Kitely vs. Zetamex: Who has the best redesign?

Two leading OpenSim hosting vendors — Kitely and Zetamex — both announced major site redesigns this week. But only one can be the winner of our first site vs. site, head-to-head redesign competition.

And, before you start yelling, I understand that these two sites have different purposes, and service different audiences. Kitely is an on-demand commercial grid that offers a community, a currency, an online marketplace, a destination guide, and other features of a social grid. Zetamex is a hosting company that hosts and runs grids for businesses, non-profits, and individuals and also provides individual region rentals on a choice of open grids.

But there’s enough that the two companies have in common to make a comparison interesting — as well as educational to other companies with similar sites.

What do they do?

The first job of any company website is to make it clear just what, exactly, it is that the company does. Kitely makes it real clear with their headline: “Get your own virtual world.”Kitely redesign

Except that you don’t get your own virtual world. You get regions in the Kitely virtual world. So this headline would actually be more appropriate for Zetamex, which does, in fact, set up entire virtual worlds for customers.

The actual Zetamex headline — “Find What’s Best for You” — doesn’t offer much of a hint. In fact, the phrase “OpenSim hosting” appears nowhere on the page — though “OpenSim Directory” does, if you scroll down, but it takes you to a non-working site.

Zetamex redesign

Winner: Kitely. The headline might be misleading, but it does at least say something about what Kitely does.

Brand Identity

Does the home page help the company’s brand?

On Kitely’s site, the blue-and-orange color combination echoes the company’s own logo in the top left. The font and style of the logo, as well as the look-and-feel of the site, create a pleasant, welcoming vibe — a significant improvement over their previous design which was significantly more forma..

The old design.

The old design.

On the Zetamex site, the brand itself is dark gray on a black background and is thus almost completely invisible.

Zetamex logo, up close.

Zetamex logo, up close.

The font choice is more appropriate to a flower shop, and the phrase “virtual service network,” again almost completely invisible, is meaningless. The little red stars don’t fit in with the tone of the rest of the site.

If Zetamex’ goal is to position itself like an IBM-style service provider — technically savvy, dependable, experienced — it should take a look at IBM’s website. Or, a little more narrowly-focused, at Dreamhost or Bluehost.

Winner: Kitely.

Unique selling proposition

What separates Kitely from other OpenSim grids? What distinguishes Zetamex from other OpenSim hosting providers?

It used to be that I’d say that Kitely’s main feature was its low-cost, on-demand cloud region hosting.

But, today, I’d say that Kitely’s main differentiator is that it is the biggest open commercial grid. It’s the only grid that offers hypergrid connectivity and full region exports while also protecting in-world content and providing access to a giant marketplace. Anyway, that’s what I would put as a unique selling proposition if I owned a grid like Kitely. There might be a better unique value proposition that I’m missing, though.

But on the Kitely page, all the items under “What can I do in Kitely?” can describe any grid out there. Like “Explore” or “Meet Interesting People.” The last two items — “Shop for Virtual Goods” and “Earn Money” narrow it down a little bit, since there are some grids with no shopping or local economies, but still aren’t unique to Kitely.

The next section, “Why choose Kitely?” is also a let-down. The sentence “Kitely is the number one choice for hosting OpenSim virtual worlds” is not true, no matter how I look at it. Kitely isn’t a virtual world hosting provider — that would be Zetamex or Dreamland. Kitely hosts only one virtual world — Kitely. It is not the biggest grid out there — that would be OSgrid, or, if they’re still running giant varregions, Virtual Worlds Grid. Kitely is the biggest commercial grid by land area, and could say that, instead.

“Vibrant community,” “Easy to Share,” “Low Prices” could apply to many grids. So can all the other items listed, especially when taken individually. I see no evidence of a unique selling proposition on this page.

Back to Zetamex. For me, their unique selling proposition is that they’re the only major OpenSim hosting company based in the United States. Again, there might be a better one that I’m missing. But location is a key factor for many customers, who want a company that speaks their language and works in their time zones.

The Zetamex home pages offers a few reasons to pick their company — that it’s been around for four years, that it offers good support and honest pricing, and has a management panel.  None of these are unique and, in fact, are not really differentiators — do other hosting companies really lie about their pricing?

