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To RODVIK - Request meeting with Merchants on CommerceTeam concerns

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 Iwould have to say that among all the concerns the merchants on this forum have is the complete lack of Merchants input, feedback, suggestions to improve the MP and an unhealthy closed communications block between the Commerce Team and the Merchants.

Rodvik, if there is one aspect you could influence is that the Commerce Team provide what all your other LL teams provide.... Weekly User Group meetings with the Merchants.

From these meetings, I think alot of other problems could be resolved and Merchant concerns addressed simply because we can talk to Commerce Team and work together on what they are doing with MP.

Is this possible? and if so, what would the Commerce Team want from us?

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Several months ago, there was a discussion about creating a sort of better business bureau for SL Merchants. The idea was met with mixed replies, some for ,some against.

 

It is the fault of Merchants, if they are not organized, and working collectively. There should be Official Merchant Groups, they should have weekly meetings Inworld. Recognize top sellers for their accomplishments, this is business, it's nothing personal.

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Knowl Paine wrote:

Several months ago, there was a discussion about creating a sort of better business bureau for SL Merchants. The idea was met with mixed replies, some for ,some against.

 

It is the fault of Merchants, if they are not organized, and working collectively. There should be Official Merchant Groups, they should have weekly meetings Inworld. Recognize top sellers for their accomplishments, this is business, it's nothing personal.

yeah Knowl, it has been talked about but I know from many rounds of this idea over the years that it wont fly.

I would prefer it stay simple and if the Commerce Team met frequently enoughh and was willing to openly and actively engage with us in the same manner that I have seen the Lindens from other User Groups, just the sheer frequency and openess alone will encourage the active Merchants - big or small - to also participate on a regular basis.

Keep it Simple and the Commerce Team committing to listen and take our ideas serious. 

That is my thought

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Knowl Paine wrote:

Several months ago, there was a discussion about creating a sort of better business bureau for SL Merchants. The idea was met with mixed replies, some for ,some against.

 

It is the fault of Merchants, if they are not organized, and working collectively. There should be Official Merchant Groups, they should have weekly meetings Inworld. Recognize top sellers for their accomplishments, this is business, it's nothing personal.

That would be gamed in a nano second. Not to mention, a better business bureau would not address the technical bug issues discussed in this thread.

Communication could be helped tremendously just by having a weekly Linden-lead user group. The content creation user group meets every Monday. I don't see why a merchant user group couldn't meet regularly as well. The content creation group has an agenda page that people can post their questions to ahead of time. Any questions from the agenda that can't be addressed in the alloted hour get pushed to the next week's agenda. Everything runs pretty smoothly 99% of the time.

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Dear Brooke (not the generic "Commerce Team" group name)

There has been a lot of bad blood that has built your between your team and the Merchant community.  Walls have been erected since early 2011 between your team and all of us Merchants that are your #1 userbase / customers.  There are countless examples and inceidents that have raised these walls higher and higher between you and us.

But what quickly can break all these walls down and bring our two critical teams together again is two establish a frequent, fully open, and honest two-way communications between you & your team and us in the Merchant community.

 

  • It has to be Frequent - I am suggesting weekly at minimum.  Maybe even 2 a week - one early day SLT (like 9am slt) and one late day SLT (like 4pm slt).  This would fit your normal business hours windows and allow a wider range of merchants to attend one or the other.  It has to be frequent to ensure that no issues that are occuring get pent up.  It has to be frequent to begin to establish a business bonding between our two groups.  It has to be frequent to allow the backlog of initial ideas to flow. with a large window of communications.
  • It has to be Open & Honest  -  You surely know we are not lacking on being open and honest.  But if these meetings will succeed and a relation re-establish between us... you and your team has to be open and honest with us.  Remember that LL's MP is a monopoly - you have no business secrets to hide from us.  We the Merchants start feeling your team is showing up and engaging and willing to share whats going on INSIDE your team... you will go a long way to establish trust and willingness from us to want to be a partner with your team.
  • It has to be Two-Way  -  Brooke, you team and the Merchants of SL have common interests.... we both want the MP to succed, grow, and be a solid, trusting, effective product distribution and sales tool.  AND... as the actual users of your MP, we know what we need from the MP to make it as effective as possible.  You and your team needs to listen to our ideas and make priorities from the top needs we have from MP.  We know LL puts requirements on MP for you to deliver as well.  You tell us what yours are and we will tell you what ours are.  But we want to see proof from your team that you will be working on our priorities.

So Brooke, I am suggesting your team go to the SecondLife User Group wiki....

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:User_Groups

And select one (hopefully two) times a week from the calendar and establish the MARKETPLACE User Group.

I would suggest that you and Dakota and even someone else from the MP devlopment team also show up for these meeting.  If you have not attended one of the other weekly LL user group meetings, I would recommend you attend one - like tomorrow's at 4pm slt.  See how its conducted.  See how the flow goes.

AND HERE IS WHAT US MERCHANTS WILL DO OUR DARN BEST TO DO FOR YOUR TEAM AT THESE MEETINGS

We will bring flowers to the meeting and as much has we have a long pent up level of frustration... We will promise to behave.  IF you feel that the attending merchants have transitioned to a RUDE BEHAVIOR... you can openly call us out on it and ask us to stop with the emotion.  We in turn can in turn openly remind you if we feel you are not abiding by the "open two-way rules".

