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Fornicola Butuzova

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About Fornicola Butuzova

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  1. Rules? Oh yeah, I think I remember rules. Like in 2007, when SL Exchange ran the show. Yeeeeeeah that right, its all coming back to me, if you broke the "rules", they they to action to fix it. If you bribed reveiws to game the listing ranks, they deleted them and kicked you back down. If you dumped a product for 1/10th of its price to collect insane rating, and relisted a week later at full price, you lost all your ratings and rank. Yeah, I remember that. Whatever happned to that?
  2. Deliveries going out, Customers contacting me for support, the only thing missing is my payment! How can they deliver a product to a shopper before the merchant gets paid! This makes me lose what little faith I had in SLM. If it is happening now, products getting delivered without any record or payment, how often does this happen when I'm not on line to see the delivery. That is the only record i have, a chat blub that a product was delivered. Doesnt even say to who! They shoudl never delivery anything without payment to the merchant. and oh, yeah, never schedule maintenance on friggin valentines day! I mean REALLY! Wish I had a time machine to go back to when Xstreet was still running this, it ran so smooth, rarely an issue, and lightning fast response if something funky did happen.
  3.  I did so more research into groupon. The plan was for it to "GO Viral", the next big low cost high profit web sensation. The point of a net biz is that the idea is so revolutionary and original that it can thrive on the net driven by the satisfaction of the service. The low overhead creates the incredible valuation. People use it, like it, tell somebody and it spreads by appropriation or the product, at an extremely low cost to the company. Groupon is reality is “Anti Viral”. They have a sales force of 7000+ knocking on doors in the real world. Persuading and closing merchants on the deals. It is not spreading by word of mouth, it is not spreading by Twitter, or even email, it has to be SOLD to people. Real people sucking salary to persuade merchants to try it out. The very opposite of “Viral” and in reality Groupon is not even a web business. It is a “boots on the ground” door to door marketing service with more people and higher costs than any other marketing firm. So much so that Groupon has not only failed to turn a profit, but they lose money in the HUNDREDS of million each successive quarter. They filed their papers for the IPO and the tricky thing is they did not count “Marketing costs” in the profit and loss. As it is now, they have to spend $1.43 to make a $1. They lose 43 cents for every dollar they make. The biz in now completely dependent on steady flow of NEW customers as the return customer rate is very low. They can't seem to gain momentum because previous customers are not returning and they have to spend a ton of money constantly hustling new faces with massive army of “boots on the ground”. So far they have lost over a half a Billion dollars. The last round of venture capital they received, again another couple hundred million was used for one purpose, to pay back earlier investors, making it a sort of legal Ponze scheme. The general thought by pendants is that this is clearly an unsustainable business model. So why in the world is everyone lining up to invest in a loser? It depends on how you define loser, if you think Groupon is a great company that will return real shareholder value, you are betting on a loser. But if you think it will perform like the recent Linkedin IPO, double in share price the first hour, and you plan is to ride the wave up, cash out and place all bets shorting or buying puts on the fall back it a pure winner. Without turning a profit, with a model that costs them 1.43 to make every dollar, with the highest cost in manpower of any “Web” company, they will likely get an initial market valuation of 20-30 Billion. Not because they are a great company, but simply because there is high demand for the shares, not by investor or “Longs” but by those who will trade both the up and down side simultaneously to huge profit. They can't wait for this play. As to the charges of “Arrogance” that I assume new and small businesses are too dumb or simplistic to realize a bad deal, I am not arrogant, well not about this point anyways. If “Most business” were smart enough to look at a simple deal and make a good decision, then “Most” would be a success in the first 18 months. The failure rate for new businesses would be less than 49% percent as “Most”, 51 percent or more would be successful. The fact is that most, and in this case most means 90% of all new businesses fail in the first 18 months. New business owners fail 9 out of 10 times. My comments were not arrogance, it is just recognizing the facts in the situation. A person who has invested his savings the dream of owning his own business and is failing is a desperate person. They can be brilliant people, thoughtful people, creative people many many times, they are just bad business people, failing business people and bad failing business people make bad decisions, and 9 out of 10 of them are bad. Groupon knows this, and knows how to sell into that crowd, knows how to make them think it is a good deal. If Groupon was a good deal they wouldn’t need 7000 people in the REAL WORLD selling ONLINE coupons. They would sell it to established market leaders that have survived by making good decisions. They would have a high rate of return and would not need to constantly sell new people. Has Facebook ever called you, or knocked on your door to tell you about the befits of their service. Does Linkedin send you direct snail mail to let you know how a profile on their site can help your career. Of course not, they don’t have to, they offer a great product that everyone talks about. As it is now all my Groupons are for the same type of business. Low start up cost, high failure rate, new businesses. Spray tans, Pedicures and that sort of thing. Big established businesses have tried it, FTD for example. High quality flowers. Great products, from a proven market leader. So what went wrong? The Groupon was a loser deal for them as it stood, they would have lost money on each sale. The only way they could actually make money with Groupon was to jack up the regular price on their products, making the deal deceptive to the Groupon buyer. Before this is all over the FTC is gonna make life more difficult for these kinda things to continue. As to the charges that I need to remember that what we sell is digital and therefore is all profit, you can split hairs on the fixed costs of SL business but the heart of the matter is this. By way of example ill look at digital audio. The record industry in the 90's screwed up. They never delivered on the reduction of price that was promised when the much cheaper to produce CD format was introduced. A new release vinyl disc was and average of $13 and a CD was $17. Once CD's took hold, they also evenntually stopped releasing singles. So if you liked the new Metalica song “Master of Puppets” you had to buy the album. You could not buy just that song. When CD sales over took Cassette and Vinyl sales, they discontinued releases on those formats, BUT, they never reduced the price as they assured us they would. So people revolted, Napster was born and music was free to all. This changed the music content business forever. Acts now must tour to make huge money as the sales are severely diminished. But music is not the only digital entertainment you can buy. The book publishing industry didn’t want to have the same thing happen. They know that digital text and audio books can be copied and distributed, so they took a much more friendly approach. They discounted digital versions to reflect the lower manufacturing cost. They struck up more lucrative deals with authors, as they spend less to distribute the book digitally. The retailer makes more money, the author makes more money and the consumer saves more money. While kinks are still being worked out, they essentially did it right. What I'm getting at is that just because it is digital the VALUE of it is not necessarily related to cost. There is a balance to be reached. If you make a building( and we will assume it is a top shelf quality build ), and you think the market will pay 10,000 lindens for it, but as a promotion you sell it for 500 lindens, the market never had a chance to value it. YOU have created the value for it. Price and scarcity are the two things that you have to concern yourself with. They both