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Rosen Janus

The marketplace DESPERATELY needs a change. My open letter.

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As horribly broken and gamed as reviews are, I think on balance they do (slightly) more good than harm. I do read reviews, and like most, I can tell the difference between a crackpot/ill informed rant and something with useful information that helps me evaluate the product.

I don't recall ever writing a bad review -- mainly because any problems I have had, the merchant has promptly taken care of when I notified them -- but if I felt other buyers needed to be warned before spending their money, I would not hesitate to do so. But only if the merchant failed to correct the problem.

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Rosen Janus wrote:

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!


Just to add a little contrast, Ebay doesn't let the seller leave anything BUT a good review or none at all, while the buyer can be as negative as they wish.

Since that change, as either buyer or seller, I refuse to leave feedback.

For me, the number of stars is meaningless either as buyer or seller and similarly "OMFG - Amazing!" doesn't carry any value.  What does bring value is a review that articulately refelects either a positive or a negative aspect and even better if the merchant replies with a comment that explains further why a design decision was taken and how it is used if there's misunderstanding (which sometimes happens).

As for dealing with merchants who remove a product and re-list, I don't know how that can be addressed.  If something is listed as "black dress" and for whatever reason is removed due to being flagged or deliberately to avoid a bad review, although the terms of listing prohibit deleting and re-listing, there's really nothing to prevent the merchant from making a minor change and re-listing as "charcoal dress".  In some eyes it's an update, in others it's a new product.  In terms of asset UUID it's absolutely a different item!  The only way I can see this working is if the item isn't actually removed but left visible to customers but not purchasable and the listing watermarked as "UNAVAILABLE".  Then make the store searchable for "Unavailable" items.  Now I can see if there's a former version which I cannot do right now so removing the listing by LL or merchant actual aids the ability to hide the wrong doing.  If an item has been incorrectly flagged (happens to my L$1,000,000 poseball often enough :matte-motes-wink-tongue:) then nobody could buy it and it can be resurrected through the normal channel.  I'm not claiming this to be perfect but the present method most certainly is not.

Probably the main reason why merchants covet 5 stars so much is that it's believed that it boosts the search position and in the bunfight for sales, anything which might dent that is seen as criticial to their business (aside from the perceived personal attack on their "baby)".  Of course, this brings about a much bigger problem and things in terms of change that I would like to see are the following simple changes from the customers perspective (not asking for huge functional change here, in all but the last case, they really are trivial):-

Mesh search.  Merchants already upload with a flag that identifies the item as mesh or not.  Why the hell is it still NOT an option for the customer to search for only mesh items or exclude mesh tiems?  It's just a search attribute like the permissions one.

Demo's should NOT be a separate item.  They never were supposed to be.  There's a link on the actual product to see the demo, just hide the damn demo from the search result, we don't need it.  Just show me the product and if I want a demo, i'll click the demo link, the main page is irrelevant and clutters search.  Colour variations have a similar issue but that would be a bigger change.

Upload date.  Sometimes the description and picture aren't enough to describe the product in sufficient detail that might provide qualified judgement as to the "age" of the item.  I understand that age alone isn't going to dictate product quality but in terms of scripting and also mesh materials, there are certain points in the timeline that introduced capability that greatly change how an item can work. For example, a resize script in a 250 prim item from 2008 is a very different item from a current method.

Merchant last logged in date.  Yeah, too right, I want to know how active you are!   DId you log in 6 months ago or are you around regularly?  What happens if I need to contact you, will you respond?  It's not a secret, anyone in the same group as the merchant can already see this, there's no invasion of privacy.

Ability to see what other items someone reviewed.  This would go a long way to dealing with shill reviews and also get a feel for how competent the reviewer is on other products.  Do they just not understand SL at all or is this genuinely a single product that stands out either negatively or positively from other similar items they've reviewed.

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Also, to reduce the impact of keyword spamming that ruins search:

* Give greater weight to words in the NAME of the item

* Reduce the size of the keyword text box, by at least half -- it is so large now it can have every legitimate keyword plus a dozen more. 

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