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Prokofy Neva

One Measure of the Economy, Anyway

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New World Notes has a survey for merchants about sales, but it doesn't include rentals and landsales. I would love to see a survey on that subject.

People endlessly speculate about the economy, and their notion that "SL is dying" and so on, but few have hard numbers other than Tyche Shepherd, who actually chats the number of sims, which is one measure of the economy and population, anyway, and a fairly good one.

So I will tell you one measure I discovered, take it or leave it as you will -- the number of people who rent land for stores and who rent mall space.

So in 2010, this number in my little rentals was 76 individual avatars renting either empty land space or stores or stalls within malls or boardwalks; in 2018, this number was down to 35. I reduced land/space accordingly.

During that time, I got rid of one boardwalk and one entire mall in PG -- PG is just hard to rent because people feel like they can't put out a revealing outfit or adult furniture without it being abuse- reported and the Lindens swooping down and removing even classical art showing a breast. So they shy away from PG. Even so, I was able to fill one PG mall that was very nicely built by Bill Stirling for about 14 years, imagine. Tenants included people making jewelry -- but I suppose mesh killed their prim business. People with games -- but now this has to be registered and put on a gaming sim if related to legal games and that's that. Also people making outfits -- but again, with mesh, people are forced out of business if they can't do mesh. I would often have pregnancy, baby and mom stuff -- these people were the worst about not paying rent. Some of them were re-selling famous baby stuff. Babies are still pretty big business in SL I think. 

But in the end, it was more bother than it was worth -- too few tenants, too many overprimmers or non-payers. So away it went, and the land was sold. It's funny, other PG malls I have still do OK, but that's because one is next to a landmark in Destinations and the other is next to an infohub which still produces some traffic. I'm a big believer in the concept that traffic does not equal sales. Only sales = sales. Sales come mainly from search/all, according to my polls. Some come from search/places, or blogs, or picks, but not so many come from fly-bys or walk-ins. Still, enough do to make it worth it.

It's very hard to break into SL business. But I do see people still doing it with all kinds of things, houses, furniture, services like photography. With the price of land much lower, and no more telehubs, people don't have to rely on malls -- and don't.

The real killer of malls, I suppose, are merchant events. You'd be surprised how many creators actually still have stores -- "mainstores" -- and even on the Mainland, and I make sure to patronize them to keep Mainland flourishing. Having an entire island with the upkeep of tier is too steep for many people -- I see some band together to make a sim with like 6 creators -- or they sell only at events, plus the marketplace, of course. The Lindens have encouraged the move to the marketplace because they've always had this idea that the future of virtual money making is not in heavy server re-rental -- "land" -- with its upkeep and cost -- but in what is essentially commissions or sales tax. I think they are gravely mistaken about this, but then, I'm not a virtual world platform owner so I can't really speak to the issue with enough information.

Perhaps the miracle is that there are any malls left at all! But there are! Occasionally I stumble across old malls on the Mainland where some unknown has filled it with their friends and random people -- none of them are famous creators, but they might be re-selling breedables or gatchas. 

Merchant events and of course gatchas have boosted the economy in some ways, and killed parts of it in others, like the Internet itself. I think I'd have zero customers in malls if it weren't for gatchas, breedables, and the persistence of some people who don't make really famous stuff but still make cool or fun stuff to keep plugging away at it. So I keep maintaining them.

This isn't just about me and my information drawn from the 50 sims where I have land. It's about all my neighbours. I have an "Area Attractions" card I update regularly where I put the stores and malls and such of my neighbours on the same or nearby sims. I counted a mall, a war memorial, a freebie depot and a few stores all gone. The mall seemed like it was doing well, I would go shop there. But, it didn't have many people. Events are what draw people; that's where they buy.

Why are malls a good thing, and important to keep going? 

1. The rent is way cheaper than the cost of owning an entire sim or paying the fee to be in an event.

2. They are persistent and not just 30 days and not just dependent on blogs and portals to get attention, they can use inworld search, word of mouth, picks, classifieds, etc.

(BTW, I was surprised that "classifieds" is now the top way in which people say they buy and sell on my polls, THEN "search all" and "search places".)

3. The  renter can control a list for media and even ban.

Why are events likely better?

1. ENORMOUS traffic -- all events usually have sims you can't get into on the first 1-3 days of the event. It's routine for some to have 1-4 mirror sims now. They've all learned to stop spreading out giant, winding, confusing builds and have very compressed shopping circles now to minimize lag and people not finding their favourite merchant. Traffic makes sales when it is THAT enormous -- swarms of thousands of people streaming through. The difference between 10 traffic and 1000 traffic isn't a difference to help sales; the difference between 1000 and 100,000 is.

