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Ongoing issue: flood of freebies on all marketplace search results

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All I have to say is, It's been a fricken roller coaster for sales over the past week. Thank you, LL, for screwing us all again.


You know, the part that gets me is, if people want freebies all they have to do is change the Sort By option. Yet LL employees can't seem to understand that creating a relevance algorythm that caters to the cheapest items is retarded. And people actually wonder why SL is in decline. To me it's obvious. We have a bunch of people running the show who have no idea what they are doing, with management just as clueless.

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Here is a test for you LL.

Create an algorythm that caters to the most expensive items and display those for 1 week. When it is over, go check and see how much you made it total commissions. It's sad that I have to explain this to so called professionals.


LL, go look on Youtube's movie section. They don't show all the free movies at the top. They make the user have to change the search options.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

All I have to say is, It's been a fricken roller coaster for sales over the past week. Thank you, LL, for screwing us all again.

 

You know, the part that gets me is, if people want freebies all they have to do is change the Sort By option. Yet LL employees can't seem to understand that creating a relevance algorythm that caters to the cheapest items is retarded. And people actually wonder why SL is in decline. To me it's obvious. We have a bunch of people running the show who have no idea what they are doing, with management just as clueless.

Also agree. Unfortunately in the larger picture we ARE the loss leader. Or at least that appeared to be their thinking and the admission of at least one Linden ... that lower priced goods will attract more new users than not.

Given that we've had time to see that SL continues to decline, I'd say we've proven that this isn't the case. SL boomed on its exclusivity days (a nod to Sassy for some good recent insights on pricing and exclusivity) when land was harder to come by and goods were easier to find but of higher cost and less plentiful.

Perhaps it was worth a try for LL. They just need to learn to give up on things sooner that don't work.

Also there's a detrimental effect to a market that trends toward too many cheap goods. It's a perception thing whether you're buying great products from a great mall or finding deals in a flea market or dollar store.

 

 

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Again.. since it is LL's policy to make sure that all in world stores shut down and everyone gets all content for next to free on SLM why not have those items that are the oldest and most devaluated ones dominate all searches?

Actually the new sorting almost eliminates all items from one of my competitors who cheats the most from view so I could live with this indefinetly because I certainly do not need the money to float 150+ feature ads or 6 sims full of crap on display.

Maybe this is a test to see who is strong enough to survive a few days with no sales and still be able to pay tier...shake the tree and see how many rotten apples fall on your head.

 

Race you to the bottom... 

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

Here is a test for you LL.

Create an algorythm that caters to the most expensive items and display those for 1 week. When it is over, go check and see how much you made it total commissions. It's sad that I have to explain this to so called professionals.

 

LL, go look on Youtube's movie section. They don't show all the free movies at the top. They make the user have to change the search options.

The problem is, only LL have the figures on how much they make from commissions, commissions are not direct income, tier is. Commissions are a bit more complicated to follow through in terms of adding to LL's bottom line.

 

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Has anyone inquired into from a merchant perspective but as a consumer directly to LL? We know they never put us merchants first but I wonder if they would flinch at a ton of consumer complaints now that we can find anything with the search. Probably not that hey would care but I'm jut wondering if anyone has and what their response has been.

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It's like they want us to give up our sims. Don't they understand that we pay for our sim with our sales. You'd think they would want the real merchants to thrive, instead of the fake merchants that give everything away for free. It's just sad to fight our way to a respectible position in the market only for LL to destroy all our work over the past 6 years. Even the enhancements are now worthless, cause every free item below the enhancement pulls the customers away from us. I'm just sick of the BS and ignorance. It's almost unthinkable that a company can actually destroy the 2 ways that people find items, the inworld search and the marketplace. Don't they understand that a merchant selling free items or cheap items aren't going to care about their customers as much as those of us that do this for a living? Don't they understand that the freebie and cheapie markets are full of scammers with other motives?

You know, it's just so dang frustrating. Thank god, I was smart enough to start concentrating on markets outside SL.

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:

All I have to say is, It's been a fricken roller coaster for sales over the past week. Thank you, LL, for screwing us all again.

 

You know, the part that gets me is, if people want freebies all they have to do is change the Sort By option. Yet LL employees can't seem to understand that creating a relevance algorythm that caters to the cheapest items is retarded. And people actually wonder why SL is in decline. To me it's obvious. We have a bunch of people running the show who have no idea what they are doing, with management just as clueless.

