Xmir grid opts for OMC currency

  • OMC helps establish an economy for the XMIR grid
  • OMC allows hypergrid travelers to make payments
  • OMCs can be purchased with the widest variety of payment options

To help establish an economy for the grid, the recently-launched commercial Xmir grid has added support for in-world payments via the OMC currency from Virwox, a virtual currency exchange based in Switzerland

With over 340.000 registered users, Virwox provides a wide variety of options for trading virtual currencies, including the hypergrid-enabled OMC currency, Second Life’s Linden Dollars, Avination’s C$ and BitCoin, and allows several different payment methods.

Andwest Bay region on Xmir grid.

Andwest Bay region on Xmir grid.

“Many European virtual world users are not able to make payment transactions with PayPal, and Virwox was therefore a natural choice as a currency for the grid,” said Xmir founder Gavin Hird.

In addition to standard credit cards and PayPal, Virvox lets people transfer money via Sofort Banking, paysafecard, Ukash, Skrill from Moneybrokers and OKPAY.

Users with avatars in Second Life and Avination can also transfer money between L$, C$ and their OMC accounts.

People with the ability to mine or make transactions in Bitcoin can also exchange crypto currency funds to other virtual currencies including the OMC, said Hird. This can make it more attractive for some to participate in virtual world economies.

The Xmir grid also sells content through PayPal on the Xmir store on the Kitely Market. But not everyone can make payments with PayPal — something that limits the reach of products sold there, said Hird.

Xmir store on Kitely Market.

Xmir store on Kitely Market.

“Adding the OMC gives us more flexibility to reach more customers with our products in addition to facilitating the establishment of other merchants and services on the grid,” he said.

OMC trading volumes have been falling this year due to a lack of support from Virwox, grids switching to their own, proprietary currencies, and the news that Virwox was charging an inactivity fee of the equivalent of 2 Euros a month for accounts that had been inactive for more than twelve months.

OMC trading volumes and active users began rebounding recently after declines earlier this year. (Chart based on Virwox data.)

OMC trading volumes and active users began rebounding recently after declines earlier this year. (Chart based on Virwox data.)

However, OMC usage began growing again over the past few weeks, and the OMC module for OpenSim now works.

“I took it from the git repository that Virvox directed me to and compiled it myself,” said Hird. “The I followed the installation instructions. I have found one issue that for free items they get delivered two times.”

Virwox came out with an immediate fix that has resolved the problem, he added.

The paid-for deliveries work as expected, he added. Whenever a user is on a region that is enabled for OMC, their OMC balance shows up in their viewer, but all payment processing actually happens on the Virwox website. This is similar to how PayPal payments work — any website or grid can choose the accept the payments, but all transactions require a separate confirmation step. A user only needs to have one Virwox account, which they can access from any OMC-enabled grid.

In addition, all legal liabilities are handled by Virwox, with no compliance or other regulatory issues affecting the grids themselves.

“We believe that establishing solid virtual economies outside the for now de facto Second Life economy is important both for content creators and the ability of many new residents who don’t have the time or inclination to build everything they require for their virtual existence from scratch,” Hird added. “Establishment of such economies is paramount to providing Second Life residents viable alternatives as Second Life reach maturity and Linden Lab develops their second generation virtual world which will be less compatible with the vast selection of virtual content that exists, while OpenSim for the foreseeable future will retain close to 100 percent compatibility with it.”

About Virwox

Virwox is a virtual currency exchange operated by Virtual World Services Gmbh based in Austria. Founded in 2007, it is one of the oldest and largest exchanges trading in the Linden dollar.

About OMC

Unlike most other in-world currencies, which can only be used on one grid, the OMC is a multi-grid currency. According to Virwox, it is currently accepted on 59 grids, used by 14,212 Virwox account holders, and has 785,952 OMC  — about US $3,478 —  in circulation.

About Xmir

Xmir is a new commercial grid focusing on mesh content that launched earlier this fall. It currently has about 30 regions and 75 active users, almost all of whom visit the grid via hypergrid teleport.

Press Release

This is a press release, contributed by an outside company or organization and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of anybody at this publication. Read about how to write a press release here. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/HypergridBiz.

  • As a comparison with Kitely Market has been made in this article, I think it is worth noting that the monthly transaction volume in Kitely Market far exceeds that in the entire OMC network combined. It is also interesting to note that while transaction volume in OMC has seen a sharp decline over the past 6 months, the trend in Kitely Market has been of continued growth.