Similarly, the ZetaPanel is not unique. Well, its name is unique, but the ability to save and load OARs and IARS via an online interface is available from other vendors as well. And though Zetamex claims that its panel has a “clean interface” the image included is full of abbreviations like “ATvPrm” and “PndUP” and “NoAckKB.” This information might be extremely useful for some advanced users, but it does not make the interface look appealing or clean to people new to OpenSim.

Winner: Reluctantly, Kitely. Their home page does mention hypergrid access and exports and marketplace as separate features that, together, do add up to a unique value.

Clear call to action

Now, I’m not a mind reader, so I can’t be completely sure what Kitely and Zetamex want their customers to do most.

My guess, however, is that Kitely’s top priority is to get their site visitors to sign up for new accounts. And that Zetamex wants people to buy hosting services.

Kitely is the clear winner here. Their “call to action” button is right there in the middle of the screen.

My only suggestion would be to pick a slightly different color — maybe one a bit more orange or yellow for the “Create New Account” button since the red outfit of the woman in the picture pulls some of the attention away. So does that weird cone thing that either seems attached to the avatar’s hat, or is a floating island in the sky.

The Zetamex home page doesn’t even look like a home page — with only text on it, it looks like an inside page. And the phrase “We don’t want to confuse you with all our plans” makes it sound like their plans are confusing.

My recommendation? Customers are coming either to rent regions, or to find out about setting up a grid. Those who want to rent a region probably already know that they want to rent a region, and would probably prefer to jump straight in and see the prices. Those who want to rent a grid will probably want to talk to someone at the company first. I’m guessing here, of course — only the vendor would know for sure whether grid customers need to talk to someone before buying or not. But if they do want to talk, I’d put up a second call-to-action for scheduling a call, or getting a personal tool of a demo grid system.

Clicks to action

So I decide to go ahead and create an account on Kitely, or rent a region from Zetamex. How many clicks does it take before I’m there?

On Kitely, using Facebook or Twitter to set up the account: three clicks to get to the sign-up page, then an email address, a password, a checkbox, choice of gender, and the one last “Create” click.

On Zetamex: Click on “Services” in the menu, click on “Simulators” — though I’m not sure whether this actually gets me to the region rentals or not, and there’s also the “Cloud Simulators” option and I’m not sure which one I want. Third click on the $15 per month option, then click on “Order” under “Classic Simulators” — though, again, not sure if maybe I shouldn’t be clicking on the cloud ones, instead. Then type in my company name, my name, email, and choose the grid from the drop-down list and “Next.” Then another opportunity to choose the price level, though this time with no explanation of what the different options mean — I should have paid more attention two screens back. Then number of regions. Now, I understand that I’m buying a simulator which can support between one and four regions — I remember this much from that first screen — but people who think that a simulator and a region are the same thing are going to be very confused here. Now I enter the region name, estate name, coordinates, and the URL of the OAR file. I left most of these blank because other than the name of my region, I don’t know the answers to those questions. I click next, then agree to the terms of service, and click “Submit.” And then it thanked me for my order. An invoice was sent to me by mail.

The winner is Kitely again. Their process is very simple, quick and streamlined and asks only for the minimum information necessary. Most important, it never asks me questions I don’t know the answers to.

With Zetamex, there were a number of places where I didn’t know what the answer was — should I get “standard” or “cloud”? What are my region coordinates? What is the URL of my OAR file?

I do know how much money I have to spend, and I can make an intelligent guess about how many visitors my region will get, and how many prims I want.

By the way, if you want to see an example of an extremely easy, streamlined region ordering process, check out Oliveira. I’m not saying their site is perfect, but it takes just two clicks to get to the order page, and it never asks you any questions you don’t know the answer to.

Price List

As a customer, one of my biggest concerns is cost. If I can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter how great the product is.

On Kitely, the prices are listed under Services and the “Metered Worlds” option is beyond confusing. The term “World” to mean “island” is also confusing — Kitely worlds are not stand-alone grids, which is what the word “World” normally means. They’re simply islands of one, four, nine or 16 regions. But that’s a long-running peeve of mine.

Zetamex pricing

On Zetamex, the prices are on four separate pages — Classic Simulators, Cloud Simulators, Grid Services, and BYOS Services.

I’m going to give this one to Zetamex because even though you have to flip back and forth between pages to figure out how much things cost, on the Kitely page trying to figure out what the metered regions cost is all but impossible.

Contact Info

If I have questions, I want to know how to contact the company. Plus, it’s always nice to know that there are real people in the business. I like seeing real names and addresses, and photos of executives, and their email addresses. I also like having email forms, for when I don’t care if a question is answered by a random customer service agent. I don’t necessarily want to bother the company founders with every little question.

