My 1st Rezz Day for InWorldz!

Today marks my 1 year rez day on the InWorldz grid!  Wow, it’s really gone fast.  And while I’m not one to rank favorites – it’s been a superior year.  Certainly different than years since 2006 in SL.  I didn’t learn how to build on IWz, but, I did learn how to feel creative, how to bring my little concepts to reality…lol, how to even have a concept!  My skills improved as I’ve learned to utilize more of the building tools and things happen faster for me.

In SL and IWz, I applied a few of my RL skills with web media to my shops and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.   I’ve stopped comparing the two grids and see them as complimentary locations for each other.  They’re different and I love them both.

I’ve stopped watching the attendance in IWz, and have come to the (happy) conclusion that it may never grow much larger.  There is a core of people who are there exclusively – for the long term…and another group of people that come for a short while, exploring and spending for a bit, but then move on.  Just like SL, eh?

In the past year, I began a blog!  It’s fun to learn more about WordPress…but, there’s just not enough time to write interesting things.  The best result I have with it is for my weekly shop updates.  I update the pages for both shops weekly and it’s grown huge!  I even had to upgrade to a page that holds more image files!  A great sales tool!

With my InWorldz shop, I see a more spiking flow of business.  Sometimes 3-4 days will pass with no shoppers, but then one arrives and seems to buy one of everything, breaking my prior sales records with one visit!  Many times I think things are growing more sluggish there, but at the end of each month – the results are still great!  I guess what really prompted me to write today was this Hypergrid Business article I just found, about IWz economy…  http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2011/10/inworldz-users-cash-out-over-15000-a-month/  It seems to support the results I’m having.  And…I couldn’t resist passing it around, as I know there are many who wonder if anything is going on here – perhaps still doubting it’s viability.

As always, I’m ready to answer questions about IWz and to help you check it out.  Need a free place to hang your hat or open a little shop while you test the waters?  Or to convert a few dollars?… let me know.

Thanks to the InWorldz Founders and all the interesting and generous people there – who have made my first year so fun and inspiring!

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm  Comments (8)  

Tips for Export/Import Second Life & InWorldz

It seems like it should be so easy!  Can’t I just drag my own creations from one grid to the next?  Or, I’ve even heard about some inventory backup-to-hard-drive gadget…??  For the past six months I’ve been porting objects between InWorldz & SecondLife  – both ways….and here’s how it works most accurately for me.  I’ve not ported any scripted or animated objects – my experience is with porting multi-prim textured objects with regular and sculpted prims only.

2 MUSTS:

  1. You must use the same viewer for both actions.  (I prefer Phoenix, but have had success with Imprudence too.
  2. You must be the creator of the object.  My viewer even prohibits export of full perm objects I didn’t create.

Here’s how it works for me.  Let’s say I’m taking an 11 prim lantern from IWz to SL.

Rezz the lantern in IWz, right click it and select More…then More again, then Export.

Save and name it in a way that you will remember later!!  It should be as an XML File.  I always name it same for both worlds and save to my desktop.  It appears as a Folder and an XML file, with appropriate names.

Now, in SL, at top left of your (same) viewer, select File/Import Linkset.  Select the XML File.

OH! Now the fun begins.  My experience is that the ported object appears SOMEWHERE near my avi…sometimes behind my camera’s view.  You may need to cam out a bit…look around.  I’ve even had to do an Area Search to find it.  I have learned that setting my camera view close to my avi’s feet before I import… usually the ported object will appear nearby.

Wow – the lantern looks great.  Woot!  but…wait.  In my research, I’d read that Cleaning your Cache and Restarting might make things look different.  So I did that and …FUCK!  It’s now a wooden blob of white prims! 😦   Grrrr

So… I quickly learned that I needed to have the sculpt maps and textures in both worlds – transfered independently.

Fortunately all the prim settings are saved – size and texture details.  I could Edit the blob and add the maps and drop the textures on and it began taking perfect shape.

NOTE: After porting, be sure to check the object’s permissions – as the porting process opens all the Perms.

For simple 1 prim objects – it’s probably easier to just start the object from scratch in the new world.  With high prim, complicated builds (my 130 prim brass bed, for example) – Porting was a lifesaver!  Particularly nice is that the texture settings are in tact!