relate to valuation. You set the price, and the price controls the scarcity. If everyone in SL gets it at 500l, even though you only planned it as a promotion, then the item becomes common. The price could not control the scarcity as it was too cheap, and everyone bought it. It is no longer the 10,000 house that is an object of envy and desire, it is the 500l house that everyone has. At 500l you have to sell 20x as many just to keep pace. If there are not 20x the people looking for your house, you are screwed. To far in the other direction, lets say a price point of 25k, and you close out most of your market, and lose as well as you have an ever decreasing pool of potential buyers with 25k to spend no matter what the quality. Saying anything you make is profit as a motive for pricing is just foolish. If anything you make is profit sell it for 1l, why not, “its all profit”. You don’t because it is not the simple act of making profit that helps you succeed, it is the ability to estimate “VALUE”, the number of people who are able and are likely to spend whatever amount of money on your item. Back to the music example, enter Apple and iTunes. I love the new Lady Gaga song, but I don’t want to spend 10 or 15 or 20 bucks on an album, so I hit iTunes and buy the single for 1.99. iTunes is great because it allows you to participate at whatever valuation you perceive. Audible has audio books for sale digitally for $14 a month. I would never pay $39.95 for an audio book so at that price they have closed me out, if they sell the audio book for $.99 then nobody makes enough money to make it worth doing. It is not “All Profit” just because it is digital. At $14 a month I get a new book every month to listen to as I build, thousands of titles, new releases, classics, whatever. It is a price I do not think about, it gets billed automatically and I'm happy as pie when I get my new credit every month. If they charge less they have left money on the table, for Audible, for the publisher, for the author. If they charge more I stop buying. That is what value means in a digital context. Now for the “Concise is better” comments. You are probably right. But I don’t post that often, and typically when I do it is because those who are concise confuse “short” with “accurate”. Too often there are ill considered phrases like “It's all profit”, “Everything you sell it advertising”, or incidental comments like “Groupon is not predatory” are used to challenge my ideas. So I come back with evidence. Why I think the way I do. Usually simple quips are not the result of any real consideration, so I try to illustrate the reasoning. Is it long winded, yeah, but sometimes you need to paint a picture to say your thousand words. If I make the case that selling your stuff at suicidally low prices kills success by saturating the market, destroying scarcity and diminishing the prestige of you brand, and you come back and challenge that idea with “Our stuff is digital so it's all profit”, I'm gonna explain why that doesn’t make sense. I'm gonna site real world examples that support my position. Im gonna paint the picture of your idea in a real world context and why it doesn’t work like the catchy quips says it does. You don’t have to agree, you don’t have to disagree, and the bast part is you don’t even have to read it. But some will, and if one person says I'm dead on, or just plain nuts and can back that up, then its all worth it. And if you just read this, hung on for the last words of this mega post, then I suppose I'm right, lol.
  4. What you are assuming is that the market for your products is infinite. It is not. Everyone uses shampoo, not everyone owns a boat. You can put a sofa in a 512m house, or on a 1/4 sim house, but when you sell houses your market has a finite limit that scales directly with land use. Not everyone in SL has 4096sm, or 8192. Also it assumes that everyone will want to have the same thing. In a sofa sure, but not everyone wants to live in the same houses. You can definitely saturate a market in SSL. My Big wood store is EVERYWHERE in Sl, so it has run its course, it is hard to sell now because it is everywhere, people will not just buy the same thing over and over. Also price plays into this, it is easy to say to a person buying a pack of gum, it s 50 cents today, but yesterday it was 25 cents with a groupon. Who cares. Nobody, it is not sufficient enough to matter. Apply that to a house, 15k today, 7500l yesterday, not so easy to ignore now. Also when you say that quantity is EVERYTHING, in digital sales, then why not sell for 1l You would sell more for sure. Who wouldn't buy a nice sofa for 1l. But to break even you have to sell 100x more. To register an increase you now have to do better than 100x more. Are there 100x more people looking for a sex sofa, looking for YOUR sex sofa, maybe, maybe not, but even if there are, you have to sell all of them just to break even. So quantity is not EVERYTHING. You have to balance saturation with pricing. You have to find the sweet spot. To cheap and you sell more but can't pay your mortgage, too expensive you bank on each sale but can't pay your mortgage either. What this has told you is not that lowering prices always increases income, in all situations, and there is no end to the marketplace, it simply is telling you that at 200l SL decided you were overpriced, and at 50l you are priced right, or closer to value anyways. That's fine if you have small store and sell a few times, if the income doesn't need to meet any goal, if an increase is "Nice" and few more buck to spend, but if you are managing from the standpoint of meeting monthly revenue goals it is critical. If you have tier on entire Sims to pay to keep the doors open every month, You have to really try to zone in on your price, and the depth of the market. If I cut my prices to 25%, I have to sell FOUR times as many homes as I do now, just to be even. That plays directly into demand, you can't ignore that. Are there four time as many people looking for a 4096sm house at any given time,that want YOUR 4096 house, can you do all the work you need to harvest back 4x as many customers. Also, what do you tell people who payed full price. The people who believe in you brand messaging that your products are superior and worth the extra price they paid. Those people you have invested in for years as customers for life. Sorry suckers, Im going try a low ball thing for a while, sorry you paid way more than even I thought it was worth? Again, on a 200l sofa not so bad, but try that on a 4000 home. You would kill the prestige of your brand overnight. It is easy to think that you can not saturate a market in SSL if you have never actually saturated the market. Lower prices, sell more units, more units rezzed more sales yay its a party. But that only works when you are far below the maximum market penetration, when you are far blow revenue potential and when you have nothing to lose by low balling your customers. When there is nothing but sky above you. The irony is that low balling will increase your sales if you are way behind your potential, but ultimately it keeps you from ever maximizing. You don't want to be selling at below value, you want to be selling as close to perceived value as you can reasonably estimate. If you lower prices, and your revenue, not just sales increase, all that says is that you were priced above value. Once you got in line with value, more people bought, and you made more money. If you price below value, despite increased sales, your revenue, at some critical point will fall as the increase in sales can not overcome the loss in revenue per sale. Bringing this back around to groupon, it preys on NEW businesses. Those who are not anywhere near their potential. Why, because they are desperate. They are afraid of failing and losing their dream. They bundle it up as helping you discover a "hidden gem" but what it is really saying is that larger, more successful more established businesses are not interested. If those who have figured out how to win, how to succeed think it is a loser deal, how can it be a good deal for those who are struggling. They have created a system where they get a guaranteed payment for almost no work and have no burden of delivery. It makes business harder for the little guy they prey on by creating confusion with established customers, attracting those who are one time buyers at a loss, and lowering the level of service by overloading the new business with a massive in full of loser deal they now have to struggle to fulfill. There is no free lunch. There is no easy way to business success. There is no magic pill that will pack your restaurant with "GOOD" customers. Everything comes at a cost.