2. More advertising -- big portals like SeraphimSL push them as do inworld groups and lists.

3. Gatchas -- this is where most of the new gatchas are released and they account for a lot of sales.

Malls in RL have died because of the Internet, and they are dying in SL for funny, similar reasons.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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Nice observations!

As a shopper, I enjoy a good mall.  The one anchored by Zuri's Jewelry is outstanding...a lot of the more upscale stores have outlets there.

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I don't like malls in Second Life that much.

They are an ineffective way of shopping for me. When I want to shop from a brand, that I already know, I go to their mainstore or marketplace. I have no need to go to a mall, where I'm only going to find a fraction of their products and have to deal with everything else I'm not interested in taking up resources/rezz time.

I get to know new stores by visiting events. A mall could also introduce me to some, but I would just grab the LM from there and go to their mainstore.

 

 

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As a creator, I've never been a fan of malls. I have only had a shop in one mall and that was the now defunct Slink Shopping District. Honestly, I didn't really notice much of a reason, other than a friendship established with Siddean, to even keep that store open for as long as I did. I've had an in-world shop since 2008 when I opened my first Blushed shop. But I don't rent space, I put my shop on my own parcel of mainland. I've been a premium member since then and have always had at least two premium accounts with as many as five when I kept a very large shop. But nowadays it makes more sense for me to keep a small in-world location with the bulk of my merchandise on the marketplace. I rarely do events. In the past year I've done two events. Sales were very nice from those events but I don't like the pressure of events.

From a shoppers perspective, I love shopping events. I won't go to malls unless a creator I frequent has a shop in a mall, most don't, and then I will only stop in that creator's shop and not go to any of the shops in the area. I use Seraphims and word of mouth along with finding new creators at events. That's how I shop. I guess I could say that all my "window shopping" gets done at events or on the Seraphims website.

Edited by Blush Bravin
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Two side observations/moans:

  • Malls with shopping events built into them are a terrible idea. Looking at you, event that shares a name with a fashion magazine. Shopping events are lag heavy at the best of times, even if you derender the two dozen + avatars also shopping. Adding another 5-10k objects onto the sim so you can scoop up some more rent money is just obnoxious. If you want people to go to your event, at least pretend to care about user experience.
  • Pseudo-malls - ie a collection of main stores on the same sim - only work for smaller creators. If you're that fruit-based creator or that creator mired in scandalous copyright theft allegations then you can afford your own sim, stop being so stingy and think about your customers, god knows you can afford it. Or at the very least, stop running hunts on a sim that rarely drops below 40 people.

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7 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

The real killer of malls, I suppose, are merchant events.

This seems correct, especially combined with a general scaling-up of merchants. Certainly there were always big players, but several factors have cut demand for smaller players, chiefly the significant barrier to entry for acceptable Mesh creations.

It's really not all that difficult to learn the basics of Mesh modelling/fitting tools such as Blender, but it's a tougher challenge to create something that can compete in the current market for increasingly sophisticated content. (And that's ignoring factors most buyers don't currently consider, such as rendering efficiency, which pose even higher hurdles.) So there are simply fewer modest-scale creators needing Mall-scale shops. If they're just starting out, they'll try to get into a few Events and list on Marketplace, and if it takes off, they'll likely jump straight to "Mainstore" ownership.

Gacha is something I avoid as much as possible so I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it would have seemed to me that Gacha resale would fit the Mall model pretty well.

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I think the greater focus on the Marketplace is another big mall-killer.  I don't even remember the last time I shopped in a mall. 4 years at a guess? Certainly pre-mesh (clothes) because I do remember what I bought; it was system layer clothes from V-Twins who used to have outlets in a LOT of malls attached to rock clubs. 

I do about two thirds of my shopping now on the MP and one-third in mainstores. I don't like shopping events because the crowds make the lag completely unworkable for me. And nearly all my discovery of new stores comes from browsing the MP. 

Bottom line is, if a merchant doesn't have a MP presence, I ain't never gonna find them.

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57 minutes ago, Qie Niangao said:

 Gacha is something I avoid as much as possible so I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it would have seemed to me that Gacha resale would fit the Mall model pretty well.

There are actually whole gacha resale sims. But MP seems to dry them out.

Malls seem to be culture related. The Japanese, Anime and Furry communities still have them and delight in them despite having shopping their own shopping events on top. While malls seem to die they are IMHO just transforming. Shopping sims and sim clusters like Flawless, The Wash or No Comment seem to do well. Techniclally those would just be mals, but they have better landscaping ;)

I have seen videos of the chaos of old and I kinda feel I missed something of SL's creative anarchy with those malls... But whenever I want to experience that I can just head over to Kiyomizu in Nepessing sim and go on a mall shopping spree among the Japanese.

Edited by Fionalein
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8 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

1. ENORMOUS traffic -- all events usually have sims you can't get into on the first 1-3 days of the event. It's routine for some to have 1-4 mirror sims now. 

