Exo-Life moves from Zetamex to Dreamland

Exo-Life, a small social world, has completed its move from Zetamex to Dreamland Metaverse hosting this week.

Zetamex and Dreamland Metaverse are the two leading hosting companies for companies, organizations and individuals running private OpenSim grids.

(Image courtesy Exo-Life.)

(Image courtesy Exo-Life.)

How they switched

The migration process was very straightforward, Dreamland CEO Dierk Brunner told Hypergrid Business. In this particular case, the grid moved over their region backups in the form of OAR files and the inventory backup IAR files instead of migrating the entire installation as a whole.

Dierk Brunner

Dierk Brunner

“In general, it is possible to take database backups as starting point,” Brunner said. “But database backups may contain inconsistencies that would also get copied to the new grid. That is why we always strongly recommend starting a brand new OpenSim grid and using OAR and IAR backup files to restore the contents.”

In fact, Exo-Life was able to use the control panel that came with their Dreamland service to upload all the OAR and IAR files themselves, he said.

The entire process of setting up a new grid usually takes one or two days, Brunner said — three days maximum.

“Exo-Life did know exactly what they want, what made it easier and faster to install their new OpenSim grid,” he added.

This wasn’t the first time a grid has switched to Dreamland, he said.

“We have had many grid owners switching to our services and it was always a quite easy task, if they had the OAR and IAR backup files,” he said. “In some cases, I had to help my new customers to get the required backup files from their previous hosting provider. In one case I even had to create the OARs and IARs myself, after getting access to the servers, because the previous hosting company lost the only employee who knew how to create such backup files.”

Mer Haven build on Exo-Life grid. (Image courtesy Exo-Life.)

Mer Haven build on Exo-Life grid. (Image courtesy Exo-Life.)

Why they switched

Grid owner Bryan French said there were ten reasons why he decided to switch hosting:

  1. A scheduled 24-hour outage of services that turned into five days.
  2. A major change in the console panel requiring different user names and passwords and learning how to use the new console panel.
  3. Constant changes to the console panel without any word or warning that buttons are going to change to new locations or new drop down menus.
  4. Assuming grids already know what to do if a change is causing the grid problems even though no instructions are given.
  5. Automatically upgrading grids to a new version of OpenSim without telling or even asking the grid if it desired such change. Requiring the filing of a ticket to be placed back on the previous version.
  6. Automatically changing grids physics engine without telling or even asking the grid if it desired such change. Requiring the filing of a ticket to have the physics engine changed back.
  7. A grid admin has to look at two different status pages and a Twitter page to see if there is a problem with services. Then being chastised if the grid admin neglected to look at one of the three locations and filed a ticket.
  8. Being told one should have called the toll free number instead of filing a ticket. As if through telepathy a grid admin would know which was appropriate.
  9. No controls for creating grid money through the grid admin avatar with the Money Module.
  10. Using vehicles cause the simulator to come to a near halt.

So far, he says, the experience on Dreamland has been an improvement.

Bryan French

Bryan French

In one week with Dreamland we have only had to file one ticket due to a typo on our console panel,” he told Hypergrid Business. “Grids have a choice to have the OpenSim version updated as they come out or conservative updates where a grid is not updated with new versions.”

The console panel and physics engines work and are not changed unexpected, he added.

“The basic money module has grid admin avatar access and residents can get a readout of their transactions via e-mail,” he said. “Operating vehicles doesn’t cause one blip in simulator performance. Had we had it all over to do we would have chosen Dreamland from the beginning.”

People can visit Exo-Life via hypergrid at hg.exolife.onl:8032 and check it out for themselves.

The Park build on Exo-Life grid. (Image courtesy Exo-Life.)

The Park build on Exo-Life grid. (Image courtesy Exo-Life.)

Zetamex: We have the best service

Three of the top-rated grids in the most recent Hypergrid Business survey are hosted by Zetamex, pointed out acting CEO Timothy Rogers.

Customers do leave for competing providers, he said, but they almost always come back.

People don’t realize they are getting the best service till they experience our competition,” he said. “Our customer retention rate is very high.”

And some customers are unhappy no matter what, he added.

Before we do any updates, we give out notices by email weeks in advance, we let everyone know how long it will take, and what will be changing,” he said.  “You can ask any Zetamex customer who provides the best service to their door step, and they will say Zetamex every time. We have better response times than Dreamland, better hardware than Dreamland, and way better tools than Dreamland on our back-end and coming to our front-end over the rest of this month.”

Bottom line: customers win because of the competition

The ability to quickly and easily switch service providers means that OpenSim hosting vendors can’t count on customers staying if service degrades.

Instead, the vendors have to constantly be on their toes, not only providing a high degree of service, but also making sure to keep up with improvements rolled out by the competition.

This is one major feature of OpenSim which doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. With most other enterprise-focused virtual reality platforms, switching from one vendor to another is almost impossible. Either the vendor offers a proprietary platform, or, if there is an open source version, there aren’t a lot of other vendors supporting it.

