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Brooke Linden

Apply for the Marketplace Direct Delivery Beta Program!

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As many of you know, the SL Marketplace has been working for several months on Direct Delivery (formerly AIS Delivery) to replace Magic Boxes. We’re nearing the end of the process and need to identify a group of Merchants who can help us get the rest of the way there by participating in a Beta program.

What’s involved with a Beta program? We’ll be asking you to use Direct Delivery (in both test and production environments) and solicit your feedback. For more details, see the application.

What time commitment does this program require? You’ll need to be able to spend several hours a week trying things out, providing feedback, filing bugs, and finding problems that are hard to anticipate in a regular test environment. You’ll also need to be available for occasional in-world meetings during extended PST working hours.

The Beta plan involves the following phases:

  • Usability Feedback: Our initial meetings will be to solicit feedback on user interaction as both a Merchant and a Shopper.
  • Alpha: During the Alpha phase, Merchants participating the in the Beta program will be given access to a test server loaded with copies of their production data. During this phase, participants will be expected to try out typical Marketplace Merchant activities and see if they can come up with a few unusual scenarios to expose bugs before anyone uses Direct Delivery in production. We expect the Alpha period to last 1-2 months.
  • Beta: This will be the first production testing of Direct Delivery. Beta merchants will be asked to list more and more of their new and existing products using the Direct Delivery method. Listings that use Direct Delivery will be identified so customers are aware of the change. The delivery location for each item will be communicated to the customer. Customers will be able to purchase an item using Magic Box Delivery and Direct Delivery in the same order. This Beta period will last 1-2 months.
  • Launch: All merchants will be able to designate newly listed items for Direct Delivery or to migrate existing items to Direct Delivery.


If you’d like the chance to provide input into the next delivery system for the Marketplace, please fill out this application by April 19, 2011, noon SLT. We are limiting the program to a small number of participants, so not everyone who submits an application will be able to participate.

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The one part of the application that is a bit thin is this:

DD Beta NDA.png

I answered yes, but that is a conditional yes based on what the NDA states. The last time I was presented with an NDA about Marketplace testing, it was so overly broad and all-encompassing that both myself and my legal counsel rejected it out of hand.

Limit the NDA to the matter at hand, allow for the fact that we're skilled in our profession and are not willing to enslave ourselves and our talents to Linden Lab forever for free .. and I'll help. Otherwise?

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Brooke, what about all of those who opose this change in the marketplace? Those who think that either you should fix search and delivery first they way they are now before offering such a DANGEROUS method of delivery.

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How bout telling the Merchants the details to the Direct Delivery FIRST - as promised at the last Office Hours meeting?

"join the beta... we cant tell you the details yet... and you will need an NDA before we tell you the details... and then when we tell you the details, including the fact that DD will not include Merchant's selection of alternate SLM item sources... you wont be able to warn the rest of the Merchants until it is too late for them"

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

The one part of the application that is a bit thin is this:

DD Beta NDA.png

I answered yes, but that is a conditional yes based on what the NDA states. The last time I was presented with an NDA about Marketplace testing, it was so overly broad and all-encompassing that both myself and my legal counsel rejected it out of hand.

Limit the NDA to the matter at hand, allow for the fact that we're skilled in our profession and are not willing to enslave ourselves and our talents to Linden Lab forever for free .. and I'll help. Otherwise?

Why does LL need an NDA to release a new feature to a online ecommerce service that they have a monopoly on and no competitive threat???  Are they afraid someone will actually beat them to the market with a Direct Delivery system that takes transaction security away from their customers?  Thats an innovative solution - I am sure there is high demand for that,

NDA?? WHY?

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I commend the extraordinary bravery of anyone who joins this program, since it is likely to cause them even more pain and suffering than the marketplace features that are already well past beta.

 

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Even if this functions perfectly, the inability of the Marketplace to offer good reporting tools makes the Marketplace not a good value for the commission for our operations.

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It means whatever is discussed in the group you don't discuss with anyone else and especially not in these forums, which might be hard for some.

