November 25, 2009

Some new ideas for XStreetSL

I posted the jist of this in the official SL Forums (not the blogs) as a reply in a thread about XStreetSL. See what a couple of glasses of wine will do to one's creativity? :D

I've thought more about the whole idea of listing fees, commissions and maintenance fees and have decided that, if Linden Lab makes needed improvements to XStreetSL, then charges like these could be justified. But, they have to be done in a way that doesn't (as the proposed fees do) unfairly penalize the low price, volume seller at the expense of the high-priced merchnts. And, there has to be a way of dealing with demos (since they are required by hair & skin shops) and freebies (especially those that give back to the community).

So first we start with improving XStreetSL (XSL).
  1. Being able to combine multiple items into one listing is mandatory. This means color, size and possibly prim count variations. Obviously, this means custom selectors. XSL could charge a reasonable premium for such listings but it's really a mutual benefit to the merchant, customer and LL. Fewer listings = more convenience = less clutter.
  2. Search must be improved. Search on title, search on description, search on both, boolean operators that work, etc.
  3. How about a shopping cart and wish list feature for customers? Not critical but would be welcome by most.
OK, once this is done, we put in a listing fee, maintenance fee and commission structure that makes sense. If you take the eBay model, this means listing fees increase as the price of the item goes up, listings expire after xx days and can be relisted and the commission is tiered to selling price. How about something like this:
  1. Charge an up front listing fee of 5% of the item's selling price or $5L whichever is greater. Sell something for $50L and the listing fee is $5L. Sell it for $1000L and the fee goes to $50L. This could also be tiered based on price points (a la eBay), ie. the more expensive the item, the lower the listing percentage.
  2. Lower the sales commission to 4% flat (or some percentage). Or tier it based on selling price. 
  3. Listings expire after 60 days. 30 days is too short. People can elect auto-renew any time.
  4. Price changes trigger a new listing fee. This would keep people from trying to game the system by listing for a low price then raising it immediately to a higher one.
  5. Anything priced less than $5L must go into designated Freebies and Demos areas. No exceptions. Demos must be marked clearly as Demos. If they aren't it's a violation.
I'm not sure what the exact amounts & percentages would be but it seems to me this approach would level the playing field a bit and not penalize freebie sellers.

LL proposed $99 for maintaining a freebie listing is just evil. $10L as a minimum ongoing fee is punitive to low price merchants and discourages offerings diversity. Doing this on top of the 5% commission is the equivalent of saying, screw you customer -- screw you small merchants. Add the fact that LL tried shoving this down everyone's throats based on a few office hour sessions where the outcome was already decided is sad but typical lately.

Unfortunately, instead of doing a little creative thinking or customer listening, I think LL is now simply focused on short-term money grubbing. Combine that with a real "not invented here" attitude at Teh Lab, and I think my ideas are doomed to the waste bin.


  1. I somewhat doubt that Linden Lab is charging for freebies and posting fees in order to make money-- unless of course they are selling their own L$ on LindeX... which would be just plain unethical (not that I put unethical past Linden Lab at all. They have a long history of unethical conduct).

    I consider it more possible that they're trying to actually improve XstreetSL, but they're going about it all the wrong way. Why? Because they're lazy louts who want to put as little effort into this as possible. XSL is cluttered. So to Linden Lab-- a company famous for knee-jerk, half-baked decisions-- the best way to handle the problem is to force uncluttering.

    They know L$99 for listing freebies is an absurdist and "evil" charge. They simply don't care. Their goal is to get freebies OFF of Xstreet and they know that charge will do so.

    They know that by charging L$10 a month for listings all the smaller merchants are going to leave Xstreet-- leaving their favored merchants to rule the roost. Linden Lab showed with the Open Space Sim fiasco that they don't care what they destroy, they don't care who they harm, they have no concern for their customers. The company has a "There's always more customers where those came from" philosophy.

    They don't want to spend any actual time, effort and money to make Xstreet work. As seems to be a habit with them, they're taking the easy way out. Instead of making their system work well (which takes a little effort) they're taking the easy way out and forcing merchants off the board indiscriminately.

    What they are likely to find is the same thing they discovered with Open Space Sims-- their plan is going to backfire because, frankly, they are amazingly incompetent when it comes to business management and they have failed-- as always-- to foresee the backlash and future consequences of their actions.

    No, in this case they're not greedy. They're just simply to lazy to do things the right way.

    (BTW, your idea about charging listing fees according to price is somewhat interesting. I'm not sure I agree with it, but that would sure tend to drive prices down, wouldn't it? :D)

    No, I think they would be better off possibly to charge listing fees for items that don't sell during a month's period. If the item sells, no listing fee. If it doesn't, listing fee. But I think I've offered even better and more feasible solutions at this website: (check featured blogs)

    Thanks for the thoughts. Things to consider.

  2. great post and nicely thought out

    LL has a habit of insulting peeps and then kind of apologizing

    last year they did not email any estate owners about the OpenSpace changes until 18 days after the blog post. gee, they have no issue emailing me as an estate owner on other issues

    then two months ago, they sent a takedown notice to Jokay, then M Linden actually apologised to her (this was a mahor screw up), but too late, she went over to Reaction Grid and now we are over there too with 4 sims

    and now X Street, using words like cheap to describe quality. i feel badly for shop owners, they are getting screwed

    but so are estate owners like me (12 sims) because if my shop people in-world are affected, i am affected too =(

    sigh, sl does not have to be like this - lots of poor communication causing a lot of anguish

  3. I find it disheartening, to say the least, that Pink & Colossus have "left the building" and pretty much let the discussion in the Merchant's Roundtable turn into a fanboi vs. protesters flamefest.


All thoughts are welcome.