Has Your InWorldz Peaked?

I am loving every moment of my IWz time.  I’ve slowly added to my tier obligations, slowly growing my group, slowly adding inventory…well, it’s not always slow – it lurches up and down 🙂  …but, it’s very ..calculated.

Since I joined in November 2010, there’s been a tremendous excitement in IWz!   The members are patient with the beta aspects…feeling like we’re getting in on the ground floor of a great thing..and that when the physics are added – look out, it’s going to GROW!  But…just how big do we expect it to become?  Average attendance in SL is 40-50,000.   Is that what we expect?  Or something more reasonable, like 1/4 of that?  10,000 users IWz at once?  🙂

It’s grown since I’ve been there.  There were 650 regions when I joined…Now, mid-May 2011, there are 882.  (Edited:  January 21, 2012 there are 884)When I joined, the highest attendance I saw was around 150…that grew to exceed 200 – at peak times.  Yet… I rarely see attendance over 200 any more…and those last 20-30 new regions took forever to appear.

Please know that I am not trying to report negatively about IWz!!!  I adore it there and my little biz continues to exceed my expectations in so many ways!  It’s just that in the past month, I’ve noticed a few changes – and I know I’m not alone.  I think I’m writing now because I want to encourage people to be realistic about what IWz can do for you….and what we can do for IWz.  I don’t think IWz has peaked…but I do think our expectations may have been steered off course.

One of the groups I belong to is Where Can I Find It.  It’s HUGE by IWz standards – over 1000 members – it’s not unusual for there to be 100 avis online at the same time there.  In spite of the fact that I am not an enthusiast of group banter – I find this group to be a single resource for so many things.  In addition to finding things and sharing my own creations…Viewing the activity in this sizeable group makes me feel like I’ve got my finger on the pulse of IWz!  I can see  what others are creating, prices, new businesses and clubs,what is being sought, trends, etc.

Until about a month ago, the Group Notices there were primarily promotions for new creations and upcoming events.   Surely I’m not the only one to notice the shift of Notices going towards land rental and region sales.  Recently, I read a Notice stating that unless a particular shop made enough sales that day, they were going to have to close their doors!  😦

Land is SO much more affordable in IWz, and the abundant prims are irresistible!  If you ever had visions of being a landlord or even land mogul in Second Life… how could you not buy a sim (or 3 or 5 or 10) IWz?  How easy to imagine it would be simple to make ends meet!

Yet I ask, is it wise to buy more land than you need?  Why not add a sim when the others get full?  It may be cheaper in IWz, but the supply and demand may not be the same.  So much similarity between the worlds…but on a smaller scale.

It’s not just IWz that hopes to see growth…the other open sims, AviNation, OSgrid, 3rdRock, etc… they are hoping to lure users from SL too.  I’ve read a ton of mud-slinging between the supporters/users of these groups – each claiming to be the best!  From what I’ve been able to read, IWz is leading the way there…I’ve tried some of them too – obviously I’m enjoying IWz the most.

Amongst all the alternative grids, there’s a rampant bashing of Second Life.  🙂 It’s easy to hear horror tales, issues with Lindens, land, account issues, stalkers… my SL has had issues too.   Many people have “sworn off” SL – claiming they will never return.  Yet, I don’t think bashing the other grids is healthy for any of the grids.

I can understand having a preference, even giving up your old grid for a new one.   But, there will always be many grids for people to consider.  We’re still on the edge of virtual gaming…won’t there always be variations and offshoots?

I’ve begun to think of them as all related.  I have friends in one world.. I have friends in the other.  I have shops in one…shops in the other.  I buy clothes in one – and the other.  The goals are the same for me.   It was MY attitude that was different in each world…but now – they’ve really melded together.

Has anyone else heard/read about a future with grids that are connected?  One avi that can TP between grids, taking their Inventory with them…?  As a merchant, I shudder at the thought of my items being whisked somewhere without my consent…yet, maybe the real answer isn’t about ME knowing about ALL the grids…but rather, a bigger picture.  Making content that is universal, for all grids.

I use two texture websites that sell their textures via email – and you pay according to the level of permission you want.  Just SL – SL & all other virtual grids – SL, all grids AND full creative use, anywhere.  This makes perfect sense to me, and works beautifully for my dual virtual lives!

