Another grid shuts with no warning: How to protect yourself

The Tropical Paradise Virtual World grid shut down with no warning to either its residents or its staff, one of the employees told Hypergrid Business today.

“Today, everything — including the grid, the website, Facebook and Twitter — were taken down without any prior notice or warning to anyone,” said executive staff member Thishan Dezno, who is also known as Thishan Baxton in-world. Some staffers had money or creations on the grid, which they have lost, as did many residents.

A club on the Tropical Paradise Virtual World. (Image courtesy Tropical Paradise Virtual World.)

A club on the Tropical Paradise Virtual World. (Image courtesy Tropical Paradise Virtual World.)

“They did not allow us to take things before they shut down the grid,” said Dezno.

Dezno warned users with recurring PayPal payments to go to their PayPal account and stop those payments.

“There are some people that have subscribed through PayPal for the sim payments and they will be paying if they don’t know [that the grid closed] or wait for the grid to come online,” he said.

Three steps to protect yourself

Anyone considering investing time and money on a closed grid should make contingency plans for when something happens. Even on a large, established grid like Second Life, accounts can get shut down, currency balances lost, and content can disappear.

1. Don’t keep any money in your virtual currency balance that you can’t afford to lose

Virtual currency is a risky investment. Only keep enough money in your balance that you can afford to lose.

Many grids have Terms of Service that specifically say that the currency is fictional and that they’re not obligated to refund customer balances, or put limits on how much can be withdrawn.

If you are a merchant selling stuff inside the virtual world, schedule your cashouts on a regular basis. If you are limiting your withdrawals for tax reasons, remember to consider the risks of losing the entire balance. Depending on the tax bite, you might be better off taking the tax hit.

2. Create offline or on an open grid

Many merchants prefer to sell their content on closed, commercial grids because of higher traffic numbers, or the perception of better security.

This does not mean, however, that they have to create that content in that grid.

Content creators can use private grids — either self-hosted, at home, with the Diva Distro, Sim-on-a-Stick or New World Studio, or hosted at low rates with Kitely, Oliveira, Zetamex, Dreamland, or another provider that allows full exports.

Keeping a content warehouse on an platform that allows exports also allows creators to work together in teams to create builds that can then be saved under the name of the company that created it and later uploaded to other grids for use or sale.

3. Build offline communities

For many people, the biggest value of a social world is the community they build there. Community of friends, of customers, of fellow activists. If the user loses access to the grid, they lose access to that community as well.

To avoid that problem, build the community using external channels rather than in-world groups whenever possible. Facebook, Google Plus, even email lists can provide a backup communication option if the grid is no longer available.

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

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.

  • Mircea Kitsune

    I think the best way to protect yourself is to never rely on a grid / server outside your control. Admins do crazy and illogical things like this at times.

    In Opensim terms, I’d recommend everyone to only run simulators that they can sav-oar / save-xml from, and ideally clone their inventory with save-iar if a grid allows that. Also ask friends you meet on a grid for contact information outside of that grid, such as Skype or messenger, if you don’t want to risk losing touch. In this case, your sim and inventory are safe no matter what happens to the grid, and you can just host them again somewhere else.

    • Han Held

      I agree with this. Lately I’ve spent most of my time on two “closed” grids but I can afford to do that because it’s not my stuff.

      MY stuff is safe on an external hard drive, saved to oar and iars. All the things I got from osgrid and metro between 2010 to 2013 is all right there, waiting for me to go back to it.

      My worry, however, is that people are going to invest time and money in items on various grids and then find that they cannot restore the items (that they’re paying money for) because of snafu’s and the convolutions of the export perms.

      Even apart from commercial items (which can be argued aren’t yours -an argument I disagree with), full-perm items in the free meta appear to be unable to be saved and then restored on a standalone. At least recent exports I’ve made have been duds –I haven’t got the time to do a serious set of tests however.

      IF that’s the case, then you can no longer trust “save oar” or “save iar” backups. Or maybe a better way to put it is “trust, but verify” (IE, add a verification step to your backup strategy to test that what you’ve saved is future-proof and won’t go *poof* when the opensim ecosystem does).

  • Frank Corsi

    Many grids are not professionally run as companies. Many grids are hobby or game grids that are run by fictional named avatars. I suggest if the grid does not have any real life names, address phone number. Then beware as it is only a game or hobby for someone.

    • hack13

      I completely agree, if you don’t see an physical address or a phone number. That is something that you should look for, even with hosting providers. Make sure they have a phone number, and a physical address. We at Zetames have both a 1800, a free out of country call in service, and even our physical address where you can mail us directly.

      • Yes, everyone should be careful with hosting providers which does not
        specify their address and even their name. Most providers do that. Like
        Zetamex, Kitely, and so on. But there are also commercial providers
        (like this one, who is placing his ad permanently on the upper right
        corner of this page): with no name, no address, even not mentioned the
        country of origin. We (at Metropolis) can not impose our users with whom they should host their regions, or not. But we can warn, and exclude those providers from our services. And so we did.

      • ~starts to prank call hack13~ kidding 😛

        • hack13

          Hey feel free to call us, 1-844-293-8263 its toll free for both USA and Canada callers. We have international call in numbers to make it free for others as well around the world.

  • oh darn…I was hoping this would work out for Thishan. Wasn’t this the grid that “Baxton” or “Baxter” owned/ran? And they were not on the HG? [and I mentioned once I saw them in Metropolis?].

    Oh, and was this the one that “Amore” guy went to after forming that sl/inwz connection group thing, then leaving that and dissing them, then disappearing? [I guess, dunno, really…just never hear of that anymore.]

    I think there is way to much competition for content in to many grids trying to get to few people…it causes all sorts of drama and strife.

    And as Frank just said, I would also say again, ppl who think they can run a virtual business who have no real brick and mortar business experience [and education] are fighting an uphill battle and should just count their blessings that it works at all for them, because it likely will not, in the longer term.

    And of course have ur own private grid/instance to work in [you forgot WhiteCore Maria] or use a grid where u can exercise your adult decisions to backup regions to OARs rather than deal with some who think locking in vendors is right simply because SL can do it.

  • Han Held

    We’re gonna see a lot more grids and users peeling off over the rest of the year as people are pushed out and become disillousioned because they find they’re not gonna be opensim’s answer to Anshe Chung, and that there’s less than a hundred people to socialise with on the hypergrid at any given time…

    • I can see many people thinking that, but lately Anshe Chung’s websites are being unsupported. I’ve been waiting for an answer from them, and have gotten nothing. So even the well established VR businesses are digging in and trying to figure out what works, I guess.

      • Han Held

        I had a comment here, and now I don’t -it wasn’t flamey, it had no links; but it’s gone. Do I need to start saving screenshots now?

        • You’re not the only one. Seems Disqus just ate a bunch of comments for no reason.

      • Gino Giacobini

        Just as a side note, Anshe become more involved in Eve Online and less in SL and IMVU or other similar worlds

  • Zandramas Grid

    This really is sad news to see yet another grid just shutdown like this without informing their users. For those of you that remember Olantica a grid that combined with Zandramas before they shut down the one thing we were very adamant about was having the owner of that grid Dno Vale to get in contact with people and to hold meetings and give people warnings and let people cash out and save or move their content and avatars over etc. It just saddens me that people like this are out there that don’t give any warning what so ever. Also think the other sad thing about this is that it really creates fear for new users that want to be part of good reliable grids as they then have this big fear.

    I do agree that any one involved in any virtual world should have the right to backup their content that is 100% theirs that’s why we will give someone a copy of their files “filtered” and I always recommend people purchase content from places that support this type of stuff. Wish more people would be open to making content with these rights built in to the license then we could just give a non filtered oar etc.

    Zandramas itself also doesn’t run it’s own currency we allow Podex to run and facilitate that as it’s something we never want to worry about.

    • Suz blessed

      I agree, if you want to be taken seriously as a grid , a grid should make sure that peoples money and creations are safe no matter what. And yes it makes me sad as well that there are grids out there not caring about the people who where there with them all the that time. So people do not go for a grid that offers free sims or does not offer you a back up of your creations. Unless you want to take this risk of course. Remember running a grid is costing money ( servers, technical support, licences, registrations, support, ticketing system, etc, etc. ). So it is really to good to be true to get all free. And when a grid closes they should tell the people and give them time to backup their creations and get a refund. Some of the grids do take things serious and because of those who do not the serious grids have to suffer, simply because people loose their trust in Open sim. In fact it makes me angry when ‘fake’ grid owners do this, they just screw their residents. We had now 2 grids shutting down in the last days and both showed us that they are unprofessional in many ways.

