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How Do You Know When the Inworld Economy is Hurting?


Prokofy Neva
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So usually this topic incites some people to come on who aren't even in business to say something to the effect that "I'm just here to have fun" or "isn't capitalism terrible, land barons are exploiters and tier is too damn high" -- or another aria, actually from the same opera, which is, "Why, my business is doing fine, there must be something wrong with you." These reactions you can summarize as "No Business" or "No Business But My Business." So those people say what they always say, but there are many more who understand the economy is in trouble, and wonder if/how/when it can be fixed, and how it got this way.

Gatchapocalypse

And the answer is, in short, after you blame COVID -- which was supposed to help the Internet and virtual worlds? -- the gatcha ban 9/1/21 which had a reverberating effect all across the economy -- and continues to have one. It's not about whether or not a given merchant made or didn't make or sell gatchas; it's about the resale economy, and the hordes of people who bought and resold them, and thus believed -- or actually had -- disposable funds to buy more stuff, not-gatcha. So there was the predictable response there, with some wildly applauding the Linden decision (which was not prompted by any real-world action by any law enforcement that one would actually point to in the US, as distinct from a "climate" that was supposedly going to be imported from Japan, etc. Others were silenced when the forums amen corner grew completely shrill and nasty and would acknowledge privately that either they liked gatchas because they provided them with cheap and constantly variable content -- or else helped them wrest a living from this virtual boat on the sea of the Internet.

So fast forward to Christmas, and here we all are, and I'll tell you what my indicators are for when I see the economy is in trouble, and you can dispute them, or tell me yours, or gloat, or do what you're going to do. This topic can be almost impossible for some people to accept or admit -- because their Linden overlords don't admit it. At the very same Linden office hour where the search "facelift" was announced (which later drew tremendous criticisms on the forums), a resident complained that his sales were down, even though Halloween was approaching. And a Linden said basically, I'm sorry you are having that experience, but our indicators show the economy is doing well. 

Whereupon I always wonder not "what is this Linden smoking" but "what are his indicators that can cause him to say a thing like that." I'm going to assume that he doesn't mean "Linden Lab's economy," which is a separate entity that may or may not be linked to inworld economic concerns; the Lindens can keep selling more premium accounts and Bellisserian houses; they can keep selling more islands; they can tax content on the Marketplace and the LindEx, and all manner of things seem well -- but many people in the *inworld* economy could be hurting. That is, maybe makers of add-ons for Bellisserian homes, or makers of sailboats, or makers of mesh heads aren't hurting -- but others are.

And even I can say, "Oh, I'm run off my feet this time of year with move-ins." There are a lot of people going to snow, or getting second little places, or larger places so they can go all out decorating, and that's fine, but even so, I think business is down for a lot of us, and here's why:

Smaller Rentals and No Bots for Liquidation

o Churn -- there may be more rentals, but they don't last, or people move around, or they move into Bellisseria and then back out, some using their tier then to contribute to the group. Overall, I think the rentals are trending smaller, so I make smaller ones. If all the largest ones are filled up, my instinct is not to make or buy more large parcels because it's an incredible risk -- I am still recovering from taking that risk last year for a customer who reneged. 

o Long-time tier contributors or regular tenants disappear -- it's odd when someone goes to the trouble to put tier in the group, set up a home and store, socialize, check in often -- suddenly to disappear. That means they got COVID, or care for people who have COVID, or lost their job, or whatever. Rarely it's about some happy event in RL that took them deeper into RL happiness like a marriage or a new, better job, but surely that must happen, too.

o People ask more for discounts or specials or forbearances, even though I give a lot of them already, so I have to say "no," as LL doesn't give us a discount beyond the standard 10% group bonus and lower tiers above one sim. This magical "bulk discount" that people often reference is elusive, at least for me at my level, which sure isn't "bulk."

o Certain prime waterfronts that stay continually rented don't rent as quickly.

o Regulars who rent for long periods or move around a lot are still in SL but leaving their rentals, and not for Bellisseria. They are just homeless and not logging in. 

o Land put to sale even at low prices just never sells - even $3/m for mature waterfront or $1/m for roadside. I'm not in the land selling business, but I occasionally sell land that doesn't rent, or land on sims that have gone south. I noticed that bots NEVER come. I could put a parcel that is adequate but not prime waterfront at 0.2/m -- no bots will come. Then certain notorious land barons might come *in person* at 0.1/m just to stay at the top of the list.

