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Rosen Janus

The marketplace DESPERATELY needs a change. My open letter.

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Yes, this is about reviews, but it is not the way you'd likely imagine it. I'm not a vendor, I'm a buyer.

 I don't expect a lot of support, but at least hear me out.

 

The marketplace is already unfairly geared in favor of the vendor. It seems.. every time I don't give a FULL FIVESTAR "OMG THIS PRODUCT IS THE EPITOME OF MY EXISTENCE" review, the creator (and this usually always happpens with women) comes to bite my head off and try to bully me into changing my review!

Of course even if I don't, the review seems to magically disaapear the next day! (again, the system is unfairly geared in favor of the vendor)

 

A) The review process needs to be revamped. DON'T allow vendors to just filter out negative reviews and choose reviews that they no doubt 'hired', had friends do, etc. Don't tell me it doesn't happen. And don't tell me it doesn't take over the ENTIRE marketplace because it does. I've been the first to review, then the NEXT DAY, two magical reviews show up to bury mine. All reviews should be searchable! If someone wants to know about bad reviews, they should at least be able to use the sorter to show "Rating: Lowest to highest" to try and circumvent the vendor's dirty tactics. Reviews are for reviews, not an avenue for advertisement.

 

B) Have  an option in the "Report Abuse" menu specifically for vendors that are trying to pressure buyers into changing their reviews. This is nothing short of bullying.

 

The marketplace needs a change. This is getting old.

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Yes, this is about reviews, but it is not the way you'd likely imagine it. I'm not a vendor, I'm a buyer.

 I don't expect a lot of support, but at least hear me out.

 

The marketplace is already unfairly geared in favor of the vendor. It seems.. every time I don't give a FULL FIVESTAR "OMG THIS PRODUCT IS THE EPITOME OF MY EXISTENCE" review, the creator (and this usually always happpens with women) comes to bite my head off and try to bully me into changing my review!

Of course even if I don't, the review seems to magically disaapear the next day! (again, the system is unfairly geared in favor of the vendor)

 

A) The review process needs to be revamped. DON'T allow vendors to just filter out negative reviews and choose reviews that they no doubt 'hired', had friends do, etc. Don't tell me it doesn't happen. And don't tell me it doesn't take over the ENTIRE marketplace because it does. I've been the first to review, then the NEXT DAY, two magical reviews show up to bury mine. All reviews should be searchable! If someone wants to know about bad reviews, they should at least be able to use the sorter to show "Rating: Lowest to highest" to try and circumvent the vendor's dirty tactics. Reviews are for reviews, not an avenue for advertisement.

 

B) Have  an option in the "Report Abuse" menu specifically for vendors that are trying to pressure buyers into changing their reviews. This is nothing short of bullying.

 

The marketplace needs a change. This is getting old.

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there is a thread going on right now about this same thing right above yours at the moment..

here is the link to it..lots of people are touching on it in there..you may get more response in there..

=)

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/Harassment-and-the-bad-review/td-p/2168077

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Actually, I redact that post.

This is somewhat different. It's more than just marketplace bullying, its about how vendors can also employ shady tactics to try and bury negative reviews.

ESPECIALLY shill reviews. The vendor either:

a) creating new accounts, using alts to review their product positiively

b) getting friends or otherwise coercing others into reviewing their product positive.

 

I just hate how they can, in effect, null out negative reviews. I can't even search my own in the few products I've reviewed negatively.

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This is discussed often in the merchant forum.  There is not much to be done about it, since it is hard to prove, but if you do have proof, then you can flag the listing.

 However, most people can tell when reviews are fake. Something about them just does not ring true.

BTW, it is not illegal to pay for reviews, if both negative and positive ones are paid for equally, so that usually accounts for things with hundreds of reviews. 

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Rosen Janus wrote:

Actually, I redact that post.

This is somewhat different. It's more than just marketplace bullying, its about how vendors can also employ shady tactics to try and bury negative reviews.

ESPECIALLY shill reviews. The vendor either:

a)
creating new accounts, using alts to review their product positiively

b)
getting friends or otherwise coercing others into reviewing their product positive.

 

I just hate how they can, in effect, null out negative reviews. I can't even search my own in the few products I've reviewed negatively.

well if your review is gone the next day..flag the vender for relisting..

because they are not supossed to relist their products because of bad reviews..