    • now that u mention it [and i am on my morning commenting roll while waking up with some decent coffee…lol]

      I was in Olantica on my old friend Leslie’s invitation. I was also getting all those offlines concerning getting my stuff moved to Zandramas…but I did not do it as I had already stopped making new closed grid accounts and had only been in Olantica helping Leslie and her posse anyway.

      She had asked me to go to their new grid and I told her I only am involved with the open Meta anymore.

      I also did not understand what was going on and why the split and Tangle being formed, and nobody was talking about it and I got annoyed…lol

      I had also spent some time with my friend Sunbeam Magic creating a region to help Leslie and it poofed with nobody even saying a howdy do…which was the last time I did anything in a closed grid for which I can’t save my regions…it was VERY annoying.

      Anywho, a small little story that I am not sure I have ever even mentioned publicly…lol

      • Zandramas Grid

        Good Morning Minethere,

        I am now sipping on my first cup of coffee myself. 😀

        Basically Zandramas and Olantica are two different grids for those that don’t know.

        The story behind the Olantica merger with Zandramas is that we knew Dno Vale the creator and owner of that grid. He had a few staff there as well. The Olantica Grid started to experience region cancellations , and when that happened they were forced to start downsizing they then on top of this started having some problems that they could solve with Opensimulator as well due to technical limitations and knowledge. While Dno visited Zandramas Grid as he was a member there as well he really liked what we were accomplishing with Zandramas. The amount of regions we have leased out, the support we were able to provide as support tickets normally get answered same day and the performance and he loved the amount of already established content and community as well and the professionalism and how we treated the residents behind it all. So we talked with Dno and said how can we help you? And we came to the conclusion of combining grids, he really wanted to give his users a better experience. So a plan was set forth and we discussed this he also discussed this with his staff. One of his staff members name I will not mention because I am not here to bad mouth wanted a ridiculous high percentage amount paid to them off of each region rental in Zandramas which even though Zandramas had a lot of region rentals the money that is extra which is not a lot is put back in to the grid to cover improvements and development etc. So for us to agree on this was out of the question, we did have other plans how we could pay the staff etc which I will get to in a few moments. When Dno approached us letting us know that one of his staff wants this high percentage we said NO, because we just could not afford that especially with us still being new etc just no way and we didn’t want to take anything that our residents already had away to cover those costs.

        Anyways long story short we continued on with the plans our agreement was that Dno would need to notify every member which he did do via Offline IM , Group Notices , Displayed on his web-site Olantica , Even attempted to do a mass e-mail to his users. Sadly due to email providers blocking the message treating it as spam as they do with a lot of mails being mass sent out. Also a lot of users didn’t log in all the time so we waited and waited and set a date for a meeting. Out of no where Dno started receiving messages from some of the Olantica citizens talking about another grid name I refuse to name and that they were wondering when their content inventory etc be moved to that grid etc etc. We then found out that behind Dno’s back his staff had created another grid they actually had a grid that was a “beta” they said for Olantica and was to help improve the Olantica grid you know to test out stuff etc. Well somehow they turned this test grid they said in to a Full blown grid with another name. Long story short Dno found this out and did confront those people and talk to them but sadly by the time the meeting rolled around a lot of the Olantica residents were very confused and had already moved on to this other grid and or cleared their olantica regions causing further damage and confusion. At the meeting I’d say maybe 8 or 9 people showed up and we had explained to them that Olantica was wanting to combine with Zandramas and if this was ok with the residents that we would go forth with it. All the residents that showed up agreed on this and were very excited, so we proposed the vote which ended up yes lets do it.

        The thing here is that at the end of the day combining Olantica with Zandramas was going to be up to the residents and not any staff or grid owner because Dno wanted what was best for the people of the grid and for them to decide. However as I’ve said people had already left and been moved without Dno knowing to another grid and it did end up hurting Olantica even more because of all the confusion etc.

        We proceeded with our plan which the remaining region owners and residents said what if we have or had a region in Olantica what can we do? We decided that we would give any resident that owned a sim in Olantica the sim for free in Zandramas for so many months and also at a good discounted rate. We also said we would help each sim owner move their content as long as it was content that they had permission to move as well! This also included inventory so we had residents tally up a list of content that they would like to bring over and asked if it was ok etc. So we informed the residents to contact the content creators with the content in question and to have those content creators contact us and give permission for this export. We then handled each user 1 by one and was able to verify what content could come over after permission etc and then we moved it for them in the proper ways even if the content creators approved of them moving the content over but didn’t want an account we made it to there when that content was placed on Zandramas would say the right content creator name and have the proper permissions.

        In terms of the currency system that Olantica had they even continued to honor cash outs for a very long time and even to this day Dno is such a nice guy a resident could email him and I’m pretty positive he will still cash them out. Even after we began the content movement we did not even announce a closure date for Olantica until all avatars wanted to move over moved over and also even after the last one we waited quite a while just to make sure that if anyone else was coming they would come. Also all avatars in Olantica that moved over were granted the same UUID for use in Zandramas so everything just matched up and worked for them.

        After this all was done the residents that came over were very happy and were all very thankful that they didn’t loose their stuff and were not left out to dry.

        Long story short Zandramas grid is a invite/referral grid this is what makes us different and we do this because there are people out there that like the privacy and the ability to be in a grid that is like this, while it may not be for everyone we have attracted a lot of really nice people and they now make it their home, for the record Zandramas believe in all grids we don’t hate anyone yes even you Aviworlds we love ya 😀 – People should always have choices and not be forced to just one place they should be able to go where ever they like to go and should not be harassed for being in another grid. Anyways this is my story and I’m sticking to it 😀 We also have a lovely Zero Tolerance policy that you can see on our web-site that we do enforce very strongly we act where others just speak.

        I’m sorry if it was long but I really wanted to explain things the best I could and for that grid that did do those things behind our backs and residents backs we are not here to bad mouth you at all in fact we wish you the best of luck.

        God my spelling and grammar is horrible reading this back.

        Ohh and Ps, if your wondering what happened to the beautiful sims of Olantica that were the main Olantica owned sims those are the ones that we are moving and utilizing as the new Zandramas Mainland soon to be released which any money paid in to those sims goes to any staff at Zandramas Grid which was what we were planning on utilizing to pay the staff of Olantica if only they could of waited.

        • Excellent reply-)) My comment could have just as easily been construed to be provocative, which it was not intended to be so, so you taking the high road is something I always like to see in people.

          This explanation now allows me to fully connect the dots.

          I do wonder if you put up the region Sunbeam and I worked on…it was a region for alternate avies such as fairies and tinies and such [I cant recall the name and dont feel like looking it up since it likely doesnt matter anyway]…we even had some tinies setting up there [and in fact that region closing caused at least one I know to just give up on trying out other grids than their home one, which bothered me quite a bit, tbh].

          But I had also asked and Judy Muircastle [of Hobo Amusement Park in sl] had set out some of her rides. It is absolutely necessary those not be shared or used unless she is asked permission…she only did it there as a favor to a friend.

          In any case, I had already stopped making new accounts and had settled in Metropolis and the HG Meta…I only still go to two ones I had made before that decision, 3rd Rock and Kitely…Kitely I participated in more due to their promise of enabling HG, which as we know, they finally did. 3rg I just like some of the folx there and the owners and such.

          And I had already learned and gotten spoiled by being able to do my own thang in my regions without grid owners bothering me….lolololol

          thx, again…

  • Hello Minethere, been a long time. and yes I thought it would be good grid and why I moved from IW after the founders ignored my complain about one of their mentors. I Still have the terminal for cashing out for MIW thanks to Dred Bram for giving the space for it. Well there’s no need for 3 marketplaces where even one marketplace is too much for a single opensim grid. But when you run a grid, you have to tell why you cant run it at least to the staff because there are people who depend on what they make in virtual worlds.

