Kitely opens their marketplace for business

Kitely-logoIlan Tochner, CEO of Kitely, dropped me an e-mail on Friday August 30th to let me know the Kitely Marketplace is now open for business.  There’s also an official announcement from the Kitely team on their blog as well, which is recommended reading for those interested in the Marketplace.

First announced at the start of the year, the Kitely Marketplace has taken eight months to reach the point of launch – and with good reason. The Kitely team have been working to develop an online experience which is initially available within Kitely, but which can be expanded in time to support other OpenSim grids.

The new Marketplace can be accessed directly from the toolbar displayed on the Kitely website
The new Marketplace can be accessed directly from the toolbar displayed on the Kitely website

The Market combines features familiar to those used to using the SL Marketplace or markets such as the (now defunct) Apez and Metaverse Exchange: items can be browsed on-line, then purchased (using Kitely Credits (KCs) or US dollars), prior to being delivered directly to the purchaser’s in-world inventory in a similar manner to SL’s Direct Delivery mechanism. Additionally, the Market functions more like e-commerce sites such as Amazon, where items can be searched for using attributes as well as a category hierarchy, making the search process and drill-down easier and more flexible for both merchants and consumers.

The Marketplace allows for flexible serach using a combination of category, attribute and filter-based searches
The Marketplace allows for flexible search using a combination of category, attribute and filter-based searches

In addition, the Kitely  Marketplace allows for multiple versions of a product to be listed as a single item, thus simplifying the listing, viewing and reviewing of products. So rather than having five individual listings for an outfit which is available in five different colours, a merchant can create a single listing for the outfit, which includes the 5 different colours, allowing consumers to buy any of the five from the one product listing.

Products can include multiple variations in a single listing - in this case five versions of the same mesh dress
Products can include multiple variations in a single listing – in this case five versions of the same mesh dress

A further aspect of the Marketplace is that demo items can be “built-in” in the main product listing, eliminating the need for additional, separate listings to deal with product demos.  Where a merchant offers a demo (indicated in the product listing), the potential buyers can try it by adding the item to their Shopping Cart, where they’ll  get a link called “Try demo”. When they click this link, the demo version is immediately added to their inventory.

There are other subtle touches as well, some of which may be familiar to users of virtual world marketplaces  – such as the ability to click on a store name either in a list of multiple products or within an individual product listing, in order to display and browse the contents of that store. Other touches aren’t so obvious, but are nevertheless pleasing to find – such as rolling the mouse cursor over the thumbnails of any variations of an item to see each of their full-sized images displayed in the product listing.

In developing the Marketplace, Kitely have focused not only on the usability / functionality aspects of the system, but also on optimising the servers and putting in place strong automated capabilities and additional safeguards.

Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner (via Google+)
Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner (via Google+)

“We spent a lot of time optimizing the backend so it will be able to provide a snappy user experience even thou each page returns multiple dynamic counters (the number of results given the existing filters in each category and attribute that contains relevant search results),” Ilan informed me in announcing the launch. “Kitely Market remained fast even when we tested it on databases of more than 1 million different products and many concurrent bots (and this is without starting to scale up the hardware we use for the marketplace or distributing it to multiple servers).”

On the Merchant side of the equation, Kitely Marketplace offers similar ease-of-use. The Marketplace actually opened to merchants in May 2013, and I provided an in-depth look at that side of the Marketplace then. However, it’s worth pointing out some of the key aspects here as well:

  • Objects and assets are added to product listings using a web-based interface that provides a live tree view of the merchant’s inventory. Items are added to a product from the same page where the listing is defined, avoiding the need to publish a listing first and then manage items
  • As mentioned above, multiple variations and also demo versions of a product can be easily handled, eliminating the need for multiple listings for each version of the same product
  • Merchants can choose to sell their products for Kitely Credits, US Dollars, or both
    • When a product is bought using KC, the amount, less Kitely’s fee,  is immediately transferred to the merchant
    • When merchants sell their items for US Dollars, there is initial delay prior to the merchant receiving the payment (less Kitely’s fee) in their PayPal account. The delay in transfer is to get past PayPal’s 45-day transaction dispute window
  • Items can have the usual permissions set against them and can in addition set an Export permission flag which allows the merchant to define whether or not those items can be exported from the grid or not (such as by being saved in an OAR file, where only those items which have the Export flag set will actually be saved – anything which does not have the flag set will be ignored). By default, Export is disabled.
Kitely Marketplace allows an Export permission flag to be set against items
Kitely Marketplace allows an Export permission flag to be set against items

In addition, Ilan informs me that the Export option provides a further capability. “Our Export permission connects each bought object and asset to a Kitely Market transaction, enabling us to reclaim objects (in inventories and even rezzed ones) that have been refunded by the merchant or for which payment has been disputed. The option for automatic reclaiming isn’t implemented yet but the backend is already there.”

Overall, a considerable amount of time and effort has gone into developing the Kitely Marketplace, which has included consultations with merchants and consumers alike to determine what works and what doesn’t in other similar marketplaces, allowing the Kitely team to better shape their own ideas and views on how the Marketplace should work. and the team is still seeking feedback and considered opinion from those making use of it.

