Archive for January, 2009

The Business of SL™

Posted in Guides, Op/Ed, Satire, SL® Business, SL® Fashion on January 30, 2009 by luth brodie

Last week I came across a plurk about sometimes wishing they weren’t a business owner in SL™ so they could voice their opinions.

The funny thing is is that it goes against what creativity is at the core: expressing ones thoughts, opinions and feelings. The need one feels to express themselves doesn’t stop at whatever art form they are into. And typically the more creative a person is, the more opinionated they are. That opinion also tends to drift away from conventional thinking probably because most creatives view the world a bit differently. In many cases, certifiable is a good description. There really is a thin line between madness and genius.

Yet SL™ business people have the fear of mad fashionistas hell bent on destroying their business by any means possible. The sad fact is that it’s not entirely unjustifiable. Step out of line and there will be people waiting to push you off the pedestal you most likely never knew you were on. They will tell you, blog it, and tell their friends.

What no one ever says is that it’s impossible to do. There is a heap of historical personal missions of business destructions that prove it. The amount that they will reach is really only a fraction of the residents. Even if it may be the vocal minority and seem like the end of the world as you know it. On the bright side, chances are that someone who’s never heard of you goes to your shop to check you out and may secretly buy products knowing as we all do that this will blow over soon. I can’t think of one example of this ever working. Can you?

Perhaps the opinion fear has to do with the idea that anything written out seems to change it from an opinion to a fact in people’s minds. That somehow saying I ❤ toast means that everyone should ❤ toast and if you don’t, you suck. And then someone somewhere will get butthurt over hurting their cereal’s feelings. When in fact all I’m saying is that I personally prefer toast.

But even not running around with your mouth flapping in the wind will save you. Actions can have the same effect. Take this week’s instance of certain hair creators adding in a script to protect from the rampant content theft. Granted it wasn’t well thought out, but the reaction was still pretty fierce.

It’s as if, in certain circles, the perception of our personalities is far more important than the quality of the items themselves. How many times have you read a review or seen a store suggested based solely on the level of niceness and/or coolness of the creator?

Coolness? You’ve got to be kidding me. We are geeks who sit at the computer for 20 hours a day. And everyone has the ability to be nice. Even serial killers.

Code of Conduct of SL™ Content Creation:

  • Be a person who is approachable and likable, but with out flaws, opinions (at least unfavourable ones) and don’t make mistakes. But don’t be too perfect or else they will hate you.
  • Never have a bad day/week/month/year. Everyone must think your life is all roses. Let anything slip and you are too emo. But again, don’t be perfect because they hate that.
  • Be sociable or else you will be a snob, but too much and you are labelled an attention seeker.
  • Your products are awesome – you made them of course – and you want everyone else to think so. However, talk them up too much and you are conceited. Be too humble and it seems fake or that you have low self esteem.
  • Never copy anything from RL or SL™ unless certain people like you, even if that SL™ “copy” happens to be using the same source photo. However, if you find yourself in the middle of that shit storm, just wait it out. They will be blogging you again in your next release or two.
  • Be professional but don’t let anyone believe you are here just for the money.
  • Have integrity, but never lay it out on the off chance you may change your opinion. You are not allowed to have opinions, let alone change them.
  • Never let on that the level of niceness you are is just an act to relieve them of their L$.
  • Don’t do anything someone somewhere might perceive badly.

The problem at the core of all those rules is that each magical line you must not cross is different for everyone. As a bonus with SL™, it changes frequently and without notice. You will never please them all. One person’s likable is another’s annoyance.

The only person you will ever be able to please is yourself. Be how you are comfortable being and understand that the majority of SL™ really doesn’t care about whatever shit is stirred up this week.

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Hey Jealousy… Hey Jealousy.

Posted in Love & War with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

Jealousy typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety that occur when a person believes a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival. Jealousy often contains a mixture of emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust. While jealousy and envy are similar, they differ in that jealousy is about something one has and is afraid of losing, while envy is about something one does not have and either wants to acquire or to prevent another from getting.