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Yes, aparently LL is somehow worried that the new DD might be so ugly and/or have so many issues with it that they do not want the BETA TESTERS to go out on the forums or anywhere else to tell the rest of us.  They would rather keep it a secret and hopefully fix as much of it as they can in Beta and then upon final production release - they can control / spin the media/message of what they were trying to hide duing the beta.

Normally an NDA is demanded from a vendor when something of theirs is new and innovative that they want to OR need to show a select # of their customers BUT they do not want it to get out in the general market so that a competitor can use the information to beat them to the market with it or use the information to damage their compeitive advantage of their new idea.

Clearly for LL and the SLM, this is not the case.  They have the ~98% monopoly on website ecommerce of SL products.  Also, they have already spilled many of the key beans of how this DD will work (and Brooke promised a blog posting to tell the rest of the community a lot more details of DD).  SO... the need for an NDA here is not to protect a good idea.

Therefore, its only purpose is for LL to limit the potential bad things that DD will encounter durning the alpha beta tests and to control the message to the general community.

Like was already said.... I also commend those of you Merchants that are brave enough to put your own items up as well as risking your personal inventory as part of this DD test.  You are like the first Russian Cosmonaut on his first flight into space (who just celebrated the 50th anniversary this week of that event btw).  GOD SPEED !! :)

THIS IS WHAT YOU ALL CALL TRANSPARENCY?

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Thanks for the possibility to sign up for a testing program, Brooke. I'm glad to see that you are going to take time to test this new delivery program before you release it for the complete marketplace. To me it looks decent with the alpha on a test server and the beta on the actual marketplace.

I'm in doubt about participating or not. On one site I think it's a good opportunity to get prepared for the new system, on the other hand I'm scared to expose my merchandise to possible delivery problems and bugs, I might loose sales or I might get troubles with buyers.  

I have been in two beta testing programs before and I don't have problems signing a NDA, I had to do this for the other programs as well. But with those other programs I didn't feel I put anything at risk.
Actually I hope there are enough people who are willing to take the risk and participate so I can start with using the system when all is solid tested and completely safe to use.

 

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Hi Brooke,

I wish a little more info were released so people could decide whether to participate or not.

Just curious, aren't there any LL staff who have alts that are Merchants who build and sell inworld and on the Marketplace? In my real life I come from a Marketing background - we were required to spend 6 months in the field actually doing the Sales job, and then after we were back in the home office, we had to spend 2 days per month "behind the counter" so we knew exactly how our programs were affecting the people who lived with them on a day to day basis. Maybe it is a naive question...If not, maybe it is something for some of the LL staff to consider when they aren't "on the clock". Would certainly provide a little bit of a different perspective for you that might be helpful.

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Madeliefste Oh wrote:

Thanks for the possibility to sign up for a testing program, Brooke. I'm glad to see that you are going to take time to test this new delivery program before you release it for the complete marketplace. To me it looks decent with the alpha on a test server and the beta on the actual marketplace.

I'm in doubt about participating or not. On one site I think it's a good opportunity to get prepared for the new system, on the other hand I'm scared to expose my merchandise to possible delivery problems and bugs, I might loose sales or I might get troubles with buyers.  

I have been in two beta testing programs before and I don't have problems signing a NDA, I had to do this for the other programs as well. But with those other programs I didn't feel I put anything at risk.

Actually I hope there are enough people who are willing to take the risk and participate so I can start with using the system when all is solid tested and completely safe to use.

 

They certainly test this on the Aditi grid since it is available for testing purposes anyway:smileywink:

 

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Arwen Serpente wrote:

Just curious, aren't there any LL staff who have alts that are Merchants who build and sell inworld and on the Marketplace? In my real life I come from a Marketing background - we were required to spend 6 months in the field actually doing the Sales job, and then after we were back in the home office, we had to spend 2 days per month "behind the counter" so we knew exactly how our programs were affecting the people who lived with them on a day to day basis. Maybe it is a naive question...If not, maybe it is something for some of the LL staff to consider when they aren't "on the clock". Would certainly provide a little bit of a different perspective for you that might be helpful.