While I agree that has been true in the past, the trend is changing a LOT lately. Some of those traditionally  crowded events events are no longer packed at the opening ( I only found one in my test this month) and some of those mirror sims are disappearing (for one BIG name event  -- both mirror sims disappeared this month). 

Some of the big gacha events are WAY down in number of creators (some less than half the numbers that they were a year ago) and the traffic has basically disappeared with sometimes NO ONE on the sim just a few days after opening.  Quite a few events have closed (nothing really new there) and more will need to close soon. 

We could blame the recent downturn (for the majority of creators) on lots of things including real life (especially in the US) but in SOME respects there is just too much to choose from that is already good and available. So it is more difficult to catch someone's eye -- and their linden pocketbook.  

It will be interesting to see where this all leads.   

I was able to say that my 2018 was a good year -- the best ever actually, but I doubt I will be saying that for 2019.  

 

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10 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Tenants included people making jewelry -- but I suppose mesh killed their prim business. People with games -- but now this has to be registered and put on a gaming sim if related to legal games and that's that. Also people making outfits -- but again, with mesh, people are forced out of business if they can't do mesh.

As much as I love mesh, wear mesh and think that mesh was good in helping push SL forward.....you pretty much just hit on one of the reasons I hate mesh. The entry requirement now to start creating items is too much for most residents I meet to be bothered dealing with. Which is a shame in itself as SL used to be filled with creators big, small, crappy and awesome. Anyone could literally Rez a prim, start playing, add some textures and call it a day. Now however you have to download blender, follow tutorials, learn how to model, learn how to unwrap and UV, learn how to use cycles and thats just covering the basics of what you need to make a decent a looking basic model. Then after that you have to learn how to do advanced modelling, organic shapes, clothing...then leading on from that you have avastar and rigging and if you so do choose yet another program aka Marvellous Designer or Z Brush. It's an insane amount of effort and work and we now sit in a situation where the elite few rule the playing field with the semi elite few beneath them pumping out the same tired old copycat crap but done "differently" and most normal residents saying **** this too much effort I cant be bothered with all that. Go back 10 years and 75% of those normal residents would be creating, modding and probably have their own small store or offering to contribute to SL in some way...now....nada. Mesh made SL better but it also ruined it massively IMO

10 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

The real killer of malls, I suppose, are merchant events. You'd be surprised how many creators actually still have stores -- "mainstores"

That and the heavy focus on marketplace stores. I do miss the malls of yesterday if I am honest. Given the option between a laggy Gacha rip off event or buying actual decent products in an SL mall...I would pick the latter any day.  Some of the best items I ever found came from the gigantic sprawling malls of 200X - 2010. Sadly I don't think there is anything you could do to actually rescue malls. Given (as stated below) you can rent a 512 plot of land for less than 500 linden a week now you would have to be offering out mall stores of a decent size and cheaper than what you can rent for privately to at least have a chance of getting people in and thats AFTER trying to justify to them why they should even pay in the first place when they can have a marketplace store for free. The only time I ever see successful "Malls" now (note quotation marks) is when they are included in some other pre existing sim as part of a shopping district or cater to a specific community, one example of this would be Annie May Heaven which caters to the Anime community and Anime developers.

10 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Why are malls a good thing, and important to keep going? 

1. The rent is way cheaper than the cost of owning an entire sim or paying the fee to be in an event.

2. They are persistent and not just 30 days and not just dependent on blogs and portals to get attention, they can use inworld search, word of mouth, picks, classifieds, etc.

(BTW, I was surprised that "classifieds" is now the top way in which people say they buy and sell on my polls, THEN "search all" and "search places".)

3. The  renter can control a list for media and even ban.

 

The thing is....

1. Most malls I see want between 2-500 lindens a week for a tiny space with a limit of say 50 prims or something like that. You can go to someone like the Chungs and rent a 512m plot of land for around the same price with a higher prim limit and design your own custom space to suit your store, list it in search etc etc and even use the classifieds and whatever else yourself to advertise it

2. And completely dead. SL has become too accustomed to events, marketplace and having your own in world store, with marketplace being what most creators tend to go for now. That and the majority of the malls that are left are now selling products most people would consider as naffy tat that no one is interested in buying. We had a hop round some in world malls not all that long ago and, besides the occasional nifty throwback prim made item, it didn't feel like we were walking around the bastion of creativity that malls once were. 

3. See point 1

I do agree with you on a lot of the points you have made though and as stated further up I really do miss the malls of yesterday that we once had in SL that sold a wide selection of awesome nifty products. But those days are gone and unless your prepared to develop a voodoo fetish I doubt there is any way you could bring them back to the point they once were. Maybe if they were themed to cater to a specific community, as I also stated above Annie May Heaven is doing very well for itself as a mall combined hangout zone, then maybe a mall would thrive

10 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Why are events likely better?