On Kitely, the contact page link is at the bottom of the screen, which is normally the second place I checki. It lists a real mailing address, and provides links to fill-in forms for abuse reports and DMCA takedown notices, as well as a generic email address for other questions. There is also a second About Kitely page with the names and photos of the founders, and the company’s Facebook and Twitter links.

On Zetamex, the contact page link is called About Us and is linked to under the About menu at the top of the screen — the first place I look.

It offers a real name and address, as well as a phone number to call.

I’m going to call this a draw. Kitely offers the forms and the email address, but Zetamex has the phone numbers.

Social Proof

When I’m deciding whether to buy something on Amazon, I always check the reviews. Did other people buy it? Did they like it? What’s the worst thing about this product — is it something I can live with?

The pictures of avatars on the Kitely home page are kind of an implied form of social proof. Clicking on the Forums button takes me to a much better kind of social proof — discussions between actual current users. The Kitely forums are extremely busy with lots of different comments by lots of different people. Unfortunately, the “Vibrant Community” section on the home page doesn’t actually take you to the forums, even though it invites visitors to check them out. Similarly, the “Earn Money” section doesn’t actually link to the Kitely Market, though it mentions it.

Bottom line: there’s a lot of social proof there on the Kitely site, but it’s not really front-and-center in the new redesign. Instead, there’s a lot of space allocated to features which probably are not a high priority for people making the decision about whether to sign up for a user account or not.

On their home page, Zetamex refers to a Hypergrid Business hosting providers survey where their service got the most votes of any hosting provider. Not the highest scores — just the most votes. Which is surprising, given that Zetamex has a number of customers who have gone public with the fact that they’re happy with the service they’ve been getting.

Winner: Kitely. But just barely. Both companies can do a lot better when it comes to social proof

Final verdict

Kitely’s redesign comes out on top in helping build the company’s brand identity and in having a clear call to action.

The site could use more social proof on its home page, and a clearer statement of its unique value proposition.

Zetamex, however, needs a complete overhaul of its site, starting with its logo design and color palette all the way through to its ordering process.


Related Posts'

Maria Korolov

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

47 Responses

  1.' hack13 says:

    I am sorry that you feel this way, I have had major postive feedback and gain like 5 sales because of the redesign. I think the site looks great as is, and so do my customers.

    •' Ilan Tochner says:

      Thank you Timothy 🙂

      •' hack13 says:

        My only request is if you could make your site easier to use on my phone, it still doesn’t scale to my phone. I like to read blogs, view forums, etc on the go with my tablet and phone. Your site doesn’t really scale to mobile format, but other than that, it is great.

        •' Ilan Tochner says:

          It works on our Android devices. What phone are you using?

          • Android. Your site does not use bootstrap so it doesn’t auto size for smartphones like our websites do.
            I looked at your html Ilan and it looks very easy to integrate bootstrap.

          •' hack13 says:

            @IlanTochner:disqus yes what @Chrisx84:disqus said, but you don’t have to use bootstrap. I mean it loads in my browser, but it doesn’t scale. I have tried on Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy S5 and my personal Alcatel Fierce, and it loads but doesn’t scale I have to zoom to read anything on the device.

            Also my friend’s iPhone 5 and iPad crash when viewing the market place in safari on the phone and tablet. I have a bunch of phones because I am trying to build a fully scalable control panel for opensim that displays from your phone to full on site at full screen.

          •' Ilan Tochner says:

            I now understand your comment, yes most parts of the Kitely site do not automatically change their layout for smaller displays (the forums and blog do).

            The iPad we have (3rd generation running iOS 7.1) works fine with our site but I haven’t tried it on an iPhone yet. In any case, it’s one hell of a bug in Safari if a site using Google Web Toolkit can crash it.

          •' hack13 says:

            @IlanTochner:disqus well like I said I don’t own the iPhone but they are having it crash quiet often when using your market place. However, I get the blog to slim down but not the forums, the forums don’t slim down. Perhaps its due to I use firefox on my phone rather than chrome, I have never been a fan of chrome and hiding the source code of the parts of the browser.

          • dont blame you. that thing i been doing all day screws up now in chrome on my samsung Galaxy S3 mini.
            As for your past comment about not having to use bootstrap, that be blasphemy there bud 😛 just kidding.
            I know there are other ways to get a page to auto resize, i just find bootstrap to be the easiest.

