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How Do You Know When the Inworld Economy is Hurting?


Prokofy Neva
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In 2018 I bought an entire mainland region from SL auction, opened a whole sniper city, free gun lots of targets to hit, live music events, Top sniper L$ contest...nothing
in 2019 I said phuck it and bought a private island from LL, 300 down, 229 a month. The same thing happened on traffic and sales, except I was lucky. The owner of Bespoke loved the sims look so much he moved his shop there and offered to buy it off me and take over the payments when he saw I was thinking of abandoning it. There is no resale in private unless grandfather, and he was a friend being kind and understanding to my heartbreak, it did not work out.
I am lucky to have good SL friends  (shout out to Mud, owner of Bespoke)
I can say a 10k ad does no better than a 1k ad these days; you are on the first page in high rankings with 500L add is the truth.  In 2007/09 I worked for a sex bed maker as a script developer, he had a 300k a week add, back then to get on page 1of a add search was a minim of 30k, back then adds work and it was not uncommon to see 500k L adds, for a week....

Now I rent from the same person I have for years, he charges 1L a prim a week and throws in a few extra, I really enjoy his rental set up. 

http://estia-estates.blogspot.com/, I been lucky the sim I rent out of has the same people in it for years and not single person there runs a http or has any animal farms so I am lag free.

I have rented in sims with horse farms and tons of objects working off of http and been super laggy. 

 

 

Edited by TheDarkhand
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I wonder if I am the only person in SL that very, very rarely ever even thinks about looking at the classified ads, much less actually looks at them. When I search, I'm not looking for ads, I'm looking for places to shop inworld. If I want to shop the MP I just bring it up in my web browser since that's the sort of thing bookmarks are meant for.

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On 12/9/2021 at 3:08 AM, 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.

Wanted to mention that there was a recent thread talking about some part of the service being down that was needed for the "bots" (not alts logged in by the owner) and the conclusion from that was that there were about 20,000 bots.  Add in the extra avatars made to count as traffic and  the concurrency rate is probably below 22,000 --  certainly not what it was in SL's heyday and before bots came into being.  So we obviously have fewer avatars that buy on a regular basis.

 

Add to that the aging of the population. Many of us have a decade or more of good looking and usable items. It is difficult to justify buying yet another couch or sweater or even hair. 

 

I have been watching the events closely for about three years, the last year that I participated a bunch and the two years I have been retired. What were the top events of old have been going downhill for some time. A few have closed and others are  stumbling along with a fraction of the sellers they once had. Shapes and makeup and poses (all fairly easy to make) have replaced original mesh and there is rarely anything I want to buy.

 

I agree that the sales venues must be hurting creators -- whether they partake in them or just watch from the sidelines. Many of the discount events have some really horrid items, but what is more bothersome to me is that some of our top designers have recently begun to participate. Trompe Loeil joined FLF last round and this week TRUTH has a stunning hair with massive huds for 50 linden.  The shopper in me is thrilled but overall I think that is a very disturbing sign.  It feels like they are desperate to keep their income at old levels and I fear that --- for most people -- that will be impossible.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

Wanted to mention that there was a recent thread talking about some part of the service being down that was needed for the "bots" (not alts logged in by the owner) and the conclusion from that was that there were about 20,000 bots.  Add in the extra avatars made to count as traffic and  the concurrency rate is probably below 22,000

Yes, that bug yielded some insight into SL usage. LL changed the login reply code slightly in a way that the LL-based viewers, including Firestorm, tolerated. (Nonstandard XMLRPC reply, if anybody cares.) But Radegast and various bot-driving programs detected the error and refused to log in. Suddenly the number of logged in users dropped by about 20,000.

It would be interesting to see a count of "active users", ones not be marked as "Away". Make "Away" users yellow dots on the map, instead of green.

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9 hours ago, TheDarkhand said:

I been lucky the sim I rent out of has the same people in it for years and not single person there runs a http or has any animal farms so I am lag free.

I have rented in sims with horse farms and tons of objects working off of http and been super laggy. 

