So, Direct Delivery launched yesterday. I’ve been playing with it since then, and here’s some feedback and updates on what is being reported via the Merchant’s forum.
Moving Goods to Folders
This was the most time-consuming task, mainly as I used it to re-order my business folders so that they can now be directly dragged-and dropped with each update. Inventory did get somewhat inflated, as I opted to move the originals of folders uploaded to SLM to my inventory and keep them as “master” copies into which I could drop updates, etc., ready for future uploads.
Uploading via the Merchant’s Outbox
Worked a treat using the SL Viewer, Firestorm and Niran’s Viewer.
Folders dropped into the Merchant Outbox folder would be duly processed and sent without incident, the only slight delay being the time required for the Outbox to initialise itself.
Once uploaded, those items set with the same original name as items in my listings auto-updated as anticipated, and those requiring a manual update (I took the opportunity to do some updating!) required around 4-5 seconds apiece to re-associate (although such was the demand on the Marketplace yesterday, this did at times take longer, prompting me to leave cutting-over much of my stock until this morning, UK time).
I will confess to keeping the old Magic Box items on file at the SLM end, under unassociated items, just in case! (I’m lucky, my total stock is just under 50 items.) I also started cautiously, a folder at a time, but confidence quickly grew that the system wasn’t about to do anything nasty and bumped over around 6 folders at a time.
Concerns with Direct Delivery
A number of concerns / issues have been raised via the Merchant’s forum.
Changes Mean Manual Association
An irritant with the new system is that if changes are made to the contents of a folder – such as the addition of new items, changes to a notecard, etc., – the folder, when uploaded to SLM is not automatically associated with an existing listing even if it retains the same name as an existing folder.
This means every time a change is made to the contents of a folder already listed on SLM, the merchant must manually associate the folder with the required listing and delete the older version of the folder when it appears in Unassociated Items – something that could add considerable time to the process when making multiple updates.
Deleting Unassociated Items
Some people have been reporting problems when deleting unassociated items. This can actually be time-consuming if done on an individual basis – and some merchants may find they need to remove some as they go, as there appears to be a limit of 100 unassociated items per merchant, it could get a little tedious. Sera Lok therefore suggests a solution in the forum.
The ANS Issue
At the time of launch, the Automated Notification System has not been enabled for Direct Delivery, and Linden Lab have only committed to turning this feature on in the “next couple of weeks”. Given the number of merchants who depend on ANS for records-keeping, and the fact the LL were repeatedly asked not to roll-out Direct Delivery whouth ANS being enabled for it, this is causing understandable reluctance with some in converting to Direct Delivery.
Destination Folder not Reported
As part of the launch documentation for Direct Delivery, it was stated that: “The Delivery folder will appear on the order and in all email notifications to the recipient.”
However, the functionality does not appear to have been rolled-out with Direct Delivery. Neither merchants nor recipients are informed of the purchase destination either in their account histories or in any associated e-mails relating to the transaction.
While this is not a show-stopper, a JIRA has been raised on the matter.
Recipients do, however, get an in-world notification that goods have been delivered to their Received Items panel / folder if they are logged-in to SL / when they log-in to SL (assuming they review all stored notifications!).
At the time of my original report on Direct Delivery, all Viewers on my Viewer Round-up list supported Received Items, as did much older (pre-mesh) versions of Viewers I tested (Imprudence, Singularity, Astra).
The Merchant Outbox situation is slightly different. As it stands at the time of writing this piece, this is the situation with the Viewers I’ve checked:
- Viewers supporting Merchant Outbox functionality: the SL Viewer, Firestorm 4.0.1, Nirans (currently 1.30, but has supported it for a while)
- Phoenix has an Outbox folder, but the wiki confirms Phoenix does not currently support uploads to SLM
- Catznip is working on an update to be released shortly (RL interrupted the schedule)
- Cool Viewer, Dolphin, Exodus, Phoenix, RLV, Singularity and Zen all appear to require updates in order to display the Outbox.
If your preferred Viewer does not currently support Outbox functionality, the best thing is to keep an eye on the Viewer’s blog pages for word of any update.
The overall response has been muted. While concern over ANS may be holding merchants back from any migration and the manual association requirement notwithstanding, this has been one of SL’s quieter roll-outs. Certainly, there do not seem to have been any major SNAFUs or problems – but then, many merchants may still be holding off on conversions.
I resisted giving feedback in my main piece on Direct Delivery, as I wanted to keep it as factual as possible (and am still updating it to reflect the current situation). However, my core feedback after using the system is:
- The migration process via a suitable Viewer is pretty seamless for the most part. Automated association worked fine where folder names were the same as item names; manual association was a couple of additional steps, but not overly time-consuming if updates are taken in batches
- Delivery works to any Viewer, regardless of base code (V3 or V1 style) – Received Items appears either as a panel in your Inventory floater (V3-based Viewers) or as a folder (V1-style Viewers)
- No hiccups were encountered in sending goods as gifts or with permissions ending up mangled
- No ANS. Given the manner in which merchants repeatedly campaigned for ANS to be active for Direct Delivery, the decision to roll-out without it is somewhat surprising. Should ANS support be delayed, one hopes LL will also delay the turning-off of Magic Box functionality to allow merchants time to migrate to DD without having to face an artificial time limit
- Failure to auto-associate updated folders as a result of content changes. One can understand folders remaining unassociated following an actual change to the folder’s name, but leaving folders unassociated simply because contents have changed adds unnecessary overheads to the process of updating items.