Jealousy scenario:

You and your partner are at a club, dancing – let’s say on a Bits & Bobs v6. He is looking like his usual sexy self and you smirk at the fact that you’re with the hottest man in the room. This is an intimate moment between you two and you are stroking your keys with the oncoming foreplay via IM. Everything is going great until… in comes one of his ex girlfriends making her way through the crowd and stopping at the two of you. Your man looks up and is smitten to see his former flame. As he introduces you to the ex, you try to maintain a smile while trying to find your words. They continue to exchange friendly words and you sit idly by while your blood boils to levels that may or may not result in her body being flung over to the dj booth. In short, her presence is making you lose it.

This scenario is one of 21324657674654657 that depicts jealousy. Just like with aggression and paranoia, jealousy can take on different levels. The scenario above could result in you either being totally at ease by the ex’s presence, or getting into an all-out brawl with the bitch while accusing your date of being a cockspit for continuing a convo with her on *your* date.

For some, jealousy is a real issue and if left untreated, can create a permanent wedge between you and your partner, I know this, I deal with *my* jealousy issues a lot. Luckily, I’m getting better and I have learned it can be controlled.

Taken literally, jealousy refers to a strong desire for someone else’s importance, value or stuff. But in a social setting, it causes someone to be doubtful of their partner and/or feel threatened by their interaction with certain people, the clothes they wear, places they go, their job, their history, their smarts, etc. Which amounts to some level of trust. How much do you trust your partner? How much do you trust other people around your partner?

Like I mentioned before, I believe there are different types/levels of  jealousy:

Cute jealousy
Jealousy doesn’t always deserve its negative rap, after all, it’s normal for women to be suspicious of their men (and vice versa). Having reservations about him going to a strip bar with friends or not enjoying the sight of her drooling over some guy in a magazine (or even an H&R Block representative which tote reminded her of you) are innocent examples of how some jealousy can be harmless, and a perfectly normal reaction.

Healthy jealousy
A man who speaks up about having his girlfriend go out with a bunch of guys or seeing another woman flirting with your man is also part of a healthy re’ship. Usually, you’re  just looking out for your partner’s well-being and  iunno about men, but women usually respect that. They may even be insulted if *you* don’t say anything.

Obsessive jealousy
The problem arises when aggression and/or violence accompanies the jealousy. Once you’ve reached this stage, you obsessively begin questioning his loyalty to you, and that sends you into a rage, mayhaps even using or contemplating physical force. You have an extremely low tolerance level and, before long, he is unable to even look (plurk, IM, keep on his friends list) another woman or leave your side when you’re both out. You demand to know where he is at all times, what he’s been doing and the mere mention of another girl’s name sends you off the deep end.

You may have learned your jealousy behavior through bad experiences in your previous re’ships. If you’ve already been cheated on, this may cause you to be more possessive and controlling for fear of the past repeating itself. Even if he’s never given you any reason to doubt him, you probably become more desperate to hold on to the re’ship and want to avoid any situations that could lead up to him having a better option or a chance to be unfaithful. OR you may be the one who’s been unfaithful in the past, and, in a shameful attempt to not have the tables turn on you, you want to make sure that you are the only object of their desire.

For the most part, I have learned anyways, that  jealousy is an issue stemming from ones own issues with self-confidence and self-esteem. You may feel that you’re not good enough for him and that you’re together by a fluke. Watching him interact with other women leaves you feeling worried that he may be “stolen” from you. You may even be bothered by the close bond he has with his female friends, which he may or may not have known a lot longer than you.