    I’ve been in contact with other staff members and few residents after the incident we feel the same thing about opensim grids. That’s why I’ve been talking to zetamex about starting a new grid with a mission to provide a better and affordable place for anyone that they can call “home”.Thanks to Thimothy, I have a plan to run a grid without being need to close down. This however I still need to talk with few people later today and if they support my vision 100% then I will move forward with it.

    @justinireman:disqus : Well I’m no fan of hypergrid yet as there are few issues where people can take content into their own grids. I’ve been in Second Life since 2008 and I’m usually online everyday and work with various types of people and as a web developer I believe that there’s no safety for the intellectual property in virtual worlds. If someone wants your content they find a way to take it. But the karma will follow them to the end!

    So in my point of view whether you are in an open grid or closed one you still have things to worry if you care to worry too much! If we don’t take that chance there will be nothing.

    Finally I have to say I’m sorry for everyone that’s been affected by the downfall of TPVW. But Learn to back up your stuff and cash out so you don’t have larger amounts in the grid.. in the future!

    Sinerely,
    thish

    • Heya-)) I remember helping you and a friend or 2 of yours get settled in inwz originally…lol…but the fact is that your issue there with the owners happens all the time with others, including me, who only helped them make money….it’s a weird thang!!-))

      I agree on the markets…have you looked at Kitely’s yet? It is very well designed and delivers to any grid, even closed ones…just get with Ilan Tochner if you find it interesting. http://www.kitely.com/market

      I think that one market is sufficient at this point in time.

      “If someone wants your content they find a way to take it. But the karma will follow them to the end!” and this is one of the points for using the Kitely MP also. It can already be done, is being done, so why not make a few bucks selling to the honest folks who want properly licensed content.

      Personally I am an avid proponent of the open Meta realized in using open hypergating. There are ways to add protection layers that Kitely has done also [not really pushing Kitely per se here but they do have such things related to the commercialized aspect of OS].

      The Great Canadian Grid [last I looked] has some some things in this regard also.

      My feeling is that those who do not enable the HG are bound to die out eventually, some may hold on a bit but it will continue to be an uphill battle for them, causing all sorts of strife and issues in several regards.

      Enabling HG opens you up to many more opportunities and interesting people and places to go see…allows better collaborating in many ways, and it how the net has always been anyway…the closed grid sl clone business model will not be the future…only sl was able to do that filling a prior non-existent niche and riding on their skirts strings is being seen more and more to be difficult to do….and it will continue until they are gone.

      Your example, and others, showed me some time back that I will not personally spend any efforts in closed grids who limit my choices…I am spoiled now on backing up regions to OARs and inventory to IARs…and I was shown clearly in those concepts how much time I wasted helping grid owners make more money without even having options on my own.

      Perhaps you can find others to collaborate with in your endeavours? Rather than beat the poor dead horse, you could work with others to find ways to enjoy the cool things happening in the Meta?

      For example, you could create and run multiple simulator instances within the Metropolis grid…even making them private or partly private or some open to the hg and some not….and then have access to their grid services, events, and such, easily. Or you could do much the same within Kitely for very little costs.

      And then, as you say, working with Tim is an excellent idea also…I rent regions inside Metro that he hosts.

      Regards thish-))

      • Yes I remember that little store you help me set up there 🙂 well a.t.m. I’m not convinced that HG is safe enough. I feel the same way about moving between grids and it’s a beautiful concept. However I care about my creations and others who spend time and effort to make something even a small thing and then comes along another person and this person would take a copy into their grid and backup OAR’s and IAR’s so they can exploit the hard work of another.

        So that’s why right now I’m not fond of HG but I see potential in this for the future where more security and order to the content distribution can be available.

        So we had two meeting with people who got affected by the TPVW shutdown and we decided that we can rely on and do our thing and enjoy. That in mind, I’ve set and new grid which should come online soon and provide low cost sims for anyone who like to have a place in virtual world. My team is all volunteers that I’ve come to know they can do great when they have a chance. We’ll have podex for handling in-world currency to avoid issues such as we faced with TPVW and my vision to keep the grid alive will not let it shutdown and thanks to Timothy from zetamex we can do this 🙂

        Unfortunately, as I’m not convinced about enabling hyper grid, this will be a closed grid. We few who start this feel its best that way and maybe in the future if we are convinced to be a part of the HG, we’ll run it by everyone in the grid and make a decision on that.

        I hope I’ll make a difference in opensim community and run this grid fr a very long time 🙂

        Sincerely,
        thish

        • 😉 Well, you could, for example, have one region with HG enabled, as a sort of demo of your grid, get ppl to help create it, do a contest maybe for it…and that could be ur front to the rest of the Meta…have urls givers and such to more info also.

          Have outgoing but not incoming HG enabled [I think I read someplace that can be done]

          Anywho, best of luck…

          • I will have to talk to others and see if they like to do it and do some research on this and ty Minethere 🙂

          • my pleasure…I think you will like doing something like this…if even only for the fun of doing the region contest…ya know-))

            I can see lots of promotional things that could fit in also, maybe even an article here or on Hyperica [Maria’s HG related site].

        • Gaga

          I don’t know why you think Hypergrid is not safe enough, Thishan. There is a setting called outward bounds permission in the OS software which if set to null will stop all content from leaving the grid while visitors can teleport in and out of the grid normally. They wont be able to take anything from the grid though which is the same as a closed grid. So you get the best of both worlds – HG visitors and content lock in your grid. Of couse, anyone using a copybot viewer can take anything they want still except the scripts in the objects.

          • Right now, the latest viewers — such as Singularity — support a fourth permission setting, “Export”, that allows creators to decide whether their content can leave a grid or not. And there’s server-side support for this, as well, that Avination worked in conjunction with Singularity last year. The way it works is that before the server sends any content off the grid (say, via hypergrid teleport) it first checks the “export” setting. If exports aren’t allowed, the content can’t.leave. The same setting can be used to filter OAR and IAR exports. So, in theory, a grid that uses this technology can be on the hypergrid AND and protect content for those creators who choose to keep it local.

            Customers can decide whether they prefer to buy exportable or non-exportable content, and whether they’re willing to pay extra for the export permission.

            This technology is still new and needs to be tested. However, the grid that does roll it out first will be watched by everybody, to see how well it works. And there will be problems, and some things won’t work, and the developers will have to fix them, and everybody will be watching that, as well.

            So, if you don’t mind all eyes on you as a testing ground, I personally am very much looking forward to seeing a grid try this out.

            Finally, at the end of the day, creators should remember that no digital content is 100% safe anywhere. A closed grid only provides the illusion of security, not actual security. The only significant benefit that closed grid offers to creators is protection of scripts, and I’ve long been recommending that creators start moving to server-side scripting. It’s harder to implement, but it’s absolutely secure.

  • Dayna1975

    I have been reading about a lot of Grids closing it seems. I agree highly with what has been said about running your own virtual business. In being you need RL business experience.

    I’m the owner of The Gamma Quadrant. Never heard of it right? That’s because unlike a lot of grids I’m not going to throw money into advertising an incomplete grid. I have been to most of the other grids and they are trying to be clones of SL. What we are doing is working on the foundation of a program with that being the OpenSim portion. Basically not just stop improving when it becomes a SL clone. OpenSim out of the box is pretty good, but like the developers express is that it’s just an Alpha build.

    We may be open for residents and visitors, but we make sure to tell them that we are under construction. Another important thing and this may sound harsh, but do not use a 3rd party to run your grid. If you can’t afford to run a data center then you shouldn’t be a grid and you definitely don’t need to be passing yourself as a business.

    I think that if you are investing in a grid you want to make sure that there is a RL business with a history that didn’t just get thrown together just to throw together a grid. While I can’t speak for others it’s just I think a lot of these grids shouldn’t be open. It is scary throwing money into a grid without a solid foundation. Best advice is do some research before setting down.

    • That’s one school of thought.

      Another school of thought is to launch a grid when you have a strong community, and focus on community building, and outsource all the technology who somebody who wants to focus on the technology. After all, many successful websites outsource their technology, as well.

      A third school of thought is to launch early, test often, and iterate. Find out works, what doesn’t work, make changes, keep evolving faster than your competitors.