Meanwhile, to find out who is really the best OpenSim hosting vendor, stay tuned for our next survey. And if you are a hosting vendor who is not currently listed in our directory, and would like to be listed — and included in the survey — please email me at [email protected].

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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.

  • hack13

    The only thing I have to say about the money module is that Zetamex is USA based. Because of this we cannot legally offer a module like Dreamlands. We send several customers who need such a module to dreamland quite often as we believe that the customers needs cannot be met by us we send them to dreamland.

    • AviWorlds

      Tim was that the only reason? I see 10 reasons above can you explain the other reasons too? This is a good time to do that. Just saying..the one that says that the region craps out when using a vehicle script is very interesting.

      • hack13

        Our physics are just fine. I am not dignifying this story with to much response due we know they are false and know point arguing about it. You want to see our physics or anything else we welcome anyone to try our services.

        We have over 300 customers. Losing 3 to 4 people over small drama like this does not bother us.

        • KikkiHover

          And very happy costumers as well !!! Zetamex should start thinking about sewing AviWorldz for harassment. It is getting boring to read those respect less comments day in day out, asif AviWorldz has nothing better to do. Also i think Maria should ban AviWorldz from hypergrid Business unless this page is ment to be a page to bully and hurt others:( Think of the consequences for the virtual worlds in general if people keep reading all this bad publicity all the time. And AviWorldz let me say you something, your grid is laggy and very poor in performance, no content and no people out there.

          • Torben Asp

            Totally agrees with Kikki……It is getting more and more irritating to read the comments from Alex because they are more and more aggressive towards every other grid and hosting company and for no plausible reason. Personally I was cheated once by Aviworlds 1……so obviously have never joined Aviworlds 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 or how many. Makes it even more rediculous to read comments from that grid. Can’t take anything from there serious at all…and we shouldn’t. My 2 cents…

          • AviWorlds

            Your two cents are not even worth 1 cent Torben. If you cant see that they are messing up and more and more customers are coming here and in google plus to tell their stories ? It is not me and the CONSUMERS need to know when a product needs improvement or its bad etc. No one has ever shut up about AviWorlds especially ou TORBEN. You were cheated? How many times I asked you for your paypal information and you ignored me? Do you want to see all the emails I sent you? Its not about AviWorlds …this article is about zetamex ok.

          • Freedom of speech suck it up buttercup

          • Sometimes the truth hurts

          • AviWorlds

            Harassment? Bring it on ….I am entitled to express my opinion here and no one will shut me up. I mean no one. Just bring it on. I am not harassing anyone I am telling the truth. Cant you see all these customers what they are saying here?
            Funny they mess up and my grid is the one to blame..You are all blind people. Just bring it on.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Feel it like crazy. Pizza, get lots of pizza, deluxe 28″ pizzas with all the toppings. Feed it!

          • Mmmmmm pizza

          • AviWorlds

            kikihover…You are lying and you are bias. I know what you are doing in here. Trust me.

        • AviWorlds

          That is something Tim should change. Each customer is important. Doesnt matter if your company has millions of spare cuatomers. Cant see customers that way. A customer has friends who has friends who has friends.
          So yeah Tim that attitude towards customers just because u have 300 needs to change.

          • hack13

            We do care about all our customers, it is just we cannot sweat the customers who listen to these false statements.

          • AviWorlds

            Alright …

          • Cinder Biscuits

            FEED THE CUSTOMERS. they are hungry.

        • Echo Argent

          Tim, with all due respect to you as someone who obviously cares about his business and how it’s perceived, this isn’t drama and it’s unfair to characterize it as such. It’s a listing of very real problems experienced by a client who expressed these concerns to you before, ,most of which I also experienced until giving up on Zetamex yesterday after I once again couldn’t access my region and after you announced that you’re dropping hosted region plans.

          And yes, I know the downtime was announced, but it was announced on a blog that I’d pointed out prior to this hadn’t been touched in 2 months, and which was so far as I know, announced during, not prior to, the downtime (please correct me if I’m wrong) and is only one site of at least 6 that we must look through to try to find updates. I filed a ticket once again and it was closed without comment.

          I understand why you’re dropping regions, I do. But I also know that they were offered at a time when they’d be sure to reel in a ton of business for your company, and frankly it now feels a little like a bait-and-switch. I know you simply found regions not to work out as expected but still…

          You yourself, in your announcement about the incoming new CEO said: “No services or existing pricing will be adversely affected”.

          It doesn’t matter much that you kept your promise to grandfather region pricing plans when you’re dropping them altogether. Have you made a public announcement about the dropping of region plans?

          You also state in your TOS: “We do not issue refunds unless we are unable to render the service as described.”

          I signed on and paid for hosting of a single region for 3 months. During those 3 months, and apart from OSG or Metropolis issues, my region was unusable for 22 days due directly to the constant tinkering by Zetamex, with almost none of the downtime announced until after the fact. Your statement that we always received email notifications weeks in advance of downtime is simply untrue.

