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SL8B, Merchants, and free stuff


Medhue Simoni
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Well, a year ago, I started a thread about LL events being all free and how this hurts the merchant class. LL acts as if their events are for every1, but it is clear that merchants, who make up a good percentage of the SL community, are not part of the celebration. Most other aspects of SL are present at these events, except the 3 areas that breathe the most fun and excitement into virtual worlds, these being the merchants,  combat, and adult stuff.

In the real world, festivals exist because of many factors. 1 of the biggest reasons a community has a festival is to help their merchants class attract new customers. Sure, today most real life festivals have been taken over by huge corporations that have changed the festival experience. Originally tho, they were about helping all the different people, organizations, and merchants in the community. 

This year, I decided to try and be a part of the SL8B. This was not an easy task. LL has many rules. Granted, I was trying to promote our combat system, and LL is strictly against having real combat in the event. So, I pointed out that even the WII comes with a boxing game, and ask if we could just have boxing against a robot, and not allow it for avatar to avatar combat. LL approved, so we made the changes, which was not easy, and required many days of testing. I figured that, even though we could not make money there, the promotion of the system would put enough eyes on the system that we could benenfit in some way down the road. Yeah, sure, it's great to be part of the event too, but we must always keep our business hats on, or we'll be spending months to design things, and neglecting our businesses that help and support thousands of people.

So, now that the event is over, let me give you some stats that I saw from the event. I can really only give you how many people took our free items, as I did not have alot of time to sit there at my display. We had about between 700-1000 more transactions than we normally do in a 2 week span, which means those are from the event, and all L$0. I had about 12 free items in the display, which i venture is alot for any1, and most people grabbed around 10 of them. So, breaking this down, I can assume that between 70+100 people took items. Probably a bit more, as there were many that just grabbed specific items, but 70-100 is a good low ball number.

Ok, that might not seem like alot to most, and I'm sure that many people passed by without taking anything, as this was a display that is only going to attract a person who likes combat or rp. To me, overall, I think it was worth it for us. We did have to do alot of work tho, to make it happen, and I don't like that the customer got a HUD they can only use at SL8B. This adds alot of confusion for the customer, but we will send them all fully functioning HUDs in the next day or so.

There were a number of things that seriously annoyed me about the event tho.

#1 - No audio stream for the whole event. Not on my parcel, nor the path between parcels.

#2 - No script usages on the pathes between parcels

#3 - No organization of the displays or signs pointing to anything

#4 - Vast open areas which are not used, yet LL limits displays

#5 - No inworld notecard or book listing the various events

#6 - Too few LL blogs about the events, each thing going on should have gotten it's own blog post.

 

My suggestions for future LL events:

  • use all the land and spread every1 out.
  • group related displays together as much as you can
  • Buy a music stream and broadcast it across the whole event
  • Allow merchants to sell items, as long as they give freebies
  • Have less restrictions, allow people to be free, loosen the belt
  • Have a combat area, it is strange for a virtual world to discourage combat
  • Do more promotions, on the blog, twitter, and facebook.
  • Get rid of no script rights areas, It does not promote interaction
  • Put a road around the whole event, it be cool to drive, have car makers near the road.

Personally, I think the whole event was a bit uptight. All these rules to keep greifers from ruining the event. Much like in RL, giving up freedoms just for a little bit of security just makes things less fun. Let the greifers do what they will and just allow every to have a good time using and playing with all their toys. Will there be lag, oh sure, but less if things are more spread out.

 

Again tho, I must say, free is cute, but at some point, a platform does need to grow up.

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I totally agree with you.

Especially the advertising of this event it was the most poor, I ever saw all my years I live inWorld :( Personally I missed due RL obligations, but realy, I never knew when it was exactly....that's the truth.

I always asked myself, why LL pretending that SL is growing itself (like a plant lmao). Without content creators, SL is a total zero (Phillip Roshdale mentioned a lot of times!).

Many times I have considered to participate in such events, but as you said, all those restrictions causing to me headache and a strange feeling.

I loved SL at first place for the freedom that offer to me, to build, to fun, to innovate and to do anything I want. Suddenly I
 see a 360 degrees turn to all of that and I see a world full of restrictions.



 

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I was a greeter at SL8B this year, and it was my 2nd year at the festivities. What I like about the event is that I get to see a different side of SL than what I am used to seeing, My favorite displays were the interactive art and structures that sort of reminded me of going to a science museum.

I feel merchants have a strong representation in SL as it is. Merchants have SLM, they get blogged on websites, they have magazines (which are in the feeds), they have inworld groups for both their stores and special sales, and they make their own events for charity. So I don't really see the need for them to be at the SLB celebrations, unless they think outside of the box like you did and make something fun and interactive that fits the theme.

That would be interesting if LL did something adult - themed, although I would think they would just let the Zindra Alliance handle that, which does not represent everything that is adult; just the oldest group.

Combat would be interesting as well, because unfortunately when I think of combat I think of griefers (most likely because when I was new to SL someone set up a DCS combat system right under my apartment and my whole floor was lit up. *shudders*


Like Qwalyphi said, there were parcels that had audio. I think it depended on the sim. The no scripts restriction was odd, because they had pods that gave you a tour of the event had a meter to show how fast you were traveling, and the only time it seemed to work was when I went to Bear Island or if I was on someone's parcel. Speaking of the pods, had it not been for them I would not had been able to know where to go. They should have several directories within a sim to tell you what is where, much like a SL shopping center where you can TP to a certain store.


