Paying Invisible Avatars?

Okay, this is a new one for me.  On my Reader feed, I saw a post about someone getting scammed at a store.  When they paid for a product, it brought up a name they didn’t recognize.  After waiting a few moments, they realized the product had not been delivered.

They went to the redelivery kiosk and tried to have the item redelivered.  The item did not show as a purchase.  So now the person is trying to figure out what happened, where her L$ went, and where the item was.

I thought nothing of it, and went about my day.  Later, I was looking through Flickr and noticed a post with this same name mentioned.  The post stated that somehow, someone was able to rez an invisible prim in front of a store vendor, and then people would mistakenly pay the scammer rather than the actual vendor.

I wondered how that was possible, since I would assume stores would only allow certain people to have rez rights to avoid this very situation.  Reading through the comments, it appears the guess is that the scammer made themselves invisible (by wearing alpha layers?) and then stood in front of the vendor and collected payments.

Criminals are creative, I’ll give them that.  This would never have occurred to me, but then, I’m not a criminal.  Also, how do the buyers not notice that they are paying an avatar rather than a vendor?  I can’t remember for sure, but wouldn’t the pie menu have some different options when you click on an avatar (like add friend or something) than a vendor?  Are people just so busy spending L$ they don’t notice?

If you have names turned on, wouldn’t you see the name of the invisible avatar, even though they’re invisible?  Maybe that’s different depending on your viewer.

As thieves get more creative, I guess we all need to start paying more attention to the details.  Know what you’re buying and who you are paying before hitting that pay/buy button.

The IRS, Linden Lab and Paypal Walk Into A Bar But Second Life Content Creators Aren’t Laughing | Ciaran Laval

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An interesting article about the possible headaches of cashing out L$ through PayPal in large quantities.

I have to wonder – how many L$ do you have to make in order to get a $66,000 tax bill?  o.O

Source: The IRS, Linden Lab and Paypal Walk Into A Bar But Second Life Content Creators Aren’t Laughing | Ciaran Laval

What’s It Worth To You?

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After a few more days of introspection and reflection, I’m still not sure where I want to go or what I want to do.

I have decided, however, that it’s okay if I don’t know.

I can just muddle along until I do. 😀

So while I’m pondering, at least I can continue to be productive.

Yesterday I mentioned a post by Canary Beck about a ‘male makeover’ and commented that I found almost $9000L kind of expensive for outfitting an avatar.

Becky disagreed, commenting that she recommended only ‘quality’ items (something I wasn’t disputing).

However, it got me thinking.

Many people think of SL as their ‘hobby,’ while for others it is the source of their RL income.

I’m curious – no matter where you fall on the spectrum – hobby or moneymaker, what is SL worth to you?

How much do you spend on a weekly basis in SL?

I know dance animations can be pricey, as can some of the other dance equipment.

Do you have a budget for SL, or do you just spend whatever you want?

Is there ever a point where you feel you’ve spent ‘too much’?

How do you decide what to spend your $L on?

Do you have an activity in SL (like dancing) that you focus on?

Do you build, decorate, or rp?

Do you ever wish you had more $L to spend?

Limit Buys for L$

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Many moons ago I had read about buying lindens in a different way.

Rather than just buying them directly through my viewer (which was the only way I was aware of at the time), there was another way to do it.

However, the explanation I read made it seem very complicated, and I am, by nature, very risk-averse when it comes to money.  So, I continued to buy lindens directly.

During a conversation with Yummy, she mentioned that she was considering writing a blog post on limit buys for L$.  I encouraged her to do it (selfishly, because I wanted the information!) and she did.  You can find her original post here on the DQ blog.

Her instructions were amazingly detailed and made it very simple to follow the steps.  In less than 5 minutes, I had put in my first order for a limit buy of L$.

I put in a small order ($20USD) of 5043L using the method Yummy detailed.  I then sat back to wait.  While I was waiting, I decided to do some comparing.  If I had done a direct buy at that time, the same 5043L would have cost me $20.42USD.  Now, I’m sure $0.42 seems like small change.  It is.  But those small things add up.

I waited for only about 15-20 minutes and my order filled.  Still curious, I did some more comparisons.  After waiting the 20 minutes for my limit buy to fill, I went back to direct buy to see if the rate would still be the same.

Now, those 5043L were going to cost $20.72USD.  A difference of $0.72 this time.  At $20.42USD for 5043L, that’s approximately 247L per $1USD.  At $20.72USD for 5043L, that’s approximately 243L per $1USD.  Again, that 4L seems like a small amount, but over time, it adds up.

And this was only for a small linden buy.  The differences are more apparent in bigger buys.  For example, if I had placed an order for $100USD of lindens when I did my limit buy, I would have gotten 25,215L.  Using the same exchange rates, a direct buy for $100USD placed at the same time as my limit buy would have gotten me approximately 24,696L – a difference of 519L.

So using the limit buy method, I’d have 519L more for the same amount of RL money.  That’s a new costume, or a new pair of shoes, or several new dances!  A pretty good deal in my book.

And if you compare the exchange rates only 20 minutes later, a direct buy of $100USD would have netted me approximately 24,338L.  That’s a difference of 877L versus the limit buy.  Again making the limit buy option a good deal.

Yes, using the limit buy method may take a little bit longer for your order to complete versus a direct buy.  However, waiting 15-20 minutes is fine with me if it nets more lindens for my hard-earned money.

