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A short, but true, story


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For some reason, this is floating through my mind just now so I thought I'd post it.

About 5½ years ago, back in 2007, I started a low prim furniture store as a little sideline to my skybox rentals business, and I called it 'Prim Savers'. I would have prefered the name 'Prim Misers' but I mistakenly thought that Americans would spell it 'Prim Mizers' so I didn't use that name. It was extremely successful, which astonished me. Then, after a couple of years, I got bored with it, and with SL, and I decided to let the store run dowm so that, when it was no longer earning enough RL money to make it worthwhile, I'd close it. It's been running down ever since then. It's taking a very long time to become not worthwhile, but it's getting there.

Not long after I'd started to let it run down, I discovered another Prim Savers in SL, also selling low prim furniture. I spoke with the person who owned it and he told me that he started up 2 months earlier and that he hadn't been aware that there was already a Prim Savers in the same field. He also said that it was too late to change to another name. He was wrong about that, of course. He just didn't want to change for obvious reasons. At the time, my store was extremely high in the search rankings for many searchterms concering low prim furniture, including 'low prim furniture' itself, so I didn't believe that he wasn't aware of my store when he decided to use the name. The situation was discussed in various puiblic places, including this forum (the original one), and nobody believed him. Everyone agreed that he was trying to capitalise on the success of an existing business name in the same field.

During those public discussions, he employed a lawyer to advise him. Then he applied to register 'Prim Savers' as a trademark, and included such names as 'PrimSavers' as well. All this cost him real money. The trademark application cost him $300 and I've no idea what the lawyer cost him but it wouldn't be just a couple of dollars. As soon as he'd applied for the trademark, he asked LL to stop me using the 'Prim Savers' name. But he'd only applied for the mark. It hadn't been granted, so LL wouldn't stop me using the name. What they did was email me to tell me what he was doing. That was very good of the person at LL.

I could have submitted an objection to him getting the mark, and I would have won due to my proveable prior use, but that would have cost me $300 and, since I was letting it all run down anyway, I didn't bother. It took quite a few months but he eventually got the mark, and I had to change from 'Prim Savers' to my original preferred choice, 'Prim Misers'.

And now the reason for writing all this...

Some months ago, someone told me that the guy no longer had an inworld store. Apparently he only trades on the marketplace. Today I thought I'd check and, sure enough, after all his unscrupulous efforts, he couldn't make a success of an inworld store, not even when hijacking a successful 'brand'. He failed. I've been waiting all this time - years - for my inworld store to stop making money so I can close it down, and he couldn't make his store profitable at all. I think that's rather nice :)

If you read this far, well done! I didn't expect anyone to read this far.

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A nice little extra...

During the time when he did have his inworld store, he tried hard to get top search rankings for it. But he must have got frustrated because other stores were pushing him down all the time. What he didn't know was that I was resposible for that.

Before I started with SL, I did search engine optimisation. I was well-known in that field. So I knew how to get top rankings, and I knew how to push other people's stores up the rankings, and that's what I did. The owners of the other stores didn't know I was doing it but it was of benefit to them. Every time the guy's store climbed a little, I would push other stores up so that his store was pushed down again. At one time, I was personally responsible for most of the top 20 results for 'low prim furniture', which ensured that he stayed down.

I enjoyed playing that little game for a while, but even that got boring.

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Phil Deakins wrote: "and I decided to let the store run dowm so that, when it was no longer earning enough RL money to make it worthwhile, I'd close it. It's been running down ever since then. It's taking a very long time to become not worthwhile, but it's getting there."

Hmm, I think, we should prevent that. Good quality low prim furniture at a good price is always needed.

 

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Nice of you to say that, Jadeclaw, but on its way out, it is.

However, don't miss the point of this thread - that the guy who stole (legally, but morally stole) my trading name failed to even compete when my store was being left to run down even before he started his.