I would also suggest as an amazing kickup of the first meeting that Rodvik make an appearance.  I know it sounds silly but I truly do think it adds credability to the meetings for both sides.

CONCLUSION....

Brooke.... lets be business partners and resolve these issues between our teams.

Respond to this posting as Brooke.

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Ashasekayi Ra wrote:


Knowl Paine wrote:

Several months ago, there was a discussion about creating a sort of better business bureau for SL Merchants. The idea was met with mixed replies, some for ,some against.

 

It is the fault of Merchants, if they are not organized, and working collectively. There should be Official Merchant Groups, they should have weekly meetings Inworld. Recognize top sellers for their accomplishments, this is business, it's nothing personal.

That would be gamed in a nano second. Not to mention, a better business bureau would not address the technical bug issues discussed in this thread.

Communication could be helped tremendously just by having a weekly Linden-lead user group. The content creation user group meets every Monday. I don't see why a merchant user group couldn't meet regularly as well. The content creation group has an agenda page that people can post their questions to ahead of time. Any questions from the agenda that can't be addressed in the alloted hour get pushed to the next week's agenda. Everything runs pretty smoothly 99% of the time.

We used to have those, Asha. I am not sure why they stopped. Brooke had a couple of them but then said she would use the forum to post information, and I assume take questions -- it was so long ago I can't remember exactly.

In my opinion poor communication is the problem in this relationship between CT and merchants.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

We used to have those, Asha. I am not sure why they stopped. Brooke had a couple of them but then said she would use the forum to post information, and I assume take questions -- it was so long ago I can't remember exactly.

In my opinion poor communication is the problem in this relationship between CT and merchants.

Certainly poor communication is a great part of the problem, to my mind.   Inara Pey had an excellent piece on this, I thought, the other week: Marketplace Issues:  Not so much eroding trust and completely undermining it.    There's clearly problems, and these occasional gnomic utterances by CommerceTeam Linden (who I visualise as some sort of Dalek, for some reason) really don't help.

 

 

I really can't but contrast, unfavourably, the frank and helpful discussons we have with Oskar, Maestro, Kelly and all the other technical Lindens with this wall of silence that surrounds the MP.

 

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Innula Zenovka wrote:


Pamela Galli wrote:

We used to have those, Asha. I am not sure why they stopped. Brooke had a couple of them but then said she would use the forum to post information, and I assume take questions -- it was so long ago I can't remember exactly.

In my opinion poor communication is the problem in this relationship between CT and merchants.

Certainly poor communication is a great part of the problem, to my mind.   Inara Pey had an excellent piece on this, I thought, the other week:
.    There's clearly problems, and these occasional gnomic 
utterances by CommerceTeam Linden (who I visualise as some sort of Dalek, for some reason) really don't help.

I really can't but contrast, unfavourably, the frank and helpful discussons we have with Oskar, Maestro, Kelly and all the other technical Lindens with this wall of silence that surrounds the MP.

I completely agree Innula!!  Since July I have been attending the Friday 4pm SLT Server Sim user group meetings.  These weekly meetings have Andrew, Simon, Baker, and Cheesey Linden show up almost every week.  I was pleasently surprised how progressive and informational these meetings have been! 

I was very shocked to witness that when I proposed my VLM idea to this team... they openly discussed the idea during the meeting with the attending interested residents.  It was so constructive.  And more shockingly.... the Lindens from the team ACTUALLY took the idea serious and brought it into the internal Linden staff for review... and they actually decided to move it for development scheduling.

I have had more open and frank discussions face to face with LL during these meetings in a few weeks than my entire 3+ years with the LL Commerce Team.

I look at the amazing positives that these weekly and semi-weekly meeting have generated and then compare it to the state we are in with the Commerce Team and MP. 

So I completely agree.... the #1 issue to address between merchants and the Commerce Team is to address communications. 

I really do hope Brooke take my offer and her team starts these meetings.

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Well well... Rodvik actually dropped by. I guess it is premature to classify SL as abandonware today.

Since Lindens are at least pretending to read our requests & I am bored with not much to do having just completed a big year-long non-SL creative project, I will supply them a little feedback just in case this is really getting read.

The concept of L$ erodes trust.

Call me a heretic but I'd like to see the L$ scrapped. Make it simple. Use only real money & have all the item sellers follow tiered pricing like the App Store. So you either give your item away or you sell it for 99¢, $1.99, $2.99, $3.99 etc. No price increments between allowed. There is a reason Apple does this smart move. It stops price erosion dead. If you aren't confident to sell an item for 99¢, work on it more to make it good. Good for customers too so they aren't looking at page after page of hastily built trash. A marketplace where everyone continually races to the bottom to charge 0.4¢ (1 L$) is a worthless joke of so-called "commerce". The L$ is just an enabler to trick people into working for fractional pennies.

First things first though! LL must buck up & hire some real professionals who can actually build a real commerce site. Cheap out & you get cheap results. This is what is wrong with marketplace primarily. If they can't afford to do this now for whatever reason might as well shutter it now. Cost-cutting kills.