Scripts and animations are a different matter – but similar, in that you’d take them to your hard drive then upload in new world.   These items may not be quite as compatible in various worlds, as grids vary.

Those are the basics involved – however, I’ve encountered many exceptions and glitches along the way.  Some things just never make the export to my desktop.  Some don’t make the import.  More times than I can count I’ve had the annoying glitch of the map or texture going BLANK!  PERMANENTLY  When this happens, the map has no shape or the texture appears white/blank!   Usually a cache clean fixes this.  More than once I’ve needed to reinstall my viewer.  Using a different viewer will make them appear normal again.. some weird sort of file corruption, I guess…?  If anyone knows more about that, I’m all ears!  This issue makes me evaluate the need of porting versus starting the object from scratch….if it’s a simple build, I start from scratch.

Feel free to add your experiences here!  My Google analytics show that dozens of people search this topic daily!  Questions?  Feel free to write me in IWz or SL!

Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm  Comments (12)  

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.”

Mini Map..Bigger than it Looks!

Ooops, sorry to crash in to you – I haven’t rezzed yet!  Where are you…?  I can’t see your avi yet…

Sound familiar?  It’s time to meet your mini (map!)  I’m amazed when I learn that somebody doesn’t have their mini-map always visible!  It’s full of great nuggets of  information and I often glance at it – sort of like the rear-view mirror in my car!    First glance shows me if any of my friends are around (the gold dots) and how busy the location is.

Controlling your mini is a mouse task.  With the mouse over the mini, scroll in and out and see how your map responds.  I typically keep mine distanced enough to show me the sim I’m on.

Got dots?  Green dots are other avis and the yellow/gold dots are your Friends.

But what if…it’s not quite a dot – it’s a little arrow/chevron thingy!  If it points up – the avi is higher than you.  If it points down, their elevation is lower than yours.

Right Click on a dot and you’ll get a little menu offering Profile, Cam and options to track or change the color of the dot you’ve selected.  (When I land somewhere, I’ll often use this feature to see who’s nearby!)

Some viewer’s mini-maps have the avi name appear if you simply hover your cursor over their dot.

The Imprudence viewer allows you to expand/drop down the mini-map and you’ll get a list of nearby avis, and their distance from you – as well as cool menu that offers Profiles, IM, TP To and more.  I love the TP To option!  Takes me straight to my friend!

Going to a busy place that’s slow to rez?  Zoom in to your closest possible mini-map view and navigate your avi with it!  Simply avoid the dots!

Do you see blue shapes on your mini?  That’s YOUR stuff!  Think you dropped your wig at a friends house but can’t see it?  Zoom in-out with your mini and look for the blue clump.  I have a freebie item offered at the InWorldz Desert Island welcome area…and it’s so nice to navigate my way to my item via my mini, rather than walking through the busy landing area – trying to recall which store has my item.

And all the other shapes…those belong to other people.  At a glance you can see what parts of the sim are developed.   There are some discrepancies if there are objects by multiple owners, stacked.  Example, my friend has a build platform, rezzed high, at my place.   While there was nothing on the ground beneath it, I could clearly see its shape.  Once I began rezzing on the ground below it, the shape of his build was replaced with my own blue shapes.

Object detail and distance shown, will vary depending on your Draw Distance as well.  Generally, objects you can see will appear on your mini.  If your draw distance is low, your mini map will be lower resolution too.

Double left click on your mini to open the big map!

My thoughts come from experience with the original SL viewer, the much missed Emerald, the IWz viewer, Imprudence and/or Phoenix – I’ve not used the newer v2 or Hippo…or any others – so your experience may vary.

Did I miss anything?  What’s your favorite way to master the mighty mini-map?

Just because all that text grew boring....a new, but unrelated photo!

Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 6:06 am  Comments (7)  

Group Etiquette 1-A

Groups!  I have a love hate relationship with them!  They serve so many great purposes – but, can also be annoying, disruptive beds for growing false information.   I’ll try to keep my personal preferences out of here – but share some basic group etiquette that should benefit everyone!
GROUP CHAT

  1. A little grammar, please.  I realize it’s a casual environment, but to prevent confusion…add a comma here and there – so we can distinguish one point from another.
  2. Who are you speaking to? If the group chat includes more than one topic/conversation/thread…mention the name of who you’re addressing.  This is so other people will know what topic you’re addressing.
  3. Promoting an event?  DETAILS!!  Of course the date, time & location are important…but what kind of event is it?  Specifically, what is new at your shop?  How much is it?  How many prims are included?  It’s only the really bored reader that’s going to respond to a vague announcement!
  4. Does the group have criteria?  Limits to chat topics or Notice frequency?  As a group owner, set them – and post them where all members can see (group description, perhaps).  As a participant in a group, heed them.  What you consider a friendly invite can be considered spam by another… Know your audience and respect their expectations.
  5. How many notices are really needed for an event?  Most people in world are spontaneous.  “There’s a great show now, let’s go!”…  but a week long update – 7 days till the big show, 6 days till the big show, 5 days, etc… Please stop!
  6. Consider a web based calendar for a busy agenda.  2-3 events per day, or a jam packed weekend line up?  Have one place where your followers can look to see it all!  Let your group notices be lighter – encourage your followers to learn how to get updates 24/7.   While I’m at RL work, I might check my favorite musicians Google calendar to see if there’s a show I want to attend that evening….  InWorldz blog pages would also work for this.  (web pages that feature your creations would also serve this purpose…updated with new merchandise.)
  7. Too many group notices?  Too much chat?  Check the Group’s page and review the options in lower right corner.  You can disable them temporarily and/or individually.  If that’s too extreme, consider “tearing off” the group chat window and minimizing it….then the group chat can go on without it pinging each time, and you can review what you missed, at your leisure.
  8. An InWorldz specific suggestion, as the Profiles can’t be opened by clicking on avi names from within group chat window… (one most go to Search, then look up the avi).  Don’t make the person who’s willing to dig an LM (or whatever) out of their inventory for you ALSO have to search your name to deliver it.  The person seeking help should be doing some of the work, no?

Personally, I like to see groups stay true to their origins.   If I’m in a group for cat lovers, it isn’t because I wanted to hear about your day, your broken heart or visions for your sim….if I’m interested in your day, I’ll send you an IM.   Particularly in a large group with a fairly broad focus, doesn’t it just seem polite (and discreet) to take your personal details to IM?  If what your discussing takes more than 2-3 entries, perhaps you should pause and contemplate how many of the people in this group want/need to know what you’re talking about.

And since you’ve made it this far, I’ll be very blunt and say that, overall, I dislike ALL groups!  I cringe when there’s dozens of notices each time I sign in…my blood pressure goes up each time an IM interrupts my work…  I actually boycott any establishment that sends me more than one announcement per day!!!  Yet, there are facets of each group that I want – so I don’t turn off the announcements.  When you ramble on in a group chat, I mute you for the day!  I don’t dislike anyone in the groups.  The groups I’m in are full of great, friendly and helpful people and there’s such an amazing network being developed – every day! – I just prefer a quieter experience when I sign in (/me is a weird hermit)

I hope the groups I’m in don’t think I’m a bitch now… Perhaps I could form a new group “People Who Think Dancer is Bitchy”??  LOL  Am I the only one who feels this way?

Hugs everyone – see you in Group Chat!!

A Grid Business for You??

I’m sure everyone has had a glimmer (no pun intended) of a dream that includes making money in Second Life, InWorldz, etc.  Perhaps earn just enough money to cover your shoe purchases…or enough to quit your RL job and spend all day goofing around online!

Both are nice goals, though I strongly recommend you not quit your day job yet!

I’m no virtual tycoon, but I do have quite a bit of successful RL experience with advertising, marketing and PR…and during the past year, have also seen my virtual sales blossom.

