Flickr Furor

FlickrCameraIt seems that Flickr is once again embroiled in a kerfuffle with SL users.

Many SL bloggers and stores use Flickr to post their photos and promote photos.  The TOS of Flickr states (and has for a while) that only Pro users (paid users) are allowed to promote ‘commercial activity.’  (See here for Flickr’s policy.)

The kerfuffle seems to have occurred because Flickr has started to enforce its policy.  Flickr has been suspending the accounts of SL’ers who have posted Marketplace and store links.  There has been some confusion about what is allowed and what isn’t, and, of course, as with any change, people are frustrated and upset.  There’s a good post over at New World Notes about the issue.

Flickr has been struggling to attract more Pro users and many see this as a way to force people to go Pro.  This issue doesn’t really affect me, so I am perhaps less invested in it.

I think Flickr is a terrific platform and I use it almost daily.  However, when they announced last year that free accounts would now be limited in the amount of photos they could post, I had to decide whether I wanted to go Pro or remove many of my photos so I was under the required limit.

I decided to remain with a free account and I deleted a bunch of photos from Flickr.  I keep my own copies of every photo I post, so I didn’t lose anything by deleting them from Flickr.  I doubt that is true for everyone.

For the last year or so, I generally only blog about destinations, not products, so the restriction on links doesn’t apply to my photos.  (Linking SLURL’s, as long as they are not links to a store, are fine.)  And while the 1000 photo limit on a free account sounded like a huge cut when it was previously unlimited, I have plenty of slots left until I reach that limit.

For people who are creators and bloggers, that 1000 limit may be way too small.  I don’t post every day on Flickr, so it doesn’t bother me.  However, I also understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Flickr could have chosen to do away completely with their free account option.  It seems like most things these days are based on the subscription model anyway.

If they want to limit the free account, whether that limit is amount of photos, or limitations on commercial activity, it’s their prerogative.  The free accounts still incur a cost for Flickr – hosting the photos, maintaining the site, making improvements, etc.  None of the people who work for Flickr are doing it for free, and they shouldn’t be expected to.

So for me, I will continue on with my free account, and respect the Flickr TOS.  If at some point, how I use the service changes, I will have to decide whether I want to pay to go Pro or find another free service.  And really, for what you get, $5 a month for a Pro account doesn’t seem that onerous.

Increased Marketplace Fees

Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

At the beginning of every month, I print out a report from my small Marketplace store.  I have small items for sale – rugs, particles I’ve made for a routine, etc.  Most of the items I have run between $5L-$15L.  I’m not looking to make a living, just make back a few $L here and there to help defray some of the costs of SL.

A few months ago, LL announced that they would be raising the fees charged by Marketplace.  The commission they charge was raised from 5% to 10%.  At the time, there was some outcry by creators, because of course this will affect their bottom lines  – which for some is already pretty marginal.

I just shrugged my shoulders, because what can you do?  If I want to sell on the Marketplace, I have to abide by their rules.  If I don’t like them, I don’t have to use the Marketplace.  I could sell in-world only, or just not sell at all.  Since my MP income is just extra for me (and pretty small), I decided to just wait and see.

Honestly, I’d forgotten all about it until I logged in to download my sales reports.  I noticed as I was working that my $5L items had a $1L commission – which is unusual, because for the last however many years, if I sold a $5L item, I got the whole $5L.  The commission was rounded down, I think, so I only had commission taken out if the item was $10L or more.

This month, however (well, December), pretty much every item I sold had commission taken out.  Which, again, I understand – their MP, their rules.  However, it made a pretty significant difference in my own income, which I hadn’t expected.

For most of 2019, my store averaged $850L in sales income.  The commission fees for most months averaged $50L.  For December, my sales income was only $642L, which is a low month.  Lower than usual, but not alarmingly so.  However, when I looked at the commissions, there was a significant difference.  The commission fees I paid in December were $103L.  On the surface, that tracks.  If I normally pay around $50L in fees, $100L in fees with the doubling of the commission fee accounts for that.

The kicker is that I actually made less in sales than I usually do – so if I had made my average $850L in sales income, my commission fees would have been even more than the $100L.  Which means that while LL may have only doubled the commission fee from 5% to 10%, in effect they will likely collect more than that.

I still plan to sell on MP, and I don’t plan to change my current prices.  However, I will be keeping a closer eye on the fees in the coming months.  I don’t pay for any extra advertising on MP, so my only fees are the commissions.

As I said, I don’t plan to make changes, but for large stores and/or people who make their living from SL, this seemingly small change may have a ripple effect as people discover exactly what impact it has on their income.  Some creators have already stated that they will raise MP prices, close their MP store, or leave SL altogether.  2020 may be interesting. 😛

Lab announces Marketplace search beta | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com
Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

I’m already seeing lots of chatter over this news.

I think pretty much everyone agrees that Marketplace has been in need of a makeover for some time.

