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Apply for the Marketplace Direct Delivery Beta Program!


Brooke Linden
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Nefertiti Nefarious wrote:

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.

Good Luck to you Nef!

A bit if a difference between Beta Testing for LL for a function that is part of a service that the vendor has an exclusive monopoly on VS beta testing for a vendor that is operating a service that clear competitors and they are not the monopoly on the function you are beta testing.

But at least we both agree there will be something to gripe about - for valid reasons.  And the legit reasons for hysteria to sweep the forums is the only response LL Customers have since we cant get LL to listen to us any other way.  So until LL actually "REALLY" listens to its customers... they wont solve the issue of receiving the forum "hysteria" they rightly deserve.

Again.. good luck to you.

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Nefertiti Nefarious wrote:

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.

 

Just to be clear, I'm not bitching about the NDA per se. I'm specifically bitching about the overly broad and onerous conditions set forth in the NDA they wanted me to sign to beta test Marketplace. For starters, it gave them 30 days AFTER I'd disclosed something to decide "Oh we meant for that to be kept private." Even if it was communicated from someone not related to Marketplace testing, was unrelated to Marketplace, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the "intent" of the NDA ... the agreement still gave LL the right to take action against me should they decide (after the fact) that something I said divulged their private information.

There were a lot of other issues with it as well .. I'm just citing one of the more obvious problems. But what was more telling for me (and some others as well) was that even after the Beta team signed on and did their testing, the Marketplace debuted horrbly broken. My personal opinion is that they not only rushed it out (for no obvious or stated reasons) but the extremely restrictive conditions in the NDA excluded all of those with skills, experience or insight that could have (and otherwise would have) participated.

We are smart people out here .. with bankable talents. Being treated like worthless button mashers will ensure that only worthless button mashers are what LL gets in return. Even those with talent and valuable contributions that WERE part of the Marketplace Beta team were no doubt disregarded or ignored and thus rendered useless.

Put forth a fair and balanced NDA ... treat the testers with respect ... and you will get back fair, balanced and valueable information that serves to improve the product for everyone.

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Ok,

Is it me, or does this whole Direct Delivery deal sound like the next crappy thing LL is going to cram down our throats (like: Homestead Sims, New Marketplace, Viewer 2.0, New Forums, etc.) in spite of any protests? Oh that's right, anyone knowledgeable enough about it to protest is gagged by an NDA... Who really wants this DD system? Why is this the focus?

Brooke, is seems like nobody at LL has taken any hints from the past three years... Developing new shiny features in secret ends up backfiring BIG TIME! LL needs to stop wasting it's time with bells and whistles, and fix core issues that SL residents have been begging for years to see resolved. LL also needs to stop surprising us residents with big changes that roll out half baked and never get improved.

Now that there are more and more competitors to SL popping up, LL had better start listening to their residents, or there will be more massive layoffs coming soon. SL will be overshadowed by other virtual worlds where the developers actually give their customers what they want. It's a simple business concept that seems to have escaped the majority of LL's leadership for several years now.

I do hope your team will decide that any new ideas that massively change things in SL will get openly developed in public cooperation with residents, not in secret, with NDA's gagging anyone from sharing with the rest of us just what's being cooked up...

~Servian Serevi

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

My personal opinion is that they not only rushed it out (for no obvious or stated reasons) but the extremely restrictive conditions in the NDA excluded all of those with skills, experience or insight that could have (and otherwise would have) participated.

You may recall that the marketplace was opened to all merchants after a week or two of closed beta testing. So in effect beta testing was opened to everyone through jira reports, which I believe you were a part of. So the lack of your 'skills, experience or insight' in the closed beta test group made no difference at all.

 

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Hi Brooke, I happened to stumble upon this link and im shure that there are many alike, perhaps it is a good iidea to put a link in the starting post to a page where the general workings are described and the benefits of the direct delivery are mentioned, and the reasons why LL wants to switch from magic boxes to a direct dilvery system. I'm shure that will help convince merchans to join, plus  I just had to google it and all that came up were hundres of links to this very page and a few pages that talk about the system but are not related to lindenlabs.

About the idea of making a delivery system directly from inventory, its a great idea wich eliminates simlag as a sales failure factor. One thing tho.. lindenlabs has to make inventory backup free for merchants..

A fellow merchant recently lost 3k items and lindenlabs refused to put a backup back. Only if she would take a premium subscription.. If the marketplace things are sold directly from the inventory, these kind of things can have severe accute consqecuenses for merchants, and on top of that loss they have to pay 80 dollars for a premium.