So those are my own anecdotal experiences but let me cite the anecdotal points I see more broadly:

Land Abandons, Price Dumping, Barons Out of Business

o Land barons who used to extort you to buy a small parcel by your land -- especially if you already bought a cheap one from them -- are offering it for a normal price. Not even first extorting, then lowering, but starting off with "normal".

o On the other hand, there are more frantic land cutting waves and dumping of land at 0.2/m with attempts at sales, and then abandonments, and even disappearance of the alts that made these attempts. 

o Of course there are certain failures by some land barons who have disappeared, whether due to RL illness/death or SL land market tanking, not clear. But they're gone, and their alts struggle. Everything that has happened to certain themed communities isn't just because of their owners' questionable practices, or failure to compete with Bellisseria, but because of the overall climate of consumer reticence. Of course certain Linden polices or lack of enforcement of rules don't help.

o The price of land is always important to follow to try to understand the economy, and it, too, was affected by gatcha sales -- and some of the people who were in gatcha re-sales have also been in the land business and they have folded one or the other or both. If you see Blake Sea land for $75/m or your neighbour is putting their insignificant rocky waterfront in G at some fantastic sum "hoping someone will click and buy", don't let that obscure for you what else is happening, which is reduction of even prime waterfront prices.

o Auctions go without bids, or they are won for $1/m -- entire sims are bought, and dumped, and re-auctioned again by the Lindens within months. I have seen a number of these. Someone could argue it's not a trend, but we are in a black box with no history, unless someone tries to keep it manually -- you can't see past auctions beyond a certain date, you can't see who won the bid unless you race inworld and catch it, and it may be flipped among alts and barons a number of times before it is sold -- or abandoned again. Even so, for some I have watched, that's what I have noticed.

If you are saying "oh, that's good if those !#@@#$ land barons are out of business,: think again. They are there to tier your view until you are ready to buy it; they are there to buy your land in the middle of the night when you dump it as tier approaches. They perform a service, and a hard one, even though the moral level of quite a few of them is low and their practices sharp.

Bellisseria

o Bellisseria is supposed to be the green, growing tip of SL. Is it? I see hundreds of houses put out and not yet rented, the Lindens didn't release them into the system. I abandon a house, and it's still there a week or more later, even though it was a pretty good location. The recent tsunami of protest over the new style reveal at the Christmas Expo was really surprising, and a key sign of stress of both residents and Lindens, whichc is a major signal of economic disruption, in my view. In part it's just the "rising tide of expectations" and the tendency of all game players to burn through their game gods' content.

But usually the Bellisserians are the "aggressively obedient majority" of the forums, anyway, which isn't saying much, as forums represent 2-10% of the user base here and in many other venues. There's a lot of unhappiness that isn't just about the kind of moulding on the stairways. Residents accusing Lindens of "not being present" and Lindens apologizing because they have so much to do -- that doesn't track for me, because the Lindens are more present than ever. An explicit statement that the forums aren't the only place for Lindens to get feedback is also telling. I think Belli has succeeded because a core group of people got multiple homes -- and I'm one of them, with 7 -- but there are people with 50. And they naturally get tired of the sameness and are in the "I feel stupid and contagious/here we are now/entertain us" mode of so much of modern life -- and now literally, with COVID and everyone forced on the Internet more.

o We have to assume there are "more premiums" and Bellisseria is growing -- because it's growing on the map. But is it, really? We don't know as the figures are not posted. And why would the BBB have to be encouraged and become hybrid with Moles/Lindens with a program even of ambassadors to the Mainland to get people to buy premium and move into Bellisseria -- if everything is so great? It's one of the oddest things I've seen in SL, really. I  hope the Lindens pragmatically measure the click-throughs. I think they will be negligible.

