AviWorlds grid down yet again

AviWorlds, a Brazilian OpenSim grid with a history of trouble, seems to be on the outs again. The grid went down on Tuesday night and is officially closed, according to hosting provider Zetamex.

“The owner just told us to shut down,” Zetamex founder Timothy Rogers told Hypergrid Business. “Real life got too complicated.”

According to Rogers, grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli was facing some personal issues, the same issues that caused him to take the grid down this past July and worried residents in November with news that the grid was turning off hypergrid connectivity, then turning it on again, then closing, then making administrative changes and staying open after all.

Pandora-themed area on AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy AviWorlds.)

Pandora-themed area on AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy AviWorlds.)

Alexsandro Pomposelli

Alexsandro Pomposelli

“This is it,” Pomposelli said in an email forwarded to Hypergrid Business last month. “I have dealt my cards many times and I tried and tried and I HAVE FAILED. I am not going to try again and I just want to THANK all of you who believed in AviWorlds and in me. Sorry but there is no more tries left in me. My health has turned to worst and I am getting a divorce plus keeping a grid with 10, 15 people online does not justify me spending the money I have been.”

Zetamex was hosting the entire grid, including all the region servers and the back-end management tools. Pomposelli was paying Zetamex for the grid hosting services, but was the owner of the grid, and in charge of the marketing, sales, community building, and other non-technical aspects of managing a virtual world.

AviWorlds’ chief marketing strategy seemed to be in giving away free residential lots and store space, in hopes that enough users would upgrade to paid regions to support the grid. That doesn’t seem to have worked out.

“”You may tell everyone,” Pomposelli said in an email to Zetamex. “None of the regions were paid by the users.”

“That was his final comment,” said Rogers.

As of this writing, Pomposelli has not responded to our questions.

What happens next

AviWorlds region owners can get a copy of their region in the form of an OAR file that they can upload to their own home-based grid like a Sim-on-a-Stick or a New World Studio, or connect to any open grid such as OSgrid, or upload it to many commercial grids, including Kitely.

Region owners can also decide to continue hosting their region with Zetamex, in which case the company can set it up as a mini-grid or connect it to an existing grid.

According to Zetamex spokesman Jared Shipp, region owners should submit a support request  to let Zetamex know what to do with their regions.

However, AviWorlds users will not be able to get copies of their inventories.

“We will not be providing IARs due to copy-write protections,” said Shipp.

The AviWorlds website, Facebook group and Twitter feed are all shut down as well, though the Google Plus community is still up. The grid closing is currently a topic of discussion in the Google Plus OpenSim Virtual community.

“There will be no chance of recovering this time,” said resident Mike Hart in a comment. Hart is best known  for his Pro-Racer builds, which he brought to AviWorlds. He is also the founder of the new Next Reality grid.  Hart said that the didn’t lose any content as a result of the grid going down again. “The only thing gone is the money I have saved, which I will probably not see now.”

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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.

  • Jonny Vayro

    Poor Alex loses out again. He has had a tough break. I knew him back when he had only an idea. To have so many issues in a world is bad luck. Also for all of his residents.
    If any of his residents would still like a place to go they are more than welcome to Another Word (www.anotherworldvw.com) we are always glad for new users.
    We will fund a couple of regions with some plots for them free of charge.
    Also, if any of their users would like to rent a region off ourselves, I can speak to Timothy at Zetamex I am sure he will upload your oars on request.
    We are also offering some free stores for creators. And our Midi-Homestead regions start at only $15.00 per month.
    And to Alex, You can bring your regions to our world If you wish to. I am sure Timothy will work something out for you.

    • Joe Builder

      Great thought Jonny, But Aviworlds focused there small community on people who loved virtual worlds but had no money to invest. Basically was a free grid even though he advertised prices. Alex for the most part absorbed all fees generated from running a grid. I started with Alex years ago when he opened Avworlds, Alex’s way of thinking was if SL can do it so can opensims (Aviworlds). So his different ideas came into play and none really worked out.
      I really think one has to think not of SL, But of other opensim grids and see what makes them work. Most if not all the OARS in aviworlds was ones given or alex bought over time. The residents there lived in free lands, mostly in free homes or ones they threw together. And the other types I’ll not mention. I knew from the beginning it would be short lived, tried to warn a few, Seems they didn’t care till the end.

      • Jonny Vayro

        We ourselves also love Virtual Worlds, that’s probably why we are on this thread chatting now. Alex has had it tough from day one. I remember him years ago asking if I would be his partner but at that time I didn’t have the time. I don’t think it is fair (No fault to Alex) for users to have nowhere to go, hence my post. I hope they manage to sort something out and I hope to see AviWorlds back up and running. Who knows?