I'm familiar with growables/harvestable and farms causing lag.

I've not heard of "objects working off of http". Could someone be kind enough to shed some light into what this is?

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1 hour ago, animats said:

It would be interesting to see a count of "active users", ones not be marked as "Away". Make "Away" users yellow dots on the map, instead of green.

In the VERY olden days -- before third party viewers by a couple of years I think -- there was no choice as to status. If you didn't move your mouse or something similar ever 30 minutes (not quite sure on the time) you just slumped over.  Then, mostly because there was lots of camping for linden dollars going on, some techie folks made attachments that "kept you awake" so that you could camp and earn money while the typists slept :D.   

I turned off that "away" function at the first chance.  Those slumped over bodies do nothing for the landscape :D and I didn't want to be one. I have  a feeling that many to most of us can be "away" and no one will ever know. So doubt the color code would do much except point out new folks LOL.  

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16 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

In the VERY olden days -- before third party viewers by a couple of years I think -- there was no choice as to status. If you didn't move your mouse or something similar ever 30 minutes (not quite sure on the time) you just slumped over.  Then, mostly because there was lots of camping for linden dollars going on, some techie folks made attachments that "kept you awake" so that you could camp and earn money while the typists slept :D.   

I turned off that "away" function at the first chance.  Those slumped over bodies do nothing for the landscape :D and I didn't want to be one. I have  a feeling that many to most of us can be "away" and no one will ever know. So doubt the color code would do much except point out new folks LOL.  

I remember I had my Linden friend in my venue one night long ago.  He had to check something and his avi slumped. I raised him on Teamspeak and a few minutes later he came and fixed it --- he was on a new computer and install and forgot to disable the "away" function.

And this is the dude who told me about SL way back when we he used to come to our now closed RL night club. "I'm working for this exciting virtual platform - check it out" he said!

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18 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

If you didn't move your mouse or something similar ever 30 minutes (not quite sure on the time) you just slumped over.

Yes. I think that's a good feature. A curse of SL is all those avatars standing around, doing nothing, unresponsive. I went to one safe hub and shouted "Is anyone here not a bot?". Silence.

I have a bench set up at my workshop in Vallone, with an experience that seats anyone who stands nearby without moving or talking. It's set at 30 seconds for demo purposes. I'd like to see those at places where bots and avatars pile up, set for maybe 30 minutes. If they're not doing anything, move them to the waiting room seats and get them out of the way.

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9 minutes ago, animats said:

I have a bench set up at my workshop in Vallone, with an experience that seats anyone who stands nearby without moving or talking. It's set at 30 seconds for demo purposes. I'd like to see those at places where bots and avatars pile up, set for maybe 30 minutes. If they're not doing anything, move them to the waiting room seats and get them out of the way.

Welcome to the game of Avatar Stacking!

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During my first days in SL I thought that the AFK avatars where the people who had logged out. So I always tried to find a quiet place in a corner when I logged out.

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10 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

I agree that the sales venues must be hurting creators -- whether they partake in them or just watch from the sidelines. Many of the discount events have some really horrid items, but what is more bothersome to me is that some of our top designers have recently begun to participate. Trompe Loeil joined FLF last round and this week TRUTH has a stunning hair with massive huds for 50 linden.  The shopper in me is thrilled but overall I think that is a very disturbing sign.  It feels like they are desperate to keep their income at old levels and I fear that --- for most people -- that will be impossible.

That was exactly my point. It will hurt all creators in the (not so) long run

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The January slump has certainly arrived, but I suspect it will be harder than ever for many. Consumers expect fat packs, HUDs, and more quality of life features at lower price points in the 300-700 range instead of the historical thousands. Few buy single colors for over 200 anymore it seems.

From what I hear from others: Friends of mine who do not have a healthy existing stock of seasonal and holiday items have reported poor sales throughout the late 2021 year. All of those who were reliant on gacha events monthly seem to be scrambling in a race to the bottom, saturated markets are combining with volatile pricing. Unfortunately customers seem to be perpetuating this vicious cycle by demanding ever more for less, and they've always been demanding. We are turning into a Walmart economy.

