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HORRIBLE luck with sales in Marketplace


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I don't know what it is.  When I first started I released a tattoo and it did okay earning me 40L a day.  Recently I started making more products and they would sell for a few days and then suddenly poof... nothing.  I notice I am barely getting any views even if I lower my prices or make a better ad,  I put keywords in my item titles as well as in the description.  My partner who has her own shop is a hundred times more successful.  She even made a product for me which looks good and its not selling either.  I am starting to think there is something supernatural preventing me from making money off SL.  I hate this.  I am not getting bad feedback from anyone no complaints on any of my products and yet, they don't sell. I am getting really frustrated and want tknow what I'm doing wrong.  Can anyone help me :(

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I might be looking in the wrong place, so I could be missing something.  When I look for you in Marketplace, I find one page of L$10 items in Secret Affairs Lingerie at https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/64474 .  That's it.  No tattoos, no higher priced items, only those nine things.  Check your inventory (Merchant Home >> Manage Inventory) and be sure that you haven't accidentally unlisted some of your merchandise.

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Don't leap too quickly to that conclusion. At least from what can see in your ads, your craftsmanship looks fine, and the ads themselves are OK. Competition among clothing designers is stiff, though, and it takes a while to get a broad enough base of return customers to guarantee a steady income. I have had in-world shops for over 4 years and have sold my clothing on line for most of that time as well. Only during the past year have I finally reached what I would call respectable visibility and sales. Even now, though, about 40% of my sales volume comes from 4 items that seem to have caught people's attention. There's a bit of magic in this whole business, but almost no risk. It doesn't cost a thing to put things in your Marketplace store and to experiment with product lines and advertizing. Just be patient and enjoy.

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Exactly!! It takes time and since it doesn't cost you anything until sold, what do you have to loose.  Keep your things there and give it some time in my opinion.  It took me a long time to get traction but now that I am there, sales come in and many times, I can't figure out how they find me with the search being so weird, but they do.

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All else being equal, even my older items sell better when I have put at least one new item on the market in the lat 24 hours.

In fact, I have a bunch of low-priority loads ready just to assure that something gets loaded every day if I have a chance to load something.

I think a lot of shoppers are looking mostly for new items, but will also buy unfamiliar older items if the new items lead them to do so.

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I always say there are 2 ways to make money here, one is to make a Killer product that everyone wants, nice if you can manage it, but for most of us thats not going to happen, the other way is to make lots of 'not so killer' products, individually they wont have great sales, but added together they make a business, so I think you need  to just keep creating.

Think of some things you can do to increase and diversify your range without going too far off the beaten track, have you got anything prepared for Halloween for instance, or a gift for gift for guys to buy for their SO for Christmas, how about slave silks, bridal, or something with an historical angle to meet the needs of RPers. Use the same set of skills to Target different parts of the market, if you can get a little slice of each, you might just end up with a whole pie.

Over and over again we see this same story told here - my stuff isn't selling so I dropped the prices, DO NOT DO THIS!, it makes no sense, if someone likes your stuff they will buy it, price really isn't much of a factor when the vast majority of items are only a few cents. If you charge L$50  you are only asking for 20 Cents US, so dropping every price to L$1 is highly unlikely to persuade someone to buy from you. When you shop for clothes, do you buy the thing you really like or the thing you don't like so much but is a few cents cheaper?. There is little point in going to the effort that you have to create a brand, and take nice photos which present a professional image of quality and then flog your stuff as L$1 freebies. Your shop name and photos say... Take a good look girls  - carefully made quality products, whilst your prices say ... avoid this cheap rubbish like the plague. Remember people are aspirational they want to tell people they have the best stuff, not the cheapest, how many times has a GF said to you, wow I love your dress, I bet that was really cheap!.

Look for the most expensive product you can find thats in the same vein, make a better one and charge more!!.

Keep creating and keep trying new things, like in RL, here success is something you have to build slowly, but it is pretty much guaranteed for those who put the hours in and have the staying power.

 

 

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Looking at your store, you're doing quite well with new reviews, so your stuff must be selling well. From my own experience, it's normally the very good sellers that end up with new reviews here and there. So smile :smileyhappy:, you're doing well enough!

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Offering many products at low prices is not necessarily an indicator that they are all crap.

