Branching out in Virtual Worlds – The “Hows” and “Whats” – Part 2

Moving swiftly on with part two  of this thrilling saga ;)

We left the tale just after explaining what  the new grids are about and why you should bother with expanding out from Second Life. In part two I will cover some of the key  things to  look for  and be aware of  out there in the metaverse.

*********************

IS THE GRID CONNECTED TO THE HYPERGRID OR IS IT A CLOSED GRID / WORLD?

Hypergrid? Now what in the world is that? Well very briefly the hypergrid is a technology  that is used to connect various grids together making one large  puzzle of grids that are interconnected  so  you  can  teleport from one grid to another taking your inventory with you.

Some grids are  connected to this hypergrid, commonly  known as hypergrid enabled others has chosen  not to  be connected at the moment and these grids are known as closed grids or worlds. Second life is  such a grid. Ironically Linden Lab  was among the first, if not the first, to  experiment with the hypergrid. At any rate this technology was picked up  by  other developers and  has progressed from there.

Some creators embrace the hypergrid enabled grids and some don’t. Basicly it comes down to the inventory. Its will  be too much to cover the whys and why  nots of the hypergrid. If your interested I  recommend you look into  it further. The hypergrid is under constant developement and so  are  issues attached to the permission problems.

Now closed worlds  are similar to Second Life. Meaning if they are commercially focussed they will  be registered with the DMCA and take  issues like copybotting very serious. In InWorldz a proper DMCA filed complaint will  be taken  care of within 24 hrs or less. Again trying not to sound like a broken  record, do your research. The grids  DMCA policies are often  listed on their individual websites

Closed worlds includes worlds like InWorldz, Avination, 3rdRock, SpotOn3D. (There might be plans on connecting to the hypergrid down the line so  make your enquiries with the  grids that catch your interest) While you can’t use the hypergrid  on  these closed grids and therefore since Second Life is a closed grid you can’t travel with your inventory out of Second Life. You can export  your own creation out of Second Life. This can  be done by using  TPV viewers or the  program known as Second Inventory. This can only be done if you are the sole creator and in many cases textures and sculpt maps will  have to  be imported in  separately and re-applied (more on that later in part three)

PRICING ON LAND, UPLOADS, ADVERTISING IN-WORLD, ETC

Many virtual worlds out in the  metaverse are much, much  cheaper than Second Life. Some offer self hosting of regions also (mostly grids that are on the hypergrid like the biggest of them all called OSGrid) Pricing are generally in the range of 40 – 100 usd per month for a full  region. InWorldz and Avination, which is presently the two  biggest closed grids (not counting Second Life) with an inworld economy, only offer full regions leased directly from  them. If you’re looking for land  in these worlds  your option  is to  shop around inworld and  lease from  inworld Region  owners /  Estates. Prim value on the regions also  varies a lot from  world to world. Generally  its between 15000 – 45000 prims per region

Upload fees again are different. Some worlds offer free unlimited uploads to all  their residents. Other worlds offer a merchant “allowance” that you have to apply for  via their support ticket system. Others again  charge you  10 of their own credits / money  to  upload (similar to  Second Life) no  matter who  you are.

Advertising inworld is in some worlds free during their beta fase. A good tip  is to join  or lurk on their individual forums. A lot of good tips and info can  be found on  those.

In any case be sure to read the TOS that applies to the virtual world that you  might be interested in.

PRICING OF YOUR MERCHANDISE / CREATIONS

This is a biggie. In the time I’ve been a resident in InWorldz I’ve seen creators come and go and I’ve seen vast differences of pricing. This is understandable as these new worlds are fairly  new to a lot of creators .

Few good pointers are that you’re not dealing with newbies to virtual worlds. Your potential customers  are often old timers in virtual worlds and they  wont be blinded by fancy  advertising.

When pricing (which is hell in any case, I personally hate pricing my things) There are some key things to consider:

– > What are your expenses going to be like, now and in the future?, Think  rent / lease, advertising cost, upload cost, etc.

–> What are the competitors pricing

–> What kind of inworld economy is there. Meaning what does it cost to buy  inworld currency

–> Price according to the market

–> Aim for breaking even. Not for profit

Dont price as you do in Second Life. I’ve spoken to a few bigger names in InWorldz and they are some of the creators that offer the same range in IW as in SL. They  set their pricing similar to their SL stores. Meaning they  might charge 199 L$ for a hair/shoe/clothing and they then set their InWorldz price to 199 I`z $. That is one example of how to do it.  As said above the expenses are  much cheaper than in Second Life and your market is much smaller, keep that in  mind. I listed above “Aim for breaking even  not for profit” Now why  is that? Well as said the market is much smaller, see your store(s) in other worlds as marketing tools. Similar to when you have satellite stores in Second Life. I also touched on the visibility factor. These worlds are smaller and  your chance of being seen are greater than  in Second Life. That should be your prime focus not the profit. I will say  I  know of several that do run their  stores in other worlds with a profit and not all  of them are big Second Life names.