And don't forget what I decribed in the second post in this thread. I thoroughly enjoyed that part :D

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Good story. I shopped at your place for my first house; I was still on the free 512 so I had to save every prim I could. And I am now the owner of a security orb you designed to cover some issues that arose in a Forum discussion we both participated in. So I guess  you could say I've been a customer for years :-).

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I clearly remember that entire episode and all the back and forth, and you holding your ground for as long as you did; I lost track of it and didn't know he'd ended up trademarking the name, and you'd had to end up changing your store's name.  Like others here, I too often shopped at your store in my early SL days and still have stuff in my inventory from there.  Maybe it's time for another visit, to help slow down its' momentum even more slowly.  :) 

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The thing is, when someone starts a business, will never know if this business is going to be succesful or not, if they are lucky and by the time the business becomes a success, someone else must have discover it and try and copy  name, or stuff sold, and that is why it is important that creators TM names and copyright their products , if they are serious about carryng on a business in SL to avoid problems later.  But in your case at least the other business failed, kharma is a **bleep**!

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I'm proud to have had your custom, Dillon and Treasure, but there's no need to buy more to keep it going becaise it's been my desire to close it as soon as it's no longer worthwhile, and it still is my desire. You can be sure of one thing though. There will be no closing down sale or anything like that. I've always seen sales (selling things cheaper than other people bought them for) as a sort stab in the back to customers who paid the normal price, and I won't do that. Having said that, I don't suppose I'd mind keeping it going at the current level ad infinitum, but it won't happen. I won't be doing anything to help keep it going so it'll get below the threshold and that'll be that.

I don't know why the other guy crossed my mind today, but he did, and it made me feel like writing a potted version of the story - more for me than for anyone else. I suppose it could have the benefit of warning those who have a well-known business name that the name could be legally hijacked. If the guy hadn't been so silly and asked LL to stop me using the name because he'd applied for a trademark, and if someone at LL hadn't written to tell me what he's doing, I wouldn't have known until it was too late. So if anyone does have a name worth holding onto, it might be good to get a trademark on it. It only costs $300.

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Venus Petrov wrote:

One must do more than just offer low prim furniture to attract buyers.  Quality, customer service, and appeal of the shop (inworld) are all factors.  While your competition 'won' on the name, he must have lost due to other factors as well.

You're probably right, Venus. I do know that he got bad publicity wherever it was discussed but most users wouldn't have been aware of it, so that probably didn't make a difference.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

...., but there's no need to buy more to keep it going becaise it's been my desire to close it as soon as it's no longer worthwhile, and it still is my desire. 

We should all go in and buy an item every few months just to keep it ticking over so Phil has to keep working. Lets see how long we can drag this out for. It will be the longest wind down in the history of winding down.

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Nice story! I think it could've used a little more motivation like the other store owner kills his best friend or a jealous love triangle with a runway model bot. Then a final battle at the end where the bad guy gets stuck in an endless sim crossing.

But yeah, it's good to hear your story on the forum. Fortune favors the patient.

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Venus Petrov wrote:

One must do more than just offer low prim furniture to attract buyers.  Quality, customer service, and appeal of the shop (inworld) are all factors.  While your competition 'won' on the name, he must have lost due to other factors as well.

He actually made some nice stuff but he made what I consider to be a big mistake with some of it - the beds in particular. He used sculpties to keep the prim count down, which is very good, but he didn't bother about actual useage, which is very bad. For instance, you couldn't sit on, or stand on, or walk across, his 4-poster beds because of bounding boxes. You could only get on the poseballs, and when you stood up from a poseball, you ended up on top of the bed's canopy. I had to laugh when I saw that :)

When he eventually got the trademark, and I had to change the name of my store, he gloated about it in a commerce group. I wasn't a member of that group at the time, but someone there told him that he was making enemies because of what he'd done. If I were still a member of that group, I might be tempted to gloat that 'he who laughs last, laughs longest' :D

 

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