Creators and Merchant Events

o Creators began announcing their Black Friday sales WAY ahead of actual Black Friday; they had not just 25% off but 50% and even 60%; they kept hammering on their lists past Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday and are STILL going -- and here it is Advent already. I have never seen so many "Black Friday" sales in my virtual life, and very far from America's shores.

o The lack of advent calendars from some merchants, and the absent or late announcements of their "giving trees" are signs of economic distress for some.

o There are more 30-60L sales on the weekend than ever before, and it's become totally insane. Many remark that it is impossible to get anyone to buy anything for a "normal" price any more. Gatchas and their low prices and numerous plays displayed regular stores and the MP; that engendered all the weekend sales to complete; even with the end of gatchas there is still a proliferation of weekend sales -- and any day sales, for any reason.

o You can now easily TP into the main sim of most major events -- they put on cam sims they don't even use. it seems some events really don't need them beyond a day, and not even that, and can't justify them, but get them just to "hold up the honour of the uniform." 

o A strange thing I've noticed lately when I can't find something and try to get a manager -- all the 6 or even 10 managers are showing offline in the group. Maybe they hide themselves but they also don't answer IMs. Nor do the merchants. It's like they have given up. 

o If you were here last fall complaining that people created gatchas to force sales because their stuff wasn't good enough, you never actually looked at the amazing content that people *did* create in this form. And go on creating -- but can't sell. I personally have completely stopped going to some of the sales and buy less because I can't justify the expenditures. 

o Halloween is the real "Black Friday" -- and I'm not sure how it did. I think not so well for too many people.

o Part of the general problem of virtual worlds is that while content becomes obsolete, you also, as an individual user, don't see the need for new content and can put out last year's Christmas decorations because they are still serviceable. Put out some from five years ago and nobody will have remembered them; add gatcha rares that are in retirement and really wow your fans lol. But you really don't need any more Christmas stuff, do you?

o I was hoping plazas and malls would make a comeback -- more people would want to sell gatchas or anything to make a living (i.e. to have money to buy more clothes and accessories). It seem some people started malls that didn't have them before and I persist with mine that stay fairly full. But if I pull out the list of all the Ravenglass merchants featured in Christmas mailings of 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and today, there are far less, and I have closed some malls, because the Marketplace and events replaced them. But I also see some events that died and never came back.

o We no long have those wonderful charts and graphs that showed how much people spent inworld, from $1L at the lowest and widest end; $5000L (US $20) for the "middle class" and then a tiny number who spend the equivalent of hundreds of US dollars. So what can you do? You can watch "what people are buying" on the Marketplace. I have taken hundreds of snapshots and while I don't have the time or inclination to try to make formulas and crunch numbers, it seems clear that the usual amount is $250-500. Not more. Yes, there are those $2000 mesh heads or $3000 landscaping fatpacks that the forums regs claim they regularly buy. Most people spend way under $1000 per item. Go and look. 

Breedables

o Are breedables still strong as an economic sector? I think so, but I really don't know. I started rentals just for breedables at a low cost and they filled up because some people have A LOT of horses or cats. But I personally put some of my cats back into inventory or sent them to the Menagerie. I think some people changed to breedables after gatchas died, fearing no new content, even with all the Miepons (where you now exchange time for money, waiting for the one you want to appear) -- but it's not like I see a lot of people with breedables -- they are still mainly in the "flyover sims," the inner parts of sims with no roads which aren't where the cool kids are. I never see pets in Bellisseria -- but that's because the limit is I believe 2 of the cats anyway, and I had my 3rd and 4th returned once because I didn't realize that was a rule. Bellisseria isn't good for the rentals sector or ultimately the breedables sector -- some avid horse riders say they don't have good riding paths. I ride my Dire Wolf and Golden Stag all over the place in Belli, overland and underwater so I don't feel that, but I guess it is a thing. Do they make up for it in vehicles? Maybe not when so many free ones are available.