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Rya Nitely wrote:

You may recall that the marketplace was opened to all merchants after a week or two of closed beta testing. So in effect beta testing was opened to everyone through jira reports, which I believe you were a part of. So the lack of your 'skills, experience or insight' in the closed beta test group made no difference at all. 

 

Yes, I recall very clearly. This also exactly makes my point. A typical "Beta" period for a brand new (nearly) from scratch product like Marketplace would be much longer than one week. Then they released it a week later for "Open Beta", proving the point that their Closed Beta was a failure.

The purpose of a Beta phase is to shake loose the last few bugs that haven't been resolved during the internal "Alpha" phase. An NDA is often included as part of the Beta User "enrollment" so that new and unique features about to be rolled out can be kept secret. It is limited to a "small" number of testers so that the quantity of error reports is kept to a reasonable and manageable level. An "Open Beta" while not strictly a conundrum is also not very common. (There are arguments for a second level "Open Beta" period that lets users know "We're pretty sure it's right but ...")

The Marketplace was a clear and still painful example of how NOT to release systems level software. Direct Delivery is of that same ilk; a software package or system that will have far-reaching effects on everyone in Second Life. This is one of the reasons I am so vocal about every single step in the process followed by Marketplace where mistakes were made. We absolutely CAN NOT repeat the debacle that was Marketplace.

There are years and years of other people's mistakes that show us paths not to follow. There are many places where Linden Lab's own mistakes have shown what not to do. Contrary to how some may characterize me, I WANT Second Life to thrive and grow! So I waste no effort in erecting barriers, shining spotlights and setting off road flares in front of every pitfall and pothole that I know to exist. The NDA is just one of those yawning pits that we wrecked in before, and I refuse to let that same mistake happen again without at least raising one more warning.

BTW: On the subject of NDA's ... Yes, they are often used to keep secrets secret. In competitive environments, where your competitors might very well trump you by releasing something that is the same or better before you can get your version released, they serve to keep your advantage secure. But Marketplace has no competitors. More to the point, even if there were viable competitors, NONE of them could provide a Direct Delivery solution because none of them have access to the Asset Servers. So in the case of Direct Delivery, an NDA is not protecting any competitive position or feature.

Another common reason for NDA's is to prevent sales from "bottoming out". This is a phenomenon that occurs when people find out that the "New Version" is about to be released so they stop buying the "Old Version". However that does not apply in this case either as there is no way to stop using Magic Boxes .. and they're free anyway so it's not like Linden Lab is going to lose sales while people are anticipating Direct Delivery.

An earlier post by Nefertiti Nefarious stated that the purpose of the NDA is to silence rumors or "ill will" from spreading during testing. If that is a concern then the software should not be released (to non-LL employees) for testing at all. If the errors are so horrific and so demonstrably wrong that people who have agreed to test software that is expected to have errors feel compelled to shout out how bad those errors are .. then it's just not ready for testing period. The use of an NDA for this purpose is ... to be very blunt .. the sign of a paranoid and incompetent management mindset.

In the final analysis, software testing at all stages is a form of self-protection for the authors of the sofware. No one suffers more from releasing crap than the publisher OF that crap. Thus, to prevent their own failure, software authors and devs subject their works to rigorous testing. Any assertion that users somehow "owe" the publisher a measure of testing is wrong-headed to the max. We are offering to help them, they are not helping us. (And lets be really honest here, if they turn out something that flat out fails .. sure we'll suffer, but not NEARLY as much as Linden Lab will suffer.)

Whatever management or motivation is behind the methodology used to release Marketplace must not be repeated. Wherever we can ... "We" meaning BOTH Linden Lab and the Resident Community .. we must NOT go down that same road and depend on herculean efforts and last minute "burnt to a crisp" miracles to save it ... again.

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Post Script: Something dawned on me while rereading my post above....

We had a team consisting of Pink, Grant, Brodesky and a few others that turned out Marketplace .. and it had earmarks that many of us saw as heralding impending doom. Well, that team is gone.

Now we have a new team consisting of Brooke and various nameless devs. (I'm assuming few if any of the current devs were instrumental in the release process of Marketplace, so even if they were devs on that project, they didn't influence the failures like the management team did.) And again we are seeing the same earmarks that herald a repeat of the same failures.

So we have a system (the way LL releases software) that seems to be broken, but we've completely replaced the (visible) parts .. and the system still seems to be failing in the same manner. Logic thus dictates that the wrong parts were replaced .. that the REAL broken parts are still there. Hmmm ... 