      A fourth school of thought is to hyper-specialize. On the Web, for example, in the early days you had a lot of websites (“portals”) that were basically trying to be AOL clones, offering everything to everyone: shopping, news, search, email, messaging, sports, forums, entertainment, etc… But some of the ones that made it huge just focused on one thing, like just shopping, or just search, or just music or whatever. They provided their key service, the service that they could provide better than anyone else, and let users go to other sites for everything else. This is what many of the smaller community grids on the hypergrid are doing — focusing on providing one service better than anyone else, and partnering with other grids to promote that service to a wide audience.

      • Gaga

        Absolutely agree with the 4th school of thought for which Hypergrid is a perfect fit in my view. Grids are nothing without activity and I think anyone thinking about setting up should start out by connecting a few regions to a grid like OSgrid or Metropolis and establish contacts around the Metaverse via HG. It would pay to get involved in what others are doing if only as a customer, attending meetings or frequenting clubs and other activities. In other words take the time to get around and get known in the places where community already exists. I can name more than a few grids that worked their way up from a few regions on someone else’ grid. Next Reality, Littlefield and Avalonia Estate to name just three. Go to any of those grids and you find serious efforts to provide activities to residents by the grid operators without relying on people renting land to open a venue or a shop. People who put too much emphasis on renting land and selling while neglecting activities and entertainment are doomed to fail in my view. People tend not to return to an empty grid so you need to give people a reason to stay and come back.

        Hypergrid visitors generate huge word of mouth value! They get around and tend to use social media too and they often have a lot to say about the places they visit. Virtual Chistine, Minethere Always are just two that do this but there are more – plenty more that may not be as out spoken or write blogs but they do involve themselves in the community on other grids. Collectively, the Hypergrid enabled grids form a growing community and I think it is in the best interests of new grids owners to consider all the possibilities that entails when starting out.

        New grid owners are up against bigger and better players who already have community, infrastructure and economy in their grid, and are already well known. New grids which consist or a few friends and associates really don’t have anything new to compete with existing grids so I would urge new grid owners to get some activities going like Nara Malone’s writers colony for example and get exposure on social media like Google Plus where a growing number Opensim grids have their own community group as well. You can promote free on G+ Opensim Virtual too and with over 700 members it is a good place to start. https://plus.google.com/communities/116284417302234467612

        • I would also add for ppl who are promoting the Meta [and whom ppl might try to contact to help them help you] is Shawn Malony [misspelled due to being tired], Leighton [who was featured inside another article here], and a new one blogging up a storm is Zaphod Enoch.

          Since you mentioned me let me also plug my most interesting page to me…lol

          http://minethere.blogspot.com/2013/08/metaverse-destinations.html

    • I don’t agree with “I think that if you are investing in a grid you want to make sure that
      there is a RL business with a history that didn’t just get thrown
      together just to throw together a grid” as you don’t need to be rich or have a history of RL Business to start one in a virtual world or in RL. All you need is the right mind and ambition to do it “right”.

      Although I’m not fond of “Apple” or “Microsoft” or any other big businesses out there, they did not have a history when they start.. they made history with what they had.

      However I agree with you on not spending money on advertising as my grid will not be spending money on advertising. Our purpose is to provide everyone a place to create, enjoy while they can buy and sell their creations.

      I think the best way to know whether you should be on a grid or not can’t be decided by what others tell you. You have to go there and see if its for you, for yourself.

      • I’ve got to weigh in on this marketing thing — and not just because it hits me personally!!

        Companies fail because they can’t attract customers. Period.

        You can have a great product or a lousy product. Good service or bad service. A unique value proposition or a me-too copycat business model. You can have good security or lousy security. There are plenty of successful companies that do any combination of these.

        But there are no successful companies with no customers.

        So if you plan to launch a company in secret, you will definitely fail.

        For many entrepreneurs — especially those with backgrounds in technology or content creation — marketing is hard. So they cross their fingers and hope that their customers will do all the marketing for them. You can probably point to several products that were really cool and “just took off.” But usually, when you investigate further, you’ll find that the companies behind those products had to do a bit of work to help make that happen.

        It might not have been traditional advertising or sales or marketing but there was usually some kind of plan or effort going on in the background to make it easy for customers to spread the word, or to reward them for it. But even the most loyal and passionate customers may get frustrated when they’re carrying the entire marketing load, and the company isn’t doing anything to help out.

        MARKETING IS NOT ALL THAT DIFFICULT. Plenty of total idiots do it, and quite successful at it.

        IF YOU EXPERIMENT, YOU CAN FIND MARKETING THAT WORKS FOR YOU. Running ads is just one type of marketing. There are many, many other types. Some will be a better fit for your customers than others.

        BY NOT MARKETING, YOU ARE HURTING YOUR CUSTOMERS. This is the big one. If your company provides a valuable service — and I assume you are, otherwise why do you even bother getting up in the morning? — then there are customers who will suffer if they don’t have it, or will have to settle for an inferior product. By not letting these customers know that your product exists, you are ensuring that those customers will never benefit from your services. And that person might have ignored your marketing yesterday because they didn’t need your services then, but might need them very much tomorrow — will they be able to remember your name, or could they find you if they look?

    • Zandramas Grid

      Really good post! You are an asset to the opensim community, it needs more people like you to help people. We use our own servers in a professional dara center because we want to be able to take care of everything in case of an emergency etc. I am seeing a lot of grids being hosted out of their homes on residential internet connections, I don’t even see how these people can run a grid on a residential internet connection. It’s a bit concerning to me. Also seeing some grids say oh we are having a power outage due to a storm etc oh the weather coming up in the forecast is bad we may loose power etc. These are all warning signs because if your in a data center they have back up generators and alternative routing. It’s beyond me why people would host and run a commercial grid out of their home.

      • Gaga

        A standalone mini world hosted on a home connection is great for a private space and workshop (it can cost nothing!) but trying to run multiple regions and grid services that way is ridiculous in my view and, worse, just serves to fuel the arguments Opensim haters use against us for, when someone visits for the first time and lands on a home connection world they are very likely to experience chronic lag especially if another one or two people are present. Personally, I think there is too much land on standalone worlds and flaky grids run by well-meaning armatures. Full blown Opensim grids need to be run on professionally maintained servers in data centers and, generally speaking, we simply need more people and a lot less land to get lost in or try to find another avatar in! As I said before, building and content creation is one thing but we need more activities, entertainments and role play worlds even. People tend to go where their friends are or like-minded folk who share an interest in a common theme. When I first visited InWorldz grid 3 or 4 years back soon after the owners left OpenLife and set up that grid they already had supporters who came with them. I visited and I can honestly say that, while the lag was high and some things didn’t work well there were people right there in the welcome region ready to help and advise and, yes, they were very friendly in deed! In contrast I later visited Avination and, while the welcome region was ok, no one was there to help or advise. I didn’t feel I was being welcomed. I felt no more welcome than I might have been arriving in Second Life for the first time. But the difference was that there were at least more noobs in SL to talk to and get an idea. The moral here is that if someone feels unwelcome, can’t move for lag and can find nothing but freebie shopping then don’t expect them to stick around.

        I’ve Hypergrid teleported to a lot of grids and standalones in my time and, while I have often been impressed by the building and shopping, I felt no reason to stray too far when the map indicated lots of regions but few green dots to suggest there might be someone there to talk to. In fact I have felt more comfortable on smaller worlds with one of two people around. Some even had more and some even took the time out to welcome me! Another moral; less land and bigger welcomes!

        Finally, I can’t give enough praise to the work of the Kitely dev’s who managed to open their commercial grid to Hypergrid travel while others remain tight shut for very little reason that makes sense. I understand the worry that top content creators might feel your grid is insecure if it isn’t a walled garden like Second Life but Kitely have shown their grid can be both locked tight to content leaving their grid if the creators chooses not to let it go and, at the same time, open by the device of export perms to allow creators to trade with the greater market of the whole Metaverse. Now that does make sense!

        For me personally, one who has been spending good money on stuff I need from Kitely market, export perms are working wonders! I have a small standalone of one region and another region connected to OSgrid and one region at Kitely and I can honestly say I have had no problems getting fast delivery from the Kitely Market. I buy with my Kitely main avatar and have exportable deliveries sent to my OSgrid avatar who takes stuff off to my standalone and all of it is available to me. And yes, I get a license and I damn well honor it!