    In addition, it’s important to remember that content sold from Kitely Market can be bought in the 203 countries where PayPal works using most credit and debit cards. While there are some issues with PayPal-based subscriptions in some countries we rarely see problems with people not being able to make one-off
    purchases using PayPal. See:
    https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/country-worldwide

    Lastly, Kitely Market is a website-based marketplace that automatically delivers bought items to avatars on any Hypergrid-enabled grid and several closed grids. Meanwhile, for people to be able to buy items using OMC they need to setup their own personal OMC account, go to a grid where the OMC module has been installed, then search for items that can be bought there.

    That’s a lot more hassle for your potential customers than just going to the Kitely Market website, adding the items they want to a shopping cart, specifying which avatar on what grid they want the items to be delivered to and completing a transaction using their credit/debit card. Even verifying a new grid as a Kitely Market delivery option is done by pressing a link in an IM sent to your avatar, without requiring you to install anything like the OMC module on that grid (this new-grid-verification process is something that only needs to be done once and only by the first person delivering to that grid from Kitely Market).

    To summarize, you can reach more people and earn more money by selling in Kitely Market than by setting up shoppes in OMC-enabled grids.

    • Geir Nøklebye

      Ilan, it is not a question of either / or. For xmir the Kitely Market will be the most important channel to market for a large section of products, but they Kitely Market does not bring support for local economies to the individual grids, and neither does PayPal. So there is a need for both, and in that respect OMC fills an important role.

      The ability to transfer virtual currencies between grids including SecondLife is also an important factor, and can lower the barrier to participation in opensim in general and in the opensim economies in particular.

      Finally, since your asset servers are in the US, you are subject to the same issues as Linden Lab with respect to certain items that cannot be legally stored for trading. Specifically the gambling/games type items that there was so much noise about this summer and early fall, but there might be others too.

      • Frank Corsi

        The GT (game token) virtual currency is FinCEN registered in the USA and is operating in Secondlife, Inworlds and many other grids including the newly created open to connect, ATEK Grid. GT’s also offer shopping credit cards and personal and business loans to members, all with zero fees to the members. 1000 GT = $1 usd buy and sell. Never will any GT’s be removed for inactivity.

    • Customer

      You have plans for High Fidelity with a marketplace,ok, now have you considered what philip rosedale has stated many times (MANY TIMES) now that they plan on making core services such as names,branding & a marketplace the main source of income for high fidelity’s profits.
      Have you considered philip rosedale past history regarding 3rd party marketplaces in virtual worlds? two of them arguably were put out of business, while the other two were bought out then combined as the SL marketplace.

      He is being backed by billionaire owned investment groups including the founder of mozilla firefox, google and linden lab,
      all that money being paid for this new open source universe being built will be expected to be paid back in some manner as those who are highly invested are capital for-profit sensitive. some of it might have been grants but you can bet not all of it plus high fidelity has to cover payroll,rent & tax’s plus countless things we do not know yet.

      I think maybe also considering what other new business opportunitys might be worth investigating in high fidelity for early adapters would be a good Plan B, taken philip cake & eaten it too might be a bit risky if one considers some history.

      • Unlike Second Life, High Fidelity is trying to create a distributed open-soruce Metaverse. If it tries to monopolize content distribution then capable developers can, and will, create forks of the main code-base which are not locked into using their services.

        High Fidelity, the company, can’t prevent that from happening unless it steps back from their open-source strategy. Doing so will make them significantly less attractive to users and developers than other open-source projects that aim to power The Metaverse. For a good comparison, you can look at what happened to the MySQL ecosystem after the company that developed that open source project was acquired by Oracle. MySQL still exists but its key developers now work on competing solutions that derived from it – solutions which are gaining market share from MySQL amongst both developers and users.

        As a side note, we’ve already downloaded the High Fidelity code base, compiled it and even contributed a couple of patches to it. Given that Kitely already developed alternatives to many of the services that High Fidelity wishes to monetize, we’re already set up to compete with that company on multiple fronts if it decides to regulate content distribution down the road. If we’re forced to go down that path you can be sure we’ll make certain our distribution will retain the open metaverse goal that High Fidelity is currently working towards creating.

