Archive for November, 2009

Yet another boldly stupid idea LL. :high five:

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife®, SL® Advertising, SL® Business, SL® Fashion on November 18, 2009 by luth brodie

In the state the SL economy is in, you’d think a good course of action would be to help residents out by figuring out ways to ya know… help them. Not stick us with yet more fees.
Today in an act of absolute stupidity, LL announced the following:

Monthly Listing Fee for Freebies of L$99:
• Listings for free items will now be treated as a marketing/promotional tool and thus will have a price.
• L$99 is the price of our least expensive listing enhancement and so we will start there.
• Depending upon desire for this marketing opportunity and perceived value given such demand, we will adjust the price as necessary to maximize this value and keep the freebie listings from becoming bloated again.
• Expected Delivery: 30 – 60 days

Minimum Commission of L$3 on all items priced L$1 or greater:
• We will enact a minimum commission of L$3 on all sales of non-freebie listings.
• Since Freebie listings are now considered marketing and are charged as such, they will not incur this fee.
• A L$3 commission will raise the commission on all listings under L$50. This was a range suggested by residents, but it turns out that this is the price range where there is a very high transaction volume and low commission income which combine to cover the costs of those transactions.
• We may adjust this minimum commission as we see its effects on the marketplace. L$3 does not cover the full cost of a transaction, but the goal here is first to manage freebie growth first.
• Expected Delivery: 30 – 60 days

Monthly Listing Fee of L$10 for all items L$1 or greater:
• All non-freebie listings will now be charged L$10 per month to remain listed in the Xstreet SL Marketplace
• Currently, less than 20% of Xstreet SL listings make at least one sale per month. This displays just how much clutter of unsold items exists on Xstreet SL.
• Doing this will provide an incentive for merchants to remove listings which are not selling, while keeping this fee low enough to have a minimal effect on listings which are selling and are desired by shoppers.
• By reducing the overall number of listings on Xstreet SL, the shopping experience will drastically improve which will please our shoppers and be a boon to the business of all of our merchants.
• Expected Delivery: 60 – 90 days

Keeping the commission system after buying xstreet was bad enough. Taking down the better webiste of onrez after buying both was annoying, especially given most of the trash was on xstreet.

They get a commission if something sells. That should be enough. If not, the stupid high prices for featured listings (which don’t actually do anything since everything is listed high -> low) still should be enough. Tacking on extra on top of it in this economy is just yet another slap on the face.

Demos:

Hair and skin makers can’t sell anything without offering a demo. So for every colour variant they are charged L$10 and then an additional L$99 for the demo version. On top of the 5% commission. Awesome.

They aren’t marketing material. They aren’t freebies. They are to demo an item for sale. It’s out of necessity to do this because there is no system LL has ever set in place in order to try things out. Yes you see people walking around in demo skins and hair because they are too cheap to buy anything, but we just point and laugh at them.

However, the feedback from our office hours sessions was that many merchants already charge for these demos and that these new controls would not be a major hindrance to merchants with demo listings.

Um. I’ve never seen a demo above L$1. Maybe I need to get out more.

Eventually, we’d like to add better “demo listing” functionality.

All well and good. How about doing this before fucking them in the ass? I’ve been around long enough to know “we’d like to add…” means it may happen eventually (years later) if at all. Usually it’s just something they say and point to when people complain.

Lack of tools for listing multiple colours once:
Someone makes a dress in 10 different colours. They have to list each one separately, which takes a lot of bloody time. Until the change, they were only charged for the colour the person bought. Now they get to be charged L$10 per month per colour. Awesome.

It’s not a lot, but that kind of thing just starts to add up. L$10 for every upload. 5% commission. Land fees. Classifieds. Commission on using lindex.

Things found on xstreet but purchased in world:
Most of my things are in this category. I sell poses and a few animations and not many people buy things without trying them out if the ability is there. But I have no idea how many of my sales comes from this.

I don’t buy anything on xstreet. I search for things, find a few items, then decide in world. I know a lot of people who are like that.

I’ve read a lot of different people say the same thing, that after doing the math the L$10 per month per item charges on anything over L$10 isn’t worth it. If they would give reporting on how many tp to your store based on listings then maybe it’d be worth it. Maybe.

Who decides what listings are stale?
The Shoppers, as indicated by the number of times an item is purchased. If shoppers are purchasing a listing with some frequency, then it is not stale. If shoppers are never or rarely purchasing a listing, then it is stale.

Fuck you very much, LL. I get all sorts of views daily on my items and yet I make in a month on xstreet less than 1/4 of what I make in a day at my main store. It’s always been like that. I have things in my discount section of my main store that you may think as stale, but the people who weren’t around in 2006 when I released it and just now found it may just have a different opinion.


