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.
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.