Direct Delivery: 21st March launch

In keeping with the time scale indicated by Oz Linden (as pointed to in these pages by Latif Khalifa), Direct Delivery will be launching on March 21st.

The news came via a post from CommerceTeam Linden in the Merchant’s Forum, which states:

Beginning on March 21, purchases on the Marketplace using Direct Delivery will go directly to recipient’s Received Items folder. The Received Items folder will NOT be used for other inventory transfers at this time. Magic Box purchases will continue to go to the Objects folder.

The Delivery folder will appear on the order and in all email notifications to the recipient.

At launch, we will be sharing additional details as well as updated Knowledge Base articles in all four languages supported on the Marketplace. We will also provide more details on migration.

Direct Delivery is the mechanism that will replace Magic Boxes for merchants using the SL Marketplace and which should bring improvements to the overall delivery of items purchased on the Marketplace. It has been in development now for around a year, and reached public beta in January this year, which presented the first real opportunity to report on the system in detail to a wider audience.

No Wider Use of Received Items – Yet

A core part of Direct Delivery is the Received Items panel. This was originally going to be a sub-section of the inventory floater and would be used to received items purchased on the Marketplace into your inventory. However, Linden Lab recently sought to extend the functionality of Received Items so that all new incoming items to your inventory would arrive in Received Items, essentially breaking-out the idea into a project of its own, which was not particularly well received by the community.

As a result of feedback on Received Items, and because of wider impacts of the system on SL functionality, LL have started revising aspects of the broader Received Items functionality. Because of this, and to repeat LL’s own statement, Received Items will only be used for SL Marketplace Deliveries at the March 21st launch. All other items incoming to your inventory will continue to be handled as they are now

Merchants have requested as to when the wider functionality might be rolled out, but LL has, at this time, declined to comment beyond re-confirming that the project is “on hold”.

While it would be nice to have a clearer roadmap as to Received Items itself, the fact that LL have listened to concerns from all parties – merchants, RLV users, those providing feedback to the initial survey and the follow-up is to be applauded, and one hopes that the dialogue will continue in the run-up to the Direct Delivery launch and thereafter through to the roll-out of the wider Received Items functionality (assuming this goes ahead), in order to ensure all potential adverse impacts are either avoided or at least reduced to manageable levels.

Problems

Direct Delivery itself, as a long-term project, both serves as demonstrating the complexities involved in making alterations to the overall SL infrastructure, and the need for open and on-going dialogue between the Lab and the merchant community / community as a whole; something that many feel has been distinctly lacking at times, with the project almost rolled-out inspect of known issues.

Even now problems potential remain, with questions still being asked about ANS functionality once Direct Delivery goes live, a subject Darrius Gothly gave considerable insight to last November. Potentially more damaging is the fact that little further communication on Direct Delivery appears to be on the cards prior to the launch, again as noted in the forum post:

At launch, we will be sharing additional details as well as updated Knowledge Base articles in all four languages supported on the Marketplace. We will also provide more details on migration

Direct Delivery is a major change in functionality, especially for merchants. While many have been involved in the development of the project and the initial “private beta” (even with its daft requirement to complete an NDA before merchants could find out what they were signing-up for) prior to the public beta, many equally have not – and precisely what has changed as a result of the public beta – if anything – many be equally unclear.

As such, there needs to be a positive communications campaign ahead of the launch in order to ensure merchants have all the information at their fingertips prior to the launch, and have time to ensure they are fully prepared for Direct Delivery going live. Similarly, a more pro-active approach to announcing the roll-out needs to be taken towards the user community as a whole – preferably through a full blog posting ahead of March 21st announcing the arrival of Direct Delivery and informing / reassuring users as to what to expect, with a follow-up on the day of the launch.

If nothing else, a more pro-active approach to the launch will help restore some of the trust between merchants and the Commerce Team / Linden Lab, which has been somewhat eroded during the development of Direct Delivery and through earlier projects, such as the morphing of XStreet into SL Marketplace (itself frequently a morass of conflicting communications) and other breakages.