I think we should all have fun experimenting, trying-failing-trying again, deciding to move in another direction, etc with whatever amuses us here.  But if you really intend to sell some things – and to more than your dear friends who just want show you support…here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Of all the people who hope to make $$ here, what percentage actually will sell more than a few of their items?  What percentage will make enough to recoup their investment in supplies (textures, uploads, scripts, etc)?  What portion will earn enough to cover their shop rent or tier…their tier AND their shoe habit?  And then who will actually cash in virtual money for RL cash?  So….how will you and your items be different?
  2. I’ve no statistic to share, but I’m convinced that the more you hope/expect to make $$, the less you’ll earn.  A good product is created by somebody who wants to CREATE, not sell.  If you’re just creating for the earning potential, you may not end up with a unique item.
  3. Don’t let #1 and #2 deter you!  You won’t know what you can do till you try!
  4. It wasn’t always this way in SL/IWz, but you have to have something unique …or at least fresh.  A little black dress or a pair of perfect black shoes is definitely something people buy, but there are already 8 gazillion of them for sale.  The competition alone, will diminish your sales capacity.  Give the little black dress or shoes some special little details that make them stand out from the rest!
  5. Who’s your market?  Is your item for a specialty niche?  In your efforts to create unique items, be careful to not get so obscure that your audience contains only a handful of people.  Knowing who your buyers might be is also handy when it comes time to advertise.
  6. Photos for your Advertisements!  Virtual photography is an art of its own, and most of us aren’t Photoshop or Gimp masters – but clear images for your ads makes a HUGE difference.  Even a novice photographer can make sure the photographs really focus on the item your selling.  50% or more of the photo space should be of the object itself.  Zoom in!  Selling a belt?  There’s no need to show the entire avi. Yes, I know you look really cool as a model, but zoom in close to the belt and make it fill a majority of the frame, or crop out the unrelated subjects.  Showing the object from multiple angles is a good idea too.  (added:  Be sure the background doesn’t distract from the object – a beautiful background sounds nice, but might take the eye away from what your selling, and virtual photography needs as much clarity as you can get!)
  7. Text for Advertisements!  A cool name is fun – and maybe you and your friend LOL’ed for hours when you thought of it.  But, if you’re planning to sell to more than your friends, your advertising text needs to be informative and descriptive.  I troll the SLMarketplace.com for items often – and there’s nothing more frustrating than an ad for “The Sascha” – with a photograph of a lovely avatar.  …Wtf is being sold?  The hair?  The shape?  A complete avi?  Be specific and make the words help you sell.  Leave no doubt what you’re selling.  (That said, too many words will confuse buyers and dilute the overall value of description)  Also, be sure you’re using the best spelling and grammar possible.  Get some help, ask for a proofreader!  Bad typing and language barriers shouldn’t appear in your ads!  (added:  Spellcheck is your friend – and speaking of friends, have them proofread your ads.  Not advertising in your native language?  Web translators are great, but often miss a word or two – skewing your message.  Once again, get another set of eyes to review your work!  This is often the first impression buyers will have of you – be professional!)
  8. Packaging.  You’ve gone to all this trouble to create a great product – why not optimize it?!  You can texture a basic box or have a special shopping bag – think of a packaging style to use for ALL your items and create a consistent look for them.  Inside the packaging, be sure to add an LM and any photos of your other products or notecard describing your business in greater detail.
  9. Branding or logo.  Some sort of signature mark on your ads and packaging can help shoppers remember you!  A unique logo is great, but branding can also be created through use of specific fonts, colors, borders, backgrounds, etc.  A consistent visual thread throughout your packaging.  (while it should be noticeable, it shouldn’t be more noticeable/distracting than the object your selling)
  10. Renting space for your store?  To save money, start small.  Resist selling your object in every color available until you see if the basic/best colors are well received.  A small store with a variety of items is more appealing than a store with 2-3 items, in 16 colors each!
  11. Selling on SL’s web Marketplace?  Pay attention to which words you enter in each box, and compare it to what you see when shopping.  The first words of your description may be all the “window shopper” gets to see.  Do those first words define well AND sound appealing to somebody who doesn’t know a thing about your object?  Review your listings often!  Try to see it with a blind eye – remembering that the shoppers need simple and clear information.
  12. Some bragging, but not too much!  It can be difficult to write an honest promotion for your own work.  Too many adjectives take away from the object and sound phony.  “A beautiful, charming, unique handbag” doesn’t tell me as much as “a casual black leather handbag.”
  13. CUSTOMER SERVICE An unhappy customer is 7x more vocal than a happy one.  In most cases, it doesn’t cost us anything to replace something for a customer.  Yes, I know they’re lying, presumptuous, unappreciative, rude and a fugly noob that can’t sort their own inventory – but, thank them for shopping with you and give them a replacement to shut them up!  *smiles* Remember how you’ve felt when trying to get a incomplete purchase resolved.  Did you have any patience for excuses?
  14. Groups, Profiles, blogs, websites,  and updates.  Web media is a great way to stay in touch with your customers.  Let them know what’s new.  Experiment with the different platforms to see which gets the best results.  My favorite group notices include notecards with photos of the new items – so I can decide if I want to bother TP’ing to the store.  A photo blog can do the same trick.  (added:  Like your advertisements, these need to have good spelling and grammar too!)
  15. Location, location, location!!  It’s cool if you’ve got your own sim/parcel for your shop, but, does it get traffic?  Consider a location in a neighborhood that matches your content.  Not much point putting your steampunk art shop on a sci-fi themed sim!
  16. InWorldz Specifically?  Well, this has been an interesting study for me.  I watch the growth numbers for IW daily, and it’s definitely climbing – slow, but steady!  As IWz is in beta, there’s a “hopeful rumor” that when physics comes – all will be more stable, and then everyone will come flooding to IWz, and business will rise….this really sounds great.  Yet, just how busy might that be?  For the meantime, I find it at an awkward stage.  Most the regulars here are creators themselves!  I’m not sure there’s much to do here (yet) if you don’t build.  Everyone needs fashion and avatar accessories, but I’m not sure there’s a big demand for home or shop supplies yet.  (since we’re mostly builders, we just build our own stuff)  There’s definitely a demand for building supplies!!  Many of the non-creators show up, stumble around frustrated with the beta/noobie feelings, leave, and wonder what the big deal is.  Maybe they’ll be back…?  I anticipate that it will continue to grow, yet it will be the rare item indeed that sells like hotcakes!  Currently, it’s a great time to create, set up shop, and establish your reputation.  As it’s currently difficult to search and tp, and pretty cheap to rent space, more than one location for a store is probably a good idea here.