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No. I just think all reviews should be searchable. It's not a question of finding out if reviews are shill or not.

Its about letting SMART customers be able to use the sort dropdown for "Rating: lowest to highest" to prioritize negative reviews and heed what warnings others may have.

I've seen reviews that I DID NOT delete suddenly disappear.

 

Not sure if the site's broken or my browser doesn't like the sorter. I hope it is, though.

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I can tell you right now that making reviews searchable is FAR FAR FAR beyond the capabilities of the marketplace devs. 

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I concur with Pamela and I would urge the OP to change "vendors" to "some vendors."  The vendors/merchants who post in the Merchant Forums are a small percentage of the total SL merchants just as those who post here in General are a small percentage of SL residents.

That said, those of us who post and discuss this topic in Merchant Forums basically agree with you and the backlash effect is giving those of us who do everything we can in customer service get a bad name.  On a couple of points:

*Re: bad reviews disappearing - this can happen in one of two ways:

1.  The review isn't accurate or isn't specific.  Examples:  "This <xyz> doesn't work." when it is later found out that it does but the customer didn't read the included instructions or "This product sucks" without any further reason why.  The merchant can request LL to remove the review.  If LL feels the review is not accurate, they will remove it.

2.  The merchant doesn't want bad reviews so he delists the product then relists it which wipes out all the reviews.  This is against the MP listing rules and a merchant who does this risks that product being removed permanently and/or perhaps even her entire MP store.  This is obviously an unethical merchant and the merchant community here in the forums would agree wholeheartedly.  The trouble here is man-power - unless someone notices that the merchant has done this and reports it (and I'm not sure how that process works) the sheer volume of items in the MP makes policing it difficult.

Merchants  often feel the system is "rigged" against us (for lack of better terms) due to some of the horrible architecture of the software that LL purchased from the old Xstreet then changed.  One example is the difficulty for some in using search and getting a bunch of items that are totally unrelated but slip in there due to the word being part of a merchant's store name or keyword spam.  There are ways to have a better search result, but not everyone knows how to do that.

There has been an ongoing bug for over a year now where the image from one merchant will appear on the item of another merchant - the "Mixed Listings" bug.  Not only does this make our stores look hideous, when it first appeared some people purchased items based on the image to receive something completely different, then accused the merchant of cheating them.  FINALLY, after a year LL states they found the issue and fixed it, and it worked...for many/most merchants...no idea of the percentage, but my store was not fixed, nor the store of another merchant who posts regularly in the merchant forums.  I filed a jira as instructed which has been languishing unassigned all summer.

In short, I agree that there are MANY issues with the MP, but they affect merchants as well as customers and, of course, merchants are customers too. ;)

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Changing vendors to "some vendors" is just nitpickicking, trying to make the issue sound lighter.

 

Of course there are vendors that won't work the system. And I'd thank them for not trying to manipulate reviews. But I've seen it happen.. so.. many times.

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Rosen Janus wrote:

Changing vendors to "some vendors" is just nitpickicking, trying to make the issue sound lighter.

 

Of course there are vendors that won't work the system. And I'd thank them for not trying to manipulate reviews. But I've seen it happen.. so.. many times.

Haha, i'm proud to have a 1 star review - because it is real, real in the sense that it's the opinion of a purchaser and I had the opportunity to explain in a response.

One of the simplest ways to reduce shill reviews is to also be able to see what else the reviewer has bought.  If the reviewer has reviewed just about everything in one shop and nothing else, that's a pretty clear abuse compared to one which has bought a variety of things from many merchants.

Anyway, i'm not fussed, regardless of sales, i'm lucky to get 2 reviews per year *shrugs*

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OMG where are you in the other thread? The merchants are ganging up on me in there! LOL

Yes I agree with you 100%. 

No one puts a gag into my mouth. Period.

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Sassy Romano wrote:


Rosen Janus wrote:

Changing vendors to "some vendors" is just nitpickicking, trying to make the issue sound lighter.

 

Of course there are vendors that won't work the system. And I'd thank them for not trying to manipulate reviews. But I've seen it happen.. so.. many times.

Haha, i'm proud to have a 1 star review - because it is real, real in the sense that it's the opinion of a purchaser and I had the opportunity to explain in a response.

