State of the Marketplaces

Several months ago I published the first snapshot of the state of marketplace development in order to provide the community some idea of what we have been working on. That post was helpful but it also highlighted the importance of an ongoing updates to our community – so I’m back!

Scaling Teams

We’ve had another strong year of marketplace growth, and while we’re keeping up on many fronts, we’ve struggled in hiring. This means we’ve been run off our feet more so than ever previously. To make up for this we’re ramping up dramatically starting with our new Dev manager joining very shortly. This is in addition to lots of other roles across the company both dev related and in areas like business intelligence. You may have seen advertisements for positions on our Growth Team and Support Team. But you may not know that we are also actively seeking several other positions including Customer Relations Manager, Marketing and of course Developers.

The development team now has 10 developers on it, made up of three teams, two of which are consistently working on medium size projects with the remaining team tackling the maintenance queue of smaller features, chores and bugs.

One exercise we’ve recently undertaken is carefully reviewing how we define and prioritize projects to ensure that we continue to operate efficiently. Generally we have lots we want to do but not enough people, so prioritising is absolutely vital.

Scaling Systems

Continuing the break neck speed of our expansion, our servers are now handling over 6000 requests per minute during peak periods. This is a phenomenal amount of traffic and we’re pretty excited that we are able to keep the site humming.

With continued growth comes a need to continue scaling our hardware. Recently we upgraded our main firewall, unfortunately, despite a lot of preplanning with our hosting provider, what should have taken a few minutes to upgrade ended up taking significantly longer. We’ll be looking closely at how our future upgrades are managed in order to reduce the chances of extended downtime in the future. One of these changes is aimed at adding more system operations experience (Dev Ops) to the development team in the long term.

Copyright Issues

I realize there has been some major concern regarding piracy within the community. Copyright infringements and illegal use of files are issues that affect all sites in our industry. We understand that these issues are extremely frustrating for authors. The reason for our forum rules against discussing piracy is because we do not want to give free publicity to problematic sites.

Unfortunately this creates a situation where the community cannot openly discuss their piracy concerns. I want to assure you that we are listening and aware of the situation. Instead of posting on the forums we suggest that you use other channels to discuss these issues. I also believe piracy is an issue where everyone needs to work together to bring about change. I urge you to use some of the tools suggested in our piracy post.

Other changes

We’ve been making progress with our communication channels such as the Envato Community Podcast. By increasing the frequency and organizing interviews with authors and buyers we are hoping to gain more feedback and provide an informative and interesting way for you to keep up with the latest news and site changes.

We’re currently working on tweaking up content for a new Envato [dot] com in a matter of weeks, as we outgrew our old page a long, long time ago.

We are acutely aware of the public sentiment towards our current CAPTCHA system. We use our CAPTCHA to stop concerted attempts to hack into Marketplace accounts however; we also understand how frustrating this system can be for regular users. We have already put in place changes that greatly reduce how intrusive these speed bumps are, however we are also looking at how we can remove the CAPTCHA altogether.

Over the last 2 months we’ve created 20 new item categories. Some of these have been classification categories, while others are new item type categories. This is the eCommerce equivalent of deciding what brands of pasta are available in your local supermarket and also where they’re located (opposite pasta sauce, or next to the cleaning chemicals?). You can expect that we will be continuing to push hard to deliver new categories and advertising for new items through our ‘Most Wanted’ campaigns.

One particular achievement I want to highlight is due to the hard work of the Review team. I’m sure many of you have noticed the changes in queue times and process improvements that the team has been, and will continue to be working on.

One last area that we’ve been working on is an overhaul of the service, which is available to Authors selling content on the Marketplaces. We’ve listened to your feedback and are working on a better solution. More information soon – sorry, no cats will be let out of bags quite yet. 🙂

I hope this post gives you an idea on the areas that we’ve been working on and areas we expect to be developing further in the coming months. Also like last time: if you have ideas on how it could be better, let me know in the comments. Similarly if you have questions or thoughts, add them in!