Not sure how to move forward with your idea?  Feel free to write me, I’d be happy to talk about a strategy with you…but the first thing I’ll ask is, are you doing it for the passion?  If it’s just for the money, not sure I’ll be able to help you much 🙂  Good luck!

C'est moi, this week...

Profiles – Fact or Fiction?

What does your Profile say about you?  All those Tabs – does anyone read them?

From a 2008 Profile

I’m definitely a Profile fanatic!  It’s rare that I’m chatting with anyone without  having read their Profile first.  Whether it’s an old friend or a first time chat, I’m all over the Profile!  While hanging out at a busy venue, my favorite past time is reading them all.  I even have a tag that says “Reading Your Profile.”  I enjoy the reading and seeing the photos (often, amazing shots!).  I love when a Profile intentionally paints a good portrait of how the avi spends their time.

I was especially slow to grasp the information and possible fun within a Profile.  Even slower still to grasp how my own Profile could reflect on me.   Longer still to finally grasp the purpose of each tab.   My first two years were probably spent in Profile naivete (with the exception of the Profiles of Creators, for tracking down stores).

Profile in 2007

Starting with the first page – the first glance at you!  Most avis seem to give a fair amount of thought to the photo here.  I see professional portraits, candid snapshots and Photoshop creations.

Beneath that, Groups.  Do you show all of yours…or are you hiding some secrets here?  🙂  (I definitely hide some!)  This can tell a lot about the avi… Are they in to live music?  Fashions? A dozen free sex groups?  Are most of them in a language different than yours?  Is their rez day in 2007, but not a single group showing?  While not foolproof – you can learn a few things with Group info.

Then, the “About” section… this is where most people write a bit about their SL goals (to have drama free fun), loves (the most wonderful partner in RL/SL…EVER!), and friends (don’t fuck with my friends or I’ll mess you up bad!)…and usually a chance to reiterate the No Drama zone.  It’s common to see a list of things not accepted…no random TPs, no random Friendship offerings, etc.  Ohhh, I almost forgot, (cuz they’re so boring)…you might also find some famous quotes – that have already been used a zillion times!

