Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another SL Economy Rant

Before I get started, this blog post is going to be a rant. I apologize in advance, if I tend to jump all over the place with my points. I have ranted about the SL Economy in the past, and this post will reiterate some of those points, as well as touch on other factors.

Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are my own, and should not reflect on any of the other blogs or establishments that I am associated with. I welcome your thoughts, and comments as always.

Here it goes ...

The buzz on the street for a while now, is that Freebies are destroying the SL economy. To be brutally honest, its bullshit! The real life economy, is destroying the SL economy. With the factory closures and job losses, many folks don't have the discretionary or disposable income to spend on game credits or "play money."

I am a freebie blogger and there are many of us. We are dedicated, hard working, passionate about what we do, and we do it because we love it. We do not get paid for what we do, yet we get up early in the morning, and stay up late at night pounding out the blogs for our devoted readers. We faithfully sit at our desks, describing the treasures that we have found, (or in some cases that have been dropped on us.) We are spending OUR leisure time taking pics, showcasing the items, and encouraging others to go to the store where they can be found by providing a LM to that location.

We are bringing the folks of our beloved "game" news and information about the Retail World. Essentially we are providing a service to the Designers and Creators of SL. We are your customers, and your Advertising Campaign Manager.

As stated in HoneyBear's Open Letter to Designers blog post on April 12th, freebies are a sampling of the Creator/Designer's abilities. As a Blogger, I have done my job now its up to the Store owner to get my Reader's attention, money & repeat business if they choose to visit.

There are several ways to achieve this. There are group offerings, special sales, or reasonable everyday prices for the quality of items they offer. To add an element of FUN and to gain traffic to their stores, Merchants have Midnight Madness boards, lucky chairs, prize orbs, and probably many other gimmicks I have not listed.

My wardrobe does not solely consist of all free or dollarbie merchandise. In fact, my inventory is exploding with fabulous, fine quality, and dare I say, some extremely OVERPRICED items that I have purchased during my time on the grid. Admittedly, my inventory also has less than quality items, and not all of those were picked up in my early time in SL.

People are becoming more frugal with their hard earned Lindens. Whether they work for them in SL, or purchase them, they are hard earned! I don't make the spontaneous, irrational purchases I once did. I look for items that can work with some of my favorite clothing items, or be incorporated with my existing SL furniture pieces for my home.
Designers should not feel pressured to offer freebies of their work, if they are not inclined to do so. I would be interested however, to know what low-cost marketing strategy will reach the number of people in-world that the Bloggers reach.

Sure, I suppose these Merchants could write their own blog; but if they are spending time doing that, it will take up valuable time that could be used for creating their merchandise, to make money. I am sure there are venues where they could pay for advertising, but that would cut in to their bottom line as well. There are groups, such as Sexy Shoppers, Fashion Consolidated, and Fashion R US, that reach a number of residents as well.

Which brings me to another point ...

If you are a vendor, and you're using one of these groups to advertise and get the word out about your offerings, here is a suggestion:

Make your notices interesting & fun! Make me want to open the attachment, and learn more about what you have to say - include pics to "WOW" me - make me want to TP to your store to see what else you have, and give you my money.

Sure, its easy to blame freebies, and the Freebie Bloggers for the failure of your business, and sucking the SL economy dry. Why not blame us for global warming, the war in Iraq and the weather while you're at it.

Let's be reasonable.

If you're looking to become a Virtual Millionaire, what you really need to do is improve your skills, move to a new location, rethink your business plan, and give customers what they really want, at affordable prices.

I can't imagine that another avi held a prim gun to your head and demanded that you create. You started creating, because you enjoyed it. If what your doing is not fun or exciting or relaxing for you any more, may I suggest that you stop immediately, and find something that you do enjoy.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

No Transfer Items & Buy vs. Pay

So ... how many people did the same thing as I did when frantically doing their last minute holiday shopping in SL and purchased a NON-transferable item for your friend or loved one? Don't be shy, raise your hand. Now come on, I know I can't be the ONLY person that did that.

Shop-owners need to post clear signage in their store stating that items are no transfer. Most do, some still do not. WTF am I going to do with men's clothes? ( OK, so I'll probably wear them, but that's not the point I am trying to make here!) I want to buy specific things, and give them as a gift. I didn't want to give a gift card, or I would have purchased one.

And another thing ... Why do we have 2 options for paying for merchandise?

Some shops use buy, others use pay. Why is that? If I am paying my land tier, or tipping a sexy Hooters n' Shooters Dancer, then by all means, the pay option works. The buy option on the other hand allows you to see what you're getting, and often you can see the permissions on those items ... you know, to prevent dumb-dumbs like me from buying no-transfer items.

Let's keep it simple people. Keep Sav happy, and the world will be a better place!

Friday, November 28, 2008

SL Economy

We all know the SL Economy sucks! Sales have slowed for many vendors, shops are closing, and if like me, you are a dancer, our VIPs just aren't opening their wallets like they used to. I have come up with a couple of ideas to remedy the situation.

Free accounts - While the makers of SL have been very generous in not having a time limited free account, this could be hurting the economy. Most game makers have time limited game trials, from a few hours, to 30 days. My suggestion is to limit the time on the free accounts or limit the area in which they can roam on the grid. This might help the griefer situation as well.

Increase the stipend - For people who pay to play the game, how far do you really think L$300 goes in a week? People can't spend money they don't have.

Vendor pricing -uploading textures in to SL costs 10L. So, when vendor charge $L1200 for a pair of boots, that's one helluva profit! Why do they need to cost that much? I understand the time that goes in to making these shoes is several hours, maybe days or even weeks. Why sell 1 pair for 1200, when you could sell hundreds of pairs at $L120. Wouldn't that stimulate the economy?