Okay now here is the REALLY IMPORTANT stuff LL must do very soon at all costs, if they do not actually already plan to simply abandon SL.

LL needs to find new ways to bring more people in the door & keep them around. Part of this is they need to go mobile (Rodvik pls hire people to make it happen!). Desktop is getting left behind, and thus SL will be left behind. Concurrency is dropping like a stone month after month, at this rate there will come a time when SL is no more unless LL does the required work (boring I know) to pull off some innovative ideas to really promote SL. Once again, pay the big money & hire real professionals to start properly promoting SL. I've handed LL a few great ideas to do with effective & affordable product placement, so far no progress being made in that regard. The population of SL continues to decline due to these two showstopper issues: not going mobile & the ineffective promotion of product.

 

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So do I hope that we get some communication going, but I can't help but recall what happened about a year ago, or more, when Viale Linden asked us at the Adult Content User Group what issues LL could help us with, and several of us (me included) said that the Marketplace's opaque policy on what makes listings Adult rather than Moderate were a major cause for concern.  

Viale took this on board and said he'd try to get someone from the Marketplace along in the following weeks to discuss this, but was eventually forced to say, in effect, that the Marketplace team were refusing to appear in public because they were worried about lynch mobs of irate merchants turning up if they did.

I can understand their concerns, but I really think that a bit of glasnost is called for.   Oskar and Maestro have the right idea, I am sure -- people get mad when stuff goes wrong with the servers, but we all know that Oskar and his team are on top of things, and trying their hardest to rectify stuff, because they tell us what the problems are and what they're doing to fix them.

 

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Pamela Galli wrote:


Ashasekayi Ra wrote:


Knowl Paine wrote:

Several months ago, there was a discussion about creating a sort of better business bureau for SL Merchants. The idea was met with mixed replies, some for ,some against.

 

It is the fault of Merchants, if they are not organized, and working collectively. There should be Official Merchant Groups, they should have weekly meetings Inworld. Recognize top sellers for their accomplishments, this is business, it's nothing personal.

That would be gamed in a nano second. Not to mention, a better business bureau would not address the technical bug issues discussed in this thread.

Communication could be helped tremendously just by having a weekly Linden-lead user group. The content creation user group meets every Monday. I don't see why a merchant user group couldn't meet regularly as well. The content creation group has an agenda page that people can post their questions to ahead of time. Any questions from the agenda that can't be addressed in the alloted hour get pushed to the next week's agenda. Everything runs pretty smoothly 99% of the time.

We used to have those, Asha. I am not sure why they stopped. Brooke had a couple of them but then said she would use the forum to post information, and I assume take questions -- it was so long ago I can't remember exactly.

In my opinion poor communication is the problem in this relationship between CT and merchants.

Yes, I remember when Brooke had some meetings in the beginning. The one I attended didn't go well. But, I think it is because it lacked organization. A user group can quickly spin out of control if you have lots of frustrated people there. That's why it helps to have that agenda page and to firmly stick to it. Nyx Linden does a great job of staying on task and moving forward in the agenda even during the times that the meetings got heated over the mesh deformer drama.

Obviously, the first few merchant meetings would be rough since I'm sure there are tons of people that are bubbling over with questions, concerns and feature requests. However, I think the initial pain would be worth it for merchants and LL. In my opinion, a great deal of the bad will between some merchants and the MP staff comes from merchants feeling like they are in the dark about what is or is not being fixed..... what is or is not a priority when it comes to badly needed features...etc.

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

So do I hope that we get some communication going, but I can't help but recall what happened about a year ago, or more, when Viale Linden asked us at the Adult Content User Group what issues LL could help us with, and several of us (me included) said that the Marketplace's opaque policy on what makes listings Adult rather than Moderate were a major cause for concern.  

Viale took this on board and said he'd try to get someone from the Marketplace along in the following weeks to discuss this, but was eventually forced to say, in effect,
that the Marketplace team were refusing to appear in public because they were worried about lynch mobs of irate merchants turning up if they did.

I can understand their concerns, but I really think that a bit of glasnost is called for.   Oskar and Maestro have the right idea, I am sure -- people get mad when stuff goes wrong with the servers, but we all know that Oskar and his team are on top of things, and trying their hardest to rectify stuff, because they tell us what the problems are and what they're doing to fix them.

Ahh yes but the "mobs" as the meeting attendees were referred to had appeared for two primary reasons (as I recall them) of which these scenes could be controlled and defused....

  1. Brooke and team were new to the Merchant team then and had VERY little understanding of the SL Merchants dynamics - i.e. whet factors could turn the merchants into an angry mob vs. what could defuse them.  What I am sure her and the team would now be fully aware of that they werent at the time was that many of us Merchants are extremely technically and SL merchant selling savvy.  In fact, I would strongly argue in many aspects we understand the MP and the dynamics and impacts of the MP better than the commerce team.

     

    As such, the atitude and conduct by her and the commerce team at these meetings sadly was a a carry over from how previous generations of the commerce team culture had been on how to deal with us at meetings.... i.e. one-sided conversation.... her team simply telling us what was gonna happen and how things were gonna play out and then not recongizing most of our serious legit concerns on their plans.