    • The bottom line, of course, isn’t any particular review but how the design affects conversion rates. Does it result in a higher percentage of visitors registering or signing up for regions, or fewer? The only way to figure that out is analytics and A/B testing.

      I would very much like to hear about your results, if you were to run such tests.

      But whether or not you publish the results, hopefully the article will give you a few ideas about which things to test for, if you do decide to do A/B testing.

      But if you decide to change nothing else at all, please do look at the questions you ask. Each time you ask the customer a question they can’t answer, a very large percentage stop and leave right there. They might look up the answer and come back, or, more likely, they’ll go on to another vendor because the experience leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

      For example, for the estate question, I recommend putting “none” as the default answer, having a little question mark button next to it, and then if people click on the question mark, they’ll get an explanation of what the estate is.

      Or, for the coordinates question, you can have a default of “Please choose coordinates for me” and then pick something for them in the 7,000-neighborhood that’s not too close to anything else. Or hide them under advanced options.

      Or, even better, save those questions for later, after they have paid you your money. if half your potential customers leave when they get stumped by the coordinates question, for example, you could double your sell rate just by fixing it.

      •' hack13 says:

        @mariakorolov:disqus we have already made those changes to the order form as soon as you emailed us about them. And yes, since out new site, we have had more page hits and tons of emails telling us they love the new layout and the plans are so much more understandable, I do however agree a bit more color would be in order. I don’t like doing pictures especially since “retina” is now the new standard for high end devices, and images just don’t look good on retina unless you have a monitor and card that can support retina graphics so we use SVG(scalable vector graphics), same as google to make the site look crisp no matter the device.

        As far as you say about the different pages for each product, we have a wizard that walks you through finding the right plan for you asking you simple questions, not sure if you even tried that as you don’t mention it anywhere in the article. Secondly, we have seperate pages for the different plans because we attempted all on the same page before and their was mass confusion, the seperation of page is good, see unlike Kitely we offer not only simulators but grids as well and now even bring your own server(s). This means we need to break it up, and we added the wizard at the start to help people find what is best for them, are biggest user base is grid users and bring your own device users, so our target audience doesn’t to nessarlly see the stuff kitely is using, but it wouldn’t hurt us making some changes for that.

        Lastly, I don’t like to include too much social on our site. I may try a little bit more, but unlike kitely, we are a hosting provider, most of our clients don’t want people to know they are using us. They pay us to host, and sit and be quiet back-end operators. Kitely on the other hand is a grid, and they attract more users by targeting and going and joining their site, joining the grid, coming and visiting. We are not in the business of doing that at Zetamex, we are targeting a completely different audience. If I show too much about our users, statistics, etc. well that is a sign of dis-trust in the eyes of many of our clients, they want us to keep their usage completely private.

        Oh and one more thing, the picture you see with the monitor section is not the simplified interface that is the advance interface you see for zetepanel. It show raw and live statical data, who is on your sim, how long, their x,y,z cords, consol log, sim fps, etc and more it is for more high-end opensim users, you can toggle the simplified interface from prefernces. But this panel is about to be replaced here this month with our even newer version which supports versioning control, anit-grief tools, save to dropbox/google drive, and much much more.

        • I did try the wizard, and I figured I’d better say nothing about it at all. It didn’t seem particularly useful and since you basically have four main choices — regular regions, cloud regions, hosted grids, and self-hosted grids, it could have been easily summarized with a simple diagram. Or a couple of sentences.

          Social proof is not related to being a social grid. Social proof is when people say, “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” (I know – that really dates me!) or when Bluehost says they’re hosting more than 2 million websites, or when a big website uses WordPress.

          You guys have testimonials — Zandramas has repeatedly said they like your services, folks have posted testimonials in the comments here, and in other places. One of my primary questions when talking to any vendor, of anything, is “Can you provide the names of some of your referenceable customers?” The vendors who aren’t allowed to name names — say, they’re in the security field — will usually say something like, 100 of the Fortune 500 are our clients. Or “Five of the top ten banks use our services.” When I look at plugins on WordPress, I always check the download count first and, unless there’s some specific reason not to, pick the plugin with the most users.

          It speeds up decision making, it reduces anxiety, it makes us more willing to commit to a higher-priced option.

          •' hack13 says:

            Whatever Maria, just like the CEO of Apple said “it doesn’t matter what the media think, we know what people want based off where they spend their wallet” which we see.