Art

For me, even before the Lindens banned gatchas, original art works on single copy replaced rare gatchas. I like them more, they are more interesting, and I mainly don't even re-sell them, I put them in rentals. There is a LOT of art gallery activity. Most prices are likely too low for the work involved -- $200-$500. Some savvy artists who work in RL as artists as well put them to $1000-$3000 but that's still of course a bargain. The return of the artist Filthy Fluno, who was so beloved in the earlier days of SL, with a new art show, a long with others who have been away and have revived their interest has meant new life in this sector. But I also see ghost galleries, and people who have dropped out after a return and a resurge of activity. I personally will never buy a bitcoin; I will pay Lindens for art works that I can see in the 3D virtual world.

LindEx

o It has long been possible to cash out at $240 if you wait at least a few days or even a week; now it has $90 or $100 million stacked up at $240 and you may not sell your Lindens in time for tier payments in a few days. I usually try to instantly put Lindens to sale at the very best realistic price so that I can at least save a little bit, given that the cashout fee is now higher. But then I have to undo the orders. I suppose a lot of merchants are cashing out their "Black Friday" sales. Or maybe people want to buy in RL and need the cash in a hurry. The Lindens artificially control the LindEx of course, and they may or may not adjust this in time. There is this pervasive forums' belief that it is "always stable" but anyone who spends any time on it realizes that is not at all the case. I saw it drop in value after the gatcha ban and stay low; it climbed up again likely because -- again -- it is artificially controlled to "appear stable". 

There are other areas one could discuss -- from cars and weapons to live music -- and try to make an assessment but I don't follow those areas so much. 

Will Christmas sales pull the economy up? I don't think so. Have people deserted SL for other Metaverses? I don't see that at all, although I do know some people who left for Upland and Sinespace, and Open Sim has enough activity to have an annual conference.

What is to be done? Well, job number one is to fix search, and fix the dreadful "facelift". Search per se has been broken for a year and if the Lindens are serious about fixing the economy, they need to enable people to find things in it. Search is intimately tied to sales, and the economy, obviously. Recently several tenants IM'd me as if they had read my forums posts, which of course they hadn't done (most people don't bother with the forums) and said they had a hella time finding my rentals. Yes, they aren't on Firestorm, where search is much better. 

There are all kinds of things merchants do to keep their customers engaged and all of them are seriously burnt out doing all those sales, activities, socializing events, etc. etc. If there are any that still do all this after all these years, hold them close and buy their stuff.

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Land is a poor metric to gage the economy. The amount of owned land is a better metric. There is land owned by people that have abandoned Second Life. So I can't trust land as an indication for the economy.
We can't see how sales are doing but how many cars can you own and enjoy? There is an end to luxury. Clothes sales is a good indication for the economy. It shows new users and shows an increase in trust in the platform, and higher age of the user. Otoh, how many mesh bodies does one need?
The gotcha ban has no significant value. It's sales but in a slightly different form.
Good metrics are new sign-ups and daily concurrency.

Second Life has done better and is slowly going down.
I hope it finds a new hype. 2007 again!
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I cannot say much about the land business because i am not active in it. So i will not make any statements about that.

I am active in the vehicle business. I never did gachas because i detest them. I think they are predatory. My business was not affected much by the ban on them, at least not that i can see in my figures.

What i mentioned before and Prok mentioned as well, is that reduced price events are having a big effect on my sales. People are being spoiled by getting high ticket goods at price under 100L$. I think this is also effecting the big events because people will rather wait for the event release to pop up in a low price sale a few months later. They don't need the latest and greatest anymore, they will just wait and get it at a bargain price. I occasionally participate in these sales but not with my big event releases. I have special products for them that weren't expensive in the first place and they sell like hot cakes. But you have to sell a lot of them to make a decent income.