Also agree. Unfortunately in the larger picture we ARE the loss leader. Or at least that appeared to be their thinking and the admission of at least one Linden ... that lower priced goods will attract more new users than not.

Given that we've had time to see that SL continues to decline, I'd say we've proven that this isn't the case. SL boomed on its exclusivity days (a nod to Sassy for some good recent insights on pricing and exclusivity) when land was harder to come by and goods were easier to find but of higher cost and less plentiful.

Perhaps it was worth a try for LL. They just need to learn to give up on things sooner that don't work.

Also there's a detrimental effect to a market that trends toward too many cheap goods. It's a perception thing whether you're buying great products from a great mall or finding deals in a flea market or dollar store.

 

 

They need to bring in employees who understand markets. Some1 with a master's degree in austrian economics. I mean, I understand the company is in Cali but they have to have some austrian economists there. This person would understand that LL is chasing all the competition away in each market sector. This is not good for the customer base. Just look at all the well known merchants that have left.

 

And, don't you love how LL refuses to lower their prices, but force us to lower ours with the MP strategies. Just imagine if they lowered the mainland tier price to $149. To me, it only makes sense to do so because of all the empty plots on the mainland. Like I said, they need a real austrian economist on staff. Seriously LL, call up Lew Rockwell. I'm sure some of the people at the Ludwig von Mises Institute would jump at the chance to help straighten out your theories. What economist in the world would not drool over such a world like ours.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

It's like they want us to give up our sims. Don't they understand that we pay for our sim with our sales. You'd think they would want the real merchants to thrive, instead of the fake merchants that give everything away for free. It's just sad to fight our way to a respectible position in the market only for LL to destroy all our work over the past 6 years. Even the enhancements are now worthless, cause every free item below the enhancement pulls the customers away from us. I'm just sick of the BS and ignorance. It's almost unthinkable that a company can actually destroy the 2 ways that people find items, the inworld search and the marketplace. Don't they understand that a merchant selling free items or cheap items aren't going to care about their customers as much as those of us that do this for a living? Don't they understand that the freebie and cheapie markets are full of scammers with other motives?

You know, it's just so dang frustrating. Thank god, I was smart enough to start concentrating on markets outside SL.

Somehow Xstreet seemed to manage to put mostly higher quality items first in search, I think because the algorithm was biased towards high price, not low.  People who were looking for quality were the intended target audience.

 

I very rarely look at search, it is so pathetic, but my co-creator Nacy Nightfire did and was disappointed that one of our incredible turkey dinners is not til page 3 or 4. This thing took us three months to make -- it is for anyone who wants something really special, not for anyone who just wants something really cheap. And the one that shows up -- the one for a table for 8 -- is not as good a seller as the one for table for 6.  The table for 6 one was my top seller and then it poofed from my own store front page.

 

I don't have any idea what they are doing.

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Pamela Galli wrote:


Somehow Xstreet seemed to manage to put mostly higher quality items first in search, I think because the algorithm was biased towards high price, not low.  People who were looking for quality were the intended target audience.

 

Exactly! It is easy to see why too. The Xstreet owner had every incentive in the world to put the high priced items on top. That was the owner's income. Now we have an owner who's main income is not the MP. Essentially, we've gone from a free market, capitalist owner, to a completely socialist owner. If any1 just took a snap shot of any category on Xstreet, and then took a snapshot of what we have now, they would be completely opposite snapshots. I know my market very well, and most the top people that were on the Xstreet AO category are nowhere to be found on our current MP. Any1 with a brain can understand the upevil that doing such a thing to a marketplace would do.

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Not to stalk you, but again find myself agreeing.

It's night and day compared to other content sales vehicles.

Search that works, transactions that don't fail, advertisements that aren't oversold and are easily tracked, decent reporting, and on it goes.

Add to that minimum price requirements, being able to earn more commission for products that adhere to higher quality standards as incentive to produce better goods and generally rewarding the best in quality and hard work.

The main difference between here and elsewhere is that these other sites have a symbiotic relationship with their sellers. It's in everyones best interest not to turn the place into a dollar store and there are things in place to prevent that from happening. You both make money together and it's in everyones interest to make more money.

Here in SL, it's less a buyer/seller environment. It's a company with multiple revenue streams simply monetizing content for their own ends with just enough of a token relationship between company and sellers to barely make the content creating churn worth the time and effort.

I also don't believe it's only about drawing in new users. The less people spend on merchant goods the more they spend elsewhere (theoretically on premium accounts, land, etc.). Except even that bit backfires on them.

