The basic idea is to get merchants to give feedback on the proposed new Marketplace categories which are under consideration by LL and – by providing suggestions on one category in particular – have the chance of winning “L$2,489 (cost of a month long, frontpage Marketplace Product Listing Enhancement) or [sic] your efforts!”
Listing categories are, for the uninitiated, the selections under which merchants can have their products listed in the Marketplace. So, for example, as someone who built houses, I would list my work under the category Building Components > Structures > Residential Structures. The idea is to help quantify / filter products on the Marketplace (together with keywords) so that they can be more easily found (by a user using the Category option on the left of Marketplace pages and clicking down through the options to refine a list of displayed results in the main part of the page).
Merchants have long felt that many of the categories used within the Marketplace are too broad. For example, and keeping with the example above, “Residential Structures” covers a multitude of options: houses, mansions, skyhomes, skyboxes, castles, tropical (tiki) homes, cabins, and so on. These means that search results using the current categories can end up being bloated (there are just under 27K of items under the “Residential Structures” category alone…).
However, defining where and how the categories should be expanded is a problem in itself. Do it autocratically, and you’re bound to get your hand bitten off. Ergo, having a survey – while it is hardly likely to please everyone – is perhaps a preferable route by which to encourage feedback, refine what has already been put forward and so a degree of willingness to engage with customers (merchants) and take on-board their feedback and insight.
Really, the problem here – as Ciaran Laval has pointed out – is one of perception. Coming on top of their refusal to engage directly with people and invite open discussion and discourse with their customers, the Commerce Team have effective said, thanks, but no thanks” which I’ve already commented upon) – the competition runs the risk of being seen as little more than an attempt to curry favour.
The really cynical might even see this as a sideways attempt to try to boost flagging listing enhancement revenues due to all the billing cock-ups in that department over the last 12 months by directly (and repeatedly) linking the cash prizes on offer with the idea of a monthly listing enhancement (see the quote from the blog post announcing the competition above, with the contest rules further pointing out, “Each winner will receive L$2,899 (the cost of a month long [sic], front page featured Product Listing Enhancement on the Marketplace)”, with the survey form itself outright (and confusingly) stating the prize actually is a month-long product listing enhancement (part 3 of the survey).
Nevertheless, and quibbles aside, the call for feedback on the proposed listing enhancements – whether or not one enters the competition – should be heeded, particularly if, as a merchant, you’ve felt that they are currently too broad at present and need improvement. The contest itself is entirely optional – so if you have no interest in female skin categories, then simply ignore it and complete the first two parts of the survey.
It’s important to note as well that there is no limit as to the number of times anyone can complete the survey – so it is possible to post a response for each of the categories you use to list your products and services.