However, it seems that many think the focus is in the wrong place.  Keyword spamming is a continual source of frustration.  In addition to keyword spam, being able to weed out things like stores or creators who happen to have a name like your search (ie – a search for ‘veil’ will bring up not only items with that keyword, but also stores and creators with ‘veil’ somewhere in their name).

Personally, something I’d love to see happen is that merchants who haven’t logged into SL and/or Marketplace in some time (like over a year) should have their products removed.  Alternatively, I’d love there to be a field somewhere with the creation/listing date of an item, so I know whether I’m purchasing something that was created in 2007 or 2015.

What’s your Marketplace pet peeve?

Source: Lab announces Marketplace search beta | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Where Do You Shop?

EventsI’ve been reading with interest a new series of blog posts from Auryn Beorn regarding resources for new merchants.

She’s only written a couple of posts so far, but I’m finding it fascinating reading.

After reading her latest article, I was scanning through recent blog posts in my reader.

I saw yet another notice of a store moving to Marketplace only.

It got me to wondering – is Marketplace replacing mainstores in SL?

I know that cost is almost certainly a factor, given the price of land/rentals.

It also seems that events (where there are lots of different merchants in one location) are much more popular than mainstore shopping.

There have been a few events that have attempted to get shoppers back in stores (The Mix, currently running its July round, is one of them).

However, the general consensus from what I’ve read in various places (forums, social media networks, etc.) seems to be that events work and mainstores are just a money drain.

I am a little surprised by this, but clearly I am in the minority.

Given that the most popular complaint about SL besides land cost is lag, I don’t understand why shopping at a large event where the lag is generally horrible is preferable to shopping at a mainstore.

Some of the more popular events (like Uber, Collabor88, FaMESHed, etc.) are so jam-packed that it’s often several days before I can even get in.

When I first heard about Mix, I thought it was a great idea.

I loved the thought of not having to fight horrible crowds and laggy conditions just to do a bit of shopping (especially considering that sometimes I don’t even make a purchase at the event).

Plus, I had the ability to look around the store and see other items the creator had for sale.

If I like one item, I’ll probably like two or three.

I use Marketplace quite a bit, but generally only when I am looking for something specific – like a certain costume for a routine, or a certain accessory, etc.

Which isn’t always that easy (or successful), given the horrible search functions on Marketplace.

So, I thought I’d do a quick survey and see if I’m (as usual) standing over in left field by myself. 🙂

Where do you prefer to shop and why?

Please share the poll – the more responses the better!

Viewer-Managed Marketplace migration commences July 23rd

If you have a store on Marketplace, the migration process is set to begin on July 23.

Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

secondlifeComing by way of the Commerce blog, Linden Lab has announced that the Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) capabilities are now released, and that automated migrations of SL Marketplace items is to commence on Thursday, July 23rd.

Migration will commence at 21:00 on July 23rd, and each weekday thereafter until all all stores on the Marketplace have been migrated.

The blog post lays out the core aspects of the migration process, which I’ve summarised below – but do still please read the official post:

  • All merchants will receive e-mail at the beginning of the migration process, and another once it has completed
  • Merchants with around 5K or more of listings will have their migration scheduled, and will receive an additional e-mail for the Lab providing them with advanced notice – see additional notes below
  • Migration will occur weekdays between 21:00 SLT in the evening and 09:00 SLT the following morning
  • A Merchant…

View original post 362 more words

Information Overload

Image Source: www.terminally-incoherent.com
Image Source: http://www.terminally-incoherent.com

While writing another post, I found myself thinking how I wished it was possible (or at least easier) to keep up with all the stores and creators I find interesting.

With the number of in-world groups you can join limited to 42 (which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t), keeping up with everything is a real challenge.  I routinely only have about 1-2 slots open at any given time, and lately that number has been 0.  When I started dancing, I need one slot for the troupe.  These days, it’s usually at least two.  Yes, LL upped the group limit from 25, and yes, you can use subscribos to stay updated.  It all sounds good.

But what ends up happening is that I am constantly in ‘information overload’ mode.  The idea behind subscribos is great, and if you don’t have one for your business, you should get one.  I am interested in lots of things in lots of different categories and subscribos help keep me informed when I don’t have a group slot available.

However, when I log in, I am deluged with notices and notecards from all the subscribo lists I’m on.  Half the time I end up deleting them because I need to work on something else and they are just clutter.  Sometimes after subscribing, I’ll find that the store/group is just not a good fit for my tastes.  So then I have to research where the store is so I can tp back there to ‘unsubscribe.’  I wish there was a way to unsubscribe via a website or something.

Other stores/groups require you to send a notecard to someone in order to be unsubscribed.  Again, time can often be an issue.  Yet other stores/groups send you the SAME notice EVERY SINGLE DAY.  There’s a pose store (that, unfortunately, I really like) that does this and it drives me batty.  It’s just more junk cluttering up my inventory.

