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Merchants, Marketplace, Events et al -- the state of the nation


Chic Aeon
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I had been thinking about this earlier in the day when some not so subtle hints collided and now while my eyes are droopy I am waiting for a LONG Blender bake to complete so I am going to put down a few thoughts rather than stand staring into space.

A builder friend of mine was agasp when he heard that the "30 percent" figure had been mentioned a few times in official passing -- in regards to coming Marketplace fee increases.  He was also not happy to hear that some of our former (and his current) venues were closing, had been dropped from Seraphim (not a good sign) or were looking for new creators in very odd places :D. 

All this plus time on my hands got me to thinking.   I know there are very few if any folks here in the forums in events. It is a not so select but still small segment of the merchant population. So here's the scoop. While a few events are doing well still, most are hurting. Many  have closed or are closing (and some of those are not sharable at this point in time). At the same time more and more are coming on the scene, inviting people to join in their grand (brand new) event at a high cost. (Yep, there is a smile there).  

I did the math on at  typical "B" Event (we aren't talking FaMESHed or The Arcade as I have no figures there - but more normal but still high profile events).  In order to ONLY pay 30 percent "commission" (this is of course paid out before the event begins by purchasing a spot in that round) a merchant needs to sell from 10,000 to 17,000 lindens of goods. ANYTHING BELOW THAT is MORE than 30% "off the top" -- each of course dependent on the fee for the booth.  And of course if you sell a lot then it would be less than the 30% figure. 

The problem is -- a lot of folks in those events are NOT selling that much. Many are happy to just cover the fee. Many never recoup their fees with sales.  So just WHY are they there?  :D.

Some truly believe that EXPOSURE will help their inworld business. That certainly can be true but the folks chanting that mantra (or some anyway) are not seeing those returns.  Other are simply there for "the stuff" which comes through the group for the bloggers. And no, they aren't really supposed to keep those blogger goods, but plenty of folks do and everyone knows it happens.  

Most of the designers I chat with know there is a problem. Venues are getting smaller with not enough folks to fill the slots. Slots are being filled with  -- well let's call them low skill goods, like lipstick, eyes, eyebrows and OMG -- SHAPES!  Some venue owners seem to be making alts who make shapes to fill the stalls. And really?  If it was my venue, I would be filling them with "alt stuff" also, just not shapes - LOL.

I am not sure there is an answer here. Most folks seem worried a bit, both those in the events and those running them. BUT when you compare what the event goers pay for spots to what the new Marketplace fees might be, those new fees don't seem so bad -- IF there are some Marketplace improvements to go along.  

And yes, I know most of you don't do events. But just like events are opt in, the Marketplace is also. It is our CHOICE to be there. We can always choose to avoid SL's huge world catalog of goods. Many of the top creators in SL have done that. 

It is going to be interesting these next six months, seeing how the dust settles.

 

Personally?  I have been watching this for awhile. I had my very best month in ten years last month, partly do to a stellar gacha set.  This month (it is SUMMER IN SL! ) is looking pretty dire so far :D.  I decided last month to fulfill my commitments made and then scale back on events. I am staying in the ones that I make a good amount of profit and have left those where I was not (or was trying out). Life is simpler and that's working fine for me.  I plan to spend a fairly quiet summer working on improving my skills, mostly in the texture baking area. At least I have a plan. 

 And my bake is done and bed is calling. 

Just some thoughts. 

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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One thing that may be a factor is the consolidation of the avatar markets around comparatively high cost mesh bodies and Catwa mesh heads. There are three basic categories of events that I can see - new releases from well-known makers, themed events and "bargain" events. It would be the "bargain" events that would be hurt most because a client set that's invested over L$7500 in their avatar just from a base standpoint isn't going to be as interested in L$60 - L$100 items from templates, which are the staples of a lot of the "bargain" events.

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2 hours ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

One thing that may be a factor is the consolidation of the avatar markets around comparatively high cost mesh bodies and Catwa mesh heads. There are three basic categories of events that I can see - new releases from well-known makers, themed events and "bargain" events. It would be the "bargain" events that would be hurt most because a client set that's invested over L$7500 in their avatar just from a base standpoint isn't going to be as interested in L$60 - L$100 items from templates, which are the staples of a lot of the "bargain" events.