Even if you are a small  creator that just loves to create and have  fun with that, once you step onto the scene  and try  to  sell  your creations business does (sadly) become a factor

The above is mainly aimed at  creators of content. Creators of building aides like textures, sculpts, templates, etc. are different since they offer full  perm  items and therefore face other challenges

CUSTOMER SERVICE

This is another biggie. It’s a step you can’t ignore. Poor customer service = bad PR. Word of mouth is the best PR you can  ever have.  Few pointers to  let your customers and potential customers  know your level  of service

–> Make a group for your store. Supply with a subscriber if they are available in the world(s) you choose.

–> Join advertising groups (turn of notices if you don’t wish to have the spam from other  merchants)

–> Inform you customers on a regular basis of your  activities. Choose a specific day to keep track. Dont  over spam cos that wont pay off.

–> Inform your customers of vacation times. That way they will  know if your late in responding.

–> As in Second Life your profile is your face. Use it. List  your service level  and stick to it.

ADVERTISING OUTSIDE THE VIRTUAL WORLDS

Use the means you have on the internet: Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc. Let your followers know both inworld and out of world where to find your stores. Its good advertising for you and the virtual worlds that you  use. Not to mention  that if your customers also  fancy trying out new worlds they will  know before hand that your are there and they will  come to your store and gear up.

Some worlds have outside advertising as well. Often run by  their residents. InWorldz being one of them. Check out inBiz and Cariama. inBiz has just launched their beta market place  directed at InWorldz residents only where as Cariama is a multi grid market place catering to several  virtual worlds. inBiz also runs a directory that is similar to your yellow pages in the Physical World

TRANSFERRING MONEY BETWEEN WORLDS

This is possible in some worlds. In InWorldz there is an ATM that is run  by the creator of inBiz. No  fees apply on transfer but they do  have a 24 hrs limit of 5000L$. Avination also  has an ATM. Fees do apply on transfer, I’m unsure if they  have a 24 hrs limit. Other worlds use  a service called VirWox.

 WHAT WORLDS ARE OUT THERE?

Hypergridbusiness has a list that they update on from time to time

**************

This concludes the second part of this saga of the “Hows” and “Whats”. If you have anything you  like added feel  free to contact me and I will  look  into  it and update  these posts accordingly.

Third part  will be covering more of the nitty-gritty “Hows” when branching out into the wonderful  realm of virtual worlds

Comments
6 Responses to “Branching out in Virtual Worlds – The “Hows” and “Whats” – Part 2”
  1. Lady S –

    I like this article (and the preceding one) — very nice overview, and thanks for the H.B. mention.

    I just updated our grid list: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/opensim-grid-list/
    It covers about 80+ currently active public OpenSim grids and, where I know it, I list hypergrid accessibility, currency, etc… We’ll be doing a big push this summer to get the hypergrid status of all these grids (though it’s hard to keep up — grids turn it on and off at will, sometimes, especially smaller grids still finding themselves.)

    The full list of hosting providers and their prices is here — the grids are in the right column, and on the left are the hosting providers that work in multiple grids:
    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/opensim-hosting-providers/

    Avination and InWorldz are both at $60 a month per region.

    We also just completed our regular monthly grid survey — InWorldz is gaining, and Avination losing ground:
    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/opensim-hosting-providers/

    And, of particular interest to merchants, there are now two multi-grid Web-based marketplaces for OpenSim — Cariama and HGExchange. Here’s a comparison of the two:
    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2011/07/cariama-vs-hgexchange/

    InWorldz and Avination both use Cariama — it’s older, easier to set up, limited to closed commercial grids — but some of the newer grids are going with HGExchange, which offers the option to deliver goods from merchants in one grid to buyers in others grids (merchants get to decide which other grids, on an item-by-item basis). HGExchange is also open to grids that are on the hypergrid — merchants might want to distribute their freebies, say, as widely as possible to promote their brands.

    Meanwhile, the OpenSim guys have added a new layer of security to hypergrid — grids have the option to lock down their content so it can’t leave their grids. People can teleport in, look around — but they can’t take anything. The downside is that grid residents who want to teleport out to other grids show up naked — they can’t take their clothes out with them!

    Over time, though, I expect to see even more fine-grained controls, so merchants can decide exactly where their content is and isn’t allowed to go.

    • ladysakai says:

      writing this with a very dodgy conection. Crossing fingers.
      Wanted to correct you on the IW one Maria.
      InWorldz are:
      Mainland (only PG Regions) 60usd pr month
      Private islands (PG, Mature, Adult) 75 usd pr month for the first three
      InWorldz has a discount scheme that for each 4 private regions you get 5usd discount on each region. This goes on upto max 12 region and then yes 12 regions and more wil cos you 60 usd pr region :)

      I love the security layer OS has put on, at least it gives some sort of security while they work on the final steps. Linden Lab could learn from that one. Thanks for the info :)

  2. All such great info – and Marie’s input was super too! thanks!

  3. sorornishi says:

    Excellent summary and one I will link to, for sure.

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: