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Marketplace Search Beta Now Available

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Arwen Serpente wrote:

I can confirm that for my own store, ChinRey.

<sigh>

I really feel sorry for the Commerce Team now. They must have put quite a bit of effort into this thing. And they so desperately need to prove themselves!

All they have to show are some shattered, miserable ruins. :(

The final question is, can it be repaired? The answer is yes, anything can be reparied. But...

I have a friend who is an instrument maker and repairsman. He once got a particularly battered up cello into his workshop and when the owner asked if it could be repaired, my friend's answer was "Yes, but it will be cheaper to build a new one."

I guess that is the conclusion here too.

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Prok,

Quick side note: They were using the Google Search Appliance, but dumped it and its service fees in favor of an Open Source solution that could be had for no license fees. They also promoted the GSA and Search Staff to the position of "customer". That was some time ago.

The Marketplace uses a standalone search engine that is basically a library of search service routines that they have hooked into Marketplace's infrastructure. Because it is a "roll your own" type of facility, they wanted to use the many other attributes gleaned from Marketplace to make search more relevant.

I think they're trying to head there now. But it's a long road they have to walk too.

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Snickers and Prok,

What about this variation on the idea? "Pay for Slots"

You can pay a set fee, call it L$10 per month .. for one Search Slot. The more Slots your purchase, the more times your products can appear in Search Results. So if you list 10,000 items but purchase only one slot, you get the same weight in results as someone that lists 10 items and pays for one slot too.

You have a big product line? Want lots of exposure through Search? Buy more slots.

This is not the same as Featured items, those are for another purpose. This just regulates the level of exposure for a Merchant's Product Line in Search Results.

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Sassy Romano wrote:

and precisely what is it that we're supposed to be experiencing or testing here that would make any test or response actually have any value?

What has changed, what does this beta offer?  I see NO visual difference with regard to input filters, no expressions, certainly no ability to filter on any of the most obvious such as the MESH flag that we fill in in product listings, no filtering on "works with " avatar types or brands etc.

I'm confused, this is a meaningless offer of something that is undocumented and undescribed.

The JIRA has no value here because I cannot know what a bug is because I don't know what is supposed to work, don't know the functional specification... cannot flag exceptions to this specification!

What are the test cases that you would expect us to be using here exactly?

Let me ask it another way just in case my post isn't clear:-

What business problem are you trying to solve here?

Ok, i'll try to sound positive...

"I entered a couple of keywords and got results back".  Test passed - success!  Another complete project. Yay.

^^^ THIS ^^^

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DartAgain wrote:

 

My favorite highlights thus far:

Grumpity: "This may seem counterintuitive, but Beta Search will be slow at first because it's not getting enough traffic."

Translation: We'll get it off my laptop when it goes live.

Some Martian said: "A search for MARTIAN items also gives us everything made by Loretta Martian, Samantha62 Martian, Arletta Martian, etc, etc.  If I wanted to find these Merchants I'd search under rhe Merchants tab.  Merchants are NOT an item.
"

This one speaks for itself, and all Martians I think.

Hunnihope deduced: "A pair of Blue Boots shouldnt come up in searches for Pink Fluffy pillow, but thats the reality we get."

This is so much deeper than it appears at first glance.

Athena asked: "Why LL aren't you just addressing the specific things that people have asked for?"

This one only hurts when I laugh.

Pam swore: "And stop $#@%ing with my business, LL."

Indeed. I'm guessing the privilege will cost somewhere between 25%-40% in Sansar.

Nethya of the bulging vein and a mere 36 posts said: "Whoever comes up with these revolutionary marketplace 'ideas' is a moron,"

You get used to it after a while. Personally I blame it on a lack of good management and substance abuse in the workplace.

Sassy enquired: "What business problem are you trying to solve here?"

This gets points for getting to the heart of the matter with a bone saw.

ChinRey used a more blunt object: "Or to put it another way: will suggestions, ideas and other feedback posted in this thread be considered at all or are we just wasting our time arguing here?"

It goes like this, please test ideas we already decided upon and we'll skim your answers for the lowest hanging fruit that are the latest bugs we introduced. Silly Chin.