  2. Additionally, and this blame gets fully placed on Sr. LL management over Brooke, one of the first orders her team were forced to deploy was an exetremely unliked and disruptive new Adult Content Filter that was poorly thought out and caused a ton of REAL $ sales impact on a lot of merchants.  I am sure Brooke didnt want this to be her first big change either.... but as being new and being given direct orders at any cost.... she deployed it.  And it did cause a ton of grief.  And sadly, it was her team - not the sr. LL management above her that had to face the ANGRY MOB which LL caused a lot of REAL $ loss on.  Of course the would be anger.  especially when Brooke's meetings were one-way meetings that we could have just as easily read from blogs.

If Brooke is reading and she does agree to restart these meetings weekly.  She need to get the blessing from Rodvik that her team is empowered to actually engaged in open frank honest two-way dialog.  Brooke and team should not be afraid to hear our concerns and feedback and consider them as a possible priority.  Rodvik must allow Brooke to listen to serious Merchant concerns when her team brings forward any plans for MP changes and these concerns should be able to change the plans when its something LL can compromise on.

The Merchants are not stupid and they dont want to be treated like mushrooms.  If they get a wiff that they are not treated with the intellectual respect on how the MP works and is used by the Commerce Team at these meetings, then sadly Brooke and her team might end up with that same angry mob again.

The control of these meetings are in her team's hands... but the control is not by rules - its by the level of respect and true commitment they have in engaging in a healthy two-way diaglog.

We CANNOT* see "we are aware of the situation and we will get back to you" statements.  We want to know exactly whats gone wrong when it has and we want to know exactly how its getting fixed and reasonable timely updates if the issue is serious.  And we want to hear plans for MP early and we want to be able to have SOME influence on the commerce teams priority of what should be worked on (i.e. having our list of MP fixes and missing features addressed along with LL's).

 

This is what the other LL teams provide their respective residents.  This is the level of open dialog they give and the level of countering respect the meeting attendees respond with.

But ... if there are some special LL policy shackles / gag orders that Rodvik or Brooke's Sr. management had previously placed on Brooke, we need a commitment from Rodvik that these will be removed and Brooke is allowed the authority within her scope of management to do her job and work more openly with the merchants.

If this happens....   Chances of Angry Mobs at these meetings is VERY LOW.

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Brooke spent most of the meeting typing :-)  (I had given her a little app that would allow you to paste parts of text from a notecard with a button push but I guess she did not understand how essential it was to have some things prepared beforehand.)  So we all more or less agreed that it was not necessary to have our avis sitting there watching her avi type -- having a visible regular forum prescence would be more effective.

But that is not what we wound up with. What we have is reactive communication rather than proactive. We have some kind of meltdown and they throw us a bone. (But like the enhancements fix bone that we just got,: I did not understand it so asked for clarification, so they clarified, but I still did not understand it. Why do I still have all these enhancements I don't want?)

When Pink et all left and Grant and Brodsky were running things and had gone black ops I used to go to Jack's office hours -- that was kind of a madhouse, but I still got my two cents in pleading for communication, and he apparently did tell them to take care of the problem, because the heavens did open and forum posts were made. And then poof Jack was gone too.

 

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Rodvik Linden wrote:

Hey folks, just dropping a note to let you know I have read the thread.  The team reads the boards every day so they asked me to pop in to acknowledge that they read the boards and I have also read this thread. I appreciate the feature requests and bug notifications in particular.

For sure we can up the tempo of communiation in blog posts and notifcations to upcoming changes & fixes. We remain commited to our merchant community and I appreciate you taking the time to write down what you would like to see in the future for SL.

 

It took sacrificial goats, bulging veins and much reasoning to exasperate the commerce team enough to conjure you to tell us that they read the forums every day?

Isn't that kind of boneheaded? ;)

They could have posted themselves and said "hey guys, we read the forums every day".

When does a communication problem turn into a comprehension problem?

Someone said they were afraid of lynch mobs. I think you need to tell them that the lynching part isn't real.

More seriously though, if it weren't a bit bigger than the team communicating or a handful of strongly desired feature requests, it wouldn't have had your name on it.

Communication is great, but it's become an issue of production, implementation, stability and trust in a buyer/seller environment. Suspects are often incompetence, management problems, development methodology, etc.

It's the follow through and delivery times to get there. A disconnect between here and the level of quality and features we're used to elsewhere when it comes to buying and selling goods.

Also you may want to read the post over on New World Notes about land barons and how the Marketplace has affected them as well: http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2012/10/sl-land-threatened-by-sl-marketplace.html

There are billing error issues that a more focused and communicative commerce team can (probably) handle and then are issues related to overall "economy that the commerce team can't handle. High tier and dinking around with monetization is dated, taken it's toll and in need of a rework.

Personally I can give you a big Obama style pass and say that you inherited the messy bits. But to us it's an old story. Most of us who have met individual Lindens like them. Indicators keep pointing up the chain to them having a serious lack of solid direction and focus sometimes.

That would be your turf?

 

 

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Rodvik Linden wrote:

Hey folks, just dropping a note to let you know I have read the thread.  The team reads the boards every day so they asked me to pop in to acknowledge that they read the boards and I have also read this thread. I appreciate the feature requests and bug notifications in particular.