The main reason that I do it is that I would need to promote items in order to charge higher prices, and promotions would just be wasted money every time LL decides to accidentally(?) make most of my items unavailable for sale.

As it is, LL tends to get a commission in my case only when someone uses the shopping cart and creates a sale larger than 9L, but since the shopping cart tends to fail almost as often as it succeeds, LL is killing its own commissions in my case by not fixing the shopping cart. 

Regardless of the quality of our products, we could all benefit if we could just agree on some "tough love" for LL until they decide to start fixing persistent problems instead of thinking up even more new features that also will not work correctly.

Rule #1: don't buy ANY listing enhancements AT LEAST until LL fixes the shopping cart.

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Josh Susanto wrote:

Offering many products at low prices is not necessarily an indicator that they are all crap.

Unfortunately for many people it is!. I am NOT saying your stuff or the OP's is ACTUALLY crap, just that a dollarbie/freebie price gives that impression, the message it sends to the consumer is... even the creator doesn't think this is worth paying for. Plus I have never really understood where the enjoyment comes from, anyone can make something and give it away, the challenge and enjoyment for me at least is in making something and SELLING it.

Josh Susanto wrote:

Regardless of the quality of our products, we could all benefit if we could just agree on some "tough love" for LL until they decide to start fixing persistent problems instead of thinking up even more new features that also will not work correctly.

Rule #1: don't buy ANY listing enhancements AT LEAST until LL fixes the shopping cart.

I don't think you will ever make this 'tough love' idea work, although I can see you have suffered from some technical failings, it's perhaps true to say that you have suffered more than most, I get the occasional failed delivery, but not many and certainly not enough to make me withdraw my advertising. Remember if you decide not to buy enhancements you lose no revenue, if I decide the same, I could lose hundreds of US dollars a month.

 

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Well "the point" is "the flow", at least for an autotelic personality:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

BTW: my sales are way up today, as I expected they would be when people would be broken of some of their illusions about mesh. People thought mesh was a floor wax and a dessert topping. They thought mesh was The Shmoo. Now they are starting to know better and going back to buying sculpts. 

I got into sculpts just about the time when people stopped being excited about them, and I will get into mesh as soon as the collective opinion of mesh has dropped to some kind of reactive low point (soon).

I'm continuing to build a sales system that accumulates money whether I put money into it or not, and I have been able to do so without turning creative play into drudgery; none of my business headaches have to do with actually losing money by creating anything; moreover, the business headaches all only serve as further examples of why I shouldn't waste any extra time, money, or energy playing the SLM marketing game by the rules implicit in the system, itself (such as needing to log on to pay for listing enhancements and then logging on later to assure that the enhanced listings are for products that are still available; I'd rather be editing images and sculpting them out, or building an huge animated arthropod - wouldn't you?)

I can build what I feel like building, when I feel like building it, put it up for sale, and let it continue paying me while I sleep well after it has paid its loading costs. Losing money is basically impossible the way I do things, so it's bound to accumulate somewhat, even when the system is messed up (and, actually, it does).

SOME of my products, I do consider to be crap. I just won't tell you which ones because they'll so popular and people report being so pleased to have bought them. 

But that's capitalism; the customer must be right if they value the product at or above the sale price... no?

If the average customer could see half the stuff that I ultimately do no load as permanent data, she'd probably say "but surely that's work 1L?". I'd be tempted to say "give me the 20L to load it now and it's yours", but I just couldn't.  Even a sculpted rock monkey has to have some kind of standard. I load maybe about half of what I produce, even though I know the other half could be pulling in a profit on top of loading costs within maybe about 2 months (each piece).

Really, from a simple mathematical standpoint, I'm probably being too self-critical. 

One compromise I'm not willing to make in order to increase profits is to become a sculptie wh0re.

Another is that I'm not willing to become a marketing slave.

Every minute I have to spend trying to get SLM to sell each product more is a minute I don't get to use doing what I actually enjoy doing, and which is less ambiguously profitable; just making more stuff.

If the kind of work that comes more naturally to some people is very different from mine, it may need to be marketed differently, sure. But a lot of people are making stuff that could be marketed my way with a lot less focus on paying to get paid and a lot more focus on making more stuff they like to make. To tell those people, at least, that getting a box rezzed and filling it with anything one can sell with a straight face is not a good first step, is to do them a disservice.