    • Frank Corsi

      How does Kitely Market effect grids from renting land to content developers?
      As with secondlife marketplace, the sellers do not need to rent land anymore, I see this method will not encourage anyone to rent land from grid owners.

      • The issue of online shopping isn’t going to be solved by complaining about online shops. Look offline for examples — how do stores continue to attract foot traffic when online retailers are more convenient?

        Sometimes, they can’t, and they close. And yes, that means the value of the land drops.

        Other times, they are able to figure out special affordances that a physical presence offers. Community, for example, face-to-face support. Coffee.

        If an in-world store is nothing but a bunch of product images arranged in a less convenient way than on a website, then all it offers is annoyance for the shopper. You might be able to prop it up for a while with unique product lines that aren’t available online, or by keeping the entire grid closed to online deliveries — the virtual equivalent of banning FedEx from your town in order to keep the mall afloat.

        But those are short-term tactics. Merchants either have to move online, or learn to create communities and events around their in-world locations to give people a reason to come.

        • lmpierce

          “Look offline for examples — how do stores continue to attract foot traffic when online retailers are more convenient?”

          There are many reasons people shop in stores versus online that aren’t really applicable to virtual worlds. Getting out of the house is a big one, as well as being able to try on clothes (and that gets into the whole ‘touch and feel’ aspect that people love when shopping, especially for clothes and groceries), the side trip for a coffee drink, or dinner, or meet-up with a friend… and of course, the fact that for most people, going to the mall or a store is a fun and immersive way to interact with products (unless one chooses to limit their shopping experiences to big box stores). And while on that topic, who wants farmer’s markets to be replaced by Amazon drones delivering bags of tomatoes, avocados and lettuce anyways?

          I think that the online shopping for virtual goods in websites highlights a true shortcoming of virtual worlds, especially when the admitted reason is convenience. But in the case of virtual worlds, the benefits of real world shopping cannot be applied. There is no ‘touch and feel’, although in a lesser way, trying on demo outfits is an example of a tangible benefit. But overall, virtual stores are online stores with all the inconvenience of physical shopping, but basically few of the perks. Yet turning virtual world stores into community events isn’t a practical ongoing widespread solution. In fact, it seems like that would be a very tiring way to shop inworld.

          As noted, it seems that website based shopping will continue and grow, even as it shows that virtual worlds are not satisfying enough when it comes to immersion and engagement, at least not for shopping. I personally prefer to shop inworld (and I simply make a real cafe mocha to have at my side while I wander about). I find doing inworld shopping is part of the metaverse experience I’m after, so I understand the concerns of those who see themselves as shopkeepers rather than Web masters.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            While 2D (web) based shopping is a convenience for many, also in a virtual world setting we have to make sure we don’t remove the incentives to even enter 3D virtual worlds, which I think has been one of the effects of the SecondLife Marketplace in combination with FaceBooking the experience. I believe this have been one of the root causes of stalling their growth, and a direct cause of reducing landmass as merchants have reduced or discarded in world display areas.

            What I’d like to see is many of the marketplace search and purchasing capabilities integrated into the viewer so it becomes part of the in-world search and explore experiences, where you also can teleport directly to a display or demo location to see items in-world before you purchase them. You should not have to leave the viewer to make a purchase, even if it is served from a marketplace.

            One of the things human beings are pretty good at is building 3D maps and knowing where things are in our real world. We are in comparison pretty useless at knowing where in flat marketplace the same things are and without search we are quite lost.

            How many times have you not experienced “you know you saw that item in that store, but you cannot recall who made it or even what is was called” so you go to that store hunting for it. People experience exactly the same when exploring in-world, they get new ideas, they talk to people, the see thing they might find hand for later use. You can of course get some of the same feeling from 2D shopping, but what you almost always miss is the feeling of how an item fits in a surrounding or environment. Your brain simply has less stimuli to quickly spins off new ideas that you can adapt to your own life, needs and desires.

            To succeed building virtual experiences we have to make it compelling to both enter and stay in-world – and in-world browsing and shopping is part of that. That also appeals to us with brains that are good at making 3D maps of our surroundings and navigating them effectively.

          • lmpierce

            I like your idea of marketplace tools built right into the viewer and agree one should not need to leave the viewer to make a purchase, even if served from a marketplace.