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Not signing a NDA...Don't want this change. Leave the marketplace alone and fix the bugs it already has before creating new ones! This is stupid. I liked it just find when it was XstreetSL then they had to go change that... I like the old viewer better, and they changed that to the sucky V2 viewer... Maybe they are just trying to run us off SL, cause that is where it's heading... all these "new upgrades" do nothing but make things harder and more bugged.

Leave The Magic Boxes, they work just fine! AND if this change is supposed to be for the better, WHY can't we know about how it works before signing a NDA... this is so stupid..

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Sure would be interesting to test this new feature which anyway is welcome as compared to current "box-dropping" delivery which has several ways to fail and new system wont have that same  problem at all.

 

And sure cant but hope strength for all who paritcipate it as it really need lot work with details beafore all problems solved. I dont dare take part in it as I dont have patience enough and it would only mean  that I would be one of those bitchers very soon;)

 

And so normal to see in every thing in sl that there always is those who dont do anything but bitch and whine about everything.

Knowing that Linden Lab has created overwhelming best digital world for rl like earning possibilities. And even some other grids like sl they also use same open sourse system and not created anything original  and better from scratch. Sure its possible to go then even to those grids to play with Zingo machines there and hope they some day have grown up enough to offer some competition.

 

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I don't feel comfortable with things being delivered directly from my inventory. I like that right now they are in a sepparate box, and that when it is delivered the customer will get exactly what they paid for.

 

If this system is put in place, there should be an option for a merchant to opt out and keep using the boxes. In my opinion that is a much safer way to deliver products.

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

 
We absolutely CAN NOT repeat the debacle that was Marketplace.

 


 

 

Debacle? A temporary inconvenience is all it was for me. My sales continued to reach records as usual. I am betting Linden Labs also experienced little impact on sales volume and profit. If your sales were affected so badly as to call it a debacle then maybe it was your own handling of the change, but hopefully all is good now and you've settled in. With the coming changes I am sure you will settle in eventually as well. Ask others for advice if you have such major diffficulties again.

 


Darrius Gothly wrote:

 Contrary to how some may characterize me, I WANT Second Life to thrive and grow! 

I think this would be obvious to everyone. If Second Life didn't thrive and grow then neither would these forums. It's obvious how dependent you are on them.... how vital they are in the way you spend your time.

 

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Rya Nitely wrote:



Darrius Gothly wrote:

We absolutely CAN NOT repeat the debacle that was Marketplace.


Debacle? A temporary inconvenience is all it was for me. My sales continued to reach records as usual. I am betting Linden Labs also experienced little impact on sales volume and profit. If your sales were affected so badly as to call it a debacle then maybe it was your own handling of the change, but hopefully all is good now and you've settled in. With the coming changes I am sure you will settle in eventually as well. Ask others for advice if you have such major diffficulties again. 

Darrius Gothly wrote:

 Contrary to how some may characterize me, I WANT Second Life to thrive and grow! 

I think this would be obvious to everyone. If Second Life didn't thrive and grow then neither would these forums. It's obvious how dependent you are on them.... how vital they are in the way you spend your time.

 

 

"I was in a car accident, but it was okay because I only broke both legs and an arm. Now that I've been through 6 months of recuperation, I can hobble again. So it wasn't a problem at all."

I'm glad for you that your sales suffered very little if any. However I think you are understating the impact by a large factor. How many hours did you spend moving over your listings? How much time did you waste editing then re-editing them? How much better would you have been had you not had to spend so much time?

It's only because of the intense dedication of MANY people selling on the Marketplace that it has turned out "okay". And it's really only barely "okay" now. Stating that the damage wasn't bad is way off the mark. It was promised to be, and with proper methodologies utilized could have been miles ahead of where it is now. Sure, it's hobbling along just fine .. now. But it could have been so much more.

I strongly suspect that you NEVER turn out a boat or a related product with the thinking "Yeah, that's barely good enough, but I don't care if my customers complain." I know I sure don't. And I know for a fact that any SUCCESSFUL merchant doesn't either.

Success never comes from half-baked efforts and "good enough" products. It comes from maximizing your quality, your products, your marketing, your customer service .. and everything that goes into the "Product" you deliver. It just smacks me sideways that you would excuse the lack of proper methods and attention that LL displayed in releasing Marketplace because "it's okay now."

(totally gonna sidestep the backhand comments...)

Are you content with how things are now .. and completely unconcerned that even though there is ample evidence, history and knowledge available everywhere, those resources were ignored before and seem to be getting ignored now? If so, if you think everything is just fine .. why are you here? Why are you even bothering to interject?