For sure we can up the tempo of communiation in blog posts and notifcations to upcoming changes & fixes. We remain commited to our merchant community and I appreciate you taking the time to write down what you would like to see in the future for SL. 

"Upping the tempo" is a good step .. one that should be engraved in bronze and used to make cupholders for everyone's fluid refreshment of choice. But there are so many more things that follow on from that initial step. Such as:

1. Release notes for updates to the Marketplace need to be posted several days in advance. They need to detail what will be changed and when the changes will hit. This is analogous to yelling "Look out!" just before you run into something .. as opposed to the current method of posting the Release Noes after the fact. Even though you may think your changes won't impact anyone, the truth is they often do .. and many times in ways you folks never saw coming. (The recent email change for example.) With some advance warning there would be far fewer support tickets, flailing arm forum posts and overall anxiety.

2. Updates to the Marketplace and the Release Notes should be announced in a standard location that is centralized to SL and its own communication methods. The Grid Status is one example that will sort of work, but only if the posts to the Grid Status feed provide much more info than they do now. Simply stating "Marketplace update on ..." isn't sufficient. The posts should have links to the Release Notes at the very minimum.

3. Those "Red Box" notices in the Merchant Dashboard are useless for time sensitive information. It's a location few visit routinely and there is no automated way to detect changes. If you are wishing to include a notice from within the Marketplace that is available to Merchants only, consider adding it to the Merchant Menu (the one at the top of most Merchant function pages that reads "Home, Inventory, Orders, Reports, ...") Make it a "Trigger cleared highlight" type menu option that shows highlighted when a new notice has been posted, and that clears the highlight once the Merchant has read it. (This can be done easily with a cookie that contains the date/time of the last notice read. If the cookie date/time is older than the notice's date/time then highlight the "Notice" menu option.)

4. Forum posts must return to a two-way format. The "fire and forget" forum posts with absolutely no response from CTL to follow-on comments has to stop. There is no need (nor any reason) to respond to flames, but there is a requirement to acknowledge reasonable responses .. especially those with additional information, concerns and suggestions. Even though I personally am incapable of posts with fewer than 20 words, it is possible to indicate that customer comments have been read without engaging in ad nauseum text floods.

5. Consider adding a feature to this Forum software that would display a "Read Receipt" type notification when CTL has read and digested a comment. Similar to the flag on a mailbox that would be lowered once CTL has checked it off, it would eliminate the need to write a response to everything .. instead reducing it to a simple "Got it" checkbox that would be visible to all readers. (And an email to the comment author would be super cool!)

6. Restart the weekly User Group meetings. Don't go overboard on Sim space and don't waste your time with fancy 4-corner region games .. just a single meeting spot with the usual 10-20 avatar limits will do. Yeah they'll be crowded and heated at first, but in a short while with regular meetings .. and with an end to features/upgrades/changes that no one wanted, needed or had any clue were in development ... those in attendance will soon trickle down to be just those with a true desire to stay in touch and participate.

7. Post the next 6 months Task List .. now! Update it once a month. Be prepared to explain why time is being spent on the items on the list. Listen to the concerns, suggestions and complaints that it creates. (Hint: If CTL cannot justify spending time for the items on the list to the Merchant/Shopper community then it's a good bet you shouldn't spend your money on it either.)

8. Follow through! All two paragraphs sound fine. Lots of things sound fine. But the Marketplace doesn't work on sound, and money doesn't flow into your coffers (or ours) based on sound either. Make it happen. Otherwise the backlash from this tiny morsel of text will be an even louder and grumpier response once folks figure out it was just lip-service. Folks around here are neither dumb nor naive. If you have no intention of actually doing things to make it better then you best just shut it down and let us move on to your competitors now. We've all been run through the ringer too many times already, and just tossing a few crumbs on the table and calling it Thanksgiving is only going to result in more righteous indignation. (Translation: Put your money where your mouth has already gone.)

9. Permanently outlaw and remove from the LL Mantra the following two sentiments: A) Customers are a pain to deal with, and B) The forums have no value to LL. Replace them with the following two instead: A) Customers are why we get paid, and B) Participating in the forums is how we stay commited to our customers.

These are just for starters. I've seen a ton of other good ideas floating around .. and I'm pretty sure you've seen them too. (If not then shame on you already.) I'm glad you used the word "commited" as that's a very powerful and important word. As you've no doubt come to realize, we loud people are pretty deeply commited too. So match us, stand eye to eye with us .. and demonstrate that the word means much more to you than a convenient assemblage of letters.

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Of course the Lindens read the forums everyday, der. If for no other reason than to swing the ban hammer or delete scythe now and again. Surely they watch for big fires and report them to the boss.


Reading the forums is an endurance test, however, even for a good-willed and even obsessed Linden.


I have yet to see this group complaining here draw up a 7-point or 10-point agenda that they all have consensus on, to hammer out something that is realistic and doable, but also may contain some aspirational things the Lindens can't do, but could explain why they can't better.