I did not participate in Halloween. I dislike the holiday.  Therefor i cant say much about sales results there. I did do a Black Friday sale. From Thursday until Monday. As usual, this was a big success. Sales figures comparable to last years.  

When i had to do a relog last night, i saw there were roughly 45000 people online, that is not bad either. The customer base is there, a creator just has to be really active and hands-on to tap into it. You have to be active on social media, your ads need to look great, you have to be in events for "exposure"". More than ever people buy the brand and the product comes second.

Overall, my income is doing well and increasing. I have been working hard for the last 1.5 years to reposition my brand and it is paying off. It just isn't like 2008-2010 anymore, where quality was the deciding factor in whether you did well or not. Nowadays, it is your brand image. 

In conclusion: It is very much possible to have a healthy business in SL, but you have to really be involved in it and follow the times.

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1 hour ago, Vick Forcella said:

Land is a poor metric to gage the economy. The amount of owned land is a better metric. There is land owned by people that have abandoned Second Life. So I can't trust land as an indication for the economy.
We can't see how sales are doing but how many cars can you own and enjoy? There is an end to luxury. Clothes sales is a good indication for the economy. It shows new users and shows an increase in trust in the platform, and higher age of the user. Otoh, how many mesh bodies does one need?
The gotcha ban has no significant value. It's sales but in a slightly different form.
Good metrics are new sign-ups and daily concurrency.

Second Life has done better and is slowly going down.
I hope it finds a new hype. 2007 again!

New sign-ups are completely unreliable as any metric, even of the Lindens' own economy. Because of the attrition! 9 out of 10 bail. If this is slightly improved -- and don't know that it is - it's meaningless if they don't last, and of course newbies rarely spend money.

Of course land is a metric, both as to price and amount. The number of people who are going to pay ahead for a year or even three months for land and not use it really is small. My rentals or anybody's rentals are a microcosm. It's rare someone will pay ahead 3 months -- period -- or if they do, not use the rental. Of course there are exceptions. I do have people like this. I will never forget the tenant who pays ahead many months, and seldom logs in. I contacted her and let her know she could refund and would always be welcome back. She said she wanted to keep the rental, it was her one respite. "I'm a COVID nurse -- how sad is that?" she said. And unlike many people who falsely brag of a relationship to the medical world or feature themselves in their scrubs on their profile, I knew she was telling me the truth -- as she did not have to tell me, and it was not on her profile.

But by and large, people pay and use the rentals and you see their green dots. OF COURSE you can trust land as a metric because the prices dropping lets you know that a) the Lindens are dumping large amounts of abandoned land into the economy and depreciating land -- barons feel they must bid for it to keep prices up, then they sell it for $1/m - often having purchased it at auction for 0.5/m as the only bidder; b) there is less demand, even for prime land. People can't afford it or won't spend it. It's a very important indicator to watch, in fact. If certain barons stop extorting; if even Blake seems to be dropping; if prime waterfront can be had for $7/m like the very old days, that is a very soft market that means both a land glut and lack of demand.

The Lindens calibrate the LindEx carefully -- they monitor it, they have brakes on it; they have limits; and they keep it stable with buys or sells from Supply/Demand Linden. Not so with land. I'd be willing to bet real money they don't concern themselves with whether or not their churning through abandoned land affects the market -- it improves THEIR market and gets it off their warehouse shelves so they do it. Another odd sign -- a Linden set a fairly large chunk of abandoned land to a resident's name who had not in fact asked for it, merely because it was adjacent. That was strange, and the resident himself thought so. Things like that feel to me like the ice caps melting and confused wildebeasts going off their age-old migration paths.

