Shug Maitland has an article up pointing to Why moving a shop to Marketplace ‘hurts’ the SL economy. She prefers to shop in-world, where she can see what she is buying and demo it. I suspect many of us have similar preferences.
She uses the Market Place as an index and search engine for Second Life. In-world search sucks so badly we have little choice. That says something when we consider how bad the Market Place search is. I often end up using Google via a manual search command like: site:marketplace.secondlife.com gesture vendor
The article points out how loss of land tier from merchants using the Market Place rather then in-world stores deprives the SL economy of a significant sum. There aren’t any numbers/statistics on how much or little effect this has on SL or Linden Lab. So, that makes this conjecture. But, it seems reasonable.
Because there was a recent survey about the Market Place run by the Lab, I am assuming something is being planned for the Market Place. There is also the Desura factor to consider. I speculated last year that we may see some form of the Market Place combined with Desura, thus allowing SL merchants to sell to Desura game makers. It seems reasonable to me that a Market Place change may be coming.