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Product Listing Enhancement Update

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SUBJECT: PLE Update

Merchants,

As some of you are aware, we have been giving away free listing enhancements to many of you for the past 2 months. We recently deployed a fix that was supposed to just start billing again. Unfortunately, it back-billed the free enhancements. We apologize for doing this without warning.

To show our appreciation for your patience with this mix-up, we will be doing the following:

  1. Giving everyone free listing enhancement renewals* for the period between August 7, 2012 and today. This means all listing enhancements billed during this time will be refunded before end of day today (October 4, 2012).
  2. Once the refunds have completed, we will begin billing those enhancements again.


For full details of today’s release, please see the Marketplace Release Notes on the wiki.

Thank you for your patience.
The Commerce Team

*If you created a new listing enhancement after August 7, 2012, that listing enhancement is not eligible for this refund.

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I appreciate the gesture; however, although I check this forum daily, I was unaware of the free enhancements you mentioned.  But nevermind because I don't need free enhancements; what I need is to be able to stop renewing enhancements that I no longer want but am not able to discontinue because they are stuck in "Charging, Cannot Edit". Looks to me like I have been charged several hundred dollars for enhancements I do not want -- figuring out exactly how much will take hours

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Pamela Galli wrote:

I appreciate the gesture; however, although I check this forum daily, I was unaware of the free enhancements you mentioned.  But nevermind because I don't need free enhancements; what I need is to be able to stop renewing enhancements that I no longer want but am not able to discontinue because they are stuck in "Charging, Cannot Edit".
Looks to me like I have been charged several hundred dollars for enhancements I do not want -- figuring out exactly how much will take hours

O.M.G!!

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Same here Pamela,many things that i dont want to list anymore are there as charging cannot edit,and i keep being charged,today i received a huge refund,and now they started to take all back,this is a huge mess

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Best offer ever!


I was refunded 999L and 5 hours later billed 999L, what a senseless and complete waste of resources -  but if it makes them feel better because they 'did something for us' then what the hell ... I am not sure I feel any more appreciated and patient at all.

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28. September maeketplace took money from me for ad for 12 items. Today i got back for 4 items and took again for same items. Sounds unfair. I hope they will refund me money.

Jasmina Weezles

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LL, something is messed up again. I just got charged 4 more times for listings I already got charged for. And, I still haven't recieved the refund.

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Um first of all I have been getting billed for my listings. Second I have several I cannot change because it has said billing for months. Third you refunded me for 3 listings today then billed me for 7, all of which were not due. All the listings I have had I have paid for, and the billing today does not even show me what you supposedly billed me for (which listings) and I STILL have the listings that are showing charging that I want to cancel and Can't and I have not seen them shown in the advertising for months either. So exactly what did you fix or give us? The only thing I can see is that you just took a great deal of lindens from me and still have NOT corrected the issues.

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First, thank you for the offer to give us credits for at least some of our ad's. I know many people are quick to point out negative in here (myself included) so I wanted to say thanks.

 

That said, this is obviously still a huge mess. I have been credited, charged, told I would receive more credits than I got etc. etc. I do appreciate the offer, and I hope people can be understanding through some difficulties- however please understand that this is NOT play money for many of us. This is at least some portion, or in some cases our entire, real world income. We work very hard and pay a lot of money for ad's on top of the commissions on each sale. I do hope this issue will be corrected very, very soon.

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1. Today refunds had been completed and LL begun billing my active (every 30 days) enhancements.

2. Since today (10/4/2012) is the starting billing date, it is very plain and simple that LAST CHARGED AT should be (10/4/2012) and NEXT CHARGED AT should be (11/3/2012) however my Subscription page in marketplace says different dates and states that my NEXT CHARGED AT will be on October 11, 21, 29 of 2012.

3. So how was this really fixed?

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I got charged for 6 things, just got charged for the same ones on the 28th, in addition to 12 others. I do not want some of these at all.  And I did not get any refund although I have filed a ticket.

 

What is going on? I want someone to do something so I am not forced to pay for all these ads I do not want. 