            And again Zetamex is not about making money, contrary to popular belief. Why we have even started work on tons of free services to teach people how to run their own grids, servers, and standalones. If we were about the money we would fail, and that is not what we are about.

          • Whether or not you’re interested in making money (though I would certainly hope you are! It’s hard to maintain the energy to run a company that doesn’t make money!) you DO provide a unique and valuable service to your customers. The customers who need your service are better off from the fact that they have it. (Otherwise, they’d be better off keeping the money, instead.) You are improving their lives. By making it difficult to find or sign up for the service you’re not just hurting your bottom line, but hurting your customers as well.

            But again, it’s only my opinion whether a particular aspect of a website hurts or hinders conversions. The only way to really know is to do A/B testing. If you don’t have the time to do A/B testing, then look to the single largest company you can find that’s in your approximate space and see what they’ve done. They probably *have* done the A/B testing on most of the elements on their websites to see what works and what doesn’t.

          •' hack13 says:

            Excuse me Maria, but you have no right telling me how to run my business, nor the right making false accusations, which your moderator has done to me. We do a lot of testing, before we make these changes, we follow strict web guidelines, not to mention I am certified under US law for site compliance. I can tell you right now, that your site fails 3 of the 5 requirements of USA Federal Law, which if someone wanted to, they could sue you.

            We uphold the legal system, and uphold the legal standards of USA legal code in website design. Also believe it or not, sites like IBM are no longer complient under the legal code for website design. I build my sites as best as I can under USA legal guidelines, also the fact that we spend tons of money securing our site through SSL which tell me you REFUSE to point out and completely ignore, who else secures their site with SSL please tell me, and doesn’t self-sign their certificate. We not only do these things, we are also in 100% compliance under the ADA. Its next to impossible to be ADA compatible these days, but you really need to make your site complient because under US Federal Law, and you are in the USA you can be sued by someone with a dissability because your site is not compliant.

            I took 2 years of classes becoming certified to become a web developer, also another 2 years behind the desks of very large organizations such as Rackspace and Biz Net Enterprise. These companies do their research, and spend tons money on research and development. I don’t care what you think you know, but your a journalist, it is your job to make people fight, get people to start drama, because it makes your numbers higher. I bet you wouldn’t like me to tell that you DONT PAY FOR HOSTING AT DREAMLAND METAVERSE because its an “exhcange” for an ad on your site. I still have that email if you wish to dispute that fact. Secondly, you claim not be be bias yet you are. I know this comment is going to be flagged, marked spam, whatever. I really don’t care.

            I apologize Kitely, my site was never meant or created to compete with yours. We are under a large remodel, and I am sorry for the press this woman places against you causing confusion for your clients, I am sorry that you have to deal with her as well. I am sorry anyone has to deal with Maria Korolov, it is discusting how she likes to write stories of this nature and trash on her site. But again “this is my opinion” and I will keep my opinion.

          • what ever happened to freedom of speech and the right to speak the truth on this site?

          •' lmpierce says:

            Hi Christopher,

            Within the bounds of the discussion guidelines that have been established for this publication, you can add comments that reflect your perspective, or additional information, or that express reasoned criticisms of the presentations made in the article or other comments. We do not edit comments for content.

            We do moderate and remove comments that amount to false, or possibly false, accusations that could cause harm and we remove comments that amount to personal attacks. We also consider whether comments put Hypergrid Business in jeopardy for libel or copyright infringement.

            Because we understand that the guidelines may not suit the bounds of discussion a commenter may wish to explore, we welcome links leading to other blogs that readers can then use to follow a discussion, unabated, in alternative forums.

            It is a challenge to moderate because not everyone agrees, not only to our guidelines, but to our interpretation and application of these guidelines. Such is the imperfection of human interaction. However, again, we do permit links leading to other forums of discussion where others can set their own guidelines, or none at all. We hope our approach encourages productive discussions, while offering a civil environment that is welcoming to all.

          • oh so its ok for Joe Builder to speak lies about Zetamex but not ok for hack13 to speak the truth about HGB being hosted for free? Personally, im glad to see that HGB is being hosted for free in return for ad space, that is a great business deal and im sure alot of other people in the metaverse either don’t care or agree with me. In fact im thinking of making that kind of deal to help get my OpensimWeb CMS have its own test/demo grid.
            (HGB is short for HyperGrid Business)

          •' lmpierce says:

            Hi Christopher,

            Discussions are not the place to debate moderation and this is clearly indicated in the discussion guidelines. You can reach me at [email protected]. Further comments about moderation in this discussion will be removed.

