Merchant earns $200 on Kitely

Amiryu Hosoi has earned over $200 since starting to list items on Kitely Market last Tuesday. This is the story of how this well-known designer decided to try out this platform.

Hosoi started out in Second Life, with six regions on Japan Kanto, supported by her Hosoi Ichiba Second Life marketplace store.

“During my time in Second Life I specialized in Japanese architectural design, antiques and scenery,” she told Hypergrid Business. “Back then this was a niche market. Hosoi Ichiba supplied high quality goods and soon became a well known brand. Next to the Hosoi Ichiba marketplace I developed four scenery regions full of exiting stuff. The regions Japan Kanto, Japan, Kansai, Japan Chubu and China Sichuan all could be listed under the very best in Second Life. Our regions also became the home for a big community of Japanese minded people. We even had real Japanese people teaching about etiquette, art and lifestyle to other community members in our Hosoi Mura school and theater.”

These designs eventually migrated into the real world, and she launched My Oriental Garden, which designs, builds and sells luxury modern Japanese-style pavilions and buildings.

Hosoi first began looking at OpenSim when she needed a secure environment in which to create designs and save backups.

“I decided to export my complete My Oriental Garden inventory to my local OpenSim environment to work on,” she said.

OpenSim isn’t just about social grids that try to clone Second Life. It is server software that can also be run on a home computer or laptop. Users typically install the pre-configured Diva Distro version, the easier-to-use Sim-on-a-Stick, or New World Studio, which is so easy that you can have your own world up and running in just five mouse clicks.

A typical home computer can easily hold a mini-grid of one to four regions, which can then be backed up at will. Many content creators use private OpenSim mini-grids as warehouses and construction sites, accessible only by them and their employees. Private mini-grids can also be set up with hypergrid enabled, configured so that only members of a particular group can teleport to the grid or build there.

As part of her investigation of OpenSim, Hosoi also checked out several of the large public OpenSim grids. In February of 2012, she stopped by Kitely to look around.

Then, a year and a half later, she returned to check out the marketplace.

(Image courtesy Amiryu Hosoi.)

(Image courtesy Amiryu Hosoi.)

She was impressed, she said, by its functionality, its cost structure, and by the fact that Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner is out there talking to users.

“Ilan is a wonderful guy who is always trying to help,” she said. “I decided to rebuild my marketplace Hosoi Ichiba and the once famous regions in Kitely and here I am.”

Today, the Hosoi Ichiba Kitely Market store lists 111 items, about a fifth of the inventory of the Second Life store.

“This is a lot of work because I need to review, export, import, relist, update all my products,” she said. “The hard work however is mostly on the Second Life side. The people who designed the Kitely Market really understand what a merchant needs. Clear design, intuitive interface, wonderful variations feature, you name it and it is there. Working with the Kitely Market as a merchant is a breeze.”

Dealing with the hypergrid

The Kitely grid is currently not hypergrid enabled, and residents of other grids can’t shop on the Kitely Market. But both of these are going to change in the next few months.

Some content creators worry that exposing their content in OpenSim means that people will copy it and distribute it for free without the creator’s permission.

Today, Kitely content is locked down. The creator sets the permissions, and the only way content can leave the grid is via OAR file region exports, and those are filtered so that only permitted content is exported.

Hypergrid connectivity, and hypergrid distribution of content, “will shake the virtual worlds on their foundations,” Hosoi said.

She herself had fears of losing content.

But since then, she’s changed her mind, and is now one of the creators actively embracing the hypergrid.

“People who want free stuff will take it anyway, no matter if you lock it,” she said.

She pointed to iTunes as an example of an online marketplace that distributes digital content with no built-in copying restrictions. After all, DRM-free, easy-to-copy music is already widely available for free, on the Internet.

Marketplaces such as iTunes and Amazon and services like Netflix, by providing an affordable, convenient and legal alternative, have created successful and profitable online distribution channels for movies and music. Meanwhile, neither legal nor technical efforts have been successful in curbing piracy.

The same principle holds in virtual worlds, Hosoi said. “Making it easier for everyone to legally buy your goods via hypergrid to use them wherever they want will make people think twice — why go through all the hassle stealing content when you can buy what you want and use it legally anywhere, on any grid?”

Kitely Market already supports export permissions, allowing content creators to choose whether their creations will, someday soon, be available for purchase to residents of other grids.

There are around 9,000 active users on the hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids, but many of them are educational institutions and businesses with larger budgets than casual users, and a need for legitimate, properly licensed, high-quality content.

“The fact that content providers will be able to deliver goods to all other hypergrid connected grids out there gives us the possibility to really expand beyond the closed box that is known as Second Life,” said Hosoi.

Hosoi Ichiba Kitely Market store.

Hosoi Ichiba Kitely Market store.

Hosoi lists her products in two variations — one for local, Kitely use only, and another, higher-priced one, with export rights.

“This doesn’t mean people are free to give away or sell my products to anyone else,” she wrote in a recent post on her blog. “Please play a fair game.”

So far, this strategy is paying off, with $200 in sales since her store opened last Tuesday.

“I would strongly advise all serious content providers and merchants out there in Second Life to jump on the train,” she said.

She said she is putting the money towards setting up and maintaining unlimited-access regions on Kitely. “Those regions will be free for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

(Do you have a story to tell about a successful OpenSim commerce experience? Drop me a line at [email protected]!)

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

11 Responses

  1.' Ilan Tochner says:

    First, I think it’s worth pointing out that Amiryu Hosoi actually sold more than $200 worth of items in those 10 days, Kitely’s 20% sales commission isn’t included in that number (so her total sales were actually closer to $250).

