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Brooke Linden

Marketplace Release Notes: May 31, 2011

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Time for me to weigh in .. once again .. with another of my diatribes on the "Meta Issue" this release spotlights.

Brooke, some time back you cancelled Office Hours. I'm pretty sure most folks realized at the time why, but I'm afraid once again the baby got tossed with the bath water .. and this release is a perfect example.

What happened this time is (with all best intentions) you reviewed the suggestions and comments from the past, selected a feature that had been requested many times then turned your staff loose and cooked something up. Again I must point out, you meant the very best from your actions. But ...

When those original comments were sent along to you (via the many methods available to the contributors) they were at best blue sky conceptual desires. They lacked any real guts, no real definition, nothing solid enough to actually understand why the ideas were suggested. They were like the numbered dots in a Connect-the-Dots book .. but without the numbers; they gave you the general idea but not enough of a solid definition to really follow the path to get the right picture.

Lacking the numbers, your staff did their best to come up with a "picture" that made sense. But as has been demonstrated many times by MANY companies (not just LL) .. the development staff often does not really understand WHY the feature is needed. They do not get how it will be used or what is intended for it. They see it as an IT solution and thus implement it with a stock IT device.

What should have happened? When you realized that it was time to implement this feature (In-Store Sorting), you should have convened an Office Hour. Posted the Topic as "Brainstorming Session on In-Store Sorting" and made it plainly clear anyone hijacking the topic at the OH would be muted or orbited. (And then provided a couple lackeys to field the off-topic contributions that would come up anyway.)

The OH could have been done over three days at three separate time zones so as to garner the widest range of Why, How, and What out there. Of course your dev staff would have been present for all three as well. (Yes, the REAL Dev Staff .. it's important the people slinging code hear the real voices of the customer.) It is also important that these OH's be done BEFORE your Dev Staff formulates their own "solution". In other words, hold the OH before you tell the Dev Staff which feature they are coding next.

The net result of this method would have been a wider array of solutions possible, a clearer understanding of the customer's needs by your Dev Staff, and a final solution that had real meat to it ... customer contributed meat and not stock off-the-shelf IT meat substitute. In the final analysis, the excellent ideas we see posted above would have been realized in code and not just in forum posts .. and your customer base would begin rebuilding confidence in LL's ability to develop solutions for their problems.

Kyle's quick response to my problem yesterday tells me this, your Dev Staff really DOES want to make this right by your customers .. but they need more to work with. They need the meat only your customers can provide, and it's up to you as their Manager to provide the resources (in the form of Office Hours and other techniques) to provide that.

So .. for the next feature .. can we give this method a try please?

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Time for me to weigh in .. once again .. with another of my diatribes on the "Meta Issue" this release spotlights.

Brooke, some time back you cancelled Office Hours. I'm pretty sure most folks realized at the time why, but I'm afraid once again the baby got tossed with the bath water .. and this release is a perfect example.

What happened this time is (with all best intentions) you reviewed the suggestions and comments from the past, selected a feature that had been requested many times then turned your staff loose and cooked something up. Again I must point out, you meant the very best from your actions. But ...

When those original comments were sent along to you (via the many methods available to the contributors) they were at best blue sky conceptual desires. They lacked any real guts, no real definition, nothing solid enough to actually understand why the ideas were suggested. They were like the numbered dots in a Connect-the-Dots book .. but without the numbers; they gave you the general idea but not enough of a solid definition to really follow the path to get the right picture.

Lacking the numbers, your staff did their best to come up with a "picture" that made sense. But as has been demonstrated many times by MANY companies (not just LL) .. the development staff often does not really understand WHY the feature is needed. They do not get how it will be used or what is intended for it. They see it as an IT solution and thus implement it with a stock IT device.

What should have happened? When you realized that it was time to implement this feature (In-Store Sorting), you should have convened an Office Hour. Posted the Topic as "Brainstorming Session on In-Store Sorting" and made it plainly clear anyone hijacking the topic at the OH would be muted or orbited. (And then provided a couple lackeys to field the off-topic contributions that would come up anyway.)

The OH could have been done over three days at three separate time zones so as to garner the widest range of Why, How, and What out there. Of course your dev staff would have been present for all three as well. (Yes, the REAL Dev Staff .. it's important the people slinging code hear the real voices of the customer.) It is also important that these OH's be done BEFORE your Dev Staff formulates their own "solution". In other words, hold the OH before you tell the Dev Staff which feature they are coding next.