I’m not alone in being concerned over the “wait until the day” approach when it comes to further information, as implied by the forum post: Tateru points to this with a comment on her blog about allowing 14 days for information absorption, and Darrius Gothly also posts on the subject as well.

It’s good that LL have been listening to concerns over Received Items and that they are responding to such fully and carefully by placing the broader aspects of the project on hold. I very much hope that they do listen to concerns being voiced around the matter of Dirrect Delivery announcements and documentation and continue to respond positively to these concerns by addressing them ahead of time, as suggested here and elsewhere.

11 thoughts on “Direct Delivery: 21st March launch

  1. When the DD comes in use on the 21st, will there be a Received Items folder in all viewers ore must all the tpv’s build that in there own viewer.

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    1. Originally, LL indicated that Received Items would appear as a panel within your inventory floater. This was very much the case for both the Direct Delivery open beta, and for the more recent Received Items beta.

      As such, this code has been a part of several LL Development / Beta Viewers, and available for incorporation into TPVs (and at least one TPV has incorporated the code), so hoepfully, if plans remain the same, it shouldn’t be difficult for TPVs to get the code out for the launch of Direct Delivery.

      However, as a result of general concern over the wider functionality proposed for Received Items, LL recently indicated that Received Items might be implemented as a floater in its own right, quite separate from inventory.

      Whether this will be the case or not – and if it is, whether it will be done in time for the launch of Direct Delivery or not – is unclear at this time. One assumes that if the change is to be made ahead of the Direct Delivery launch, LL will endevaour to get the revised code out in time for TPVs to integrate any revised code into their offerings. Given there is only a week before the launch of Direct Delivery, one assumes LL will try to keep further changes to what is already available to a minimum.

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  2. They should either completely separate that Received Items nonsense, or get rid of it completely @_x that single-folder nonsense without ANY sort of organization is stupid.

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    1. It does make one wonder as to why the idea of the wider user of Received Items ever got on the radar in the first place, given it offers few quantifiable benefits.

      In the beta, it was working OK with items being received from SLM only.

      Then we’re told that the reason it has to be expanded is that it doesn’t work if only focused on SLM deliveries.

      Now it is to be initially launched for Direct Delivery / SLM deliveries only.

      So, if it can in fact be launched “just” for DD, one idea has to ask why is the company pursuing the rest of the expansion of Received Items? Surely the original goal has been met?

      Of course, solving the issue of off-line deliveries has now been effectively tacked-on to the Received Items expansion as a part of the revised proposal for the capability – and some people have indicated a willingness to accept RI if this is the case. But surely this could be investigated as an issue in its own right, rather than upsetting everything else in terms of how items are received into inventory?

      So yes, one does continue to wonder…

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      1. Well they usually take a bad idea and run with it as far as they can (See Dazzle, V2, “new” secondlife.com, etc.). Sometimes it turns out to be potentially positive (V2 eventually made flexibility like the Firestorm V3-made-V1 FUI thing), but more often than not, it’s just something we’re forced to choke down.

        The fact that they seemingly considered what people said is mindblowing. I remember Dazzle being so eye-bleedingly bad, and we were stuck with it for 6ish months? With no other option, it was the only viewer. They kept saying “We’re listening to you”, “we’re taking your comments into consideration”, and then FINALLY they came out with a second “Old” skin (the one most people want, even today, years later).

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        1. Which, taken another way stands as a practical demonstration the LL are mending their ways and actually doing as promised: listening and responding.

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        2. Well…The majority of players voted against V2 for over a year since the beta (or however long it took to get V3 out), and there are still legitimate complaints on the table, many players choosing to go for V1 viewers.

          So…It’s two steps back and one step forward when they’ve taken leaps and bounds backwards for years :/

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