Marketplace: incorrect listings – LL offers “clean-up process”

In March 2012, merchants started noticing issues with some (or even many, in a number of cases) SL Marketplace listings. Key issues included:

  • Listings on Marketplace stores do not match the actual items
  • Incorrect merchant attribution (products from Merchant X listed as belonging to Merchant Y, despite appearing in Merchant X’s store)
  • Products from one merchant appearing in stores belonging to other merchants
  • Items incorrectly priced
  • Incorrect ratings assigned to products (G-rated items appearing as Adult, etc.).
An exmaple of the listing errors, supplied courtesy of Lillou Merlin
An example of the listing errors, supplied courtesy of Lillou Merlin

A JIRA –WEB-4587 – was raised on the matter, and extensive forum thread also reported the matter, and merchants were assured the matter was being looked into as a “top priority”, and in May 2012, an updated was issued by the Commerce Team noting that:

(WEB-4587) Listings show up with images from other Merchants listings:Current status: we have identified the problem and are working on testing the fix.

The fix apparently didn’t work, as the issue was subsequently reported as one the Commerce Team would address “after the next Marketplace update“. This only problem here being that subsequent updates failed to address the majority of JIRA relating to Marketplace issues, including WEB-4587 – and then stopped altogether – something with prompted me to comment on the continuing erosion of merchant trust.

On April 24th 2013, just over a year since it was first reported, the Commerce Team published an update on the listings issues and WEB-4587, which reads:

For those of you who have had an incorrect image appearing on your listings–or have seen your image on someone else’s listings, we have come up with a supported process to get these listings cleaned up.

Someone Else’s Image on My Listing
If you are seeing someone else’s image on your listing, you should be receiving an email with a link for you to go remove those images from your listings. These images will be returned to the listing we have identified as correct. Any listings not reviewed by May 15, 2013 will be unlisted until the Merchant has a chance to remove the image manually and reactivate the listing. We will provide a summarized list of these and notify all Merchants whose listings have been deactivated.

My Image on Someone Else’s Listing
If your image is appearing on another Merchant’s listing, the following will happen:

  1. The Merchant will be notified to review their listing and confirm that the image does not belong with their listing.
  2. The image will be returned to your listing. At this point, you will be able to review your updated listing here (link). This may occur after the review period for step 1 has already completed.

If the listing your image is appearing on is not reviewed in step 1, the listing will be unlisted to prevent your image from appearing on the incorrect listing.

We appreciate your help in getting this cleaned up.

So the good news is, there is actually movement on the matter. Admittedly, in reading the forum post, I cannot help but conjure a mental image of some poor sod (or three) at the Lab having been tasked with spending the last 12 months digging through the Marketplace and manually checking images against project descriptions / links – but movement is movement, and is, on the whole, to be welcomed.

There are some issues being reported with the process, however, as noted in the thread following the announcement. Some of these issues appear to be related to items which, in lieu of any communications from the Commerce Team, merchants opted to previously manually remove from their listings, and other appear to indicate that not all incorrect listing items have actually been captured by whatever process was used at the Lab. Others are reporting mixed outcomes simply as a result of following the given instructions.

It’s not clear how widespread issues are in following the instructions; certainly the problems being noted appear limited going on the amount of feedback on the thread. Not that this is any comfort to those affected, but it perhaps indicates that for most people who were blighted by the issue, things are now being put right.

Related Links


Magic Box retirement commences

Don’t forget that Magic Box retirement commences today. As per a recent announcement from Linden Lab, from April 2nd:

  • 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.

Therefore, if you are selling items at L$10 or less, and haven’t already migrated them to Direct Delivery – you’ll need to set aside time ASAP or risk seeing them unlisted as from April 3rd.

SL Marketplace: first phase of Magic Box comes into effect from midnight SLT on April 2nd
SL Marketplace: first phase of Magic Box comes into effect from midnight SLT on April 2nd

To assist with migration, the Lab has a Direct Delivery Migration FAQ. Also, for those who have experienced specific issues with DD in the past, the Lab has re-issued the Merchant Outbox project viewer with some fixes which should overcome any issues previously experienced.

Additionally, merchants should again note that from April 16th:

  • 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.

As per the original announcement:

  • Limited-quantity items (i.e. those to items to which the merchant does not have rights to copy – such as breedables) can continue to use Magic Boxes for the time being
  • There is still no confirmed date by which limited-quantity items must be migrated to Direct Delivery, and the Lab is still intending to present merchants with a 30-day lead time for migration once the date has been set.

Related links

With thanks to Ciaran Laval for the reminder

LL offer Merchant Outbox project viewer

As recently reported, Linden Lab have announced the first step in the retirement of Magic Boxes in order to encourage remaining merchants who have not done so to swap over to Direct Delivery.

At the time I posted that piece, I noted that a major stumbling block in the adoption of Direct Delivery was the fact that while it tended to work flawlessly for some (myself included), for others it has been at least as problematic as using Magic Boxes, and that Marketplace issues with DD were potentially as widespread as those for Magic Boxes.

To help overcome both reservations on the part of merchants who have not yet swapped over to Direct Delivery, and to help resolve any remaining issues with DD migration, the Lab has moved to do two things:

  • Launch a fresh Direct Delivery FAQ which attempts to answer some of the most common basic questions around Direct Delivery and also point towards other resources
  • Launch an updated Merchant Outbox project viewer. This viewer, built on 3.4.4 code, and so pre-CHUI, is designed to overcome all Merchant Outbox issues recorded in JIRA WEB-4600, and the advice for anyone still encountering migration problems is to give this viewer a run.

If you’ve been using a more recent (3.4.5 or 3.5.0 code base) LL viewer, note that you might find your toolbar buttons vanishing when you run this project viewer – it’s a known issue, and buttons can be restored from the Button Toolbar.

An update Merchant Outbox project viewer has been issued to assit those encounter problems migrating to Direct Delivery
An updated Merchant Outbox project viewer has been issued to assist those encounter problems migrating to Direct Delivery

In addition, Dakota Linden has been responding to requests and questions regarding migration posted to the Merchant’s forum, and her responses may also be of assistance to those encountering problems.

Related Links

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.