Lab blogs about web and Marketplace updates

secondlifeOn Friday, November 4th, Grumpity Linden posted news via the Tools and Technology blog, on the recent updates to the Lab’s web services which support Second Life, and improvements / updates recently made to the Second Life Marketplace.

It was the updates to the SL Marketplace which made up the bulk of the summary, which has been listed chronologically rather than via service. However, as people might prefer reading thing by subject matter, I’ve split the list of updates / improvements between the Marketplace and the Lab’s other web services.

The SL Marketplace updates and improvements, implemented in September and October 2016, comprise:

  • Fixes:
    • A fix for sorting reviews by rating.
    • A fix for duplicate charging of PLE subscriptions.
    • Fixes for some remaining hangers-on from the VMM migration (unassociated items drop down + “Your store has been migrated” notifications.
    • A fix to Boolean search giving overly broad results (BUG-37730)
    • A fix to the Marketplace for an issue where a Firefox update was ignoring browser-specific style sheet settings on Marketplace.
  • Disabling of fuzzy matches in search on the Marketplace so that search results will be more precise (+ a switch added to allow the Lab to enable or disable fuzzy matches in search).
  • Archived listings are no longer indexed.
  • If a store is renamed, all of its products are now re-indexed.
  • Blocked users can no longer send gifts through the Marketplace.

In term of the remain web services, Grumpity notes that the Lab has recently:

  • Provided a number of unspecified bug fixes for the support portal
  • Provided a fix for the “Create Your Own Map” link, which used to generate an invalid SLurl
  • Updated the new user sign-up flow to give more consistency in password requirements
  • Updated the Second Life System Requirements.

Finally, and launched just ahead of the November 2016 premium subscription offer, is a  Premium Membership landing page aimed at potential incoming new users as a part of the Lab’s rotating series of landing pages, and which currently features the premium subscription offer.

The new Second Life Premium landing page, highlighting the current Premium subscription offer, and launched on October 31sst, 2016
A part of the new Second Life Premium Membership landing page, highlighting the current Premium subscription offer, and launched on October 31st, 2016

 

Advertisements

Second Life Marketplace: full permission product scams

MP Scams
Image: Strawberry Singh

The Second Life Marketplace is both a convenience and a pain. Convenience because it provides an ease of selling / buying to users. Pain because its sheer size can make it difficult to effectively police, leaving it open to various forms of abuse.

However, Strawberry Singh has highlighted one area of concern content creators are facing, and has asked for people to pass the word on.

In Full Perm Marketplace Scams,Strawberry points to the abuse of full permission items content creators make available on the Marketplace.  Typically, these items are offered individually or in kits as templates for people to re-use in their own creations, and they generally come with an end-user licence agreement (EULA) specifying their intended use. More often than not, these EULAs forbid the re-sale of such items on an “as is” basis and / or re-sale as full permission items. And if a dedicated EULA isn’t offered, the fact that the items are not intended for full perm resale can generally be found in the listing description.

However, there are unscrupulous individuals doing just that: purchasing the items and reselling them unchanged, as full permission items, thus violating the original creator’s intent and licensing. To add insult to injury, the items undercut the original creator’s own market price.

To help raise awareness of the problem, Strawberry offers some advice on how to identify or avoid such items:

  1. Before purchasing look at the seller’s other listings. If there is a hodgepodge of brand names and the vendors all look different, they are most likely an illegal seller.
  2. Purchase the items from the in-world store of the full perm creator instead of the marketplace, to ensure that you are not purchasing from an illegal seller.
  3. Most of the illegal sellers have blank profiles. Real full perm sellers usually have a full profile filled with links to their websites, main stores and marketplace stores.
  4. Most Full Perm sellers have started using water marks on the vendor ads which say the name of the avatar that is supposed to be selling it. The illegal sellers are still using those ads, even with the watermark. So it is important to look at the name of the creator on the watermark, and if it isn’t that person selling it, don’t buy it.
  5. Try to find a way to report these items, either to Linden Lab by flagging the listing or to the original creator of the items.

It’s sound advice for anyone looking at full permission items. I’d perhaps only expand a little on point (5.) for clarity. While we may grumble about the DMCA process, it is the means by which such items can be most effectively removed from the Marketplace, as the nature of DMCA filings requires that Linden Lab respond to them accordingly.

