Iris Rants: The Second Life Marketplace's Direct Delivery is Not Yet Ready for Prime Time
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of virtual world and MMO fashion
SL fashion bloggers, do not trust the SL Marketplace, especially if you're on a deadline. SL fashion developers, do not trust the SL Marketplace to give your customers the content they bought from you in a timely fashion, and more importantly, be ready to take the brunt of the blame for it yourselves.
I talk about the SL Marketplace a lot, and I use it at some point while preparing almost every Second Life-based fashion post that I make. It's an invaluable tool for browsing what's available and I strongly believe that every designer should maintain a storefront there. And yet, I only rarely buy anything from it, and even then it's usually only products that are exclusive to the Marketplace. I use the Marketplace like a catalogue, frankly, but I wish I didn't have to. The truth of the matter is that until the kinks are ironed out of the Direct Delivery system, that's all it's really good for.
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, let me explain:
Today, I had a very different post than this in mind. I got up at 6am (no joke) to make sure I had time for leftover shopping, styling, and shooting, as well as to write the post itself. One of the first thing that I did in preparing the post was order a few items from the Marketplace, from stores who don't have an in-world presence. I ordered these items early, knowing that they might take some time to arrive due to the hit-and-miss direct delivery system that the Marketplace is unfortunately transitioning into. As of the publishing of this post, I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for that Marketplace order to be delivered, so Hamlet wisely suggested a slight change of course.
And this isn't an abnormal experience for me, or for many other irritated fashionistas. I try to make it a habit not to rely on prompt delivery from the Marketplace, but once a month or so I forget just how bad it can be and optimistically try it out, hoping that maybe they've worked out the bugs and I'll be pleasantly surprised. You'd think i would have learned my lesson by now.
Since the direct delivery system was unveiled, Linden Lab has made up for the system's shortcomings by making it easier for sellers to redeliver and keep track of unsent orders. It's been months, and it's clear that this was a pretty lame band-aid for a widespread and persistent issue. I particularly hate hearing from designers when products that failed to deliver receive negative reviews from ignorant consumers, hurting future sales because of something that is entirely out of their hands. The deadline for converting all your Marketplace items to direct delivery was set as this month, and while I truthfully don't know if that's still the case, I desperately hope that it isn't. (Update: A hat-tip to the comments for pointing out that the migration deadline has been quietly bumped a second time, to October 1st. It also seems like delivery fails are getting less severe in general, so maybe my luck will turn as well as the new deadline approaches. I'll keep testing and let you know!)Tweet
Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.