Spica whispered: "Is L.L. deliberately trying to further bork the SLM to force peeps to migrate over to Sansar where that marketplace will work much better? Is that the plan? Hmmmmmm!?"

Just because it's been far too long since we had a conspiracy theory.

polysail resigned to: "I'm just going to assume this behavior is unintended behavior."

For the mental health tip.

 

That is a good summary Dart.

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On the off-chance there is a communication problem, may I borrow some of your time to explain things a bit? Thank you.

We are busy people. We have lives, families, commitments and distractions that all vie for our time. We also have businesses that (at some level) require our attention. Part of those businesses is dependent on the proper operation of the SL Marketplace. That's why we are willing to stop, listen and sometimes help make the Marketplace work better.

But we are not very happy wasting our time. Distractions with no result .. avoid. Friends that want for themselves but won't share with us .. avoid. Time spent chasing unknown problems with unknown solutions and unclear goals? Definitely avoid.

We totally understand the desire to have us test and try out your latest attempt. We also want things to work better. But if you don't consider that we cannot afford to waste our time, if you won't realize that we have things we must do and schedules we must meet .. just like you .. then you won't find us wanting to spend much time helping you.

Help us. Help us by telling us what you need done. Help us by giving us things we need. And .. by gosh .. we'll help you too.

k ... sermon done ..

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Help us. Help us by telling us what you need done. Help us by giving us things we need. And .. by gosh .. we'll help you too.

I totally agree. But also make sure you actually need our help. This thing here is a total failure and that is something you should have noticed on your own.

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7 of my newest items completely lost in beta search - they just don't show.

The  'Relevence' and 'Best Selling' which has always been a pigs breakfast anyway is now even worse. Especially best selling which is amazingly wrong.

Experimental searchs so far reveal nothing to write home about, in other words not much different from current search.

I echo what others have already stated - it would have helped to know what has actually been changed so we could know what we are meant to measure and what might or might not be a bug.

Back to the drawing boards guys or perhaps just kick this one into the long grass and let it wither away.

^L^

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Relevance for my store now completely messed up - item no 2 on this list I have sold once. I don't understand at all what "relevance" means looking at the information returned.

Bestselling - does not reflect "bestselling" over time or in the last week... the order appears messed up. As an example item no 2 (again! - not the same as in relevance list, but what's going on with pesky list place 2??)) should be further down the list. What exactly does it refer to?

I just fail to see what's going on here.

 

The opening post was rather puzzling: left me wondering what improvements to actually look for.

 

Like others have remarked, the improvements requested by merchants over several years now have not been tackled. Instead there are unspecified changes which appear to make search actually worse rather than better.

 

I hate to be negative! Please, Grumpity, work WITH the merchants. 

 

Probably will be shot for this - BUT I would happily pay a higher commission to LL IF marketplace search operated like a proper commercial site.

 

 

 

 

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You won't be shot for suggesting that ~ In fact I posed this exact question into the question pool for Ebbe yesterday.  Come November 19th we'll see if he has time to answer it.

 

 

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Emma Krokus wrote:

...[snip] ...

Probably will be shot for this - BUT I would happily pay a higher commission to LL IF marketplace search operated like a proper commercial site. 

I'm gonna disagree, and not just because I'm a horrible cheap-skate.

There is a term: "Minimum Level of Service" that is not only commonly understood but also widely followed .. at least by those sites and companies wishing to make money. (And I keep assuming LL wants to make money, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.)

For a web site that purports to engage in Internet Commerce, that has the number of items listed and the amount of traffic seen by the Marketplace, that Minimum Level of Service includes providing a competent and usable Search function.

Imagine walking into a public library and asking to see books on "Internet Commerce" ... but instead the librarian dumps a giant pile on your head, most of which have nothing to do with your goal. Do you apologize to the librarian, stating that you might not have been explicit enough? Do you bribe the librarian hoping he will go get the RIGHT books this time?

Heck no! You fire the bugger and get someone that knows how to find books.

Linden Lab had full knowledge of the monetary expectations of a site like Marketplace. They bought a working and very popular site and system from a third party. As competent business people they *should* have done their homework first. If their due dilligence did not tell them what the real numbers were then the blame is on them.