The tools are inadequate as is the business relationship. It's simply not professional by any standards. Hell, you can't even trust that your advertising dollars won't disappear or cancel ad subscriptions or that your products will successfully make it to the buyer. And of course no guarantees of anything, ever. No protection when something goes wrong.

But right, there's no incentive for LL to forge that kind of professional relationship and tools.

That's the difference between a company that provides a proper buyer/seller environment as opposed to a company that wants to partake more in clever monetization than commerce and use content that is not their own as a tool to sell their other stuff.

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Unlike RL, I have found that in SL high price usually does not eqaly high quaity. There are many many high quality designers that sell cheaply and often. Most of the high cost items are usualy not worth the cost. in my opinion that is.

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You know, a couple years ago, I actually went on some other MP forums, in other 3d platforms, and told them to look at SL's model for allowing any1 to post products and also doing away with quality control. To me, it was ridiculous to limit the market. I told them that the best products would float to the top. There is no need for quality control, as the platform owners would just get in the way of the consumer/merchant relationship. The platform owners wouldn't even know what the consumer wants in quality cause they can't possibly have the 1 on 1 relationship that the merchant would have with the consumer. What those other 3d platforms were doing, was creating a massive 2 to 6 month bottle neck on new products. They thought they were helping the consumer, but instead they could not keep up with changes, and I, as well as other were buying outdated products that I couldn't load into the latest version of their program. Even worse, was you couldn't even get the old version of the program that the product worked on. Plus, the platform owner charged 50% commission, and you have to assume that the quality control process is costly.

Now I look like a complete f...ing moron. If those platforms looked at SL's model and saw all those freebies, and the junk that pervades every sector, they would laugh at me.

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Drake1 Nightfire wrote:

Unlike RL, I have found that in SL high price usually does not eqaly high quaity. There are many many high quality designers that sell cheaply and often. Most of the high cost items are usualy not worth the cost. in my opinion that is.

Actually, you are leaving out a keep factor, which is the consumer. The consumers push the best products to the top. This means, when the MP caters to the higher priced items, and the consumers influence the relevance of the results by buying products, only the best products are at the top, and usually the best price to quality ratio too.

 

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


 The consumers push the best products to the top. This means, when the MP caters to the higher priced items, and the consumers influence the relevance of the results by buying products. Only the best products are at the top, and usually the best price to quality ratio too.

 

You think so ?  On SLM it is very common that the Merchant  pushes products to the top. You can tell when certain merchant's items fill the top page of several categories constantly unless they go on vacation for a few days...

 

 

 

 

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VonGklugelstein Alter wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:


 The consumers push the best products to the top. This means, when the MP caters to the higher priced items, and the consumers influence the relevance of the results by buying products. Only the best products are at the top, and usually the best price to quality ratio too.

 

You think so ?  On SLM it is very common that the Merchant  pushes products to the top. You can tell when certain merchant's items fill the top page of several categories constantly unless they go on vacation for a few days...

 

In theory, when the MP owners know what they are doing, it would work right. All the correct theories in the world can't be right if the MP owners have no clue what they are doing.

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Drake1 Nightfire wrote:

Unlike RL, I have found that in SL high price usually does not eqaly high quaity. There are many many high quality designers that sell cheaply and often. Most of the high cost items are usualy not worth the cost. in my opinion that is.

And I have found that, like RL, the best quality things in SL generally cost more than low quality things. Maybe this is because SL is really a subset of RL. I am a 3D artist, which is not so different from being any other kind of artist -- the time it takes me to make something is worth something. The time I invested in developing the skill to make something is worth something. The more time and skill it takes to make something, the higher the price -- that is the free market, in any life.  Quality products generally take more time and skill than crappy stuff does.

 

Only in some other universe in which time is not worth anything will there be no correlation between the price of something and the time and skill it took to make it.

 

https://d44ytnim3cfy5.cloudfront.net/assets/6563750/lightbox/Holiday_Dinner_002.jpg?1352136927

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


Drake1 Nightfire wrote:

Unlike RL, I have found that in SL high price usually does not eqaly high quaity. There are many many high quality designers that sell cheaply and often. Most of the high cost items are usualy not worth the cost. in my opinion that is.

Actually, you are leaving out a keep factor, which is the consumer. The consumers push the best products to the top. This means, when the MP caters to the higher priced items, and the consumers influence the relevance of the results by buying products, only the best products are at the top, and usually the best price to quality ratio too.

 

None of us really know how the search algorithms work, at best we just guess at them.  They are supposedly kept secret in order to keep any one from gaming them.  But what is clearly obvious is that there are things that can cause unexpected consequences.