          I was told by you that I never asked for a refund and hence, was not getting one, even though I told you I thought the professional thing to do would be to refund the difference. You chose to ignore that and claimed you weren’t going to refund me because I didn’t “file for credits”. Where and on what website are credits for refunds explained?

          The bottom line is, you were “unable to render the service as described” and then used an excuse about credits to circumvent a refund of what, 5 or 6 dollars? Yet someone who mentioned similar problems yesterday via OpenSim on G+ was offered a full simulator for 3 months for free. This seems unfair to me. Did that person file for the required credits?

          I’ve mentioned many times how hard I know you work and how much I can see that you care, and even asked if I could help somehow, but I also tried to reason with you that customers want stability, and that the constant changes and rolling out of new and unfinished features are not only disruptive, but resulting in almost complete unusability. I’m talking about changes to websites, features, coding, passwords, physics, consoles and more, occurring on a daily, not weekly or monthly, basis.

          I finally wrote you a heartfelt plea on the Zetaworlds forum about all these disruptive changes a few days ago, and since then we’ve experienced another downtime due to more upgrading, your Zetaworlds site being down completely, and an email telling us that regions have been dropped.

          Rather than call these concerns drama, I think you’d do your remaining customers a service by responding to the above listed 10 concerns one by one as show of good faith. Regardless, I just hope you’ll take your former clients concerns to heart and I really do wish you the best going forward.

          • hack13

            To answer some of these questions for you:
            1. The fact you were paying for your region while OSgrid is down, your regions are still running we are holding up our end of the service agreement. We are still using server resources running your regions, so when OSgrid comes back online its already up, and your telling us we should charge for that. I disagree, we offered all customers to suspend or move their regions if they didn’t want to move. If you disagree, that’s fine, and that is your choice too.

            2. We never stated we are dropping the region plans, but if that’s how you have interpreted it that is fine.

            3. We have answered these concerns and you never replied to what we replied to you. Zetamex has been purchased, I am no longer the owner. During this change over, I have very little control and I know there are tons of changes. I agree this is very hard on our customers seeing these changes. Whenever a company is purchased, things go kinda haywirey. We have expected several clients to leave during this time. We are working hard to keep clients happy during this transition. Once the transition is complete things will be much better.

            4. You in your comment before said Zetamex is to far spread out. I agree and so did the buyer, 90% of our projects were cut. We are now down to 2 services.

            To answer your question so yes this is drama, and your free to believe other wise. Zetamex is in the switch over progress, and we have warned all our users that all the work will be done on Nov 1st. If people don’t want to wait, please we don’t vendor lock anyone, take your stuff and go to Dreamland, Oliver Lands, or someone else. We still have so many clients who love our service and understand whats going on right now.

          • Echo Argent

            Regarding your #2. This is from the email I received from you yesterday. Can you please clarify?

          • Echo Argent

            Apologies for the triple post, I can’t seem to edit it.

          • hack13

            Correct, we have to close out Region plans. We are not getting rid of them, what we are doing is developing a new solution that will not allow people to abuse resources anymore. In fact all staff members are working on rolling it out as I type this.

            Our new solution replaces and closes out our Region plans, as they were poorly designed to be used at high scale. The new CEO Richard has already ruled some major changes that are coming, and no your price is, well was because you canceled grandfathered for all those that are still with us.

            The new plan uses a new technology, that does isolation on instances and puts in built in blocks from abuse. If a user still manages to abuse, they are automatically moved to an isolation system till they abuse is rectified.

            The new system is part of the new line up coming November 1st, as the new CEO takes the seat early wanting to squash out all these issues in the press and back-end lately. He is on the entire heels of all of us to get the new panel finished, tools done, and even go and talk to each customer individually.

          • Echo Argent

            Okay well, I think you’d have to concede that saying you’re closing them out certainly would sound to a customer like you’re no longer offering them.

            As to point #1, yes, you offered to move OSGrid residents to Metro due to the crashing of OSGrid, but what does that have to do with services being down for me roughly 1/3 of the time that I’d paid for? Can you address your offer to another client who did not file for refund credits that you told me were necessary for compensation of services not rendered?

          • hack13

            As we always state, all you have to do is request it. You send a request via support ticket, and we credit your account. They are not redeemable for actual money.

          • Echo Argent

            And did this other customer do that?

          • hack13

            We have no idea what customer your talking about, also it is against privacy laws for me to discus things of this matter in public. We are bound by US law, which protects the privacy of our assets as well as the assets of our customers.

          • Echo Argent

            A customer who expressed publicly her problems accessing her region or world via Zetamex, and to whom you offered publicly via the same site, OpenSim G+, a full simulator plan for 3 months.

          • hack13

            They have not contacted us directly no, I cannot legally say anything else. I have received no emails or tickets from them.

          • Echo Argent

            Haha…okay then.

            Best of luck to you.

          • hack13

            Whats so funny?