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Rya Nitely wrote:

 

Darrius Gothly wrote:

 
We absolutely CAN NOT repeat the debacle that was Marketplace.

 

 

 

Debacle? A temporary inconvenience is all it was for me. My sales continued to reach records as usual. I am betting Linden Labs also experienced little impact on sales volume and profit. If your sales were affected so badly as to call it a debacle then maybe it was your own handling of the change, but hopefully all is good now and you've settled in. With the coming changes I am sure you will settle in eventually as well. Ask others for advice if you have such major diffficulties again.

 

Darrius Gothly wrote:

 Contrary to how some may characterize me, I WANT Second Life to thrive and grow! 

I think this would be obvious to everyone. If Second Life didn't thrive and grow then neither would these forums. It's obvious how dependent you are on them.... how vital they are in the way you spend your time.

 

 

The fact that Merchants - ONCE AGAIN - adapted and suffered through the cutover form xstreet to SLM does not consider the SLM migration a success.

IT WAS A HORRID EXAMPLE OF SOFTWARE / SERVICE DEPLOYMENT BY A VENDOR!

Good for you Rya that you luckily survived through the transition unscathed and that now the new SLM for you is better than ever.  That has absolutely no relevance to the fact that the LL Commerce Team's SLM migration was the poster child of "HOW NOT TO RELEASE A NEW / IMPROVED SERVICE TO A CUSTOMER".


  • They held a closed beta on code that was PRE-ALPHA in the eyes of anyone that knows anything about software development and deployment.
  • They rushed an ALPHA version of SLM into the public without any full thurough internal testing.
  • They made the most basic and riskiest of moves by actually integrating this ALPHA code into actual production systems used by xstreet (a major risk) - and all in the interests of LL Staff convenience and cutting deployment time
  • They used their own Merchants as basically forced volunteer tester to find the bugs anyone would find when working with ALPHA code.  Forced because "this is coming if you like it or not so hurry up and find all our bugs we missed".
  • Many of the basic functions and services that xstreet had - SLM still to this date does not have and what Pink Linden suggested SLM would be better and more flexible and advanced then Xstreet ever was.  To date, LL Commerce Team cannot even get this new SLM to easily match basic traffic/sales reporting to xstreet.
  • Many Merchants had many issues with lost items, corrupted listings during migrations, etc etc (even if you were luckily enough not to).

I could go on but Darrius is right.... LL's SLM Deployment was a kindergarden deployment of a new service and laid a ton of risk on their merchant community of which many got hurt.

I am seeing that based on Brooke's silence to-date on the details of the DD service, and not responding to HOW this new direct from a Merchant's personal inventory is the best way to solve current delivery delays/failures vs other approaches, and if LL will addres the escalating concern of DD not offering flexible options on where to source SLM inventory...   we are heading toward yet another CLASSIC LL DEVELOPMENT / DEPLOYMENT FIASCO.  And it will be on the backs of the Merchants that will suffer in order for LL to work out their bugs.

Again... I commend the CLOSED ALPHA TESTERS of this DD for risking their own personal inventory and merchant sales on SLM and doing this going into the Alpha Tests blind.  They are brave souls!

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Isaura Simons wrote:

I don't feel comfortable with things being delivered directly from my inventory. I like that right now they are in a sepparate box, and that when it is delivered the customer will get exactly what they paid for.

I wouldn't worry about that - both your inventory and a magic box just reference an item on the asset server anyway. It's a bit like a shortcut on your computer desktop, that when clicked goes and finds the "real" file.

 

 

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Rya,

A good example and very strong indication that the LL Commerce and Development team spent very little time architecting, designing, solutioning this DD replacement of Magicboxes....

When I first brought up my concerns in the forums in March and escalating why I think the DD solution appears to have a serious flaw in design (i.e. not sourcing the SLM inventory from an isolated source - like a seperate inventory, different avatar inventory, a new SLM Item Rezzed box, etc.) Brooke finally was pressured to respond.  Her one and only response to my concerns on this issue was...

close paraphrase from the March thread ..."I dont understand why Merchants would want an SLM ALT MERCHANT ACCOUNT to have DD source is sales from"

This is coming from a team member that should know exactly what the concerns are about this issue.  She had no clue and I can safely assume that she didnt make that public admission on the forums before asking her LL development staff why I would have these concern.  That means even the LL Development team and designers were not aware of this risk / concern. 