When I am searching for something, as I have stated, I expect relevant search results.  If I search for cows I don't expect to see horses.  But then for me, I sort price low to high.  Because like most consumers, I want the best bang for my Linden Buck.  But I am only going to spend so much time shopping.  If I am seeing that there are 100 pages of Cows, unless i have my heart set on a Purple Cow with Pink Polka Dots, I am only going to search so far.  So yes I will wind up buying more lower priced items.   So my shopping impacts search this way.

But that still does not account for the other random and sometimes extreme jumps in product ranking.  And I have a suspicion it would take some human intervention on a case by case process to fix.

  Or an entire new search engine.

I worked for a year for a home and garden chemical manufacturer (fertilizers, pesticides, related).  One of retail chains used a computer system to generate orders.  It based those orders on the previous years sales to adjust and control inventory.  So if the previous year during the last two weeks of July they had not sold any termite control products, their system would let the inventory levels drop.  What their system failed to take into account was the weather the previous year.  Last  year July was dry, this year it was wet.

The search algorithms need serious fixing.

 

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Spica Inventor wrote:

Yep I just did a search as well. LL went back to the old ways of pushing overpriced items to the top again. Yipee! ;-)

This is not addressed to Spica Inventor, but to those of us not impervious to logic:

Overpriced is not the same as high priced.  "Overpriced" means "priced higher than its value" which almost always means "does not sell (much) at that price".  So if something is a best seller and also happens to be high priced, this does not mean that it is overpriced -- it means that at that price, a lot of sales have been made.  The reason for that is that even at a high price, some things are of such good quality they are still a good value.

 

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Drake1 Nightfire wrote:

So, i just did a quick search by best selling.. seems to be fixed now.  Sky didnt fall. back to business as usual.

Relevance is what we've all been complaining about. Best Selling should be the best selling items. Best selling doesn't mean best selling at a certain magic price. That can be dictated in the advanced search options by the consumers. This is what I mean tho, this crap doesn't even make any sense. Relevance is what the majority of people are going to use, and the only 1 that requires a complex algorythm to get decent results, that benefit the consumers, LL, and the merchants.

 

1 major aspect that I also see as a bit messed up in the relevance results, is that recently sold items seems to have a major effect on the relevance the next day or 2 after. The ranking of a product sold will jump wildly up, and the more sold in 1 day makes it jump even more wildly up. After that tho, and the product has not sold at all, it will just dissappear off the charts. It's almost like those sales have little to know influence on the long term ranking of the product. Let me give an example of the craziness in results by using some good examples from my own list products. I won't name them, just tell you how they have performed over the years, and what happens today. I have 1 that is my staple product. It always does good, and is high price, but a big package with many features and goodness. This product, by any measurable standard, should be #1 and never fricken move from that position on my store page. It's stats far surpass any other product. It jumps around wildly in my store page. The 2nd and 3rd best performing products aren't even in the top 12 right now. I have 1 newer product that is selling in bunches every few days, and that is currently #1, yet it is only 6 months old. If it doesn't sell for a few days or a week, it will drop completely out of the top 12.

All that moving around tells me this system is extremely screwed up. There is no amount of reasoning that can explain those products jumping around like that, other that a really messed up algorythm. It's obvious that LL wants to show off products that sell today and give them a higher ranking over the next few days, but IMHO that is not the way to do it. I suggest that they create another option in the Sort by, labeled Recently Sold, or maybe Trending. To mess with and screw up the Relevance sorting with this wild system is not the way to accomplish what they want. It's like LL is trying to make the relevance category influenced by everything, when it should really only be the products that perform long term. Relevance should be the most stable of all the results, not the most wild.

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Perrie Juran wrote:

 

 


None of us really know how the search algorithms work, at best we just guess at them.  They are supposedly kept secret in order to keep any one from gaming them.  But what is clearly obvious is that there are things that can cause unexpected consequences.

When I am searching for something, as I have stated, I expect relevant search results.  If I search for cows I don't expect to see horses.  But then for me, I sort price low to high.  Because like most consumers, I want the best bang for my Linden Buck.  But I am only going to spend so much time shopping.  If I am seeing that there are 100 pages of Cows, unless i have my heart set on a Purple Cow with Pink Polka Dots, I am only going to search so far.  So yes I will wind up buying more lower priced items.   So my shopping impacts search this way.

But that still does not account for the other random and sometimes extreme jumps in product ranking.  And I have a suspicion it would take some human intervention on a case by case process to fix.

