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Marketplace listing fees


Marishka Ixito
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>So that leads me to ask .. and perhaps answer .. why is it that so much money goes into a dark hole (inactive accounts) and never comes out again? Linden Lab surely cannot touch that money themselves. By all rights it belongs to someone else. So if they're not touching it, where is it? Sitting in an escrow account somewhere collecting interest?

That's not really how it works as I understand it. If I understand correctly, all the Linden dollars are intellectual property belonging to LL, and licensed to users. Money paid into SL belongs to LL. The contract that allows us to use the "money" provided in exchange for pay-in also provides the conditional possibility of pay-out at some point. But that doesn't mean that the money paid out is literally money that we or someone else paid in; it is not a debt, but more of a projected operating expense or statistical liability for LL.

That is: when LL gets a commission on something, it is not a new revenue, but merely a reduction in liability.

Or I'm wrong?

OK... somebody clarify, please.

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Inactive merchants should be removed from the website. Its simple.. if you do not pay monthly tier or if you do not log in to the simulator for 30 days your SLM store gets suspended.  I bet its almost as easy to implement as putting a link to the main SL site on the Marketplace somewhere..

 

New subsite called Bargain Basement .... any item under 10L should go there. This way people who do not want to invest money in the game have a clear place to find alternate product. I know before I put down some hard cash for this game I bought a bunch of free and really cheap items until I was sure that I will stick around a while... I believe SLX had a section for free items. It was a great tool...

 

 

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Josh Susanto wrote:

That is:
when LL gets a commission on something, it is not a new revenue, but merely a reduction in liability.

Or I'm wrong?

OK... somebody clarify, please.

Marketplace commission is a sink, it gets destroyed. Listing fees would have been the same.

Sinks are needed, otherwise you have too much money around which would cause major economic problems.

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VonGklugelstein Alter wrote:

All free items should have a high listing fee because they have no justification on a money driven marketplace. 

So in other words you're anti-capitalist, since you want a protectionist trade scheme. ;)

SOCIALIST!

:D

Ok, silliness aside...

One of the things about a 'competition model' market is having to compete even with the person who charges nothing. It gives you incentive to better than them.

 

And the larger SL is not a market-experiment. Its a community-experiment. The market only exists to supply goods that further enable the community. The market could go away right now - the ability to sell anything in SL could just get zapped. And SL would not be dead. But if you zap the community of users - there is no place or person to market to.

This notion that some merchants have that everything has to be tailored to some for-profit model is not some inherent 'right' - its a by-product of a system that lets everyone make the choice of how they will be a part of the community.

 

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

But this also leads my thoughts to a slightly divergent topic .. the money paid to "absent merchants". Let's do a little math.

There are roughly 50,000 merchants listed on Marketplace today. If we assume 20% of those have dropped out of sight and are no longer active, that's 10,000 merchants.

A very simple solution to this would be to delist any item that cannot be found inworld to be delivered. Perform the check anytime someone views the individual listing for the item. Ie: Pre-queue the item for delivery, if unable to find it in one of the merchant's magic boxes, delist it and shift the user off of that webpage.

If a merchant's magic box can't be located for more than an hour - make their entire product line innactive. But do it in an automated 'hide' so that if a magic box appears, part of rezzing that box would be to 'unhide' all those items inside of it.

- Simple database tricks could both of these with not too much hassle on the servers.

 

As for people who rez a magic box somewhere with no auto-return and then leave SL... why care? If the box is still there people are still getting goods delivered.

 

 

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Pussycat Catnap wrote:


Darrius Gothly wrote:

But this also leads my thoughts to a slightly divergent topic .. the money paid to "absent merchants". Let's do a little math.

There are roughly 50,000 merchants listed on Marketplace today. If we assume 20% of those have dropped out of sight and are no longer active, that's 10,000 merchants.

A very simple solution to this would be to delist any item that cannot be found inworld to be delivered. Perform the check anytime someone views the individual listing for the item. Ie: Pre-queue the item for delivery, if unable to find it in one of the merchant's magic boxes, delist it and shift the user off of that webpage.

If a merchant's magic box can't be located for more than an hour - make their entire product line innactive. But do it in an automated 'hide' so that if a magic box appears, part of rezzing that box would be to 'unhide' all those items inside of it.

- Simple database tricks could both of these with not too much hassle on the servers.

As for people who rez a magic box somewhere with no auto-return and then leave SL... why care? If the box is still there people are still getting goods delivered. 