I don't give a fuzzy flying feathered football if they don't have enough money coming it to pay for a competent staff member to fix Search. It is their DUTY to do so. They accepted the baton, they sought out and PAID FOR the baton. It's about damn time they started carrying it like responsible ADULT professional BUSINESS people.

Like the rest of us do .. for freakin' MICRO-PENNIES!

Grumpity? Or Whomever Linden? You're fired. NEXT!

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Darrius Gothly wrote
Grumpity? Or Whomever Linden? You're fired. NEXT!


I don't know why but I get this strange feeling Darrius isn't entirely happy about this new MP search.

 

But please, do not make it personal! This isn't about a single Linden Lab employee's competence or lack of such.

If this had been an isolated incident, yes maybe, but it isn't. It is just the last of a series of blunders and it's not one person who's behind it all. As for competance, how can we know if they're able to do their job when they aren't doing it? What we have here is an organisation, a team - not an individual - who doesn't do their job because they don't understand what their job is.

It is Ebbe Altberg who is accountable, no doubt about that. It's not in any way his fault - this has been going on for much longer than he's been here - but at the end of the day it is a CEO's responsibility to ensure that all employees understand their jobs and what is expected of them. What is expected of the CEO now is that he takes charge and gives the members of the Commerce Team clear instructions so there's no doubt what they need to do and also ensures that they have the tools they need to do it. If after that they still can't perform better than this, then maybe we can start to get personal.

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Okay MP beta is obviously not useable but before you start putting up pitchforks at LL employees calm down and wait for their response. 

It's the weekend~ speaking of people who don't want to have their lives messed with while off the job~  LL staff is no different.

 

Also ~ It's worth pointing out that when LL does something right no one even notices.

Interest lists, Object occlusion, Server stability.   GroupChat fixes.  Experiences.  Scripted Materials control.  All of this stuff has been implemented recently and all of it has had a positive overall effect on SL as a whole.  Sure it doesn't all work flawlessly~  yes there are still issues, but if take a step back and look at it from a programming aspect::  SL is 12 years of spagetti code written by 100's of people ~ a substantial portion of them are not actually employed by the lab.  And it's all knotted together.  They somehow make it RUN.  Not flawlessly mind you~ but it RUNS.  That's a minor miracle in itself. 

When Ebbe took the lead they looked at the SL project and considered revamping it from the ground up.  It was then that they determined that the inherent structure of the SL platform prevented it from being expanded into a platform that will be relevant from 2016 to 2020+  Hence Sansar was born.

But they're still making an effort to keep SL going and improving.  So.  It's our job as users and content designers to give them feedback on the improvements they're considering implementing.  Things like this one obviously need to go back to square #1 , be outsourced ~  or be scrapped altogether.

But seriously put the pitchforks away please.   That's not helping anything.  I've urged people to try out MP beta so that LL will have a nice sample of responses from a wide range of people.  From a business standpoint that's the most impactful thing you can do.

 

That being said~

I'm still gravely concerned that this will be implemented ~ as I've voiced prior.  But starting a flame riot on the forums is just going to lose the meaningful feedback in a soup of anger.

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ChinRey wrote:


Darrius Gothly wrote
Grumpity? Or Whomever Linden? You're fired. NEXT!


I don't know why but I get this strange feeling Darrius isn't entirely happy about this new MP search.

You are very perceptive!


ChinRey wrote:

But please, do not make it personal! This isn't about a single Linden Lab employee's competence or lack of such.

If this had been an isolated incident, yes maybe, but it isn't. It is just the last of a series of blunders and it's not one person who's behind it all. As for competance, how can we know if they're able to do their job when they aren't doing it? What we have here is an organisation, a team - not an individual - who doesn't do their job because they don't
understand
what their job is.

It is Ebbe Altberg who is accountable, no doubt about that. It's not in any way his fault - this has been going on for much longer than he's been here - but at the end of the day it is a CEO's responsibility to ensure that all employees understand their jobs and what is expected of them. What is expected of the CEO now is that he takes charge and gives the members of the Commerce Team clear instructions so there's no doubt what they need to do and also ensures that they have the tools they need to do it. If after that they still can't perform better than this,
then
maybe we can start to get personal.