Currently, the Marketplace is only available within Kitely, but as indicated, the aim is to make it available to other suitable OpenSim grids, providing a single point-of sale for merchants wishing to reach as broad a market as possible, which Ilan Tochner sees as major game-changer, saying, “This marketplace will soon be used to unify the many separate OpenSim grids into a single addressable market that can attract professional content creators who’ve never found a business justification to have a presence outside Second Life.”

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9 thoughts on “Kitely opens their marketplace for business

  1. Several months ago I had the pleasure of spending more than an hour speaking directly with Ilan via Skype. Not only did I find him incredibly engaged in the overall direction of Kitely, but he was also extremely dedicated to making the overall operation work to the benefit of both Customers and Business Owners. He showed me the attitude and spirit that (in my experience) is an absolutely critical component in those entrepreneurs that are successful. If I had the opportunity to plunk some money into an investment, I’d put together a sizable amount and put it into Kitely’s stock. IMO these folks have not only the right thinking in place thoroughly infused throughout the company, but they also have the proper attitude and customer satisfaction skills to make their dream become a very successful reality. (Pssst Rod? You’d better duck son. There’s a big gun aimed at you … and it’s loaded for bear!)


    1. Ilan and Oren have worked hard on Kitely, and it’s showing in the grid’s growing popularity. There’s a clear vision there, and their pricing model is, to say the least, innovative and flexible from both a consumer and a business standpoint (interesting that Cloud Party has opted for a sort-of similar approach to Kitely’s original pricing structure). I have my home-from-SL-home tucked away in a corner there, and I’ll be continuing to watch developments :).


  2. Reblogged this on SarVana's OpenSim Living and commented:
    Sarvana and I (Sally) are so excited about the opening of the Kitely Marketplace. I am “out of this world’ excited because I have a store in the Marketplace… SarVonne Creations Etc. The Marketplace gives me an opportunity to offer my real life photographs and vintage reproduction art prints, ‘PhotoArt’ within the virtual-vased community. Kudos to the entire Kitely team!


  3. Thank you Inara 🙂

    It seems WordPress ate my previous (long) comment, so here’s hoping this one will actually appear (and please forgive me for reusing some of what I/we wrote in other blogs this time) 🙂

    When we designed Kitely Market we had several examples in mind. First, we know that most users of virtual worlds are familiar with the Second Life Marketplace, since it’s the largest and most successful market for virtual goods. We therefore started out by making sure that Kitely Market will look familiar to people coming from Second Life. For example, we arranged products in a Categories tree that has a lot in common with the one used in Second Life. However, we didn’t stop there. Our goal wasn’t to copy the Second Life Marketplace – it was to create something better. So we continued by adopting some good ideas from popular e-commerce sites such as Amazon. For example, we use Attributes to make it easier for you to find the products you want. And finally we added some features that we haven’t seen anywhere else, because we do occasionally have original thoughts 😉

    We believe that shopping isn’t just about ending up with the products you want, but also about enjoying the shopping process itself. We have therefore made it a joy to browse the store. Certainly, making it easy to find the products you want (as we’ve described above) is important. But we also spent a lot of time making it fun to interact with the marketplace. Kitely Market provides the sort of user experience that is usually seen only in mobile apps: as you click around things slide, rotate, fade in/out, grow/shrink, and provide many other types of engaging feedback. As an HTML5 application, Kitely Market works on Windows, OS X, Linux, Android and iOS. The supported browsers are Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and IE9 or better. (Some effects are disabled when using IE.)

    We think other grid owners should benefit from Kitely Market as well. We haven’t announced the details yet, but we will establish an affiliate system that pays a percentage to grid owners whenever someone from their grid buys in Kitely Market. We hope that this will convince even people who currently run closed grids to configure their grid to accept item deliveries from Kitely Market… 🙂

    We believe that a unified market that provides a satisfying shopping experience will increase the amount of high-quality content available on *all* grids, to the benefit of buyers, sellers and grid owners.

    At the risk of sounding immodest, we believe that Kitely Market has the best user experience of any web-based virtual worlds marketplace currently out there (and many more features and eye candy will be added in the future). Seriously, if you’re reading this and haven’t done so already, check it out (you don’t have to create an account to browse the marketplace): 🙂


    1. Thanks Ilan,

      Re comment vanishing: you’re not the first to contact me over the last week; a couple of others have indicated that posted comments which were tagged “awaiting moderation” – but which never showed-up in my pending list (or spam list). Glad this one actually arrived and got through.


  4. You know what would really be great and mybe it’s just me, but i keep going from post to post and no where have I seen a freaken link to this damn market place. A link, a link in a really obvious place would be awesome folks


    1. High Fidelity is moving is a different direction to simulator-based virtual worlds, and potentially targeting a different market (especially given the distributed nature of the environment they’re aiming for). It’ll be interesting to see how these broader plans they have in mind actually develop. I suspect that overall, it’ll take a lot longer than another 12 months or so for a robust High Fidelity virtual environment to establish itself.


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