        The open Metaverse has nothing like the traffic of Second Life still but the server software is pretty much as good, and in some areas, more advanced than Second Life. We who love Opensim for its sheer freedom if nothing else just need to pull together to welcome every visitor and find new entertainments and activities to keep them coming back. The free Metaverse still has a chance to go far and, in my honest opinion, closed worlds are just holding it back from realizing it’s full potential in which everyone stands to benefit and profit.

        • I do agree with so much you said here-) [imagine that!!…lolol] Although personally I prefer the free content, mainly because I like the spirit and thinking behind those people who share so freely, such as Selea Core, Jamie Wright, and oh so very many I probably should not even mention any specific names [but I did anyway…lol].

          otoh, I do realize some like to make whatever money they can in all this to help out in their lives…so I have no problem buying from the Kitely MP those things I rather like, mainly to support them and do my own little part to move it along. In fact, I am about to log into Metro and buy this http://www.kitely.com/market/product/4016867/Sytopia-Simple-Folding-Chairs which is so darn inexpensive I just gotta do it, and plus she or he is new there. I love getting things over the HG…it is just so cool to me and I always have been of the opinion that if I can breath the air of coolness some might even rub off on me [but, yet, this has not happened…oh well……………..]

          Of course I do my own little thing selling terrains but that is really only to cover my entertainment costs in all this as I am too poor to do much otherwise.

          As to so much land, I absolutely love having such expanses even though I have gotten spoiled with even my little 25 region terrain display cluster in Metropolis, it is still fun for me. I still recall how excited I was for some very small parcel I had in SL and how much I fit into it I thought was so cool….lol

          I most especially agree with this, “The open Metaverse has nothing like the traffic of Second Life still but the server software is pretty much as good, and in some areas, more advanced than Second Life. We who love Opensim for its sheer freedom if nothing else just need to pull together to welcome every visitor and find new entertainments and activities to keep them coming back. The free Metaverse still has a chance to go far and, in my honest opinion, closed worlds are just holding it back from realizing it’s full potential in which everyone stands to benefit and profit.”

          and unfortunately, this makes for constant drama and strife…if we are to continue in our forward momentum [which I think is going very well] then we need to get past those concepts and move the hypergated Meta forward in all ways we can.

          But it is happening!! Kitely has formed an HG touring group which seems to be gathering steam http://www.kitely.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1602 and a new one I just say is pretty cool also and includes some friends I had in inwz who are now discovering the wonders of the Meta…I love it when people go the virtual equivalent of “oh” and “ah” and “wowzers!!”.

          http://pingsfromtheafterlife.blogspot.com/2014/06/safari-starts.html

          And others are helping by visiting and taking photos or recordings to show people interesting places to go to and enjoy. This is similar to what I have been doing here http://minethere.blogspot.com/2013/08/metaverse-destinations.html and I love seeing new folks add more. This guy has been doing more in-depth reporting http://the-hyperzette.blogspot.com/

          This increase in people showing and sharing places to go as well as Maria’s own stats shows we who love the hypergated Meta that things are in fact doing very well. So we do not have to bother with the nay-sayers, we can simply continue to promote all the coolness and soak in the hot, steamy bath of satisfaction-)) [yes, I want to soak in a hot and steamy bath…going now…maybe]

    • Samantha Atkins

      Look for stability of a grid that has been there a while or insist that you get full oar backups always. Even this is not enough if your builds have much 3rd party content that is not full perms and/or export enabled for those grids using an export flag.

      In the age of the cloud you do not need to run your own physical data center. See Kitely for proof of this. I would much more trust a well maintained data center like that behind EC2 than most small business run data centers. In practice unless they spend a lot of money that ends up being one or mare racks in some 3rd party facility anyway.

  • Good stuff you say here…really good. @Ilan Tochner has said what Maria says on the matter of the DVDs and such…I think it is very smart thinking.

    All we have to do, and simply done, is review Maria’s own stats and with her cut-n-paste comment in those articles of [paraphrased] “These stats do not include the thousands of grids who are uncounted, such as Educational and Business”…put that with her active grids list and anyone can plainly see that the HG enabled Meta is where any future is in all this.

    Couple that with HI-FI’s part of their vision of doing something similar in this regard, then the fact that even Kitely sees this, and has taken on the risk of being the first major commercial grid to enable HG…not only that but contributing a lot of their tech skills to core and enabling the 1st MP to deliver to HG…it’s cool!!

    And I agree also that they will either join us or fail…my addition being they will cause issues and such while fighting over each and every content creator…the permutations seen in the over commercialization of OS is a very negative thing currently.

    • I think I need to go lie down – I am having issues of conscience keep agreeing with Miney, lol 😛

    • lmpierce

      I disagree with the idea and the negative attitude behind “join us or fail”…

      It seems to me both meaningful and valid to say that there is a growing potential and fledgling realization of a broad metaverse of interconnected virtual worlds. At the same time, there continue to be significant closed grids that cater to the equally important goals and ambitions of virtual world users looking for unique experiences, concurrent with, but not directly connected to, a larger free-to-roam metaverse.

      From the beginning, Kitely wanted to position itself as a metaverse style connected grid, and has finally implemented that connectivity, even as it continues to fully support worlds that choose to remain non-HG enabled. To my thinking, Kitely represents the best of both potentialities. At the same time, it’s very easy to see how other grids may choose only one path or the other, since both paradigms are valued for different reasons.

      It can be seen historically that AOL style portals have given way to a less mediated access to the Web and analogies abound that compare closed grids to AOL. But unlike websites in general, there are reasons why some grids wish to maintain gates, if you will, which restrict access.

      I find the “join us or fail” statements unnecessarily negative and not grounded in any irrefutable prediction about success in any event. Nobody knows the true outlines of where this technology will be as a whole in 10 years. It does look at though HG connected worlds will continue to grow in popularity, as they are already. But it also seems that so-called “closed grids” are here to stay. In fact, so-called “closed-grids” are not only popular, but have as much validity for different reasons as the HG connected worlds…(and I’m not talking about worries over content theft). Why continue along the lines of a mindset that sounds a lot like “us against them”? In my experience, such attitudes in fact often lead to a lot of the infighting that already occurs. “Live and let live” does a lot more to reduce tensions and squabbles…

      I would only agree that if HG connectivity is implicit in the goals of a grid, but that grid nonetheless decides not to implement such connectivity, the grid probably will fail. On the other hand, I applaud all communities that use this technology successfully, whether I can teleport there from my sim in Kitely or not.

      • You’re catching me towards the end of my day and I am tired, so I won’t respond in full, sorry.

        So, the short answer is that all comments are opinions, especially when they relate to any future. Heck, I have tons of trees on my land and one could fall on me during the next minute…lol

        But you focused on one aspect of my comment, which is fine, but without using the rest in proper context it is not valid.

        For example, when I discuss these things I rarely throw out the disclaimer that I am not including SL in anything I say relating to the HG. I like SL, I just don’t happen to have the time or energy to go there anymore. But even so, I know the reality is that it is losing regions constantly, and is in a constant state of decline….which only adds to my asseverations of the failing nature of this type of over commercialism that the small clones have tried to emulate.

        As well, this may have something to do with experience in the closed ones…which I have been in many of them. I also still keep in contact with many content creators I had known in those as well as new ones I have made…so another disclaimer would be that those people and the closed systems are just fine with me…”as long as they are not fermenting drama and other negative issues”. In other words, when they “play nice” with the rest of the Meta, that is cool to me for surely.

        Some who post here are just fine…so, of course, I am not speaking to them, and as I have also said, I still like and go to 3rd Rock grid, an old grid…but because the owners and volunteers there NEVER GET INTO DRAMA…they are the most laid back grid in the Meta, so much so I often refer to them as the hippie grid…lol..but they are so laid back I think very much they should just enable HG and let people come in to enjoy their main thing there, which is music. I think they would do well with that, and I had tried to get them to do that, and still do but much less.