Themed, exclusives, caters to a specific crowd. Though...most (read : nearly all) of them are now Gacha and my stance on Gacha (con products), those who create Gacha sets (con merchants) and Gacha events (con zones)  in general are pretty well known.

 

BUT....maybe you could be the one to change all of this. Perhaps a gigantic multi mall with different sectors catering to a specific crowd with fun games, hangout zones, a sandbox and whatever else you can think to throw in there to keep people entertained

Edited by chibiusa Ling
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15 minutes ago, chibiusa Ling said:

Themed, exclusives, caters to a specific crowd. Though...most (read : nearly all) of them are now Gacha and my stance on Gacha (con products), those who create Gacha sets (con merchants) and Gacha events (con zones)  in general are pretty well known.

it is changing, Miss Ling... or do you think Pocket Gacha and Epiphany added the "Buy wole set" option because they are generous? No, they are not. They just realized they lost all possible money from the folks who could do math.

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35 minutes ago, chibiusa Ling said:

Mesh made SL better but it also ruined it massively 

Agree. Artistically and aesthetically a win, every other way a long term loss for SL. Which anyone could have predicted.

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35 minutes ago, Pamela Galli said:

Agree. Artistically and aesthetically a win, every other way a long term loss for SL. Which anyone could have predicted.

Mesh is not the culprit, it is the "I want original mesh" fad. There are thousands of fullperm assets you can texture and resell, but there is no big market for those derivates.

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I look at it from a different viewpoint. I wouldn’t look at malls as an indicator of sales going down or whether SL is healthy or not. 

The way SL has changed eliminated the need for Malls. Events and MP killed the need for a mall. While they were great for socializing and having an experience of doing something similar to a real life thing, they started becoming unnecessary around 2012-2013. Events killed them.

I started a business around 2013 and people would always ask “Do you have a physical store?” I did I had a couple and they were in malls. Then I started noticing, I got more sales through MP and having a physical store was a money sink. So I stopped having a store. I’d rather take the 5% hit per purchase than shell out hundred or thousands of lindens renting. Ever notice a lot of landmarks you get in a folder don’t work after a while? Physical shopping is kind of a pain, some of it has to do with events, some of it has to do with convenience. It’s similar to the reason malls in real life are dying. 

When I started, events were a thing and kind of a treat. People started to realize, “Hey, it’s better to go to this thing once a month, most of my favorite stores are there, get what I need and go home.” Then it started to become a little bit too much, they were everywhere and they were happening all the time and for everything and more and more people started going to them which meant lag. Not to mention events are a never ending treadmill for creators often leading to burnout.

Now we are where we are today: people are still going to events in droves, but people are starting to notice booths aren’t being filled, the quality is starting to go down and events are the new malls. Except now you derender everybody, shop as fast as you can and get out of there never to return...until next time.

Like streaming and downloading media and online ordering the future is going to be on marketplace and HUD shopping. One hud, takes you to the designers physical store so we’re going full circle. Honestly, I think I’d prefer to flip through something at home, get what I want and continue with my day.

I think the way data is being collected is lagging behind that.

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3 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

Mesh is not the culprit, it is the "I want original mesh" fad. There are thousands of fullperm assets you can texture and resell, but there is no big market for those derivates.

This reminds me of a (very tangential) puzzle that befalls me at many events: Who wears all those tattoos? I realize tattoos have among the lowest barriers to entry of all content types, and it's nice that there's an outlet for less technically demanding creativity. But I almost never see anybody wearing the products, so how do those merchants pay the upload fees, let alone any Event entry charges?

(I'm also amazed that static poses have a large enough market to fill so many Event stalls. Surely Bento generated a brief burst of interest, and fashion bloggers must be in constant search of static poses to use in photo shoots, so maybe that's a bigger market than I appreciated.)

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3 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

While I agree that has been true in the past, the trend is changing a LOT lately. Some of those traditionally  crowded events events are no longer packed at the opening ( I only found one in my test this month) and some of those mirror sims are disappearing (for one BIG name event  -- both mirror sims disappeared this month). 

Some of the big gacha events are WAY down in number of creators (some less than half the numbers that they were a year ago) and the traffic has basically disappeared with sometimes NO ONE on the sim just a few days after opening.  Quite a few events have closed (nothing really new there) and more will need to close soon. 

We could blame the recent downturn (for the majority of creators) on lots of things including real life (especially in the US) but in SOME respects there is just too much to choose from that is already good and available. So it is more difficult to catch someone's eye -- and their linden pocketbook.  

It will be interesting to see where this all leads.   

I was able to say that my 2018 was a good year -- the best ever actually, but I doubt I will be saying that for 2019.  

