October 21st, 2010


To invest or not to invest?

Recently, I had a 'big name' come from SL to Inworldz and rent land from me. I think he was with me an entire month, when he decided not to renew. His reasons?

The Inworldz economy wan't "robust" enough for him. He elected to return to his "Multi-million Linden business" on SL.

In my humble opinion, it takes more than a month to establish yourself and start making consistent sales. This person made a few sales so they can't say they didn't do ANY business. I got the impression that they came to Inworldz thinking that it's a world of SL castoffs and refugees, so the ready-made consumer base was here just waiting.

Ummm, not necessarily. SL is a big place, and where you might have a nice niche and make lots of dough in SL, you are not known in other quarters.

I didn't know this merchant from Adam or Eve when they first arrived. I didn't shop their wares because I didn't have need of them, but at some future date, I may have done so. As more sims pop up and more communities form, the market for their goods would have indeed expanded. It would appear that Inworldz is past the "omg hurry up and get it here because we don't have any of it" phase, so that creators aren't struggling as much to meet the demand of the most popular and needed goods (hair, shoes, shapes, skins, basic animations, etc.). This gives all merchants a chance to breathe, and start creating diverse and unique goods, in different genres, rather than just "general audience".

More and more roleplay areas are being created as well, opening up the market for genre-specific goods. This merchant sold something that would have fit better in certain genres, rather than "general audience". Chances are excellent that if they'd stuck around for awhile, their sales would have steadily picked up.

As many people have stated, in blogs and in the forums, the key to a merchant's success is knowing, and understanding, your overall market. If you just barge in and expect to have instantaneous success in a new market, chances are you won't. Unless you're a REALLY BIG NAME like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nike, Reebok, Folgers, etc. - people may not know you or may not know you well.

Don't be in such a big hurry to cross Inworldz off as an economy not worth investing in. We just hit 20,000 members, and that number will do nothing but grow further. People with more diverse tastes are now moving in, and we need merchants to serve them. You may not have instant success but, given time, you could definitely become well-known and patronized.

It's a combination of success, smart marketing practices, and patience.

Grid-to-Grid Value and pricing

I am writing this in response to this excellent post. First of all, I left the following comment there:

"Another way to look at things is this: What if the SL economy never existed, and there was only Inworldz? Your line of thinking says the price/value was set in Second Life, so it should always stay that price/value. Mine says treat Inworldz as a wholly separate grid, with its own economy, it’s own influences, etc. so if you price something that’s “lower compared to Second Life” the problem is it shouldn’t be compared TO Second Life, because SL is another grid entirely with its own economy, influences, etc.

That’s what I meant in one of my former blog posts about getting rid of the “SL mentality”. When you’re in Inworldz, there IS no other grid. When you’re in SL, there IS no other grid. It would be different if the two had hypergrid capabilities, but they do not.

It stands to reason then that you may not make what you “expect” in Inworldz if you’re making the mistake of referencing a price you have on another independent grid."

Lalo Telling, another friend, wrote an excellent post where he compared grids to other countries. Personally, I agree with that comparision, when you are speaking of grids which lack hypergrid functionality.

I compare it to the idea of how countries were, before the advent of globalized travel and trade, when it was much harder to convert your home currency into another country's and economies were much more separate and defined. Even in this day and age of globalization, the "on the street" economies have little bearing on each other. A good example is one I heard awhile ago: Supposedly, a seafood dinner that would cost you something like $25-$50USD costs the equivalent of $1USD in Thailand. If a major seafood restaurant decided to open in Thailand and tried to charge the Baht equivalent of $25-$50USD for the same dinner someone could get at a native restaurant for far cheaper, where do you think people will eat?

Unconnected virtual world grids are exactly like countries with wholly separate economies. You can't buy something on Grid A and transport it for use on Grid B. In the same vein, the currency values are different, as are the trends and forces which shape each separate economy. Therefore, it is erroneous to say "I charge X number of Lindens for my widget so I have to double my price in Iz". Again, just like Thailand, people are going to go where they feel the widget (or a product close to it) is more reasonably priced.

That's what I mean about "Discard the SL mindset". When you're on Inworldz, SL doesn't exist, and vice versa. They are entirely unconnected, they are different in their communities, their styles, their wants, needs, etc. Their economies are entirely different. Taking your widget, which is priced in X USD, and attempting to sell it for double or more in another country that has an economy with a far cheaper baseline in most cases won't net you any profit, if it nets you any sales at all.

I don't think it should be any different when dealing with wholly separate grids.


I have the same problem with the growing number of people who are upset that they cannot convert their Lindens to Iz and vice-versa anymore. There again, you have to keep in mind that SL and IWZ are two entirely separate grids. The exchange was allowed to give the starters some foundation for income because IWZ didn't have its own buy and cashout system. As soon as both were developed, the ATMs lost their use and went away.

I guess having the ATMs gave people too much of the idea that the two grids were somehow related. They're not, and that's especially true now that all Inworldz business is conducted fully within Inworldz itself, without any "transfer" back and forth with any other grid.

As I said in a forum post I made on the Inworldz site recently: "Before you knew that there were other virtual worlds to explore, were you looking for a way to convert some other currency into Lindens (aside from RL money)? No, you weren't. You just automatically (and rightly) assumed you had to either earn it, or buy it."

Now that the Inworldz economy has matured to the point where all transactions occur within its own system, it's about time to forget that you could once convert L's to Iz and back again. It's also time to stop complaining that you can't do it. If you have Lindens on SL, that means you either bought them, or earned them in some way. Well, you can buy or earn Iz in Inworldz too, and that's what you're going to have to do from now on.