        I think it is a matter of several issues as to why these grids do not open. One is that by locking people in via their inventories and for sale content it makes it harder for those people to leave, which is one thing SL does, which many people understand. Another is that they have heard so much nonsense and disinformation, usually fermented by those same grid owners in all sorts of ways, they feel they also have to stay where they think they are safe….thus they never get to value the freedoms inherent in the open hypergated Meta…you can see a microcosm of this in some of the HG related comments in the Kitely forums….words like “cool” and “amazing”. And three those same closed grid owners make whatever money they make due to land rentals..it has even been said here, I think by Maria in the past, that the paradigm will change eventually [paraphrased.

        So, the fact is I do know a thing or two about the closed grids, from the inside, and the statement I made “…the permutations seen in the over commercialization of OS is a very negative thing currently…” is very, very true, even if you, or others, do not see it or agree with it. I have tons of proof of this but sharing much of it would expose people from whom I have built up confidences, so that will not happen.

        I think we can all agree that none of us knows everything, and we can extrapolate from that, that some know things that others do not know, and vice versa.

        I recall someone saying in a group chat in a closed grid I once played in “way to much” lol….she said that we all know the same things…which was such a ridiculous comment but at the same time, some ppl feel that way for some odd reason.

        In any case, the phrase for which you focused on “join us or fail” is my studied opinion watching and seeing things from the inside and outside looking in.

        I think it is clear that the hypergated meta will be whatever future there is in all this, for some of the reasons I listed…so, in fact, you thinking it was a negative thing to say, it is, in fact, a positive thing…nobody is forced to do anything they do not wish to do, of course, unless they give that power to another [or are physically forced but that’s another non VR matter for another time].

        So, to extrapolate from that, if I believe the HG is the future [of whatever will happen here in the next few years or so] then all those who believe in the closed sl clone systems will come to see that also, or they will fail….it is a studied statement of fact AS I BELIEVE IT…and nothing more.

        And, of course, you are free to think otherwise. But I can assure you I have in fact seen the negatives and once I embraced the free Meta, it all went away…and, for me, that is a most especially pleasant thing to behold and be a part of.

        I am not alone in this thinking, I just don’t have any problem being more verbose about it [well, that, and to dam much time on my hands!!!]…others are more quiet.

        [the tree did not fall on me!!]

  • No offense mike and please dont take it personally but it might be the fact that your grid takes longer to load for us north americans.
    I did enjoy racing around your track but its the speed of your grid’s connection to me is what got me to not go.
    sorry, i know its not your fault or anything you did, its just that Germany is a very long ways away, even through the interwebz.

    Anyways that is probably why alot of people cant go to your grid. And when i mean cant, its hard to get a positive hypergrid teleport to your grid.

    • This is the sort of thing that happened to us the other day. Mike complained that he couldn’t make it to Avalonia as he was always lagging out. My servers are in the UK and Germany. There is no lag for us, but latency issues and net connections can be affected by location, and this is simply beyond our control. Though I do advertise Avalonia Estate as a European based grid, that way people know if they are in the US (although I do have folk from the US who have no issues at all in reaching us and being in world) they might have issues.

    • nextreality

      I cant see why that is. As our servers are certainly a heck of a lot faster than some I can mention.

  • I fell for it also and thankfully saw the light!! So now I just promote it as best I can to help others “see the light!!”

  • AviWorlds

    An important factor has been left out.
    Grids also need to be protected. Its not only the players side here. TOS is needed and It is the players responsibity to read it.
    A huge example is AviWorlds. Most of the players expected only free land, free content. Players that purchased some currency had yo agree that in order to receive a refund he or she would need to have a minimum amount to be considered.
    I did this and in combination with our TOS in order to protect the grid. I see a lot of hate and misinterpreted info around as if I was a criminal and didnt deserve to live.
    You all forget that a grid has costs and its not easy.
    I could count in my one hand the amount of users who purchased currency. And the same players received free land in the value of at least 20 dollars per month if you are going to calculate the costs.

    Another problem is the fact that other grids owners come in here trying to make their grids look good and the one that was really kicking their butts look bad.
    The fact that I shut down the grid without warning no one knows that. I did tell my community and sorry if the person from another grid wasnt there to receive the notice.

    Most of the content in OS grids are either copies or freebies and most of the players do not buy anything. I said most of the players not all.
    That combined with the frustration of spending alot of money makes any grid owner want out and out fast.
    AviWorlds had that problem on top of the hacking attacks.
    So it is easy to sit your butts in your chair and criticise grid owners but I want to see any of you here just spend money and be constantly attacked specially by this blog owner and continue a loosing race with a big smile.

  • lmpierce

    Hi Justin,

    Where did I say that the growing metaverse is a negative? I said that I find the expression, “join us or fail” unnecessarily negative.

    • Well I never used those words, that is your spin on what I said. I said I think that eventually is what will happen. It wasn’t said or meant, in a way that indicated I would delight in seeing the failure of said grid models, simply that I honestly think this the direction that things are moving in.

      Apologies if my comments came across a bit zealous, the fire burns deep within me at times for all sorts of reasons lol.

      • lmpierce

        Hi Justin,

        You wrote: “I reject your characterisation that this snowball momentum leading to the inevitable is “negative””. To me that sounds like you heard my use of the word ‘negative’ as pertaining to the ‘growing’ (snowball momentum) of the ‘metaverse’ (the inevitable), which I thought was the referent to your words, “snowball momentum leading to the inevitable”. Spin implies a desire to change the story, whereas I was attempting to address your intended meaning directly. On the contrary, I was not quoted in your characterization of my comment, and your words seemed themselves to say something very different that what I had written or intended. Hopefully we are now clear on this (?)

        I also stated, and this is in agreement with your own assertion, “It does look at though HG connected worlds will continue to grow in popularity, as they are already.” On that it seems to me we have similar outlooks.

        As for passion (fire burns deep), I think it’s fair to say most of us who write about this technology have passions about how it plays into the world at large and our lives. And on that count as well, I suspect we also share common ground.

        • I agree, I misread what you had said, and going back and reading it again, I can see you didn’t say what I thought you said. My apologies.

          • lmpierce

            Hi Justin,

            Thanks for the acknowledgement. Although I don’t expect to agree, or be agreed with, on a regular basis, I’m always hopeful that if I’ve written something in support of a point of view it comes across that way, and that if I’ve taken issue with a point of view, it’s seen in the specific way I intended. I too have to be mindful of my wording. I certainly understand about strong feelings on these topics; as moderator I read everyone’s comments for every article and sometimes have to read them multiple times to get at the intended meaning.

  • Yup, I understood what you meant. And as for Anshe Chung, I don’t see any support from any of her sites now. I’m in IMVU more often than I’m in SL lately. And even there, she just does content, rather than support.

  • AviWorlds

    AviWorlds will be back. We are now working on our hosting so you can say were only down for a few days for hosting changes.

  • Dayna1975

    @Justin Ireman I agree it is sad to see anyone go under. What is one of my biggest peeves about SL is that creators are now putting up signs all build must stay in SL grid. I am sorry if I put my hard earned money into buying your product it’s mine to do with as I please. If I buy shoes in Paris and I want to go home I’m not going to leave them in Paris. It’s the same concept.

    I think a Hypergrid marketplace is a bad idea. Because a less than honest person could buy an object and take it back to their grid and edit the perms on it.

    Those who feel that SL is fine and the only place to make money are lying to themselves. The numbers show that SL is loosing more and more people. The day I closed that chapter on SL was a wonderful moment. I sold off 4 Sims that I owned which within 2 months were turned back over to SL.

    • Hi Dayna1975 – I partly agree with you. However, it looks like you are espousing two contradictory positions. On the one hand you say that if you purchase an item, you consider it yours to do with as you please, and use the example of buying shoes in Paris. In the second instance you state that you think the Hypergrid is bad as it allows people to remove permissions, and effectively take possession of the items purchased – and in effect do with the items as they please. Your argument seems to deny other people the rights that you claim for yourself.

      What you have to remember is that when you purchase an item in SL, you are really just purchasing a licence – the ability to use the item, you are not purchasing the item outright. Personally I think this is tosh, as I would like to see someone take a user to court for breaching the licence because they exported the shoes they just purchased into their own OpenSim grid for use there as a backup copy.