  5. A service sompany has no fixed material cost. Try that model with a pizza company. Beacuse the 50% off requirement, and the 50% discount create a situation where youare selling at about 30% BELOW you cost to make a pizza. So sure you get 200 new people odering pizza, but you are losing money each time you sell one, it cost you money to participate if you have material costs. You lose money. So while you are selling pizzas at a loss to hundreds, Groupon is making 25% of the cost of a pie. The only cost they have is a website. It is exploiting small business owners that are very anxious but also very ignorant to the "Social Marketing" craze. They have been overzealously selling Gropons and created a sitation, particularly with salons, where so many get the groupon that teh salon can not acoomodate them, they are booked for weeks or months with ap[pointments that pay 1/4 the renevue, and cant sell those apoointments to full paying customers as a result. Aslo the experience is terrible, as you have to wait forever and nobody ever comes back. In one case they sold New Years dinner ni Japan, they sold so many that the comapny literaly could not fill the orders, they just tossed food in a box as fast and sloppily as they could and shoved it out the door. The CEO had to apologize on youtube for what was a national embarrassment. That CEO apologizes a lot. They are also morons, they are trynig to expand into China, a dictatorial comunist counrty, the biggest internet market in the world, and they do a Supoerbowl commercial drawing a critiacal eye on the Tibet situation, thats just dumb! If they are "Upselling" a service then they are not really participating in a groupon, it is just advertising. Groupon started as an activist organizing site, by a couple progressive kids. They only became capitalists when they accidenatally found out that they could make money, and once they did, it didnt take em long to shed the clothes of those trying to save the world and start courting venture capital. They have no idea how business works, and how what they sell hurts small businesses that have fixed material costs and no idea what they are getting into. They pump the struggling small business with the promise of hundreds of new customers, the unsophisatcated and isolated merchant with the excitement of global "Social Networking" and brush off the un avoidable loss as "Costs associated with marketing". It is deceptive, and it is done to make a ton of cash, as goupon gets paid whether the promotion works or fails. If you have a service business, and can accomodate a sudden wave of one time clients, if you can sell people OFF the groupon, go for it, but if you pay for what you make and sell, its a loser all day, well for you, not for groupon. They take 25% of your revenue, and leave you with teh fininacil loss, disappointed customers and an overwheling back log of money losing appointmets
  6. So they want to do the Groupon mechanic in SLM. Interesting, all I have to do is cut my price in half, and give half of whats left to LL. Groupon is a scam in RL and it damages small businesses. But in SL we have no real fixed material costs so what is the harm. Well try explaining the some body that paid 15k ofr a house yesterday, that they could have bought it today for 7500L less. Not a fun conversation. They say they are focusing on popular items from poprulat mechants. Hmm should i pay full price now for this house I like, or wait, this builder is popular on SLM, ill just wait to see if iot ends up on a "Dash Deal" And if you do get in a "Dash deal", and sell a zillion units, good luck selling any tomorow, you just saturated your market, and earned 1/4 of the price to do it. If I were a new merchant I would jump on it as soon as they let me, but as an established one it is an exploitaive and distructive practice, Saturating your market, devaluing your mechandise, creating uncertainty about your pricing, selling at 50% off, at a 50% comisson to fo it. IMHO of course.
