yet for some reason the highly paid staff at Linden Lab has so far proven incapable of doing it themselves.

So here we have pretty words spoken by the leader of the company that runs the Second Life platform. We have grand intentions spoken in a forum and in a manner meant to reassure us all that despite whatever misteps they may have taken, their heart is in the right place. But this is a moment and a situation that cannot be fixed with mere words. This is a time and a specific predicament that can only be fixed with action. Real, honest, meaningful action.

Sure, they're playing with funny money. It's not worth the spit found on the bottom of my shoes. But the ACTIONS that assign real value, the steps taken, the ramifications of continual and repeated mistakes ... the consequences for getting it wrong over and over again .. those must be demonstrated. Without that, the hollowness of Rod's words will continue to ring louder and louder until it is the only sound heard no matter what letters are assembled into statements of intent.

Rod ... it's time to demonstrate that you really do mean what you say. And it's not just me that knows this to be true ...

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@Medhue Great work, once again, congrats!

@Darrius, still getting a smile out of Couldbe's "bromance" comment. Remember the Darrius and Dart show thing from way back (or was that Dart and Darrius) ? Perhaps that wasn't such a bad idea after all ;)

@LL: Looking at the sticky post  http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Merchants/Product-Listing-Enhancement-Update/td-p/1689867 ... wasn't sure if it was ok to post to that thread or whether you guys meant to make that read only.

Thanks to the commerce team and Rod by proxy for stepping up and the generosity of the free ad listings. I would say that the announcement for that was lacking, again pointing to a communication issue, so no one knew that you were offering or would offer any kind of compensation.

On the other hand, were it known, everyone would have signed up for a free ad, decreasing the effectiveness of each ad.

At any rate, despite blunt critique on our part, the communication and gesture are much appreciated. All merchants want is a communicative and responsible business partner and a two way street on merchant issues and marketplace features.

That and to share the danishes. By the time we get here, they're all gone.

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LOL

Well seems like Rodvik listens to the blog postings of  Inara Pay and her "living in a ModemWorld" blogs. :) 

Its coincidental that only 2 days after her blog posting on how terrible LL Commerce Team has been handling the Listing Enhancements fiasco and the subsequent comments on the blog of how terrible this team's communication and management of the Marketplace is and that Rodvik has been totally ignoring the issues of this team...  the Commerce Team releases a rare blog post on the issue.

Here is her blog on the topic from Oct 2

http://modemworld.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/run-silent-run-deep-the-sl-marketplace-and-eroding-merchant-trust/#comment-10621

Thanks Inara !

Too bad the Commerce Team doesnt listen to commerce forum threads on the issue and only takes action when its blogged by a high profile SL blogger that seems to get Rodvik's attention.

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OMG, what a fricken mess now. This is what happens when LL tries to help us. Now I'm being charged again for my enhancements. I just cashout today, and only had 5k in my account. I'm now down to 1k, so they now charged me 4 more times. This is just getting ridiculous.

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Read that blog post, thanks to Inara and you for contributing over there too, Toy.

I thought the billing bits were halted once they announced it on the other thread. Ah well, optimism is a bit premature.

I suppose we can say at least we learned what the problem actually was, although why it couldn't be caught during testing is beyond me.

 

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Unbelievable! I, too saw credits to my account earlier today for the enhancement chgs and now I have been charged again - wtf?  Just prior to seeing the charges, I saw the email address from the MKTP purchase notifications is now (or should i say again) generating from the "service" address - wasn't that change rolled back recently because it caused a bunch of issues? 

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Wel tonight  1 week later again i been charched  for 11x a listning  a 999,- each,

as i sayed before , i remind it happend a long time ago and it be refunded that time, but im  in a bit a schock  it  happens again!!! and 1 week  later

lets hope they  sort this fast.

 

I be refunded same  night  for 9 listnings i think from  last week, 9x refunded,

3 hours later  it be taken  again, so  the bug stil going on but they aware of it  , so  keep an eye on youre transacations .

 

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