Jealousy is dangerous for those who can’t control it, it’s bad in a re’ship because it eats away at the one thing that holds it together: Trust. To tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that s/he cannot hang out with their friends of the opposite sex is like saying “I don’t trust you”. If you have to impose such restrictions, should you two even be together? Jealousy also takes away from your quality time together, and trust me, it leads to numerous fights where you only focus on each other’s negative qualities. You could end up spending the bulk of your day stupidly thinking up scenarios in which they may cheat on you or you could lose them. Before you know it, the greater part of your re’ship will be spent on what could be happening rather than what is happening.

So how do you fix it? Easy peasy! Okay no, it’s not really easy… have you met me? I have issues. What I have learned that seems to be working for me thus far (I’m a work in progress) is…

♥ Learn from past experiences. You know where you fucked up being all jealous & whatnot? Yah, don’t do that anymore and if you do catch yourself, stop it!

♥ Don’t let your imagination dictate the kind of person your partner really is, you can trust em. Right? If you couldn’t, well then why the heck are either of you wasting your time?

♥ You need to realize that s/he chose you for a reason and there is no need for her/him to be so easily tempted somewhere else. Remind yourself that you’re every bit as deserving as those ‘others’ you feel threatened by.

♥ Ask a friend for advice. It may help you to fully understand the extent of your actions (as well as his) by getting a neutral party’s perspective. Well, if your friends are neutral that is.

♥ This one is a biggy and I think most of ours (Hawks & I) were outlined in the beginning during our hammock talk. Try establishing some general guidelines as to what is and isn’t acceptable for you. This way, you’ll both have justification (loves me some justification) for outbursts when either of you is behaving badly.

Honestly even without all the fancy smancy 1261 words *snort*, controlling jealousy comes down to a few simple things: communication, trust, self esteem, and self-confidence. If you can self help yourself with those things, jealousy won’t ever be an issue.

Which Came First?

Posted in Op/Ed, Satire, SecondLife® with tags , , , , on January 25, 2009 by Catero

The culture of the Second Life™ blogosphere presents an interesting casuality dilemma – which came first, the Drama or the Drama Mongers (also known as Drama Queens/Kings or Drama Whores)? Each exists in a relationship of circular cause and consequence. Drama can not come into its harmful fruition without the nurturing of Drama Mongers; Drama Mongers can not reach their full destructive potential without the existence of Drama. One exists for/because of the other. Oh, the philosophy of it all.

Once the symbiotic cycle involving Drama and its Monger has been initiated, it requires fuel to continue to survive – not unlike a fire. Opinion-based feedback from involved and uninvolved parties provides a hearty meal or the animal, causing it to grow and spiral out of control, oftentimes to the point where the original Drama Monger can no longer contain the fallout and then runs away crying to re-enact their well-rehearsed victim routine while lamenting on why this type of thing follows them. The resulting frenzy provides a warm atmosphere of fulfillment for the Mongers.

If you’re outside of the drama loop keep informed. Familiarize yourself with the signs of Drama build-up so you can steer clear and avoid being singed by the radiant energy.

Only you can prevent forest fires.

Giveaway signs of a Drama Monger:

  • Their in-world profile. This will, in some way, mention drama as penned in their own words. It’s so cliché, but it’s true. For those who are not regularly or often involved in the cycle, giving acknowledgment to Drama is not even a consideration, but for active players, it’s ever at the forefront of their thoughts. Paranoid much? Whether it says how much they dislike it or describes how they’re going to react when confronted by it (usually, how their posse is going to kick yer a$$), it’s all the same. They’re in it. Thick.
  • Attention whoring. He or she will make a concerted effort to put him or herself smack-dab in the middle of the action, regardless of whether the resulting attention is positive or negative, oftentimes making the issue about them even if it isn’t. If the Drama has begin clandestinely, the Drama Monger will instinctually “out” themselves as guilty parties by being (one of the) first to take offense.
  • Public cattiness paired with stupidity. When it somes to spewing some form of ego-stroking bullshit at someone else’s expense the Monger needs an audience. After all, what is Drama without its appreciators? Typical examples include talking shit about someone within their proximity in public voice chat, non-private Plurks or Twitters that are critical of others and what they’re doing (even private Plurks/Twitters that are viewable by the subject’s friends and acquaintances).
  • TMI! Receiving intimate detail overload should set off red flags for anyone who gets to know someone’s entire life story (which may include all the lover’s they’ve had and any related experiences in detail, any abuses suffered throughout life, how many people they’ve fought with and/or beat up, any medications they are on, etc.) after the first 10-30 minutes of meeting after having simply asked, “So, what do you do in SL?”.

