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Killian Jayaram

New Marketplace Search Relevance

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I would like to make a bit of an observance to the "new" Marketplace Search and just say as a user that buys more than one thing on a daily basis and as a small creator and have some of my items listed on marketplace that this new search is a step backward and does not give relevant results anymore!

As someone that is a self-taught web developer and has over ten years experience, I have found that this new search engine uses the "less is more" system as if your item is listed as "Full Prem Hardback Book Mesh w/ AO" or "Book Mesh" the search will rate the less is more "Book mesh" over the more detailed product information title, you can try this for yourself just search "book" and you will find that you only find three word titles and most of the time the description just has a little information as a short line of text, most of the time just repeating the title.

Now the old system was not great but with the use of user reviews and amount of sales would list this higher and almost providing a user powered search as we vote with out lindens! This to and the new ajax search suggestions that are useless unless you know the name of the product you're looking for by hole name, and what is should be doing is providing suggestions based on words and sentences that users have used before to find relevant results (and of course a profanity filter based off search maturity) and not hole product titles.

As well I am willing to share how much I make a day with marketplace as most stuff I make for free or sell for less than 50L$ and don't care who see's but before with the old search system I was making on a daily basis 700L$ to 1,200L$ a day now with this new system I am lucky to make 100L$ a day now, hardly enough to pay for new creations uploads (Mesh, Textures, sounds, animations etc) and pay for inworld store to keep servers up and running.

I did not want this to be a rant but more of constructive criticism as I can't be the only person that has noticed this and surprised that the beta search came out so soon and would wish there was a go back to the old search button. I would like other creators and shoppers to share their experience as maybe it's just me having a problem with the search.

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Alot of merchants have been suffering great losses since the launch of the new Marketplace. It was clearly launched too soon.I really hope it all gets resolved soon. :matte-motes-frown:

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I've noticed mixed results, it has for steampunk in general removed about 99.9% of the keyword spam that use be around 95% of th first 2 pages and about 75% to 50% on most other pages.   This seems to be from search using the item name more then keywords, renaming items may help .   It dose seem to be more heavy on recent vs over all.

I have noticed shopping that it can be hard to find things, I'll see some ting in world and try to find it on the MP and have had back luck searching by the objects name even when in the right shop, not sure if this is from search or im just finding things inworld that are part of set and don't have the right name to search with .

 

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Killian Jayaram wrote:

As someone that is a self-taught web developer and has over ten years experience, I have found that this new search engine uses the "less is more" system as if your item is listed as "Full Prem Hardback Book Mesh w/ AO" or "Book Mesh" the search will rate the less is more "Book mesh" over the more detailed product information title.

Oh yes, the new search algorithm is over-sensitive too keyword dilution and I really hope they'll correct that problem soon. Right now, if you want to rank high on s specific keyword, use that keyword and that keyword only as the title, add a word or two in the description field and upload a picture. Any other content in the listing seems to reduce your ranking.

I remember Alta Vista had the same problem towards the end. For a while all you found when you searched there were micro pages with one focused keyword and hardly any actual content. Not sure if they ever got around to fix it, this was just before Google and Fast turned up and killed off all the old search engines.

The algorthm also seems to give click-through ratio a bit too much significance. Click-through ratio is of course a potentially very valuable indicator of relevance but unfortunately it is also very easy to manipulate. The seach engine does have some protection against click-through genrating bots but nothing that should cause a dedicated cheater with a little bit of technical know-how any serious problems.

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ChinRey wrote:


Killian Jayaram wrote:

As someone that is a self-taught web developer and has over ten years experience, I have found that this new search engine uses the "less is more" system as if your item is listed as "Full Prem Hardback Book Mesh w/ AO" or "Book Mesh" the search will rate the less is more "Book mesh" over the more detailed product information title.

Oh yes, the new search algorithm is over-sensitive too keyword dilution and I really hope they'll correct that problem soon. Right now, if you want to rank high on s specific keyword, use that keyword and that keyword only as the title, add a word or two in the description field and upload a picture. Any other content in the listing seems to reduce your rakning.