            However, users have shown a preference for the speed and convenience of Web-based shopping over inworld shopping. And unlike Second Life, which has a comprehensive search over all of its regions, finding products in OpenSim worlds, let alone finding products with suitable permissions, is a whole different order of challenge. That’s a big part of why Kitely makes a lot of sense.

            Nonetheless, I still prefer inworld activity because, after all, that’s part of the point of being in a virtual world. But the suggestion to make virtual world experiences more compelling is a long time running, and if there were some definite answers, we’d be on to them already. Additionally, I think it’s not only what the world provides, but it’s the mindset that we bring with us that determines the final experience. So, for now, users tend to prefer the 2D Web to shop for their 3D virtual goods.

            I guess I should even consider this comment in light of what I’ve written: We are ‘talking’ and sharing ideas about virtual worlds, but we are doing it in a 2D text forum, not in an immersive 3D space. That has some irony in it! (I would add though that I am enrolled in a weekly course that meets in Second Life and Kitely, so like many, I use multiple modalities overall).

          • Sometimes, inconvenient things do come with side benefits. When I first moved to Shanghai, the only way I had to find anything was to randomly wander the streets in the hopes that I would find a store that sold what I needed. Finding plates, notebooks, toilet paper — anything, really! — was a major problem. But, as a result, I got to know Shanghai better, and I also go to know other expats as we exchanged information about how to find, say, the stationary street. (There was an entire street filled with tiny little stationary stores.)

            By the time I had left five years later. I was doing most of my shopping at a Walmart-sized supermarket that went up one block away that had everything. There was also a Staples not far away — and if I was too lazy to get down to the store, they regularly sent us their office supply catalogs. Instead of having to scrounge for English-language reading materials in one hotel bookstore after another, there were now big stores that had everything.

            And if I still couldn’t find something, I could go online. The influx of expats meant that the bullet boards were full of useful advice on anything and everything.

            Do I miss the early days? Sure. They were fun and exciting. Would I do them over again? Absolutely not. I liked being able to order New York Style Pizza in the middle of the night.

            You can’t go back in time to where you had less convenience, simply because there were some other compensating factors.

            You have to adjust with the times and yes, not everyone can make the adjustment. Hunts, fashion shows, expos, live music, live support staff — those might work for some products but not for others. Many merchants would be better off moving online, and giving up their in-world space to others who can make better use of it.

            Do people spend less time in-world? Maybe. Take me, for example, I like wearing new clothes on InWorld Review, so I spend a few minutes shopping each week between shows. Maybe … 30 minutes. I’m still in-world when I do it, but in a changing room where I can unpack stuff, not inside stores. If I had to visit stores individually, the shopping would take me twice as long. I do not like shopping so, for me personally, it would mean that I would buy half as much. So, for the merchants who sell to me, it’s a no-brainer — not only do I buy more online, but they don’t have to pay the overhead of rent.

            When it comes to shopping in OpenSim, I buy everything from Kitely. I do occasionally go in-world to look for freebie stores, since OpenSim Creations went down, but as soon as there’s a marketplace that offers freebies *and* paid goods, I’ll just spend all my time there, instead.

            I really really really hate standing in a packed store waiting for textures to rez, and never knowing what the license terms are, or whether I can take them to my home grid. I hate scrolling through vendors. I DID very much like the freebie store setup on the OpenSim Community Conference Grid, where the clothes were hanging on racks, you could wander around through different sections with different styles of clothing, and all you had to do was click on something to get it.

            RL stores do a lot of that — they organize clothing into areas by style or collection, they change everything regularly to keep things fresh and seasonal, they play nice music and spray perfume in the air — they make it fun to window shop, even if you weren’t going to buy anything.

            At the end of the day, it’s all about putting the customers first. Any platform that deliberately makes life worse for users isn’t going to last long, no matter how noble the intent.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            it is never a question of either / or. I have started adding vendors that let in-world visitors choose if they want to buy the item on the Kitely market if it is listed there, or they can buy in-world with OMC.

            Of course, there are quite a bit of free items, and those are not so easy for everyone to get from Kitely Market as the minimum price for exportables is set to $1, so unless you have KC they are really not free (there is a small KC fee for Kitely residents.)

            Right now there is a small but growing selection of free and nice Christmas themed items in the Norderhov sim of xmir.

          • Hi Geir,

            The minimum price for items listed in Kitely Credits (KC) is 10 KC which equals about $0.03 when buying KC at the maximum discount rate. Anyone can buy items listed in KC in Kitely Market. If they don’t have enough KC then the required number of KC are just added to their shopping cart.

