Marketplace: Commerce Team refuse in-world meetings (at least for now)

On the 7th November, the Commerce Team gave their latest update on activities. The post reads in full:

Merchants,

Thank you for your continued feedback. Following is an update regarding your latest questions and requests:

  • Direct Delivery email notifying merchants receipt of item by customer: We understand your request and are looking into this.
  • Marketplace category changes: We’re working on some proposed updates to these categories and will give you the opportunity to provide input. Stay tuned for more details – including a survey.
  • JIRA changes: We are working to adjust our communications practices to make sure all Merchants are kept up-to-date on bug fixes.
  • Marketplace weekly user group: We will not be adding a user group at this time.
    [My emphasis]
  • Publish Marketplace six-month backlog: There are no plans to provide this data.

In addition, we are evaluating ways to improve communications practices with Merchants that will allow us to address technical and support issues more effectively. This includes direct email correspondence, such as the direct email that was sent November 6, 2012 to let all Merchants know about the benefits of Direct Delivery.

We appreciate your patience while we continue to improve marketplace functionality and merchant communications.

The Commerce Team

Of particular interest here are two statements – that the Commerce Team are “evaluating ways to improve communications practices with Merchants”, while simultaneously refusing to agree to in-world user group meetings.

On the subject of the former, the Commerce Team point to their recent e-mail to merchants extolling the virtues of Direct Delivery; virtues which are, as I commented at the time, actually non-existent for many in receipt of the e-mail because Direct Delivery is for them proving to be at least as unreliable as Magic Boxes (and the Marketplace in general). As such, I’m actually unclear on exactly how such an e-mail is actually “improving” communications practices given the frustration it might generate, much less addressing technical and support issues “effectively” – but, c’est la vie.

User Group meetings: a source of positive LL / user interaction the Commerce Team remain unwilling to embrace

The refusal to hold in-world meetings, although hardly unexpected, is regrettable. While it is true that in this day and age, face-to-face meetings are not always required in order to resolve technical issues and problems, the fact remains tat face-to-face meetings – even in the digital domain – do serve a valuable purpose. They help promote a more positive attitude between people and they encourage greater mutual support and respect for one another (and I’m deliberately not mentioning the very practical results which can come out of such meetings by way of ideas and suggestions for dealing with issues and problems or providing LL with information on issues of which they may have no prior knowledge).

Anyone who has ever been to other SL user group meetings cannot fail to note the appreciation and understanding they generate towards LL. sure, there may be occasional bursts of frustration when things are going wonky somewhere on the grid – but by and large both sides of the equation – Lab and users – benefit from the interaction and exchange.

It’s therefore regretful that the Commerce Team continue to step back from in-world interactions with merchants. While the initial meeting may well be a little rough on them – I would venture to suggest that the vast majority of merchants would actually welcome the opportunity to have such face-to-face meetings and would be only to willing to engage with the Commerce Team fairly, rationally and respectfully.

Of course, there is the little caveat to the Commerce Team’s rejection on the idea of in-world meetings, the “At this time.” This suggests that at some point in the future they may well reconsider their position. I hope they do – and that they do so sooner rather than later – because doing so really would be to be to their credit and do far more to help to “improve communications practices with Merchants that will allow us to address technical and support issues more effectively” far more than any number of bland e-mails or forum posts is ever likely to achieve.

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9 thoughts on “Marketplace: Commerce Team refuse in-world meetings (at least for now)

  1. This is from a GD forum post by Porky Gorky — my comment on it was that it should hang on the wall of every LL office: ”

    I think the loss of the town hall meetings, office hours and nearly all beta type groups has really helped widen the divide between the Lindens and the general users of SL. Allot of these public meetings were attended by a diverse group of residents with a variety of interests and backgrounds in SL and often represented a good cross section of the community. Since LL chose to close these avenues of communication it has only increased the perception that they have lost touch with the core userbase. I think this is more true for those Lindens that are new to the company as most have never had the opportunity to really go out and meet the people that pay their wages en masse.”

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    1. I can’t agree more with Porky’s comments.

      The irony is that those meetings which are still being held foster nothing but a clearer understanding as to the Lab’s aims and goals, and generate a genuine and positive feedback from the majority of attendees. Fiesty at times (to use Ciaran’s word), sure – but rarely negative; and the degree of goodwill and support the foster should never be discounted.

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    1. TBH… I resisted the temptation to add a comment about not holding one’s breath, but wanted to give more of a positive push to those at LL who read this blog.

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  2. Inworld meetings can get feisty, however the big advantage they have are in terms of divulging information and making people feel involved. People will then feel more supportive of the policies and procedures LL are following, well not all people, but enough to make it worthwhile.

    The quote from Porky’s comments is spot on really.

    The lack of communication frustrates people, they don’t feel progress is being made or they feel issues are being ignored, couple this with the new Jira, which people aren’t loving or understanding, and the commerce team are going to struggle to portray their vision or the benefits to merchants. This really isn’t healthy.

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    1. Agreed on all points – particularly the struggling element. I’ll be very surprised if many of those in receipt of the “benefits of DD e-mail” didn’t respond to it with a collective raspberry, simply because so many have tried and have had – and continue to have – as many issues with DD as anything else.

      This is a particularly frustration the Commerce Team appear determined to ignore – up to and including the point of attempting to bully people impacted by issues into converting to DD – even when the issue encountered is entirely unrelated to DD (or MBs), but the user happens to have *some* good still in Magic Boxes.

      They’re not helping themselves – but, as many have commented, there is little evidence to show they actually care that this may be the case.

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  3. I congratulated the CT on their email because I had been previously told that I “should know” that Magic Boxes were not supported (and therefore that they would be handing out my merchandise then refunding the payment to the customer) — but I did not in fact know, even though I monitor CT communications about as closely as it is possible to do. So I applaud them for making the effort to communicate directly with merchants.

    That said, this thread http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Merchants/Anyone-heard-of-Direct-Delivery-sending-empty-folders/m-p/1729399#U1729399 is pretty enlightening, about Direct Delivery problems, about the bug report system problems, about support, about CT communication. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of it, other than it seems clear one hand does not know what the other is doing.

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    1. I really take no pleasure in beating on the CT’s door at all; I’m always harping on about communications. Yet when the effort is apparently made (as with the e-mail), I’m one of the first to wag a finger – and I honestly take no pleasure in doing so.

      But the fact is that it’s not just the level of communications within the CT which is a problem – it’s the timing and quality. The e-mail was at best one-sided, and at worst, wholly unrepresentative of the reality of problems within the Marketplace as a whole, matters, as seems to be tha case with a lot of their DD-related communications (the the blame levelled at you for “not migrating” from Magic Boxes when the “evidence” to support the CT’s contention (WEB-4441) relates to an issue which impacts both Magic Boxes and Direct Delivery). As such the communcations issue and what was actually said to whom amd by whom, sadly, doesn’t surprise me at all.

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  4. Sadly LL dont even uses its most powerfull tool on SL and what makes metaverses so used by Corporations (IBM and so much more now using their own private open sims based grids!).
    Thre fact that meetings inside Sl are much more usefull then any call conference!

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