I don't see how you could possibly say the ban has "no significant value". Of course it does. It ended the huge flood of gatcha sales and re-sales. Miepon sales and resales are much slower. Fatpacks at $1500 or $3000 don't sell in any large quantities. People may have spent more than that pulling! They won't spend it on a no-transfer fatpack.

Daily concurrency? Sure, that's a standard metric for the gaming and virtual world industry. But those people don't spend money necessarily. That's why concurrency is meaningless unless we also have the old chart showing how much spent inworld at different levels of $1, $25, etc.

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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Land prices as a metric has become totally unreliable ever since the standard price has dropped below 1L$/m2. Land barons can only survive with bulk and cheats.
A resident has a life cycle. Noob (free) => clothes. Fresh (land ownership) => house and decorations. Old (explorer)=> vehicles.

The gatcha pokes (poked) in between these classifications. Doesn't mean much. Unless the economy has sunken so low that it makes a dent in the economy. I hope we haven't got to that stage.

We (still) need new residents that stay.
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I read all of that, this topic is important to SL business people, thanks for bringing it up.

One thing about those weekend sale events is you have to pay a lot of money to participate in some of them so you would want to sell a high volume of product.  Perhaps it is a loss leader item to get people in your store and shopping.  People think they are getting a cheap L$60 thing but the store owner is paying thousands every week.  Its a great business for the event owner.  People send me event invite notecards all the time that start with please pay L$5000 to participate.

Edited by JUSTUS Palianta
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I find the discussion of the weekend (and other) sales interesting.

Is it possible that the free-wheeling economic model in SL is increasingly forcing those who cannot really compete (because of size, scale, etc.) into practices that are essentially suicidal?

The sales aren't lucrative -- except for the really big merchants, and the event organizers -- but you have to participate, even if you're cutting your own throat, or perish?

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10 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I find the discussion of the weekend (and other) sales interesting.

Is it possible that the free-wheeling economic model in SL is increasingly forcing those who cannot really compete (because of size, scale, etc.) into practices that are essentially suicidal?

The sales aren't lucrative -- except for the really big merchants, and the event organizers -- but you have to participate, even if you're cutting your own throat, or perish?

I find it interesting too from the perspective that my own purchases have at least tripled in total L$ spent since I started weekend sale shopping. I can drop 75L$ per item without a second thought whereas costlier items (250 L$+) would sit on my favourites or wishlist until the feeling of wanting the item went away. Some creators have benefitted from being on those weekend sales just because now I am visiting their stores and seeing what else they have instead of only going to those stores that have cheaper products. Maybe I am not the norm but if there are others like me, than it would seem to me that overall, those who are in those sales are benefitting from the greater exposure, even if they are not making as much per unit of the sale item.

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3 minutes ago, Arielle Popstar said:

I find it interesting too from the perspective that my own purchases have at least tripled in total L$ spent since I started weekend sale shopping. I can drop 75L$ per item without a second thought whereas costlier items (250 L$+) would sit on my favourites or wishlist until the feeling of wanting the item went away. Some creators have benefitted from being on those weekend sales just because now I am visiting their stores and seeing what else they have instead of only going to those stores that have cheaper products. Maybe I am not the norm but if there are others like me, than it would seem to me that overall, those who are in those sales are benefitting from the greater exposure, even if they are not making as much per unit of the sale item.

In general, my own experience matches yours, in the sense that I'll quite mindlessly drop large amounts over the weekend, whereas I'll ruminate endlessly over a single L$300 purchase. And there is absolutely NO question that I've discovered stores, and spent money, on non-sale items because of the weekend sales. I think it must be of enormous value in terms of brand recognition?

I'm wondering, though, on the basis of Prok's comments, whether it isn't hurting some smaller brands who aren't doing the volume of sales to adequately compensate for the price cut? And if you AREN'T in the sales, are you being hurt precisely because you're losing profile?

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8 hours ago, Jules Catlyn said:

When i had to do a relog last night, i saw there were roughly 45000 people online, that is not bad either.