 

Yes, one big name has taken away mirrors, but I wouldn't say this has changed A LOT; just look at the map for the latest events and watch them as they are announced. Some even have added more mirrors than they used to have. I'm surprised that events that are rather old (years) and not all that (creators are at other, better events) still are overcrowded for 2-3 days. Maybe it's because the Lindens advertise them on Destinations by habit.

It's true that after 3-4 days the sims can empty out completely, meaning that people trying to rent an extra sim are defeated with a sim they used only 3-4 days. Maybe the Lindens can devise a "mirror sim" product that is rentable by the day like some of their old vehicle sims.

To me, what's interesting is that one by one, these big event managers have been forced to drop their ambitious sprawling and even multi-sim builds. Their theory may have been originally that as in real life, you have to both wow customers with an impressive big store or mall, but more to the point, you have to force them to walk past all sorts of displays and counters where they "stick" before moving on, i.e. like the perfume desks at Macy's or the candy and cards and knick-knacks at drugstores or even book stores nowadays. 

In SL, merchants who try to drag customers past things they don't want to look at lose them due to lag and short attention spans. So they have consolidated size and builds so you can just walk around a half circle or circle. When they finally all bite the bullet and put all displays in alphabetical order so you can find the reason you came (usually only one or two things) then we will know a corner is turned either of efficiency or desperation or both. 

Some events think they've cleverly grabbed you by never giving their "shopping guide" to Seraphim or other portals. But perhaps they should know that people like me them simply never go to their events, ever, especially if one visit involved ardurous crawls around big malls with "no fly" on.

Perhaps the gatcha craze is waning when you now see merchants put out a whole set for sale as a fat pack for say, $1200, in addition to a chance to win just one of the things for $50/pull.

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7 minutes ago, Qie Niangao said:

This reminds me of a (very tangential) puzzle that befalls me at many events: Who wears all those tattoos? I realize tattoos have among the lowest barriers to entry of all content types, and it's nice that there's an outlet for less technically demanding creativity. But I almost never see anybody wearing the products, so how do those merchants pay the upload fees, let alone any Event entry charges?

(I'm also amazed that static poses have a large enough market to fill so many Event stalls. Surely Bento generated a brief burst of interest, and fashion bloggers must be in constant search of static poses to use in photo shoots, so maybe that's a bigger market than I appreciated.)

I think you, and many...vastly underestimate the fashionista/fashion blogger market.  Fashion is HUGE in SL.  That includes all the accessories, poses, backdrops, furniture and houses/buildings.  Tatts are a fairly popular item, they sell well enough to keep being invited back to events.  It is not really a mystery :P

 

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15 minutes ago, janetosilio said:

I look at it from a different viewpoint. I wouldn’t look at malls as an indicator of sales going down or whether SL is healthy or not. 

The way SL has changed eliminated the need for Malls. Events and MP killed the need for a mall. While they were great for socializing and having an experience of doing something similar to a real life thing, they started becoming unnecessary around 2012-2013. Events killed them.

I started a business around 2013 and people would always ask “Do you have a physical store?” I did I had a couple and they were in malls. Then I started noticing, I got more sales through MP and having a physical store was a money sink. So I stopped having a store. I’d rather take the 5% hit per purchase than shell out hundred or thousands of lindens renting. Ever notice a lot of landmarks you get in a folder don’t work after a while? Physical shopping is kind of a pain, some of it has to do with events, some of it has to do with convenience. It’s similar to the reason malls in real life are dying. 

When I started, events were a thing and kind of a treat. People started to realize, “Hey, it’s better to go to this thing once a month, most of my favorite stores are there, get what I need and go home.” Then it started to become a little bit too much, they were everywhere and they were happening all the time and for everything and more and more people started going to them which meant lag. Not to mention events are a never ending treadmill for creators often leading to burnout.

Now we are where we are today: people are still going to events in droves, but people are starting to notice booths aren’t being filled, the quality is starting to go down and events are the new malls. Except now you derender everybody, shop as fast as you can and get out of there never to return...until next time.

Like streaming and downloading media and online ordering the future is going to be on marketplace and HUD shopping. One hud, takes you to the designers physical store so we’re going full circle. Honestly, I think I’d prefer to flip through something at home, get what I want and continue with my day.

I think the way data is being collected is lagging behind that.

I said it's *one* indicator of the economy and not definitive because it's a small sample, but the real question is: why are there any malls at all? And there are, for the reasons I've stated -- events are for big name merchants with the money to pay the fees to the organizers; malls are for those who have less or no name recognition and money only for much lower rent. So they are more democratic, which is why I've always supported them despite the hate on them from the sophisticates who think they are high-brow while the rest of SL is low-brow. 