I do a lot of shopping on MarketPlace because I can see a ton more items faster than I can tp’ing around in-world and waiting for things to rezz.  (I blame some of the rezz issues on my computer, but I have recently upgraded my graphics card and find that some places are just built poorly.  I don’t need to see the entire place filled with giant textures all at once – that’s what MP is for, silly.)  I wish there was a way on MarketPlace to ‘favorite’ a store, not just an item.  I find cool things while I am surfing that make me want to come back.

I know that a lot of creators/stores have FB pages.  However, I refuse to use FB.  (You can read about that here and here.)  I thought about joining Plurk and/or Flickr (read my thoughts on Flickr here), but decided against it.  I already have a multitude of various email/social media accounts, I don’t want to make my information overload any worse.

Maybe someday I’ll figure out a better, faster, easier way to stay connected to the things/stores/creators/whatever that I’m interested in.  Until then, I guess I’ll just keep wading through the mounds of notices.  :/

MarketPlace Needs an Overhaul

Image Source:  marketplace.secondlife.com
Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

Yesterday I came across an article on New World Notes ranting about the failure that is MarketPlace Showcase.

Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a Showcase.  I’m so used to everything being broken that I ignore a lot.  Including the ‘featured’ items that always appear at the top of my search.

I know someone probably paid a lot of extra L$ to get their item ‘featured’ – I wonder if they actually see any return from it.  I have never once (NEVER) purchased an item from the ‘featured’ bar.

I’ve heard rumors here and there that there might be some changes to MarketPlace, but I don’t know if anything but a complete overhaul will make any sort of significant difference.  I have a small MP shop where I sell things that I’ve created for myself.  Every little L$ counts when you’re on a budget!  And I make every effort to tag my items correctly.  Oh, sure, I could add a bunch of tags that have nothing to do with the actual item in the hopes that 1) it will increase sales and 2) LL won’t notice and remove my item (because their rules clearly state doing so is not permitted).  But I don’t.

I am often a frustrated MP consumer myself.  For instance, I spent several months looking off and on for some mesh hands that I wanted to use in a routine (as props, not to wear).  I never did find what I was looking for.  Later, I saw exactly what I needed used by someone else.  When I inquired where they found them, they said MP.  What??? So I headed back to MP and searched again for ‘mesh hands’.  Still nothing.  The person was kind enough to send me a direct link.  The name of the product?  Mesh hands.  -.-

It’s sooo frustrating.

The comments on the NWN article were also an interesting read.  Lots of people with some really good ideas about how to improve MP.  Which would, in turn, increase sales.  Which would, in turn, increase the amount LL makes off said sales.  Win-win, right?  So why aren’t they working on it?

One of the commenters asked for a feature I would LOVE to have.  Often while searching for an item, I’ll come across something that is almost what I want.  I don’t buy it, but would love to revisit the store, or somehow stay updated on their new items.  There’s no way to do this.  Oh sure, I make a list and tell myself I’ll go back and look ‘when I have time.’  It never happens.

Someone else listed ideas for a new system (a much better system than what is currently in place).  In this new system, once the new version went ‘live,’ anyone who didn’t make the necessary updates would get dumped into an ‘other’ category.  This would help to identify ‘old’ items that are still active listings, even though the creator is not.  I wondered why there isn’t a system already in place for that, but any sale means $ in LL’s pocket, so perhaps that’s why.

In any event, I will continue to use MP.  Why?  Because I can browse through items (even with all the items that don’t relate to my search) much more quickly than I can tp around in-world, wait for everything to rezz, and then shop.  But I will continue to hope that at some point, LL realizes that updating MP would be beneficial to them as well as everyone else.  Only time will tell. 🙂

 

 

Overwhelmed with stuff?

Big Inventory  How big is your inventory?  Mine seems like it is always overflowing.  It’s nowhere near 100K+ items, but crowded for my tastes nonetheless.

I recently came across some blog posts about decreasing your inventory – tips and tricks on getting rid of unwanted/unused items.  I know that there are groups for getting rid of duplicate gacha items (you know, you got 75 copies of the common blue, before getting that hot rare gold!).  But what about stuff that is just no longer wanted?

I have a ton of items sitting in my inventory right now that I will never use.  As a performer, I use either full perm or copy/mod items to use when I’m building sets so that I can put them in a set rezzer.  Oh, sure, I could just use ‘restore to last position’ with no-copy items, but I don’t want to chance it.  I’ve lost a couple of really nice items into the ether doing that.

Some items are just things I’ve picked up here and there (hunt items, group gifts, etc.).  Many of them are really great items – again, I just won’t ever use them.

The blog posts I read talked about selling your unwanted/unused items at a yard sale, or putting them up for sale on Marketplace.  It sounds like a great idea – get rid of stuff and make a few $L in the process.  My only concern is the ‘etiquette’ in reselling unwanted/unused items that were hunt items or group gifts.  If the item is ‘transfer’ is it fair game for resell?  (Mind you, I’m not talking about FP/freebie items where it clearly states resell is not allowed.)

Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think!