Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I can't be the thing I was before

So, before all the drama regarding City of Heroes, remember the Marketplace JIRA? Yep. Still not fixed.

From Amadeus Beattie:
i have now had this issue for over 4 months and i think been very patient... my sales have decreased by over 60% since the bug started and the amount of customer support messages i get from clients is taking too much time to answer... i still have over 30 products with wrong images or products getting unlisted by itself
This issue was first entered into the JIRA at the end of March. It's now the beginning of September. It's been over six months that the merchants of Second Life have been struggling with this issue.

Let me repeat that, because it sounds vaguely important: For over six months, Second Life merchants have been affected by a Marketplace coding issue that has resulted in, at least, a 40% loss of total sales (for those merchants who haven't noticed a 60% drop in total sales).

You'd think that Linden Lab would care a bit more about these sales, because it's not just folks creating little art projects and sending them off, gratis, into the wide cold world. These are the people who own sims (that are now selling them or giving them back to the Lindens because they can't afford sim rentals while losing so much in sales). These are the people who widely advertise in in-world Search and on the Marketplace itself (activities which, in some cases, also stop cold when the merchant realizes just how much they're losing). These are the people who buy items from other merchants to decorate those stores (which they're now closing when they add up the numbers), or buy props and poses for product pictures (which they won't need once the businesses close).

When we toss a pebble into a pond, there's a ripple effect. We see where the pebble landed in the pond, and we can watch the rings expand and subside. The problem is, this isn't a pebble. This is a goddamn meteorite from space landing on fire in the Pacific ocean and causing tsunami devastation when the water reaches shore. Or, to switch metaphors, this is not a papercut, it's a sucking chest wound.

Speaking of the ripple effect...a couple days back, UStream struck a deal with WorldCon to broadcast the Hugo speeches live. In the middle of Neil Gaiman's acceptance speech for his episode of Doctor Who--"The Doctor's Wife"--the feed went dead. Why? Because the animated copyright service Vobile had detected copyrighted material being used in the broadcast.

What's so shocking about this is not that the feed went down--technical glitches happen, things go buggy, it's sad, but it's a fact of net life now and again. No, the true tragedy here is that it wasn't a glitch. During an awards speech by a very famous author, regarding a very famous property, wherein clips from Doctor Who and other shows were shown--which WorldCon had specific rights to broadcast granted by the companies who actually own those copyrights...automated infringement detectors went off and removed the feed.

And UStream, at that point (and in my mind, even more shockingly), never restored the feed.

Let me say that again, because it's key to why this is such an outrage:
UStream had crippled their own internal broadcast service by using Vobile in such a way that they--who also had full legal rights to broadcast this stream live--could not restore it.
Does that scare anyone? UStream paid Vobile to do their work for them, in a sense, but because they'd struck that deal, they abrogated their own rights to clear the killcode and then go on with the broadcast.

Brave new world, people. It only gets worse from here.

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