I could imagine an online shop, like SLMarketplace, that supported all the grids.  Items would be exchanged in the same manner we export/import linksets now…via XML files.

LOL…is that too far fetched?  I don’t really think so….imagine…we could all experience all the grids – with such ease!

Meanwhile, I’m feeling bad for the folks that overextended themselves IWz.  Having money worries is obviously bad…and a different type of bad feeling comes when you have to pull your tenderly created prims or say goodbye to that wonderful landscape you labored over.

Just like SL, the alternate grids have risks.  Protect yourself!  Be prepared for change!  Don’t risk more than you can really afford.  Personally, I acquire land or shop rental space only if I know I can have fun maintaining it all by myself.  Yes, I aspire to earn enough to pay my rent – but, in my heart and mind….the whole virtual package is about having fun.  It’s a hobby!!   I’d like to think that if my renters left and I never sold another object…I’d still be having fun and my expenses would still be worthwhile.

My IWz is still more beautiful than anything in my SL.

Members of InWorldz… I caution us to not sound desperate!  I’m a big advocate of advertising and promoting our works… but, really… excessive and repetitive advertising isn’t going to fix anything.  If there’s currently a lull with InWorldz growth – hammering the existing members with repetitive ads is frankly …annoying..and sad.  I make a bi-weekly group Notice in the Where Can I Find It group.  My Notice provides the url link to my blog – and via this WordPress blog, I can track how many readers I attract.  The results are ALWAYS worthwhile.  (My Transaction page also proves it!)  However, of those thousand members, only a small portion of them are NEW members – the majority are the same core group.  To keep the repeat reader interested, the information needs to be fresh!!  Even your old items can be spotlighted in a new way, fresh description, new photos, suggestions for new uses, etc.  (what a great way to improve & optimize our advertising marketing skills!)  For Pete’s sake, double check your spelling and grammar while you’re at it!!

If we want IWz to grow – we must continue to make a great impression on the new users.  This is something IWz already has a great reputation for!!  EVERY article and interview I’ve seen has praised IWz for the warm welcome and helpful attitude.  The Mentors are fabulous at helping people get started!  The Founders are awesome at helping with account and land issues.  There is a great sense of community there.

I’m a little worried that IWz members could lose some of this.  Now, more than ever, we need to stay upbeat and positive!  By no means am I suggesting you should stay longer than you want…just that, if we are there – and if we want it to keep growing – we’ve got to continue to show that warm and positive feeling.    The attitude of IWz is one of its strongest selling points!

Are we staying true to the feelings and motivations that inspired us originally?

Just like in RL – during this tough economy, NOW MORE THAN EVER it is wise to invest in your product and continue (even expand) your advertising & promotional efforts.  I know it’s hard to justify spending more when you’re earning less…but, it’s a proven advertising strategy in RL. (assuming you plan to stick with it for awhile!)   Also, land barons beware… There’s a trap when you lower your rental prices too much…when the economy revives, it’s very difficult to raise your rents to your original price point.

2 readers of my blog roll have expressed confusion that some of my posts are about SL – others IWz.  But..they’re not confused anymore!  It’s been a great way to let my SL readers see how cool IWz is.  Expose the various grids to each other!  Do you have any way to share your IWz with folks in other worlds?     My virtual time is rather diligently divided between SL and IWz – and while that’s not the best approach for everyone – I ask you to consider keeping your virtual doors open to all the worlds! ….open in both directions!

Honestly…I like the smallness of IWz.  If it never grows another region, I’ll enjoy the creative opportunity it provides for me.  It sparked a flame of creativity that has changed so many things for me in RL, SL, IWz!!

My wish is that all the InWorldz members enjoy their time there as much as I do!  I encourage you to think about the things that brought you there originally.  To recall the amazing things that Second Life has inspired and taught us, regarding virtual worlds.  To think long and hard about your virtual goals and if the worlds you’re in can make them come true.  Lastly, in the words of John F. Simmedy, to “Ask not what your grid can do for you, but what you can do for your grid.”