        • Joe Builder

          Yes I remember, He asked many people to start a Opensim venture years ago, To sponsor his dream. It is what it is, Either be a builder, Or a programmer, Both he is not so again very difficult to depend on people to build a grid for you and run successful. I went in with alex years ago and was a silent partner, I did mostly all the building while he paid the bills. At that time worked out well. Except when his wild notions took over lol, From then on was a slow decline, And people lost trust and faith.

          • Jonny Vayro

            Your builder? Mind if I ask what you build?

          • Joe Builder

            Everything Prims

          • Jonny Vayro

            Do you have a website I could visit to look at some of your builds Joe?
            Thanks.

          • Joe Builder

            Joe Builder on Google Plus, Has a lot of what I done there in my profile.

    • wolftimber

      Nothing like using someone’s unfortunate circumstances as a free launching platform for one’s own ads…

      • Jonny Vayro

        wolftimber, this is not someone using this as a free launching platform. If that was the case I would comment on every single post on this website. This comment was placed here on the off chance that alex would see it, or any of his members see it and would still like somewhere to go. It is also a comment to offer people a way out of their situation. If I wanted or needed free ads I would bombard other websites. Are you commenting here so that others can see your name and advertise who you are? I don’t believe so.

        • wolftimber

          As they say Jonny: appearances are everything, your intents were probably good, but the first impression I got from reading your earlier post was:

          “another spam vampire swooping in for the advertising kill using the situation as an ad launcher to sell $15/mo sims with.”

          As for me, I have nothing to sell, rent nothing out, sell nothing, and have no insider stock trade track on any grid’s profits, so there would be absolutely no advantage to me to “advertise” anything anywhere, including here.

          • Jonny Vayro

            You do have a valid point. and yes my intents were good, I can see where your coming from though.

          • wolftimber

            Thanks Jonny.

  • Vanish

    Seems like I won a bet earlier than I thought.

  • RodneyDangerfield

    After all that carrying on in the last few articles here about how wonderful Aviworlds is and what bullys and jerks we are and what crap everyone elses grid is and it’s down again? And he wonders why everyone says what they say about him and that grid. Guess everyone was right…

    • wolftimber

      so you are kicking the man when he’s down now? health issues, divorce and lack of paying customers is what did it in, like he said, keeping a grid open for 10-15 users is a losing enterprise.

  • Dorena Verne

    For those failing idiots I have only contempt. At least it would be decent to announce a closure of a Grid 2 months in advance.

    • Joe Builder

      Agree, It’s his trademark, 1 of the things I disliked about the whole mess.

    • I agree. While a business shouldn’t plan for failure — it should plan for success — it should also take at least a little time to prepare for some worst-case scenarios. For some types of businesses, this means incorporation, insurance, that kind of thing. For grids, I’d add enough money in the bank to pay for salaries and hosting while winding down the grid gracefully, plus enough money to refund everyone’s virtual currency accounts. That might not take a full month, but residents should have at least a couple of weeks, or better yet a full month, to get their stuff out, get copies of their OARs or IARs, and get currency refunds.

      I don’t think it’s a crime to fail. And I wouldn’t call those people “idiots.” This is a brand-new industry. It’s going to be huge someday, but, right now, everyone is looking for business models, experimenting, trying stuff out. Some of it will work, some of it wont. Some will work for a while, then suddenly stop working. It happens. There is no shame in having tried and failed. But you’re in a much better position for your future projects if you fail gracefully, pay all your debts, with your customers wishing you all the best in your future project instead of burning you in effigy.

  • wolftimber

    “in which case the company can set it up as a mini-grid or connect it to an existing grid.”

    They can stay with Zetamex’s good services, or if they want to run sims from home and connect to a public grid at no charge, there’s Metropolis and their downloadable Openism software is already pre-configured to connect properly to the grid by simply changing a couple of custom items such as your database connection string (if you dont use the built-in sqLite) and your port (if you don’t want to use the standard port 9000)

    For their latest 0.7.6 release:
    http://www.hypergrid.org/metropolis/wiki/de/index.php?title=Downloads

    • RodneyDangerfield

      “wolftimber
      Jonny Vayro
      18 minutes ago

      Nothing like using someone’s unfortunate circumstances as a free launching platform for one’s own ads…”

      Ahhhhh so it’s ok for YOU to use this as an advertisement for the grid YOU support, but when someone else does you complain. Guess that makes you both a troll and a hypocrite.”