One of the simplest ways to reduce shill reviews is to also be able to see what else the reviewer has bought.  If the reviewer has reviewed just about everything in one shop and nothing else, that's a pretty clear abuse compared to one which has bought a variety of things from many merchants.

Anyway, i'm not fussed, regardless of sales, i'm lucky to get 2 reviews per year *shrugs*

 I love your attitude. You seem to respect your customers' rights AS HUMAN BEINGS to express their opinion. 

Expect some purchases soon.

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I'm in agreement with your dislike of certain practices: A vendor hassling a customer about a negative review in ANY way is inexcusably wrong. A vendor who finds a way to delete negative reviews by re-listing or some other means is a cheater. A vendor who plants shill reviews on his/her own or through friends is a cheater

I am in absolute disagreement with your suggestion that something needs to be done. There's nothing to be done.

Online reviews (on the Marketplace or anywhere else) are subject to fakery and manipulation. There's no fix for that (well actually I've been told that if you find an MP article that's been 'relisted' to delete the review list you can notify LL and something might happen). Your only defense is to get better at reading reviews, or maybe do what I do in many cases: ignore them.

A lot of reviews are written by people who just get a kick out of expressing their opinion in writing where others can see it. Naturally there's nobody like that here in the Forum, but I know such people exist. [What? All of us? Even me? How DARE you!] The motivation for writing the review might not be pleasure or displeasure with the vendor but simply the desire to be heard.

Get better at interpreting reviews if you are going to bother with them. Never ever ever make a decision based on an opinion that is expressed by only one person, unless that's someone you know. If many people express similar opinions there might be some validity to that opinion. If you see a lot of variably expressed positive comments about a merchant that is possibly a good sign. If you also see some negative comments (especially if they are about different things) that may also be a good sign all or most of the merchant's the reviews are honest. It's not a guarantee, though. You are still on your own. Buy demos.

Trying to make people police MP reviews (all of those people would be paid employees of LL) to try to keep everything honest (impossible to begin with) is a waste of resources.

 

Edited because all my paragraph breaks got deleted. It's bad enough as it is but in wall o' text mode it is horrible.

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I agree with that. It's too big a task. People will be dishonest. Yes there are those who will review a friend's product dishonestly (positive when it shouldn't be) or review a competitor's product dishonestly (negative when it shouldn't be.) I agree that the reviews can be and often are, hopelessly gamed.

I still think it's worth it to write one if there is something 'important' to be shared about the product. If it's a glitch the merchant didn't know about, and they fix it, the customer should then update the review (they don't have to erase what came before, just update it) to reflect that, if they are to be fair.

It's nice when people ARE fair.

To me, forbidding a review until lengthy negotiations with the merchant have passed the merchant's expectation is unfair to expect of every customer. (If a friend does that for them, wonderful.) 

To me, a merchant expecting every customer to do back flips about their creation is unrealistic and perhaps unfair.

To me, harassing a customer who has written anything less than OMG 5 stars the earth moved, is psychotic and shows an extreme lack of perspective on the merchant's part.

And yes this is how I would do things if I were a merchant. I would let things stand or perhaps write a brief comment relative to that issue below a review, if I felt perhaps it was a competitor lying about it or something lke that. If it is the customer's opinion I would take it as constructive criticism and be silently grateful for that.

When a merchant is nasty and butt hurt on the forums about even the very IDEA a customer has a RIGHT to a review, that will make me avoid them and their shop like the Plague.

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The entire review system is unfair to both buyers AND merchants. The commerce team, and ll already know this, they simply don't care. None of us like this.

For every merchant out there with shady practices when it comes ot the reviews there are just as many shady buyers out there showing us exactly why the system sucks for both.

Many people leave reviews without ever speaking to the merchant. While I am 100% glad they can, in a way, it's not fair to leave a negative review if there is something that can be fixed. Not that anyone should be forced to, of course, but it would be nice if problems could be solved a bit simpler and both parties could come out feeling good about the transaction.

That, however, is not reality. We can't do it in rl, and we can't manage it in sl either. I say we using humans as a collective, not specifically buyers or merchants. There are plenty of us who try to remedy things nicely, but there are as many who don't.

In the end, the system sucks, it totally, totally sucks.