Common forms of Drama:

  • Drama disguised as public relations. The public deserves to be informed, yes, but giving too much information can prove to be damaging. Posting information on a store blog that the general public does not need to know is a common offender in this area.
    • “XYZ designer ripped my or someone else’s products”. If they’re not your products, inform the original designer, leave it in their hands and respect their wishes. If you are the original designer, file a DMCA without telling the world. Incidentally, by not being discrete you’re: (A)  giving the guilty parties opportunity to delete content and cover their tracks, and (B) opening  yourself up to losing a portion of your customer base when their esteem for you and your brand dwindles as they observe your words or actions in the ensuing melee. When it’s all over, tell us about it (or not), and when doing so, please just state the facts as he-said-she-said will just degenerate into petty exchanges. Opinions tend to be easier to argue against than fact.
    • “XYZ designer has just pulled out of our fashion showcase because [describe the drama in excruciating detail]”. We don’t need to know. This type of masked drama serves only to embarrass the designer. If disseminating information about this is appropriate at all, simply post a statement that says XYZ designer will not be participating further, thank them for their involvement thus far, and apologize to those who were looking forward to seeing their involvement in your show. And for goddsakes disable commenting.Here’s a simple way to avoid that to all the store managers and so-called public relations specialists who keep stirring the pot: take some time to find out what public relations actually is. Google it and take advantage of the free learnin’ resources online. Adapt the principles to the SL climate.
  • I SLove U 4Eva Drama. Yes, many people search for companionship in Second Life, whether they want that to spill into real life or not. But to fall in and out of the I’d-lie-for-you-die-for-you-give-up-all-my-worldly-possessions-for-you type love every month with a different person? Getting involved with someone who leaves behind a long trail of jilted ex-SLovers – especially ones who were partnered to another during the romance, is inviting Drama into your life. You end up defending yourself and your SLove (though, they probably don’t deserve your loyalty) against an army of angry exes and their friends who’ve been dragged into the matter by proxy.
  • Blog comment Drama. Some blogs attract more backbiting and heresy in commenting than others. Everyone wants to get their 2¢ in. The most insidious of all commenters is Anonymous (or some similar nondescript moniker). Good ‘ol Anon will freely spread uninformed and unfounded opinion with a button click without having to own up to the words, then sit back and revel as pandemonium breaks out. Blog owners that have opened up their posts to public and non-anonymous commenting can’t predetermine what people will write, though they can moderate and ban as needed. We don’t always have to agree, but we don’t always have to disagree vehemently.

Whether intentional or unintentional, we have all been involved in drama in SL at some time or other – myself included.

Sometimes you can’t avoid being drawn into Drama, especially if it is directed at you. The best course of action is to carefully consider and compose what you’re going to say (without direct attacks or insults), say your piece, then ignore the agitator and don’t respond to their aggression. The best course of action is to take the high road.

SL from an MMORPG View (for Lowbies)

Posted in Fun & Games, Guides, Op/Ed, Parody, Satire on January 21, 2009 by Orchid

As a gamer, I couldn’t see the point of SecondLife when I first joined.  I had a lot of questions like:

  • Where’s the PvP?
  • Where’s the XP bar?
  • What do I need to do to get items?

Some people may laugh at these questions – but I’d bet any gamer would ask that of a ‘game’ that has a worldwide player base and economy.  The lack of levels really astonished me.   Laugh all you want, but for the longest time (and even now for the most part) I find little appeal in a ‘game’ that mocks the normality of real life.