      • wolftimber

        You’ll notice the post was advertising his $15/mo regions:

        “And our Midi-Homestead regions start at only $15.00 per month…”

        What’s that, besides an AD?

        I dont have anything to do with the Metro grid other than I use it, I dont own it, run it, rent regions or make a cent from it, suggesting a means that is free to connect from home v/s selling $15/mo space- THATs the difference hypocrite!

    • Joe Builder

      95% of aviworlds residents are from brazil, Metro’s servers are in Germany. Not saying at all Metro is bad, But its far enough way to give someone the wrong impression on connectivity. Which in my opinion where one lives has a lot to do with grid choice.

      • wolftimber

        Those speaking spanish in Brazil aren’t going to have any easier or harder time in English speaking usa than they will German and English speaking Metropolis.
        The tech support and many there speak and write English and there are plenty of other languages besides German.
        As far as connectivity goes I’m in the usa I have no problems connecting, Brazil is not exactly the south Pole and just because the grid is based in Brazil doesn’t mean all the users are any more than all of Metropolis’ users are in Germany.

        • Joe Builder

          My connection isn’t the best, I’m in South Florida USA and if I do visit European Grids my experience is much less. FPS drops to 16/20 where a example Osgrid may be 95/110. Things just all around run at half speed. That may be ok for some, Just I’m thinking not all. And Brazil is even farther away. Just my silly 2 cents is all 🙂

          • wolftimber

            Distance is not the only factor, the number of hops and where they go between you and the distination is, you can get worse lag and fps going to a place in Georgia than Germany. I’m in the Midwest usa which is even further from Germany and I don’t have any issues connecting to the grid, in fact, THIS site here hypergridbusiness is one of the slowest I visit, it’s always slow to load pages.
            What I HAVE found is the graphics card is the determining factor in world, because before I built a new box I NEVER got more than about 12-15 fps on any sims, and every other sim I went to, including secondlife would be lag city and down to 3 fps.

            soon as I got a better card, the AMD 7950 my fps was 80-100 in world on the same settings I had, and I could turn ultra with shadows and atmosphere all on, and max out the graphics setting and draw on 200m in the same viewer and still get 30-45 fps in Metropolis. The new card eliminated lag, it was the old OEM card that was causing all the lag I had for years everywhere but my own sims.

          • Joe Builder

            Mostly people don’t know the difference from walking around a laggy grid, or one that runs smoothly, Just depends where there comfortable at. I have my own grid that runs on my LAN, I do prefer to do large builds in osgrid for me its a night and day difference.

          • wolftimber

            I think most people can tell quite well when they can’t even MOVE after tp’ing into someone’s sim and everything is grey and rezzes one object at a time, but then if EVERY sim is like that they figure that’s how it all is.
            Some will never figure out it’s their own graphics card, computer or internet connect that is the fault.

            Unless you are RENTING a sim on that grid you are just accessing your lown local install, in which case it doesn’t matter what grid you are connected to the sim is running on your own server, of course, it doesn’t matter how fast a grid might claim to be when the admin is a jerk who arbitrarily bans people based on avatar choices, who their friends are, what they post on blogs and things like that, or peopel discover the grid’s “non profit” status had been officially revoked by the state of California many months before, then it becomes a moot point on the lag issue.

          • hack13

            I hate to toss in my two cents, but FPS would not be lower due to distance the signal has to travel in opensim. I mean it plays a factor, but a tiny tiny one. Honestly it sounds more like the locations the regions you visit on those grids are not hosted on strong enough hardware to support high frame rates. I mean there would be a difference but not that drastic, it just sounds mind boggling that you see something so brash between locations, it can’t be that technically speaking knowing on the backend of opensim works.

          • Joe Builder

            Only see the loss in European based servers, FPS/Bandwidth and about 10 minutes of packet loss. This is a factor that comes into play when a few that I know choose a grid to call home.

          • hack13

            Wow 10 minutes of packet loss, I would seriously look into who is hosting the grid and your ISP you should never have that crappy of packet loss.

            We have servers across the world and even the ones over seas I suffer no packet loss, and never higher than 105ms ping time. And I live in the middle of the USA so that is pretty impressive to see such packet loss and such. I would seriously ask the grids you been to what they use and consider calling your ISP because that is insane amount of delay and packet loss.

          • Joe Builder

            Don’t want to mention the grid, But its a big one. And basically only happens there. I will say its on European servers.

          • hack13

            Well if it is an open grid you can’t judge the ping time that much, because honestly you only connect to the their servers for a breif moment till your then just connected to the simulator’s server your on.

            Example: in recent months OSgrid has become very unreliable for me and my clients no matter what country node I place it on, I get several slow responses from both their inventory and asset servers, so I have turned on some major caching tools to aid in this problem for when users are on my regions. This keeps them from suffering, but they don’t notice this because they are on MY servers and not the GRID servers, see your data just passes through the grid server and once it puts you on a region all it does is check to make sure you still logged in every so often, everything else is just handled by the region.

            As far as inventory and assets go, well that depends on how they have that part of it setup. I personally for my grids offload directly to the grid server for inventory and only cache assets(faster that way), but can’t do this for some places as the inventory servers are slow and over loaded.

          • wolftimber

            Yeah, because electricity runs 186,000 miles per second, that means a signal can go around the entire planet’s 25,000 mile circumference about 8 times in ONE second, obviously the mileage difference between the USA and Germany or USA and Brazil is miniscule and unimportant when the electrical signals can circumnavigate the entire planet 8 times in one second.

        • I also have no less issues with Metro than I do with any other grid I have visited. tbh, though, my computer is getting outdated, my dsl connection is in the boondocks, and I don’t get the high fps I see others talk about, anywhere…but it works sufficiently for my needs.

          And I am in Texas.

          • wolftimber

            You will find that at some point if you get a newer pc you’re speed will dramatically improve. I built my own box and installed linux on it but unfortunately AMD doesn’t have good driver support and their graphics driver was causing some big issues with every distro I installed. But I was getting substantial increases in fps, load times, resolution and had NO lag at all. It was a seat of the pants WOW speed/quality difference.
            Now after selling the new card on ebay in 5 minutes for more than I bought it for in October, I’ll be swopping out the Mboard, card and processor for intel versions soon.

          • well, the reality is that, unless a miracle occurs..lol, once my computer gets too outdated to use in vrs I will no longer be in them…assuming I don’t quit before then-))

          • wolftimber

            I’ve only bought two new machines in the 19 years I’ve been on the net, one pc (my first) and one Mac, since then I’ve always bought every one of them used on Ebay and always had 100% perfect results with every one of them, in fact my region server is a factory refurbished Dell workstation with 8 gb ram bought about 18 months ago very reasonably on Ebay from Dell, it’s been running all the regions 24/7 since the day it came. (I never shut my machines off)

            All I did to it was install a new WD drive and Ubuntu.
            since my daily MacPro user was from 2008 bought used in 2010 is getting dated, especially the OEM graphics card and Macs are notorious for difficulties with upgrading the cards in, I decided to build my own for daily use and turn the MacPro into the region server since it’s perfect for that and has 12 gb ram.
            I was using it for a month as the server after updating mono, but I’ve since had to swop them back due to the AMD driver issue in the new machine.

            You can easily find a much newer more powerful pc for yourself used on Ebay at a reasonable price instead of buying new, people update frequently and then their “old” machines go cheap.
            The 3 Dells Ive used for region servers all worked perfectly and ran well, so I wouldn’t have any issues with a refurbished Dell for daily use or server. The key is go with a factory refurbished unit, or go with a seller that has thousands of positive feedbacks and few negatives.

          • ty-))

        • Fernando Francisco de Oliveira

          🙂 in Brazil we speak portuguese. All other countries on South America speak spanish.

    • You know, I have thought that Alex should connect inside of Metropolis also. Though this gives up some of the overall control, the essentials are still available, Zetamex could move him there in some cluster off to the side someplace, and he would benefit by having the Metro community and all that comes with that.

      He could offer Metro his own community, participate with them on some things, etc…seems like it would be a good idea for him to try.

      Commonwealth did that in osgrid before moving with Lost Paradise.

      • wolftimber

        I’m not sure how that would work, as I understand it with Metropolis being a non-profit it would be unethical at the very least, and I think against their Tos for a commercial business to use a non-profit grid as a means by which to rent regions out to make a profit from while using their services for free.
        That would apply to ANY non-profit and is similar to a commercial business using a local church facility for free to make sound recordings, videos or sell products using their space for profit.
        I know the grid does rent regions, so obviously someone undercutting that by renting regions there that they are getting backbone services for free from doesn’t “work” well!

        Maybe some arrangement can be made however.

        • Well, some of the hosting companies work in Metro already, tho I suppose one could make some distinctions in certain regards…still,as u say, some arrangement could be done…assuming Alex is even interested, or around anymore.

          • wolftimber

            I don’t know what arrangements they may have, but whatever works for the parties involves works then.
            Alex just posted, it doesn’t sound like there will be any revival due to his now being homeless.