Several major event owners jacked up prices during covid, with one major sales event rising from 1500/round to 3500/round + new 7500/round sponsor spots + more merchants participating at one time than ever. I realize the owner has lost her job, but in the post covid slump merchants are seeing, I think it wears greedy. This isn't isolated, there are an endless deluge of discount day events and other highly demanding events popping up left and right - new items at minimal prices, new free gifts. Lots of money to the organizer. Even if they are well advertized on Seraphim, I know most of my {living off SL income} friends and myself are dropping out of events because they're barely profitable. If you pay commission for rigging, scripting, texturing, or mesh outsourcing it is nearly impossible to make a profit at so many events. There is just too many people trying to milk the event cow. 

In the aftermath of gacha; with the dreadful state of search, marketplace, and the covid economy... I just don't see a way to recover. This isn't the SL boom where you could charge 1500 for a dress like we had in 2009 as your numbers mentioned, this boom is born of a pandemic where people feel poorer than ever. I don't see how the can be a recovery betwixt real life inflation issues, depreciating returns in Second Life, and the precarious future for the economy of both.

Merchants who adapt and sell cheap fat packs, keep their stock on marketplace, build a healthy customer base, gift generously, and diversify with consistent releases will be fine for awhile. Those still asking for 300-500/single color are going to get squeezed out. I hope the grubby event owners follow.

As for myself, I do find the new release loss leader isn't as bad as it might appear. It builds integrity, if it's already used as an event item, they often do not allow repeats so customers feel pressured to buy it now & know this is as good as it gets for awhile. It also puts your item and store into a high visibility position quickly, so more people are likely to see or hear of it and buy it in the future. You do need to keep strong statistics to see this trend over the years, however. Gacha void is real, but as I have a diverse seasonal oriented and generic portfolio I did not feel a pinch through the holidays like many merchants I am close with.

At the end of the day, you want to find what makes you immediately buy without thinking and replicate that price point and offerings in your own store... while carefully not shooting yourself in the foot. Oftentimes I find my merchant "co-workers" price themselves out of the market because they cannot see that a high quantity of sales at a marginally lower price is far more lucrative than a few higher. You may not feel as if it makes economic sense for your time, but if you're not selling any or many... Reevaluate. I have many items which sell dozens per week each; I can guarantee they wouldn't if priced 50% more.

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22 hours ago, rasterscan said:

As usual christmas was good for sales and now its january its slump time. Just like RL. All I need now is someone to blame

Well, you personally want to blame the land baron that is about to dump one of your sims again. Just a thought.

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3 minutes ago, Sinyr Anbinder said:

The January slump has certainly arrived, but I suspect it will be harder than ever for many. Consumers expect fat packs, HUDs, and more quality of life features at lower price points in the 300-700 range instead of the historical thousands. Few buy single colors for over 200 anymore it seems.

From what I hear from others: Friends of mine who do not have a healthy existing stock of seasonal and holiday items have reported poor sales throughout the late 2021 year. All of those who were reliant on gacha events monthly seem to be scrambling in a race to the bottom, saturated markets are combining with volatile pricing. Unfortunately customers seem to be perpetuating this vicious cycle by demanding ever more for less, and they've always been demanding. We are turning into a Walmart economy.

Several major event owners jacked up prices during covid, with one major sales event rising from 1500/round to 3500/round + new 7500/round sponsor spots + more merchants participating at one time than ever. I realize the owner has lost her job, but in the post covid slump merchants are seeing, I think it wears greedy. This isn't isolated, there are an endless deluge of discount day events and other highly demanding events popping up left and right - new items at minimal prices, new free gifts. Lots of money to the organizer. Even if they are well advertized on Seraphim, I know most of my {living off SL income} friends and myself are dropping out of events because they're barely profitable. If you pay commission for rigging, scripting, texturing, or mesh outsourcing it is nearly impossible to make a profit at so many events. There is just too many people trying to milk the event cow. 