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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I completely and wholeheartedly agree.
    This is THE thing I wish I had said in the interview with Paisley: You dont have to leave SL for good if you dont want to. Other grids provide affordable land, affordable enough for people to be in both SL and IW. Even multible grids.
    The differnt grids do their thing in different ways. Hence why they ARE different.
    IW focusses on community and busines, AVN focusses on RP and Business. 3rd Rock focusses on community and so on. One must remember that all the other grids are still new and still getting on their feet. IW will this year make a huge stride in performance. They have made a choice of concentrating on the core and not the bling. Core 1st and Bling 2nd. SL (LL) has made a choice of adding bling before core.
    I dont see why some people make it in to a compertition. Virtual worlds are just that, worlds! Do you live in Italy? Ok fine but do you ever travel outside your country. Or even your own town? So you like in London, have done your whole life. Your now tired of the hussle and bussle so you move to a town 20 miles (or what not) away. Will you now stop going to London forever? What if you could actually afford to have a place in your new town AND London?

    Virtual worlds are out there, go explore, settle, travel, embrace it 🙂

    • Such great analogies, Lady! btw, LOVED your interview with Paisley – I thought the entire show was such a great showcase of IWz. Well done! Thanks for reading and adding your wise contribution!

  2. Crap now Im wise. Bliss just informed me on Twitter that I wasnt as clueless as Ive been going round beliving. I smell brimstone for sure 😉

    Thanks for you kind words thou 🙂 x

  3. […] are under the impression that you have to  choose. Today  I  read an excellent  blog from Dancer Glimmer ” Has Your InWorldz Peaked” , Dancer touched on  this subject briefly as well. Even  earlier today waking up  I  noticed a […]

  4. The XML idea is one I had been thinking about too! In fact the whole thing – Secondlife (And other associated grids :3) users are very precious when it comes to permissions, but really there’s a limit to how much copy-protection you can reasonably provide without damaging your availability.
    I can buy textures from Renderosity (eg) and use those anywhere, in the ways that are defined in the EULA, doesn’t it seem sensible to provide your products in a similar way in the virtual worlds?

    People are -generally- honest, and seek to support creators they respect, especially when those creators are visible enough that they can be easily found.

    So I might do something like that in the future, at least with my full permissions items, it’s not like they can’t just export them out of the browser anyway, it’s a lot of trust but, having an easily available texture portfolio with licences specific to virtual worlds usage is pretty reasonable I think. More reasonable than hiding in some expensive shop in Linden Labs servers anyway, and hoping to get noticed amongst the already established shops. (Webservices generally being much cheaper for more visible space. :D, oh how I wish LL would raise the prim limits so rentals could become more affordable (Or more er reasonable, I assume the prices would stay the same but you’d get to put more up at least, and not have to use laggy vendors all the time!)

    Hmm think what I was going to say got all lost, but basically… Yes 😀 I agree, hehe!

    • Annamint! Wow, so great to read somebody else shares my thoughts (now i know there are at least 2 weird people!) lol. Regarding full perm sales…if you did that, would you charge more? How much more? You’ve got me thinking about that now! *holds spinning head* ..however, have you ever tried to export a full perm object you aren’t the creator of? (with permissions, of course!) My Phoenix viewer prevents me… I suppose other viewers are different… rambles off… 🙂

  5. A very well thought out blog post. You’ve given me much to think about. While not a land owner myself anymore I still spend the vast majority of my time in IW either rebuilding, exploring or helping others out if I can. Mind you I don’t hate SL by any means, but to be honest when 90% of my grid time is spent in IW that means something.

    Right now IW has that “small town” feeling. A place where you can get to know others and by extension be known to a goodly sized percentage of the people. Personally, I like to think that I’ve got a decent reputation. Compare it to SL where a person may be known in amongst a few sims that share a community (Caledon, Raglan Shire, etc) however it always feels like you’re … well overwhelmed by the size of it all. It’s kinda hard to get an overall feel for something as huge as SL. You know what I mean?

    I could babble on for a long time.

    Take care.

    • Deson!! Thanks so much for reading..and your comments. “Small town” is a great way to describe IWz!! And, while we haven’t met – your reputation precedes you! ..so yes, you have a decent rep! Thanks for adding me to your page – I’ve looked and seen all your amazing projects ..wow, you build BIG! I’ve added your link to mine too!

      Do you think it’s the prim freedom that leads you to spend most your time IWz?

      • Grab a drink. hehe this one is somewhat long but I felt that I needed ot explain things.