It wasn't personal .. nor intended to be personal. That's why I included "Whomever Linden". But it DOES need to be "owned" by someone. Otherwise it will never get fixed. No one .. NO ONE at Linden Lab is willing to step up and take responsibility for doing their job RIGHT!

There are lots of times I don't know something. I don't know what my customers mean. I don't know what they want. I don't know how to get from A to B in whatever path I'm taking at the moment. But I step up, take responsibility for MY OWN ACTIONS and then go find out the answer.

Grumpity .. or Whomever Linden that turned loose this latest abomination .. should have taken the time to look at what they'd done, what was wanted by the customers (That's US btw .. and we've been VERY vocal about what we want) and then DONE THEIR JOB RIGHT!

Instead they just lame-assed their way to a sign-off on their task sheet, clocked out and went home. I mean .. look at when this got serious notice. FRIDAY NIGHT! When you make something new and you're proud of it, don't you rush out wanting people to see it? What did LL do? Buried the crap until the weekend THEN fled the office and won't even bother reading these posts until MAYBE Monday.

Bottom line .. I don't care who is at the top and who is at fault. EACH AND EVERY EMPLOYEE owes us, owes Linden Lab and owes THEMSELVES the duty of doing a good job.

And they just throw crap down .. walk away .. and cash their paycheck. I'd fire every single one of them.

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polysail wrote:

...[snip]... 

That being said~

I'm still gravely concerned that this will be implemented ~ as I've voiced prior.  But starting a flame riot on the forums is just going to lose the meaningful feedback in a soup of anger.

You should be .. because once it's in the public eye .. it's DONE!

Linden Lab has never (except once long ago) let loose an idea before it was implemented and ordained as "Standard Product". That once was the Freebie Flap on the then existing Marketplace. They learned that letting us in on their decision process only means we will make them do something all the way, with proper consideration and professional quality. They learned, telling us what they're up to means they don't get their own way.

So they decided to just surprise us with stuff they'd done and released, tell us it was "just a preview" .. and then shipped it intact as is without any changes or modification to fix or implement suggestions garnered during the "preview".

Quite the contrary to your point on "no one notices" when they do something right. I have been very vocal in patting them on the back, complimenting them on successes and raising a toast to good tidings. But I am damn tired of having crap foisted on us as a MASSIVE customer base then watching Linden Lab dance around for a few weeks before finally just going silent and letting the crap they dumped stay.

Is Beta Search here to stay? Bet your backside on it. It's done. It won't change. Next week it will become the norm. Done. Fini!

And so it goes .. same as it ever was ...

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polysail wrote:

That being said~

I'm still gravely concerned that this will be implemented ~ as I've voiced prior.  But starting a flame riot on the forums is just going to lose the meaningful feedback in a soup of anger.

The thing is, there's NO POINT trying this out because we don't know what has changed, what the objectives are or what the supposed outcome is intended to be.  You search, you get results...that's all we can do.

As for whether it will be implemented, we won't even know because stuff will just happen and whether it's right or wrong we can't easily determine.

 

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

It wasn't personal .. nor intended to be personal.


I know but it could easily be taken that way. Even when we are mad and frustrated - especially when we're mad and frustrated - we have to be careful how we phrase our posts.

Ummmm.... Something tells me I ought to add "do as I say, not as I do" to that...

 


Darrius Gothly wrote
But it DOES need to be "owned" by someone.


And it is owned by the CEO. A leader is not only accountable for their own mistakes but also for the oens they inherited from their predecessors and to a large extent the ones their udnerligns make. That is why they get better paid and those who understand and accept this (not all fo them do of course) actually deserve a slightly higher paycheck. It is also why all CEOs have grey hair and a tendency to not last very long. ;)

I'm not necessarily saying that Ebbe has to take charge personally but this is clearly something the Commerce Team can't handle on their own. It has to eb taken at least one level up in the organisation.

 

 Edit: just hit the Post button too soon by accident:


Darrius Gothly wrote:

No one .. NO ONE at Linden Lab is willing to step up and take responsibility for doing their job RIGHT!


That is actually not true. Most of Linden Lab does a remarkably good job these days.

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polysail wrote:

Also ~ It's worth pointing out that when LL does something right no one even notices.

