I’ve been always convinced that Linden never cared about Store Owners. It’s something printed in my bones and and the result of years of experience in Second Life. So I think it’s time to put some of these feelings, hunches and intuition on paper.
Before I get started, let’s try to understand and agree with some vocabulary. I’m not not talking about content creators or marketplace merchants. For me a Store Owner is an avatar with a store in the grid selling items. However, some of these ideas could be also applied and be helpful to others.
Major Second Life improvements have been always created for simulators, never for the avatar. Do you really need an example? Heck, I can give you 3 of them: havok, windlight & mesh.
All 3 great improvements that had and effect on land; not on the avatar whatsoever. You might be thinking, “Wait! Didn’t mesh have something to do with the avatar?”. Short answer: No. Long Answer: Yes ?
Mesh, Who ?
Mesh was originally designed for architecture and with 2 clear and distinct objectives in Linden’s mind:
- Adding more realistic shapes to objects ✔
- Allowing optimized primitives with less weight to reduce server resources ✔
In other words, Linden worked hard to get realistic snapshots of Second Life. They wanted to cause better impressions for newcomers and potential users. The aim was to display more realistic buildings and furniture.
Linden did not develop rigged mesh simultaneously with normal mesh. Rigged mesh for clothing was released 1 year later after a public outcry from creators. It was a reaction from a widespread clamor, not something planned and conceived in Linden’s plans. Releasing fitting mesh so late is nothing but a sign that Linden never cared about store owners.
Fitting Mesh. Too Late.
One proof that Linden never cared about store owners is Mesh. Taking into account that avatar clothing and accessories make about 70% of the marketplace inventory, you wonder why it took them so long to fix the avatar. Linden released mesh in 2011, and fixed rigged mesh 6 years later, in 2017.
Eventually, fitting mesh became a standard that creators needed to design and release better and improved clothing in Second Life. If you need 6 years to fix something important, it’s obvious you never gave a damn about it.
In those 6 years, Store Owners lost too many customers and had to redesign their own. When an important, vital and crucial feature takes so long, there are only 2 possible reasons: apathy or unawareness.
Store Owner: Don’t Move. Don’t Grow.
If you ask a store owner which is his/her worst nightmare, the answer might surprise you: moving. When you move, you lose all the landmarks that you gave to your customers since the very beginning.
If your business is growing and you need to move your store, you lose customers. The same if you are downgrading and have to move your store to a cheaper place. The solution is so simple that, once again, you wonder where those intelligent minds in Lind Lab hide. In the covfefe room ?
Second Life needs a landmark with a dynamic URL that the owner can change when needed. Residents receive a casket and when they click on the landmark, the system goes to a database, retrieves the valid URL and sends the customer to the valid destination; not to an empty plot of land.
It’s such a good idea, that you could allow this feature for premium users only and force all store owners to become premium. There is only 1 reason to justify that this feature does not exist: Linden doesn’t care and never cared about Store Owners.
How is it possible that Private Estate Owners can see the difference between commercial and residential land, but Linden can’t ? How is it possible that only Private Estate Owners can see the need for commercial land with different properties, assets and allowances?
Linden couldn’t care less about Store Owners. It’s so obvious if you think about it. The hassle was not worthwhile, taking into account that they already have a land category: general, moderate and adult.
Giving residents mainland areas with a few more resources with the condition to promote business doesn’t look a bad idea whatsoever. Instead Linden decided to leave mainland unattended.
A Store Owner Viewer
It’s a not surprise that creators in general have special needs. They move objects, but also align them, turn them etc. Merchants regularly change content in boxes and texturice items. They use more scripts than the average avatar on a plot of land.
Ask yourself something? If creators are so important for Second Life why don’t they deserve an specific tool?
Why is it so difficult to understand that they need a viewer with special capabilities? Wait, Firestorm understood it and added a bunch of useful tools to improve the UI.
Linden Never Cared About Store Owners
Obviously, if Linden ever cared about store owners, they had years to prove us wrong. These are only 5, but I could dig up 20 more signs. I wrote down the important ones with facts difficult to debunk.
I can give you a few more honorable mentions:
- Improved notecards
- Newsletter system
- Advertising system on Main Page
- More stores on Marketplace
- Colors and sizes for Marketplace
- Gift Cards for Marketplace
- Collaborative tools for partners
- Borked search tools
- Improved permission system (not allowing to sell full permission)
- Improved “offline” notification message
The real reason Linden never cared is because they don’t get direct income from the avatar. Now they get a 5% on marketplace. However this business never existed until they bought Xstreet in 2010. Linden never put the avatar on the top list of priorities.
Finally, I’m aware Second Life is not going to Hell for not attending store owners. Second Life will die for many other factors, one of those factors is ignoring store owners, sure. Not The main Cause but you could start by reading this article.
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