The "hundreds and thousands"renting come with big malls that were first on desirable telehub land on the Mainland, then when that was killed off for purely ideological reasons, then later on private islands, where owners had to charge a lot to make tier, and because they provided traffic with traffic bots and frankly still do in some cases, creating "traffic," they could go on charging. But the Lindens' criminalized traffic bots -- good! -- and even their lower-price islands are still hard to pay for, so that helped kill non-Mainland malls more than anything.

But people don't go to a thing once a month. They go practically every day -- look at them. To events where in fact the same merchants repeat over and over. In fact, I marvel when yet another new event is announced because I worry how the stressed-out creators -- represented at this new event as well as so many others! -- can keep creating. And this is a factor as Chic Aeon. As a consumer, when I see creators consistently turning in rain, balloons, branch mobiles, picture frames, and gazebos instead of the more intricate products they made before, I know they are burnt out. They should stop. I don't need another version of rain, balloons, branch mobiles, picture frames or gazebos.

I think you've really hit upon the truth here: events are the new malls. Because there are so many of them! Because they are laggy, like those hated telehubs were (there were actually only a few of those that were actually avatar traps and laggy). If you have to de-render everybody -- or not put on your fanciest outfits to show off because of your own high count -- then what's the point? You might as well stay at home and click on the MP.

Every time someone talks about technological innovation driving progress, I recall a period in American history when every home had a half-gas-light, half-electric-lamp device, i.e. one wall lamp because electricity wasn't trustworthy. Techs today go to great lengths to put in the sound of pages turning, for example, because old habits die hard. If people only shopped online, I literally wouldn't have to wait in the cold outside to get into say, Gamestop or Macy's, during Christmas. On the other hand, Lord & Taylor's just closed their flagship store despite having the best Christmas windows and I didn't even get to its last week despite getting everything from my first winter coat in NYC to my daughter's confirmation dress in that store. People's habits do change.

The whole point of a virtual world, however, was to restore some of the personal contact lost by the impersonal internet. To be able to try on the dress or look at the house with the $0. To TP in friends and shop and to strut your stuff. I think these human needs for trying and showing and socializing are still inherent.

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6 minutes ago, Tarani Tempest said:

I think you, and many...vastly underestimate the fashionista/fashion blogger market.  Fashion is HUGE in SL.  That includes all the accessories, poses, backdrops, furniture and houses/buildings.  Tatts are a fairly popular item, they sell well enough to keep being invited back to events.  It is not really a mystery :P

 

No, I don't underestimate it at all. I just don't care about it as I have my niche interests like others -- furniture, homes, decor. I change my outfit about twice a year. Clothes are just too expensive, and the alarming increase of separate removeable body parts like mesh heads are not for me. I ignore poses -- I have to, because almost none of them are open to the public, i.e. third parties, and nearly all must be operated by an owner, which doesn't work for me in providing rentals or the land preserve, my interests. I hate backdrops and I think they are over-running events now and as I've complained before, they are ruining what could be much better used skyboxes. But they don't care, because the backdrop business is HUGE because the fashion blogging industry is HUGE

But what you don't explain is why this HUGE sector wants to be in events, not malls. They make enough money whereby they should be able to afford the more expensive high-traffic malls as much as they afford event booths (which may be somewhat less). Events are laggy and last 30 days, of which only 3-4 have any real traffic. Malls would be more persistent. Will the HUGENESS of this industry force malls back into existence because events are poorly serving them, too laggy, not enough exposure, too many of them, etc. 

It seems strange to imagine that the typical SL resident might log on, sit in her house and not move, chat even for hours with someone in private messages rather than in person (she might as well be on Facebook with Messenger instead of inside SL);  buy from the MP, and maybe TP once to an event to buy a dress and a backdrop, so that she can take snaps of herself against her backdrop in her new dress, and upload them to her blog. She won't have moved two meters in many cases. I know this is popular because the backdrops are on top of roofs or in the yards of rentals of mine. The penny-saving avatar could just put them in sandboxes and be done with it. Why would someone find it more interesting to pose against a backdrop and snap a picture rather than actually walk through a beautifully-built sim, let alone their own beautifully-decorated multi-level home? But they do, because that's how it is.

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47 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

Mesh is not the culprit, it is the "I want original mesh" fad. There are thousands of fullperm assets you can texture and resell, but there is no big market for those derivates.

Not true, " but there is no big market for those derivates." Click on "edit" on the product of quite a few of the participants of the big events. See how they have artfully put together full perm mesh items by hard-working full perm item suppliers. Even some of the top names make use of others' full-perm items because they are so pressed for time and product.  It is indeed an art, as I've found when my reach perennially exceeds my grasp, and I buy beautiful full-perm things that somehow, I can't put together very well. I put them on mod so that my few customers or hapless tenants can at least modify their copy of my grade-school concoction. It really is a skill. And there is a LOT of it. Look at my Twitter feed, where I try to include credits to the full perm item providers along with the final craftsperson.