Nobody?

https://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/Linden-Lab-is-building-a-NEW-virtual-world/m-p/2970224#M215677

https://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/The-new-newcomer-avtar/m-p/2977280

https://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/Secondlife-2/m-p/2973172#M215974

But the fact that the Commerce Team is so far behind the rest of Linden Lab is a problem in itself. You don't have to know much about organizational dynamics to see how much strain that can cause in the long run. That's an internal problem for LL and something they will have to deal with one way or another.


polysail wrote:

When Ebbe took the lead they looked at the SL project and considered revamping it from the ground up.  It was then that they determined that the inherent structure of the SL platform prevented it from being expanded into a platform that will be relevant from 2016 to 2020+  Hence Sansar was born.

Actually, that was long before Ebbe entered the scene. Not sure how long before, but there are indications they had started panning ti as early as 2012.

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Sassy Romano wrote
The thing is, there's NO POINT trying this out because we don't know what has changed, what the objectives are or what the supposed outcome is intended to be.  You search, you get results...that's all we can do.


Oh, it's actually quite easy to see what this thread was really meant to be all about.

The real original question here was: "Look what we've done! Have we been good now?"

And you know, it actually breaks my heart that we have to tell them "no, you haven't."

In case Pamela reads this: I know you've worked as a teacher too so you're familiar with that feeling you get when one of your pupils turns up, eyes shining with pride, eager to show off their homework and then it turns out they've completely misunderstood and got it all wrong. That's how I perceive this actually.

 


Sassy Romano wrote
As for whether it will be implemented,


I may be a bit naive sometimes but that possibility is something I simply can't manage to consider seriously.

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(aimed at the general population .. in general .. sorta .. )

My jaded nature isn't something donned recently nor without just cause. I have earned every single one of the sharp points on my exterior. Linden Lab gave them to me.

I have witnessed far too many examples of their Standard Operating Procedure to be fooled by yet another example. This ridiculous flop at fixing Search is just another example. Not a single WORD that they were even cracking open the code. Not a request for clarification. Not an opening statement asking for input. Not a single peep until "Ta-DAH!!" .. and then the bald-faced BS part of "this is just an early preview."

Maybe I'm wrong. If I am, then I will happily accept the mistake. But time will tell .. and I'm putting serious money (up to $0.25USD .. for REELZ!) on the stand that this is production code and as soon as they can edit one file .. it will be released.

When I said "someone needs to OWN this" .. yeah, I agree .. the CEO needs to own it. But has he? Has any one of his predecessors? Nope. They just look away, go back to chasing the "next big thing" and totally ignore how the rank and file are failing in their job duties, destroying any chance of forming a solid reliable base .. and turning his tenure at the helm into a fiasco that will be remenbered long past his parting.

OWN IT! That means "take charge and don't let go till it's fixed." This .. ain't FIXED. (minus "I" and add "U" .. and you're there)

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Maybe I'm wrong. If I am, then I will happily accept the mistake. But time will tell .. and I'm putting serious money (up to $0.25USD .. for REELZ!) on the stand that this is production code and as soon as they can edit one file .. it will be released.

I'm tempted to take your bet but I'm trying to establish myself as an MP merchant so it is way beyond what I can manage to cover right now.

You may be right but I still can't bring myself to worry. Seeing this "update" going live is simply beyond my imagination and you better believe it, my imagination can be quite lively! In any case, we've said what had to be said. I'm Norwegian. We don't argue against the weather here: if it's bad it's bad, if isn't it's a nice surprise.

But most important: whether you want to believe it or not, the Commerce Team is actually showing signs of improvement. When was the last time they invited us to a community meeting about a new update? Before VMM that is. And did they usually open up a discussion about a new project until now? They are clearly demonstrating a willingness to improve. Next step is of course to demonstrate the ability. Me, I've had so many "hopeless" pupils who eventually got their act together so I'm still an optimist (digression: but yes, it does worry me a bit that I find myself automatically regarding a team of supposedly professional adults the same way as I regarded my pupils.)

Look at the LLDPW, the moles. For a long time their perfomance was just as bad as the Commerce Team's. Not quite as important to the SL economy perhaps but even sadder because they used to be so good. Then they had an airship crashing on their heads. That seems to have woken them up. They're not anywhere near the standard they ought to be at yet - sometimes yes, but not consistently - but they're way above the sad state they were at in their darkest hours.