            However, since you have posted a concern, I will closing by adding that there has been outreach and moderation activity applied to a number of our community members, including Joe. So in answer to your question, it’s not okay for anyone to post comments that violate the discussion guidelines.

            I do not propose to debate ‘truth’ or an individual’s convictions as moderator because this is not the place for those discussions. My primary activity is to compare statements made with the discussion guidelines. For this reason, and because moderation is relatively new at Hypergrid Business, I often respond to moderation concerns posted as comments by restating the relevant moderation guideline(s) and principles of application.

            I have acknowledged that moderation is an imprecise process that may not meet every contributor’s personal standards or desires. For that reason, we allow commenters to post links to alternative forums. You are welcome to do so here.

          •' Han Held says:

            I said posts were sent to moderation and disappear. That’s not exactly accurate, but there does appear to be snafus around posting with links which makes it unreliable.

          •' lmpierce says:

            Hi Han Held,

            You are right – posts with live links automatically go to a Pending folder in Disqus. This is because there is no foolproof automated way to determine if links are spam or if they are legitimate. The most inconvenient aspect of this process is the delay between comment submission and appearance.

            When a link appears in a pending comment, I first read the comment. Sometimes I can tell from the comment itself that the link is from a company that has trolled HB and decided to place an ad. We decided in the development of the guidelines that spam would not be accepted to HB discussions.

            I then open the link and check for two things. First, I check to make sure the link works. Sometimes users get the highlighting wrong and the link fails. To prevent reader frustration, that is the one instance when I might edit a comment, to restore the intended functionality.

            I also follow the link to the destination and make one final check to verify whether the link is a site in any way related to the comment or actually just spam after all. Some trolls write clever sounding comments and then lead readers off into the land of spam gotcha.

            Unlike moderation for comments that appear in HB, I do not apply any moderation guidelines on the links to the target destinations aside from the spam considerations above. In other words, unless the comment is from a troll leaving spam, all links are approved. But again, there can be a time delay, which can be, understandably, annoying.

            If, however, you ever have difficulty with a link, please contact me and we’ll see about getting the issue resolved: [email protected]

          •' hack13 says:

            @mariakorolov:disqus since the new site launch order turn around rates are up by 23% so I must be doing something right in contrary to this article.

      •' hack13 says:

        @mariakorolov:disqus I am also kinda surprised you didn’t point out that we are one of the very few providers with SSL encryption on forms and data encrypting your connection. Next time your at dreamland metaverse, or the other guys, see if they have a green “https://” in the bar without getting the giant warning that it is a self-signed cert. We pay Comodo to ensure our site for up to 50,000USD in data breach if they occure over our SSL encryption.

  2. Hi Maria, hack13 might of forgot to say this but Zetamex and all of our “linked” websites such as opensim directory are still under development and therefor i believe this is a unfair and bias posting since we are not even close to being done with recoding all sites and services.

  3.' Minethere says:

    I like both so both win!!!! [so there nananananana naaaaa]

  4.' Ilan Tochner says:

    Hi Maria,

    The services page is the next thing we’ll be working on. You can see some of those discussions in our forums.

    We use the term worlds because for the end user that is what they are. They are self contained, disjoint, access controlled land areas that people can’t see, walk or fly between (people need to teleport to get from one world to another). For people who aren’t familiar with the concept of a grid or region (which is almost everyone who hasn’t used Second Life), virtual world is a known term, while grid and region are not. Whether Kitely worlds are arranged on the same grid or on different grids is also of no relevance to most potential users. The question that they are interested in is whether or not they get their own virtual world, how much control they have over it, and whether or not they can visit the worlds other people created. Adopting SL terminology is not helping OpenSim’s growth amongst the general population, it is only useful when trying to attract users from SL or other OpenSim grids. Grids trading users is no way for this ecosystem to grow.

    •' lmpierce says:

      I wonder if this isn’t one of those inevitably gray areas in nomenclature. When I write about virtual worlds, I am thinking of any virtual space that can be inhabited by an avatar. In that sense, even a new “Kitely world” seems like a “virtual world” to me. It may start as an empty region, but that simply makes it an “empty” world. In fact, it’s also not literally empty because there is at least one region of land. Does a region need content, beyond the land, to qualify as a “world”?