Not that I think anyone actually said that; I just think people should all be wary of any implication that there's any clear reason not to try things my own way, especially if some other way has already not worked. 

My way is not the most glamorous or impressive, but it does actually work.

 

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Someone else once thought we all needed to do it their way and sell all our goods for L$10 or less. Needless to say that didn't go over so well.

Sorry, had to say it, heheh.

A strength of SL business, thankfully like business at least here in the U.S. is diversity. Someone will find a way to make something work for them, that doesn't work for others. It's a magical goop of creativity, circumstance, factors, expertise and sacrifices.

How boring it be if we all used the same methods, the same way, for the same profit.

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Josh Susanto wrote:

...none of my business headaches have to do with actually losing money by creating anything; moreover, the business headaches all only serve as further examples of why I shouldn't waste any extra time, money, or energy playing the SLM marketing game by the rules implicit in the system, itself (such as needing to log on to pay for listing enhancements and then logging on later to assure that the enhanced listings are for products that are still available; I'd rather be editing images and sculpting them out, or building an huge animated arthropod - wouldn't you?)

I don't lose money by creating something and I am not sure how one would. Obviously we have had different experiences here from a technical point of view, or could it possibly be that you are making a bit of a mountain out of a mole hill?, precisely how many times has one of your main products for instance, been delisted for no apparent reason?.  I have hundreds of sales each week and I average about 2 failed deliveries per month, during the last 3 years or so I have purchased over 300 listing enhancements, on not one occasion have I had to check that the enhancement is running or that the product is still listed, so to use this as a reason not to market your products seems bonkers to me. Would I rather be building a huge animated Arthropod - yes of course, but then as I have explained I am already!.


Josh Susanto wrote:

I can build what I feel like building, when I feel like building it, put it up for sale, and let it continue paying me while I sleep well after it has paid its loading costs. Losing money is basically impossible the way I do things, so it's bound to accumulate somewhat, even when the system is messed up (and, actually, it does).

I also build what I feel like, when I feel like it, making money doing what I do enhances the enjoyment, it certainly doesn't reduce it. You claim that losing money is impossible with your strategy, I would disagree, you actually lose money on every sale since you are practically giving away something you could charge for, an accountant would call this 'Opportunity Cost' , taking a brief glance at your products I would estimate your opportunity costs to be at least 5 times your takings. My takings are at least 10 times my marketing costs so while its not impossible for me to lose money, some totally radical and unusual event would have to occur for that to happen 

 


Josh Susanto wrote:

SOME of my products, I do consider to be crap. I just won't tell you which ones because they'll so popular and people report being so pleased to have bought them. 

But that's capitalism; the customer must be right if they value the product at or above the sale price... no?

The customer is of course right and I have no doubt they enjoy your products and congratulate you on them, but this rather illustrates my earlier point, at least part of the reason they are so pleased is because they were expecting less, given your pricing policy. 

Josh Susanto wrote:

If the average customer could see half the stuff that I ultimately do no load as permanent data, she'd probably say "but surely that's work 1L?". I'd be tempted to say "give me the 20L to load it now and it's yours", but I just couldn't.  Even a sculpted rock monkey has to have some kind of standard. I load maybe about half of what I produce, even though I know the other half could be pulling in a profit on top of loading costs within maybe about 2 months (each piece).

Really, from a simple mathematical standpoint, I'm probably being too self-critical. 

If its taking you 2 months to recover a L$20 upload fee, I think  you need all the self criticism you can muster. 


Josh Susanto wrote:

 

One compromise I'm not willing to make in order to increase profits is to become a sculptie wh0re.

Another is that I'm not willing to become a marketing slave.

I am not really sure what either of these things are, sometimes I buy sculpties, sometimes I make them, buying things like sculpties is good, it means you are supporting another merchant, supporting the marketplace as a whole and encouraging further creation. Selling sculpties is also a good thing it encourages the less skilled to create.

Sometimes I spend some time marketing my business but since I get paid for that, I don't think it's me thats the slave. Remember this is a thread where the OP is asking for ways to improve sales, giving up on the idea of profit and giving everything away is not a solution to this problem.


Josh Susanto wrote:

But a lot of people are making stuff that could be marketed my way with a lot less focus on paying to get paid and a lot more focus on making more stuff they like to make. To tell those people, at least, that getting a box rezzed and filling it with anything one can sell with a straight face is not a good first step, is to do them a disservice.