            In other words, people don’t have to be Kitely residents to buy items listed in KC in Kitely Market neither do they have to buy KC in advance to do so.

          • Hi Geir,

            The minimum price for items listed in Kitely Credits (KC) is 10 KC which equals about $0.03 when buying KC at the maximum discount rate. Anyone can buy items listed in KC in Kitely Market. If they don’t have enough KC then the required number of KC are just added to their shopping cart.

            In other words, people don’t have to be Kitely residents to buy items listed in KC in Kitely Market neither do they have to buy KC in advance to do so.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Right, I must have misunderstood the export settings somewhat then. I was under the impression exportable items had to have a minimum price of $1. I Have updated my 10 KC items. Thanks for clearing that up!

          • My pleasure. The $1 minimum is for items listed in USD not for exportable items (which can be sold for USD and/or KC).

          • Frank Corsi

            I do not expect any grid who depends on renting land for income to embrace this method. Also where can we see a list of grids that support the Kitely Market?

          • Kitely Market delivers to any Hypergrid-enabled grid or standalone (plus several closed grids that have made exceptions for deliveries from Kitely Market).

            You can read about how buyers can specify what grid/standalone to deliver their bought items to here:
            http://www.kitely.com/virtual-world-news/2014/03/21/kitely-market-hypergrid-delivery-now-open-to-all/

            You can read instructions for how to deliver to a new Hypergrid-enabled grid/standalone here (i.e. to destinations for which no one has previously completed the Kitely Market grid verification process): http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/03/kitely-market-now-delivers-to/

            You can read about the procedure for enabling delivery to closed grids here: https://kitely.atlassian.net/wiki/display/doc/How+To+Enable+Kitely+Market+in+Non-Hypergrid+Grids

            FYI, Maria has already written 3 articles about closed grids that have made exception for our delivery system. Those grids rent land and have not only welcomed Kitely Market deliveries, they also use the fact that their grids can get content from Kitely Market as a selling point.

          • corranjournal

            Why can’t those grids, and regions, rent residential and ‘play’ regions? I don’t have a store here in my RL house but I still rent the space to live in, I suspect grids that adapt will survive and grids that don’t will perish – welcome to Real Life. ~Winter

          • Geir Nøklebye

            I agree with you that grids depending on land rental will have more issues with such a marketplace as it directly can erode their primary source of income. Also, the way the Kitely Marketplace is set up, it is very hard to use it for branding – be it for your grid or if a creator or merchant wants to run multiple distinct product lines.

            This problem is not unique to the Kitely Marketplace but has been a long standing criticism of the SecondLife Marketplace. By mashing everything into one big lump as we see on SLM, the result is often horribly skewed search results, but worse search results that often can be directly off-putting for many (potential) customer groups, and I submit it is another reason why SecondLife has the rather dingy reputation it has with the public. In my view it contributes to business shunning SecondLife.

            My suggestion to improve this is to apply interest / focus profiles to the search result where users can select from a set of standard profiles that can be tweaked to their preferences. It will also lower the risk of being exposed to unwanted content and lowers the market operator’s risk profile and vector for customer or media complaints.

            This in combination with merchant branding so the merchants can take better control over presentation, pricing, campaigns, seasonality and responsibility for own products. I understand this is a departure from how the Kitely Marketplace currently operates and needs to be discussed and scoped further by all interested parties.

          • Frank Corsi

            Geir you have good points, and I do agree a better mousetrap can be made.

          • Each merchant has his or her own store in Kitely Market with its own banner. The integrated advertising system enables merchants to create bigger banner ads for their stores and the upcoming sales/promotions system will enable merchants to direct people to particular groups of items from multiple categories (while filtering out other items).

            The Kitely Market home page already includes some personalization elements, e.g. the categories you are shown will differ from those that other people are presented. This system is still quite primitive in the selection process but the underlying engine is already active in the marketplace. More advanced personalization features and capabilities are planned for the future.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            I am more talking about merchant store-fronts than store banners and they could even be grouped in “streets”.

            One example of a street could be an Educational institution or a business who want to control where their users gets merchandice from (approved merchants.) or because a grid and merchants found it beneficial to group merchants originating from that grid, or it could be themed streets where merchants catering to football hooligans, content developers, the gay community or breedables could present their offerings specific to that interest field just to name a few.