I have only experienced this inexplicable glitch with the non-delivery/refund thing once myself, even selling stuff every day, but I'm not a big seller, I just make stupid little stuff for pennies. I guess I'm not even getting the mechanics here of why stuff doesn't work like this:

1. receive payment

2. validate that payment is received

3. then ship item

Am I seeing things or does it appear that the item ships before payment is *validated* i.e. showing on the "My Accounts" as a "plus"? It would seem that all inworld sales work this way -- first the "ka-ching" noise of the cashregister, THEN the thing flies off your lot or out of your inventory.

When you pay inworld, FIRST you pay, then, after a few seconds or more, the item comes to your inventory with a message.

 

So why doesn't the Marketplace work that way?


I also think the group has to work up their red lines and their consensus on what they could cave on.

I don't think any special certified merchants should be the result of this exercise.

I also note that when there was a lot of griefing and problems with gambling and lack of clarity of what was legal gaming, the Lindens decided to solve the problem by meeting twice a week inworld for about 2-3 months until they got a handle on the problems better and reassured the public. Two times a week is a real burden for this reduced staff, but they could say they'd do it for 90 days until they reach improvement metrics.

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From my perspective, I don't even want weekly meetings. Whenever they are there'll be a proportion of people who can't make them.  Which is why Pink tried to work around that by having so many and suggested using the forum since it allows for more people to comment.

my wish list is for the sprint task list to be published on the forum (does LL still use scrum or was that another idea that fell by the wayside?) in the prioritised order and with delivery date.  Even if the list is bigger than the capability it should mean that the top few items should get through.  Consider reviewing your objectives for each sprint, as it's becoming pretty obvious that you cannot deliver a quality product in the timeframe you are allowing yourself.  Even if you only have one item in an 8 week sprint, which is delivered and works it will be better than what we have now .  Even publishing the product log would help so we can at least see what you think is important and we can put our priority on each item.

there's really not that many user processes with the mp, so please get someone to document the process flows!  I won't ask for an impact mapping for each deliverable because I suspect that's not possible with the team you have.

If you still have merchants as uat testers (I think there were some for dd and I thought there might be some for the day to day releases) then get rid of them and get some people who actually know the marketplace, either that or start paying attention when they tell you what features are broken and missing - and put the defects/issues in the product list so we can discuss them and refine what needs to be done and if you don't have any business testers then get some!  your people either don't know how to test properly, don't have the time or don't understand the site well enough to ensure that the product that is delivered is actually of a quality to be released.

Send the merchants an email periodically.  I don't need one each week but even fortnightly or monthly would be good.  Tell me what's fixed, what's coming up and you can even remind me what features you have I could splash some lindens on to enhance my marketing experience - and make it an opt in after the first one.

fixing DD and dumping the magic boxes would be good.  but only once the main problems are ironed out and there's notifications in place.

if you haven't yet, get yourself a vm in the cloud for this so you can test properly and a bit of automation to regression test certainly wouldn't go amiss.

I'm not even going to list all the usability improvement I'd like to see as there's far too many broken core features that need attending to first.

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I like the idea of the sprint task list :)

Just how much spare capacity do the commerce team have for implementing new ideas AS WELL AS communicating extensively with the merchant community? I know from personal experience how much time meetings, preparation for them and reports take up. 

Personally, I'd like to get an understanding of the priority tasks the commerce team faces (which may be "under the hood" and so invisible to us), present them with issues merchants feel are priorities for them - and start negotiations as to what can be taken forward.

Following from that, maybe occasional updates and very infrequent reviews of priorites perhaps involving meetings may then suffice...

My little wish list for the sprint list on page 1 of this thread ;)

Emma :)

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Howdy, Darrius!

I could not have written a better list myself, Man!  I agree completely with all your bullets and I really hope that the Commerce Team and Rodvik himself take them and implement them all.  

I gotta say...I was surprised as h.e.double-hockey-sticks to see Rod post in this thread.  Has he EVER posted in the Merchant forum?  No.  So I was surprised and happy to see his name come up here.  But it will take more than just posting a couple of times saying "We're reading the feedback." for my feelings about the Commerce Team and upper management to change in any significant manner.  

I envision someone at the Lab reading through our posts and saying out loud to nobody in particular:  "No." move down..."No." move down..."No." et cetera, et cetera.  They have to read it, understand it, and take action on it.  And then TELL us what they are taking action on BEFORE any changes are made.  

I just hope that's what happens.  This small merchant crosses his fingers that Miss Brooke and Rod does what should BE done...from now on.

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I agree with Marcus that your input Darrius was awesome as to some key items and factors to address that would heal / restore the current relationship between the LL Commerce Team and its Merchants of MP.

There is going to be a boatload of specific things all us Merchants want to see - and I am sure we all know that in many cases the priorities of what needs to be addressed, fixed, introduced, in MP will be completely wide spread / differing.

As such, as much as many of us could predict (and someone has already stated in this forum) that the first few weekly meetings could be like drinking out of a firehose with all the Merchant's pent up demands that have been ignored for - well - forever, I would hope a consensus in this thread among merchants could be generally reached on what are fundamental first steps to restoring the relationship between the two groups and setting the foundation to effectively all the "boatload" of more specfic request/demand get heard and priorized as we move forward.