 

I also make things I like to make, thats pretty much essential if you want it to sell, please don't try and present the idea that because you don't have the confidence to charge money for what you make, your stuff is good and wholesome, while people who like to make a profit are basically deceitful. If you sell something for L$1, you don't have to create to any standard at all, no one will be expecting anything good, and they won't bother to complain if what they get is otherwise, making something that others will value is another story entirely.


Josh Susanto wrote:

 

Not that I think anyone actually said that; I just think people should all be wary of any implication that there's any clear reason not to try things my own way, especially if some other way has already not worked. 

My way is not the most glamorous or impressive, but it does actually work.

 

I didn't imply anything, I said quite categorically 'DO NOT DO THIS!. 

The reasons not to are very clear...

1. 'Stop trying to sell it and give it away' is not a marketing strategy

2. Following this strategy drives down prices and denies others the opportunity to make money

3. Price is unlikely to be the deciding factor when it comes to making clothing purchases.

4. All the published evidence (albeit anecdotal) suggests there is very little conversion of freebie/dollarbie sales to actual sales.

5. This is totally unsustainable, eventually your losses will get the better of you, since you aren't even making enough to cover the depreciation on your mouse, let alone your computer, internet and electricity, although perhaps these are costs you don't personally have to cover?.

 

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1) The way to lose money, simply, is by paying for a listing enhancement on an item that will not be delivered.

About half of my delivery failures are on orders of 10 items, which I consider to be a shopping cart problem.

The other half seem to items that are also mysteriously absent, also, from my personal inventory for a few hours after I notice the item has not delivered. I can only assume this is either an asset server problem or some form of vexation by LL.

I also periodically get a rash of item delistings for reasons that are clearly not valid, and I have even found that my magic box sometimes does not even pop the blue blue tag in the upper right when I touch it to reset it. 

Even when I had the correct number of items in my box, I repeatedly met with a host of reasons why, had I paid to promote items, they would have, during some portion of that time, been undeliverable. The frequency has not increased at all, but the quality of these incidents gets weirder all the time.

While I have increased the contents of my box 7 fold from what is recommended, the problems I have been told to expect will expand have NOT expanded. Instead, other problems which I have been told never to worry about anyway (often because they are "impossible" or "will probably never happen again") have continued to appear with some regularity each time I post something criticizing LL's failure to properly handle an existing problem.

2) Opportunity Cost is a construct to which I am loathe to subscribe automatically when it is proffered.

I was told I could earn an extra 1 million dollars by not having any kids (at least until age 40?). I was able to not have any kids even without really trying, but - believe me - I did not earn that extra 1 million over 20 years by doing things like working the drive-thru window at McD after getting my MA degree.  And you can't make 2 million dollars by not having 2 kids. In fact, if you have 3 kids, there's basically no opportunity cost to the middle one because that is included in the opportunity cost of the other 2. 

But I digress, sorry. Opportunity cost presumes opportunity which may or may not actually exist. Every time LL isn't going to deliver the item, that's a non-opportunity, and paying them even more to not deliver it more times during the nondelivery period is not an abstract loss - it is a concrete loss.

I have experimented with raising prices on some of my best-selling items to 81L. What I have discovered so far is that people get more annoyed about delivery failures the more the item costs. If I increase all my prices, what I expect is to have to be more diligent about continuing to apologize for LL's failures, while making about the same amount of money.

The clearer opportunity cost in my case is not to me, but to LL. Every time someone buys a rock wall for 9L and sends free copymods to all his friends, LL doesn't get a commission on any of them, or on some competing rock wall which was not purchased because mine was purchased instead. I suspect that's a reason why at least some of them secretly have it in for me at this point (not that they don't also have much bigger fish to fry, I know). 

3) My point about recovering the loading cost is that, no matter what a piece of crap the item actually is, that doesn't matter. If I keep feeding the monster, there will inevitably be some kind of profit, even without promotion. If it takes 2 months to break even on something; I just take that as a sign not to make more of it while there are newer projects waiting. Solving the problem by applying listing enhancements just seems like a spAMWAY kind of solution. I don't respect other people who appear to be doing it, and I wouldn't respect myself if I did it. Goods that find their way to the Bargain Basement are often useful, but they are in the Bargain Basement for a reason.