 

I'm imagining Brooke or any other commerce team member spending time inworld creating items that will actually sell successfully enough to get the whole merchant experience. This isn't easy. It takes merchants several months and even years to get to the stage where they are fully active. With luck and some talent most people would start off with one or two sales a week. This isn't going to give them enough exposure to marketplace issues.

They do have those teddy bears so maybe they are getting some experience.

On further thought, I don't think LL staffers are allowed to sell items, even as alts, unless it's freebies or for charity as with those teddy bears.

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Rya Nitely wrote:

 

I'm imagining Brooke or any other commerce team member spending time inworld creating items that will actually sell successfully enough to get the whole merchant experience. This isn't easy. It takes merchants several months and even years to get to the stage where they are fully active. With luck and some talent most people would start off with one or two sales a week. This isn't going to give them enough exposure to marketplace issue.

They do have those teddy bears so maybe they are getting some experience.

On further thought, I don't think LL staffers are allowed to sell items, even as alts, unless it's freebies or for charity as with those teddy bears.

 

 

Agreed Rya, it took me 2 years to get to this point and it's been a slow climb. No question building a successful business is extremely difficult. For a Beta though, it probably doesn't matter if the business is really established since the items could be bought by other LL staff, so not sure that an already successful business is a "must" for a test. Just an avatar Merchant with products listed on the Marketplace and in their DD file in thier inventory (and probably about 20,000+ other items to mimic what many Merchants carry in development materials, personal inventory, and finished products - who knows, maybe that number is high or low depending on the Merchant).

I hadn't thought of the conflict of interest side of it with selling items and possible issues there. Although it never stopped me from standing behind a counter and selling rather than sitting behind my desk planning programs, but every company is different.

I've volunteered for other Beta programs/submitted NDA's, however, there just isn't enough info released about this yet.  For instance, do we know that the system works with all viewers - that hasn't actually been clearly indicated yet (as I've read the transcripts of the last meeting)...a little more information would be helpful.

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Toysoldier Thor wrote:

  Also, they have already spilled many of the key beans of how this DD will work (and Brooke promised a blog posting to tell the rest of the community a lot more details of DD).  SO... the need for an NDA here is not to protect a good idea.

 

I believe Brooke would still keep people informed through blog posts, but she wants to be the only person doing this. An NDA would serve to stop beta testers from informing people of progress/problems, thus preventing the spread of inaccurate or misleading information.

 

 

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how about fixing things like the inability to report people who have flaged your products as adult or other just to take your postings away or out of personal dislike of you when your items are clearly posted in the right catagory and maturity rating.and dont say we have someone aprove each flaged item becouse whoever is in charge of that isent even looking at the items. there just letting this people destroy my stores.i have had to repost the majority of my store of 100+ items several times this week for someone claming them to be of adult content and there clearly general merchandise.its becomming a full time job just keeping my curant items on the market place,i have had no time to offer new items and i might just let my store go if LL isent going to provide some sort of suport for these issues.and sorry i wasent trying to hijack this thread my point was why should i be willing to help LL make more changes to to there messed up marketplace when there not even fixing the problems at hand. 

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for my part...

if i can't trust someone to fix existing inventory and delivery problems, i don't see any reason to encourage them to become more involved with my personal inventory

just a thought, eh

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Sounds like fun! I love to break software, and I write good bug reports. To Darrius, Toysoldier and any others who are bitching about the NDA. It's extremely common when recruiting Beta testers to insist on an NDA so that rumors and griping about features don't run amok and become embedded in the folklore of the user community. I have signed NDAs with Google, Yahoo!, WoW, and several other companies I beta-tested for. Toysoldier ... yes, it REALLY IS about hiding the ugly and fixing it up before the general SL public sees it. With the way hysteria regularly sweeps the forums, it's a good precaution.

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