But how many are interested in your product specifically and how many are spending any L$ at all on stuff apart from the mesh body that seems to be mandatory these days?

After this week's update that broke the viewers used ny most bots and few human users, we can be fairly sure there are at least 20,000 bots at any given time. That alone is almost half of the agents online.

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1 hour ago, ChinRey said:

But how many are interested in your product specifically and how many are spending any L$ at all on stuff apart from the mesh body that seems to be mandatory these days?

Marketing these days is all about creating a demand. People make products and then whole campaigns are launched so people feel they just need to have that product. It sounds harsh but these days, demand isnt natural or out of necessity, it is carefully groomed by brands. Tesla is a good example (hate that brand). They carefully constructed their marketing and are now a "have-to-have" brand for a lot of people.

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2 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I find the discussion of the weekend (and other) sales interesting.

Is it possible that the free-wheeling economic model in SL is increasingly forcing those who cannot really compete (because of size, scale, etc.) into practices that are essentially suicidal?

The sales aren't lucrative -- except for the really big merchants, and the event organizers -- but you have to participate, even if you're cutting your own throat, or perish?

That is what is happening. If you do not participate, people will start to skip your brand and if you do participate you are basically loosing money. I follow groupchats for some major brands and people blatantly ask for promos and when certain items will be on sale. It is a downward spiral. 

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1 hour ago, ChinRey said:

But how many are interested in your product specifically and how many are spending any L$ at all on stuff apart from the mesh body that seems to be mandatory these days?

Exactly .. For example a couple of years back i used to spend about 250-300US$ every month for Skill gaming, shopping and such (not counting. 2 homesteads and 1 full region for business), this year i spend about 30US$ and that was it. The market always changes and so do our habits..

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When all you release that is new is at an event and not three months later it's on a weekend sale don't expect to be selling as much at full price ever again. Also, when you update a product for a new body release, sell a rehashed version on a weekend sale and never update your customers who paid full price for that fatpack so long ago, you're hurting yourself. I think a better way is to sell the updated mesh for that new body at a reduced rate so those people who already have that fatpack hud don't feel ripped off.

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TL;DR mostly. But based on some comments after that wall of text - land is a poor metric indeed. I have known people for years who just have no desire or need in any land even if they can easily afford it. Some of them leave thousands of L$ on events and other kinds of sales. Something like a 60L$/week skybox or a "real small home" on a 1024sqm parcel is really nothing compared to a few fatpack worth of clothes. But they prefer to just wander around, shop, roleplay and whatever else. And I know some of them even have a premium for all those extra group slots and easier time to get onto the events on the first day, they didn't even claim their free Linden Homes and have zero desire to decorate anything aside of their own avatars.

For sales, especially weekend ones, it's more complicated. Some merchants actually don't do any or do barely any sales at all, and they do just fine. Some have lots of cheap sales and based on what a few creators I know personally told me - unless a product stands out then its sales lifespan is very short, after that it barely sells at the normal prices, in-world and MP. MP seems to be better for selling the old stuff at full prices, though. Probably because it's mostly used by people who don't like or don't even know about all those major shopping and weekend sales/events.

In that case "cashing out" by dumping it onto one of big weekend sales seems like good deal to me. Or do a rehash of an old release with a new body sizes, like mentioned above. For big names Blueberry and Addams do exactly that and re-release older stuff with new sizes and sometimes extra textures on those weekend events. Based on the fact that when it happens it's difficult to teleport to their mainstores for a while - it does work pretty well.

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12 hours ago, Jules Catlyn said:

What i mentioned before and Prok mentioned as well, is that reduced price events are having a big effect on my sales. People are being spoiled by getting high ticket goods at price under 100L$. I think this is also effecting the big events because people will rather wait for the event release to pop up in a low price sale a few months later. They don't need the latest and greatest anymore, they will just wait and get it at a bargain price. I occasionally participate in these sales but not with my big event releases. I have special products for them that weren't expensive in the first place and they sell like hot cakes. But you have to sell a lot of them to make a decent income.