4) The OP mentions "horrible luck". I don't need to demonstrate a way to replace that with "spectacular luck" in order to have useful suggestions for the conclusive elimination of "horrible luck". Listing enhancements continue to be a crap shoot as long as the delivery system is a crap shoot. My system is not a crap shoot because there's nothing at stake while I'm logged off, and profit, of some kind, is absolutely inevitable even if I only log on every few months to pay pay up on the space where I rez my magic box. (Yes, I realize I can rez my box for free somewhere, but I prefer to trust someone who has a reason to want me to trust them).

5) My repeat customers absolutely DO value what I make, and not just because of the price. When they need some kind of special help for an item, they tend to pay me hundreds of L without me even asking. The price may or may not explain why people make their first purchases from me, but it's clearly not the reason they keep coming back. I know that at least some of my stuff is pretty good. It's not that I lack the confidence to charge more for it; I just lack confidence in LL to allow me to make such a decision profitable. I'm willing to take a smaller, more certain profit over a larger, less certain profit if it also sends a message to LL that I can both profit from my efforts and assure that they do not profit from my efforts as long as they keep doing so many things half-assed.

6) My strategy is not to stop selling; it is to sell more items all the time. MANY more.

7) I'm just fine driving down prices and depriving others of the opportunity to make money. That's capitalism. I moved from the U.S. to Colombia after trying to do fair business with other Americans for a couple of decades, and, after that, I could basically give a rat's ass about their sense of entitlement to profits. The same goes for people in other parts of the world where I couldn't get a job that wouldn't have amounted to a subsidy of their company by providing university level skills at a wage that doesn't allow one to pay for having attended a university. I'm living on slightly less than US minimum wage here, and I'm doing just fine, thanks. If people in the more developed world don't want to be nickeled-and-dimed out of business by me AND the Chinese, maybe they should have thought of that before they wasted a big chunk of my life allowing me basically nothing productive to do. Competition with me is one of the hidden costs of sustaining your various mediocracies, and there's only going to be more like me as any of your fellow rat-race participants who have any real gumption start jumping off that sinking ship that you think that Obama and his friends are somehow going to bail out for you.

8) Price may not be a deciding factor in the purchase of clothes, but if the point is simply to sell something profitably, there's no reason that either all or any of it needs to be clothing, or anything else in particular. If someone is having a hard time competing by selling clothes, decreasing the price may not help, but making a different product and decreasing the price has a pretty good chance of providing at least some nominal positive effect.

9) The mouse was dirt-cheap (about 12K pesos, Colombia), and it has worked with multiple users for a year with no problems at all. It shows every sign of already having paid for itself in working better than the corresponding part of the Sony Vaio laptop. The resale value of the computer, itself, is a function of when it was produced and sold, much more than whether it gets used at all. By using it more, my wife and I are actually getting more value out of it in relation to the depreciation rate. The computer is going to be turned on anyway for communication purposes between my home and where my wife and I work in alternation. Looking at the electrical costs, it's not all that much more than constantly recharging cellphones, which we tend to do often when we use them, instead. One might ask why should one turn on a computer and use it at all if that costs more than not doing it. But this is a question my RL employers never asked, and it's a question almost certainly not asked by any US companies in which you are invested, or in which are invested whatever financial institutions you are allowing to use your assets (and, if you are U.S., also your tax money, and the tax money of several generations of your unborn progeny at this point). By your standard, maybe I'm making chump-change on SLM. But chump-change goes a long way in Colombia. Your costs are not my costs, and the risks you take, I do not need to take.

10) Even if I shut the computer off right this minute for 3 solid months, money will continue to accumulate in my SL account, and nothing will be paid ouf from it during that time. As my items continue to proliferate in-world, I can expect the market demand for related items will only increase in my absence. The only downside is that when I log on again, I'll have a mountain of complaints about items not being delivered and inquiries about why looked-for items seem to have been delisted. If I pay to promote items and increase their prices to pay for the promotions, the number and magnitude of complaints and inquiries will only increase while I'm away. I can also expect the promoted items to have been flagged. I don't need that. I don't need any of such hassles, or anything else LL decides to either dish up or allow others to dish up. If I log off for 3 months ang log back on, I want to see 1 thing above all else: that I didn't waste any money trying to make things happen in that time which did not happen.