Shopping, dancing, finding a mate, cheating on said mate, poppin’ out babies:  all this was too close to life.  Yes, even though it is called SecondLife in a very literal way – I still never caught on fully.  In a world which has potential to be anything … why is it the same thing to so many people?

Some of us have a need to gain ‘rank’ or level.  I have devised my own MMORPG type outlook of SL.  Though much time has passed since many of us had real fun while logged in – I feel that if everyone just added some silly (and a lot less crazy) there would be far far fewer blog posts about having the ‘SL Blues’.

Level 1

You start your journey in a crowded village of low level characters.  You can of course power level (aka Skip Orientation Island) past level one – and many do.  Go ahead.  You’ll gain plenty of XP in level two that you have no need for the petty quests in level one.

Level 2: The Awakening

At this point you have learned to walk around and probably even interact with all the strange mobs (players) which spawn randomly (TP and land on your damn head) here and there.  At this low level you still don’t have the ability to rez (build) most likely so its best if you just observe and ask questions.  Gaining knowledge (inventory crap that will tide you over until around level 5) is the biggest XP earner at this level.

Level 3 – Quest Taking

Perhaps by now you have seen other NPCs (people you see standing around but never talk directly to you for whatever reason) but have decided that you need more interaction.  A quest is what you need.  You find a crowded city (club) and make your way to the keep (dance floor).  Though things are quite hectic in this new environment, you are gaining a lot of stats:

  • Charisma (adding people to your friends list)
  • Intelligence (learning about SL and some tips and tricks)
  • Weapon Skill (building/interacting with items)
  • Group Buff (finding out that animations are cause for groups to gather)
  • Armor Bonus (people will likely give you stuff that’s way better than what you have)
  • Guild Invites (likely random group invitations to places you’ll never visit again)

Level 4 – Crafting

The time has come that you choose a profession in SL.  You can’t just be a freeloading hippie!  You have to actually do something.  Whether you decide upon escorting or buying land to make it into tiny boxes to sell for ridiculous prices (Unlock Title:  Glarin’ Baron) you will find your calling.  Crafting is a fine art and with all art comes ridicule.  Don’t listen to those haters.  Rock that shit.  If you accomplish quest titled:  I Am Not My Avatar you may lose favor with some citizens but you gain influence for your high level armor which comes later.  Patience, grasshopper.

Level 5 – Ganking Lowbies

By this point the XP has slowed down compared to the previous 4 levels and now you are desperate to find new quests (new shit to do) but are having a hard time of it.  Now is when you travel to the Great Deserts of the land (sandboxes) and learn the ways of the Gyprims (combination of gypsy and prim).  You watch them build and converse while eagerly awaiting them to go AFK.  Once you are sure they are no longer there, quickly lay a ranger trap (hollow cube) to snare them.  Congratulations!  You have earned the title:  Snap that Trap for snaring 1 Great Desert Citizen and 98234xp!

Level 6 – PvE and PvP

You’ve spent considerable time in this strange world.  You’ve collard someone’s mom and bought yourself prim genitalia.  Now you’re ready for a little PvP (SL Relationship).  This level, though it seems short and easy – ends up in a small scale war which can lead to a huge mob raid (bringing friends into your breakup) which might cause you to have to respec (delete everyone from your list and start again).  Respecing is expensive so do not do this often.  Every time you respec it causes you to gain xp much much slower.

That’s all for the lowbie levels (the first year or so) of SecondLife.  This is seriously how the XP grind and leveling would go if there were ‘real’ levels in SL.  Though these levels are imaginary – no veteran SLer gains enlightenment without going through these lowbie levels.  Nobody.

You can pick your list, you can pick your partner, but can you pick your partner’s list?