  7. Bad bad bad bad bad idea, and I never realized til just now. SL Marketplace does not give you the real avatar name anymore. So if somebidy has a beef, you cant find em. If you have an update, you cant find em. If you want to say thanks and follow up, you cant find em. Is it too much to ask to know who you are doing business with. To have some way to build a relationship, mend a fence, maintain some sliver of accountability on behalf of the customer. It is bad enough that customers have a one way, drive by ability to run rough shod over merchants without any abilty to fix it, but anonymous sales is the worst thing ever. I had a customer bash my product and take off a star, her listing comment title was "great house, slow delivery" This was one of those extended times when they take the customers money and do not deliver, you can not re deliver beacuse the sale has not gone thru on teh merchant end. I had sereval of these in the same night about a month ago. Once I discovered it I started IM customers to let them know I knew about it and was tryng to ge it taken care of. Did she ever contact me, no, she just ripped a star off my listing, Back then I had her name, I contected HER, she told me that she really loved the house but took off a star becuase she hates SL Marketplace and wanted to punish THEM. Completely ignorrant of the damage she was doing. Worse than that, she was PROUD to be "sticking it to SLM" I sent this in, to have it removed, with her chat log where she fesses up that she took off a star because of the delay, not becuase of the procut and they did nothing. Now you cant even try. In the section about turning a bad review into a good experience, how the hell are you supoosed to do that when you cant even fnnd out who the hell bought it.. Youhave no way to know who you are doing business with. I'm really fed up. We do great job taking care of our customers, and LL is making it harder and harder to do that. Losing stars over delays in not fair, and now that you cant know who bought it, you cant even appeal. In 2008 I got a 4 star because my barn had dust emmiters, to add an atmosheric effect, it is completly mod, and they can be removed effortlessly. The customer never asked me, they just ripped a star off my listing. That was 2008 and I havent had anything less that 5 star since then, until now. Peeps get pizzed off at the delays, never think that what they are doing is not fair, and rail ya becuase they are mad and want revenge, not at you, at SL Marketplace. They rip stars over issues they nver contacted you about. Never gave you the chance to advise or remedy, they just rip stars, leave ignorant comments, and what can we as merchants do, nothing. You can appeal, but they never get taken down. I want to know who I am doing business with I want the ability to publicly rate a buyer I want them to have to answer some questions about due diligence before making ignorant comments I want a real oppertunity to appeal a review I want to not lose a half a star when 2 comments out of 15 are 4 stars (How 2 out of 75 possible stars adds up to a 10% penalty is ome kind of magic LL math) I want notice of a new "Pending" review before it posts I want all this or I want them to take down reviews It is completely unfair to merchants the way it works now. Adding anonymity to the buyers advantage is pouring gasoline on a fire. The system is gamed by hack builders who use rWarder to cheat anyways. There are hack builders braking federal laws by advertiding "last 24 housr" sales for months There are hack builders who list at 99l for a week and then take all the great reviews and sales weight with them when they re-list at 3999 a week later and are on page one having never sold a single unit at that price. Why should anyone bother to do a good job, to be honest, to follow up with custmers, to work really hard making innovative things for the marketplace if it is all a joke to LL and they are always n the side of those who cheat to peddle crap, and those who bash a product without taking any responsibility to try and resolve an issue before they do a drive by rating and review. We sell homes, and home sales drive land use. Our business is important to LL, We sell a lot and have a stellar record of customer service. We are honest, we never use photoshopped photos in our listings, we never use maya renders in our listinsg, we never use images taken with shadow clients to decieve buyers into thinking we are better builders. We dont lie, we don't cheat, we dont misrepresnt our products with dishoenst photos. We take great care of our customers before during and after the sale. We answer all IM's form customers with questions assoon as we can, if not instantly then never more than a few hours if we are asleep. Despite all that, still we suucceed. We are doing the hard work and fighting he good fight, can we get just a little damn respect from our "Partners" in commerce.
  8. There is no point to a rating system when the product is available for inspection before pruchase as is the creator to answer questions and advise.. They rate movies and books and items on amazon, ebay, new egg etc becuase you can not inspect the item or use it before you buy. Ratings and reviews are not for those who have seen the movie, read the book, or bought a product on amazon, they are for those who havent. The point is to convey the level of satisfaction and confidence in a product you can not inspect and have to buy blind. In this context it makes perfect sense and has been a vaulable tool for thoise sites. But in SLeverything I sell can be scrutinized to whatever extent the buyer chooses, if they have a question, I am available to answer it, if there is an issue, I am aslo available to reslove it. If you let everyone in the world read your book, or watch your movie, or use your product for free, and then ask those who like it to buy it, and they do, AFTER evaluating it to thier hearts content, how can they be in any way dissatisfied? What purpose does a review serve in this scenario? "I read Forni's book, it was ok, kinda boring, flat character arc's, simple predictable plots, but the sex scenes were juicy, after reaing it, I had the oppertunity to pay 39.95 for a copy of it, and I did, WHAT A RIP OFF! 39.95 for a book that is just average, I give it 3 stars beacuse it is not worth the 39.95 i payed" Does that make ANY sense? Is thebuyer mad at the Author, or at themselves? There can be no way that any product can not live up to expectaions when thay have every facility and oppertunity to define what they expect. That is what drives me CRAZY about this. They choose not use any of these means to qualify a product, then without exposure or consequence, they can bash it beacuse they didnt ask questions or investigate it enough. This makes it very easy for people to just vent, blow off steam cuz they didnt look to see a prim count and made a mistake, becuase they had to wait 3 hours for delivery becuase they didn t think to contact a seller first. There are a lot of reasons why people may want to leave a bad rating, but if your product has a fully working demo, on display for inspection 24/7, if the information is available and accurate, prims, permissions, terms of use, foot print, etc and is made readily available to them. How can any product not meet expecations? Thats that! So why leave a bad review then? 99.99% of the time in a fully demo'd product a poor rating is the result of a customer that didnt think of what they really needed, didnt evaulate the demo, didn't ask a question before they bought or have just become agry and vengeful at the delays caused by the marketplace. They are mad becuase they made a mistke and will never assume responsibility for not paying attention, or they are mad because it took too long to deiver and will never absolve the seller for something they have no control over. I challenge all merchants to site me when you have recieved a bad review, AFTER a customer had contacted you with thier concerns. It is only when they do not do anything they should, ask questions, contact the seller, that they vent out of anger at themselves, looking to project it. If you could not see my products in world, ifIi ignored questions, if I didnt offer the best service and appriciation for my sales, then sure, ratings are critical as youhave NOTHING to go by, no reference, it is a leap of faith. You need to know more and have nothing to go by. All the ratings provide now