 

 

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Your entire argument rests on the idea that most items are mysteriously delisted and most items don't get delivered, this just isn't the case, the perceived risks I am taking exist ONLY in your head.

Do you honestly think that putting 7 times the amount of items in your magic box than is recommended isn't contributing to the problems you are having?, anyone would else would have fixed this easily by spreading the items across several boxes but once again your small time tactics are stifling your ability to make money.  

The main goal of your strategy is not to make money, it's to prevent LL from making money.

You may not give a 'rats ass' about your fellow merchants or the overall health of the marketplace but I do and you should. No one here wasted any of your life for you

Do you honestly believe that RL companies don't account for their electrical power or equipment depreciation? 

What you are doing has nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with trying to play out some petty vendetta against LL. 

Despite your claims about the Columbian economy, according to Wikipedia the minimum wage there is $3600 US per year, or $1.80 US per hour, its takes you over a month to earn this amount. 

If you would like to actually earn the $3600 per year, you are going to have to make and list 126,000 items, even with your extremely optimistic 5 minutes per item and lets say another 5 minutes to photograph and list, that will take 21000 hours, I know you like to do other stuff, so lets say you manage 20 hours per week creating, it's going to take you over 20 years to reach a Columbian minimum wage, assuming the minimum wage there doesn't change in the next 20 years -  this is why you should care about the overall health and longevity of the marketplace.

Although a minimum wage may not be your goal this does clearly illustrate the total futility of what you are suggesting others (especially those who aren't living in a 3rd world economy, which is practically all of us!) should try. 

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1) My argument is not that most items are mysteriously delisted or not delivered; only that enough of them have been that it is wrong in principle to pay LL to promote something they won't take responsibility for not delivering. Moreover: if I can't be guaranteed a reasonable rate of return on listing enhancements due to "system failures", I'd be basically gambling by buying into them. If I want to gamble, there are multiple small casinos in walking distance of my home in RL, thanks. People who have bought listing enhancements have had a very mixed collection of things to say about the result. People win at slot machines, too. If that happens to be you, I urge you to consider that the opinions of those who did not win might also be of some value.

2) As I have explained, the problems have not expanded 7-fold as the contents of the box have expanded 7-fold. In fact, while there has been some expansion of problems, it has not been in proportion to the expansion of sales. To put it another way, jamming more stuff into the box seems to make it behave in a propotionately more efficient way, per total number of items. Remembering how things were when I did things "correctly", I have no reason not to think that 7 boxes wouldn't just mean 7 times as many problems. If you check some of the threads a few weeks ago, you'll find the "box farmer" discussion in which I have already persuasively made this very point to some other merchants. The core problem is and has always been the shopping cart. The only other persistent delivery problem would seem to have something to do with too many items in my box only if doing that somehow also causes the items to temporarily disappear from my personal inventory.  Inasmuch as the personal inventory problem is not limited to items also present in the box, it's difficult for me to accept that the box end of things is the problem end.

3) My stategy is to make LL work for any money they get from my account, rather than me basically working for them and hoping they'll stop refusing to throw me a freakin' bone. My immediate goal is to make at least some money consistently with no risk, and only a minimum required effort, such as the effort of paying box rental and deleting thousands of sales notices at a time. Continuing to make product and covering LL's ass when they don't deliver are basically gravy for me and my consumers. I don't NEED to do anything.

4) I actually DO care somewhat about my fellow merchants as a whole, and if you talk to people with whom I have interacted 1-on-1, you'll find that, especially when it's not much extra effort on my part, I am VERY helpful. But this is whimsy and affectation more than some kind of moral principle. I make sure people get what they order, whether I get paid for it or not, but I see no reason to go above or beyond examples set by LL when it comes to accomodating people who are in any way tedious. If people cannot get their costs down far enough to justify underpricing me, they are absolutely welcome to compete by offering products of some greater utility to consumers. If they can't do that with all their expensive apps (as opposed to my free apps), then that's not my problem. Maybe they can just borrow some more money and go back to their various diploma mills for a double-dip and a few more certificates that will make them more employable than me in the more industrialized parts of RL. 