Insult to injury - I brought it up... several other Merchants started seeing the same risks and additional risks... and yet over a month later not once has Brooke or anyone of her staff approached me to further clarify our concerns.

( I can assure you that if these concerns were brought up by one of Brooke's favored Merchants - many of us are seeing who they are - she and her team would have already privately approached these favored merchants or even publically engaged in discussions on the forums with these people)

These are the persons that are developing and deploying DD.  This is the team that will once again be following the same comic strip approach to systems / service deployment as happened on many other past horrid deployments like SLM.

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Ok,

Is it me, or does this whole Direct Delivery deal sound like the next crappy thing LL is going to cram down our throats (like: Homestead Sims, New Marketplace, Viewer 2.0, New Forums, etc.) in spite of any protests? Oh that's right, anyone knowledgeable enough about it to protest is gagged by an NDA...

~Servian Serevi

 

Maybe!!!!

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Zanara Zenovka wrote:

 

Isaura Simons wrote:

I don't feel comfortable with things being delivered directly from my inventory. I like that right now they are in a sepparate box, and that when it is delivered the customer will get exactly what they paid for.

I wouldn't worry about that - both your inventory and a magic box just reference an item on the asset server anyway. It's a bit like a shortcut on your computer desktop, that when clicked goes and finds the "real" file.

 

 

 

That would be a deceptive statement Zanara and will lul Merchants into a false sense of security.

I have a master copy of my SLM items in my personal inventory.  I place a copy of my SLM Item out of my personal inventory and create a new copy of it into a seperate rezzed object inworld that holds this new copied asset in its own inventory.  Sure, all the assets of everything in SL is in the same asset server... these assets are broken up and categorized into different types of containers and functions can be applied to.

i.e. if I search my personal INVENTORY - it does not search past the boundries of my account's inventory - not into rezzed objects inworld that have more of my assets - and certainly not into other accounts in sl.  In the same light - quite often, SL Account's inventories get corrupted or lost... this mostly does not go past the logical boundries of the account's inventory.

As such, if this new DD Service were to be mis-configured by a new release bug or as a horrid side effect from a changed component elsewhere, there is a chance that the DD system could go Rogue up to and including all assets inside the boundries of your personal inventory.  BUT... in the Magicbox model... this rogue DD would not impact anything but the assets in the magicbox.

So... please do not lul fellow merchants into a sense that the DD system's proposed Direct, Automated, and not controlled service is ZERO risk to the rest of the inventory of a Merchant's entire account.

Merchants SHOULD BE VERY NERVOUS OF THIS PROPOSED DD approach.

SLM Asset Isolation is a common-sense and proper design that LL has totally thrown out because they didnt think of it or because they are too lazy to do the right thing.

 

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Toysoldier Thor wrote:

 

Zanara Zenovka wrote:

 

Isaura Simons wrote:

I don't feel comfortable with things being delivered directly from my inventory. I like that right now they are in a sepparate box, and that when it is delivered the customer will get exactly what they paid for.

I wouldn't worry about that - both your inventory and a magic box just reference an item on the asset server anyway. It's a bit like a shortcut on your computer desktop, that when clicked goes and finds the "real" file.

 

 

 

That would be a deceptive statement Zanara and will lul Merchants into a false sense of security.

I have a master copy of my SLM items in my personal inventory.  I place a copy of my SLM Item out of my personal inventory and create a new copy of it into a seperate rezzed object inworld that holds this new copied asset in its own inventory.  Sure, all the assets of everything in SL is in the same asset server... these assets are broken up and categorized into different types of containers and functions can be applied to.

i.e. if I search my personal INVENTORY - it does not search past the boundries of my account's inventory - not into rezzed objects inworld that have more of my assets - and certainly not into other accounts in sl.  In the same light - quite often, SL Account's inventories get corrupted or lost... this mostly does not go past the logical boundries of the account's inventory.

As such, if this new DD Service were to be mis-configured by a new release bug or as a horrid side effect from a changed component elsewhere, there is a chance that the DD system could go Rogue up to and including all assets inside the boundries of your personal inventory.  BUT... in the Magicbox model... this rogue DD would not impact anything but the assets in the magicbox.

So... please do not lul fellow merchants into a sense that the DD system's proposed Direct, Automated, and not controlled service is ZERO risk to the rest of the inventory of a Merchant's entire account.

Merchants SHOULD BE VERY NERVOUS OF THIS PROPOSED DD approach.

SLM Asset Isolation is a common-sense and proper design that LL has totally thrown out because they didnt think of it or because they are too lazy to do the right thing.

 

Lol

Take a pill, Louise.

 

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