is the oppertunity for bitter people, who have not done well for them sleves in making a decison, who have not contacted you, who have not carefully considered what they want and need, who have not done anything to try and find a solution to their concerns before they spend money to just vent the anger at having made a mistake, knowing that they should have asked a question. This happens all the time in other e commerce sites. If you are unhappy with a pair of Nike Country Walking shoes, you vent. You rant. You try to punish Nike for not satisfying you. For taking your money and not providing equiovailent value. But Nike is a huge faceless corporation, and your sale and your rant is just a tiny part of the overall meachine that works to deliver you those shoes. Overall It is hamrless to Nike unless there are hundreds of those same comments on dozens of other sites. It doent matter. In SL there is ONE marketplace. That's it, so every comment has unusual weight that consumers simply never take into account before they vent. SL merchants do not sell millions of products eiither, they are not a massive faceless machine. They rely heavily on reputation to sell into a market of 60,00 people, a fish bowl, so things that strike against the reputation of a merchant matter here greatly. They never think about that. They dont have to. There is no consequence. There is no reason to consider if the merchant failed you or you are just mad. Mad at SL, Mad at the marketplace, mad at delivery delays and in most cases mad at yourself for not taking advantage of all the means you have availble to NOT make a mistake. Im not saying merchants never fail, that they never make mistakes. They do, and they should get a bad review if they desrve it, but usually they do not. "I spent my money on this movie, this book, this item on ebay and it sucked" is a vaiid position, you had to buy on faith. "I spent my money on this home in SL and it sucks" is not a vailid position. You did not have to buy on faith. So long as the product is marketed in a "Truthful, Accuarte and Honest" manner, mandated by ToS, and the product you recieved is exactly what you as a consumer had every opperunity to evaluate and scrutinize, if you had every opperunity to contact a seller to clear up any issues youhad before you spent your money, what is the point of a review? You have the opperunity to be 100% satisfied before you buy here. You do not on Amazon, there it is a bit of a crap shoot. There your comments are a grain of sand in an ocean of consumer sentiment and information, here is is a boulder sitting in the middle of the beach. Consumers never consider that, they just vent without any idea that this context is a completely different mechanism of influence. Im not saying all consumers are foolish spendthrifts hell bent on vengence either. Every day i get dozens of IM's asking about a particular home, or permissions, or how to mod it to their taste. I value this as it is an oppertunity to connect with a customer on a personal level. You are starting a relationship, and you are serving them. Sometimes you get the sale, sometimes you do not, but either way they are taking responsibility for thier own satisfaction. Many times even if you do not sell the house, they come back or send a friend to see you, you are now their personal "Home Girl", their "Friend in the business" But 100% f the time it is the ones who never contact you that try to punish you for having made a mistake that you would have happily helped them avoid, had they just given you a chance. The review system by design and user participation fails to show the thousands of happy customers but NEVER fails to show a unhappy one. When most unhappy customers are just venting without consideration, and you have not failed, it simply becomes liability more than an asset to your product! Fix it or Scrap it
  9. Haven't been on the forums for a while but im angry today so i checked in to rant. I have been lucky enough to have all great ratings, until a month ago, when I got a less than perfect one from a person who after speaking with her told me that she was really just angry becuase of a delivery delay and her review was more of a vote of revenge agaisnt SL Marketplace. Our homes are rezzed 24/7 for review and inspection before purchase, unlike most merchants I make my self completely available for questions before and after purchase, and this person never contacted me. I had another customer who had an issue that can be easily resolved as all out homes are mod, there was no defect, her home is exactly as it is represented at our store, but she had a preference that can be easliy accomodated. She never contacted me to even ask. I would gladly toss out all my great ratings to just get rid of them all unless there can be some fairness or accountability in the system. LET MERCHANTS RATE BUYERS, like ebay. The comments left can be judged by those who look at them as a long time serious and fair SL resident or some nooby who thinks the ratings system is just a place to rant. There are many out there who do not understand the system, and thrive on drama and live for attention that complaining gets them. Nobody understand that comments are there forever, and can do real damage. They do not distinguish between the relevance of a rating and it consequences and a meaning less twitter comment or plurk. Fake names makes it 100 times worse as customers now have 100% anonymity. There is literally no oppertunity for fairness or accountability. Your sales reports show only the fake names, so you can never contact them, they know there is no consequence and can just have thier way with a merchant unchecked. JUST DO AWAY WITH IT. Unless they know they will be rated inre turn, that a ratnig will cost them "reputational capital", unless they know that I can contact them to adress thier concerns, unless they are required to attempt to reslove an issue before damagaing a product, it is a completly unfair system. With crappy builders paying for ratings and gaming the listings via rwarder, customers with zero accountability it is nothing but a damaging component of a marketplace. At the end of the day your products speak for themselves. They sink or swim on the quality of the item and the service. But the numbers simply do not work in your advantage. You can sell 1000 unitsof a home, follow up with every custopmer and have a 100% satisfaction rating for years, but that is in no way fairly represented. Those 1000 happy customers might give 15 ratings. If one of those is bad, even if the issue was not yours, even if you were offered no oppertunity to explain a feature, answer a question, or as we do in some cases, suggest that the product is not what they are looking for, the end result is a scewed version of the service you provide. The good you do can never be represented in its proper propotion, and the unfair comments you recieve can never be checked and aleays present an infair proportion of teh service you work hard to provide. It will always present a negative snapshot of your service if anyone a all leaves a single negative review. It does not help you. This is coming from a merchant who has recieved hundreds of great reviews on the most expensive purchases most SL residentts make. Those who say "I never ask for reviews", thats a perfectly vaild position. But if you do this as a career, and ratings are not just an occasional pleasant ego stroke, you have to, and there is no shame in it. If you are doing your job right, building relationships with your customers, truly serving them, not just "selling" them, and they love you, ask for the help If your customers are strangers and you dont care about serving them, sure you cant ask for help from somebody you have not served. But if somebody who knows you, likes you and believes in you asked you to take a few seconds to help them, why wouldnt you. There is acertain relativiity in play, if your best friend asked for 20 bucks the day before payday that is not an impostion, but a stangero n the street asking for a quater is. there is another relative factor of course, homes are expensive, it is not a trivial purchase to most players, so people who spend 10, 20 or 75 real dollars are literally invested in that purchase, it is a considered decision. In this case you have, or should have a more personal realtionship with that customer. If I sold bangles for 99l, maybe i wouldnt ask for my customers to take the time as they