While I think that is a valid point, I only know a few folks in bargain events. My comments above are based on those high profile, original mesh, mid level events including themed which are the majority of Seraphim listings.  I obviously don't know folks in ALL those events and some may be doing very well. But it seems like the majority are not.  

 I have NO info at all or know any creators in those REALLY bargain events -- nor do I frequent them. I can't imagine that they are doing well though :D. 

 

 

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Well, I know some of my favourite designers of SciFi and Fantasy stuff do not participate in any of teh themed events. I don't mind them staying away - I know where their mainstores are and as a customer I begin to be annoyed by the superlaggy megaevents anyways.

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13 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

I obviously don't know folks in ALL those events and some may be doing very well. But it seems like the majority are not. 

I suppose the answer is that all things must come to an end.

Shopping events are first and foremost events, people don't go there to find the things theyneed and want as much as for the shopping experience itself. It's fun for a while but you get tired of it eventually unless you are an incurable shopaholic.

Exclusivity is also an important factor. An event is supposed to be something special, something you don't get every day. It isn't anymore of course.

Then there's the question of lag. Popular events are inevitbably extremely laggy and unpopular events are.. well who cares?

From a merchant's point of view, there was a time when you could make yourself a name through events. That's not the case anymore and if you're not a big name, you're not likely to sell much even at the most popular ones. Event shoppers tend to be very brand fixated.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I couldn't agree more. Events had their time. Due to complacency, many events (including some of the top tier events) have lost their luster. What some business owners need to know (that the venue owners don't want you to know) is that they really don't need the venues to be successful. They just think they do. I go to an event to buy an item from a designer I follow. If they weren't at said event, I wouldn't go. It's just that simple.

If anything, that designer should be doing a lot more to drive business back to their mainstore. Releasing all of your products at an event is just contradictory to achieving that goal.

With that said, I still believe they serve a purpose. Either to gain exposure, remain in the public eye (out of sight, out of mind) or in some cases to reinvigorate an age old brand that may have left the scene for awhile.

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I think ChinRey had a very valid point about events FORMERLY being an adventure in themselves.  I used to go primarily to see the builds. I remember one Hair Fair Design that had HUUUUUUUUUGE lipsticks and makeup compacts and blush brushes and the like. It was SO fun.

hairfair.jpg

 

One of the first events I ever took place in was an Accessories Show (I was making jewelry then). So fun with lots to see as well as products to buy.  There was even an underground subway tunnel that connected two sims. AND it was low lag!  We were more minimalist back then.

Really bad pose but here is a photo. 

[fairstreet3.jpg]

And here is another picture from the Accessories Fair a year later I think. 

jadecamel.jpg

These were all before mesh and before events changed from places fun to explore to a quick stop to pick up some stuff. And I used that last phase purposefully.  You may have noticed that the venues are getting smaller, the BOOTHS are getting smaller (not good for Home and Garden) and the designs are getting minimalesce to the point that even "I" am bored by them, simple gal that I am. 

The very best event that I have been to recently (counting both fun factor and smart building from a sim builder's standpoint) was Neo. I was mightily impressed. It was immersive, well made, low lag (well tons of folks there but the sim was designed very well) and had the real feel of a shopping experience without the tired feet. 

neo%2Bjspan%2Bstreet.jpg

I had a super evening there taking lots of photos. It was really like SHOPPING.  The lead from my blogpost said, "A must visit event in my book, Neo, Japan -- as far away from tiny white booths in seemingly endless rows as you can get."

Nowadays the events look pretty much the same. There are no surprises.  And that was my whole point of going.  I would like to see more effort put into the events -- more creativity, less cookie-cutter white cubes. 

 

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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31 minutes ago, Kylie Jaxxon said:

I thought that was how they made their $ was the advertising of such events?

I hope not. This is what they say at their website:

Quote

The sales and event coverage provided by Seraphim is completely free and is a service to the readers and shoppers of Second Life.  We do not charge for event coverage – we never have, and we never will.

 

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2 hours ago, Kylie Jaxxon said:

hmmmm, just curious...why would Seraphim drop a vendor or event? I thought that was how they made their $ was the advertising of such events?

I believe they dropped promoting a major event due to the bad behaviour of the organiser.

