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CBD SL Business Survey 2013 - Results


Heavenly Villa
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Curious but not without bias.  Given that the bulk of the respondents comprise Clothing/Home & Garden, 60% of the results are weighted in those sectors so that has be bourne in mind.  The results of other sectors may not have the same trend.

I'm also curious about some of the numbers that don't add up:-

Do you use Marketplace to sell items?

 60% Yes

16% No

So if neither yes or no, then what is the answer appropriate to the other near quarter of the respondents, did they not understand the notion of a yes/no answer?

Does your SL business provide enough income (Lindens) to cover your business expenses in SL (tier, advertising, capital, templates, textures etc)?

 35%  Yes

25%   No

Same, it's now 40% who don't understand either yes...or no.

Do you know how to market your business in SL?

67%  Yes

13%  No

Again, 20% of the respondents haven't figured out the question yet.

Some incorrect comments from the respondents about MP:-

"  Merchants are not able to delete items."  Yes they are!

"   Not able to refund customers for failed deliveries or allow for redelivery of item – merchant has to search through inventory and send to customer"...or they could go to their MP dashboard and use the REDELIVER option.

There are so many anomalies here that although some of the comments given are clearly issues held close to some, the discrepancies bring me to question the validity.

I'm not criticising the initiative, only that as a result of those who completed the survey, the responses are sector biased, incomplete and thus statistically odd and show that some merchants haven't got a good understanding of what can and cannot be done with the environment that they use.

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 If you want a professional survey done with exact results, please feel free to do it yourself or pay for one.    This was done by merchants invested in making some positive changes in SL and taking the first step of finding out what some of the issues concerning merchants were and the survey gave us that information.  

Please note I did NOT put anywhere in the results that this sample was a representative sample of the merchant population of SL.   I could have put a whole lot of jargon used for surveys, but people are not interested in that, they just want to know what was reported.   ALL I have done is reported what the results were.

The majority of the results were actually calculated by google docs so please feel free to take up any miscalculations with them.

1.   Not all of the people who completed the survey were merchants, there were some who were shoppers and skipped the business questions.   The percentages is out of the total number who did the survey, not all completed some of the questions.  

2.  I believe the largest percentage of merchants to answer the survey were clothing merchants, not home and garden designers.

3.  Regarding marketplace, you have missed what I put at the beginning - that it appears that there may be an issue with there not being clear instruction on how to use marketplace given some of the answers by respondents not knowing how to do things.

 

Thank you to those who have responded in a positive light and appreciate what we are providing for you for free  :)

 

 

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As with any survey, there will always be people who do not answer all the questions, thus you get percentages that do not add up to 100%.  Nothing being hidden, just the way people are.  The "no answer" group then has to be percieved to be about evenly split between the choices or ignored.  Evenly splitting the "no answer" group can lead to false percentages though.  So the best way is to leave those results out.  Most people would presume then that not everybody answered that (or those) particular questions.  In other words, let the results speak for themselves and let the numbers fall where they may.  It is still an eye opener to see what most residents see as positive or negative.

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Heavenly Villa wrote:

 If you want a professional survey done with exact results, please feel free to do it yourself or pay for one.    This was done by merchants invested in making some positive changes in SL and taking the first step of finding out what some of the issues concerning merchants were and the survey gave us that information.  

Please note I did NOT put anywhere in the results that this sample was a representative sample of the merchant population of SL.   I could have put a whole lot of jargon used for surveys, but people are not interested in that, they just want to know what was reported.   ALL I have done is reported what the results were.

The majority of the results were actually calculated by google docs so please feel free to take up any miscalculations with them.

1.   Not all of the people who completed the survey were merchants, there were some who were shoppers and skipped the business questions.   The percentages is out of the total number who did the survey, not all completed some of the questions.  

2.  I believe the largest percentage of merchants to answer the survey were clothing merchants, not home and garden designers.

3.  Regarding marketplace, you have missed what I put at the beginning - that it appears that there may be an issue with there not being clear instruction on how to use marketplace given some of the answers by respondents not knowing how to do things.

 

Thank you to those who have responded in a positive light and appreciate what we are providing for you for free 
:)

 

 

im sorry, but you shouldnt take it like this... We are NOT the one who came here and asked for something, and certainly not for a gift from youn but YOU are the one who came and ask for our help for your survey.

Some of us had question and worries, and then you came to answer again. This is what you answered :

"

HI

 

To try to answer your questions (in no particular order):

1. No we are not hired / employed / contracted by Linden Labs in any way shape or form.   We are a group of people who have had businesses in SL from 1 - 5 or more years.   We came together initially as to have informal discussions about operating businesses in SL and some of the issues that we face that may impact positively or negatively on business growth in SL.    From these discussions we decided we wanted to take a proactive approach and see what we can do as residents who are invested in seeing SL grow, to the benefit of residents, the sl economy and yes, Linden Labs. 

