Tag Archives: Marketplace

Why moving a shop to Marketplace ‘hurts’ the SL economy.


 

Pussycat Catnap has a post that expresses some of my misgivings over Marketplace very well.

Why moving a shop to Marketplace ‘hurts’ the SL economy..

I try my best to shop in-world whenever possible. Often I will do without rather than buy sight unseen on Marketplace.

The only use I really have for Marketplace is as a product index, not a perfect one by any means, but way better than in world search.

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Something-for-nothing or The Sky Is Falling (again)


There has been a rather steep decline in the number of private sims. This was reported by Tyche Shepard of the Grid Survey and has been picked up by several bloggers. This is to be expected given the state of the RL economy. More distressing is that concurrency is also down, this is not expected! There is nothing quite like unemployment to give you time in world (I know, I have been there).

Looking at comments in other blogs there seems to be 2 main areas of concern:

1- Tier – Many people have suggested lowering tier so land was more affordable. Tateru and Inara explain why that is just a bad idea better than I can. It is paramount to demanding less taxes and more services in RL. Ain’t happenin’.

Now, my own self-serving idea is that we should have a larger land allowance with our premium account. Maybe that would actually entice more people to go premium (could not work worse than occasional gifts and access to LL’s wilderness build). Of course the land barons would bitch, but I have never been especially sympathetic to their plight.

2- Marketplace – Now here is a good idea truly badly implemented! There has been a huge loss in land usage as more and more stores close in favor of selling via Marketplace only. You need only follow the links in marketplace to “see item in world” to find that many of them lead to empty plots or non-existent sims.

As I commented on New World Notes:

Why I like stores in SL:
1- Shopping is part of the shared user experience, or in other words, community. I will frequently say hi to other shoppers — used to be they would say hi back.
2- Shops, especially on the mainland, are in neighborhoods or malls. I can not tell you the number of times I have gone to a shop for something only to find something completely different that I did not even know I wanted in a neighboring shop 🙂
3- Shopping in stores exposes you to the goods displayed in an environment that gives you a feel for the pride in craftsmanship and ability of the creator.

In short it is the difference between traveling to Freeport, ME to shop at the LL Bean store and spending the day in the town vs. thumbing through the catalog.

My solution for marketplace is to change the pricing structure. Have a listing fee, something like L$100, and charge a Delivery Fee to the customer. Back that up with an in world vendor system that would sell from marketplace without the delivery fee and, if it was priced carefully, many creators would find in world stores worth while again.

It is certain that some kind of action is called for before a temporary setback evolves into a trend.

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Some thoughts on Marketplace


I have never trusted Marketplace, it is just too easy for the Lindens to mess it up. When they inevitably do, it is real money merchants and customers are loosing.

I use Marketplace primarily as a product catalog, for that it is very good! There is an increasing trend toward merchants relying exclusively on Marketplace without an in-world store; in those instances I have to want something badly, or it must be very cheap for me to buy it.

What I wish they would do within marketplace is have the ability to send me a Landmark for an in world store. A Slurl is useless if I am not logged in. Forwarding landmarks would allow me to shop from another machine, at another time. I could even shop from a smart phone and have Landmarks waiting for me when I got home.

Some day they will force us to give up our magic boxes, I will delay for as long as possible. I am even less inclined to use Marketplace for shopping at the moment.

Human nature has a tendency to admire complexity but reward simplicity.”
Ben Huh, CEO, Cheezburger Network


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Nothing much happening (a good thing, right?)