      As a business owner in real life, I have had to go to court several times to take ex-clients to court for failing to pay. The small claims court as it is referred to for claims under £100k is ridiculously easy to use, but also ridiculously ineffective. Even once you have obtained judgement in your favour, you still have to pay again to enforce the judgement order if the defendant simply refuses to pay, and there are minimum amounts under which you cannot enforce judgement. So the idea that a creator in SL would take someone to court for simply making a “backup copy” of an item from SL, for what amounts probably to no more than USD$5.00 is laughable. Unless that person is selling the items on and mass producing them to sell, it is delusional to think the legal system will be any help. Which is why the usual and first response is to report the “offender” to Linden Lab, and then they just ban the account, as it really is the only remedial method available to them.

      I believe in the HyperGrid and the open Metaverse. I look to Amazon.com, who sell mp3 music without DRM protection. I buy my music legally from Amazon.co.uk precisely because it doesn’t use DRM locks and I know I can use that music on any device I own – I don’t sell the tracks, I don’t rip them off. It is just convenient, quick, and cost effective to use. If Amazon – one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world sells their music DRM free, because it knows that it will still make buckets full of money – then I think both SecondLife and SL content creators are just being short sighted, and missing a business opportunity.

  • You have given many useful advices on how to protect yourselve. But I have read in another article, that you rent land from Dreamland Metaverse. How could that be? Are you acting against your own principles?

    Dreamland Metaverse ist not a company. It’s a private person who is hiding his name, his address and the country of origin. And additionaly: in many countries you have to show your vat no. And Switzerland is not an exception!

    Could you really assume, that this guy paid all fees and taxes? If not, the site can be closed from one day to the other. For that I really don’t understand, why you are making advertising for this “company”.

    To protect our users on Metropolis, we informed Dreamland Metaverse, that it’s forbidden for them to connect their regions to our Grid.

    • Yes, the Hyperica regions are hosted with Dreamland Metaverse, and I have their full legal contact information. I absolutely do recommend that hosting companies make all their contact info available to the public, on their websites — but, as you can probably tell, I really have no power to tell companies what to do. Best I can do is, when I have a quote from Dreamland, quote them under their real names. Usually, that means CEO Dierk Brunner.

      Back when we were choosing a hosting provider, Dreamland was the best option and I’ve had no problems with them of any kind, so there’s been no reason to switch. I do have regular backups of all my regions.

      You’re right — I WOULD prefer to see all hosting companies, and all grids, post their legal info on their websites instead of making folks have to hunt around for it.

      • I was wondring, that you promote just THIS provider. Well, this company “Dreamland Metaverse” doesn’t exist, neither in Switzerland nor in Germany. To say it clearly: providers like Kitely or Zetamex are real and to reach on different channels. And they respect national laws and regulations!

        Are you not afraid, that your provider has to close his site and stop his activities from one day to the other? And if this means nothing to you, why you are writing such an article? Sorry, I really don’t understand.

        • My policy for choosing the vendors in the “Editor’s Picks” category — which includes Dreamland, Zetamex and Kitely — is based on the number of satisfied, real-name customers I have talked to or received testimonials from.

          I take the vendor’s word for it that they are in compliance with all relevant regulations in the jurisdictions where they are based. It’s bad enough that I seem to be the self-appointed stats police, I definitely don’t want to go into the business of being compliance police. First of all, it would be impractical — I don’t have the legal budget to have someone run international background checks on companies. Second, where would I draw the line? Would I stop listing grids because I’m not 100 percent certain that all their content is properly licensed?

          If I know someone is deliberately defrauding customers as their regular way of doing business — not just sometimes having problems with individual customers, because everybody has problem customers once in a while — or deliberately basing their business model on distributing stolen content, or deliberately falsifying stats — I’ll take down their ads, or remove them from the vendor lists or the grid stats reports.

          I have heard negative things about Dreamland Metaverse. In fact, a year ago, I did an article about AviWorlds switching away from Dreamland because the management panel didn’t provide enough functionality — such as changing region names. http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2013/04/aviworlds-moves-to-self-hosting/

          Do I worry about a vendor going out of business? Absolutely. Vendors go out of business on a regular basis. That’s why backups are vital. Does the presence of real-world contact information on the website correlate to a vendor’s longevity? My guess is yes, but the sample space is so small that there’s really no way to know for sure. Some grids that have been around a long time don’t post real-world contact info, others do. I encourage all vendors and grids to do so, and also to post their copyright infringement policies and takedown request forms, and — if based in the US — to register with the US Copyright Office as a safe haven.

          But there’s no legal requirement that companies have to have all this info on their website, or that they make it easy to find. Just a common sense one.

          Finally — while I have zero expertise in legal registration requirements in other parts of the world — in the United States, there is no requirement that a company register with any official entity in order to operate. And, in fact, in 2008, only 19 percent of US companies were incorporated. The rest were single proprietorships or partnerships, meaning that they only have to show up in the legal system at the end of the calendar year, when the proprietors pay their taxes.

          • You are wrong, Maria. It’s swiss law to place all legal informations onto the website. Like all companies in the european community must do.

            The guy violates knowingly the swiss law. Why is he doing that, if he has nothing to hide? And why are you promoting him, though he does that?

            And that is, what I do not understand.

          • I’m not saying that there’s no Swiss law about this. I’m saying that I don’t know what the Swiss laws are, or what the laws are in most countries, and that I’m not in the website-law-enforcement business.

            Yes, I would prefer that all vendors put real world contact info on their websites. But — as far as I’m aware — they’re not deliberately hiding this information, their customers know where they are and how to reach them, and no customers have complained to me about it.

            There’s certainly no law requiring real world contact info on your Website here in the United States. I am surprised to hear that there is such a law in Switzerland, given that it is a country with a very strong reputation for privacy. In any case, it doesn’t really affect me or their customers. If you are worried that they might get shut down because of a Swiss law, I suggest that you contact them directly and pass along a copy of the relevant law.

          • The entire european continent and the most asian countries must show legal informations on their websites. You should know that. But that is not the subject here. The subject is, that some people (i don’t speak about “companies”) has something to hide. And that make me allways suspicious.

            In case of this uncertain legal situation the owner of Metropolis (Peter Jacob) wrote to Mr. Dierk Brunner and asked for his real name und address. Otherwise he has to delete all advertisement on his website regarding regions on the Metropolis-Grid. And that it’s forbidden for him to connect his regions to the Metropolis-Grid. Well, the advertisement was deleted within 2 hours. 😉 But Peter Jacob never received a Mail explaining something or so. Just silence. And this silence is showing us, that we are right.

            I don’t know your relationship to this guy, And I don’t want to know it. But I am realy wondering, how you are playing with your own principles. And it’s not my business, if this guy is playing fair or pay his taxes.

            It is just the point, that you warn your readers to don’t trust vendors hiding their identity. And on the other hand you say, it doesn’t matter at all.

            I was just wondering and I did not know how I should classify it. I think, now I can. We should stop this conversation, cause it will not bring any new aspects.

            Tank you!
            Lena

          • lmpierce

            Hi Lena,

            As moderator I agree that it’s time to draw this thread of the discussion to a close. While you are entitled to your concerns for your own reasons, privacy and non-responsiveness to individual emails, by an entity, is not proof of wrongdoing. Since we do not allow false accusations, (or postings that appear libelous or defamatory), in the discussions, it would be inappropriate and is disallowed to accuse or imply that Dreamland Metaverse is guilty of improprieties in this forum. As you and Maria have now shared your information and views on this, any further comments will be deleted.

            You can, however, post a link here to another blog if you decide to continue the conversation after all.

          • Lawrence just moderated the comments I was responding to, but a reader was pointing out that a vendor didn’t have their contact information as European laws required. The vendor checked the laws – they’re based in Switzerland, so the European Union laws don’t apply, but, as it turns out, Switzerland recently passed its own laws requiring real-world contact info on websites.

            As a result, Dreamland Metaverse just added this information to their website: http://www.dreamlandmetaverse.com/imprint

          • That’s great! Especialy for the customers. By the way: “recently passed” is 2 years ago. 😉

  • AviWorlds

    AviWorlds server AvW1 is going to be ready today. Im building a small data center and we will also offer opensim hosting.

    • Gabe

      Noticed when go to aviworlds.com your using XAMPP – see an error –

      Access forbidden!