    I think one of the important things SL merchants should consider is that while the Hypergrid-connected metaverse still has a lot less active monthly users than Second Life does, those active users also have a lot less legal content acquisition options. This means that the number of paying customers per merchant currently selling to Hypergrid-connected grids is far higher than it is in Second Life. As a result, people such as Amiryu Hosoi who understand the benefit of listing now before there are many other merchants selling to the metaverse can earn good money with little competition. 🙂

    … and as the amount of legally available content increases so will the number of people who will use grids that are connected to the Hypergrid in order to gain access to that content. Thus bringing in more potential buyers.

    •' wolftimber says:

      While this week was $200 or $250, once the limited market for certain items is saturated that will decrease dramatically, after all, people don’t need six houses, and they only need one copy of their items, you won’t sell them a new house every week for a year, that buyer is no longer in the market for that item.
      You have to create a constant flow of new products to keep up the sales level and/or get new customers to keep up the sales once the market is saturated with your products.

      •' Ilan Tochner says:

        I agree that markets can get saturated but the complete story needs to take into account not just the demand side but also the supply side of the equation and the differential in the cost of goods sold between selling in Kitely and in Second Life.

        There are about 19,000 active users in public OpenSim grids. This doesn’t include users of private grids and standalones. It also doesn’t take into account that new people are constantly trying out OpenSim (some of these active users may be alts but Second Life has many of those as well so we’ll ignore that for the sake of this calculation). Second Life probably has 40-50 times as many active monthly users so OpenSim’s market size is therefore currently a lot more limited than that of Second Life. However, the number of merchants and items competing for customer dollars is also a lot smaller in Kitely Market than it is in Second Life Marketplace (SLM).

        You can sell great items in SLM and not get as many buyers as you’d get selling the same items to OpenSim grids via Kitely Market simply because buyers in SLM have millions of items to choose from whereas the number of items legally available for sale in OpenSim grids is currently in the low tens of thousands.

        In Second Life you therefore have to spend more money advertising your goods to get new customers and convince past customers to buy from you instead of from the tens of thousands of other merchants selling their wares in SLM.

        The cost of goods sold is also higher because in Second Life merchants need to pay asset upload fees for the new items they create (uploads are free in Kitely), and they might need to pay significantly more for land if they wish to have an inworld shop in which to display their wares (land prices in Kitely range from free to 85% cheaper than in Second Life).

        The net effect is that a good SL merchant may be able to have a relatively good income from selling in Kitely Market compared to selling in SLM. This won’t be because the market size is bigger in Kitely Market but (A) because the average cost of goods sold is higher in SLM than it is in Kitely Market, and (B) because the average number of potential customers per item listed in Kitely Market will remain higher than in SLM until a lot more merchants list in Kitely Market.

        This is why merchants that join marketplaces early on (such as Apple’s App Store, Facebook, etc.) often profit a lot more than the merchants who join after the marketplaces have matured – they serve a lot of pent up demand and they have a lot less competition for customers’ money.

        Kitely Market hasn’t started selling to hypergrid-connected grids so most of the pent up demand remains and it isn’t too late for merchants to take advantage of those relatively easy early sales.

        •' Amiryu Hosoi says:

          Hey Ilan, good reply, I totally agree, and what is more. Merchants that hop on the Kitely bandwagon right now have the chance to really install their brand. Just like the beginning days in SL. Once your customers are able to find you and your brand are out there that customer will keep comming back. In SL I still have customers that I first supplied back in 2007.

          About the saturation, just make sure you keep a nice flow of new products and exiting items and customers will come back. New residents in SL won’t be able to find you because of the massive amount of items, quality and non quality, expensive and free, al mixed up. In Kitely Market the customer has the tools to really find what he or she is searching for. And yes, Kitely will be far from saturated for the starting period years. Use this starting period to install your brand!

          In the line of my work, Customers that buy a house from Hosoi Ichiba almost always are creating an environment instead of a single house. My customers, save money for next month and then add a new house or house boat to their scenery. Building scenery and environments is what my target audience is about and we all know, once you start creating environments there is no stop other then expensis. In Kitely the price for a region is realy attractive and on top of that a Kitely region supports up to 7 times the prim count of a regular SL region. Thus, people dont have to keep an close eye on their prim limits.

          Keep up the good work,


      •' Tiola says:

        I personally have about 50 bought houses in my inventory but i do agree that a constant flow of items is needed.

        •' wolftimber says:

          Yeah but I bet 40 of them haven’t left inventory in months or longer, that’s another issue- inventory of thousands of items, in some cases tens of thousands of items just sits there, the vast majority never sees the light of day.

    •' Samantha Atkins says:

      Sorry to jiggle your elbow, but any word on when Hypergrid connections are coming?

      •' Ilan Tochner says:

        Hi Samantha,

        We’re currently working on a making pricing changes to our offering which should be done early January. Next we’ll get back to working on the hypergrid delivery system for Kitely Market. We expect that to be rolled out by the end of January. Finally, we’ll work on finishing the backend changes we need to complete to enable full hypergrid support.

  2.' Guest says:

    This looks like good money to be made partner
    just a fact we have let our business associates know your open for business
    we can get some sells going in your marketplace soon
    good man keep up the good work

    •' Samantha Atkins says:

      I am sorry but $200 / wk is not good money. It is better than burning money and a beginning. But this is a few hours of income in the day job. Good money is 5x – 10x $200/wk.

  3.' Tiola says:

    Really interesting article. I know nothing about other grids but I am defiantly going to look into in as of now.