2.  Yes the information will be released on the CBD website, with statistical and qualitative findings.  The raw data will not be released to ensure we protect residents privacy.

3.  The questions are based on many of the robust discussions the group have had around those issues we feel do impact on a resident's ability to start, develop and grow a business in SL.    The questions also reflect how SL itself has changed over the last few years - the decrease in resident retention, information LL no longer releases about the SL economy that would be useful to residents, marketplace, technical changes in SL etc.   In order for us to develop really useful strategies that will benefit residents, they need to be "evidence based".  The more information we have, the more informed decisions we can make.

4.  The Centre for Business Development is just starting up and we have identified three areas / streams of work we are looking at working in.  Assisting new business is one of these.   Resources will be offered to residents to help them, including marketing strategies.   We have just started these and they will be available at the Centre. 

 

Thanks for having a look at the survey and asking the questions."

(bolded is mine)

So what happen here is that we have still question... But i guess that now you dont need our help anymore you dont pay no mind anymore to our question eh ?

what i bolded is the reason, i said that i agree with Sassy.

Im sorry for you, but a survey report cant give number in % if they are not at least a total of 100. if for one or other reason you cant reach the 100, you need to add a "non counted up" %. We dont need to know the reason its not counted up... but if you give results in % you need to reach at least 100. For question with multiple answers possible, you can of course exceed the 100 but under any condition less than 100. So yes, i think Sassy comments were relevant. and your answer is irrelevant.

Then you said you will provide "qualitative findings " ... obviously here, we dont have the same definition about what is a qualitative finding.... on the contrary of a quantitative finding (the stats and numbers by themselves) a qualitative finding means an interpretation of the numbers. This is why i said im disapointed to not see any interpretation in your report.

So, again, your answer, specially the first paragraph is highly irrelevant. You commited for something you did not. its ok, its your choice but then dont come back and answer that if we want a pro survey we can make ourselves or pay for it... again WE NEVER ASKED FOR ANYTHING. We just helped you and reading now your answer, this give me big regrets to have filled your survey (i rarely do). 

Now you had our help, you no longer need us and you think you can come and answer like this... Really...this is nothing but irrespectful and this comfort me in the guess your survey had commercial purposes...

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My apologies Trinity.    My frustration is that people actually step up and try to do something to help everyone in SL and people come on to the forums only to pull it apart.    Thats how previous posts about our survey and the post on this thread read, which I responded to.  

We have provided statistical and qualitative (meaning relevant information).  I have not offered an interpretation because I know this information can be interpreted many different ways by different people.  I also knew there had been a delay in getting the results posted and didnt wnt to keep delaying it.  The information is posted for ourselves and others to use and others can interpret it however they wish.

I do appreciate everyone who took the time to complete the survey and your feedback.   Next time I will do the analysis of the results myself, rather than rely on google docs to do it.  We will do several things differently.  This was our first one, it has given a lot of useful information, but certainly we will also learn from it on what we have done wrong this time.


Regards

Heavenly

 

 

 

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As one of the people who took the initiative on this poll, I want to commend Heavenly Villa for her work and diligence.  I'd like to point out--in response to one comment--that this poll was NOT conducted for commercial purposes, nor was it conducted on behalf of LL, SL or any other organization besides the Centre for Business Development (which is a non-profit entity).

In putting together this poll, I expected and welcomed some criticism of it.  All polls receive criticism--even those conducted scientifically.  Let's be clear.  This is not a scientific poll, nor was it ever purported to be.

Upon reading the initial findings, Heavenly and I discussed out some of the flaws in the poll.  Specifically, we were concerned that this did not represent a large enough cross-section of the SL community.

In regards to some of the comments on the YES or NO questions.  The fact that the sum does not equal 100% is completely valid.  My thought is not that some people misunderstood the question, but that the question did not apply to them.  Meaning, the may not be a creator at all.  So they don't sell inworld OR/AND Marketplace.  Perhaps a third choice was needed in this case and I thank you for pointing that out.

With that said, I believe there is some valuable information in these results that may be useful to business owners in SL or LL itself if they were so open to looking at them.  (I may open a can of canibalistic worms with that one....)  Heavenly's response was not meant in the regard of not needing anyone who posted on this thread.  Quite the contrary, we welcome constructive criticism from the community, but we're hoping, I believe quite justifiably, not to be attacked.  (And I'm not saying anyone here did that).

The reason why we took on this initiative is because we had questions about the SL community and their perceptions.  This poll was the first step in that process.  Moving forward, I believe the concerns mentioned here will be invaluable in guiding us as we move forward. 

 

 

 

 

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its ok, your apoligizes are accepted and your explanation and the ones from Bk are welcome and clear.

I dont think the 2 comments about your survey were insulting but just asking about some weird things in the survey. But you provided now great explanations, and its more understandable now.

