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Commerce Discussion: basic mode without money option, good or bad for business?


Madeliefste Oh
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Have you already tried the beta version of the new viewer that comes with a basic and a advanced mode?

The idea of a simplified viewer for new residents is not bad at itself, given the fact that we loose more then 90% of the new customers after their first log-in. (I searched for the statistics about how long residents stay in SL, I have seen quite a while ago, but I could not find them anymore). A less high learning curve might end up in less people giving up after one try. More people in world means more potential sales for us merchants.

Now this new basic viewer had no money option. There is no possibility to buy L$, or the possibility to buy goods for 0 L$.

There might be some exceptions, but most avatars are not going to buy virtual goods on day one anyway. The fact that people can have a dip into the world without there is any apply to pull the wallet might make it more attractive to stay around for a while, and once they stay the need to personalise their avatars will grow, so the need for the advanced viewer with the possibility to buy will grow.

So my thought (or maybe even more 'my hope') is that a basic viewer without the moneyoption might lead to more buys in the end then the current (only advanced) viewer.

But what bothers me with this new viewer is that the avatar experience is way too limited. You can choose from 24 avatars, and that is it. No way to change your hair, to wear a skirt in stead of pants or to change shoes. A basic viewer resident has NO INVENTORY at all.

I my opinion is have no inventory at the very beginning of your second life more harmfull to the SL commerce then having no money. Dealing with your inventory and dealing with the way you look are two very basic needs in SL. When you take those away, SL will be not so much more than walking through a 3d picture book. That is an experience that is way to limited. People must be able to explorer the possibilities of their avatar. In the end the avatar is the instrument to express yourself in this world. And we merchants have so much wonderfull props available to help people to express themselves. But the possiblity to express (part of) your personality or fantasies throught your avatar must be available for day 1 of your SL experience. The possibilities to buy 0L$ items must be available as well in this viewer. Testing out looks through freebies is often the beginning of spending money on virtual goods.

And what are your thoughts on this subject?

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The inventory has always been complicated to use in the sl viewer, but i do agree that it's integral to the real-secondlife experience. It's a cornerstone of the sl economy. I do however think that it's a good thing that the basic mode does not have an inventory and focuses more on social interaction than on avatar customisation. People will first learn that secondlife is a fun social place, they may perhaps meet some interesting people and want to stay inworld. Maybe they'll join a clan, meet a nice girl and so on.The important thing is to get people off to a quick start, within 5 minutes they should be chatting away and exploring. The viewer has to be simple, and the more similar they make it to the internet browsers and desktop GUIs people are used to, the better. Ok, what i'm trying to say is: people will get hooked on people, not on customizing avatars.

Later they will notice weird, amazing avatars and ask how/where those were acquired. When they see the potential to impress other people, gain status and so on they will naturally want to progress to more advanced options... and begin to look into purchasing lindens and go shopping with the friends they made in basic mode.

I do think a good AO and some fun gestures should be included out of the box, because the gestures they have now are too plain and unfunny. More flirtation gestures would be a big, big plus, because lots of people come to sl to have virtual romances.

 

Sorry, i'm a mess at writing, but to answer the question: yes, i think it's ok to start basic with no inventory. It's good for business in the long run.

 

 

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Anders Mistwallow wrote:

 Ok, what i'm trying to say is: people will get hooked on people, not on customizing avatars.

 

 

I agree with you on this. Friends is the most important factor to keep people in world. A friend might be even more important then a beautiful or original avatar.

But I think that this is only half of the story. Because SL is not a bare chatbox, but a visual word. You 'are' not only what you say, there is this visual presentation of you, your avatar. You need to feel comfortable with it. You need tools to make it your own. Even if you come to SL for finding a relationship, you must first love yourself to love somebody else.

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If you ask me, an inventory is crucial to the experience. Change our Objects folders into My Objects and has that be the only folder that shows in basic. You can't get confused with 1 folder, and it gets you ready for the Advanced viewer. Maybe also allow folders that are made by the user too, this way if they get a folder or buy something and get a folder, it will still appear. Again, this gets them used to the Advanced viewer, without having all these folders when you start.

Having the option, right away, to engage in commerce is also crucial, IMHO. Even, If nothing more than a visual reference. Plus, a big marketplace banner somewhere. The basic viewer is perfect for some kind of advertising space and is a special market for those that cater to newbs, so allow the residents to market directly on the basic viewer.

Too me, the basic viewer is way too basic. Actually, it barely covers the first hours of an average first time experience, when I really think it should have enough there to keep some1 interested for at least the first week. Plus, it is not all that clear that there are other viewer, and I don't really count pop ups or warning messages. It should be a visual thing, right there in your face, especially when you can't even buy stuff.

My other dissappointment was that the basic is not really a "light" version, made to run on low end machines, which is why I always pushed for 2 viewers. I was not asking for 2 viewers so that it is less complex, cause I really don't see that as the problem. Too me, my facebook friends buy super cheap laptops and basically can't run SL and have any kind of enjoyment. So, my thoughts on 2 viewers was about accessibility and performance, not complexity.

 

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From Rodvik:

"Lastly, we know that the Basic mode is very lean, and we’re only at the beginning of developing the minimum feature set--keeping it simple and working on the basics of usability first. We anticipate adding additional capabilities to Basic mode, so your feedback is important before we make this version of the SL Viewer the default download for new users."

The date of that is 18 March.