Many vendors offer freebies, or dollarbies to lure you in to their store. They do this in hopes you'll look around, and spend more money. Do people with free accounts spend money? It's too bad that there isn't a way to limit the access on free or dollarbie items to those who have paid accounts.

Reduce the cost of land tier. So many sims look like ghost towns with vacant spaces and empty stores. Real Estate companies and land owners can't make money on empty plots. Lowering land costs would encourage more people to put up homes, open stores etc. I know of a couple of stores that no longer have a presence in SL, and are selling their inventory on places like onrez and Xstreet (formerly SLX).

I know my ideas aren't perfect, but I'd be interested to see what would happen if some of these ideas were to be implemented.

Anyone have a crystal ball in their inventory?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Shopping for Guys is tough!

Justice & I were recently skin and shape shopping. After several tp's we ended up at KMADD, in the heart of the Mens Fashion Capital.

I was instantly impressed with the selection and presentation of the store. Neat, well organized, great photos showcasing the shapes. In fact the photos were so great, I had a hard time focusing on the shape, and not the overall appearance of the model. (Luckily Justice was there to keep me straight! LOL)

So we looked around, J pointed out a couple shapes he liked. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the price was $L1000. I was flabbergasted when I realized there were no demos offered!

1k, and NO DEMO?!? WTF!? In my opinion, that's a big chunk of change to "gamble" on a shape.

This got me to thinking:

Q: What if he doesn't like the shape?

Q: Is there a refund or exchange policy?

I looked around the store, and there is a huge sign on the wall, listing their customer service policies.

A: Due to the vast selection of shapes available in their store, they do not offer demos. The do however offer a "Live Demo Service."

Great idea!!

Q: Where's the customer service rep?
A: There isn't one.

KMADD encourages you to IM the creators before you make your purchase with any questions, or concerns you may have. They will demo the shape for you, so you have an idea what the shape actually looks like on an avi. This is a great service, but is the shape going to mesh well with your skin? You will never know, unless you buy it -- because you can't try it.

Why is shopping for guys so difficult and frustrating? Justice has been telling me this for months, and I didn't believe him. I am starting to catch on!

I don't know about you, but as a female, when I am shopping, I want what I want, and I want it now. I don't want to take the time to drop a note to the creator to ask questions ... what if they aren't online, and in a different time zone. You have to wait! I am shopping! I am an impulse buyer! I don't want to wait.

How is this customer service?

Thankfully, after some careful consideration, Justice decided to part with his money, and bought a new shape. He was extremely satisfied, and I am still drooling!

I do need to mention, that not only did Justice get the awesome shape, the box also included a styling card, (so you can achieve the look of the model on the display picture), a bald base (to shape the eyebrows), a freebie box from MADesigns, a pose stand, and height detector. The shapes are copiable, and modifiable, so you can customize your look if you so desire.

I am in no way bashing KMADD store, or its designers. They have incredibly, awesome stuff and I strongly suggest that you check out the store - you won't be disappointed with the results. However, as a SL consumer, I believe that things need to be kept simple in order to maximize the shopping experience.

Check out the MAD Image Blog, and when you're in the store, they have a really cool freebie section that is definitely worth a look.

~ S ~

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pose Balls

I was out furniture shopping today, not really looking to buy anything, but I always like to look - and if truth be told, I usually buy. I made my way to an upper scale store - on first glance, it was love at first sight. The furniture had rich tapestries, appeared well put together, & I noticed some great accessories as well, so I excitedly ventured in.

I looked at a couple of living room sets, again, impressed with the patterns, and the over all appearance, but they had pose balls for seating. This is a pet peeve of mine, so I immediately dismissed the thought of purchasing, even though I really liked the set. I continued through the store, found another set that would look great in my living room - again, pose balls! Dammit! Talk about utter disappointment. All of the living room furniture had pose balls! I understand that at one time, this was the only option to get your avatar seated in SL; but now, there are new, improved methods of doing this.

Don't get me wrong, I love the beds with pink & blue pose balls - but that's another story.

While I haven't completely written off the store, due to those great accessories, and wall art.
I guess I expect a little more from designers to make their furniture unique, and not static in a world where there are so many choices, when a new store, with better options, is merely a click away.

~ S ~

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Game rules?

We've all read a variety of blog posts debating if SL is a game or something more. We know that we log on to the grid, and there are a variety of events to keep us amused - there are lots of people to meet, an assortment of venues to entertain us , and many other things yet to be experienced. So, is it a game? Where are the rules? How do we know if we win? Does every player follow the same rules? Is there a wild card? Does the avatar with the most Lindens win, or the avatar with the most shoes or toys?

Do the rules change as our avatars evolve? They did for me!

I can honestly say that for me, it happened over night, & without warning. I went from hanging out, shooting someone with a watermelon gun one night, laughing my ass off as I am getting pelleted with couches from a similar style gun to ... butterflies in my stomach, and my heart skipping a beat when that special someone logs on. WTF happened? How did it go from a game to an intense emotional experience?

Have I turned in to one of those people who takes SL too seriously? No! not me ... its a game right?!

~ S ~

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Maiden Voyage

Hello & welcome to our joint effort!

We decided to start blogging. Yay! Its something we both considered doing on our own, then worried about not keeping it up, so by doing this together we hope it will be an interesting adventure for both of us - we can keep each other interested, and post regularly and not turn this into a 3 hour tour. Stay tuned to this space where we will write about random thoughts, cheers, and jeers, pet peeves, cool shit & any other randomness when it comes to the world of Secondlife.

Your thoughts, comments (good ones only) and heaps of praise and gratitude will be appreciated.

Love & Hugs,