So, if you believe an item on the Marketplace is being illegally sold and can identify, or are aware of the original creator, do be sure to contact them directly and make them aware of your concern.  Provide information on the item: where it can be found (listing, etc.), so that they might investigate for themselves, and if necessary, file a DMCA. This approach not only helps the creator take the required action to have violating listings removed, it also potentially helps to establish a history of violations which they can also put to the Lab, if necessary, which might in turn encourage the Lab to take more stringent action against repeat offenders.

Strawberry also has an article concerning in-world Giftbot scams as well. Given these are still very much a problem in-world,I’ll point you to that piece as well.

Lab announces new SL Marketplace search now live

secondlifeUpdate: August 16th: Merchants have been reporting a number of reported issues with the new search tool. The Lab has set-up a forum thread for general discussions on issues and problems. If you are experiencing issues with the new MP search, please join the discussion on the forum thread.

If you are noting specific issues which appear to be bugs, the Lab requests you add details to  BUG-37670.When doing so, please provide the following: Affected Field:  (Demo linking, Related Items, Quick Fill, etc.);  Name of Product you are editing:  (What is the name of, or link to, the item listing that you are trying to add a demo or related item); Search Term:  (What is the exact search term you have entered to try to locate the Demo, Related, or Quick Fill Template);  and if possible, provide a screenshot showing the empty search return showing the search text and the lack of results. The exception to this is “Adult rated items that contain profanity”.

On Monday, August 15th, Linden Lab announced the “new” SL Marketplace search is now live.

First issued as a beta test in November 2015, the updated search has been undergoing refinement and improvement (and bug fixing!) since then, hence why it has taken some time to reach a release status.

The new search mechanism is designed to address some of the shortfalls inherent in searching for listings and products on the Marketplace, which can often by a frustrating and time-consuming, as anyone who has used it will be able to attest.

To achieve this, it is said to be a complete step away from the older infrastructure supporting Marketplace search, with the new system hopefully being faster and more robust. In particular, the Lab point to it having a learning algorithm intended to improve search results over time – essentially, the more search is used, the better it performs. The new search also supports the use of boolean operators – AND, OR, NOT – so users can hopefully set-up more focused search criteria.

During testing, the Lab took feedback from merchants and users into account, using it to further refine and improve the new system. This obviously doesn’t mean it is flawless, but the hope is the overall experience will be improved, and will continue to improve over time. Should anyone encounter significant bugs or issues, they are asked to file a bug report. There is also a pinned Commerce Forum thread where general discussions might be continued.

Lab announces Marketplace search beta

secondlifeOn Wednesday, November 11th, the Lab announced the trial of a new Marketplace search. In particular, the Lab states they’ve been working on infrastructure changes to improve the relevance of search results and have made changes for search to scale better as more content and categories are added to the Marketplace.

Search has always been one of the large issues with the Marketplace over the years, as likely most who have used it will be able to attest. There have been attempts to improve / tweak / amend search over the years, but none have really seemed to hit the nail on the head in terms of generating appreciable improvements, which has potentially been the biggest annoyance faced by anyone using the Marketplace.; so it will be interesting to see how the new updates fare.

The updates can be tested using a special beta search Marketplace  – note they are not yet a part of the main Marketplace, so don’t expect to see changes there just yet -, with the Lab noting that further work is still in hand for boolean searches (or at least, excluding keywords from searches).

When testing the updated search capabilities, make sure your using the beta search marketplace, not the "main" marketplace
When testing the updated search capabilities, make sure your using the beta search Marketplace, not the “main” marketplace

Users are invited to use the beta Marketplace “to perform all your regular Marketplace activities”, and to report and specific issues via a JIRA bug report with the SLM Beta Search component.

In addition, there is a forum thread available for general discussion on the new search capabilities, which currently offers some mixed feedback, with ChinRey in particular (at the time of writing) offering considered feedback on some of the pluses and minuses she has observed / can see. There is also an interesting note from Grumpity Linden on why the beta search might appear to be a lot slower than the “main” MP, which is worth keeping in mind when trying it, because it is currently very slow in responding.

Again, if you do give the search beta a good try, and want to leave feedback,  make sure you use the Lab’s forum thread to do so. Comments left here aren’t likely to be read by the relevant staff at the Lab.