Some of the fundamental points I see in the postings of this thread are :

 

  • Rodvik's formal appearance in this thread and his first Commerce Forums appearance cannot simply be - as many Merchants are fearing - "Lip Service".  Rodvik needs to follow up his statements with actions that the Merchants can see.  He doesnt have to be the visible face to the changes, but the merchants need to see a visible change in the Commerce Team's business approach and relationship with us and how MP is being managed.  As Darrius and others have stated - if in the next few weeks / months we never hear from Rodvik again and we do not see any visible changes from Brooke and her team, the anger/frustration that LL has been getting from this community to-date will be nothing compared to what they will experience if its proven that it was only LIP SERVICE.
  • Brooke working with her team to establish a similar LL User Group structure, schedule, format to many of the others that have already been set up by other LL teams.  A LL "Merchants" User Group.  Weekly or even semi-weekly would be something that will encourage a bonding between teams and start breaking the walls down.
  • The Commerce Team needs to select and fast track the development & deployment of some long standing yet realtively simple fixes or missing features into the MP.  An example that I can recall that is often mentioned by many of us is the MP Sales/Traffic reporting that xstreet has some basic forms of but MP lost. Just an example.  Just pick a couple Brooke and deploy them.  Show the merchants that the team will provide visible MP service improving functions that we all can be happy about seeing it show up.  We have seen almost none of these types of changes.
  • Vastly improved Commerce Team change / problem reporting.  Darrius mentioned these ideas clearly and this would be a fundamental and yet easy quick hit improvement that the Commerce Team can tackle.  Common Standard location reporting of all up-coming changes even a week in advance.  And problem/incident reporting and status that is frequently updated.
  • A visible and far more frequent appearance of the Commerce Team members in the Merchant Forum threads.  I would also add to this request that the Commerce Team members should return to using their own names and not hide behind the "commerce team" user id.  It might sound petty but by hiding your postings behind a generic name sends a strong message that you are afraid of us and want to maintain this anonymity wall - powerful negative message.  In return, use your moderators to remove postings from anyone that responds to your team with personal attacking non-constructive postings (I dont care who it is - even if its me).  But your interactive engagement with those merchants that take time in these forums to communicate about MP activities would go a long way to mend relations.
  • Merchants want to see / be briefed on LL's roadmap, plans, scheduled development of MP.  If this has previously not been allowed because of internal LL policy reasons, we want to see a commitment from Rodvik that his Commerce Team staff have the freedom to be more open with the Merchants and the authority to more openly engage with us to improve MP together.  Brooke and team should not be timid minions of LL Policy whenever the community engages with them.  They should be free to engage frankly with us.  If they cant then this will harm the process of mending the relationship.

I am sure there are others but I think these are some of the fundamental changes the Merchants need to see.  With these changes in place, the drinking from the firehose of Merchant concerns, requirements, demands could then begin.

Thoughts??

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Couldbe Yue wrote:

From my perspective, I don't even want weekly meetings. Whenever they are there'll be a proportion of people who can't make them.  Which is why Pink tried to work around that by having so many and suggested using the forum since it allows for more people to comment.

my wish list is for the sprint task list to be published on the forum (does LL still use scrum or was that another idea that fell by the wayside?) in the prioritised order and with delivery date.  Even if the list is bigger than the capability it should mean that the top few items should get through.  Consider reviewing your objectives for each sprint, as it's becoming pretty obvious that you cannot deliver a quality product in the timeframe you are allowing yourself.  Even if you only have one item in an 8 week sprint, which is delivered and works it will be better than what we have now .  Even publishing the product log would help so we can at least see what you think is important and we can put our priority on each item.

there's really not that many user processes with the mp, so please get someone to document the process flows!  I won't ask for an impact mapping for each deliverable because I suspect that's not possible with the team you have.

If you still have merchants as uat testers (I think there were some for dd and I thought there might be some for the day to day releases) then get rid of them and get some people who actually know the marketplace, either that or start paying attention when they tell you what features are broken and missing - and put the defects/issues in the product list so we can discuss them and refine what needs to be done and if you don't have any business testers then get some!  your people either don't know how to test properly, don't have the time or don't understand the site well enough to ensure that the product that is delivered is actually of a quality to be released.

Send the merchants an email periodically.  I don't need one each week but even fortnightly or monthly would be good.  Tell me what's fixed, what's coming up and you can even remind me what features you have I could splash some lindens on to enhance my marketing experience - and make it an opt in after the first one.

fixing DD and dumping the magic boxes would be good.  but only once the main problems are ironed out and there's notifications in place.

if you haven't yet, get yourself a vm in the cloud for this so you can test properly and a bit of automation to regression test certainly wouldn't go amiss.

I'm not even going to list all the usability improvement I'd like to see as there's far too many broken core features that need attending to first.

couldnt have put it better...exactly what she says ! I really dont see the need for meetings at all...communicate, fix it, let us know whats happening.

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It is not only the merchants who are getting the shaft from issues with the Marketplace - the folks that purchase stuff there are getting screwed as well. I have 2 orders that are "stuck" by a bug - they took my Lindens on all of them - no delivery on all of them. Here is their response:

"Thank you for responding to this support case ticket. I'm sorry to hear of your issues again. As mentioned in my previous response this is caused by a bug that we are aware of, and the bug prevents us from being able to push the order through. As the order will eventually go through however, we will not be refunding this since the seller(s) will eventually be paid and the items will eventually be delivered.