5) Companies do calculate for electrical costs and equipment depreciation, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to what they waste hiring a bunch of flakes. Not one employer I had in the U.S set any good examples for me in terms of power conservation or protecting equipment, much less hiring decisions. Not one. I should reiterate, though; the computer will be on whether I'm sculpting or not, and the computer will legally depreciate by way of simple chrononolgy, whether or not it even gets turned on. I used the same Mac Power book for 15 years before the power supply finally burned out (and, apparently intentionally, could not be be replaced with anything by that time). I do know something about how to get my money's worth out of hardware. Even with that matter aside, SL so far proves to be a less unprofitable use of my time per hour than looking for gainful employment with US companies or their foreign affiliates, and yet I am constantly encouraged by Americans to go back to doing that.

6) I admit that my actions are not good examples of pure capitalism, inasmuch as I could hypothetically be making more money on SLM. But at what cost? As a consumer of LL services, I'm right not to buy things that don't have any compellingly projected utility to me. Long term profits require a long-term vision. The sales to be generated (or not generated) by a listing enhancement are short term. Are you looking for long-term profits or short-term profits from your products?

7) I'm not making close to US minimun wage on SLM yet. I'm doing that teaching English. But how much I'm really making on SLM will ultimately be a function of total hours invested and total revenue derived. Assuming that items will continue to sell basically indefinitely after I stop doing anything special to support them, the total revenue is limited by my own life span, how long LL will allow me to continue selling, and whether people continue to buy. So far, they DO continue to buy. How many of your items continue to sell after they have sold over 600 copies, despite the fact that being full perms should make them freely abundant in-world? I'm coming up short in your book because you're only considering how much I get paid for some item in some short period of time after I make it, and not considering the total long-term yield. Intuitively, one might tend to assume that products reach some point of saturation after which they simply do not sell. But this has not been my experience. My hypothesis is that at the prices I show, a lot of consumers prefer to buy what they see listed rather than go through the trouble of tracking it down for free in-world.

8) I DO care about the over-all health and longevity of the marketplace. That's a major reason that I think people need to do things to openly put pressure on LL to make it work correctly. LL does much more to stifle the productivity of my fellow producers than I could ever possibly do. What I DO NOT care about is the unstated suggestion that I "should" engage in price-fixing as a way of subsidizing my competitors; competitors who assume their labor is worth more than mine because they live in places where the government continues to tell them that it is. Maybe you could ask LL to impose tariffs on products from places where wages are lower and the perception of what a person's time is worth is therefore not so great. Good luck with that.

9) Given how much conviction you show on listing enhancements, I am considering experimenting with one after I have 1000 items in my box. This is a fair thing to do, and I would not be setting a good scientific example if I did not at some point create ample opportunity to have my established theorology subjected to falsification. What product would you suggest that I promote, and how would you suggest that I promote it? Please let me be clear; I will take full responsibility for the cost of your failed suggestion.

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[A successful market depends on making it work for the highest cost of living down]

As far as I can see, this is essentially an oblique argument for some kind of global minimum wage inside SL, which just seems to me like a form of protectionism for people in the U.S. and economically similar places.

If what you're saying is really different from what I think you're saying, how, exactly, is it different?

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Read back to what I'd said. I said that a global market that can't sustain the highest cost of living could "not" support SL.

Not to say that LL couldn't survive without merchants, but that's doubtful and it certainly wouldn't be the same SL. SL respects the power of virtual goods as indicated by their willingness to run the Marketplace as a company offering. Commission, paid advertising, items over L$10 ... all of these are up to the individual to use by choice and to find out individually what does and doesn't work for them.

As you've seen, they do actually work very well for some people. Agreed with the previous advice that you could benefit from higher valuation, but that's your choice too of course.

You're the one that's labelling very ordinary business practice "protectionism". I'm willing to go along with that, all business is protectionism in one form or another. That doesn't make it evil.

You're not supporting protectionism, you're participating in a free market, in a level playing field, capable of earning anyone in the world a reasonable profit.

What you can do, is make the higher profit margin you enjoy over countries you seem to dislike, work for you more efficiently, by networking with your peers who also have successful tidbits to share. Isn't that why we're here?

Besides, with the way the U.S. postal service is going currently, SL will have a better delivery rate than RL, even before Direct Delivery.