          • Echo Argent

            I was dismayed to suspect that a customer was offered recompense that I wasn’t simply because she brought the matter up publicly. it seems unfair to me, as does your handling of the problems I’ve experienced while being hosted by your company. I’m a bit saddened by your answers but I wish you sincere luck going forward. I’m out.

          • hack13

            Interesting you say this, we offer credits, billing arrangements and more to all our clients. Just have to ask, if you don’t ask, how will we know you want it.

            We have in the past worked with many clients, people whom couldn’t pay their full bill, we make arrangements to split their bill into smaller payments. People who couldn’t pay on time, we extended them at no cost. People who ask for a credit for a problem, we almost always give it if its a valid issue. We work with our customers, and not against them.

          • Echo Argent

            I asked Timothy and you know very well that I did. And I asked again yesterday. And I asked again here. Obviously. I felt I deserved a refund or at least to be offered what you’ve offered people who complained publicly. I created an account here expressly to try and resolve all these concerns as expressing them privately got me a lot of verbage but certainly no 3 month simulator for free. I hope you’ll standarize your way of doing business with your customers going forward, whether they complain once via a public board or privately and sincerely to you for weeks on end.

            I won’t reply again to this. Please close my account, thanks.

          • hack13

            I apologize you feel this way, and we are happy to close your account 🙂

          • You avatar name. Let me ask you Timothy why did you choose the user name hack13 are you a hacker ?

          • hack13

            Firstly, no I am not a hacker. The reason I have the name hack13 is a very long story, but I will sum it up. When I was 13 years old I fell in love with a game called .hack// its about virtual worlds actually. Its a game where a virtual world gets hacked, and people start getting sick in the real world if there character gets hacked by the virus inworld.

            In the game you play as a character called Kite, me not knowing any better when I was a kid named him hack because I was 13 young and dumb and never played video games I thought it was asking me to type the name of the game. So its related to that old game, so the hack part comes from .hack// and the 13 part comes from well I was 13 at the time I started using the internet, as I was sheltered for a long time when I was younger. So my name has kinda stuck with me hack13. I don’t get asked it much but that is how hack13 came to be…

            Now you asked me to explain all this, I want to go buy a playstation 2 again and sit in front of the screen for hours and play the game again :p too bad I have a bunch of clients to service or I actually could have some fun.

          • 🙂 sounds like me. I didn’t have a computer till I was 13 14 ish lol now look at us :p keep up the hard work thx for clarifying. Time to feed my mind Breedables Turtles out now !!!

          • Tho when I was 14 Nintendo 64 just came out and you were a no body unless you had one 🙂 James Bond 007 goldeneye for the win oh and don’t forget about legend of Zelda Oceania of time 🙂

          • Ghaelen D’Lareh

            I’m coming a little late to the party, here, but I am confused. Echo, was your region connected to OSgrid or to the ZetaWorlds grid?

    • AviWorlds

      You cant ever send customers to your #1 competitor.
      I would get a base in canada or really make sure u cannot host a money module in the usa. Since there are a few things u can do to legalise this. But I would create a safe haven for these types of customers and keep them all. A competitor is your business’ s mortal enemy. Thats how i see this Tim. Keep all give nothing to your competitor

      • Hi Alex, I’m Canadian and would still need to follow Canadian law to accept money for virtual goods as Roddie had to do for the Great Canadian Grid. So regardless if Tim moves Zetamex to Canada or not, it is still a big legal mess for us to have our own money module. However there is DTL/NSL and ZetamexWeb, a Opensim website CMS i been developing, does support the latest version of DTL/NSL making it super easy to transfer money between avatars and i will write in soon the ability to support a money avatar and for a grid admin to give that avatar money.

        • AviWorlds

          As far as I know the money offered in a virtual world is to be called TOKENS. THIS is a non exchageble item. But a TOKEN is something that can be classified as PROPERTY and it can be refunded. So being that said if u bought something u are entitled to return it and that can be classified as a refund. USA Recently made changes into law that makes a TOKEN property and not money. It is an object to be more clear.
          So it can be refunded or given back as a return transaction to the grid. Its like POINTS. The player can buy more points or win it inworld. These points or tokens are used inworld to help a player advance his or her gaming in that particular game. Its done in all the games.

          • This is a very gray area of the law. I talked to a number of lawyers about this for various articles (not just for Hypergrid Business, but for the tech and finance pubs I write for during the day) and, in general, in-game tokens are NON-REFUNDABLE. If you go into a video arcade and you buy a bunch of tokens, you can’t turn them back in for a refund. If the establishment does refund your tokens then you’re probably playing a slot machine in a casino — which is very, very highly regulated.

            In payments circles this is known as a “closed loop” gift card. You might have seen these at restaurants. You pay a certain amount of money, and you get a gift card for that amount, which you can give to someone else. That other person cannot redeem it for money. The only exceptions — on a state-by-state basis — are if there’s a few cents left over on the gift card. For small amounts — again, every state sets a different policy here — you can get your change in real money.

            Another example of a closed loop card is an iTunes card. You can only spend it on iTunes. And while you can go to eBay and try to sell it to someone else, Apple won’t give you a refund.