Sometimes stores are selling things in the 60 and 75L sales only weeks after release. I now know not to buy from those stores at full price anymore, so I think they are really shooting themselves in the foot with that business practice. Unless of course, sales are so bad upon original release that it is justified, who knows. But I certainly feel ripped off when I buy something at full price only to see it selling for 60 lindens 3 weeks later.

14 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

o There are more 30-60L sales on the weekend than ever before, and it's become totally insane. Many remark that it is impossible to get anyone to buy anything for a "normal" price any more. Gatchas and their low prices and numerous plays displayed regular stores and the MP; that engendered all the weekend sales to complete; even with the end of gatchas there is still a proliferation of weekend sales -- and any day sales, for any reason.

o You can now easily TP into the main sim of most major events -- they put on cam sims they don't even use. it seems some events really don't need them beyond a day, and not even that, and can't justify them, but get them just to "hold up the honour of the uniform." 

I don't even bother looking at all the weekend sales now, there are just too many, they really have taken over. We have regular merchants competing with the weekend sales and then the weekend sales competing with each other. I go through a couple of sales and I am done, it takes up enough time and money doing that. And I spend so much on fashion / furniture at those couple of sales that it is hard to justify any full price purchases for the rest of the week so I for one am less inclined to buy full price now. It's not that I expect things to be priced under 100L, I just know I can wait till the weekend and get a lot of things at that price. 

I have also noticed how easy it is to get into the big events now. Granted, I am premium, but if I have to use cam sims it is only ever on the first day. Makes me wonder how people's sales are going, and if every seller can justify the sometimes steep entry costs.

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Here's what bothers me.

rentboxestothehorizon.thumb.jpg.48273f902111404e775b807be9146acc.jpgFor Rent boxes, out to the horizon. Eastern Zindra.

We have a major landlord buying up property and raising the price. Nobody rents or buys it, and it remains vacant. A sizable fraction of Zindra is now tied up this way. I'm seeing those boxes on other continents now.

There's something going on here. But what?

Edited by animats
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1 hour ago, animats said:

Here's what bothers me.

rentboxestothehorizon.thumb.jpg.48273f902111404e775b807be9146acc.jpgFor Rent boxes, out to the horizon. Eastern Zindra.

We have a major landlord buying up property and raising the price. Nobody rents or buys it, and it remains vacant. A sizable fraction of Zindra is now tied up this way. I'm seeing those boxes on other continents now.

There's something going on here. But what?

1728195384_R(2).gif.1ff7750d280ccd147d799feedc45d870.gif

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I thought it quite interesting that much of the "old guard" big name stores that were around in the beginning returned to this round of Shop and Hop. It made Shop and Hop better certainly and that was great, but it also says something about sales and profits across a wider metric.

 

I pretty much stopped creating after Tilia so I am not a good measurement but I still have lots of popular items on the Marketplace. I can say that my current income is about a fifth of what it was before Tilia (not blaming that all on TIlia -- just a timeline thing). 

 

I personally don't know any creators that say they are doing well and tons who are wondering what to do in the future.  So it certainly seems like things are pretty bad out there for all the reasons already mentioned here. 

 

Personally I am giving up on the weekend sales as there is just too much of the same thing (often EXACTLY the same product again and again). Now I purchase items that are creative and different and show some care in their making. This is mostly to "reward" the creators who are still putting in the energy and thought for their brand's products. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, animats said:

Here's what bothers me.

For Rent boxes, out to the horizon. Eastern Zindra.

We have a major landlord buying up property and raising the price. Nobody rents or buys it, and it remains vacant. A sizable fraction of Zindra is now tied up this way. I'm seeing those boxes on other continents now.

There's something going on here. But what?

Bill Gates buying virtual land instead of farmland now!

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