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1) Please explain what you mean by what you say about a global market sustaining the highest cost of living. I'm pretty sure that I'm not getting your point. If you point is that we should look to San Francisco as a standard of what someone's time is worth because that's where LL is located, that just doesn't add up for me. I lived in San Francisco for 6 years and never made more than about 35K US, even when I was working 7 days a week at 3 or more jobs. If the Lindens are the model, maybe they just need to set a better example and move out of SF to some place where most things cost about half as much or even a lot less than that, which would be... I don't know only about 99% of the other places they could just as easily maintain their servers. OTOH, there's not the same "scene" in so many other places. If you want to keep your prices high in order to subsidize their RL hipsterism, I guess that's your business. But I don't see any advantage in my case. Attending the Tribe.net mixers and other events where people wouldn't talk about possible job leads because they hadn't seen me at Burning Man is all in the past for me. Thank God. Lindens are on the list of other people who wouldn't even let me scrub their toilets. I'm happy to use Second Life because other users make it worthwhile, but the Lindens and people close to them haven't earned any special favors from me yet, and I won't be holding my breath.

2) I don't need to worry about what SL would be like without merchants because it will not happen. If U.S. merchants can't get their costs down enough to compete with people in the Global South, then merchants in the Global South will pick up the slack. That, also means a "different" Second Life, but it does not mean that the Second Life you prefer is necessarily better.

3) I have been gradually experimenting with greater valuation, and with unimpressive results. I understand that listing enhancement may be one of the things that lead people to pay a higher price for the same item, or at least for a person willing to pay more to see the item in the first place. It's just that I'm already not having the horrible luck described by the OP, and this is parallel to the fact that I'm also no longer having the horrible luck I experienced  for so many years in RL, especially in the U.S., especially in San Francisco, and especially while continuing to try to do business in a trustful way with other gringos. I WANT to believe that all the things people say are working for them can also work for me, and I am going to try some more of them. But the continued abuse of my confidence by LL (on other points) only compounds my very seasoned distrust of any suggestion offered by anyone who uses normal English about how things allegedly work, and how easy it is supposed to make an honest buck. 

4) When I am asked to raise prices specifically so that other people in places with higher production costs are better able to compete, I am being asked to participate in protectionism. You might as well ask people in China and Indonesia to charge 3 times as much for sneakers so that U.S. companies can also afford to make sneakers. It's a pretty weird argument, and I think it's pretty ironic that as a 12th generation New England Yankee, I have to be the one to say "f### that". China and Indonesia have tariffs. The U.S. and LL can also impose them if you think that's a solution. THAT at least would mean a more level playing field. But it's not my personal responsibility to assure that the playing field is level. I didn't make it nonlevel either in SL or in RL. And if you're going to try to convince me that I was playing on anything like a level field while I worked in the U.S., you are living in a RL that is even less real than SL. 

5) While it's not necessarily inaccurate to say that "dislike" the U.S., I think it'´s a more compelling explanation to say that I plan to go back there only when I become nostalgic for the sensation of having a door slammed in my face while another door is hitting me in the ass. Your mileage may vary. I get that. But someone else's may or may not. They have enough people telling them what you are telling them. What I tell them is also worth considering.

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Not quite sure how to respond to all that, I don't bring that kind of extra baggage to business. I'm in New York, and as the song says, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere". High costs, high taxes, politics and state contracts, you name the problem, we've got it.

What I focus on, is what puts food on the table, what I need to do to make a profit, is this situation one that I want to put time and effort into, etc. Everything else is secondary. New York is my home and we're not evil. I'll continue to do business here, and base my business here simply because it's home. Tempting to move somewhere cheaper, but keeping my nose to the grindstone in spite of these problems keeps me successful and living in a place I love, with people I care for.

I'm entirely the wrong person to talk to about having it rough and bad circumstances. Wasn't born with a silver spoon and any successes I've had come from hard work and determination.

I can be in New York and make a profit in Second Life, that's what matters to me, most everyone else can do as well or better than I can.  At the end of the day, whether I succeed or fail is on my shoulders, not the government, LL, taxes or what anyone else does.

But yes, it's a level playing field. If you have problems, keep bugging support until you get it resolved, if you feel it's far beyond the problems that everyone else is experiencing, none of us here can fix that for you, other than give you pointers. Otherwise we work with what we have. Merchants roll on and tackle the problems life and LL throws at them regardless, but ultimately you're your own solution.

I think much of this is just beyond the scope of being a Merchant in SL.

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