Well crap, that's the kind of thing they are unlikely to care enough about to fix. I have over 70 domiciles, I can't call them all House.

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Pamela Galli wrote:


ChinRey wrote:

Oh yes, the new search algorithm is over-sensitive too keyword dilution and I really hope they'll correct that problem soon. Right now, if you want to rank high on s specific keyword, use that keyword and that keyword only as the title, add a word or two in the description field and upload a picture. Any other content in the listing seems to reduce your rakning.

Well crap, that's the kind of thing they are unlikely to care enough about to fix. I have over 70 domiciles, I can't call them all House.

There should be some kind of stats with them like a graph of sales with a big red line plummeting to the floor and someone should have noticed and want to fix it and I point blank refuse to change all my titles and descriptions to a one-liner, it makes the listing look quick and cheap and I would not buy from someone that does not put the time and effort into selling me the item as this reflects the quality of the product being sold.

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Also I have to have comprehensive descriptions of everything that is AND is not included, and every other detail, because people do not look at the demo provided inworld and if there is any descrepancy between what they imagine and what I am selling,  they give a one star review. 

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Killian Jayaram wrote:

As well I am willing to share how much I make a day with marketplace as most stuff I make for free or sell for less than 50L$ and don't care who see's but before with the old search system I was making on a daily basis 700L$ to 1,200L$ a day now with this new system I am lucky to make 100L$ a day now, hardly enough to pay for new creations uploads (Mesh, Textures, sounds, animations etc) and pay for inworld store to keep servers up and running.

I do not want to compare miseries here and you do have my sympathy. But I think I should point out that the problem you describe here is what merchants who joined too late to be favored by the old search engine have been struggling with for a few years now. There was never a way for us to market our works efficiently through the Marketplace. We could sell on MP of course, but for the most part only to people who went there specifically for our products. The solution was to market elsewhere. If you managed to get a foothold inside one of the big events crammed full of people in shopping frenzy you got a flying start and a mention in a popular blog or two helped a lot too of course. But the effect was always short lived, you had to do it over and over and over again. And for those of us who missed those two fast tracks, the only solution was to get in-world, talk to people, show them what we made and slowly build a customer base that way - if we were good enough that is.

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Killian Jayaram wrote:

I point blank refuse to change all my titles and descriptions to a one-liner,

 Makes sense. After all the title is your first sales pitch and it doesn't help much to get a top spot in the search results if people don't actually want to click on that link. Besides, if you focus only on one keyword it means only people who happen to search that specific keyword will ever see the listing.

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ChinRey wrote:


Killian Jayaram wrote:

As well I am willing to share how much I make a day with marketplace as most stuff I make for free or sell for less than 50L$ and don't care who see's but before with the old search system I was making on a daily basis 700L$ to 1,200L$ a day now with this new system I am lucky to make 100L$ a day now, hardly enough to pay for new creations uploads (Mesh, Textures, sounds, animations etc) and pay for inworld store to keep servers up and running.

I do not want to compare miseries here and you do have my sympathy. But I think I should point out that the problem you describe here is what merchants who joined too late to be favored by the old search engine have been struggling with for a few years now. There was never a way for us to market our works efficiently through the Marketplace. We could sell on MP of course, but for the most part only to people who went there specifically for our products. The solution was to market elsewhere. If you managed to get a foothold inside one of the big events crammed full of people in shopping frenzy you got a flying start and a mention in a popular blog or two helped a lot too of course. But the effect was always short lived, you had to do it over and over and over again. And for those of us who missed those two fast tracks, the only solution was to get in-world, talk to people, show them what we made and slowly build a customer base that way - if we were good enough that is.

The Pre LL search engine worked very well: if you sold a lot of something, it increased in search rank -- your products even had a search rank number so you could keep track. I was not even aware of any other criteria. The entire description field was searchable, so you did have a lot of surreptitious keyword spam. 