Things have been going along smoothly in Second Life of late, or it seems so to me. There has been activity from Linden Lab, just not much unexpected or inexplicable. Let me illustrate:

  • The new Destination Islands: obviously a work in progress. Even LL is not foolish enough to think dumping newbies in world randomly is good for retention. Time will tell.
  • Premium Wilderness: – – – yawn – – – The Moles do good work but by it’s very nature the DPW implements what “the boss” says. A fine example of what happens without the personal, emotional investment of resident builds. We can hope that some Lindens got their hands dirty and learned some building skills in the process here.
  • Pathfinding and the other tools LL developed for Linden Realms (created to demo and test those tools): These are working their way through the shakeout process toward full implementation, it will probably be next year before they really impact SL.
  • Mesh: I am seeing more and more mesh builds for sale but this will not reach it’s full potential until the parametric deformer is fully adapted and we can have mesh clothing that fits properly.
  • Direct Delivery: Rolled out to the grid in a stripped down basic form. Even so it is buggy! If anyone is surprised by that you need to check your meds.
  • New Phoenix/Firestorm update: The highlight of my month; very efficient, TONs of features, lots of ways to customize your user interface. Be prepared to spend some time setting it up to your liking, this is not plug-and-play!

So you see, for me this has been an interlude of sitting back and watching the passing parade, trying not to be drawn into the drama and overreaction of the moment.

– – – all’s well with the world.”
Aldous Huxley

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Divining the Tea Leaves from Linden Lab


2011 has not been an especially good year with respect to communication from the Lab. A rumor here, a casual comment there, occasionally a missive from above combine to give us a glimpse into what we can expect at least in the beginning of the new year.

  • No more magic boxes. This project is already well along, nearing general release. As I understand it there will be a special inventory folder that will, in effect, be the magic box. I do not know how I feel about selling directly from my inventory, I will be somewhat surprised if there are not security glitches and exploits in the first months. We will have to wait and see.
  • Mesh will see increasing adoption throughout Second Life as content creators explore it’s possibilities. This will get a huge boost once Qarl is finished with the Parametric Deformer* and LL officially adopts it. I can hardly wait for my first mesh jacket that actually fits!
  • Gaming tools and code will be made available sometime early in 2012. I am not big on SL games, but it will be interesting to see what Mad Peas comes up with 🙂
  • Pathfinding —— I am not sure what this will accomplish other than better zombies and greeter bots, but it will be interesting to see.
  • Last Names will be back for newbies. This is in the talking stages at Linden Lab, but given the clamor over “Resident” I expect some possibility to change to a name from a list. It would be interesting and a lot of fun if LL created a way for residents to suggest last names for them to choose from. We could even participate in the vetting process, weeding out names that might cause problems or misunderstandings.

My Wish List in addition to those things above:

  1. Continue progress toward making everything work a little better. Lag, Region crossings, Sim performance all have improved, but there is more work to do!
  2. Something must be done about Mainland occupancy rates. In my opinion the surest way to do this is by increasing the land allowance for premium residents. Yes, Linden Homes and the Land Barons would take a hit, but it would be correcting an unintended benefit they enjoy at the expense of the mainland.

My Predictions.

  1. Linden Lab will make a complete cock-up of one of the items above.
  2. One development from above will be an overwhelming success and Linden Lab will not get the praise they deserve for it.
  3. There will be those who will predict the end of Second Life as we know it in response to every project and feature LL puts out!

*Last minute update: Qarl has posted a preliminary test version of the parametric deformer!!

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The Society of the Gods


    I talk a lot about Second Life society, but there is also a social structure at Linden Lab. From the viewpoint of a resident the Lindens can be broadly divided into the Omnipotent Gods and the Omniscient Gods. The current flap over a Marketplace “upgrade” as explained by Darrius Gothly http://www.dgp4sl.com/wp/2011/09/14/sl-marketplace-update-goes-sideways/ is a good example of the Omnipotent Linden Gods.

    The Omnipotent Lindens typically see them selves as programers working for Linden Lab. Residents are an annoyance and a distant second to their programing responsibilities. Resident input, no matter how expert, is looked down on. They may participate in meetings with residents and say all the right things but only because it is part of their job description, whatever is suggested is put out of mind as soon as the meeting is over. They implement things that are buggy, incomplete, and poorly thought out because it fulfills some deadline or goal in their workplace. Repairs will be made next week, or maybe next month —- whenever —- look at it a job security.

