April 2023 SL WUG meeting: MP search changes

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023.

WUG meetings:

  • Are held in-world, generally on the first Wednesday of the month – see the SL public calendar.
  • Cover Second Life front-end web properties (Marketplace, secondlife.com, the sign-up pages, the Lab’s corporate pages, etc.).
  • They are not intended for the discussion of Governance issues, land fees / issues, content creation & tools, viewer or simulator development / projects. Please refer to the SL calendar for information on available meetings for these topics.

A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!), and subject timestamps to the relevant points in the video are provided. Again, the following is a summary of key topics / discussions, not a full transcript of everything mentioned.


Recent Updates and General Notes

  • There have been changes made to Marketplace Search. For example:
    • Now, by default (and assuming no search terms have been entered), displaying a merchant’s store page will list their products by newest first).
    • Merchant and Store names are no longer included in the Product search, but are now apply considered when using the dedicated search tab.
  • Some of these updates have caused confusion, so an official blog post has been published to explain them and the reasoning behind them.
  • These changes, and those noted below, are being actively monitored by LL, and further adjustments may be made based on the metrics they are seeing / feedback from Merchants / consumers.
  • In addition:
    • The checkout cart has been updated to allow up to 99 list items to be stored in it (the previous limit was 10).
    • The cap on the total number of search returns, implemented with the last set of Search updates (a total of 50 pages of results) has been rolled back, so that Search will now list all results matching a given search.
  • Unless Boolean, etc., operators are used in entering search terms, Search will now attempt to string together words entered into it and search based on the string (e.g. so whereas entering “blue shirt” would previously have listed items matching “blue” or “shirt”, it will now attempt to limit results to results which have “blue” and “shirt” in their descriptions.

Upcoming Changes

  • “Marketplace spring cleaning” is about to start.
    • This means that if a merchant has not logged-in to the MP for two years, and they have listings which have not seen any sales in the part year, those items will be unlisted.
    • Similarly, if the Merchant has not logged-in in two years and nothing has been sold through their MP store in the past year, the entire store will be unlisted.
    • This work will be blogged about by the Lab as the work starts.
  • E-mail verification: thus far, e-mail verification has not been a requirement for Merchants to use the Marketplace. This will be changing so that e-mail verification will be a requirement. Again, this will be subject to a blog announcement as it comes in.
  • LL is looking at ways to make keywords more effective and reduce the amount of keyword abuse / spamming; however no decisions on direction with this has yet been reached.

In Brief

  • Requests for MP changes:
    • Add a “date listed” field to all MP listings (and possibly a “date updated” field).
    • Put a mechanism in place to prevent people using the Buy Now button when trying to buy an item as a gift for someone else (e.g. a warning that it does not apply to purchasing gifts).
    • Allowing “sub-stores” wherein Merchants who produce products of different types / for different markets can list their products in “sub-stores” under their main brand without the need to create avatar account to run individual stores. This is something that has been requested numerous times, and LL has previously indicated as something that could be considered, although the idea seems to have been lost along the way.
    • As an alternative to this, it was suggested that Merchants should have the means to categories products in their stores (e.g. have a dedicated category for discounts / special offers customers can easily reference without have to search the entire store.
  • BUG-233043 “On the Marketplace Opengraph Metadata tags no longer work” – this prevents the sharing of links to products on various social media platforms from including previews on the item, with only the URL being displayed. It has been a problem since the end of 2022, and was raised again in a request for the Lab to look into it.
  • Those attending the meeting were asked for thoughts on customers being able to leave product reviews without any verification that had actually purchased the product.
    • This was largely seen as a bad idea, due to the potential for malicious comments / griefing.
    • However, there is a possible use-case here in that it allows users purchasing a product in-world to leave a review where otherwise they have no public voice – although with CasperVend now owned by Linden Lab, and the promise of integration between the two, this might offer a path to allow purchases made via CasperVend vendors to be flagged as “verified” and thus allow their review on the MP.
  • The length of MP URLs and difficulty in using them – together with requests for LL to provide a means of shortening them was discussed.
  • The question was raised as to the Destination Guide either being properly curated so that non-existent locations could be removed – or a means provided to allow users report  those locations they find no longer exist in SL (or at least as the given region). This is something that will be passed back to the Destination Guide team.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023. Venue and time per top of this summary.


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