...2009

As an avid Profile reader, I know I’m a minority.  Based on the questions I’m asked, most avis that write me definitely have NOT read my Profile.  This makes me question putting my “rules” in my Profile…why write all these guidelines, if the people who need to read them probably aren’t Profile readers?  I think that the people who actually read Profiles either enjoy reading them as much as I do…or are searching for info regarding merchandise in my store.  As a result, my Profile tries to stay up beat and positive.

The “Web” tab is next….this is usually blank, but sometimes has links to favorite video clips, blogs or online sales.  I put my SLMarketplace link there – but confess to often not reading this tab when perving your Profile!

On to the “Interests” tab…”IF” people bother to fill this out at all – I think they do it once, in the beginning, and then forget all about it.  I remember not filling mine out for a long time, thinking that checking one of those boxes would put me on a list, or group, and obligate me to participate somehow… lol.  I get a kick out of finding a creative answer in the little boxes!

…and then the multi-purpose, multi-faceted “Picks” tab!!  So much info can be found here!  You can do like I did for my first year, and use it instead of LMs, for finding your favorite, hard to remember, locations.  (I was LM challenged for the first year…I didn’t know how to take them, find them, use them – thank God for friends willing to TP me!)  My first picks were for Bits and Bobs and a few other places that sold adult animations…. tsk tsk!  Some Picks contain favorite shopping locations, frequented clubs, best places to explore or your gro0vey home!   I get a big RL grin when I discover a juicier Picks tab, with details about your friends, your rules of engagement, photos of you and your sweetheart, details of why you are a dom/sub expert (oops, Dom),  poetry, quotes from your friends, PHOTOS ..or at the very least, WHY you selected those locations – rather than just leaving the location owner’s Search Keywords there.

Like evaluating Groups, Picks can be insightful too!

Then, the lonesome “Classified” tab – used only by people advertising.

Lastly, the scary, often empty, “Real Life” tab!  It was months before I understood it wasn’t some other game/activity, I thought it was something similar Second Life!  lol, I can be soooo slow!  I posted a photo of some other woman on my RL tab for a long time!  (that is definitely another story!)  I’ve seen RL photos that I’m fairly sure are authentic, some that I’m sure are not!  Of course some prefer to keep that private – and post nothing, or a shot of their avi.  Then, space for a few words….more often than not, stating that RL and SL are separate!  (why is it that those avis are often the first to ask me my RL A/S/L?)

If I had more time and creativity, I’d update my Profile more often.  As it stands now, it’s accurate and I think informative, surely too self centered, and probably full of so many details that there’s nothing left for me to talk about!  I don’t mind sharing my RL A/S/L and photo.  (All this Profile talk has been regarding SL – my IWz Profile Perving hasn’t progressed much, yet)

My time spent Profile Perving has been informative and helpful to me, as well as a source of amusement.  I can also confess to a case or two of Profile Stalking!  Watching the Profile of an Ex as they move on to their next interest(s), can be painfully addictive!

How could I have forgotten to mention the Rez day and Partner spots?  Rez date isn’t as helpful as it once was – as many people recreate and/or have alts.  A young but well groomed avi is probably not brand new.  Partner info can be helpful, for obvious reasons!

I feel let down when I open a Profile for the first time and it says something to the effect…”Want to know more?  Just ask!”  …Gee, it’s nice you’re willing to share (if I ask), but how do I know it’s even worth our time to do that?

Profiles….I look forward to reading yours!

A Dancer’s Muse

Astoria della Mar, InWorldz

My prior report about prim counting will confirm that I also didn’t know a thing about building.  It was about six months before I rezzed my first plain wood box.  My mouse hand was actually shaking!  Today, my house hand is prone to pain and strain, from too much building!

Building skills and enthusiasm vary amongst my friends and acquaintances.  A few don’t/won’t/can’t build at all.  Many seem to build/create as needed – they have the basic skills and weigh out the time vs. expense for the object.  Yet, others are here specifically to create – creating objects/fashions for sale or exhibit.

A bouncy baby prim!

There are 2 components – skills and creativity.  Of course you need to know your way around the Build menu – but, having inspiration for something to create, is another story.