    The Omniscient Lindens see themselves as part of the Second Life dream. They see the residents as a valuable part of the process of Second Life development. Mesh development is a pretty good example of this. The mesh team has worked closely with a large team of residents to develop and test mesh. The mesh roll-out is far from perfect, but they are actively working with residents to fix and improve it.

    There is a fundamental difference between my two examples. Mesh is basicly a new toy; errors and mistakes can be tolerated as the project moves forward. Marketplace however is about real money; is must be done right or not at all!

    Don’t get me wrong, sometimes omnipotence is necessary. The adult rules are a good example. As much as most residents hated the change, it was necessary due to outside forces, both legal and political. The Linden norm, however, should be omniscience and those Lindens who can not truly get on board with that should not be allowed to rise in the company to positions of responsibility.

   Update: Darrius reports that the marketplace problems have been mostly fixed, and quite expediently, which simply underscores that if they had listened to resident input in the first place it could have been done right the first time.

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A bedtime story – part 2


here were we dear reader?

Ah, yes, the time after private islands and direct teleport.

While things seemed quiet enough in the world, there were a few very enterprising Wizards deep in the far reaches of the quite wood who had invented a “magic box”. With this box the shopkeepers of the world could sell their wares directly to customers without the bother of them having to come to their shops. The wizards gave the magic boxes away freely, but levied a very modest tax for the service they provided. This seemed like wonderful new invention and everyone was very happy. More and more shopkeepers got magic boxes and the wizards were well on their way to becoming very rich.

Then the gods took notice and they were envious. They coveted the magic boxes for themselves so, being gods they met with the wizards and made them an offer they could not refuse. The gods defended their actions saying they could do a better and safer job of managing the magic boxes from their towers and castles; and they did in fact do a very proficient job of managing the magic boxes. So good in fact that many shop owners closed their shops and just sold their wares through the magic boxes, or they closed their branch stores since no one was traveling the mainland roads any more. People either shopped by teleporting directly to their main store or through the magic boxes. More and more of the mainland became vacant. The roads were untraveled. People did not meet even their neighbors, they stayed on their tropical islands and skyboxes, only to teleport to those places they and their friends knew of already.

Then the gods did something completely unexpected. They looked at the mainland and saw the vast swaths of vacant land and said to themselves “there are new people coming into the world all the time and they will need a place to live”. So they created 2 new continents with cookie cutter houses for the new people and anyone else too lazy or unmotivated to buy land on the mainland and set up their own home. More of the mainland became vacant.

I wish I could say my story has a happy ending, but the end has not yet been written. Will the gods find a way to encourage people to refill the mainland? Will people get out of their homes and spend time meeting their neighbors and reforming a community? Will shopkeepers find a way to encourage people to come to their shops and see their full range of wares instead of just ordering what they see from the magic boxes? We will just have to see.

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As you might have guessed I have some suggestions.

1- As a part of the current “increased premium benefits” program, increase the land allotment. This will make mainland ownership a natural progression from an initial Linden Village residence. This will not increase LL’s tier income from mainland, but occupied land is better than vacant and I suspect people will increase their tier commitment as they develop their own homesteads.

2- Create a team of mainland Assistants empowered to terriform Linden land and move/plant/remove Linden plantings, especially along the roadsides. The present system of “put in a ticket” and “you just have to live with what we have made” hardly qualifies as support and is surely not assistance. These same assistants could conduct classes on the basics of land management for the new and inexperienced.

3- Since many people shop marketplace from work or the coffeeshop, where they are unable to log in world, provide a prominent button on a product’s marketplace page that will put a Landmark directly into a resident’s inventory. There really is no need to cue it with an acceptance popup if you are logged into marketplace. Marketplace is the best product index yet, way better than search, but it needs to be linked in a much better way to an in world store.

4- We, the residents need to get out more, meet your neighbors, take a bicycle ride on the mainland, ride a train, look around and meet people.

5- Take the time to find your way from Marketplace to an in world store. If someone is making one product you find interesting, chances are they have others.

What ideas do you have to recover a sense of Second Life Community?

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