            This, apparently, is the loophole that Second Life is using — they say that they don’t give refunds of the currency, but that you can sell it to another player. But since they’re operating the exchange — currently, the ONLY exchange — and the exchange rate is staying suspiciously level — I think the regulators will eventually crack down on this. At least, if Second Life starts growing again and Lindens become a major currency.

            There are gift cards that you can redeem for their entire cash value. There are Visa gift cards, for example. These are all backed by actual financial institutions and are known as “open loop” cards. There are strict regulations about how they can be used and the reporting requirements those companies have to go through are pretty strict. And much too expensive for startup OpenSim grids.

            This is why Kitely decided to go with a dual currency system. A Kitely Credits system for in-world payments that’s purely fictional and non-redeemable, and a PayPal-based payments system for merchants who want to be able to cash out their earnings.

            And this is why some grids are going with Podex for their currency, so that they’re legally isolated from it all, and — since Podex is based in the UK — US laws about virtual currencies don’t apply.

            I’d love to see an alternative to the OMC that’s better supported, more secure, and available for accredited closed grids to use without a secondary authentication step. And that could be used on multiple grids, so that if one grid closes, you don’t lose all the money in your currency account.

          • AviWorlds

            The refund policy is up to the vendor to offer or not. The non refundable rule is not upheld by law. I have also done my homework on this matter. You must understand that.

          • You can certainly give refunds, but that would make you a “money service business” under US law. That means you would have to: collect personal information from customers, maintain transaction records, file suspicious activity reports and comply with other requirements of money service businesses. Also — register with FinCEN.

            More details here: http://www.perkinscoie.com/en/news-insights/fincen-issues-final-rule-regarding-prepaid-access.html

            In fact, even “closed loop,” non-refundable prepaid access falls under these regulations if it exceeds $2,000 per day.

            Maybe your expert was thinking of low-value open loop prepaid systems? Under the latest laws, even low-value prepaid is regulated, if it: can be (1) used internationally, (2) transferred between or among other persons within the prepaid program, or (3) reloaded by a nondepository (nonbank) source.

            All three of those criteria, unfortunately, apply to OpenSim grid currencies.

          • AviWorlds

            Oh yeah,,, if your grid is taking in abouy or more than 2000 $ P/day…gees yes for all means that needs to be reported as it is the same for any business that is producing profits.
            The property called TOKEN can be refunded that is what I was talking about. The subject here was making an assumption that it was illegal to be done or offered.
            Yes anything with mass amounts of money need to be reported.

          • We’re not talking about reporting as in tax reporting. We’re talking about financial transaction reporting — this is the know-your-customer laws, the anti-money-laundering laws, and a whole stack of other regulations that apply to financial institutions.

            For tax reporting the limit is $600 per year.

            Calling prepaid access a “token” doesn’t change the laws. As far as the authorities are concerned, if it looks like prepaid access, and acts like prepaid access, it IS prepaid access.

            If your lawyer is telling you otherwise, I would check with a different lawyer.

            Or I would hope that my company was too small to regulators to bother with, and — if it ever gets to the size where regulators do care, that there will alternatives to switch to.

          • AviWorlds

            I have checked and re checked. You are all applying a law that does not apply here any longer.
            It is not illegal to sell tokens and to give refunds.
            Virtual currency was considered to be property and not money.
            It can be refunded and sold.
            Now if you are having huge amounts of transactions each day; you need to report it as a business transaction.
            Period. But it is not illegal to conduct such transactions as long as your company report these transactions.
            It is not considered a money exchange. It is a business transaction.

          • Zandramas Grid

            Hate to tell you this but it’s not true, for example if you go to buy Bitcoin at one of those new Bitcoin atms you have to now provide ID as well as finger print and all sorts of information. It is all part of the “know your customer law”.

          • AviWorlds

            The new law regarding virtual currency was put in place because of bitcoins. It is considered property not currency.

          • Yes BitCoin is considered property — as are other virtual currencies — for the purposes of income tax accounting: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/03/irs-bitcoins-are-property-not-currency/

            This is a totally different issue from prepaid access, however. An entirely separate set of laws applies.

          • AviWorlds

            Bitcoin does exchange to real money and it can also be used as currency in some stores and bars around the world. And it is not considered currency it is property.
            So is any token offered by any grid.
            If your grids are having lots of transactions which accounts to a huge amounts of.money then u need to report. But it is not illegal.

          • You are confusing apples and oranges.

            If I’m a company — a cafe, say, that accepts Bitcoin for payment — then when I get the money I record it as if it was a barter trade for any other commodity. Say, if I was paid in apples. I record it based on the market price of apples at the time, I don’t record it as if it was a payment in a foreign currency.

            Now, say that customer used those BitCoins to buy a prepaid coffee card. Or used apples to buy a prepaid card, or used real money, or foreign currency, or sexual favors, or what have you.

            If I allow him to sell that card back to me for real money — instead of just trading it in for coffee — then I would come under money transmittal laws, and have to register as a financial business.