do not spend as much time making that descision. Wriggleys does not send you a satisfaction survey when you buy a pack of Juicy Fruit, but Toyoyta sure does when you buy a camry. I am not saying that the "I never ask for reviws" position is nieve, it is a fine position to take if you are just here for fun and creativity. If you are here to make a living, and asking a pretty good buck for your pruducts, products that reqire very careful consideration you have to. If you follow up with a customer, most do not but you should, and they are just GLOWING, you have served them. You have not taken advantage of them. If they love you, love your products, love that you took the time to follow up, as most are simply shocked to see that, you are not imposing on them to ask them to help you. You have earned it, they are happy to help, they feel like a paert of your success. The never acknowledged fact about consumers in SL is that in general they resent Content Creators. The stigma is what I call "Rockstar Merchant Syndrome". To may many merchants in SL, having a business here is and being adesigner is a s much a fantasy as being a vampire or a werewolf. Even if the products are well made and priced right, they do not anser IM's, they do not asssit people with 100% effort. They do not make themsleves open to interaction with customers, they are never at thier stores in world. This annoys the crap out of comnsumers. The fantasy merchant is all about being too important to deal directly with customers. To involved in creating a fake infrastucture that paints them as the ruler of some massive empire, with a vast staff of people to delegate to. That is all good for those who enjoy that kinda thing, but there are so many like that, who put this sort of narsisitic role play over an above serving customers that many people are eager to return that lack of repsect. When i spoke to teh person who punished me for a delivery delay, i told her that if she had contaced me, i could have gone and reset my magic box, and 99% of the time that fixes it immediaietly and there wouldnt have been an issue, She said "You know how often any creator ansers and IM, lol" That attitude is more prevailant than youthink. If you talk to your customers you find out. So consumers angry at delays, angry about self important merchants who ignore them, crap products buying thier way to the top of the listings, complete anonymity, zero accountability... Despite the many many great ratings and reviews I have recieved... Chuck the whole damn thing out!
  10. 03-11-2011 02:40 AM The best way is to make the review function more visible on the website. And a little reminder which invites the customer kindly to rate the product would help. This reminder should also explain in one sentence why a review would be so helpful for everybody and that it’s a good thing. So, come on LL. I agree, every couple of weeks I go thru my purchases and give 5 stars to anything i really like and use. I then go in the Vain, Inc. group and start a "If You LOVE it ...RATE it " discussion. Peeps then chat a bit about the cool thinsg they really liked and go and rate products. In my perfect world ratings would not count, they would just be there to help consumers and customers make decisions and share ideas. Rwarder would se4rve no purpose, consumers still get the info, win win. But SLM would prompt these ratings, and yes, have a little text that explains how rating a product help the creator keepp going.
  11. I don't think you do understand my "obsession", it is not to collect a ton of ratings, it is to maintain and grow a business. A life of creating stuff, without cubicles, or traffic, or some snippy supervisor harassing me all day is my obsession. Where I get to to say things to people and if I do a good job, and people believe in what I'm saying, I get to continue. Tthat is my obsession. Complaining, no, I have the good fortune of making art for a living in my pajamas. What I'm trying to do here is help others by sharing a lil bit of how I got there. This is not a bitch. We have sold thousands of retail store buildings to merchants in every category imaginable, so we have talked with more merchants about selling in SL than anyone, including LL I bet. Many of them, despite having great products, have no clue about how to grow an SL biz. That is understandable, SL brings out the creative juice in people, and they love expressing that. But most people have little experience with business, from the product management and marketing side anyways. To some it is not important, they don't really care about growth, they are just happy to be creating things, or sell enough o cover tier, or support an RP sim, but this is a commerce site, so it seems relevant to discuss how to grow a biz here. Well I have been here since 06, hit the ground building and selling Pre Fabs. Most of our products that received the most ratings have been discontinued, but in our tenure we have had many products that sat in the top 3 slots overall, for a long time, in all categories, Castle Gothos, The Soho Skybox and The Manhattan sky box to name just a few. Only Gothos is still listed because after 4 years and about 1500 sales of that product, it is still selling, but there is a new castle on the way, so it will be gone too. Still going strong, 2011 has been a record year so far. So this is not sour grapes? And yeah it is a hard decision to take down something that has been so good to you, but when you have done something better, and there is something that is a little, or maybe a lot, long in the tooth, you gotta do it. So soon I will be losing another 98 ratings, but they are old ratings and it isn't really accurate anymore anyways. Spending about buck or less on a boat is a less significant investment to most players than spending 20-60 USD on a home, it carries less of an emotional connection, so yeah you might feel like it is overkill to you. But what I think I'm getting at here is that SLM and being a merchant is different than just playing SL. It is a commercial activity whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, . The marketplace is here for business, and I think many people are limiting themselves by not really understanding that there is a difference between the two. That is if they even care about the business aspect, but many here do. There is nothing is rude about anytthing unless you intend to offend somebody. Reminding somebody who loves you and your products to help support you is in no way rude. If you believe that you have provided great service and value you should never be ashamed to remind of people that. If you know that they believe in you and your products asking for help to continue is never rude. If you are proud of what you have done, if you have really done your best to make it the best product it can be, and there is somebody out there who praises you for that, you are a fool not to. If they are demonstrative that your product effected them in a meaningful way, if you have made a friend in the process, why wouldn't you ask them to help you be able to continue doing it. In 4 years of this I haven't offended anyone who I asked to help us, they are happy to do it. they take pride in doing it because they believe in us. In most cases it makes them fell like they are part of your team, helping somebody they respect and admire to succeed and continue. If not offending or imposing on people was my main motive, I wouldn't take their money, I would just give my stuff away, but once you put a price on something the relationship becomes one of commerce. You are taking money. It is business. To really succeed you need to make friends with customers, you really do, but underneath all of it you are transacting business. They want you to stay here, they like what you do, they are a part of a symbiotic relationship, so it is not a breach of trust to ask them to help you. If I didnt do this full time, if I didnt care about growth and sales, if this was just a hobby, if all I cared about was creating stuff and making a few friends along the way, then sure, I can see why you might feel comfortablune. Why it may seem like an imposition. But I do, If my products didnt reach people in a meaningful way and if my customers didnt let me know that they appreciate my work, I could see that as well But they do. SL has been very good to me and I think a lot of merchants both serious and hobbyist alike would like to hear from somebody who has