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Introducing-SL-Viewer-Beta-with-Basic-and-Advanced-Modes/ba-p/758329

 

This Basic/Advanced approach is very close to a suggestion made on the old forums several months ago. I think the idea floated then was to have three modes in one viewer - one for noobs, one for builders/knowledge users, and one for folks in between (gross over-simplification, it was far better presented). If LL is following up on that suggestion, then perhaps a third mode will be developed which allows for inventory and money. Or maybe they'll come up with a way to integrate that into Basic.

Either way, I'd be surprised if they didn't create some sort of non-Advanced mode which included inventory and money. Personally, I'm hoping (but not expecting) that they're looking at ways to better organize and present inventory. That would be a huge help in making viewers more noob-friendly (the problem isn't in getting stuff, it's in managing it once it's gotten) and benefit the rest of us as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just learned of this whole basic mode sue to a friend creating a new account. Providing such a limited experience is a real good way to turn new users off. I don't see how it can possibly be good for business when you can't even access any inventory you try to purchase. Also, if a third party viewer is used, you can't switch out of basic mode.

 

I notice this change was snuck in through the back door without the usual announcements to the user community. This insures that new users asking questions will be met with ignorance and possibly derision from existing users thinking they are just clueless. Way to go Linden Labs.....

 

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Thinking back to my first days in SL, I did the tutorial, walked around my starting zone and was stuck there for some time.  I ended up accidently removing cloths and did not know how to put them on and had to ask somebody for help -- ugh.

It was some time before I figured out how to TP and move about the grid.   Before that, my MMO experience had been limited to a few years of World of Warcraft and even those concepts of MMO operation were not helpful in SL.

Persistence was the only thing that paid off -- and the learning curve was steep.   I think it took about 1 or 2 months of messing around before I trusted SL enough to by some Lindens.

That said I can understand the reasons to want to overcome the barrier to entry first.

 

How long did it take everyone else to place their first order for $L ?

 

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Sassy Dirval wrote:

How long did it take everyone else to place their first order for $L ?

 

I'm here for 4 years now, and still have to place my first order :smileytongue:

In my newbie days camping was a wide spread way of making money for newbies. I made my first L$ by camping and I was not older then one week when I did spend my first L$ (on hair). I didn't take long before I discovered that my Photoshop skills were even a better moneymaker then camping. While I worked on textures, my avatar was camping to cover the upload costs.

What I remember from my first hours, is that I landed somewhere in a training place, where you could do something with a ball. I discovered that you could fly. I flied around a whole time, and then could not find the trainingplace back. I landed somethere where I was alone. Then I discoverd I could shape my own avatar, and I spend the rest of the time of my first visit on moving sliders of my eye size, my head shape, my hands, my legs and so on. It highly fascinated me.

My 'dead point' where I easily could have stopped using SL was the second time I came back. I just did not know what to do then flying around a bit more to find the place back where I could learn how this game was played. But I did not find it. I stayed in SL thanks to Google. I had seen a documentairy some time before I first logged in, and I remember I had seen some people talking Dutch there (my language). I used Google to find out about this, and Google brought me to a Dutch SL forum. There I found out about Dutch places in SL and how to get there. And at those places I made my first friends.

I found people very willing to help you with your first steps in SL. They thought me all, from how to IM to how to TP and how to use search, how you could make start up money with camping, where you could find free skins, clothes, hair, shoes, and so on.

While I was camping I could amuse myself with digging out my inventory. I could fit the free clothes, hairs, shoes, I had found and make outfits and put those in a folder. Dressing up my avatar could keep my attention for hours. Apart from other people who are absolutely number 1 on the list of reasons 'why to stay in SL?', the second thing that made me stay was this possibility to dress and finetune my avatar. 

I was not aware at the moment, but when I look back now at this period, I think something very important has happened while I was playing with the looks of my avatar. At psychological level it was a proces of accepting the avatar as being me. Not that I tried to make a RL look-a-like, not at all. But the distance between the 'unknown puppet' that is the visual presentation of my account and myself became smaller, while I invested time to make this puppet my own. In stead of looking at is as 'I play with a puppet called Madeliefste Oh' I started thinking  'I am Madeliefste Oh'. Isn't that an important factor to keep you involved?

 

 

 

 

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It is hard for me to evaluate what might retain more new ppl because I loved SL from the first moment. Even the scariness was thrilling. I found a group of ppl who took me in and answered my questions. I played with Barbie -- I mean, Pamela -- constantly, fussing with her system hair and clothes, and yes I identified with her. Instantly hooked.

I did a couple of informal surveys of what Myers-Briggs personality types ppl in some SL forums (Xstreet and SLU)  were, and found that (duh) certain types are far more likely to take to SL than others (and are found far more often in SL than RL). Those others -- I think it would be about as difficult to get them to stay in SL as get a cat to stay in the bathtub. 

I did a blog post about the surveys, which can be found here.

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The basic viewer should make it easy and fun for new people to get a very good taste of what is possible in SL.

But that to me includes spending money and changing your avatar.

New people don't (yet) care about building, tweaking the settings, owning land, etc, etc.

But I think many will enjoy playing with their looks.

If they can't change their look they will not even be allowed to visit some sims (including mine).

There is a lot about SL you won't need during the first couple of days, weeks or for some even years.

But pretty much everyone sooner rather then later wants to change their look and spend or make some money.

It is one of the things that will draw people into SL, and if they can only do this by crossing that threshold to the scary advanced mode, they may be scared off.

So I like the basic viewer idea, it should be the viewer everyone starts with, a very simple mode with very few buttons.
But removing the ability to change your avatar and spend money is not a wise choice.

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