            If he can ONLY use that card to buy coffee and cakes, then it’s a CLOSED LOOP card, and if the amounts stay low, I don’t have to report as if I was a financial organization.

            But if he can turn in that card for cash, then, in effect, I become a money transmitter. He can buy a card one day — for cash, for BitCoin, for apples, whatever — give the card to someone else, and that other person can come and redeem it for money. That’s money transmittal. And that’s why PayPal has to register in all those countries. And that’s why iTunes cards and restaurant vouchers can’t be turned in for cash.

          • AviWorlds

            Maria u are saying that the Federal Reserve decision is wrong.
            All Im saying is that it is not illegal. Yes it is reportable once your total transactions passes the threshold amount that is reportable.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            It actually depends on where in Europe you are how it is taxed. If you are inside the European Union, yes, they will charge tax on region sales, but large swats of Europe are not. In my country VAT is not applied to any transaction in SecondLife. Proceeds are also not tax reportable as they are considered winnings in a game and therefore tax exempt (as income), but could be taxed as wealth at 1% of amounts over $160,000.

          • Zandramas Grid

            It all depends on what country you live and which law, Zandramas is not located in the United States however abides by the laws where it is located at.

          • AviWorlds

            All im saying is that it is legal and you can offer a money module. As long as the vendor complies with the requirements under the law.
            It is legal. Thats what Im saying here.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Our Treasury department have used the US definition of a virtual currency as being «a medium of exchange that operates like a currency in some environments, but does not have all the attributes of real currency. In particular the virtual currency does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction»

            Based on this definition they concluded Bitcoin (and other virtual currencies) are not covered by any EU directives covering payment services and money. They are also not covered by any local legislation, but companies over a certain turnover, should report Bitcoin transactions to tax authorities (and therefore most likely other virtual currencies.) I believe a company would have to have a turnover of close to $1 million per year to have to report this.

            But the picture might be different in other countries. I believe Germany has legislation specific to Bitcoin for instance.

          • Zandramas Grid

            We were looking in to becoming a Money Transmitter when we were looking in to doing our own currency but then saw how much hassle it was. For example if you look at paypal they list all the places in the world they can do business with and you have to get a license in each one of those places. Crazy crazy!

          • Frank Corsi

            your quote is for – “prepaid access,” a term that replaces “stored value” – Pertains to gift card type situations. A virtual Currency will fall under the “Money Transmitter” which is much different

          • It depends on how the currency is used. A virtual currency that is only used as an in-game token, and is not refundable, might not fall under the money transmitter laws but under the prepaid access laws. It’s called the “prepaid exemption” and that’s what you want to fall under to avoid FinCEN registration and other requirements that go along with being a money transmitter.

          • Here’s a section of a story I wrote for Network World recently on this topic:

            Not all virtual currencies are created equal. Some are more virtual than others, and others are a bit more … real.

            And the more real a virtual currency gets, the more legal hoops its issuer will have to jump through.

            On one end of the spectrum are the fully fictional currencies, like the gold coins in Super Mario Brothers. Sure, it would be nice to be able to exchange them for real gold coins but, unfortunately, they exist only inside the video game. You can’t buy them, you can’t sell them, and you can’t give them to anyone else.

            On the opposite end of the spectrum are virtual currencies that act a lot like real money – you can exchange them for other currencies on currency exchanges, you can buy real things with them, you can redeem them for real money.

            “There are a couple of hundred laws that could trigger or not trigger depending on how the virtual currency is set up,” says Deborah Thoren-Peden, a partner with the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

            For example, companies that issue virtual currencies that are redeemable for real money, are, in effect, storing money for their customers.

            “If a company is holding money that belongs to someone else, the states want to make sure that there’s oversight of the funds,” she says. “Generally speaking, you either need to have a bank license or a state money transmitter license, or you have to be an authorized delegate of one of those entities.”

            And if your customers are located in other countries, you would have to comply with the laws of those countries, as well – not to mention the tax consequences of selling virtual currency to foreign buyers.

            There is a middle ground between a purely fictional currency and a fully-redeemable one – a “closed loop” system. This is where the virtual currency can only be used within your platform, is less than $2,000 in total value, and customers can’t trade the virtual currency in for cash except where legally required. For example, a prepaid gift card issued by a store that can only be used to buy things from that store is a kind of virtual currency, and if the balance on the card falls below a certain amount, then some states require that the customers be able to get the rest of their money out in cash.

            If your virtual currency falls into this middle ground, then you’re exempt from certain federal regulations.

            “For programs that don’t qualify, they either have to qualify for one of the other exemptions, or they have to have an anti-money laundering program under the Federal Bank Secrecy Act, which is a very significant undertaking,” Thoren-Peden says.