What could you do with an extra 877L?

Catch Up Tuesday

It’s Tuesday and I finally have a few moments to sit down, breathe, and blog!  It’s been a whirlwind weekend, and I missed tons of stuff, so I’ll be spending part of today catching up on everything.

I was so busy yesterday I didn’t even get a chance to check out the 21Shoe event.  *pouts*  Ah, well, I’m sure my bank account will thank me later. 🙂

The Pose Fair opened this weekend, so I’m hoping to find the time to make it there to check out some new (to me) pose makers.  I’m always on the lookout for a cute pose that I can use in one of my dances.

I was interested to see that plans are underway for SL’s 11th Birthday (check out the blog here).  I read somewhere else that LL may or may not be involved.  Huh?  LL may not be involved in a celebration of their own virtual world?  *smh*

There was a recent blog post from SL Blogger Support about crediting poses you use in your SL pics.  Photography in SL is something I’d like to learn more about, and I certainly agree that poses (and their makers) should be credited.  I’ve also been on the hunt for a good pose stand.  I have tons of poses and it can get tedious to run sort through them when I’m trying to find one to use in a dance.  Is there an easier way to do that than loading them all into a HUD or pose stand?

I see a TON of posts on my feed for hunts and gatchas and fairs.  I finally had to stop reading them all, because my inventory was getting ridiculous.  However, I still have lots of gatcha items that I don’t need and won’t ever use.  How do I go about getting rid of them?  I know there are yard sales (?) but I don’t really understand how they work.  I just saw a post about a new gatcha service – kind of like ebay for gatcha items.  And like ebay, they take a % of the profits.  Honestly, I don’t even really need to profit, I’d just like to see some of the items go to people who would actually use them.  Any ideas on how I could go about that?  Just head to noob island and hand them out?

Does anyone in SL think about copyright laws?  I get lots of TOS notecards when I buy textures or clothing or whatever.  But it seems kind of hypocritical to give me a notecard that says you’ll pursue a DCMA violation if I misuse your Batman/Spiderman/Tinkerbell costume.  Did YOU get permission from DC or Marvel or Disney????  Hmmmm . . . .

I’ve been reading about other virtual worlds and wondering whether it’s worth the time to check them out.  I had an IMVU account long ago, but I found it to be a pale version of SL.  What about InWorldz?  Is there another world worth exploring?

I really don’t like Facebook.  At all.  So I found this article interesting:  A Million Little Facebook Pieces

RP is everywhere in SL.  But I have yet to find a place that doesn’t seem intimidating.  I’ve been to several sims where I can just wander around as an OOC viewer, but it feels like I am intruding on other’s RP.  Other places, you just get plunked in the middle of everything and have to figure out what’s going on.  I don’t want to ruin someone else’s RP because I have no idea what the storyline is.

I started in SL about 5 years ago.  When I stop to look back on all the changes, it is pretty amazing.  Find someone new and introduce them to SL.  Or better, find someone who used to be in SL and convince them to try it again.  Sometimes seeing things through new eyes can change the way you think about things.

With all questions surrounding Bitcoin, I’m interested to see if/when the IRS decides to consider L$ taxable.  I don’t personally make any money in SL – my taxes are complicated enough as it is!

Annnnd – there you have it, my catch-up Tuesday!

How Do You Finance Your SL?

About two weeks ago, I decided that I needed to quit going on hunts, playing gachas, and picking up freebies.  My inventory is already driving me crazy and I have more clothes (and shoes!) than I will ever wear.  It’s become a hunt in itself to find anything in my inventory.  I keep getting distracted by other things I find – “Oh, this dress is adorable!  When did I get this sofa?  Why do I have a wearable penguin?”  I have a bad habit of picking up an outfit, thinking I will use it in a performance.  I stick it in a folder, and promptly forget about it.

It got me to wondering, how many Lindens have I spent on things I never use or wear?  Too many.  -.-

And, as many of you know very well, dancing in SL in not an expensive proposition.  Oh, sure, dancers and venues get tips, but usually nowhere near the amount of L$ it actually costs to put on the show and/or maintain the venue.  After interviewing several dancers and seeing a couple of ‘posh’ performances recently, I also got to wondering – how does everyone else ‘finance’ their SL?  Do you classify it as a ‘hobby’ and give it a budget?  Do you just spend what you want and don’t think about it?  Do you have an in-world business that helps to defray costs?  A sugar daddy/momma to finance your way?

Just to satisfy my own curiosity (you know how curious Kats are :P), I thought I’d take a poll.

I’d really like to know.  🙂

Tipping is not a town in China . . .

Dancing is a very expensive undertaking in SL.  So at most shows, there are tip jars.

Tip jars for the individual dancers, or perhaps a group jar (so the dancers can split the tips), as well as a venue jar.  If there is an MC and/or a DJ, there may be tip jars for them as well.

So when do you tip?

Do you always tip when you go to a show?  Do you tip the dancers and the venue?  What about the MC or DJ?  How much do you tip?  It’s interesting to me how much the tipping varies from venue to venue.  Some dancers make little to no lindens when they dance.  At other venues, I’ve seen dancers make $500-$1000L before they even take the stage.

Is it because of the cultural differences?  I know that some cultures consider tipping rude.  And how do you know how much is appropriate to tip?

Do you just give what you can?  Do you have a set/regular amount you tip?  Do you not tip at all?

Take the poll below – I’d love to know!