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).
- 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.
- Search must be improved. Search on title, search on description, search on both, boolean operators that work, etc.
- How about a shopping cart and wish list feature for customers? Not critical but would be welcome by most.
- 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.
- Lower the sales commission to 4% flat (or some percentage). Or tier it based on selling price.
- Listings expire after 60 days. 30 days is too short. People can elect auto-renew any time.
- 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.
- 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.
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.