  Or an entire new search engine.

I worked for a year for a home and garden chemical manufacturer (fertilizers, pesticides, related).  One of retail chains used a computer system to generate orders.  It based those orders on the previous years sales to adjust and control inventory.  So if the previous year during the last two weeks of July they had not sold any termite control products, their system would let the inventory levels drop.  What their system failed to take into account was the weather the previous year.  Last  year July was dry, this year it was wet.

The search algorithms need serious fixing.

This all reminds me of RL. When you think about it, similar things are happening in both RL and SL, and we are getting the same results. What I mean is the Engineering of the markets. The more the government does to try and fix a precieved problem, the worse they make it, or the more they create. This is why I compared things to the battle of Socialism and Capitalism. We have the same thing going on here. Instead of letting the market dictate the winners and losers, LL wants to try and engineer the system to be fair to every1. We see this in the MP, and in the inworld search. Instead of all the top places in the inworld results, we see a mish mash of places. On the MP, instead of the top products with the most profitable price to sale ratio, we get a MP with all the free items first.

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I just saw this topic and it has been something I have been thinking and wondering about for quite some time. I have no idea if I am a "relevant" or "irrelevant" merchant as some people have called them in this post. I think all merchants trying to sell something on the MP or in-world are relevant in their own way. People buy what they wish to buy in the MP and in SL itself. 

This may be considered to be off-topic or not, but I do not think this is entirely a problem of MP, in listing of freebies. The fact is, I think any clothing designer will admit to, is there has been for quite some time, a lot of what one would call "dumping" of freebie and 10-30L items in SL. I have no idea nor do I want to comment on how these merchants make any money or what the impeteus is to dump items at those prices. They mostly seem to buy templates do not do a thing to them and dump them on the market, or so it seems. This is their right to do according to the TOS. The end result though is, logically, that the massive dumping of freebies in SL will reflect itself in any MP search. I personally use 0L items for Mesh demo's and footprints and LM's if the need is there.

Each person has the right to decide on their own pricing and business plan. I respect this. But this Freebie in-world dumping does hurt many many other merchants. Indeed if you seach the MP you will find many designers and builders who state they no longer have in-world businesss, and use the MP and also cut prices drastically. 

The economy, plus the decreasing grid, and it is decreasing at an extremely scary rate, makes more and more people spend less money, IMHO. If I were new in SL based just upon the "hunts" and "freebies" I do not know if I would be tempted to spend 1L on anything as it is all available out there for free if you spend time "hunting" or searching for Freebies. 

I also know of no designer who claims a 70K sale rate a day. I find claims like that extremely unlikely and thus suspicious by nature. However, anyone can claim what they wish to claim I guess, but there is no need to call someone who sells less "irrelevant" or be snide and cynical.

MP I think reflects a much more deep and difficult overall problem that is effecting SL for almost a year. Decreasing numbers, Sims disappearing at a rate that is quite astounding (and this has been documented over at Metaverse blog) or if you are in certain groups where people sell off sims you can just watch the number of messages a day that come in for Sim Sales. 

Many people do not have the economic power to buy the items that once sold easily (be they of good or bad quality-that is not for me to judge.) Merchants, many good ones, are just trying to swim above the tide for the moment and see which way it goes.

The MP is a mirror of SL whether or not the algorithm for search is good, great or horrible. So Freebie items, which are being dumped in SL in ever-increasing numbers, and those with a 10L or 30L price that used to sell for much more, find their place in the MP and people will buy them and move them up in the rankings. 

I dont think this is due to the MP. I think this is all due to the way LL has and continues to treat and price itself out of the market. Land costs X. Uploads cost Y. Creating takes time. Some people have said "screw this" and I guess figure why not just dump it all (like those who refuse to sell off their sims and just give them back). It is a huge mess and something that LL really must deal with or find itself in a cycle of decreasing numbers and then decreasing sales and slowly kill itself off.

So the search algorithms while I do admit make no sense to me (especially the Best-Selling one which does not seem to have any connection with Best Selling items as far as I can tell from my own store), I think this is but a small part of a much larger problem.

It does not help a discussion though, by putting down other merchants or calling others names because you consider yourself to be a "highly regarded merchant". It may or may not be true. But everyone who sells in SL and in the MP is relevant.

So I will sign off by calling myself a completely irrevelant merchant in SL who agrees the MP algorithms are way way off, but they do reflect the truth in regard to Freebies and very low priced items of what is going in-world.

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