It's not uncommon for Magic Boxes (and whole Sims) to "disappear" for several hours. On XStreet, there was a time limit that a Magic Box could be gone before the items contained in it were "disabled". I'm not entirely sure how the Marketplace works it, but I do believe there is some sort of safety check to disable items in missing Magic Boxes ... I'm just not sure it works properly. (If anyone has taken the time to test it, please chime in here.) My recollection is that the XStreet timeout was 8 hours, but that's a real fuzzy memory too so I might be wrong there.

Merchants that vanish from SL are very much a problem .. not for them of course, but for the rest of us. My sense is that a high number of products on Marketplace are posted by absentee Merchants. When a customer purchases one of them, cannot get support, does not get a full delivery, has some sort of issue that requires contact with the seller .. anything that might lead them to seek help and they cannot get it, that customer's ire is immediately turned into a negative feeling about Marketplace and about every other Merchant there.

We have to remember that human nature is to blame everyone within sight when something goes wrong. Even though we know it's not our fault that a Merchant is no longer replying to or supporting their customers, we have to be mindful of the fact that we still get a portion of the blame for it. The Marketplace does too. That's a negative that is not hard to remove, so it baffles me that it still exists.

The other issue is with non-selling items. Lots of things on the Marketplace are posted by people testing it out to see if they can make a go at making money. A lot of folks get discouraged after the first month (or week) of non-sales, so they just abandon their listings and ignore any messages they may get. At present there is nothing in Marketplace that reminds someone "Hey, your item #xxxxx named whizzythingamajig hasn't sold in the past six months. If you don't deactivate it, we will."

It would be a simple matter for the Marketplace to just delist an item that hasn't sold in some period of time. The Merchant could then relist it if desired. Even three months should be sufficient, but the absolute requirement is .. the Merchant MUST be notified by email of the delisting. (That seems to be an issue for Marketplace, so I honestly do not expect anything this useful to get implemented this year .. or next.)

The REAL core issue here is .. the oft-maligned "Clutter" is a problem that can be largely elminated by simple housekeeping duties in the Marketplace database. When people start loading up their guns and aiming them at their fellow Merchants, that's when I have to step in front of the crosshairs and remind everyone .. "Wrong Target!"

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VonGklugelstein Alter wrote:

New subsite called Bargain Basement .... any item under 10L should go there. This way people who do not want to invest money in the game have a clear place to find alternate product.
I know before I put down some hard cash for this game I bought a bunch of free and really cheap items until I was sure that I will stick around a while... I believe SLX had a section for free items. It was a great tool...

 

Most of my items are <10L, not because they are shoddy, but because I think that inexpensive and high quality are not exclusive. It's mostly 1-prim decorative items, and I sell enough to pay my Premium membershop and rent a nice parcel for a low-key shop.

Buying inexpensive items does not mean people should be relegated to your "Bargain Basement" and it doesn't mean they are not investing money. It means they are being thrifty.

It would be easy to clear out the dead wood with a simple database procedure that flips the "listed/delisted" flag on any number of parameters. But, our Linden overlords haven't done it yet.

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Again, I think that a better idea than a Bargain Basement administered by LL, would be an Elitist Brokerage administered by someone else.

LL is not conceptually elitist, and doesn't need its own market system to be administered in a conceptually elitist way.

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>Sinks are needed, otherwise you have too much money around which would cause major economic problems.

Understood; money continuing to accumulate would cause it to become devalued.

The more serious danger, though, is that whatever money continues to exist in SL can potentially be demanded to be paid out. If there is an RL stock market crash, for example, people may try to pull funds from SL all at once. Destroying money in various ways limits how much LL may have to pay out.

Nonetheless, it is my understanding that even money which has not been destroyed is not actually money at all, but licensed intellectual property initially provided to someone in exchange for payment of RL money. 

That is (as I understand it) if LL failed to pay out demanded money, they might be in breach of contract, but they would not be guilty of theft because the money that has been paid in to SL is no longer money at all, as soon as it is paid in.

Assuming this is correct, it could be pretty important, or at least important to understand in case it becomes important.

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Nefertiti Nefarious wrote:

Buying inexpensive items does not mean people should be relegated to your "Bargain Basement" [...]

Why not? You said that most of your stuff is high quality and sells at less than 10L. They sound a lot like "bargains" to me.

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Nefertiti Nefarious wrote:


VonGklugelstein Alter wrote:

New subsite called Bargain Basement .... any item under 10L should go there. This way people who do not want to invest money in the game have a clear place to find alternate product.
I know before I put down some hard cash for this game I bought a bunch of free and really cheap items until I was sure that I will stick around a while... I believe SLX had a section for free items. It was a great tool...