          • Frank Corsi

            LOL you may want to verify that statement. My company is a registered money transmitter under FinCEN, and we do have active GT (Game Tokens) working in several grids now. All Virtual Currency activity falls under the Money Transmitter

          • Frank Corsi

            A convertible virtual currency that has a centralized repository. The administrator of that repository will be a money transmitter to the extent that it allows transfers of value between persons or from one location to another. This conclusion applies, whether the value is denominated in a real currency or a convertible virtual currency. In addition, any exchanger that uses its access to the convertible virtual currency services provided by the administrator to accept and transmit the convertible virtual currency on behalf of others, including transfers intended to pay a third party for virtual goods and services, is also a money transmitter.

          • According to the lawyers I’ve talked to — including the leading guys in this space — for a number of publications, including for the Association of Financial Professionals — the prepaid exemption for closed loop cards can be used for virtual currency operations where the virtual currency is not refundable for cash. So, for example, if you have a game app where people can spend extra money for, say, gold coins or diamonds or whatever that they can use to level up in the game or buy in-game goods, you do not have to register as a money transmitter. Because, in this case, no money transmission is actually going on — the money is only coming in, not going out and the so-called “virtual currency” is purely for the purposes of the game.

          • Zandramas Grid

            As far as I am aware you can’t get a refund from Kitely for Kitely credits. This is news to me.

          • No, Kitely Credits are NOT refundable and are 100 PERCENT play money. If you are a Kitely merchant, the 45-day cashout period applies to purchases made with real money.

          • Zandramas Grid

            That’s what I thought 😉 Thanks for clarifying Maria.

          • Just to clarify:

            1) You can use Kitely Credits to pay Kitely for its own services (e.g. to get a Premium Account or pay for hosting your worlds) but your KC can’t be refunded, traded, exchanged, transferred, or sold.

            2) KC earned via Kitely Market sales are immediately transfered to the merchant. The 45-day withholding period is only for cashing out marketplace earnings that were paid for using USD.

          • Frank Corsi

            Administrators and Exchangers of Virtual Currency

            An administrator or exchanger that accepts and transmits a convertible virtual currency or buys or sells convertible virtual currency for any reason is a money transmitter under FinCEN’s regulations, unless a limitation to or exemption from the definition applies to the person.

            FinCEN’s regulations define the term “money transmitter” as a person that
            provides money transmission services, or any other person engaged in the transfer of funds. The term “money transmission services” means “the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means.”

            The definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies. Accepting and transmitting anything of value that substitutes for currency makes a person a money transmitter under the regulations implementing the BSA.12 FinCEN has reviewed different activities involving virtual currency and has made determinations regarding the appropriate regulatory treatment of administrators and exchangers under three scenarios: brokers and dealers of e-currencies and e-precious metals; centralized convertible virtual currencies; and de-centralized convertible virtual currencies.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            With OMC, can’t you usually transfer funds between your in-world account and the Virvox account at will or is that up to the grid to implement?

          • With OMC, there’s ONLY the Virwox account. There is no local grid account. It’s like PayPal — your money is with the central company, not with the websites where you spend it.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Understand. Do they have available vendors/scripts that can be used with opensim. I have seen a few shops accepting OMC on OSGrid, but for natural reasons that can’t be checked at the moment.

            Do you also happen to know the status on Paypal vendors?

          • Only way to go with Podex is to go through zetamex what if you rather not use zetamex and want Podex. ? CEO of Podex you need a Canadian distributor 🙂 and not sell exclusive to one company . Only wish Podex worked for hypergrid setups 🙁 sighs

          • If you look on the Podex website, they offer “token” exchanges with more grids then just SL and Zandramas. In fact Zandramas is the ONLY grid on the Podex list of grids that we service, Zandramas has they’re own servers, we just do maintenance on the back end for them.
            And Zetamex is NOT a distributor for Podex. If we were then Podex would of already had a Canadian distributor through me.
            So Josh, you can request for Podex to be on AviWorlds, it’s just up to the CEO of that company to accept your request. Zetamex has nothing to do with who Podex does business with.

          • I had a nice chat with the CEO of Podex so I am aware

          • Frank Corsi

            GT (Game Tokens) will work with hypergrid, and is a true multi-grid virtual game token, used in SL, Inworldz and other grids.

          • Zandramas Grid

            This is wrong information, in fact Podex is on Second Life as well as Virtual Highway also InWorldz & The Adult Grid to name a few. I do know that Podex takes in to decision certain things when servicing a grid and it’s up to Podex there is a lot of trust involved as I’m sure you have seen many grids open and close, Podex wants stability and trust.

          • Zandramas Grid

            We have spoken with a lawyer on this and they told us we could not legally offer a currency even in the way you were specifying as tokens. Whenever you are giving someone a “refund” on something even a game token it is considered currency the moment any type of real money is put in to the equation. For example look at Farmville, you can not cash out your tokens. And also even in World of Warcraft they don’t offer you a way to cash out your gold, and the companies that go in there and sell the game tokens for World of Warcraft is against TOS and those people get banned even the ones going to these companies to buy gold get banned and or warned. We were hoping that with the new laws you talked about with the IRS considering bitcoin property it would change things but it doesn’t and in fact it makes it even worse. This is why we decided to have nothing to do with running a currency to much hassle and we don’t like playing with peoples money.

