Saturday, June 13, 2009

and if you stay, then I'll show you the way, to return from the ashes you crawl

Serendipity struck in force today: I realized I only had the lighter tones of Discord Design's "Tomcat" neko ears and tail (I favor them above all others because the tails can be so easily remapped to the stomach position, thereby leaving occasionally tricky skirt editing alone, and ignoring entirely how impossible it is to edit and position other makers' tails) in the monochrome colors, so I thought, why not, I'm up, I'll go out to the shop, pick up the darkest pair in the monochromes she has...

Kallisti Burns, you wicked wicked monkey, you held a sale and didn't tell anyone!

I don't honestly know if there's anything else on sale; but if you have an interest in neko tails that twitch and aren't the completely overdone fluffy-fluffy-bondage-Muppet tails...hie you to Discord Designs at once! Because you can pick up any solid single color run (about six variations each or so) for L$30, or do what I did--pick up the entire line, all colors, for L$90 (which even on sale would be L$180!). Run run run.

In the meantime, more from the bots and camping blog post; this one I thought I should preserve in full.

Clyde Lindman says:

I've been away from SL for 3 weeks because I was in a part of the world that lacked broadband. I left my store up & running with a visitor list maker to keep an eye on exactly who my visiting customers are. Since this new policy has come into effect visits from newbies has declined greatly and purchases by newbies has fallen to a big fat 0. Newbie purchases used to make up 35-40% of the store sales. I also came back to find the 5 of my longtime friends have left SL directly because of the new camping policy.I also received notice of cancellation of 2 large projects I was supposed to undertake for clients because of their lack of funds.

I camped to accumulate my seed money to start a small business while I developed a skill set. I use the money I make from the business and store to pay my premium membership. I camped even after the start of my business to make a few extra L$ while making myself available for my clients. I could leave old Clyde in a chair & check my IMs every half hour or so for real work.....kind of the SL version of sitting in a coffee shop waiting for the phone to ring and getting paid for it. I also got work from fellow campers who read my profile. Now that is gone.

No I am not one of the biggies with huge estates of multiple sims, but I was operating at a comfortable profit. When I heard of the new camping and adult policies, I took all my money out of SL because I could forsee the problems that are now evidencing themselves in my little business. If I cease to operate at a break-even level I will be gone too. If I am wrong (which I doubt) and for some reason business begins to boom I'll bring my money back.

I was attracted to SL because of the open free adult atmosphere where anything was possible and tried even if it wasn't. But this has gradually been whittled away. First casinos (where I also made a healthy profit), then land tiers, and now camping and the new "adult" continent in a supposedly adult game. It seems like the fabric of SL is being infiltrated by fundamentalist clerics.

BTW The whole traffic manipulation issue is an illusion. The only people who pay attention to traffic are the newbies (who now have less to spend). We all learned long ago that if in searching for an unique item to start down the list a bit. One more word on traffic: The # of visitors at my shop are pretty consistent, but my so called traffic numbers varies from 20 to 500. Go figure.

2 cents from a little guy.

He's right, you know. And as usual, Lindens? You're taking the wrong lesson from the comments, and making the wrong choices to fix the perceived problem.

Also, I'm loving the irony that is the slow and steady push to get internet gambling legalized. The story originally broke back in May of this year, and it's still moving through to be voted on and discussed. It may well pass.

Then what do the Labs plan to do? Force gambling onto the adult continent, too? Pffft.

Maybe it's time for my ultimate take on things, which likely will come off elitist as hell, and for once, I'm tired enough completely not to care: Adults do not need to be protected like this; and frankly, most kids don't either.

Let me explain that in a few paragraphs or so, then go back to Kachina skin contemplation.

First, Second Life, as a game, as a virtual lifestyle, as an interactive social network, as the border point between what is pixel and what is physical--whatever your personal terms are--is big, sprawling, confusing and occasionally misleading. This is frankly as it should be. Everyone has problems as a newcomer, it's why people who've been here for a while help newcomers. Moreover, we're not supposed to come out of the box knowing how to walk, talk, and dance--in a very real sense, we are babies born on the grid in adult forms, and we have to learn like babies do--by watching others, imitating what they do, trying out what we've learned. This is not unnatural. Making the experience easier stunts growth in the long run.

Secondly, because there's a higher-than-average bar for your typical MMO (which SL keeps getting called, and profoundly is not), there's a high turnover rate. Some folks log in, get frustrated, and never come back. Some folks log in, play for a week to a month, then log out, because they can't figure out how to get Lindens to spend, they can't buy the cool stuph, they can't do what they want where they want to do it, they can't figure out the controls--whatever. That's fine. Let them go. Trying to retain them only results in problems, they're not the target market that Linden Labs needs to retain.

Thirdly, dumbing down the game only gets us dumb newbies who become dumber residents. Go on, I said it, bring it! I'm dead serious. 90% of the people on the grid have the minds of goldfish.

"lol u wana go 2 dat shop?"
"ya lemme--oh fsk lol"
"lol u hit teh wall lol"

I have heard this conversation on average five times in every given week. I used to hear it more when I spent more time on the mainland. I have unhappily named this class of drudge "lolpeople", because of their predilection for that one shorthand phrase. And this is not the first time I've said it. In fact, it's influenced my own netspeak--I developed "HEE" as a variant because I wanted a quick keystroke that signified the same damned thing without descending to the goldfish denominator. The easier you make a tool, the more the tool-user doesn't need to think through how to use it. If there's no thought, then there's no growth.