 

Most of my items are <10L, not because they are shoddy, but because I think that inexpensive and high quality are not exclusive. It's mostly 1-prim decorative items, and I sell enough to pay my Premium membershop and rent a nice parcel for a low-key shop.

Buying inexpensive items does not mean people should be relegated to your "Bargain Basement" and it doesn't mean they are not investing money. It means they are being thrifty.

It would be easy to clear out the dead wood with a simple database procedure that flips the "listed/delisted" flag on any number of parameters. But, our Linden overlords haven't done it yet.

A bargain basement may well be to your advantage, indeed I'd wager (were it allowed) that after a while people who sold more expensive products would be complaining their products don't get seen because people shop in the bargain basement.

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(Just a random observation...)

I suspect the hesitancy to a "Bargain Basement" label is the name itself. It connotes "leftover and generally unwanted items we had to price below normal to get rid of".

Perhaps if the name were changed to something along the lines of "New Resident Essentials", or "Gottahaveits" or something similar that indicates basic or regular items but at price points well below the "traditional" market.

I do understand the desire to segregate those items that sell much lower than others in the same genre, but I also understand the rationale behind marking your products at such low prices. Considering how many Freebies of mine get delivered in a day, there are days I could almost outstrip my sales if I collected only L$1 per Freebie.

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I strongly support the idea of listing fees as a way of FREEING the marketplace from the SUPERABUNDANCE of dross and junk.

The marketplace is clearly overwhelmed and drowning, choking in dross. 1L$ / 10L$ and 0L$ free rubbish does nothing to aid the economy, nothing to enhance the Secondlife experience.

All this cheap rubbishy content does is obscure the good stuff, take up people's valuable time when trying to shop and worst of all  it degrades Secondlife and makes Secondlife look Second Rate.

Secondlife needs to look more attractive to be able to attract and retain new and existing users  

The zero cost to market and the SUPERABUNDANCE of dross is a great danger to any user generated content world 

Linden Lab need to find ways to manage the SUPERABUNDANCE of dross, stale and clutter products that are currently choking the SL Marketplace

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Suella Ember wrote:

I have to confess to having missed the use of SUPERABUNDANCE as a word, and it's mildly amusing to see it back!

That is all I have to say on the matter! :smileyindifferent:

*chuckles ...

SUPERABUNDANCE ... of CHEESE!!

*ducks and runs away cackling ...

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Actually, Ralph has some good points. I tried to find the 'warped' but don't see it. I can see how a 'superabundance' of crap in the marketplace could turn new users off and mar the true capacity of SL. I think we all want an SL that is displayed at its best. The only way that this will happn is through competition and survival of the fittest. There has to be a way for the low quality items to die a natural death, and disappear.

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Rya Nitely wrote:

Actually, Ralph has some good points. I tried to find the 'warped' but don't see it. I can see how a 'superabundance' of crap in the marketplace could turn new users off and mar the true capacity of SL. I think we all want an SL that is displayed at its best. The only way that this will happn is through competition and survival of the fittest. There has to be a way for the low quality items to die a natural death, and disappear.

The "warped" portions of Ralph's logic have to do with the continued equation of "cheap" to "junk". As has been pointed out more times than I can count (and I can count big numbers too), they are nowhere close to the same thing. In fact, the term "cheap" is itself slightly derogatory and not very accurate for many things.

The poorly disguised motivation for Ralph's tirades is the desire to see his own high-priced goods competing only with other high-priced items. But that ratiionale completely ignores one of the prime factors when engaging in any marketing enterprise .. Human Nature.

There is always a large segment of the shopping population that makes their determination based solely on price. For some, the price is the entire determinant .. as they don't even care what it is, as long as it's free (or very inexpensive). There is also a segment of the population that shops based on quality alone .. only looking at or caring about the price after they've settled on the item they prefer.

But smack in the middle is the biggest segment of the population. They use a mix of price, quality, appearance, need, etc. to make their purchase decision. For them, Freebie items may initially be enticing, but after a short while they realize that Free also often comes with limitations, missing features or an overall simplicity that just doesn't suit their desires. They may opt for the low-cost or free items at first, but they learn how to properly judge value in all the other aspects.

Every price point, every pricing scheme, every level of quality and capability has a place in Marketplace. In the USA, the chain called "The Dollar Store" (which sells most every item for one dollar) has a viable niche in the market the same as do the upper echelon department stores ... and yet they sell items with exactly the same function and purpose.

My point being, Price and Quality are not correlated quantifiers. Attempting to cast them as such is disingenuous and blatantly wrong. Acting uppity about it is even worse ... as Ralph clearly knows because he has never once posted his inflammatory opinions using his Merchant name .. only this bogus Alt.