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Great point,SL is my RL job,not a fun game,i have 3 pages of "editing" enhancements with i cant touch,and cant see listed either,if wasnt for the reviews would be even better to relist them LOL as i  felt the sales of  those items go lower since they messed up months ago

i had 14 items refunded and all billed back till my L finishes(when i realised that i sent to another avatar)i prefere to add enhancements again when is all fixed

what a pain!

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Same here, they refunded all the money charged on 9/28 (i was setting all my enhancements to not renew, because i prefer to start adding them again when all will be clear, but forgottten to deactive a few of them) and they charged these active listings no matter the date of expiration, it was supposed it will start again billing on 10/04, so all my enhancements must have a renewal date 11/04, but i have classifieds charged for a month and expiring today :( I alos have a lot (more than 40) enhancements in billing status, so i can't cancel them or renew them... Please LL, delete all the enhancements in expiring and billing status and we will start again.

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There are a lot of thoughts this post creates in me. I'm going to try and encapsulate all of the important ones here .. and hopefully won't bore everyone to tears in the process.

First off is the ongoing issue of enhancements that cannot be edited or terminated. Obviously the developers have added a "semaphore" .. a digital device that can be used to prevent two things happening at one time. Typically the semaphore is "set" when an update or modification is begun then "cleared" when it completes. That way any external processes (like manual edits from a web page) can be made to hold off a bit until the semaphore-protected process completes. The ONLY time to use a semaphore like this is when the protected process is quick, automated and guaranteed to succeed. Apparently the clearing of the semaphore has failed, repeatedly, and thus a growing number of enhancements are "stuck" with their semaphore set and no way to edit them.

How do you fix this? First off you make sure there are no automated processes running that might need to be protected. (In the case of enhancements, that's the "charging" process as indicated by the warning message "Charging, cannot edit".) Then you run a quick database update to manually clear all the stuck semaphores. Time to completion? About 5 minutes. Problem resolved.

Secondly is the issue of Enhancements being billed with no "cookie crumbs" to follow to assign the charge to the enhancement. Every enhancement must have a unique ID number. That number MUST appear on all transaction records that involve that enhancement. Why is this not done? Not a clue, but it's a basic of financial programming .. and one the Commerce Dev Team seems incapable of following. Take a look at your own Credit Card statements Dev Team. Do you see how every charge has a number and detail that let you understand where the charge originated and who you need to contact with questions? Good .. now DO THAT!

Third .. the issue of charges/refunds/charges with Listing Enhancements. I've used this old saw here many times, but apparently you didn't pay attention. It goes as follows:

"How come there's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over?"

When your staff went through and refunded everyone, you should have AT THAT TIME tested to be sure your code modifications would not immediately undo everything just done. But did you? Nope. As a result it went through and lickety-split re-billed everyone .. not only for what they'd just been refunded but additional charges too. Pardon me but .. WTH?!? By dint of your lack of attention you have just completely undone everything your staff did .. by hand .. at great expense to your employer. You have WASTED a very large amount of money. Wasted because you could not or did not want to bother testing your changes. I'd not be surprised to see your boss wandering into your offices soon and explaining why your paychecks will be short this time around. Be grateful if he doesn't also schedule exit appointments with HR.

Communication from your team to us is a major issue. I've no doubt why this is the case. Most people have a very difficult time going to others with the need to say "We're sorry, we screwed up." With the number of times you must begin a blog post in that manner, it's no wonder you don't post very much at all. So here's an idea ... stop being lazy, stop short-cutting things and rushing changes into production, stop screwing up .. and STOP having to begin every post with an apology.

Deal?

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I got refunded today & then they took it away again. Not one clue anymore what is going on with my money here. Maybe that is the idea? A little bit more of the old "creative accounting" to hide something bad? It is not the first time bizarro stuff like this goes down here with money so color me not surprised. Accordingly, I de-invested all my big ventures here quite long ago. Learned not to trust LL with anything except chump change!

WHATEVER :catlol:

 

 

 

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Here is an update on my status. Originally, I was charged 999 for 7 enhancements. Yesterday, I was refunded for 5 enhancements, and then immediately charged for 999 for 4 enhancements. LL, IMHO, you should cancel all enhancements for every1, refund every1 for all charges made in the last 2 weeks, and then lets us buy whatever enhancement we want.

