Wednesday, November 18, 2009

sometimes I cannot take this place, sometimes it's my life I can't taste

MMORPG's list of ten MMOs that made a difference. It's not a bad list of history-making MMOs, with both good and bad games on the list.

Miss Ina Centaur makes some very good points here.

All right, so I'm sure everyone's heard by now that Linden Labs are dissatisfied with the level of profits they're getting currently (in that they're not WoW), so they're jacking the prices of things on XStreet.

Especially freebies.

While doing nothing to stem the rising tide of blatant copyright infringement and business-in-a-box sales.

So...you're irked with the Labs and you have stuph for sale...what do you do?

There's a limited list of alternatives. One is Slapt.me. Built by three residents and hailing out of the Netherlands, it uses an unfortunate orange color scheme and a rather slow server, all things considered. Setup is a bit tricky, but doable, and no more brain-croggling on listing items than XStreet.

They're discounting largely their advertising fees:

slapt.me does not charge merchants for standard item listings on the Marketplace website.

slapt.me charges Marketplace merchants a commission for each sale. Standard commission rates are as follows:

All Items: 5% of the sale amount

* Commissions are rounded to the nearest Linden Dollar using straight rounding (e.g. 1.5 is rounded to 1).
* Commissions are charged at the time of each sale.

Listing Enhancements

Featured Item Listing

Homepage Featured Item Listing - L$2899 - (Special offer price) L$499 per 30 days
Homepage Featured Item Listing (7 days) - L$899 - (Special offer price) L$139 per 7 days
Highlighted Item Listing - L$299 - (Special offer price) L$69 per 30 days
Bordered Item Listing - L$299 - (Special offer price) L$69 per 30 days
Bold Item Listing - L$99 - (Special offer price) L$24 per 30 days


I'm trying it for a month to see, with one or two items. I'll tell you how it goes.

Down Sides: To date, there's no effective 'payout' for goods. They say they're working on it. I have doubt. But this is what their FAQ now says:

* How do I withdraw my L$ funds to real cash?

We are currently working towards introducing a method to withdraw your funds directly to RL. We will post more information when we have it and are able to share it with you. For now you can only withdraw L$'s back to your avatar via the inworld terminals. See below for more details.


So...find an inworld terminal--or host one in your store, if they say yes and send you one--and you're good for at least in-world things. This is not the worst concept. I will say that Slapt terminals are much more prevalent in world, now, and it's equally easy to withdraw funds from a Slapt terminal as it was from SLBoutique.

The other big down side: their formatting is crap. There's just no way around that. Their formatting of rigid box sizes and fields that can't be read if they go outside the boundaries of the box ensure that I'm pretty much making a blind stab at category for my outfits, and have no idea what my items are actually listed as. This is not good.

Metaversal Exchange is another virtual reseller to investigate. Many merchants are drifting over there for two reasons: first, it's a fairly easily understood format, easy to set up an account, easy to list items; and second, they claim their end goal is to serve all virtual good designers, in all worlds, so if Second Life ends up being inhospitable to non-business accounts, the assumption is that merchants can hop to another world and still list their items for sale.

Terminals are a little odd to get to, but they're growing; I have an account and I'll try to get set up as a merchant with a sales box tomorrow.

The SL Mentor Group is closing. I can't help but think that, barring the few genuinely helpful souls, this is a good thing; both because the Labs are becoming evil mercenary thugs, and also because the SL Mentors group was becoming full of tinpot dictators with delusions of grandeur...wait, why is Linden Labs closing the Mentor group again? Sounds like their mix of thuggish insanity would fit in fine with the M Linden Labs!

I'll keep you updated, either way.

9 comments:

samanthapoindexter said...

Heh. Speaking as a Mentor, the current announcement largely makes official what's been the case for months anyway. The only practical difference is that we won't be allowed to help on Help Island anymore... but then HI desperately needs to be overhauled anyway. Maybe they'll come up with something that won't require an army of harried unsupported volunteers. (Not likely, but maybe.) Or perhaps community gateways, ala Oxbridge, will take over...

Peter Stindberg said...

There's also Meta-Life and Apez.biz. I don't have a lot of experiences with Meta-Life, and - speak of bad timing - only two days ago they announced they will cease development for a few months and focus on other things. However my understanding is their marketplace is quite developed.

Apez.biz has been around forever it seems. Their server technology and backend functionality is known to be among the most versatile, offering a whole bunch of features. Their website - however - sucks majorly. I was in close discussion with them after LL bought SLX and I told them they have the potential to become the #2 marketplace. However in all the time since them they did - nothing.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Poindexter,

As I've said, I've known good Mentors--mostly overworked and never paid. But for every one good, helpful soul in the group, I heard ten horror stories.

I'm hoping resident communities, like Oxbridge, will step up and take over in the interim. It couldn't hurt.

Peter,

My problem with Apez, frankly, is I can't figure out enough of their website to figure out what to do to list products. They could be great; but they've never bothered to invest anything in user experience being easy, streamlined, or even functional.

Peter Stindberg said...

Absolutely. If you invest some time and check out what they actually have - for example you can build your own, personalized webstore with them - it is amazing. But they really did not get a pull on marketing and user friendlyness.

Mako Magellan said...

Despite the shortcomings, I think Apez is worth persevering with. I could have saved a lot of time and effort if I had done this at the beginning, instead of dashing off and buying another vendor system just so that I could let customers send gifts, and a subscription service so that I could build a mailing list. Apez does both these things, and a lot more; I just didn't know.

Fogwoman said...

After dealing with Oxbridge for some time now, I have much more understanding of the challenges faced by the mentoring groups. You have to balance the need for volunteers with a willingness to send all the "mall-cop" mentalities packing. I think we are doing a pretty good job in Oxbridge of keeping it fun and loose for the volunteers and keeping a rein on those who just want to boss people around.
I am also eager to hear where else SL creators are posting their wares, so that I as a consumer have another option besides SLX.

Emilly Orr said...

Hello, Mir. Magellan!

I'll have to try Apez; so far, just getting the Metaverse box has been a challenge, let alone setting it up. I'll try Apez next.

Lady Fogwoman,

You're right. And from everything I hear, and the few times I've been by, I think you're doing a great job helping with Oxbridge.

There's a group in SL now, called Creator Designer Support, that is starting to gather major and minor names who are trying to find another online vendor option. It was set up by the same woman behind the "Wear Grey" charity campaign, and it is designed to be a gathering place for the good and the bad alternatives to XStreetSL.

Candy said...

I found setting up with Metaverse VERY easy. Once you register, they have a button to buy a box and you set it up like a kinder version of Xstreet.

I was up and running in 4 minutes!

-Candy

Emilly Orr said...

Maybe it's just me, then.

*sighs and pokes at Metaverse some more*