      Kitely does have the unique quality of calling their units of virtual space (I’ll avoid the word ‘worlds’ for a sec), Kitely “worlds”. So, one could be forgiven for jumping from from “Kitely world” to “virtual world”.

      Not to be overly labored about this, but in the Wikipedia article for “Virtual world”, it is stated that computer conferencing and text-based chatrooms are also virtual worlds.

      BTW, if the definition of virtual worlds is that the virtual space must have two or more contiguous regions owned by two or more users, then Kitely worlds would never qualify as virtual worlds.

      •' Ilan Tochner says:

        An end user doesn’t know the difference between an island sitting in a standalone, one in a grid or one being visited over the hypergrid. They just know they have their own access controlled virtual environment to work with. Most people refer to that as having their own virtual world. It’s very obvious not everyone agrees what the definition of a virtual world is but when using one that is more inline with the popular definition amongst your target audience is probably the better choice. This also explains why we explain what can be done in Kitely and why choose it over other virtual world solutions (not necessarily OpenSim ones) and not assume people are aware of OpenSim, its terminology and how it can be used.

        •' lmpierce says:

          Here’s what I think might happen, playing off of Maria’s comments on this. If someone who hasn’t used Kitely hears that it’s a virtual world, they may think it’s a single contiguous space already full of content and activities. That would be a reasonable presumption, even if they’ve never used Second Life. After all, so many services are based on one large virtual world space full of separately owned regions. What I like about your home page is that you state, right at the top, in bold letters, that one can get their own virtual world. This does not mislead one into thinking Kitely is a virtual world you simply sign up for and enter with expectations of regions of already built places and activities. In no way does “get your own” sound like “join our world”. In this sense, I disagree with the potential confusion Maria suggests, as she suggests it. However, I think there will be confusion among some potential users before they reach the Kitely homepage. And I’m not sure that’s a confusion that can be addressed directly, since consumers often jump to conclusions about goods and services until they are ready to make a purchase. And even then, sometimes people insist on buying what they “expect” rather than what is being “offered”. Of course, such is the challenge of any service-oriented business.

          •' Ilan Tochner says:

            We’re currently very close to being on the first page of Google’s search results for the terms “virtual world” and “virtual worlds”, both of which get orders of magnitude more hits than OpenSim, Hypergrid, metaverse, etc. Most people who will get to our site will never have heard of us. They’ll compare us to the other offerings they see on that first Google search results page.

          •' lmpierce says:

            I notice that Serenity Island is #2 on Google (after the paid ad for IMVU) if I search for “virtual world island”, which I find surprising since Second Life has been offering private islands for years. And, that should be good for Kitely since the heading for the listing is “Serenity Island | Kitely Virtual World”.

    •' hack13 says:

      I completely agree with you @IlanTochner:disqus your grid does a great job at attacking a market that is new users, that are brand new to opensim type technology. You guys push that ease of use control panel, which I am very jealous of, because it is so easy to use. I have to say you guys are doing a great job at bringing more people too the metaverse as we know it to be. So keep up the awesome work 🙂

  5.' Frend Projects says:

    I do like kitty’s new design as well. I also very strongly agree that the plans are too hard to understand, which is why I haven’t signed up for any of the new plans. I don’t want to pay much more than 20 bucks a month, then pay a second time if someone visits my land. Just doesn’t make sense to me. As we all know, there really aren’t many people on kitely to hold a party or group event, so Am I going to spend more than the going rate plus additional time, just for me to build things, explore a bit, and to hang out by myself? If I had the patience and understanding , I would just live on Osgrid. At least I see other real avatars and not NPC avatars. You know how many times I have gotten excited to see someone in Kitely, and try to strike up a conversation…, Only to realize that they are dummies?
    Friend Projects (Arnie Berg)

    •' Ilan Tochner says:

      Hi Arnie,

      I think you are a bit misinformed. The basic fixed-price world in Kitely (the Starter world) costs just $14.95/month and you don’t pay extra when people visit it.