managed to survive and grow for years, how they do it. I seriously thought to myself "Why should I share my ideas, they are what sets us apart, why tell anyone". But at the end of the day we need SL to be a thriving place to spend entertainment dollars. We need successful merchants selling every kind of product that people want to buy. I have been bashing at rWarder for along time as well, so I wanted to show new merchants that you can succeed without gaming, and how to do it. I really didn't expect a challenge on this thread, just others sharing how they have been successful. But since my strategy and record have been questioned and challenged, ill share just a lil more. You mentioned our latest release, it is a beach house. We didnt do tropical homes for along time. There are so many, and so many of low quality that the segment is kind of stigmatized. There were BIG players there that do quality stuff already, so why try to crack that nut? Well because our customers kept asking us to. So we did. We talked to our customers, expressed sincere gratitude, confirmed that the product was meeting their needs and working as promised. We made ourselves completely available to them, we installed dozens of new homes on their sims. We answered questions and gave advice to many new and first time home buyers.. When they thanked us, and told us what a great experience they had, we reminded them that we need help their to keep going. We do not pay them, we do not pressure them, we do not coerce them, we just ask them for help. They are never offended, they are never uncomfortable and they happily share the joy they have experienced with others in the form a review, and feel good about doing it. They like to help us! We have two different strategies, yours is non-intervention, ours is to ask those who like us for help. Our strategy landed our two latest releases at the top of the listings for "beach house". at 4-80x the price of those around us, in a glutted market, fairly, honestly, to the enjoyment of our customers and without rWarder. So i am not complaining at all, i just thought new merchants might wanna know how we did it, that maybe they will see effort, and forming relationships with customers as a better solution than gaming. That was my main point. That you can succeed in SL if you just work at it. If you interact with you customers and rather than PAY them, ask them for help. If you strat is just as effective, or even better as you are never "rude" to you customers, then do a search on "boat". It is a myth that you cant be successful and make friends doing it, That one comes at the cost of the other. The truth is that you can't be successful with any consistent longevity without it. We are at this for very different reasons I think. We build and sell for different motives, but some people here are very commerically minded. They want to hear how you can grow your sales and the relationaships with your customers at the same time, that you cant really do one without the other. You have provided your customers with a product that came form your heart and imagination, and they have paid for it with the proceeds their hard work in RL. You are partners in this exchange. You are both thankful and appriciative of the other! You are not a beggar on the street scaring somebody into giving up a few quarters. If you have done your job right, held up your end of this deal, you are somebody they know, like and trust. Who would ever be offended by someone they know, like and trust asking them for help?
  12. I have been bashing on rWarder for a lil while now, so I thought that it would be good Karma to maybe offer something a lil positive. The new marketplace sucks for getting ratings, lol, nice start, huh! I used to get about 100 ratings on anything I did, now I'm lucky to get 10. But I'd rather have 10 that are honest than 475 that customers sold to me, or were left in exchange for a gift, so here are a few tips I would like to share, and maybe somebody else has a few too. If you want to get more ratings and reviews there are just 4 word you need to know" "TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS"!!! That's it, pretty simple. Now I'm not gonna say that I spend 2 hours a day every day personally IM'ing every customer, you just cant. BUT...We do not release stuff that often, so when we do it is "GAME TIME", the "BIG SHOW", insert your own tired cliche if you like.  When we release, everything else stops.  No hunts, no RFL builds, no nothun but living to give that product a successful launch. We are on call for installations, for emergency fixes if something comes up, for assistance for new players in working the marketplace, whatever.  For that first week every single person that buys that new product,  that starts out  buried on page 123,  gets a personal IM from us thanking them for the business, asking if everything is ok and if there is anything we can do for them. 9 out of 10 go pretty much like this:   ME:  "Hi there it's Forni from Pre Fabulous, just wanted to drop you a note to say how much we really appreciate your business and see how everything is going, is everything working ok"" CUSTOMER: "yep, all good, keep up teh good work :)"   BUT... you eventually get one of these:     ME:  "Hi there it's Forni from Pre Fabulous, just wanted to drop you a note to say how much we really appreciate your business and see how everything is going, is everything working ok"" CUSTOMER: OMG OMG OMG, this house is AWESOME *Edited for vulgarity*.  I LOVE IT.  I showed my sister and she was BLOWN AWAY.  I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS HOUSE!!!  I'm taking her to your store tonight when she gets on, she loves it too.  I have been in SL 3 years and this is the best house I have ever had. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That right thur... is what we call a "good shot" a rating, and a nice review, lol -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------MW ME: WOW, Thanks, we work pretty hard so it is really nice to hear that somebody likes it,  So everything is ok  then? ..... Great, Feel free to IM me anytime if ya need anything at all, and have your sis IM me as well, love to help her get set up.  While I have ya here, and SLM is up, if it is not too much to ask, it really helps us more than you can imagine if you would rate us on SLM, new products are hard to get off the ground and each one  really helps us a lot CUSTOMER: No problem, ill do it right now!   . . (wait for it....................)  . . CUSTOMER: errrmmm...How do i leave a reveiw, i cant find how to do it! ME: It easy, open your recent orders or transaction history..... yada yada   You ahve acomplished 2 things here, well 3. 1. You have shown appriciation to a customer, and personally demonstrated you commitment to customer satisfation. 2. You have found a review that would not have been made if you didnt "TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS"!  As sorry a state as it is these days with such crappy service from most merchants, just talking to them leaves a ROCKSTAR impression sometimes.  They are shocked! 3. You have made a friend,  You have started a relationship with a nice person who loves what you do and will pay for it.  You need these people, success inSL biz is a priveldge that must be earned every day, and you cant earn it without people who believe in you. She has friends and family and they need houses as well, She likes the fact that while most merchants are so uppity and elusive, you have accepted her friend request.  You have made her SL a lil cooler, just by not being a douche. And you know what, I like her too.  You spend months building a house, toiling over every decision, failing and failing and failing until you finally think it is good enuff.  This person is the reason you do it.  Art is a language and the greatest thing an artist can aspire to is an audience. You did your best to reach somebody, ANYBODY... and here she is.  She found the message in the bottle and was nice enough to read it, and tell you she liked what it said and she will tell her friends about it.  She has given you her money, and that money lets you keep doing more art,  so you will do your best to make something even better next time around. Its all good!   EDIT, and for gods sake get that message that says "Im too busy to help customers, send a note card to my "alt"...ummm, imean my "Business Manager", out of your profile, really people?        