I believe at the Welcome Center they had a schedule about events happening at the Mainstage. And in the main group people posted events occurring as they took place. It would be nice if every day someone sent a notecard with all the events that was taking place for that particular day, however. Also, there were a number of people who blogged about the events that were taking place. It would had been a good idea if LL consolidated all of them into one feed and let people look at what is going on.

What restrictions would you want to see lifted? I looked up the rules for the builders/exhibitors, etc, but it seemed general to me.

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On the wiki, the rules are very vague and, If you take it at face value, you'd be extremely limited as to what you could create for the event. What exactly is too much scripting? When I submitted my display, I just figured that I would submit it and see what LL says, even tho my display could have been interpretted as breaking all their rules. Hunting animals was my original idea, which is not allowed. After a few changes, LL accepted fighting robots instead, but I did not get the feeling they completely understood how it would all work. Temp rezzing was not allowed either.

I think most of us can understand why Adult stuff is not allowed, and maybe a little why combat is not allowed, but why no selling items, that's strange, and nonsensical. Some people might say that it was the idea that any1 could make anything and sell it that made SL what it is today. So, to me, it seems very strange to leave this 1 group out of the event. It can still be an event where people run around getting freebies, and I would imagine that there would be even more freebies. Having some items for sale will not ruin the freebie atmosphere. Plus, the SL8B draws people away from the normal working of the virtual market, which results in most merchants across the grid having less sales during the celebration, which I should mention is 2 weeks long.

Oh, and I just sent out all the fully functioning huds, so I have the final numbers on how many people took our freebie. My guessimates were a bit off, but on the good side. We had 213 people take our freebies. So for me, I'd say the event was a success for us, and I would encourage more merchants to get involved. Maybe, if enough get involved and push the freebie issue, we can make some headway here so that more people can benefit from the event, and the event be even bigger that it was this year.

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From what I have seen, animals can lag a sim due to their script usage, so I can see why LL would say no to something like that. And if I remember correctly, temp rezzing takes a huge amount of resources from the server, and may affect prim count as well.


To me, SLB is more of an appreciation for what goes on around the grid, not another way to make money, at least not directly. I don't think SLB should be another fair or expo where they have things for sale.  If LL were to turn the SLB celebrations into a for-profit based vehicle, who would get to be the lucky merchants that are selected to sell things? There still would be a lot of discrimination, and a lot of people will wonder why they were not selected. Then when people go to buy said items, if the sim is lagged they may not get their product, which then brings a lot of headache to what is supposed to be a fun event. Or, they may not be able to get into the sim at all because a big name is selling exclusive products, which mean the other exhibitors lose out because people who came to see their builds cannot get in.

Think about it this way - if you were to go to a birthday party, would you be surprised if 1/3 of the venue had booths filled with items for sale? Not that much of a celebration, right? And you even said yourself you considered the event a success because you were able to reach a good amount of people. Even though I know people love their freebies a bit too much at times, it is still supposed to be a representation of the product of the merchant - advertisement.

I thought the backbone of SL is the ability to create, period. Making a profit from what you make is just the icing on top.


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Hey, I don't make up the rules of life, I just try to find ways for every1 to have a good time. Sure, some1 might walk around SL and think that hey this is all free and done by the good will of all the people. This is far from the truth. It all cost money to do and to upkeep. To deny or forget the cost is doing a disservice to every1 that enjoys it. I've read blog after blog, and thread after thread of 1 time famous sims closing down. Why do these sims have to close? So, every1 knows the reason, but it gets hushed away, because people don't want to sound greedy. Well, it is not being greedy to find ways to fund great environments in SL. These places did not spend enough time on making sure the place had a good way to generate money to pay for it all.

Money is not greed, it is incentive. This is essential for a sustainable environment, and economy. Much of all innovation happens because of the perceived incentives. Too many people want to demonize the profiteers, when in reality, its not profiteering but simply funding the fun or the innovation.

I constantly here references to the freebie feel. Having some items actually for sale does not change this at all. Plus, it is just a made up, fictitious feeling or whatever. A transaction and delivery works the same way irreguardless if its free or not.

The SLBs are a showcase for SL. Freebies are not generally items that some1 spent weeks on to create. So, when LL puts on an event that basically showcases things some1 can make in a day or 2, it does not reflect well on the platform, including not being able to use them on the pathway. If things could actually be sold at the event, then merchants would gladly make freebie some items that they did spend weeks, months or years on, because they know they will make up the difference.

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Plus, I'd really like to see everything sectioned off and LL recruit displays for the event. So, basically, carnival rides over here, combat over here, a road around with different vehicle makers on it. Heck, maybe even a section just for virtual pets, like a petting farm, lol.

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Very nice of you to take time for that report, Medhue.  Thank You.

Linden Lab did not promote this event.

I watched about maybe 50 others promote it for them.  Aggressively.  Passionately.

I didn't see any reciprocation or Thank You's from Linden Lab, and I'm huge into that concept.  Maybe an oddball on that.  Whatever.

Now....when those 50 people decide to do their own event.....I'll support that wholeheartedly and aggressively. (unless they're beatchin' at me at that week, which is highly probable)

Anyway.....disappointed once again in a missed opportunity.  It was Huge Opportunity.

 

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