      If you look at our forums you’ll see that there are daily events in Kitely and that people attend them regularly:

      •' Frend Projects says:

        With any game, I haven’t usually been known run to the forums unless I need help with something, or looking for outage explanations, I normally just log into games and play the game. If the content doesn’t happen to be in the game without going to external sources, I guess I tend to play it like its given. However, I do explore the internet for scripts. Perhaps I should be more proactive by exploring externally. Thanks for the link to your forums, there does seem to be quite a bit of activities listed. As for the pricing game, I guess I was thinking of the 19.95 premium plan. it sounds better for the money, “but does it really?” This is where I was lost of what expenses were beyond that 19.95 plan. and being metered. I see I can spend as much time in my metered world, as well as others metered worlds, and if I’m understanding it correctly, premium members can visit my metered worlds for free, but segregated normal users, is where I pay extra in KC’s for them to visit?. Sure enough, I can go to the 14.95 basic plan for one sim, 15k prims and 10 visitors. What happens if 25 people decide to show up for a dance party? Now I’d need to upgrade to a 50 dollar plan?

        •' Ilan Tochner says:

          I suggest looking at the Explore Worlds link on the top menu, you’ll be able to find a lot of worlds to visit for free.

          You never have to pay to visit other people’s worlds in Kitely. The only people ever paying are the people who host those worlds with us. They can either pay us a fixed price per month for some prim/avatar capacity or pay us on usage-based plan where they pay for the time all non-Premium users spend in their world (including the time they themselves visit that world if they aren’t on a Premium Account).

          The fixed-price worlds have a max avatar capacity and they won’t let more people inside them at the same time. If a world is full then any additional avatar that tries to enter will be notified that they can’t currently do so because the world is at it’s max avatar capacity. If you want more people to be able to visit your world at the same time then go for a more advanced world type (e.g. the Standard World supports up to 40 concurrent avatars). Please note, you aren’t forced to do so and we won’t chase after you to try to convince you to upgrade, it’s your choice. If you do upgrade, your cost will be pro-rated based on the difference between the world types you’ve selected and the remaining number of days in the month (after the first payment for an upgrade, we bill on the 1st of the month).

    •' Gaga says:

      The real value of Kitely now is the avatar and export perms. Having a bit of land I can hypergrid out from too is the icing on the cake. OSgrid is my home grid still but it just can’t can’t handle the inventory load as well as Kitely does. I delete something at OSG and have to wait some time before I can delete something else. I can’t clear trash,,, ever! And too often Inventory take forever to load up. Too many OAR’s files are corrupt too. It’s crazy and that’s the way its been for years but I didn’t like to dis OSG before. For what it costs me Kitely lets me travel and inventory is available on demand. Not so easy with an OSG avatar (too slow, too lagged). Kitely wins hands down. But I still like OSG and, in all honesty, I don’t see Kitely as a grid. More of a really good host that knows there business. Oh, and there are plenty of NPC’s wandering around on all the empty land at OSG.

  6.' Lena Vanilli says:

    Could someone explain to me, for what this article is good for? Even the “participants” are a bit confused about this comparison. I guess, there is no need to compare an apple with a pear. They have totaly different business models, and therefore: clients!

    Kitely’s website shows, that they focus on private user, which want to have fun while using Kitely’s services. The website is made for this audience. And they made it well and “easy to consume”. An industry company would never ask such a provider to establish secure meeting rooms for example.

    Zetamex shows us a website more clear and structured. They have private users as well, but also companies as their clients. For me, as an it-professional, the Zetamex-Website looks more serious. Visiting professionels will not be “disturbed” with colorful comic pictures.

    About the logos from both companies: it’s not my style, okay. But this is my personal opinion. Like yours, Maria. But it could be, that Zetamex could have the biggest success compared to all other competitors: just remember General Electric! *lol*

    • Frank Corsi says:

      One can only guess “Why” off topic articles are now important. Be sure to check your active user online stats.. or else.. 🙂

    •' hack13 says:

      Thank you, you are not the only one to write about the seriousness of our site. We have had officials write in to us, the people we pay to check and make sure we are in compliance with US laws and codes. They informed us that our site is spot on, and follow all compliances, some even mentioned they enjoyed the layout.

      About the logo however, we do plan on ditching it. We have had a good run with it, but it is time to refresh that old logo. At Zetamex we do go for the more professional approach, not to say that is bad to not do that. But we are attempting to get people who already know what opensimulator is, not the other way around. That is people like Kitely and InWorldz jobs to go after those users.

      We sell grids and management services more than any other service, and it might surprise you but since the redesign I kid you not profits and turn around of orders are way up! I had 5 orders in one day, that is kinda un heard of. Users whether you feel this way or not, find our new site to be so much easier to navigate and discover what they need to get started.