  • Merrie Schonbach

    Its unfortunate that it failed, but I can certainly understand it. It is a bit scary too if you have hopes of starting a world. (Andress Renault)

  • Alex Ferraris

    Hi everyone.
    I own an explaination here why I decided to shut AvIworlds down for now.
    Reason 1 I became homeless last week.
    Reason 2 I am going through a bitter divorce
    Reason 3 My youngest son has been affected hard because of the divorce.
    Reason 4 Time to administer a growing grid but not a profitable one.
    Reason 5 No one did donate or spend any money on the grid.

    I need to answer Maria about what she says regarding
    Preparing and having all kinds of money put away to secure the operating costs of a grid.
    1-I did that.
    2- No one spent or bought any currency or regions.
    3- It is almost impossible to get people to spend money in open sims.
    They spend it in SL.
    4- the reason aviworlds has be en shut down was not lack of money. It was lack of interest found on the users and also my current real life situation. Plus the fact that when u look at it as a business; it was just loss of money. No profits.

    One example.
    Aviworlds sponsored 6 regions for one user for 6 months. When we asked him if he could donate some money for aviworlds; he claimed he did not have it. Many just left the regions without even saying thank u.
    And the guy who had the 6 regions I overheard him telling another player that he had just purchased a skin for 20000 lindens etc etc.
    I felt really used….
    So I decided to give all my attention to my kids and the love they deserve. Im on the streets now without a shelter sleeping in one of my vans.
    I have to find a place, I dont have the money now because I gave it all to my ex now to settle the divorce. Im taking showers in my gym. So it has been a total change in my life.
    Lets just say this. If everyone who had a region that was sponsored by aviworlds; did donate 20 bucks only the grid could stay online and pay its costs.
    But when we asked for it they all ran.
    Happy Hollydays everyone.
    Alex Ferraris
    Aviworlds President & CEO

    • wolftimber

      All good reasons and explanation Alex, you tried, but as you say- there was little hard cash support for the project and now due to circumstances beyond your control the situation changed.
      Good luck.

      20,000 Lindens is around $80 usd, yeah figures someone would spend that in secondlife on a virtual skin they can’t even download, save or transfer, and no money for the regions.

    • I’m sorry about your problems, Alex. But it takes more than a couple of months to see whether a grid’s business model is going to work or not, especially with a grid that’s been up and down for a while. It is difficult to get people to spend money. Anywhere, not just in OpenSim. But there are folks who make it work. I’m guessing it took them at least a year or so before they were actually profitable — which is typical of new companies.

      One of the reasons people are wary of some OpenSim grids is that their business models change dramatically and frequently, and the grid shuts down often. That makes people worry about building a lot, or buying a lot of inventory – they know they’ll just lose it all. And while people typically don’t mind donating to non-profits, they’re wary of donating to commercial enterprises. If the company succeeds, it’s unlikely that they’ll get that donation back., And if the company fails, their money would have been totally wasted. One notable exception to this is Kickstarter,which I would love to see a grid use to get a really nice world going.

      Finally, another reason people are wary of some grids is, as you mentioned, it’s hard for one guy to do everything. And if he gets sick or something else happens, the whole grid is out of luck. A strong grid needs a committed management team of more than one person.

      Finally, even with everything you mentioned, I still don’t understand why you couldn’t give your residents any notice. If not a month, at least a week or two, so they could collect their stuff and make alternate plans.

      • Alex Ferraris

        As you even mentioned above all region owners can get an oar from zetamex. Also there were no region owners. AviWorlds owned all regions.
        As far as I knew two of aviworlds servers were only due on the 16 th or 18th now in December.
        So I left it with zetamex decision plus I did tell them to advise and inform users regarding the shut down.
        But as I have said; no one paid anything.
        AviWorlds may return one day but not as a commercial grid. It will only be a place for people to visit. No currency, no selling land etc.
        Just my little place of enjoyment since I do love it. But first things first. Im homeless now and going through alot.
        Alex

        • Alex — On Nov. 15, your stats page showed 279 regions, and 347 active users. So all those were owned by you personally?

          • Joe Builder

            Makes one wonder, Are stats really accurate from any grid for that matter.

          • TropicalWatersGroup

            Bunch of BS what he says we were paying him money for our sims….

    • Wish you all the best Alex…it sounds like hard times and that it is better you just take care of that….regards

  • Ozwell Wayfarer

    It is very sad to hear about Alexes terrible personal circumstances, and I wish him more luck in the coming year.

    That said, I do hope he does not try once again to re-open Aviworlds. That horse has now been flogged to death. Despite its low population, Aviworlds name was known amongst the opensim community, and constant closure and re-openings just don’t look good.