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So over the years of many of us Merchant chatting in this forum a small yet important topic has popped up - one that I have had a very strong opinion on - that now bares repeating during this latest and on-going LL Commerce Team screw up of the financial accounts of any of you Merchants that still believe in Listing Enhancements....

During all the years we all have observed the level of development, testing, design, and customer service maturity that LL Commerce Team has demonstrated... i.e. one of the worst I have witnessed from any vendor / service provider.... RED FLAGS should have gone up for EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US MERCHANTS that the LL Marketplace and even inworld SL grid that we all leverage to make actual RL $ money - cannot be trusted to protect your RL assets!

In other words, each of us Merchants creating & selling content within SL and building up a business based on the services provided by LL is basically DANCING WITH THE DEVIL.

So, a wise Merchant should know that if you DANCE with the DEVIL... you should be wearing STEEL TOED BOOTS.

So many of you are reading this and asking "What the heck are you talking about now Toy???  And what if anything does this have to do with the latest screwups from the Commerce Team??"

Well I have said in forum threads many times - usually prior to any expected major changes or deployments by the Commerce Team - that all us Merchants should protect our own interests so that in the event of an unexpected LL screwup - your interests / assets / RL Accounts are protected.

For me, there are two assets that are vital to protect.  One of them is your $L Account that your Avatar maintains and that your business generates and gives to your avatar.  Since I never trust LL to protect my $L and since I never know when and how LL will screwup royally... I constantly liquidate my Merchant account to near zero $L as soon as my account reaches a very low threshold.  i.e. KEEP YOUR SL ACCOUNT LIQUIDATED ALL THE TIME.

In this situation... if you business account only has $1000L in it and you were to move all daily revenue to another ALT account, at least when LL tried to take your $L from you for invalid payments to a service you did not receive or subscribe to... they could not get it.   Their screwed up system would then actually do what you wanted them to do now anyways... they might cancel your enhancements for failure to pay :)

Also, this Alt Account should never have a large holding of $L as its always under risk as well.  I never store more than $27,000L in my account (that is about $100 US).  As soon as this number is reached - I liquidate to about 200L.  If you feel its too risky to lose $100US then reduce the trigger to what makes you feel comfortable to lose if LL screws up.

Remember / Read the LL TOS.... they have made it very clear in the TOS that if they screw up for any reason - they are not liable for your losses.  They MIGHT help you recover your losses from their screwups but they are not mandated to compensate you.  As such, any merchant that knows LL's unreliable history and has read the TOS that tells them they could lose all with no compensation and still does not protect their own interests.... well sorry but you knew the risks.

 

So my advise again is.... LIQUIDATE YOUR $L ACCOUNTS to the lowest level possible while still being able to maintain the cashflow you need to operate your SL business.

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Dear Commerce Team,

At this point, most patience and goodwill for anything Marketplace-related has worn thin and I (and many others) have simply given up hope that Marketplace will ever be anything like a successful, logical, and dependable XstreetSL that was, in effect, ruined over 2 years ago (or is it 3 now?). 

Who was aware that you were "giving away" enhancements, and where was this communicated?  I myself filed a few tickets wanting to be assured that I would not be charged for the enhancements that I ALREADY CANCELLED yet were still running.  (I did not receive this assurance, so I still have to constantly check to be sure I am not being billed). Based on the posts in this thread it's obvious there are a lot of merchants that are still trying to cancel their ads and yet cannot.  Why is it taking so long to fix this?  I honestly don't understand.  What I do understand is that there is a lot of peoples' $L toyed with and wasted with little to no communication or visible effort on LL's part to rectify the situation. 

Things don't get fixed in the Marketplace... they get "worked on."  There is a big difference.  It's extremely disheartening.  Two years ago I said to myself, "It really sucks now, but it's going to be great in a couple years."  I guess that was too soon.  How many years is it going to take to get the Marketplace even close to what the previous Marketplace was? That is: dependable, trustworthy, professional, functional in even a very basic way. (review notifications, V-day, database issues, etc etc ad naseum)

I am no longer angry about the lack of all of the above in the Marketplace. I am just sad because what existed previously worked, and worked well.  I am sincerely hoping the current incarnation improves someday but at this rate, it's going to take longer than any of us in this thread will be alive.

