Saturday, 3 July 2010

MoonShadow 65 Piece Texture Collection

MoonShadow 65 Piece Texture Collection

Well, despite the inevitable in world spending drop in Second Life following the Linden Labs announcement of job losses (and following Linden Dollar crash on Lindex Exchange) at least sales on Contentparadise.com are good.

I uploaded the 65 piece texture collection MoonShadow to CP earlier today and it's sold already!
Thats a first.

I was advised that unless I sell my products discounted I wouldn't sell much in this economy, and to be fair I don't.

I have 34 items listed and I was making around 15 sales a month. Not enough to retire off or even declare as a full time income but in this economy it all helps.

But following the advice from another 3rd party website owner,  I reduced most of my items by 25% and am slack jawed at the amount of sales I am getting now with 12 sales today alone.

If only I could make that amount of sales everyday I wouldn't feel as "SL dependant"

It's hard enough trying to make a living in a real recession were media and politics has a direct impact on consumer confidence, but when your dependant on a second platform which is affected by a second list of political and economy impacts,  it makes merchants feel like they have no control over whether their business succeeds or fails.

What's interesting and encouraging is that prior to the Linden Lab announcement,  sales in SL had picked up "grid wide" in the months of May to June.
TRU on the whole saw an increase in sales of around 20% and for the first time in two years, it was a welcome surprise.

As I have stated in previous blogs, it wasn't just TRU it seemed to reflect over different store genres.

I felt like at last things were starting to turn around and consumer confidence was picking up.

Then boom! LL official blog announcement (and email sent to all members) and within 36 hours sales drop to lower than what they were before the 20% boost.

People (merchants mainly) are leaving land and SL - and trying their luck in other worlds.

Been there and done that already when the whole open sim price increases sent people running to the hills.
But when emotions calmed and the reality that other worlds from a technical and potential customer base POV simply couldn't compete with SL, people came back.

I watched this with a grid (the only grid) I opened a store in. I joined right in the middle of the Open Sim price hikes and there was a LOT of interest in other grids. The one I chose saw people logging in and asking questions about setting up stores there. They even had an economy and exchange running, things looked promising.

I said I would give it 12 months as any investment can't be assessed short term and spent $2,000 in total on land fees and buying the game currency to upload textures.
Long story short, as time went by and raw emotions over LL's price increases calmed down I noticed less and less people logging in.

Then after 12 months of breaking even I told them I was pulling out.
There was no-body ever logged in and it was pointless. I said I was happy to leave the 100 or so freebies I had left at the welcome area.
Two weeks later and the website went into permanent maintenance meaning people couldn't log in to buy or sell their currency.
I wrote two or three times and got no reply.
And eventually they vanished taking around $800 USD worth of game currency with them.

I won't make that mistake twice.

It wasn't the money it was the principle and how they went about it especially when the owner was very vocal about "running things right and legit"

Anyway, that was 12 months ago.

I guess why I find my sales encouraging on CP is because it shows the "outside" consumer confidence seems to be recovering if I am to go off sales from my own stock site and CP and I really think if recent issues with SL had not have happened that upturn on in world spending would still be holding.

I hate to be one of those people that say: "If I was running Second Life I would..." but here it is anyway.

Linden Labs need to acknowledge that regardless of how business is booming from their figures, by and large most merchants in SL are feeling the pinch in RL and SL and paying $200 a month for a virtual island is a luxury most people feel they can live without right now.

If LL said:

"In light of the RL economy and high unemployment records across the globe, we're going to reduce the land fees by 50% for the next 12 months and totally waver the set up fees providing people agree to a 12 month contract for island ownership"

This would undoubtedly give people a much needed boost of confidence and appreciation that LL accepts that times are hard. More people will buy land - start building and developing again - spending money in stores - merchants will start to create again and slowly but surely in world consumer confidence will return in a year or so.

Instead, they are one of a very small minority of online service and product providers that refuse to reduce the price of their goods "despite" the economy and it's pissing people off because we are conditioned to "expect" things to be on sale or discounted.

RL media adverts from toilet roll to designer watches are advertising massive discounts to encourage spending and so consumers on the whole "expect" a sale, bargain, discount. Hence my sales increase on Contentparadise.com

Even I was pissed with Adobe because I had to pay full price when I went to upgrade Photoshop.
They are not reducing any of their products one bit. Not even a "buy one get the second half price"

It makes people angry that they are not sympathising with the cold harsh reality that the world is in the grip of a historical economic crisis.

But Adobes products aren't luxury items by and large, they are tools needed and used by many industries to run a business.

Second Life is a hobby, a pass time, a luxury and luxuries are the first thing to go when people make cut backs.

I don't know. Its easy to be on the outside looking in and making claims to how short sighted a company is or how "I would manage it better if I was in charge"

But sticking your head in the sand and stubbornly declaring "I'm OK Jack!" on public blogs is not they way I would go.

Any company in a weak economical climate should focus on retaining existing paying customers because they are what are keeping you afloat.

Free accounts, with no land who don't buy L$ have no positive impact in your bank account so appeal to the willing and paying customers, keep the cash flow flowing, meet them half way,  make an effort to recognise they're worried about real life money issues and as a result and by default SL's money issues

Basic fundamental business concept I think... but what do I know? Seriously, I am not running a multi million dollar company and nothing is ever black and white.

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