Commerce Team announces Magic Box retirement

The Commerce Team have announced the retirement of Magic Boxes is to commence in April. The news, made via Commerce Team Linden, is being circulated to merchants via e-mail as well as having been posted to the Commerce Forum,. It reads in full:

As you already know, about a year ago, we introduced Direct Delivery, a more reliable and faster method to deliver merchandise to your Second Life Marketplace customers. To complete the migration from Magic Boxes to Direct Delivery, we’re starting a phased shutdown of Magic Boxes. In order to keep listings that are currently using the Magic Boxes active, you will need to convert them to the Direct Delivery system. We will be sending email to all Merchants who have active listings that are still using Magic Boxes.

Important dates for this plan:

  • April 2, 2013:
    • Merchants will no longer be able to list unlimited-quantity items for L$10 or less using Magic Boxes.
    • Any active, unlimited-quantity listings for L$10 or less using Magic Boxes will be unlisted.
  • April 16, 2013:
    • Merchants will no longer be able to list unlimited-quantity items using Magic Boxes, regardless of price.
    • Any remaining active, unlimited-quantity listings using Magic Boxes will be unlisted, regardless of price.

For the time being, limited-quantity items can continue to use Magic Boxes and will not be affected. “Limited-quantity” refers to items that the Merchant does not have rights to copy (such as breedable animals which are “no copy” for the seller).

We do not have a Magic Box shutdown date for the migration of limited-quantity listings at this time. After we designate that date, we will give 30 days’ notice so that Merchants will have time to migrate those items. However, to avoid disruption of your listings by the Magic Box phase-out, we strongly encourage you to convert all of your listings to Direct Delivery as soon as possible.

For more information on Direct Delivery and migrating to Direct Delivery, please see the Knowledge Base. If you have questions or problems, please contact customer support for help.

SL Marketplace: Magic Box "retirement" commences in April.
SL Marketplace: Magic Box “retirement” commences in April.

Direct Delivery launched on March 21st 2011, I was perhaps one of the first to dive in a give it a go, and my own experience was – and remains – broadly positive. However, it is fair to say that it wasn’t long before issues started to occur – and to grow in significance. So much so, and despite attempts by the Commerce Team to drive merchants into using Direst Delivery, the date by which Magic Boxes have been due to start being retired has been repeatedly pushed back over the course of the past twelve months as issues with both Direct Delivery and matters such a listing errors, repeated errors in listing enhancements billing and other upsets, served to erode merchants’ trust in both the Marketplace and LL’s own Commerce Team.

This latter point was not helped by the Commerce Team themselves, who rather than engage with merchants, opted to withdraw from communications (despite Rod Humble stepping into the fray – twice), and in obfuscating matters further by simply ceasing to publish updates on progress made in fixing issues (the last update being around November 2012, prior to all updates being quietly removed from the Merchants’ sub-forum within the Commerce Forum.

The current situation regarding outstanding issues with the Marketplace and Direct Delivery remains unclear. While reports of issues and problems seem to have decreased somewhat, it is unclear whether this is due to the Commerce Team making progress in resolving issues or perhaps merchants have simply given up trying to raise the same concerns over and again. As such, it is possible that this announcement may be met with some trepidation, even though no final date for shutting down all Magic Box capabilities has been given.

10 thoughts on “Commerce Team announces Magic Box retirement

  1. Direct delivery has been, and remains a good idea. Provided bugs are removed, and are not reintroduced at a later date. I couldn’t use it until someone did the conversion from 32 to 64-bit though. 64-bit Linux doesnt agree with a lot of features 32-bit viewers including uploading. Downloading to your machine is an instant viewer lockup; Singularity, and Kokua 64-bit viewers solve 99% of the issues though; Usually flash video on prims still doesn’t work, but very minor issue in my opinion. Especially when you compare to how many problems they solve to begin with.

    btw, I am just curious… this post is on tomorrows date?


    1. Direct Delivery does offer significant advantages over MBs, yes. As mentioned in the report, I’ve absolutely nothing (of which I’m aware of) to report negatively about DD. However, the problem is that for many merchants, DD either didn’t work as advertised or compounded existing / other issues within the Marketplace itself, thus leading to Merchants being understandly wary of migration, as they had seen their issues increase during test migrations and (understandably) wanting to work with the Commerce Team to better understand issues and see them resolved. Sadly, the Commerce Team has throughout the issues face by the Marketplace, refused to engage in more open and positive communications with merchants on issues and problems and eventually removed all updates on issue resolution for both MBs and DD (and all other reported problems) from the Commerce forum – hence the undermining of confidence.

      As to the timestamp on this post – your tomorrow is my today :). I’m in the UK, so at least five hours ahead of the US (which is where I take it you’re based 🙂 ).


  2. I find I have to read the different treatment of limited-quantity items as meaning that there is something Direct Delivery cannot do. Which is worrying.


  3. Dang! I knew that one day I had no choice but to really change everything to Direct Delivery. *sigh*. I’m going to have to read those pesky instructions then…


  4. Its’ true that you can’t sell unlimited itens at L 0 using direct deliver?
    its’ true that you can’t sell unlimited itens above L 10 using direct deliver?
    What about limited mumbers and how many can be set to be sold at L 0 or up to 10?
    Is this move 1 more to end the offer of free itens on Marketplace?


    1. Direct delivery supports freebie items – I’ve received them myself.

      Limited quantity items is due to be supported. Suggest you read the Direct Delivery FAQ if you’re lloking for information.


    1. No-one said you “can’t uploaded unlimited numbers”. The update from CTL states that, for the time being LIMITED quantity items (i.e. NO COPY goods), will remain in Magic Boxes. The more correct concern here – as Wolf has pointed out in his comment – is that this has long been an issue with DD, and so is it signalling that LL have hit a further substantial technical issue for DD?


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