The advertising opportunities were of course better than what we have now -- featured items were actually featured in a way that was worth the money, plus we had good data to tell if it was working.

but I will say this: The Tipping Poin makes clear that word of mouth advertising is still king, and I beleive that applies to SL. I have done no hunts, and very few events of any kind, just a few charitable ones now and then. Instead I have always marketed to my clientele, and I leave it to them to bring in friends. Works.

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ChinRey wrote:


Killian Jayaram wrote:

I point blank refuse to change all my titles and descriptions to a one-liner,

 Makes sense. After all the title is your first sales pitch and it doesn't help much to get a top spot in the search results if people don't actually want to click on that link. Besides, if you focus only on one keyword it means only people who happen to search that specific keyword will ever see the listing.

As an example I created (Self Scripted and Meshed) my own "Connect Four" but due to this name being a registered trademark of Hasbro (Milton Bradley (MB)) I can't use the title "Connect Four" but this is the name you search for when you think of this classic four in a row game, but the layout, colors and game itself is older than MB games and is not copyright. So to help me get seen in the search using some classic SEO tools I titled this product "Let's Get Four - Connect four in a row game" that way I have my unique name "Let's Get Four" so not to get a copyright claim on my butt, and put the words "Connect four" & "four in a row" in the title too but describing the game allowing for me to be searchable but unique at the same time but with this new system this could punish me for being a little more descriptive :(

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AS AN OVER 10 YEAR SL VETERAN and Top Merchant.... I have had the best selling 1st Page listed Athena Wedding ring set in Second Life for many years. As well as my rings still remain in the first, second and third page of best seller listings...

NOW. -- As of the new Marketplace rollout I have been all but wiped out of Relevance. But remain a best seller. 

Something is BROKEN and not working right. - Also like many of you ever since the new MP Search my Marketplace Sales have gone to almost 0.

Somthing has to be changed quick LL. Many of us rely on SL sales for RL income. 

JD Hansen
JCNY Collection

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Maybe diluting the search is a way to encourage us to pay for listing enhancements as 5% commission is not enough to pay for their badly optimized database server.

Would be very easy to make your own marketplace style site if they made an API to login via their openid sign in system and allowed for "llGiveInventoryList" to work gridwide and not just the same sim.

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My marketplace sales were never too high and I had an item... uhm how do you say it in English? One of my items was listed first in its category under relevance. Now its second. I have another one that is sometimes on the first page and sometimes goes on the second page under relevance. I consider them to be my marketing poses ;) 

Interesting thing that happened is that I had tons of Facebook likes on them and now likes are gone to zero. 

Best selling items can be easily manipulated and for a while I was keeping track of some items in the category thats relevant to me. It seems that some merchants abuse the system in a way that they buy their own items and climb up in search. 

I didn't pay much attention to recent changes besides seeing likes are gone... which is really not a big of a deal... For me, one good event can beat any marketplace sale with a blink of an eye.

Too bad LL let the MP become what it is today... 

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Cane Sutter wrote:

So...is search on the MP just a lost cause now? *Bangs head on desk*

Hard to say. If I understand correctly, the change means it's easier now for LL to adjust the search algorithm and that may be a good thing.

We can't expect LL to come up with a search ranking system to benefit the sellers because that's not possible. No matter how the ranking is, some merchants will gain and some will loose. But we all loose if MP search results become so messy that the customers give up.

I think it's clear Linden Lab missed one crucial point: The main problem with MP search wasn't how the relevant hits are sorted, it was all those irrelevant ones that filled up the lists and the new search engine hasn't done anything to correct that.

The search listing has to be judged by how well it helps buyers to find the best match for what they're looking for. I just did a quick test, a search for "airship". I think most people familiar with SL aviation will know which airship searchers would regard as the most relevant one there partly because it's a very good work by one of our very best content creators but mainly because it's the one people actually do buy regardless of search ranking - the one there's actually a good chance you'll occasionally see in-world nowadays. It was no. 165 on the list of 921 matches.