      New XAMPP security concept:

      Access to the requested object is only available from the local network.

      This setting can be configured in the file “httpd-xampp.conf”.

      If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.

      Error 403

      http://www.aviworlds.com

      Apache/2.4.7 (Win32) OpenSSL/1.0.1e PHP/5.5.9https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html

      Just a friendly warning you shouldn’t use this it has so many security holes.

      • AviWorlds

        We fixed it. Thanks.

  • AviWorlds

    Im going to say here what I learned from experience with third party hosting companies.
    In my case Im not a programmer and I dont have time to run the hardware part of running a grid.
    So I hired two companies.
    The biggest problem I can say it is that these companies offer to give you your files in case you no longer want or have their hosting servces but none of them offer to help u migrate.
    They leave u ans your grid in a very bad situation.
    They host your grid and if you dont like the way things are turning out; regions crashing all the time, textures turning white, basically a mess and they have the right to refuse service and keep threatening that many times over… at the end you are stuck with a patched data base file that only the hosting company you had before could really install it.
    I had this experience with Dreamland Metaverse where after many attempts to install the data base provided to me I asked Snoopy to install it for me and he declined. Same with Zetamex.
    So perhaps for grids that are trying to be large scale and want to be commercially prone need to be independed. Build your own data center and do it.
    Grid hosting companies will abandon you and will not help you migrate your files.
    That happened to AviWorlds twice now. I learned my lesson.

  • AviWorlds

    Grids have rules in place and these rules are important.
    Like Aviworlds had one , users in order to qualify for a refund he or she needed to have at least, minimum 5000 AV$.
    Avination has a similar rule . You need 3000 c in order to get a refund.
    Kitely Im not sure but the last time I checked u couldnt even get a refund for your currency. I may be wrong. Maybe they changed.

    But as you all see AviWorlds is been accused of not refunding 5.00 dollars (1500 av) to a user being that it is under the amount that qualifies for a refund.

    Aviworlds did not shut down either, we were offline for a few days while we got out of the hosting company we were hiring to host the grid.
    Which is another subject. You get hosting from these companies and when we want out they leave u with your files and thats it. So u are on your own.
    Whoever had AV$ s just contact us and we will replace it. Putting the amount under the residents accounts.
    And yes the same rule will apply.

    • The only reason the $5 refund became an issue was that you had said that nobody lost money on the grid, that nobody had bought any currency, and that if anyone had, you would give them a full refund. Then when a person showed up who had done just that, you said, oh, never mind, it’s in the TOS that we don’t have to give them a refund.

      That’s true, you don’t have to. But the TOS doesn’t say that you CAN’T give them a refund if you wanted to. Personally, I would have given the refund, not only because it’s the nice thing to do, but also to avoid the bad publicity.

      I think most people would have — either for the nice guy reason, or the publicity reason — so it came as a bit of a shock when you didn’t.

      • AviWorlds

        I enforced the rule because the grid was only offline and it would go back online. Also this person from Zandramas really wanted to just show or do damage to AviWorlds reputation.
        Like I have said before. Even Avination wont refund your money if you have less than 3000 Cs,
        So the whole article here like your video interview was mainly aimed to do damage and make me and my grid look bad.
        We had to leave Zetamex and we had many reasons why.
        Dont take it on me ok. If I was such a bad individual all these people u said were fakes and did not exist would not follow me into AviWorlds.

      • AviWorlds

        Sorry Maria. I do not agree. The reason she posted all that on the blog here was to damage my reputation. It was not about the 5 dollars. Plus she has to comply with our TOS and RULES. Minimum 5000 AV$s.
        I dont see you going to other grids asking them to change their TOS, SL, Avination ,Kitely, World-DC all have minimum amounts required for a refund.
        What you are advocating here is that residents dont need to comply with the grids rules. Its bad publicity to enforce our grids RULES.

    • Frank Corsi

      You need to check the law about re purchasing or showing real life value to any fictional currency. Also your customers are your friends, why piss them off.. Try to make it the best experience you can for them and not say too bad you loose. Also a TOS does need to be a contract between 2 real people and as a business you need to list your business name and address. Not to mention a judge may still say a TOS is not valid, just be cause you make it does not mean its legal.

      • AviWorlds

        Frank…
        AviWorlds has done nothing wrong here. We have our rules. People dont like it they can choose other grids. That is why we place rules.What you are saying is that the residents dont have to comply with no rules because you are saying it wil not hold in court. That is 100% wrong.
        Now; why AviWorlds is the only grid being asked to change its rules? AviWorlds is not the only grid that has a minimum refund amount here. Like I wrote before. Avination, SL, Kitely, World-DC …all of these have similar rules.
        Sorry if you come to my grid and accepted my TOS you can be pissed off until your blue in the face it will not change anything.
        Plus AviWorlds is not exchanging virtual currency to real money. AV$s are TOKENs and you can apply for a REFUND for it. USA, IRS has rulled already that virtual currency are not MONEY. ITs considered PROPERTY.
        All we are doing is offering a way to refund if you dont want your TOKENS anymore. You must apply and have a minimum amount required by our RULES.

        • Alex — I’m not saying that you should change your rules, or anything like that. I’m saying that when you publicly announce that nobody lost any money on your grid, and that you’ll refund anyone who has an outstanding balance — and turn right around and say “I don’t have to, because of our TOS, so I won’t” that makes you look bad. If you had been clear up front — “Per our TOS, I’ll refund anyone with a balance over a certain amount,” or, “Per our TOS, there are no refunds,” this would have been a different discussion.

          Then, it would have still been a discussion about lack of warning — every time you guys have shut down, there was no warning to residents so that they could make backups of their stuff. Or a discussion of why people shouldn’t keep money in grids with a TOS like this. (Which reminds me — I should probably do an article about which grids have no-refund policies if they close…)

          • AviWorlds

            Maria I sent u a private email saying I was going to shut down the grid that day and I did also advise all my residents.
            Now if some did not read the notices and or the email I sent out it is not our fault.
            Plus the TOS again says AviWorlds can suspend services at any time without warning.
            But I did not do that

          • AviWorlds

            Yes you should. Avination is of them last time I checked.

          • AviWorlds

            One thing tho. AviWorlds does offer a refund if you have a qualifying amount . The minimum is 5000AV$s.
            That hasnt been mentioned here by you Maria or anyother person. I have refunded many already that met our criteria.
            Aviworlds will be a private grid now. Registrations will nerd to be activaded or not by us. By referral only.

      • Gino Giacobini

        @ Frank
        so true, I concur

  • April Tobias

    Im fuming as I am a creator and lost alot of money when they dissapeared.

    • Still fuming, two years later?

      Actually, Mal and I were just discussing the topic on this week’s InWorld Review. I was warning creators not to fall for the “free region on new grid” scam. The idea is that you get a free region to play with and create stuff on for a new grid.

      So what happens when the relationship turns sour and either you leave, or the grid kicks you out, or the grid closes?

      Unless you have a formal, signed agreement in place saying otherwise, the grid gets one-time use of your content. You still keep your original copyright, and can take your content and use it elsewhere, but the grid also gets to use it. (It’s like selling an article to a magazine — you’re allowed to sell the article elsewhere, but you can’t go back to the first magazine and take your article back.)

      But you might not be able to get your content out if the grid is closed. And you might not want the grid to continue using your content if it stays open and you feel that they ripped you off.

      My recommendations:

      * Do creative work on regions you fully control, and where you can get full backups. And make those backups regularly. For example, you can run OpenSim on a home computer and do all your building there. Or rent a region from Kitely or another hosting provider that allows instant just-click-a-button region backups.

      * When you have created content, sell it to people with contracts that specify how it will be used. For real money. Don’t trade all your content to some grid for a region that’s worth $5 a month.

      * Use in-world free land to put up stores to sell a selection of your content — but only if the administrative overhead is worth it. You might want to have a “store in a box” ready to go to save yourself some time. To make things even easier on yourself, your store might simply include links to your listings on the Kitely Market, or a hypergate to your main mall on some other grid. (If so, check with the new grid owners that this is okay with them.) Remember to use this location to recruit subscribers to a separate marketing channel, such as a Facebook or Google Plus group, where you can stay in contact with your customers independently of any grid owner.

      Good luck!