Events and sales don't have to pay for advertising, but they can choose to do so if they want extra coverage, for example being featured at the top of the page.

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3 hours ago, Kylie Jaxxon said:

hmmmm, just curious...why would Seraphim drop a vendor or event? I thought that was how they made their $ was the advertising of such events?

As said, sometimes it might be a disagreement between the event owner and Seraphim (I know of one case anyway). Sometimes events drop Seraphim for incomplete or incorrect coverage (yep, it happens). But most often I think it is because the event isn't getting enough click-throughs on the Seraphim website so it isn't worth their time (or that is their perception). Again one case I know of like that.  

My "knowledge" of course could be tainted from points of view. I was NOT there to verify :SwingingFriends:

Edited by Chic Aeon
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7 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

As said, sometimes it might be a disagreement between the event owner and Seraphim (I know of one case anyway). Sometimes events drop Seraphim for incomplete or incorrect coverage (yep, it happens). But most often I think it is because the event isn't getting enough click-throughs on the Seraphim website so it isn't worth their time (or that is their perception). Again one case I know of like that.  

My "knowledge" of course could be tainted from points of view. I was NOT there to verify :SwingingFriends:

Thanks for the reply :)

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Events are worthless!

Ever since the great Truth Hair disaster of 2013 I know to avoid those massive sim crashing events due to the fact I'll never get anywhere near them, sim will be full for weeks and if I had my heart set on something it was usually exclusive to the event and I'll never see it again.

I've started dis-associating to avoid the torment...I won't even look at Flickr "Coming soon to...".....ugh...no...just....don't!:/

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2 hours ago, AlexandriaBrangwin said:

I had my heart set on something it was usually exclusive to the event and I'll never see it again.

Just wanted to note that many (MANY MANY) events that have items marked "exclusive" on them are only "exclusive" to that event during the TIME OF THE EVENT.  Then they go to the main store.  So there may be plenty of things that you like that are available after the event. 

I have been in tons of events (and blog for people in other venues) and items are typically exclusive ONLY during the event dates. The only exception to that for me are the ''special gifts" that people get after playing a gacha machine so many times. Those are retired. 

I guess I forgot about the Truth Hair Disaster; not putting that together with anything but likely I knew at the time.

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5 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

Just wanted to note that many (MANY MANY) events that have items marked "exclusive" on them are only "exclusive" to that event during the TIME OF THE EVENT.  Then they go to the main store.  So there may be plenty of things that you like that are available after the event. 

 

This is because they don't understand what "exclusive" is supposed to mean and how it's done in RL. If they plop it into their store after the event then it is not "exclusive". Becuase something that is technically "exclusive" then made non-exclusive really wasn't exclusive in th first place. But, I digress: SL will always be SL. LOL

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In the past, some vendors skated around the rule by releasing the item at a much later date. Today however, many just ignore the rule all together. Meanwhile, the event organizer looks the other way and its business as usual.

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58 minutes ago, Chase01 said:

In the past, some vendors skated around the rule by releasing the item at a much later date. Today however, many just ignore the rule all together. Meanwhile, the event organizer looks the other way and its business as usual.

Can you point to an event venue that actually has "release this here and never sell it again after the event is over" rules?  I really would like to know as I haven't come across one (other than the special prizes at some gacha events) and I have been in well over a dozen different venues and haven't seen that rule in any of them .  Thanks.  

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42 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

Can you point to an event venue that actually has "release this here and never sell it again after the event is over" rules?  I really would like to know as I haven't come across one (other than the special prizes at some gacha events) and I have been in well over a dozen different venues and haven't seen that rule in any of them .  Thanks.  

I really don't remember specifically unfortunately.  I just recall having read some older event rules and having had conversations with some of my creator friends that have helped to shed light on a lot of event shenanigans.No doubt, the blame is also on vendors which falsely advertise exclusivity but without the intent on making the item truly exclusive.

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4 hours ago, Chase01 said:

In the past, some vendors skated around the rule by releasing the item at a much later date. Today however, many just ignore the rule all together. Meanwhile, the event organizer looks the other way and its business as usual.

It's easy eough to work around the exclusivity requirement anyway. Some quick-and-dirty minor texture tweaks is all it takes.

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