You may keep an eye on the Jira regarding this bug at the following: https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/WEB-4441"

EVENTUALLY? It's been over 3 weeks already! I purchased stuff to make things for my wee store that I needed NOW.So I am out my money and out the items until it "eventually" goes through. Despite the fact it states on the failure notice:

"If the item is not delivered within 8 hours after purchase, you will automatically receive a refund to your account."

My point is you guys are losing - the buyer is losing and the end result is I no longer trust shopping on the marketplace, and am warning everyone I know to stay away and shop inworld. If this has happened to me twice now - it is happening to many others. Good luck to you all in your hopes of getting things fixed but between these MP issues and general issues with SL I have little left. I work in IT and if we allowed these kind of issues to flourish and languish with our software - we would not be in business for long. Eventually our customers will go somewhere else and I see that exact thing happening to SL.

Such a shame. I love SL but I think all the hassles and issues are starting to outweigh the positives...

~Snow

PS If I posted this in a place you think is inappropriate - my apologies. I do not visit the forums much.

 

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Well, well, well, what a shocker! I refrained from posting on this thread, as I didn't see the point. Guess I'm a bit late to the party now.

What has gone on with the SL MP, is not an uncommon fiasco. I've seen similar situations on a number of different platforms. It is still mindblowing to watch it happen, but it does seem like a pattern amongst marketplaces. I'm speaking of platforms with MPs deciding to change over to these premade MP sites. Like I said, it is happening on many different platform, but SL's MP has been exceptionly bad. Many of the other MP sites that I frequent seem to have cleared most of their issues up fairly quickly, while the SL MP languishes in some extremely slow progress. Maybe it does have something to do with the complexities of SL, but I think it has a bit more to do with the lack of hands on deck.

As I'm not a coder, I can't really address the need to switch over to these new MPs. What I can do is point out my observations of the problems. The old site, Xstreet, was custom made for SL. I have no idea what the size of their staff was, but issues were addressed immediately, and there were few, if any, issues that went on forever. Maybe this has to do with the people working on it knowing every part of the code, but again, I can't address this. The point I want to make tho, is that the site was custom made for SL. We saw the same thing happen inworld, with the INWORLD SEARCH ENGINE. The inworld search engine was custom made for SL, and then we got numerous versions of search engines that are like square pegs being fit to round holes. Both situations hurt the merchant class the most. Today, the 2 systems that drive customers to our shops have been languishing in unexceptable states for years now. My main point here is, that I seriously question the idea that new is better, and I can't see how abandoning custom made solutions was a good thing for any of us.

My personal opinion is that the staffs assigned to the MP is way too small. I can only determine this by the length of time it has taken to even move an inch. Like I've said, I've seen similar situations on other sites, and they get addressed within a reasonable amount of time. Here, on the SL MP, we now have long time issues going on and on and on, no different than the 6 years old bugs that still aren't being addressed on the SL platform. So, this should be no surprise to any1. Why all these bugs never get addressed has got to be the biggest question in most of our minds. We see these issues ignored while LL goes on to other big projects like, Enterprise Grid, and now Patterns and others. I can only assume that LL doesn't think the issues are big enough to apply the proper amount of staff to handle the issue in any reasonable amount of time. Let me just say that I feel LL would be in a much better place if they would first address the issues and then take on other projects. This said, Patterns does look interesting.


Yeah, we have heard over and over how LL is committed, yet these are just words. The evidence of the commitment still eludes us. We can only guess why the ball never gets moved much, but I'd venture to guess that not many people at LL put the proper priorities in the right areas. If we look at sites like the Glassdoor, we see that many people blame the management, and it is hard not to agree with this. If LL management doesn't think breaking every looping animation, or a properly working inworld search, or fixing MP problems are important, then they will never be addressed, which is where we have been for years now.

Finally note - Rodvik, if you want to get SL moving back into the right direction, it would be wise to make it easier for customers to find the right merchants, as we help our customers much more than simply selling them products.

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What I've done when, as a customer, I've been affected by that bug is contact the merchant direct and try to arrange something. Normally, I've offered to buy the item again, in return for a refund if and when the MP delivers.


More generally, I think we merchants are maybe looking at the MP through the wrong end of the telescope. I think LL's main interest in the MP is that it's a way of showing people the sort of things that are available in SL and it's a convenience for new residents who want to set themselves up with good-looking avatars with nice clothes and toys, and who don't want to spend ages looking for stuff.


Leaving aside the vexed question of whether the L$ is convertable currency or not, I cannot believe that the 5% transaction charges on MP sales amounts to much. How much is a cup of coffee in SF -- US$2 or thereabouts? So every L$10,000 spent in the MP amounts to enough commission to buy someone at LL a coffee at lunchtime . Lord only knows how much people have to spend there in order to pay the salaries of people who're tasked with maintaining and improving the MP.


Obviously I don't know, but I suspect that if I were at LL and were trying to spend the shareholders' money prudently, I'd see improving the MP for buyers rather than merchants as the priority. As a merchant, I don't like that, but I think it may well be the case.

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