  13. Customers are like any other group of people, some are stupid, most are not, There is a way to game the stupid ones, and that is Beef #3 for next Monday, lol, but to do it you have to break 2 different federal laws! and there are a LOT of people doing it! Back on topic! The thing is not so much that people don't know what makes an item more expensive, it is in some,cases, but there are some people who just do not want to pay that much. And that is fine. The rWarder game is not based on repeat business, it is based on one sale to nearly everybody. The products are typically not at the cutting edge, and are not expensive, so exposure and apathy are the names of the game, It is like tabloid magazines, they are not great writing, but if you are sitting at the check out of grocery store, you are gonna sell a few, who cares, its only a buck!. And I am fine with that as well, one time sales of junk to mass quantities of customers who don't care about it is a perfectly legitimate business model. But you shouldn't be allowed to game the ratings system to operate your scheme. You shouldn't be able to get the exposure this dodgy strategy requires to take advantage of customer apathy by exploiting a policy designed to actually stop gaming. What most people don't realize, because on the surface it seems completely counter intuitive, is that any attempt to "level the playing field" means you are granting consideration and concessions to certain activities or behaviors. Once you define them, people will always game it, work it against the original motive and it produces the exact opposite effect, usually hurting those you were looking to try and help. Look around, Anywhere there has been a policy legislated to "level the playing field", or in some way regulate activities in any industry, it has been gamed by one side, against the competition or the consumers, usually both.. If you try to help merchants by granting weight to ratings, you get people buying ratings. Try to help merchants by granting weight to pic's, you have people buying pics. Whatever you do to "smooth things out" just empowers those who will game it against those you intended to help. That is why I'm a HUGE proponent of revenue. To game it you need lots of avatars. You need lots of cash. You need lots of time. It is too much work for even the dishonest to want to do. The amount of work compared to the influence you would generate is just not worth it, and you can't ever stop, if you let up, take a break, you slide right back down. This is why they game houses more than anything, the prices are higher and return is better for the VERY little work it takes, crooks are lazy. It is heaven for the crooked. But lets say you did want to game a revenue based system. You have a crappy house that you know you cant sell for much and you are going to try to game your way into some sales. To beat out a legitimate" home run" product, or even a new and untested "killer" product you would need to have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of L$ on hand, divided up between hundreds of alt avatars. You would need to buy the product, one at a time, logging on each alt to make the sales. The crappier the product you want to game, the lower the price you can ask for it, the more work you have to do The work involved is inversely proportionate to the return. And even if you priced yourself unreasonably high, to limit the amount of work, you have to do, you have to remember that with the higher price comes higher consumer doubt. You now face consumers who will not just buy "Anything:" on impulse for a few cents because there is little or no risk, but consumers who are now going to be careful. They won't think about spending 99l, but they will think about 499L, and think even more as the price goes up. It cancels itself out because at some point, at some price, reason enters the equation. And the final point is commission. Win or lose, you have to pay commission. At 3% a crack, you would go broke before you bought any significant influence. Cant charge more either now because 3% of 999L is WAY more than 3% of 99L. Youi cant do it! You would have to spend a ton of money to pay commissions without any guarantee of even one sale! Unlike the current games they run Revenue requires expense, risk and effort! Customers will not just buy junk for higher prices because they are "Stupid", they only buy junk because it is too cheap to matter to them, good or bad! If you can get in front of more of these people than anyone else, you wiin! But we either need to eliminate weighting by ratings, or eliminate rWarder, because this game should not be won on the backs of those who are trying to win fairly! How can you expect us to keep paying for "Listing Enhancements" when the very best enhancement EVER is only 400L a month, it enhances ALL a merchants items and is actually proven more successful that anything at getting your products increased exposure and sales. LL should kill this for no other reason than it is a better product than they offer, at a cheaper price, maybe that fact out there on the table for consideration will get some traction lol. One last thought, paying people to rate your product is not "Clear, Honest or Accurate" as mandated by ToS! 475 ratings by those who love or hate a product is not equivalint to 475 people who SOLD those ratings for money! Contrary to what the ad says IT IS NOT MORAL! It is a Tos Violation Kill it, or nuke rank by ratings!
  14. Wasn't aimed at anyone, just being a smarty pants. Was aimed the half baked "moral" slippery slope they stand on, and its bunk. They say themselves the reason to buy it is that it increases your rank.
  15. Oh yeah, silly me, I guess I'm wrong, I'm sure that A. lots of people who sell their review leave fair, honest and thoughtful comments, like "Nice" or "...". and B. It is like countries where dictators are allowed to or corruptly pay for votes, it doesn't mean that they are going to win, it is just a happy coincidence, paying somebody for something that is free, your opinion never influences their sentiment about you. And it is probably just another happy coincidence that those who use rWarder COMPLETELY OWN that listing segment to an almost comical extent. The fact that these monopolies do not exist anywhere else on SLM where rWarder doesn't operate is also just another crazy coincidence How silly of me also from that product description: "Why rWARDER helps make your product more visible on the marketplace? Because doing reviews and rating increase the rank in the product search." I don't blame this guy, he is just working the system, sellin a product, but this policy has to go, or rWarder has to go. You cant have something that increases your rank in the listings for sale! If i couldn't sell on the merits of my products and the value and service I provide I would be his first and most loyal customer.
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