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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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Damien Fate

The marketplace needs completely redesigning. It's useless as a consumer unless you know the name of the item you're looking for.

Verity Goodnight

I would LOVE if I could favourite or subscribe to particular stores and get updates when they put something new on marketplace. Many many times I've searched for something, seen something cool made by one creator but whatever it was wasn't quite what I wanted but then I'm interested in seeing what they might do in the future but....never go back for any updates.

Pussycat Catnap

My suggested solution:

Everything on SL gets 1 category, and only 1. And only appears in its category and on up.

Nothing can be places at a level higher than the deepest category level.

So:

MP -> Apparel -> Women's -> Tops -> Blouses -> Summer

- LOTs of categories.

But every deep level ends with one last category, Other.

MP -> Apparel -> Women's -> Tops -> Blouses -> Other

Showcasing would then pick a category, and showcase it.

Items that have changed their category sooner than 2 weeks BEFORE an upcoming showcase was announced... won't get shown.

Items added to the showcase after it is announced will NOT be shown if the designer pulls down any listings after that announcement.

Items added after the showcase goes live... won't be shown in it.

- This would require all new categorizing, that tried to add a lot of depth.

To do that...

Day -70: A new 'change category' system is added to the MP code that lets a merchant use simple web multi-select / checkboxes to move the category of multiple items at once. Optionally, an "upload excell sheet" button, that will let a merchant upload an excel file and move EVERYTHING in the file all at once. With a 'Click here' link to get a blank copy of said file.
- This code is tested, but hidden from public.

Day -60: The top 200 selling merchants on MP get an invite to a private board to discuss new categories.

All the categories are designed to be 4 levels deep.

Day -15: The New categories, round 1, and finalized.
Day -10: The whole multi-change and excel thing is made visible. People are told to start readying their entries for mass category change. An info page listing the new categories is made live.

Day one: Everything on MP moves to an 'Other' category like this:

MP -> Other -> Year -> Month -> Day

The new category system then goes live.

Everybody now has an equal mess to update. No unfairness. And products from 'old long gone merchants' become obvious by still being in the 'other' pages long after the live date...

- This would only work if the excel sheet idea makes the cut... because otherwise large merchants would be overly swamped.

At some point... Marketplace has to "take the revision hit" and that point better be sooner rather than later... LLs business model is more and more dependent on MP over land... and eventually it will be dominant over land... The present system will then become a major factor limiting the company's potential profits.

(for the fools who don't understand who MP sales in $L's add up to real money... The 5% 'sink' accelerates the pace of people having to buy more $L, as does the culture shift of SL, driven by MP, to be more consumer oriented and less "build your own world" focused...)
- Its micro-transaction 101. Well, maybe 102. Because 101 is the class on getting people to buy virtual toys for your "game" - and LL's got an A+ in that class... (Its one of the rare things they did better than most of the industry: convincing people to pay for a "free game").

Pussycat Catnap

pt2 of my post... the parts I had in my head but forgot to type... :)

- That last deep 'Other' category would be for things that cannot fit into one of the other 4 deep levels.

A system is put in place... for people to submit new category suggestions and vote them up or down. If something gets [some arbitrary number] of + votes over - votes, it becomes a new category.

Any category that has less than [some arbitrary number] of entries, gets removed and items moved to to the sibling level 'other'.

- Both of these can be done programmaticly, without needing coders to push them every time.

****

I meant:

"how MP sales in $L's add up"

****

Categories would be 4 levels deep, so you, as a user, browse at a higher depth to see items in multiple different deep categories.
So I could stop at Apparel -> Women's and get everything under it in my search/browse.

The:
MP -> Other -> Year -> Month -> Day
- would be based on the date the item was uploaded, if that is on record.

Leondra

Yep, the MarketPlace is basically useless. I mostly use it for looking for a prop/item for a build or outfit and usually filter thru the 0-10L first.

irihapeti

personally I find inworld groups like SLFree, FabFree, Womenstuff, etc more helpful to find stuff

same hunts as well. bc is a showcase of many/some content providers consistent with the hunt theme. Curated like you say

if LL did want to improve the MP Showcase then they could just tell the hunt organisers/webdevs how to format/make the metadata available to LL spider. Which pull the data from the hunt website and display in MP. If is a link to the hunt creator MP store as well as all the usuals (clues and that) for the inworld then be pretty good

for sec purposes LL can make a rule about who can be a hunt organiser for MP Showcase purposes. Like the hunt organiser account has to be tied to a RL person

only other rule I would make is that the hunt item cant be listed on MP as well while hunt is on

if had a Hunt Showcase on MP then I think will help build/preserve the inworld display/shop component. While also providing a themed/curated view of the creators on MP

irihapeti

ps

just add that dont have to go out and get/employ a whole bunch of curators. We already got them. Just have to surface what we got already on MP

Cube Republic

I saw the boots and thought of you Iris!

Oren Hurvitz

Kitely Market has solved this problem using Attributes. For example, check out the "Clothes" category: http://www.kitely.com/market?cat=50300 . On the left there are several relevant attributes:

* Clothing Style - Business, Vacation, Bridal, etc.
* Theme - Asian, Historical, Fantasy, etc.
* Occasion - Birthday, Christmas, etc.