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife® with tags , , , , on January 21, 2009 by hawksrock

So today, I am going to attempt to do something which I know I am not supposed to do.  I am going to write a blog post in which there is really only one correct answer, but I don’t really agree with the correct answer so I am going to argue against it. You see, I firmly believe that you should have zero input over your partner’s friends list.  Everything is built on trust between the two individuals, and quite frankly if you don’t have trust then you really don’t have much of a relationship.

That is unless…     the sucker is extremely anti-me and chooses to do things to try to break us apart, in which case I think he should get the ax, be gone, sayonara, adios, don’t look back, and I don’t ever really wanna hear about him again.  You see, I am not really a jealous type.  In fact, Jell has a few exes that I actually enjoy having around and we are both great friends with today.  It isn’t the fact of who did what with whom how and over what sorta apparatus.  Although, I do exhibit a bit of a curiosity at times, and have a partner in life who is rather sharing in that department… so yes, I know all the gory “little” details (or did she make up the whole little part for my benefit,  hmmmmm surely not.)

Although, I am not the jealous type, I do from time to time have to step up and smack down those who get a little too fresh with their advances just cuz there is still a line you do not cross.  I feel this is just part and parcel though of having a hot witty girlfriend.  I remember a few private plurks that got me fired up, or the time in Tiny Empires when I was ready to disown 1/2 my line after a higher up said they like to “spread their Jelly and then eat it” in our family chat.   Luckily a verbal beat down was able to rectify that situation, since I was shown the chat.  There was also the creepyish guy who kept trying to get Jell to come to his house after openly talking about his swinging lifestyle and making open advances.  Even if you aren’t jealous, as a guy there is still a point in time when you are ready to take it to the parking lot regardless.

Now I am not saying everybody has to like me to be on her list.  I tend to have what is perceived as a rather strong personality type, and I draw both admiration and the ire of some, because I just cannot keep quiet when I see things that piss me off.  I tend to be vocal about things, but I will say that I am honest to my perception of things (because there is always a filter that impacts honesty).  I just don’t have that little filter in me, that thinks through the ramifications of being honest before I start just sorta laying it out there for people.  So needless to say, I get along great with most people, but at times hafta take crap off others who disagree with my views.

I assume that there are other couples out there who have people who either hold a candle for their old flame still even though she is with you, or who don’t appreciate you the way your partner does and think your partner could do better in life, etc.  This situation is not unusual on the grid, but there are those who then seek to actively undermine your relationship, and those are the one’s who need to be cut off at the knees.  At some point, helpful protestations turn the corner past just wishing the best for you, and become an agenda item.  I don’t think I am stepping outside my bounds in saying that I really would rather that such and such person is no longer part of our lives.  For the record, out of the hundreds of friends on Jell’s list this really came down to only 2 people.

For the record, although I asked for them to be removed, they remained on her list until such time as one deleted his character, and the other has been on and off her list for as long as she has been on the grid.  I am curious though as to your honest perception about managing your partner’s list.  Obviously, I feel there is very little input you should give, but what if they are intentionally trying to drive a wedge or saying things about you that just are not true?  Do you feel you have a right to make a case for their removal?   To demand it?  Or just to be honest with your concerns and feelings to your partner?

SLebrity

Posted in Guides, SecondLife® with tags , , on January 21, 2009 by Prad

The term “SLebrity” is the single most stupidest piece of SL lingo around – it suggests a person who is notable or “famous” within the metaverse, although not usually in the wider world.

I cringed when a magazine recently decided I was the Male SLebrity of 2008 – I fear it to be a title which automatically makes a lot of people hate you without ever meeting you. I’d rather people met me before they learnt to hate me – at least then you have a reason for it.

I’m all for people doing notable things – someone who creates fantastic clothing or stunning architecture is fully deserving of a “SLebrity” status. But I prefer to live in a world where people are admired for the work they do to enhance the metaversal experience for us all, rather than who they hang out with and who they know.

There’s a pretty notable circle of SL users who form a small segment of the metaverse – and they tend to all know each other. It tends to be all the same faces – designers, photographers, bloggers, magazine staff, Plurkers and Twitterites. You see the same faces again and again, and you can probably total them up to a thousand or so residents.