Second Life, and by extension the Marketplace, has room enough for everyone, of all types, species, likes, dislikes and price/purchase habits. Attempting to blame one specific segment, trying to frame one group as "the reason it's all messed up" is just another form of discrimination and elitism that has no place at all in our world.

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Ralph!

While I heartily disapprove of your use of upper-case type (do we need a lesson on the traditional publishing use of Mr Italics for emphasis?) I must concur with your overall sentiments.

Even if being cheap doesn't automatically make something crap... yeah there is a lot of crap here and it's embarrassing. A "relevance" algorithm that drags it up from the depths of obscurity doesn't help either...

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Darrius, I fully agree that cheap isn't junk. I've bought some great freebies/dollarbies - some examples are a cave I bought from Josh Susanto (who is also posting in this thread) that I have out on display on my sims; I recently bought free, high quality plant sculptie maps, which saved me lots of time; and then there are the free megaprims etc. These items are not junk and they should never disappear.

I said low quality items should die a natural death. Many of these items don't sell at all, and when they do they could only be met with disappointment from the unlucky, inexperienced purchaser.  If you can imagine a very poorly made prim shirt that nobody would want to wear, except as a joke perhaps. And these items are not always cheap.

In RL, even those Dollar Stores you refer to (and we have them in Australia too) sell good value items, and if these items were not good value those shops would disappear.

Are you saying everything has a place in the market, no matter how badly made? I think these items drag the market down. Zanara puts it very well when she says ' A "relevance" algorithm that drags it up from the depths of obscurity doesn't help either...'

 

 

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Rya Nitely wrote:

Darrius, I fully agree that cheap isn't junk. I've bought some great freebies/dollarbies...

Me too, so we agree on this point ... as do I think most folks.


Rya Nitely wrote:

Are you saying everything has a place in the market, no matter how badly made?

Yes, I am. And now it's my turn for an example. (Not singling anyone out though, it just so happens this particular example is fresh in my history.)

There is a fellow poster/merchant here that makes some darn good chandeliers. They are top of the line, bar none. But they also come with a price that is commensurate with their quality. When you are decorating your house and the quality of the fixtures is of import to you, the price is way down the list of concerns. But, for those just starting out and with precious few L$'s in their pockets, simply having something that approximates a chandelier is sufficient. Thus the L$5 cheapie flat versions are quite sufficient.

The problem is that "badly made" isn't an objective qualifier in all cases. It could simply be that it is made to suit a particular need and price point ... one that you and I (and most other sophisticated resi's) would scoff at as below our status and means.

My first skin on SL was ... well to be nice about it .. junk. It was free and worth every penny. But i wore it proudly because it not only looked a good bit like the RL me (yes, I'm junky in RL too LOL) but it was also given to me by the lady that brought me here, so it had sentimental value as well.

I know what my qualifiers are for the things I purchase. I also know my level of quality in the things I build and sell. But not everyone has the same standards as me, and not everyone has the same means and pockets as me.

Yet, I do concur on the one central point ... there is a fair number of items that just frankly are dead weight. For whatever reasons, they do not sell, do not appeal, have issues ... whatever it might be, my sense is that there is a goodly number of items that could go missing and no one would even notice. (Zanara's comment made me think of seeing the power boats in the Gulf of Mexico, churing up the oil muck that had sunk to the bottom of the waterways .. and a lot of the stuff the Marketplace Search seems to pull to the top has the same value IMO.)

But again, that's my opinion, and I am loath to impose my personal qualifiers on everyone else .. especially when I see now and have seen in the past friends that are SO very proud of their acquisitions ... and I'm doing everything I can to find something complimentary about it. ("Wow .. what a decorative and imaginative box it came in too. I wonder if they hand-painted those plywood stripes on it?")

I'm with you Rya in that I want to somehow winnow out the really useless and "dead weight" items on Marketplace. I'm just at a total loss how to do that based on "quality" or price without making major mistakes.

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Perhaps it should be up to each and every merchant to decide the value of their own listings.

From the enthusiastic novice, who lists his first few items and then watches and waits for those sales to roll in, and it never happens so he forgets about it and moves on. To the accomplished merchant  who has 100s of listings, and by their own admission, they would like to hide many of these on the last pages of their store, or they've never ever done that overdue inventory cleanup. And then we have the inactive merchants.

Perhaps it should be up to merchants to decide which of their listings are still valuable to them. Now if this isn't done through imposing a listing fee, which I don't like because of the value of freebies, how else could we get them to do this, let me think?

 

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