The net result of this method would have been a wider array of solutions possible, a clearer understanding of the customer's needs by your Dev Staff, and a final solution that had real meat to it ... customer contributed meat and not stock off-the-shelf IT meat substitute. In the final analysis, the excellent ideas we see posted above would have been realized in code and not just in forum posts .. and your customer base would begin rebuilding confidence in LL's ability to develop solutions for their problems.

Kyle's quick response to my problem yesterday tells me this, your Dev Staff really DOES want to make this right by your customers .. but they need more to work with. They need the meat only your customers can provide, and it's up to you as their Manager to provide the resources (in the form of Office Hours and other techniques) to provide that.

So .. for the next feature .. can we give this method a try please?

YUP.... once Again.... What Darrius said and recommended.  That is what I what I was trying to say.

Brooke, I will totally agree with Darrius and others that I know your intentions were honorable and your spirit behind "trying" to deliver what your teams thoughts are on what is important to your customers - the Merchant Community.  I do give you credit on wanting to improve SLM.

Where you and your team are failing on is a poor implementation on EFFECTIVE TWO-WAY & TRANSPARENT COMMUNICATION.  I know you have tried to improve communications early on - but like your predesessors - you seem to have given up after your first attempts failed.

inworld Office Hours failed (and we all agree that it should have been shut down based on how you were running it).  But if you and your team were to openly and fairly have continued to created open transparent WORKING GROUPS with your staff and willing participants from the Merchant community (tons of willing participants that you have historically ignored), then we could have worked with your team to flesh out the detailed requirements and go-forward strategy on a new feature like INSTORE SORT and Direct Delivery.

Sadly, as Darrius said... you threw out the baby with the bathwater... and once again your team got a good idea wrong.

This is the message I have been poking at Rodvik on and hope in his busy schedule he will start focusing on the oranization, process, methods that his LL Development and Commerce Team has been failing on and how its impacting LL's overall success and revenue.

 

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FANTASTIC TOOL !

 

Thank you for finally getting this squared away.  Invaluable for promotions.

 

Would be really handy for those with large inventories, and also for those who prefer to adjust product placement on regular basis to have the product placement default to relevance sort after they have positioned whatever number of items they choose to position.

For instance - they squared away positioning on first two pages to their benefit.  Stop numbering, then just let the remaining products fall into regular relevancy pattern.

 

Email is your friend.

 

It's the First of the month, and most won't have a clue this happened until they go to pay tier fees tonight or tomorrow and realize they are a wee bit strapped because their top sellers were not in place for a few days to a week. 

They might be a wee bit agitated when they get here.

Thanks for Heads-Up on Twitter, Toy.  Thought the whole thing was wacked again.  If only I had known that they implemented my most favorite tool of all time!

Amazing how a simple communication or lack there of.....can have two entirely different outcomes.

 

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Brooke, I just discovered something that has never happened before this change was deployed:

I was editing some listings to add related items. Prior to the addition/editing, these items appeared at the beginning of my listings when sorted by the "new" relevance. AFTER the edit, they are now dead last. So unless, I go in and manually put them back up front, they are now borked. All I wanted to do was add related info to help consumers shop. Now they will never find them. (Please note, these kinds of edits have never affected my product order prior to this deployment).

I can't believe that this was an intended result of this new deployment.

So, in response to all those who say "just number the first 20 or so and let relevance take care of the rest" - don't do any editing or the "take care of the rest" will land your items at the back of the line.

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I don't understand Arwen.

 

All my loser stuff is at the beginning with the New Relevance anyway. I want them at the end.

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Oh the loser stuff is up there too (although I did manually order some of my best sellers today). Many of the ones I am referring to now were mixed in with the losers as a result of the deployment. I was trying to edit them to add the related items that were missing in some cases (because everything was so scattered around - I was trying to help point people to "like" or similar items). As a result, they have all dropped to the end of the line.

Give it a try: find an item that you won't mind having bumped to the back of the line and take note of where it is in the current order before doing an edit on it. Edit it and see if it gets sent to the end of the order.  For reference, the only edit I did was to add related items, I didn't edit any text at all.

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This may confirm what we have heard reported here -- ANY edit pushes a listing to the back of the line.

Which is really really bad for me because I update my stuff constantly. So if true, it never has a chance.