The Marketplace Search Beta does actually have the potential to become the Commerce Team's airship crash. Fingers crossed.

 


Darrius Gothly wrote:

OWN IT! That means "take charge and don't let go till it's fixed." This .. ain't
FIXED
. (minus "I" and add "U" .. and you're there)

I think you answered that yourself in your first sentence. Did you really expect all those problems to vanish overnight?

Kumbel's three T's apply to Linden Lab and to CEOs too:

Jeg har anbragt et sted

hvor jeg dagligt må se

det manende tankesprog

    T T T.

 

Når man mærker hvor lidet

man når med sin flid,

er det nyttigt at mindes, at:

    Ting Tar Tid.

 

In case somebody who doesn't understand Danish happens to read this:

Put up in a place

where it's easy to see

the cryptic admonishment

    T.T.T.

When you feel how depressingly

slowly you climb,

it's well to remember that

    Things Take Time.

 

 

Verrry imortant edit:

With all that being said: yes, Ebbe and Oz, I do think it's time to put the Marketplace on top of your to-do list now.

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Chinrey... Actually yes the Commerce Team do talk about the new things, the issue is that they don't really do anything new and haven't for a long time.  VMM is just the final phase of Direct Delivery which was a self inflicted reason to do something in the first place.

As for improvements to communications, the bar is so low, an improvement is achieved the moment a Linden says "Hi"

Anyway, I have nothing else for this thread.  It was pointless beyond the first post.

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Sassy Romano wrote:

Chinrey... Actually yes the Commerce Team do talk about the new things, the issue is that they don't really do anything new and haven't for a long time.  VMM is just the final phase of Direct Delivery which was a self inflicted reason to do something in the first place.

As for improvements to communications, the bar is so low, an improvement is achieved the moment a Linden says "Hi"

Anyway, I have nothing else for this thread.  It was pointless beyond the first post.

Que sera sera

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First, please rest assured that we're closely following the feedback in this forum.  You're not spilling ink in vain.  We haven't asked you to test specific things precisely because we need generalized feedback on various aspects of your experience with search both as merchants and as shoppers. 

Based on the feedback you have given, we're working on making incremental changes.  We'll promptly notify you of each new deploy (and yes, we'll list the changes made) and ask for additional responses.  While it's clear even from discussions in just this thread that it's impossible to satisfy everyone all the time, we do this beta process and ask for your time and feedback precisely because we want to avoid the doomsday scenarios colorfully presented here.  

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Ok CTL well you had my "general feedback" - I did a search and got results.  No way to know if the result set was better or worse than it should have been but lets just look at the blog post for a moment and highlight something from that post:-

"We are still working on an important feature, which will allow you to exclude keywords (such as “demo”) from your search - but want to get this into your hands now and get your feedback!  "

We shouldn't have to exclude demos from search results - EVER!  If we have to rely on that sort of mechanism, just like keywords it will always be subject to abuse.  Just giving us boolean NOT will not work.  DEMO, D*E*M*O, D-Emo etc.  let alone different languages.

A demo product within MP ALWAYS has a relationship to a parent listing, you should be able to easily enough determine which listings have a linked parent and just exclude them from the result set.  Done.  No faffing about with requiring the user to figure out which magical method they need to use to not see something.

I am curious about something though, same thing as before.  Who are your stakeholders in this work and what are you looking to solve, from a business perspective?

This work is aimed at:-

Improving relevance - can't see much difference, I got a result set from search.  You see "relevance" is just too fluffy, relevant to whom?  based upon what?  Maybe if I could weight my keywords based upon what I felt was more relevant and important then yes but if you're deciding what's relevant to me then you'll usually fail - per the other sentiments of this post!

Improving scaling for more content and categories - are we seeing a problem with this at present?  Fine if it's for future but we can't hope to test that today.

So basically, given all the other things that have been brought up over and over again by merchants, who picked this stuff that isn't at the top of the list of really important things that are problems that need fixing?

I get the impression that Linden Lab is just a big sandbox for a group of developers to mush code around in, under the guise of project work but without actually being required to focus on the main things that affect people.

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