Anyway, i hope this survey will help you for your purposes (whatever they are) and that youll be able to get some great ideas from it and maybe share with us.:smileywink:

(im checking right now your mp and im seeing some lil things that are tempting for me.... lol... im remaking the deco of my skybox right now... and well, i think ill yield to the temptation :smileywink:)

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I am missing something in the 'don't  like' section of that survey. The fact that LL holds your payout for 2 weeks till they finally transfer it to your bank account/paypal (it used to be 5 days consitently, which was already a long time). It is always the excuse that they handle all transactions manually, but I don't buy that! I am again waiting for over a week to get my money. How the hell do you want to run a business in SL if you have to basically beg for your money in the support channel everytime. There is no company in the world that takes 2 weeks for a simple money transfer, besides LL. And if it is a 'first time' transfer I would understand a manual check, but not transfers from merchants that does payouts every 2 weeks on a verified account for +5 years.

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bk99 wrote:

 

With that said, I believe there is some valuable information in these results that may be useful to business owners in SL or LL itself if they were so open to looking at them.  (I may open a can of canibalistic worms with that one....)  Heavenly's response was not meant in the regard of not needing anyone who posted on this thread.  Quite the contrary, we welcome constructive criticism from the community, but we're hoping, I believe quite justifiably, not to be attacked.  (And I'm not saying anyone here did that).

 

I seem to have found another of your canibalistic can of worms. I could have sworn it said baked beans.

Just a thought. I hadn't taken your poll but did notice in your copy on your site and a few postings you were mentioning positioning yourself between merchants and LL and that your position was going to be one of constructivism. In that sense you were already setting yourself up against what you'd already perceived as lesser input and dismissed as unconstructive.

It shouldn't be a surprise that you got what you considered some negative response, when you already drew the line internally about what is and isn't constructive.

Just to put it in perspective, you're dealing with merchants as seasoned or possibly moreso than yourselves in the forums here (certainly more collective wisdom by the numbers), many of us having had years worth of discussions on every topic imaginable that relates to doing business in SL. We've seen employees, CEO's, ideas, successes and fails and many business organizations come and go.

If you ask for a discussion here in the merchants forum (or in the more or less official merchants group in world), you're likely to get volumes of information, and that far more comprehensive than a survey. You've got people here in mostly every niche, with varying levels of success. You've got people here that have been in or are still in various beta teams working with LL in a very constructive and non critical atmosphere. That includes people earning full time livings.

Basically what I'm getting at here is that the bar among merchants who are seasoned with years of experience is pretty high.

LL itself has attempted many times to operate on information harvested from surveys and at times failed miserably to understand.

A lesson that I personally have to relearn every 5 years or so is that all feedback is good feedback. Especially for a troubled company like LL which is declining. The disgruntled customer is their single best source of feedback, because those are the ones that give up and go away. A close second are those apathetic customers who have little positive to say but also give up and go away unimpressed. In either case, feedback isn't going to be "constructive" but will be more valuable monetarily than "constructive".

Since this organization also mentioned contacting Lindens and acting in some internediate role between LL and merchants, you may want to realize the biggest single overwhelming complaint that can boiled down to a canabalistic can of worms is this:

Merchants are best served by LL stepping up and making everything that's "supposed" to work, work properly. This includes everything from search, to handling our funds, to items being listed, displayed and sorted properly, to our funds being reported properly and on it goes.

These are technical hurdles that can only be resolved by LL getting their act together and producing higher quality software, that functions more reliably, that is tested better before being put out to the public.

If you can help with "that", then you can do something about the biggest complaints and problems merchants face.

Otherwise your best role is probably going to be advising merchants on how to market better, brand better, package better, etc. in an educational role.

If you want to get right down to it, we really don't even need much of a communicative role from LL, we simply need them to fix the thiings we've been telling them about for years. They've already got the feedback, which is overwhelmingly consistent and now they need to do the doing. And this is enough to keep LL busy for the next two years.

Trust me on this, been an advocate, been a beta tester, been constructive, been negative, been positive and like many others, I've got the battle scars and tattered cheerleader outfits to prove it.

I also find worms are best when fried up in butter and more cost efficient than horse meat.

 

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I would like to agree with Dart re the ppl in this forum:  the best informed group of merchants I have ever seen in SL are those that monitor these forums, because here is where everything that affects my business is reported first, and here is where the most questions are answered and issues discussed. 

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Pamela Galli wrote:

I would like to agree with Dart re the ppl in this forum:  the best informed group of merchants I have ever seen in SL are those that monitor these forums, because here is where everything that affects my business is reported first, and here is where the most questions are answered and issues discussed. 

Ditto!  Which is why my jaw always drops when a merchant who has been in business more than a year posts a question/issue in the in-world group and I reply "There is a current thread on that in the Merchants Forum that you might want to read" I get the response, "There's a Merchant Forum?"  /facepalms

When I then say yes, they are a sub-forum in the SL forums, 95% of the time the next response is: "SL has forums???"

 

 

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