The great thing about attributes is that they apply to all the categories at once. So you don't need to have lots of categories such as:

Clothes > Pants > Wedding
Clothes > Dresses > Wedding
Clothes > Shoes > Wedding

Instead, there's a single "Wedding" attribute that shows products from all of these categories at once. Of course, you can also click on the individual categories to see only products in those categories.

Pussycat Catnap

@Oren: I like that Kitely notion.

But how do you keep people from spamming the attributes?

It is amazingly bad sales and marketing... because it mistargets... but it is also very common in SL for merchants to list their 'shoe' item in every single category they can.

Search for 'Neko' - you get that shoe.
Search for 'man bits' - you get that shoe.
Search for 'land' - you get that shoe.

etc...

This is bad sales/marketing because people NOT interested in your item see it, and gain a negative brand impression.

Google avoids this by charging people everytime someone clicks on one of their adverts - so sellers have a MASSIVE incentive to correctly target their products... doubled by the fact that you quickly learn there that once you do correctly target your adds, your sales go nuts...
- mistarget and you get a monthly bill in the $20,000 range... and no sales.
- target properly... you get a monthly bill of $30,000... but then make $300,000 in sales.

I'm not sure LLs could get away with charging merchants per click - because to do it means you need to start taking your market seriously... and fine tune it into a sales engine so that your merchants become happy to pay you for every click... because they get so many sales...
- LLs would need to employ SEO and Analytics pros to do that.

So... lacking that ability...

How else can you prevent 'attribute stuffing' by unskilled sellers ruining the selling & shopping experiences for everyone, including themselves.

Limit people to 1 - 4 attributes per product? Changeable no more than once per quarter?

Oren Hurvitz

We actually have a clever way to do that, using the sort order. Take the "Color" attribute as an example. Suppose a user clicks on the attribute "Color: Red". The order in which products appear is:

1. Products with "Color: Red" (only that color)
2. Products with "Color: Red" + 1 other color
3. Products with "Color: Red" + 2 other colors
etc.

In other words, products that are all-red appear first. Products that are somewhat red appear later. This encourages merchants to use only one attribute if possible.

However, we don't completely block the ability to use multiple attribute values, because sometimes products really do need them. For example, a striped shirt might need to use two color attributes.

Tracy RedAngel

Oh...these are splendid....
http://www.kitely.com/market/product/5081732/Mens-Magenta-Pink-Patterned-Swim-Shorts

(I'm sorry...I can't help it)

Pussycat Catnap

@Oren: That might work on your smaller scale and more educated users (I presume this of Kitely users due to the payment model and the fact that its not been 'subjected' to the 'U 2 canz get rich on teh interwebz' journalism of the the mid 00's that hit SL... and still brings us new spam-merchants daily...

I suggest looking through the dataset of Marketplace some time.

The issue is not that people will select multiple relevant attributes...

But that they do things 1990s style and keyword spam EVERYTHING into their entries.

So when I said... searching on 'man bits' will get you that shoe... I'm not sure of that exact example - but that is the nature of SL's problem...

- Stuff that ain't got nothing to do with nothing can show up all over everything.

The problem is less severe than some claim... and even what I type appears to claim.

Most of the time I actually can find what I want and only have a half dozen spam entries to skip over...
- But that still represents a significant "background noise" that hurts the search-engine and drives DOWN sales for both the legit merchants and the spammers...

(A lot of people who do not understand marketing don't get this... they think any publicity is good publicity... but in truth ONLY relevant publicity is good - even if it is bad news. Non-relevant publicity is extremely brand negative.)

Without using a curator to go through every listing to determine if its tagged for things that actually fit it... how do you do it?

If I list one color, one style, one type of vehicle, one type of skin, one type of shape, one type of house, one type of script, one type of hair, one type of furry, one type of mesh, one type of sculpty, one type of land, one type of gender, one type of maturity rating, one type of music, one type of art, one type of texture, one type of political party, one type of religion, one type of weapon....
- ALL for the SAME product...

Which is actually just a genital prop...

I'm going to be seriously messing up search for myself and everyone else.

But I've still only got one attribute in each kind of attribute. :)

Oren Hurvitz

We don't have a magic wand: eventually, you have to rely on users flagging bad products. But the automatic handling of attributes makes Kitely Market much easier to find things in than the Second Life Marketplace.

Pussycat Catnap

Yeah I like your attribute idea. I just fear that its half the solution for the scale and uncontrolled nature of SL.

Kitely... lets face it... probably has smarter users still. :)

You're also smaller, with a payment model that makes people think about what they want out of it before they leap in. If you got some of the spammers SL has - you likely still have the scale that users could reasonably flag out everything.

But I do think your system would have added value for SL - as a step one. SL's marketplace though - is at too large of a scale for any human based curating / flagging to solve things.

Oren Hurvitz

By the way, we discontinued time-based billing a while back. We now have only fixed-price regions, like Second Life. (Well, we also have something called a Premium Account, but even that isn't time-based.)

Iggy

Cube beat me to the punch: I saw those darned boots and burst out laughing.

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