Lindens, if you're listening (and you won't be), this is your main problem--with EVERYTHING--in a nutshell. You:

* ignore your problematic old code for the new and shiny, in the hopes that your residents will forget existing problems, or get distracted by the new and shiny

* continually try to make the grid "easier" to operate, which means new players coming in get less challenged in the beginning (this is bad in two entirely separate ways: 1), they get the ready idea that the entire game is this easy to play, and 2), with the advent of some stunningly bad advances like create character/port directly to grid, now we have residents who never set foot on Orientation Island! This is universally stupid.)

* seem far more focused on making the platform "predictable" without also trying to make it stable

* seem far more focused on ignoring the people who pay your bills now, in favor of the kind of residents you seem to want to pay your bills from now on (which means, for the interim, you're losing a lot of your residents now)

Really, Lindens, if Google ran their business like this? There wouldn't ever have been that immortal moment on Buffy where Willow said "Let me Google that". If Yahoo, much as I loathe them, ran their business like this? They would have died in two years. You are lovingly crafting a very sharp knife and asking us to help you tilt onto it so you can slit your own throat, does that make it clearer? And meanwhile, many of the residents on all sides of all arguments seem happily willing to push.

And some of us, frankly, are so fed up with the state of things? We're honestly tempted to sit back and watch while your virtual world dies around you. Because evolution works both ways--new forms evolve, yes, but forms the environment won't support die off. You are making yourselves non-viable, writing your own coded evolutionary dead end.

Stop it.


Anonymous said...

Right on, Emilly. *pumps his fist in the air* You said it. I wish more people were clear and plain spoken on this issue as you.

Emilly Orr said...

I honestly figure, sooner or later, someone's going to tip someone at the Labs, and Emilly Orr will quietly die off.

Well, in world, at least. :) Think I'd be very vocal on the wee blog.

Either that, or they enjoy the controversy...or still don't get why I seem so down on their recent policies...or, worst of all, think it's all publicity for them, and all publicity is good, right?


Winter Ventura said...

I can only think of a very few companies who have actively tried to "shed thier fringe customers" in exchange for a nicer public image.

Those companies:
Yahoo - made it harder and harder for people to make sexuality related groups. In the process, Yahoo Groups has been redeveloped, what, 4 times now? And Yahoo Groups is now the bottom of the pile in terms of being the "go to" place for social networking.

eBay - Moved adult content to the ghetto, then made it nearly impossible to find the link to "show adult content".. it's still in there, someplace, but no one uses it because no one BUYS anything. eBay has since become a joke overrun by RL "BIAB" resellers.

aol. There's not much more that can be said here. They started out wanting this superduper system thing, hell they're responsible for making "The Internet" what it is today.. but their whole mentality never caught on because aol was known for filtering adult content. Certain IRC networks and channels were blocked, and adults were forced to deal with their ersion of netnanny. And their brilliant idea of "AOl Keyword".. while a well known phrase, hasn't caught on anywhere else.

Problem with Linden Lab...

Executive Management:
Philip Rosedale - RealNetworks.
Mark Kingdon - PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Frank Ambrose - AOL, MCI.
Tom Hale - Adobe (acrobat), Macromedia.
Sandy Gould - RealNetworks.
Brian Michon - Quicken, TurboTax.
Joe Miller - Atari. 'nuff said.
Howard Look - Pixar, TiVo
Marty Roberts - lawyer for eBay.
Cyn Skyberg - Museum Director/Coffeehouse Owner (this is the Customer Relations person, btw).
Judy Wade - Kapor (Mitch) Industries.. and other places no one has heard of.

Board of Directors:
Mitch Kapor - Lotus (123), RealNetworks.
Jed Smith -, Oracle.
Bill Gurley - Benchmark Capital, Compaq.
James Currier - Tickle Inc?
Dana L. Evan - VeriSign.

These are not the Lego-Maniacs that SL needs running the show.

Emilly Orr said...

I'd tend to agree with you, but now I'm thinking each mention through...

...and wau, there's a lot of them. I'm making this another post.

Alexandra Rucker said...

Don't know if you heard, but Miriel's island is going away June 20th.

Emilly Orr said...

Had heard, yes.

Apparently there was some odd problem with her making a bunch of her landscaping full-perm? And then decided to ditch the entire island rather than fix it? Or something. I don't know what's going on.

What she really needs to do is toss the clothing line, maybe keep the hair and eyes, and concentrate on the landscaping...because she's good at it, damn it!

Anonymous said...

Apparently there was some odd problem with her making a bunch of her landscaping full-perm?

She says it's just a personal lack of enthusiasm and dissatisfaction with the shop, not anything external.

Emilly Orr said...

And now, see, that causes a twinge, because what did I do with my business? I let it wither on the vine for eighteen months. I created very nearly nothing for over a year.

Then this month I get inspired, I change the business name, make some changes to the store look, redesign the logo, put out one new shape, two new dresses--and suddenly I have three sales. And I'm planning on designing more. And hopefully advertising!

So any business can be turned around. If it's just that she doesn't want to do that any more? That's fine. But if she says she's quitting because she hasn't made anything new...Make something new, then!