How Paid Communities Can Work – Hillcrest College A Case Study

I’ve talked previously about how venues can’t easily make revenue from a pay to enter scheme, Seven Ultra Lounge has apparently closed down. However I was recently contacted by someone who wanted to show me how you can make a go of charging for entry to a parcel. The theme is adult RP, which may disappoint some, but the concept can be transferred to other social venues.

The place is Hillcrest College, a place where people roleplay students over the age of 18, teachers and faculty staff. To avoid any confusion that this is a place that engages in banned sexual ageplay activity there is a clear “No child avatars” rule and a height restirction bar to try and hammer home this point that has a minimum height of five foot two. Summer Haas gave me a guided tour of both the existing location and the new location on Zindra. I didn’t actually see any adult content in action whilst I was there, maybe Summer directed me away from it or maybe it’s due to the fact that this place actually has a sense of community, as Summer explained; “The sex aspect is very low key, the funny thing is the sex brings them in but the friendships made keeps them around and the the regulars don’t generally engage in sexual activity on campus” Continue reading “How Paid Communities Can Work – Hillcrest College A Case Study”

An Interview With Paisley Beebe

Paisley Beebe is the host of the highly successful “Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe” hosted by SLCN.TV, in a role reversal I arranged an email interview with Paisley so we could hear her views on Second Life and associated concepts. Paisley offered up some insightful views and put me right on a few issues, we discussed not only Paisley’s show but issues about Second Life as a whole including lag, merging grids, performance fees as well as touching upon dyslexia, a RL recognition of Paisley Beebe at a museum in Melbourne, Australia and much more, we’ll start with Paisley giving us a little background on Tonight Live and SLCN:

Paisley Beebe: “In Australia I am now just another Jazz Singer without work, (economics and lack of venues) 18 years ago there was a resurgence in Jazz in Australia, and I had lots and regular work as much as I wanted really, but due to Govt regulations and economics the venues all closed down, and all even the best of us have lost our livelihood here. As a Singer really I’m not exceptional, I’m professional, good at what I do, very entertaining but not so exceptional that people are knocking down doors to get to me, (mind you there is almost no one in jazz in Australia getting that treatment!) I’m also a trained Actress that never got off the blocks, and a host on a small community radio station, but for a number of personal reasons my dreams and ambitions never came to fruition, in music or in Acting. I have no illusions that I have had a lot of false starts! and like a lot of women, family intervened and not in a usual way, (very complicated family life…don’t ask). But now that I do have time to have a career (kids at school, family life less complicated..) I can!!, without being told I’m too old, not right for the part, don’t have the right connections, or asked to give up time with my family for travel, or work hours. I do have a demanding family life and many of us do because of various things, and so working from home in SL fits in very nicely. Continue reading “An Interview With Paisley Beebe”

Holy Toledo! Robin Exits

Robin Linden has announced on the official blog that she will shortly be leaving Linden Lab, I’m extremely disappointed, although not at all surprised by this news.

I don’t know who I’m going to whine to now about Linden policies, there’s only Jack left whom I’m comfortable with and he has such a difficult task on his hands.

I first had doubts about Robin’s role when she stopped her office hours. Then she was involved in the worthy stories from Second Life along with Katt, but Katt’s departure seemed to suggest all wasn’t well, although Katt was Katt and she was a bit feisty.

I mentioned to Robin that she was too quiet, Prok (whom I’m extremely annoyed with right now for his sleights on me) pointed out that with the new hires it seemed that Robin and Catherine would have an office in the car park. Continue reading “Holy Toledo! Robin Exits”

Will XStreet SL’s Currency Exchange Survive?

This post was originally posted by Konner McDonnell at the now defunct Your2ndplace and is reproduced here with permission from Konner McDonnell:

As first reported by famed blogger and SL icon Prokofy Neva and confirmed here by Nobody Fugazi, Linden Lab has acquired popular commerce websites XStreet SL (formerly SL Exchange) and Onrez. By way of reminder, LL’s announcement stated that the company intends to ‘build upon’ XStreet SL’s platform, but will discontinue Onrez after February 11, 2008.

For many (myself included), the looming question isn’t “what will this mean for my business” or “will this reduce instances of IP theft,” but instead “what will become of XStreet SL’s currency exchange?” A fair  question, really. XStreet’s currency exchange rates are typically better, the fees more reasonable, and those who sell their ‘limited license right’ can immediately have their funds transferred to Paypal.

This looming question remains largely unanswered. In a crude Q&A session taking place on the SL forums following T Linden’s announcement, T and Colossus fielded every question except those concerning the currency exchange. Many people asked, with one poster noting that the Linden Duo had sidestepped the question time and again – which  probably means the XStreet SL currency exchange will go the way of the
Dodo.

This suspicion is based on an observation that LL is not adept at damage control or misdirection. They avoided the ‘ad farm’ issue for quite a long time. They undercut their Land Baron middlemen good and proper. So when they start talking about “new features,” I check for my wallet, so to speak. Further, I know that LL makes their money from land  sales, tier, and the Lindex. Given the Machiavellian zeal displayed through their handling of the land issue, reigning in the currency trading competition was predictable – not to say I predicted it. I’m just as complacent as everyone else.

Beyond my own cynicism, there’s Colossus Linden’s answer to one user’s inquiry about commission:  “[Linden Lab] will be keeping [sales commissions] and most other features of Xstreet.”

So what features are being removed – perhaps one of them is that which you’ve carefully avoided discussing? Keeping in mind that ‘most other features’ implies that 51-99% of current features will be retained,and therefore that as little as 1% would be removed – and could  be as little as removing the ‘forum topics ticker’ on Xstreet’s main page-, I must confess that I perceived that 1% as being that which was being presently avoided AND was the thing I was worried about losing.

I sure do it hate being left to my own devices and flawed judgment, but it’s actually quite brilliant: If you keep people wondering, they’ll  do your advertising for you, they’ll keep coming back for those answers, and you can hook them on ‘new features’ and other such things. On the other side of the coin is confirming people’s suspicions right away and risk turning them off. Besides, there’s no point in making people angry when you can avoid the question entirely – it’s not as if  people will stop buying Lindens.

For all my conjecture, at the time of writing this, there is no confirmation as to whether LL will remove Xstreet’s currency exchange. Should they? My personal opinion is no. At a glance, it seems like they have much more to gain from leaving it alone. There will always be competition. The key in benefiting from competition is to be your own biggest competitor. Whether this is ethical or even remotely possible in  this context is, well, subject to debate.