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22 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

It seems strange to imagine that the typical SL resident might log on, sit in her house and not move, chat even for hours with someone in private messages rather than in person (she might as well be on Facebook with Messenger instead of inside SL);  buy from the MP, and maybe TP once to an event to buy a...

Are you spying on me? (This was a joke, implying that the description was a perfect match.)

Edited by Wulfie Reanimator

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2 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

No, I don't underestimate it at all. I just don't care about it as I have my niche interests like others -- furniture, homes, decor. I change my outfit about twice a year. Clothes are just too expensive, and the alarming increase of separate removeable body parts like mesh heads are not for me. I ignore poses -- I have to, because almost none of them are open to the public, i.e. third parties, and nearly all must be operated by an owner, which doesn't work for me in providing rentals or the land preserve, my interests. I hate backdrops and I think they are over-running events now and as I've complained before, they are ruining what could be much better used skyboxes. But they don't care, because the backdrop business is HUGE because the fashion blogging industry is HUGE

But what you don't explain is why this HUGE sector wants to be in events, not malls. They make enough money whereby they should be able to afford the more expensive high-traffic malls as much as they afford event booths (which may be somewhat less). Events are laggy and last 30 days, of which only 3-4 have any real traffic. Malls would be more persistent. Will the HUGENESS of this industry force malls back into existence because events are poorly serving them, too laggy, not enough exposure, too many of them, etc. 

It seems strange to imagine that the typical SL resident might log on, sit in her house and not move, chat even for hours with someone in private messages rather than in person (she might as well be on Facebook with Messenger instead of inside SL);  buy from the MP, and maybe TP once to an event to buy a dress and a backdrop, so that she can take snaps of herself against her backdrop in her new dress, and upload them to her blog. She won't have moved two meters in many cases. I know this is popular because the backdrops are on top of roofs or in the yards of rentals of mine. The penny-saving avatar could just put them in sandboxes and be done with it. Why would someone find it more interesting to pose against a backdrop and snap a picture rather than actually walk through a beautifully-built sim, let alone their own beautifully-decorated multi-level home? But they do, because that's how it is.

I was replying to Qie Niangao's post ..... I thought that was pretty obvious, since I also quoted him....as one does.... when replying.

31 minutes ago, Qie Niangao said:

This reminds me of a (very tangential) puzzle that befalls me at many events: Who wears all those tattoos? I realize tattoos have among the lowest barriers to entry of all content types, and it's nice that there's an outlet for less technically demanding creativity. But I almost never see anybody wearing the products, so how do those merchants pay the upload fees, let alone any Event entry charges?

(I'm also amazed that static poses have a large enough market to fill so many Event stalls. Surely Bento generated a brief burst of interest, and fashion bloggers must be in constant search of static poses to use in photo shoots, so maybe that's a bigger market than I appreciated.)

 

 

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@Wulfie Reanimator - No, I don't spy on tenants. Seriously, who would have the time or interest? I don't think I've ever actually seen you in your home. Maybe you're up in the sky? I have even less time for the sky than the ground.

@chibiusa Ling "Mesh made SL better but it also ruined it massively IMO"
This seems so profound. It really is the Zen Koan of SL these days. It ruined it massively, I suspect, because the Lindens were expecting to deploy it not on this platform, but another (Sansar?).

My rentals are $150/225 or $250/350, not "$500 for 50 prims". And I know others with malls or properties that are about the same or even less. The prices you cite are what you would pay in a high-traffic mall but as I maintain, traffic does not make sales, sales make sales unless the traffic is like 100,000, and maybe not even then.

I don't know what the expression "naffy tat" means. Tattoos? I don't understand why people have these in RL, let alone SL, but they do.

I agree that mesh has made it so that far less people create, and that means far less people can make a buck. I have always been a big believer in a low threshold to creativity primarily so that people can make a buck, at least among their friends. Now it is harder, although not impossible. I still delight in the fact that there are still people in SL who make their own prim homes, and they are good-looking, and even their own prim furniture, and there are still people making things from prims and sculpties as well as full-prim mesh that are desirable and cheap.

My goal isn't to bring back malls. If the very ones I own fail, I trash them and their land is sold, abandoned, or put into another form of rentals. The malls that I still keep have various other facts as I said -- Destinations, infohubs, rentals near them. I guess my goal is just to keep the ones I still have as they perform a function that seems important -- entry to the market, affordability, individuality -- and they aren't laggy at all.

One thing I should have mentioned is that I find more people want their own land for a store instead of being in a mall, even if they pay more. It's partly psychological. But also they can get more or less prims and adjust them better and not be at the mercy of a mall build or sim theme they don't like. I love my tenants because they are making interesting things, finding an audience, or breaking into the market with a new idea or something special and making money, it doesn't matter if what they are selling is to my taste (i.e. baby things or vehicles aren't my interest). This is the heart of second life -- commerce. I'm not allergic to commerce because I'm not a socialist. My interest is in having barriers to it broken down if they are about class (affordability) or politics.

Yes, I agree, that a mall has to have some kind of hangout zone, either a cafe or dance floor or even just benches to sit on which people still like even though their virtual feet cannot get tired.
 

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6 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

To me, what's interesting is that one by one, these big event managers have been forced to drop their ambitious sprawling and even multi-sim builds.

Personally I liked events when the were actually --- well, EVENTS!  When there was a whole build to explore and wander, sometimes  a hunt going on too and you could look at the builds and products AS you were exploring.  As a creator I really dislike the small (in very many cases) wall units that look oh so very much the same. Poster, demo --- Poster A Poster B, landmark -- Poster A, landmark, demo   etc etc.   I would rather wait until it isn't so crowded and then go and explore without the crowds.  Since the newish style of even layout has been a big topic of conversation among the creators that I know, most are not happy with it --- at least the folks who make H and G and not things that are normally JUST sold from poster and demo. 

It is FASTER shopping (well Seraphim is the fastest LOL) but not much like a real shopping spree. For ME Neo Japan (once every six month) is my favorite current event as you really feel like you are in a town, not some big box building with products at the state fair. 

 

Edited by Chic Aeon

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1 hour ago, Fionalein said:

Mesh is not the culprit, it is the "I want original mesh" fad. There are thousands of fullperm assets you can texture and resell, but there is no big market for those derivates.

Yet people do use them. But unlike the prefabs of years ago where you could chop change and re arrange things into something that looked like a whole new product...most of the full perm mesh stuff now such as clothing and other kits end up on marketplace simply re textured and you end up with like 20 stores all selling 20 colours of the same jacket resulting in 80+ versions of the same exact thing on marketplace just with slightly different texturing. The sculpted pre fabs we had back in the day for clothes would have had like 10 different lower leg types, 10 different upper leg types, 10 different belt types and so on and so forth. Combine that with various other accessories that came with them and you could usually cobble together something slightly more unique looking than just paying 5k for a full perm dress, slapping a texture on it and shouting "Derp im a designer derp".

2 hours ago, Fionalein said:

it is changing, Miss Ling... or do you think Pocket Gacha and Epiphany added the "Buy wole set" option because they are generous? No, they are not. They just realized they lost all possible money from the folks who could do math.

It is and I recognise that they are now starting to sell "whole set" collections. But the majority of what comes up is still Gacha only nonsense. I havent bought a Gacha from a Gacha machine in a very long time now and have no intention of doing so. If I see one that has something that I like I just wait for it to appear on market at a reasonable price. Id rather give money back to the avatar that was ripped off trying to get the object than to the designers themselves who rip people off

33 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

1. My rentals are $150/225 or $250/350, not "$500 for 50 prims". And I know others with malls or properties that are about the same or even less. The prices you cite are what you would pay in a high-traffic mall but as I maintain, traffic does not make sales, sales make sales unless the traffic is like 100,000, and maybe not even then.

2.  don't know what the expression "naffy tat" means

3. I have always been a big believer in a low threshold to creativity primarily so that people can make a buck, at least among their friends.

4. I still delight in the fact that there are still people in SL who make their own prim homes, and they are good-looking, and even their own prim furniture, and there are still people making things from prims and sculpties as well as full-prim mesh that are desirable and cheap.
 

Rather than multiple quotes from you il answer them numbered :)

1. I wasn't specifically saying YOUR mall or a mall in particular. More of a generalisation based on what I have seen myself whilst visiting malls around SL. You may charge less but the general consensus iv seen is to charge more and give less prims than what it costs to just take on a 512m parcel. Its good that the cost you are charging is reasonable

2. Naffy = Naff = Crappy.......and......Tat = UK slang for Junk

3. I whole heartedly agree with you here. Its why I would love for there to be an optional plug in for the viewer that let residents manipulate basic mesh shapes for use in products. Perhaps something similar to that sculpt program everyone used years ago....I forget the name now but was very basic and you just had the option of a few shapes and could alter how many verts you wanted in the shape and then was a case of move and pull till you got the shape you wanted. It may not be on blender level nerd super mesh but would at least lower the "threshold to creativity" when it comes to mesh. Though I suspect the hardcore blender users would gnaw the edges of their keyboards in frustration at the idea.

4. Agreed....I love seeing residents still build with prims and sculpts. Prims themselves are a much underrated medium. I have seen some houses in this last year that were made from prims that look a million times better than their mesh counterparts. If I am building a sim I always try to do as much as I can in prim and then use sculpt or mesh for shapes or decoration that prims can't achieve. Full mesh regions look nice but unless your running a half decent computer you have no hope of a good enough frame rate to enjoy it fully

Edited by chibiusa Ling
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