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The relevance bug that has been reported in this thread in the store is unfortunately not a simple fix. To clarify: the sort order reported as “Relevance” when viewing a merchant’s store broke due to the sort feature. “Relevance” sort order outside of the context of a store is still working as designed. (For example, when you search by Item keywords, “Relevance” sort is working as expected.)

Since we would like to take the time to incorporate merchant feedback when we fix this bug, we will be rolling back to the previous release tomorrow. If you have saved sort order for your listings, these values will not be lost. They will be retained in the database and applied when we are able to re-visit this feature to fix the bug with relevance.

Thank you for your patience.

Brooke

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well,mine are still the same,i sorted some,but i rather have by relevance and maybe sort a few items,my sales dropped down today,even sorting around 70 items

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Hmm.. This wasn't what I had in mind at all as far as the ability to sort our listings. This isn't sorting, this is a listing order. With nearly 1200 products in my store, numbering them isn't a task I ever plan to take on. I thought by sorting our products we might be given the ability to create our own product categories/nav bar... basically designing our own storefronts.. like we did back in the good ol' days of OnRez...

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I dont quiet understand what a relivence bug is can you explain more, also everytime I try to put items in home for example you seem to think its not a home!! please explain this to me getting very frustrated 

Tintin Tuxing

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Abraxxa Anatine wrote:

Hmm.. This wasn't what I had in mind at all as far as the ability to sort our listings. This isn't sorting, this is a listing order. With nearly 1200 products in my store, numbering them isn't a task I ever plan to take on. I thought by sorting our products we might be given the ability to create our own product categories/nav bar... basically designing our own storefronts.. like we did back in the good ol' days of OnRez...

that's what I would like to see also, something similar had onrez and worded pretty well. Not sure why LL bought it and didn't use onrez best features.

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Ok well, this is working for me. I'm not one of the people who asked for this, but I do like it, and maybe there are many others who do too. I can't be the only one who likes it. Brooke, I hope you don't take it away completely. At least leave it as an option. I rarranged all my items the way I want customers visiting my store to see them. It looks great now. And I'd like to keep it that way.

Based on this thread, it would seem the best thing for the Commerce Team to do is change nothing, because there will always be people who will hate the changes, and they will shout the loudest.

I'm not saying that this is perfect, but changes will never please everyone.

Ratings and reviews - there's a perfect example - . Don't touch it no matter how loud some people may shout about the short falls. Because there will be even louder shouts after the change.

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it was a good idea but the way it was installed was defective.  There is no way to properly view your own listings in the sort picker.  There should at minimum be a sort order field in the item maintenance form so that you manually assign a index. Also the index should be alphanumerical ..not just numerical. 

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The relevance bug is when you or other browse your marketplace, just in my case it doesnt show the actual sold items anymore, instead it shows up older items,that i have created at christmas times. lol yes my shop looks like a christmas shop now when somebody browses my shop.

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She said will remove just for fixing the bug,and numbers we sorted will keep the way we did after they restore,i loved this feature too,but i dont want to sort my whole shop just some of the items,and when we update an item that was sorted it goes back to list end,imagine you needidng to rearrange all everytime you update an item....but if it works as it shoud ,than will be an amazing option for us

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If you're having a hard time finding your products to assign placement rank to, then your customers won't find them in a store search either.

Little late now, but when you title your items there should be a unique phrase or number code that sets each grouping of items apart for each search.

I can easily find my groupings because every item had a sub-set title such as Retro Wild Safari  or Costa Rica Villa.  Simply typing in those terms will locate all items in that grouping.  For you or your customer.

You could use series numbers as well such as the 500 series or you could use color titles such as Mellow Turquoise.  Simply organize groupings into sub-sets that are specific.  Typing in Turquoise probably won't narrow it down for most, because that word will be on many titles/descriptions but attach a more unique descriptive word to that and organize in that manner.

Rya , you must have missed this:

FANTASTIC TOOL!

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which part of "the thing is broken" don't you understand? Some people have stores with a much more numerous and diverse product selection.. besides.. when you use the search the pages keep resetting to the default view so you have to re-enter the search and use the broken page navigator to get back to where you were.. which can take a long time for people with a lot of product.  The search is simply a filter but a filter without field sorting ablility is useless.

 

I could make a lot of furniture and candles in the time that it takes me to manage my listings with this Fantastic Tool...:)

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Spare me "the thing is broken" lecture.  Learned one hell of a lot from that concept this year.  You work with what you have.

If you don't like suggestion on how to organize your product better, simply skip it.

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