In the aftermath of gacha; with the dreadful state of search, marketplace, and the covid economy... I just don't see a way to recover. This isn't the SL boom where you could charge 1500 for a dress like we had in 2009 as your numbers mentioned, this boom is born of a pandemic where people feel poorer than ever. I don't see how the can be a recovery betwixt real life inflation issues, depreciating returns in Second Life, and the precarious future for the economy of both.

Merchants who adapt and sell cheap fat packs, keep their stock on marketplace, build a healthy customer base, gift generously, and diversify with consistent releases will be fine for awhile. Those still asking for 300-500/single color are going to get squeezed out. I hope the grubby event owners follow.

As for myself, I do find the new release loss leader isn't as bad as it might appear. It builds integrity, if it's already used as an event item, they often do not allow repeats so customers feel pressured to buy it now & know this is as good as it gets for awhile. It also puts your item and store into a high visibility position quickly, so more people are likely to see or hear of it and buy it in the future. You do need to keep strong statistics to see this trend over the years, however. Gacha void is real, but as I have a diverse seasonal oriented and generic portfolio I did not feel a pinch through the holidays like many merchants I am close with.

At the end of the day, you want to find what makes you immediately buy without thinking and replicate that price point and offerings in your own store... while carefully not shooting yourself in the foot. Oftentimes I find my merchant "co-workers" price themselves out of the market because they cannot see that a high quantity of sales at a marginally lower price is far more lucrative than a few higher. You may not feel as if it makes economic sense for your time, but if you're not selling any or many... Reevaluate. I have many items which sell dozens per week each; I can guarantee they wouldn't if priced 50% more.

Thank you for that very helpful post, chock full of real information based on your actual experience and experiences told to you, not speculation and forums ideology devoid of practice.

I find that if you watch "What Customers Are Buying" on the MP you will find that most purchases are in the $250-$500 range and seldom go higher. If you disagree, refresh the page every 10 minutes as long as you can stand it. Do the same the next day, and the next. and you will stop disagreeing. Just now I took a snap after a dozen snaps never over $500 all weekend so far, and I see, wow, a $1500 splurge on a skybox. Maybe they live in a country that has beat COVID?

I've been talking to merchants this week and aside from the high cost of tier, the increased cashout fee, the cost to purchase the Linden dollar ($.075 on the dollar), the booth fees are killers, and are increasingly a bar too high for even very good creators and artists to pay. So people need to start breaking those cartels. Recently, when I landed at a high profile event with a lot of hustling and advertising, I was stunned to see rental boxes, that is, in theory anyone could pay them without clearing a maven's "quality control". The rent was still too high, but it let me know that there must be trouble in booth-fee land as well. And just now I landed at a top event without having to try twice or go on a cam sim. Etc.

 

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You are correct, the massive increase of fees from LL themselves has been punishing all. Creators are charged on upload of mesh and texture alike, charged 10% per sale on Marketplace, charged a couple hundred USD for their own sim {as many have had one too many issues with landlords}, charged premium because we need the group slots, charged for events, charged to sell your Lindens, charged to process it, and then also the lovely VAT and taxes our government wants.

Edit to add: Most of us also pay hundreds per year, if not more, for resources and programme licensing.

When you're shelling out these high event prices that don't always pay off while selling items for actual pennies on the dollar to an oft grossly entitlement customer base, it's easy to see how challenging it is to break in for new merchants. It is daunting to continue to invest as heavily in Second Life content creation as I have for the past many years, despite earning a living wage.

The precarious situation is increasingly stressful and there are a great deal of new markets out there to diversify into, or heaven forbid, take a real life job. Considering the rising wages across the Western countries including the US and EU, why gamble to make pennies while greedy others profit off your work when you are able to take these skills to a well paying job? I could make a healthy side income off the passive existing Marketplace sales for years to come, all while doing almost any other job or even pursuing a higher education.

Edited by Sinyr Anbinder
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3 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Recently, when I landed at a high profile event with a lot of hustling and advertising, I was stunned to see rental boxes, that is, in theory anyone could pay them without clearing a maven's "quality control". The rent was still too high, but it let me know that there must be trouble in booth-fee land as well. And just now I landed at a top event without having to try twice or go on a cam sim. Etc.