I also happen to be someone who doesn't mind a low review when I've the opportunity to explain it, or explain to anyone reading that contact from someone when/if there is a problem would have, or could have, easily solved whatever issue they were having. Some of us really, really want people to enjoy what we do, and we'll bend over backwards to do it. The system is supposed to notify us when we get a review, but it's as functional as anything else. Total hit or miss on that one, and it sucks, not just for merchants but also buyers.

I absolutely lothe merchants who have shady practices, I really do. It shouldn't spoil the bunch but it often can. It can easily leave people jaded and put a sour taste in their mouth that then will, in trickle down theory, affect other merchants and other buyers as well.

I don't think the system is "rigged" in either direction. I see evidence from both sides stating why they think it's against them, and it's about even.

I'm speaking as both a merchant and a buyer. As a buyer I have seen these same shady practices. A product I had reviewed after months of trying to get the merchant to fix it has been relisted numerous times-each one after getting a, or several, bad review(s). I HATE that they keep letting this asshat do that, but, they do. I report, others report, and every now and then the product is gone for a day or two, but then right back up.

 I take all reviews with a grain of salt, unless I can tell they are absolutely sincere. Reviews that aren't really about the product, I ignore. Uber positive reviews with a crap ton of ways to say "this is awesome" I also tend to ignore. I can tell most of them are fake. A good review talks about the product and/or the merchant's practices as it pertains to that specific product. Rewviews that just say "doesn't work", "looks ugly", "merchant won't fix" without any other information are usually ones people leave spur of the moment when they're either upset or frustrated. They are about as helpful as a nail gun is for making jello.

All in all the whole system is whack. It DOES have its good points, but they are few and far between.

You won't find many merchants who disagree with you at all. I don't know about buyers, but merchants, no, we see all the same things. Ok, most of us. We hate it too.

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Rosen Janus wrote:

Changing vendors to "some vendors" is just nitpickicking, trying to make the issue sound lighter.

 

Of course there are vendors that won't work the system. And I'd thank them for not trying to manipulate reviews. But I've seen it happen.. so.. many times.

And saying "vendors" is broadbrushing.  I understand your anger and, as I said, many of your points are shared by reputable merchants.

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I have never used the marketplace to sell or buy but I have read stuff about it and it sounds like the seller delisted the item, to get rid of your review, and listed it again. Apparently that's against the marketplace rules so, if I were you, I'd act on that in the way that people have mentioned in this thread. That is unless yours was a false review, of course.

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Melita Magic wrote:

OMG where are you in the other thread? The merchants are ganging up on me in there! LOL

Yes I agree with you 100%. 

No one puts a gag into my mouth. Period.

i really wish we had agree buttons and things like that..

beause sometimes it's just nice to click a button to agree with someone rather than have to make a post..

 

because i agree with you 100% on that one..

i just don't want to imagine my reaction to them if they did try that..

i'd flip a lid..

 

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Ceka Cianci wrote:


Melita Magic wrote:

OMG where are you in the other thread? The merchants are ganging up on me in there! LOL

Yes I agree with you 100%. 

No one puts a gag into my mouth. Period.

i really wish we had agree buttons and things like that..

beause sometimes it's just nice to click a button to agree with someone rather than have to make a post..

 

because i agree with you 100% on that one..

i just don't want to imagine my reaction to them if they did try that..

i'd flip a lid..

 

I disagree.  Nowhere in the other thread did I see any merchant ganging up on anyone... even dear, sweet Melita.

...Dres

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Dresden Ceriano wrote:


Ceka Cianci wrote:


Melita Magic wrote:

OMG where are you in the other thread? The merchants are ganging up on me in there! LOL

Yes I agree with you 100%. 

No one puts a gag into my mouth. Period.

i really wish we had agree buttons and things like that..

beause sometimes it's just nice to click a button to agree with someone rather than have to make a post..

 

because i agree with you 100% on that one..

i just don't want to imagine my reaction to them if they did try that..

i'd flip a lid..

 

I disagree.  Nowhere in the other thread did I see any merchant ganging up on anyone... even dear, sweet Melita.

...Dres

no i was just agreeing to the gag thing..

i don't know if they were ganging up on her..

the other thread was about merchants harrassing a customer about a review..

 

i thought that was what she was talking about with gagging her..

i should have just chopped the other part off or maybe bolded that one part..

 

i thought that part was about that part of the other thread..the actual reason for the other thread..

maybe i read it wrong..

 

still it would be nice to have those buttons hehehe

 

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