Freebies are plentiful throughout OpenSim grids, where uploads are free and land is cheap — anyone can put up a freebie store.
But most freebie stores can’t guarantee the provenance of their content. Grid owners and content creators fight to remove infringing content, but that’s no comfort to a business or educational institution that gets content and takes it back to their own grid in between the time it’s uploaded and is taken down for infringement. The downside of having infringing content on your private grid? Best case, public embarrassment. Worst case — copyright infringement lawsuit.
There are a few sites offering free content (see Where to get content for OpenSim) but some have the same problems as in-world freebies stores. OpenSim Creations, for example, allows anyone to upload content to the site. Even some single-creator sites don’t have proof of provenance of each item. For example, on FleepGrid Shop, the description of its Garden-in-a-Box says ” All landscaping packages and items are believed to be distributed under open source or Creative Commons licensing” and urges creators to contact the site owner if they see infringing content.
There are three creators, however, that are distributing all original content. ReactionGrid has a Creative Commons-licensed collection of starting avatars available in the form of its ReactionGrid OAR. OSGrid president Michael Emory Cerquoni has created a Universal Campus in which all content has been created from scratch — and also Creative Commons licensed.
But the creator that has been making the biggest impact is Linda Kellie, whose website, LindaKellie.com, is full of must-have items for new grid owners — avatars, furniture, buildings, plants, sculpties, even complete landscaped OAR files with freebie stores. Everything is Creative Commons licensed, so schools and companies can do anything they like with the content — and she keeps adding more and more items to her site.
But her content is also available in-world. Kitely users can hop over to her Linda Kellie Designs region (Facebook account needed for access). OSGrid residents and hypergrid travelers can visit her Linda Kellie Designs region on OSGrid at hg.osgrid.org:80:Linda Kellie Designs. However, because of the way the region is set up, if you’re looking to bring content back to your own grid via hypergrid teleport, you should use an OSGrid avatar (free registration here), get what you need, then teleport to another region before doing a hypergrid teleport to your own grid.
Kellie stands out for another reason besides her large collection of original content. She is also remarkably open about her virtual identities.
On her site, she lists the avatar names she has previously created content under, including Ayla Holt, Jayce Tearfall, Sin Delight and Betray Resident.
“For years I sold items with my Ayla Holt avatar and I have now retired her,” she said on her site. “So even though some of these items may have been for sale at one time they are now open source… I tell you all this information because I am sure there will be someone, somewhere who will accuse me of stealing these creations if they don’t know the avatar name of the original creator.”
With her experience selling and giving away content in Second Life, and on many OpenSim grids, we decided to ask her some questions about her favorite grids, and how OpenSim compares to Second Life.
HB: What’s a good grid for putting up a store and getting traffic?
InWorldz seems to have a good variety of items but their market isn’t over saturated so it is still a good place for almost any type of creations to actually sell there. It, like some other OpenSim grids, is good for the smaller shops who are lost in the flood of Second Life and want a place where they can be seen and make a name for themselves. There is the classified section in their forums to help promote your store.
For creators who want to have a realistic lifestyle and be able to have the fun of not only creating but marketing and selling their items I would, without a doubt, choose InWorldz. I am an avid researcher of the backgrounds of grids and the people who run them and I trust that InWorldz will be around and that they do their best to support and implement the best security they can. It’s easy to create clothing, textures and animations because of the free uploads. I’m rather astonished that some grids still charge for uploading. It feels like they nickel and dime you to death.
For creators who just want to have some fun and aren’t worried about their intellectual property as much I think OSGrid is such a relaxing place to create. The main reason is that without having to market and worry about making money there is no time pressure and it doesn’t feel like work. I consider OSGrid my hippy grid. I can go there and hang out barefoot and build when I want and share everything I have. It would not work in real life but it works there.
In Second Life, they make it hard on the creators. The market is too saturated for one thing. And it just feels rather uptight. Most of the land seems abandoned now unless you go to Zindra (adult) land.
HB: You just created a region on Kitely. What do you think of them?
I think it has a lot of potential but until they have some sort of search or world listing it just feels like being on a standalone. Kitely isn’t very easy right now because you have to have a Facebook account and it took me a while to figure out how to even get logged in. It seems to choose the viewer for me. I know there is a way for me to set that myself in some file but since I am a very very low tech. person I don’t even try. I am assured that as they progress they are making things easier and more convenient for logging in as well as finding worlds there to visit. The owners seem wonderful and friendly and I think that it will become something that will suit many people.
HB: What do you think of the stability and support you get on different grids?
What is really funny to me about this question is for myself, almost every OpenSim grid is more stable than Second Life. This wasn’t the case years ago. But now if I use Second Life, I tend to crash and freeze up much of the time. I am told it’s because I refuse to use their Viewer 2 (or Viewer 3 now). And trying to get help there is pretty much a pain in the ass. They certainly don’t care about their customers like they used to.
Kitely seems very stable. But I haven’t been on there where I was on a sim with more than one other person. And honestly I haven’t tried to build there yet much. I do love that I can upload an OAR or export there.
I think much of the stability of OSGrid depends on how you personally are connected to it. The servers that my sims are on are very stable. And since I was given use of them they are not maintained by me… which is wonderful for me — if anything goes wrong someone takes care of it right away. And there has only been one time in the last couple of months that I wasn’t able to log in anywhere on OSGrid and that is right now ironically enough.
I never had any problems in all the months I was on the InWorldz grid that wasn’t taken care of right away. I rarely crashed or became smoke or Ruthed. If a sim went down it would normally come right back up. Great customer service for the times when I needed it. With their use of the forums and Twitter it was always easy to reach out to someone who could be of help.
I had issues with Nova. I know that it runs on Aurora so it’s different and I was trying to get used to that. But I seemed to have problems with teleporting and crashing to the point where after going in the first few times I just never went back. Plus the fact that nobody talked to me there. I landed in a spot where the owner and some others were standing there talking and nobody bothered to welcome me or even acknowledge that I was there.
HB: Which grid has the best community feel?
I think every grid has their bad apples, bullies and meanies. People who just can’t enjoy themselves unless they are making someone else’s life a living hell.
The InWorldz community spirit screams out at you when you first arrive. It’s hard to miss. You land for the first time and mentors are there to welcome you and tell you about free items and answer all of your questions. I met so many of my friends on that grid and I am so blessed to have met such nice people. Because most people like and trust the founders the residents want to make it work for them. So everyone pitches in and tries to help and be patient while they wait for updates to make things even better.
OSGrid is my favorite for myself at the moment. The reason for this is due in large to the community. The people who have taken me in there and allowed me to be part of their world there are so sweet and caring and good to me. I am OK with not selling my items anymore. I love being part of something like OSGrid and being able to create things that are needed. I have to feel needed… I kind of thrive on that.