Interesting!   I was wondering why some events were getting so tacky. Others though (also tacky) still have the older system. I have noted though that event owners have definitely lowered the bar and some well-known long time events are actually ADVERTISING for creators (oh my).

EDIT 15 minutes later:  I just realized that it is VERY likely no one could get to the event space without being in the group, so that there WAS criteria of some sort.  The pay the booth you want method has been around many years -- just not on events that I was often in. 

 

Wanted to also note that there are many MANY non-premium creators in SL. That is very evident from past comments on the MERCHANT thread.  I personally never had any problems with group slots and the only year I was premium was the year Belli was introduced and I wanted one of the first houses.

 

Agree that for a very long time there have been too many events and some priced too high and once that started proliferating it made it less and less profitable to participate -- hence much less participation from quality creators. Assume that anyone watching the regular events has noticed that. Very widespread going back years. 

 

As for the January slump, my business with no events and no advertising and no group and no sale items and no new releases is doing better in January than it has for a few months -- even after I took a lot of main store items down from display and basically left the city and prefab store.  

Edited by Chic Aeon
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In the spirit of offering a different perspective: I'm a relatively new player here and in the year I've been here, I think I've transferred about two hundred us dollars into various purchases. My purchases happen in world and on the marketplace in equal measure. On top of that my wardrobe isn't saturated yet and my various photo projects are in need of special purpose props too. There is a lot I want to buy.

My purchases however have more or less stopped in the last two months or so. There are about 4.000 L$ just sitting around on my avatar and I'm wondering if I should transfer them out at a loss.

There are two prime issues for me. The first is an extreme homogenisation in what's offered. What drew me to SL were the extravagant offerings, the unusual outfits that sparked creativity, places filled with otherworldly wonders where you could just as well find a dancing robot with breasts as you could find a cat with a jetpack.

When I head out to shop, what I'm seeing instead is... Well. Not that. It's normal clothes, which I love too, don't get me wrong. Yet when I enter three or four shops in a row, everything begins to blend together.

  • Miniskirt. Pleated. Length doesn't even cover the bum.
  • Miniskirt. Pleated. Belt buckle. Length has never even heard of this bum thing.
  • Miniskirt. Pleated. Has got a cat picture. Panties mandatory, bum in plain view. Personally I'd call this a belt but who am I to argue.

It's all so very samey and more than that, often it literally is the same but with a different texture and more still - frequently, it's not even different textures.

So my shopping trips fizzle out because I'm overwhelmed by this sensation of basically having seen the same items, just arranged differently and while my wardrobe isn't saturated, it sure is not lacking for yet more variants.

My other issue is one of searching and finding items. I can understand the idea behind giving items creative names but if your turtleneck sweater is just called Erika-chan, chances are I'm never going to find it. In general, marketplace search is barely functional as is. Even if I filter out demos and gachas, I'm still flooded with them. If I sort by newer items, there will be twenty pages of the same item, just in a different colour.

It's gotten to a point that it's more feasible to use external search providers to look for ancient forum threads recommending stores, then filtering out which of these are still around and then looking and browsing there, which quickly brings me back to the homogenisation of content making me give up after a few stores.

So here I am. Money in hand. Wanting to buy something and not being able to get there.

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13 hours ago, ValKalAstra said:

The first is an extreme homogenisation in what's offered.

I totally get this. But there still are niche creators who are doing exciting and innovative clothing and objects.

I wonder if we'd be allowed to create a picture thread to highlight those makers?

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On 1/9/2022 at 12:07 PM, ValKalAstra said:

My other issue is one of searching and finding items. I can understand the idea behind giving items creative names but if your turtleneck sweater is just called Erika-chan, chances are I'm never going to find it.

Last night it took me longer to take my shoes off in SL than it did in RL. For the reason quoted. If you sell shoes put the goddam word shoes in, like say 'erika shoes chan' then they'd show up in a quick inv search for shoes

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