Or maybe that's just my personal opinion and besides, I have to say some other tests I did seemed a lot more positive. Everybody should try it themselves: do some simple keyword searches - the kind of searches people actually are likely to try, not the fancy, tricky ones with multiple keywords, quotes and boolean functions. Search for things you are a bit familiar with but don't make/sell yourself and see what turns up. That's the reality check and everybody has to make up their own mind about the result.

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Deeplyly discouraging about the airship rank. I often buy things at the top of search at Amazon because it's a way of increasing the odds of getting a good value -- not the cheapest, tho -- and good service. God knows people could use that kind of help on the MP, esp if the top items are there only because they are cheap. There is more to relevance than cheapness.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Deeplyly discouraging about the airship rank. I often buy things at the top of search at Amazon because it's a way of increasing the odds of getting a good value -- not the cheapest, tho -- and good service. God knows people could use that kind of help on the MP, esp if the top items are there only because they are cheap. There is more to relevance than cheapness.

In that particular case it seemed most of the high ranked results weren't necessarily bad but rather ... unusual. Possibly very interesting to somebody specifically looking for a steampunk airship but probably not to somebody who wants a generic one.

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The Jury is clearly out, it has cut my sales in half and does not seem to have anything to to do with best selling and the the list of suggestions that appear as you search must have been compiled by a robot...have we been given any guidence regarding this, something I may have missed?...should I claim my traditional fountain to a be steampunk fountain for instance ;)

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Just tried to talk to someone at LL. The conversation just went no where. She said file a ticket.:manmad:

If I file a ticket I will be told there will be nothing done. I know that. So why file a ticket?

I knew once this new search was implemented that it would not change back. Even if it effects thousands of creators in Second Life. The issue with this is this... if people all of a sudden make half of what they made before they may look for other platforms to move to to earn an income. 

Just imagine if LL employees came to work one day an Ebbe Altberg said, "sorry guys starting Monday everyone is going to make half of what you made before." 

I can imagine that would not go over well and there would be a united force to make a change somwhere
for the benefit of the employees. Or maybe not. Some people would just leave the company. 

I dont see how making less L$ income on the MP would help LL. This new system is actually going to cost
LL as well if our incomes go down as well.

JD 

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As a merchant (myself) who's sales have dwindled down to a 10th of what used to be around 9 - 14 sales per day for many years. I'm getting pretty hungry and rent isn't getting any cheaper and its taking a toll on my sanity. Ya see? In RL, I'm not all there in the head if you know what I mean and I apologize to the people here on the forums over that, but I'm good at scripting/building things. Second Life has been my financial savior for quite some time. Fact: that I can't do the 9 to 5 thing in RL. If not for SL, I'd be homeless and smelling like the trash I'd have to eat No thank you with that!

For the past few months I've been under the assumption that my low sales have been the result of dated products like chewing gum, just eventually loses its flavor and no longer worthy of interest and because of that, I've been at it these past few weeks trying to come up with "fresh flavored" products for the marketplace, but even still! They don't seem to be getting the clicks.

I really think every merchant including the big time sellers and veteran designers  should all call Linden Lab via phone and email and get them to hear our say even if they give us the run-around talk, it'll let them know how serious this is to us. Let them know this could put allot of us in danger of bankruptcy ( and that's no hyperbole) of course at least that's how I feel. It's been around awhile already, this new search system and I just don't see LL making any attempts at rectifying the situation. Maybe they don't agree its broken, who knows.

I agree that it is in fact broken. Second Life's life blood is the very merchants (suffering from this bogus search system) trying to build/update/re-sale items on a botched marketplace. We're merchants, not 'hackers' trying to game a system. We're just trying to eat!  So to Linden Lab: I see a vision, a meme: Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs yelling "SO FIX IT!!!!"

Thank you and my apologies for my (future) nuttiness.

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