        I was initially informed by IW by a friend of mine over in SL who told me I should check out that place. I was warned in advance that things were in Beta but I figured “What the hey! Lets give it a shot.” On July first is my Rezday for IW so yes I decided to hang around. The free uploads and the chance to build things without having to beg for money was my initial start. Within a period of two weeks I started on a project that would literally last for about 10 months. The snake river sim. Look in You Tube for an idiot named Bendarr2. That’s me, and in there I have some videos if what the snake river sim looked like before I had to tear it down. That’s another story. The build itself would have been literally impossible over in SL due to several advances IW has over SL (namely the sculpty situation).

        So initially it was the prim limits and what I could do with them. Very shortly afterwards though I started wandering around going from sim to sim and loving seeing the imagination turned loose. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one indulging in builds you couldn’t do in SL due to prim limits.

        During the process of my wandering around and exploring, I started meeting more and more people and slowly but surely some very firm friendships have resulted over here. Now I had friends over in SL, but well how shall I put this? They felt very scattered. One would be over in Caledon where by extension I had met some others but hadn’t really felt any sort of connection. Another would be in a different area entirely and was a loner. Some I knew through NCI. The thing of it is my Friendships in Sl felt far more scattered than they do here. IW is small enough where a person could spend some time and in a period of a couple of weeks, have a decent over view of what there was to be found.

        A very loose idea but nonetheless and you meet the neatest people while your exploring. Much more friendly over all than in SL. I suspect it may be because SL has their share of Griefers etc and people have come over here feeling “burned” by either SL, or Griefers, or just unhappy with the situation. Thus IW is a “Fresh start” Some have kept their same name (it used to be a requirement if you wanted to transfer over Lindens to IZzies.) Others have a different name but keep their old name as an “Alt”. I suspect that a lot of the population of IW is “Self selecting”. What I mean is that most of the people here are experienced people who got their start in SL but are unhappy with SL for one reason or another.

        yesterday I had the chance to get involved for a surprise rezzday party for a friend of mine. In my year and a half over there, I never had that chance.

        I consider myself a person who has “Dual citizenship” in both IW and SL. I don’t hate SL by any means but here I feel so much more comfortable with the people, the chance to cut loose the imagination, and the much more relaxed attitude over here. There isn’t the “Sell, sell, sell or perish” attitude that I’ve seen over in SL. Oh and here’s another kicker for IW. Word of mouth is not only possible but a great way to have things done. Being a big name accross the street ain’t gonna guarantee profits over here. Like a small town. We talk to each other. We talk about what’s going right and wrong in our lives (Both in virtual and RL). So being famous isn’t a guarantee. A bad merchant is talked about and a good one as well is talked about. Likewise making something of quality often means more than the “name”. I have 3 stores. Not a huge selection of things but I try my best in making anything that I make either for me or for sale as to the best quality I can. In a small town a person like me can get noticed and not be buried under multiple pages of advertisements geared by people who are trying to game the system and look for every little last possible advantage that they can get. Here we help each other and even steer business each others way if someone is looking for something special.

        Oh on a final note, you’ve seen some of the pics of my projects. Goto Eagle lake at (128, 128, 1363) Note the last number 1363 that’s important. I’ve got most of the building rebuilt from Snake river now and in fact it’s much improved now. I invite visitors over to say hello. Even if I’m not there feel free to wander around and poke around. As a couple of friends of mine discovered pics don’t do it justice.

  6. Deson – thanks for all your words! ..first, your builds are great..and the part that wows me is how HUGE they are! Never do I think so big for building! 🙂 though…I’m just realizing that it’s the bigness of my IWz space that appeals to me – perhaps even more – that the prim counts.

    Of course the prims in IWz rule!! But the affordability has allowed me to have more uninterrupted space than I’ve ever had in SL. My SL mainland can’t compare with private regions IWz 🙂 …and while I don’t create large builds like yours, my visions do fill large space…and having the space IWz has fired up my landscaping creativity! LOL..i think I’m blabbering – but suffice to say, IWz is where I get my creativity. I am managing to take much of it to SL – as like you, I consider myself a dual citizen!

    I’ll make it over to see your IWz build soon..and invite you to my place as well – just follow my profile…it is a small town, after-all.

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