The thing is this – the only people who are aware of the SLebritism are within this circle of a thousand or so users. Which is significantly small when you consider that Second Life’s concurrency will consist of several tens of thousands of users.

And the vast majority of these users will never read a blog or an SL magazine. They don’t care for social networking tools, and they don’t care who designs their clothes until they want a refund. They certainly don’t give a damn about “SLebritism”.

So at the end of it, SLebrity status only really covers a very tiny proportion of SL users, and it’s really nothing that great to crave or want. I’ve seen numerous people who are “tag alongs” and are doing all they can to build/boost/protect their precious reputations. They really grasp at what this tiny proportion of the grid seems to think of them as though it’s their path to glory and fame.

Get a grip on yourself.

Second Life’s Conflicted & Challenged Economy

Posted in Real Life, RL, SecondLife®, SL® Business with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2009 by Valiant Westland

Conflicted

It’s obvious Second Life’s  economy is both conflicted and challenged.  A quick review of Second Life (SL) history and Group Tools reveals the Linden Labs (LL) founders had an egalitarian, quasi-socialist vision for the SL economy.

SL would be a pastoral wonderland of equality, governed by the benign royalty of the Lindens.  The Lindens would provide this “nirvana” of creativity and “commerce” in exchange for “token” tribute, paid in the form of premium memberships and tier.

What happened next was a classic example of free market economics run a muck.  The virtual pimps, sex peddlers, gambling interests, hustlers and crooks moved in and began making/taking money out of the system as fast as it came in.

Linden Labs laissez-faire attitude towards these commercial uses of the platform, along with ZERO zoning regulations, generated rapid short term growth, but sowed the seeds for many of the problems faced by the SL economy today.  Many of those making profits during the SL boom had little/no concern for the long-term stability of the economy, virtual quality of life or the welfare of SL’s citizens.

Without the vigorish profits associated with gambling and faced with a rapidly deteriorating real estate economy, the  glut of freebie products that stifle legitimate sales and the burden of unprofitable (free) accounts, LL faces serious fiscal challenges.  Add to these economic challenges the overall instability of the platform and the capricious behavior of LL regarding land pricing and it makes SL a tough sell for business.

It’s widely believed there are people in SL who have made money in virtual Real Estate.  How many actually did or continue to make money is a matter of pure conjecture.  Like so many other aspects of SL, there is no solid data from which to draw informed conclusions.  The most thorough and some say daming analysis of Second Life’s economy, titled “Second Life: Revolutionary Virtual Market or Ponzi Scheme?,” was written almost two years ago, when hype surrounding SL’s use as a business platform was nearing its peak.

wrote in “the Coming Second Life Business Cycle,” “If Linden’s goal is to create a setting for a stable, growing economy that will provide the most satisfaction to the most residents, it must avoid the pitfalls of interventionism that plague real-world economies.”

Real business people, as opposed to hobbyists, who want/need to generate a true Return On Investment (ROI), will NOT look at SL as a serious business platform, until it offers the following:

  1. A truly “Free-market” economy with L$ tied to negotiable assets and free from artificial manipulation by LL.
  2. Timely and accurate statistical data on all facets of the economy, including land holdings & sales, transaction volumes, etc.
  3. A system of positive identification and fraud prevention, similar to eBay/PayPal, for all those who wish to sell goods or services within SL.  This must be coupled to a procedural mechanism that allows LL to freeze and/or force the forfeiture of monies associated with illegal activities, including content (IP) theft.
  4. A “business-class” infrastructure that provides a stable and reliable platform for conducting business.

Without these elements in place, SL’s future will likely mirror the demise of AOL.  A community filled with a steadily dwindling number of users who have difficulty “letting go,” despite having better options elsewhere.  The rest of us will take our quest for a Virtual World that can be used as a platform for REAL business plans elsewhere.