          • lmpierce

            It sounds trying to make a virtual world, only in 2D rather than 3D. Too bad customers don’t simply prefer the 3D streets upon which shops could be organized. It’s becoming like, “‘3D virtual worlds’ (only without the ‘3D’)”…

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Personally I would have preferred a focus / profiled search result returned in the viewer where the customer could do all the transactions in world including teleporting to the 3D store.

          • Geir —

            You have a good point about it not being either/or. A merchant can have a store on Kitely Market, stores on popular grids, stores in hyperports (like someone else mentioned in this thread, many grids offer free store space to merchants, and Hyperica is one of them!). You can have your own branded website selling your content, as well — like Total Avatar Shop does.

            Also, there’s no reason why we can’t have multiple websites. Kitely might want to be the Amazon.com of the metaverse, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also have Staples.com, Toys.com, EthanAllen.com, etc… etc…

            In fact, I’ve been after Kitely for a while to offer private-label grids — now I’m interested in private-label marketplaces as well! I would love to have my own version of the Kitely Market, where I have an attractive, curated selection of business-friendly products, and advertise it on Hypergrid Business, and keep a portion of every transaction. It would save me the time and effort of building my own.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            There is definitely a business oportunity for someone to provide what you describe, and many, including myself, would be interested in using one.

          • lmpierce

            I don’t think it follows that merchants should move offline, and give up their inworld space to others who can ‘make better use of it’, although it does make sense to argue that merchants need an online shop (2D Web-based) if that’s how their customers will prefer shopping.

            I would suggest to have both methods. After all, inworld ‘real estate’ is not finite or at a premium – the land area costs are tiny and having inworld shops in no way precludes an unlimited amount of everything else we might want inworld. In fact, many worlds could benefit from more content of every kind. Well-designed shops add a lot of character to a region. And the good news is, OpenSim worlds have the potential to allow much richer environments through high prim limits. I don’t see a downside to multiple shopping methods. The fact that some inworld stores could be better designed is not a reason to abandon them in principle. I’m been to many well designed stores in Second Life that I felt offered an excellent shopping experience. After all, many websites have horrible designs as well (I’m thinking real world goods), so an online marketplace is no guarantee of an optimal experience.

          • lmpierce

            I would further add that inworld shops would be an opportunity to showcase products that are available in Web-based marketplaces, but in the context in which they will be used. The inworld shops would have all the benefits of a 3D environment with lighting, ambient character and so on. Sample products can be made available. From there, links could lead to the relevant product pages. Media-on-a-prim can be used mitigate the divide between the two forms of engagement. By creating excitement for products inworld, the whole paradigm of shopping for virtual goods is reinforced on the levels of both the immersive experience, and on the level of customer preferences – that is to say, the methods of shopping are amplified in a win-win manner.

          • Frank Corsi

            I do agree with you Impierce! But what ive heard was that creators do not even need to make an avatar in the grids they now can sell items in. The concept of, as you say the in store experience is lost.
            A hybrid type marketplace of web based search tool to find what you may want, details of the items for sale, but then only allow a teleport directly to the store for purchase. This method will encourage in world growth, land sales, avatar activity with creators.
            Im getting feedback, as to what may be the best solution to make everyone happy.

          • lmpierce

            Perhaps the way to look at this is to be opportunity focused. Those merchants who can attract visitors to inworld stores may create more online sales than those who don’t. A bit like gaining a competitive edge through advertising. Merchants that only show their products online may be forsaking an opportunity to attract the most customers.

            Despite my personal preferences for shopping, I think there’s a problem with forcing people to shop inworld. I would always suggest fulfilling people’s preferences, but that doesn’t mean one can’t add to the experience by offering additional experiences. I think encouragement trumps outright manipulation.

            If most customers actually preferred inworld shopping, the Web-based marketplaces would flounder, but as Kitely has found, such online marketplaces are very popular. In other words, the impact of this dynamic on world growth, land sales, etc. has already been determined by the customers.

            Yet if we see inworld stores as meaningful experiences that contribute to online shopping (and design them accordingly), this would also encourage world growth, land sales and avatar activity, but without trying to change the customer’s mind about how they want to make purchases, do searches, and so on.