          • AviWorlds

            The subject here was saying that it is illegal to have or offer a virtual currency. It is not illegal. Yes you need to comply with the law once you offer it.
            It is reportable as a transaction.

            And so are region sales. All region sales moneys are reportable and hosting services are too.

        • I heard from a bird that Podex gave exclusive rights to zetamex and zetamex only. In the USA. But. They do not have a Canadian outpost YET as a former and current real life business owner there are limitations to business but it is also how you word things. Many loopholes are created for just this reason .

  • Han Held

    “Zetamex and Dreamland Metaverse are the two leading hosting companies
    for companies, organizations and individuals running private OpenSim
    grids.” What about simhost?

    • hack13

      I think SimHost is gone, there site is gone, and all the people who I personally knew that had them said they no longer have their services.

    • I haven’t heard from any SimHost customers recently.

      I still list them as a vendor — Adam Frisby told me this spring that, despite the website issues, they’re still operational.

      But I’m no longer listing them as a recommended vendor. Their Twitter hasn’t been updated since 2012. And five months is a LONG time to go without fixing your website issues.

      I noticed in August that the simhost.com website now has a “for sale” label, and I contacted both Adam and James Stallings to find out what’s going on, but didn’t get a response.

      If anybody out there is a SimHost customer, please speak up! Are they still around? Or should I take them off the vendor list altogether?

  • KikkiHover

    Oh and to Bryan i want to say this: What do you expect for 3 USD regions? That people bow for you?I see Twitter on their webpage, so no searching at all. How super is it to have phone support (Who has this anyway?).
    And yes people do not like changes in general and Zetamex always informs their costumers (maybe you did not read). And if this takes more time to make sure all works for the costume, then it should. Important is that all works!
    And about the Money module: Ever thought about the legalities involved? And besides there are alternatives.
    You cannot have ALL for a lousy 3 USD monthly for a sim !

    • hack13

      Thank you KikkiHover, we do our best but I know that sometimes no matter what you do the old saying is true. “You can try and please all the people sometimes, but you can’t please all the people all the time.”

  • AviWorlds

    Look I wish Zetamex and Tim well. I am not here to crucify him or his business. I have been critical yes. I hope Tim can take my criticism and my opinions and make ZETAMEX the best! Its got potential! But in my opinion which I have expressed and come down hard on TIM; I do hope they can take a TIME OUT meaning regrouping and discussing a few major things that need improvement. Nothing is 100% and perfect. God knows I am not and I should not ask of that from anyone.
    So for that I say GodSpeed ZETAMEX AND TIM AND HIS TEAM. If there is anything I can help let me know. Cheers!

    • “TIME OUT meaning regrouping and discussing a few major things that need improvement” we are in the process of doing that as i type this. It will take awhile though so please be patient with us.

  • I started skylifegrid on zetamex and I did not enjoy my time I think it lasted a full month before I got the out. 100s Emails sent only few replies not to mention the downtime. I did not want to say anything about my experiences but since I am not the only one I figure I would put it put there Zetamex is great for small hosted mini grids and standalones/sims but to run a full scale commercial setup for someone is too much work thus why it did not work for aviworlds or skylife. I must say that self hosting is the way to go

    • Full console control direct access to restart simulators ect all needed a ticket to be submitted and when a simulator crashed it at times took 12 hours to have them restart it. If you want total control and instant access to fix issues when they arise you must host your own.

      • maybe like two years ago Josh but not now as Tim and I are working on My Zetamex aka ZetaPanel 3.0 which will give customers the ability to restart regions and backup and download they’re OAR’s.

  • Ok I do need to say something concerning ODE and Bulletsim but dont mean to start any problems.
    I have found that using a ODE vehicle on a Bulletsim region has caused Opensim.exe to freak out and vis versa.
    I have also found out the hard way through a customer that Opensim.exe starts to freak out when there are physical prims below the terrain on BS sims which caused alot of lag for my friend’s bulletsim var that had boats that some how got half way below the terrain.
    Also vehicle lag and usage depends on how that vehicle is scripted. Take SecondLife for example.
    I bought 2 cars from Pro Street and they are undrivable as they dont handle going over prim roads to well, but i have bought 1 car and 4 bikes all using ACS and it’s like driving in GTA 4, except without the wrecks.
    I don’t know exactly what Mr. French’s problem was with vehicles on his grid. I’m just stating this for others to know what problems I have run into hoping it will help others with there vehicles on ODE and/or Bulletsim.

    P.S. I dont mean to rip on Pro Street, they do make beautiful looking cars and wouldn’t mind buying more from them soon, i am just stating fact from my own personal experience with driving vehicles in SL.

  • Interesting Conversation Or Rather From a one Zetamex Employee read about it here exposethefacts

  • Extremely Unprofessional Police have been informed

    • @ The Website Moderators this may go beyond your site terms But I feel the people should know the facts!