I hope I’m not the only one who used some other creator’s modifiable object to experiment with.  I took them apart and then made replicas.  It was a helpful tool for me!

This was a fun feeling of accomplishment, but… quickly grew dull.  My most coveted purchases were some non-mod vintage lamps – so I tried my hand at creating my own versions.

Oh they were beautiful!  A complex 3 prim concoction – it even glowed – sort of like a light.  I made a series in a wide variety of colors and quickly figured out how to sell them on Xstreet.com!  I was going to be RICH from these babies!!

LOL, or not!  They were complete shit!

The First Creation!

Not a single lamp ever sold!!  Couldn’t people see my clever skills??  🙂

It was months before I tried my hand at anything else – and then it was for some steps and retaining walls – (look behind the lovely lamp) I wanted around Astoria.

Now that I was a BUILDER, look out!  I learned how to make a flexy plant with a transparency plant texture – and that was exciting, but when rezzed alongside Julia Hathor’s amazing plants (I own every single plant she has created!) my plants came up sorely lacking.

Other than wanting to save some money, (like with all those big texture packs!) there was no real unique creative inspiration behind my builds.

Since SL has amazing creations, I was able to fill the Astoria space with unique and beautiful objects.  I LOVED the antiques I could buy and had a blast decorating and landscaping.  I was actually quite proud to be supporting the SL economy!  It never occurred to me that anything would be more fun than shopping!

At some point during my 2nd year of 2nd Life, I realized that creating textures was often the key to unique objects.  I’d heard of PhotoShop, of course…but Jester Wildcat told me about GIMP, which I downloaded and began experimenting with.  Gads, it was complicated and I could do NOTHING!  Slowly, like everything else I learned – it started to become a helpful tool.

Eventually, in year 3, the skills became more useful, and gradually the creative ideas began to sneak in.  A few chairs, mirrors, a fireplace, beaded hippy curtains…I actually liked these items – and much to my surprise, people bought them!

Advertisement for my store.

I had shifted from buying endless amounts of antique crap to creating endless amounts of antique crap – and it was so much fun!   It was very satisfying to see an idea take shape.  So satisfying that it began to overshadow most everything else I’d come to SL for!  (but that’s a different blog)

Fast forward to October 2010 and my entrance to InWorldz.  I had so many great feelings about being there.  A fresh feeling, starting from scratch with an Inventory that contained only the basics (and sometimes not even those things!) and people that were so generous without being pushy or nosy!  A wonderful sense of camaraderie and a genuine desire to make IWz a good experience.

I went to a sandbox and began experimenting.  With so few textures, sculpt maps, etc in my inventory it was a unique feeling.  Somehow it made me think more logically about my approach to building.  I’d always “eyeballed” my builds in SL, but here…it dawned on me that the Edit tools could be put to better use and there might actually be something beneficial about geometric symmetry!  LOL …or perhaps I had  finally figured out how to use all the tools available.

At first, it seemed important to figure out how to transfer items from SL to IWz.  That didn’t last long, and quickly I was wanting to do the reverse!  I was liking my IWz creations better than my SL stuff…somehow, my IWz stuff was cooler, fresher, better quality.

Astoria Bandstand, InWorldz

Something has really been set free within me, since I’ve joined IWz!  For the first time, I actually feel creativity in my head!  I’m looking at RL with a different eye, contemplating the way to recreate certain things virtually.  I have a list on my RL desk …things I want to add to Astoria, IWz.  It keeps growing – even though I’m also drawing lines through completed items.

Of course it helps that IWz is so much less expensive than SL.  You can’t imagine how it feels to have 45,000 prims at your disposal.  Okay, maybe you can imagine!  🙂  I’ve always been a detail oriented decorator – and IWz gives me the freedom to do that.  Odds and ends scattered about, a calculated randomness to object placement, clusters or nooks for conversation or a cuddle, and the biggest detail of all – the skylines.

I have long been an enthusiast of the amazing virtual photography.  Check out the FlickR or KoinUp sites for SL/OS photos and you’ll see why!  These photographers of virtual content will get a blog from me, showing some of their great works.  But, until then, I must confess – more than any thing else in my IWz, they are currently Dancer’s Muse!

The Oasis IWz