Sera Lok

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Toy, your advice is both well-placed and very correct. Amazingly this is the type of advice that would make most companies wake up and recognize they have a serious problem .. a problem that needs immediate rectification. Any time a customer expresses a lack of trust in the services provided, that is an issue of great importance. In order for any company to thrive and grow, customer trust must be present. Yet here we have a company that seems to believe the continuing loss of trust is "no big deal".

I have no personal gripe with the Commerce Dev Team .. as individuals and people. But I do have a very major difference with their work product and their level of professionalism. If I was just the lone nut in the forest, it would be quite understandable for LL to ignore me. But I'm neither alone nor a nut; I am stating rationally and realistically the perceptions I have about the Marketplace and its manner of doing business. And what I say is echoed near verbatim by 100's of others around the Grid.

@CTL - Why is there no interest in doing a good job? If there is truly a desire to do better, how can we help you do better? We have offered tons of advice, tons of suggestions, rendered warnings, recommendations and requests for services and features that would surely improve the product and your customer's perception as well. Is there anything that can be done to help make the Marketplace work better? Or is it just another failed idea that is being taped together in the hopes that it will just keep running "a little bit longer"?

Now in this hiatus of slack productivity .. in the gap between Direct Delivery's release and its eventual full implemenation, if you are needing suggestions for simple yet very much needed projects, just ask and we will happily provide many more ideas than are currently on your task list. Things the Marketplace actually NEEDS, and not just personal wants or gizmos that make neat projects to fill the time.

We ARE here to help. We DO want to help. But we have to know you want to make the Marketplace work too. If you don't want it to work, if you'd rather it fail .. just say so and we will work amongst ourselves to provide an alternative that will work properly. But if you do want it to succeed, then talk amongst yourselves, accept the concept that your customers are willing to add to the product and help guide it to a better tomorrow .. and then ask us to help. I'm quite sure the positive responses you receive will result in improvements for ALL of us.

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Howdy, Toy Dude!  

I am in total agreement with everything you've said here.  Luckily, I haven't used the failed and ridiculous "enhancements" in a long long time so I am unaffected by this latest horrible mess that has taken so many of my fellow merchant's monies.  I, too, think everyone should move their money from their main account to another once a specific trigger is reached.  This way, the losses which Linden Lab forces on its customers is minimal.  

Darrius has made some excellent points here too and I agree with him as well.  

I think refunds are due, in full, to every single merchant who has had an "enhancement" in the past month.  This is the Lab's fault and THEY should pay for their mistakes like every other business in the world does!

Oh wait...they have a TOS that says if they screw up they aren't responsible for anything.  Dang.  I guess they don't have to pay for their mistakes after all, huh?

@CTL - this is one merchant who will never again give you any money for an "enhancement."  You haven't shown me (and indeed, many others) that your "enhancements" are reliable, trustworthy, or even necessary.  And now with this current horrible mess you've made, you've just reinforced that tenfold!  Good job!

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

. LL, IMHO, you should cancel all enhancements for every1, refund every1 for all charges made in the last 2 weeks, and then lets us buy whatever enhancement we want.

That of course would be time consuming but I see it as the only reasonable solution at this point. Start from scratch.

Oh and lots of my enhancements have been stuck for months -- a couple of weeks or a month of refunds does not begin to cover the amount of Lindens taken from my account without my consent.

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Pamela Galli wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:

. LL, IMHO, you should cancel all enhancements for every1, refund every1 for all charges made in the last 2 weeks, and then lets us buy whatever enhancement we want.

That of course would be time consuming but I see it as the only reasonable solution at this point. Start from scratch.

Oh and lots of my enhancements have been stuck for months -- a couple of weeks or a month of refunds does not begin to cover the amount of Lindens taken from my account without my consent.

O.M.G. again!  Miss Pam, could you maybe transfer ALL your lindens to another account and keep your main account at zero until all of those stuck enhancements have been cancelled?  I feel terrible for you!

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