End Rant:

But this is LL we are talking about. They are more than well known for doing half assed changes disguised as helping after pretending to listen. 3 office hours? Really? You’ve got to be kidding me. No one goes to those stupid things. Cause. You. Don’t. Listen. To. Logic.

Perhaps making it easier to find things on xstreet would have been a better solution. Oh wait, there I go with the logic again…

By reducing the overall number of listings on Xstreet SL, the shopping experience will drastically improve which will please our shoppers.

Um say what? I’m all for getting rid of the trash on xstreet, but my trash is another person’s treasure. Improve the shoddy search functions would be a start. Freebies cluttering up the place? Just throw them into their own category. Allow us to filter them out. Overcrowding in general? Add more categories and subcategories. I’d like a couples poses section please. Due to inactivity? Make us log in or auto delist the item(s). How about getting rid of all that ripped content too? That’ll clear out loads of clutter. Oh even *gasp* actually following through on things that violate copyright and trademarks.

There is all sorts more junk and clutter out on the grid. Did you know that? It’s what makes finding very specific things, even through the trash on xstreet, easier. Are you going to do some hamfisted thing with that next?

And as usual there are many better ideas people have thrown out in the 4 hours since the announcement than they seemed to have gotten from the useless office hours.

In addition to the survey they sent out about new (and rather expensive) marketing programs they are thinking about doing, it makes me wonder if LL is taking SL more in the direction of where people fear Blue Mars is going: only people with a lot of cash and/or already established will have a chance.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights:

Second Life-Certified Vending Machines
-Usage of the vending machine will allow the merchant to receive premium support for merchant activities, enable automatic listing on XStreet SL, and ensure that all items are delivered…. guaranteed. Additionally, the vending machines provide rich data reporting and business metrics.
– Linden Lab would assess a 10-15% surcharge on all purchases

Listing and Promotional Program

– By joining this program, any item you list for sale in-world can also be auto-listed on XStreetSL. Cross-posted items will automatically be displayed, in rotation, in a premium position as a sponsored listing in on the Classifieds page.
-To participate in this program, a small surcharge will be assessed a fee 5-10 $USD for each item cross posted.

Merchant Marketing Program
– The program would provide exclusive use of branding systems, customized store systems (such as a custom URL/SLURL and web storefront), and automatic consideration for large scale promotions. Also included is a data dashboard to enable you to track purchases in real-time. Customer service tools such as AvaLine mean that you are always able to talk with your customers.
– Membership in the merchant marketing program would be available at a cost of $10-100 USD monthly, depending on sales volume.

The Mall of Second Life

– In exchange for the free land and promotion of the Mall, Linden Lab will assess a 30% surcharge on all purchases.

Telstra Thumbs Nose @ SL Community

Posted in Real Life, RL, SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by Valiant Westland

BigPond LogoI was sitting in my home office this evening, enjoying the luxury of listening to my favorite Pandora streaming radio station and chatting with friends in SL and on Plurk when the news alert popped up;  “Big Pond pulls plug on Second Life.”  I believe Telstra‘s decision to pull the plug on BigPond has everything to do with bandwidth costs and little or nothing to do with the success of Second Life as a business platform.  This, despite the implication of a PhD student at the Queensland University named Ms. MacKenzie, who despite her prior defense of Second Life stated  “…companies such as BigPond were deserting the platform…”.

Telco MafiaThe “Bandwidth Wars” are definitely starting to heat up.  I’ve predicted access to bandwidth and fresh water will be the next decade’s most important determiners of individual, community and national prosperity.  In the case of bandwidth, tech writer Dana Blankenhorn said:

“Like freeway lanes, like sea and airports, the quality and price of your Internet bandwidth determines how much it costs to do intellectual business with you.”
Dana Blankenhorn – ZDNet

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has done a good job Explaining International Broadband Leadership.  Countries that help make ubiquitous, cost-effective,  high-speed broadband available to the greatest number of their citizens, will enjoy significant competitive economic advantages.  Those that favor the selfish interests of Telecom giants and allow them to throttle Internet access to services they don’t control, like Second Life, are doomed to fall further behind in an increasingly wired and “always-on” world economy.

Cracked Desert PondSo, the “Pond” is being drained for about 2,000 regular Australian users of Second Life.  My guess is that as many of these users as can find an alternative unlimited bandwidth option, will dump Telstra in return.  For those who are disabled, running home-based businesses or pursing educational endeavors in SL and don’t have other ISP options, it’s a black day indeed.

I encourage those interested in “Saving The Internet” and “Net Neutrality” to check out the following links for more information:

Suggested Links

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