          • My method in Kitely is for all sales to be driven via the Mp, but I still have an in-world showroom where people can see a large selection of items firsthand. Its open to Hypergrid, so anyone from any open grid can drop by. So the concept of a “store” has just shifted a little to that of a “showroom” instead.

            This whole “online kills in-world” thing doesn’t fly with me. The only reason people dont have in-world locations is if you make it too expensive for them to be present. I would LOVE to still have a store in SL, but the cost of land makes it prohibitive. Especially for someone like me who needs lots of space.

            Plus, I have been around long enough to remember Sl without the Maretplace and shopping was a laggy, confusing nightmare. The tools for displaying products effectively are woefully inadequate in-world. Give me a nice clean website with pictures and a clear description any day.

            OS also has its distributed nature to complicate matters further. An online marketplace that can serve all those spread out grids is the most elegant solution.

            I can understand grid owners being butthurt about it though. Not only do the merchants not buy land on their grids, they also miss out on a chunk of transaction fees. But its either take it, build your own or go without.

          • lmpierce

            I like that term, “showroom”. In fact, it’s great how a virtual world can be used in that way for little cost – real world retailers also use formal showrooms for things like furniture, but it costs so much more for actual real estate it’s no wonder online shopping favors the small business.

            It remains though that the very points about the advantages of web-based shopping arise from the inherent shortcomings of virtual worlds, namely that the extra effort they require is experienced as ‘inconvenience’ rather than part of the immersive experience (and therefore desirable). While some of this emerges from poor design (as you say, some stores create a lag-laden and disorienting experience), the paradigm itself is slow, i.e. avatars have to move about a great deal to shop in a virtual world. But again, I find that this can be experienced as part of the aim of being in a virtual world, or as an annoying impediment to buying things as quickly and efficiently as possible. And actually, this issue mirrors the diversity of shopping alternatives in the physical world. Does anyone else like lingering in an antique store or art gallery or farmer’s market, or am I the last person not to use Amazon for everything?

          • Geir Nøklebye

            I don’t think you are the last person to use Amazon for everything. 🙂

            If you are very intent on what you want and need online shopping can be very efficient, but too often you need to see and experience the item before making the purchase, so both RL and in-world stores plays an important role when selling and buying.

            I also feel that online shopping takes away the spontaneus about physical shopping as you are less likely to come home with the “unexpected” item + in the real world there is also the delivery time, which we obviously don’t have in a virtual world unless something goes wrong.

            I have a hybrid model in that in SecondLife I both have an in-world presence in addition to being on the marketplace where I see a trend I am making more in-world sales lately than marketplace sales. The MP is getting a to be a bewildering place and in many product categories a zoo.

            In opensim I have a presence on the Kitely marketplace for – not all my products – but for some. I don’t have a sim on the Kitely grid, and the reason for that is that I already had a development standalone with all the resources I use in the development process, and it did not make sense to re-up everything to Kitely. It only would leave me with less control of my resources.

            When OSG crashed I merged the standalone and the OSG sims to what is now the hypergridded xmir grid, which primary purpose is to be a development grid and showcase, but will also be a location where some products that does not naturally fit on the Kitely marketplace, or where I have to rework products to comply with their listing guidelines which for some categories are stricter than the SL Marketplace.

            It is also not so easy to market everything under one store identity on the marketplace (both Kitely and SL) when you in reality have distinct brands that don’t naturally mix well under one umbrella.

            Because I am in a European country there are also product cases I can trade that Kitely cannot put on the marketplace because their asset servers are in the US, and therefore are restricted by US legislation. It could also swing the other way where I have restrictions put on me by my local legislation of course.

          • Frank Corsi

            I do agree with Geir.
            One of the biggest issues with SL has been the fall of the in world shopping. From what I see of this “online shopping” model, a seller does not even have an avatar is a grid to take advantage of selling to all of its members.
            I can see this working for some situations, but overall this method does not encourage content creators to make an avatar in a grid and then rent land there to sell products.
            This may appear easy to the buyer, but it will effect the overall growth of the communities it effects forever.
            The teleport to a store and make a purchase method, I feel is the only positive method, that will ensure the grid owner can pay for its servers and remain online to serve its members.

          • I am curious why you think having a merchant sell there stuff to your grid but not be directly active is a bad thing? I know I dont have the time or inclination to go set up a shop on every grid in OS.

            The grid benefits from the content either way. Without content its all just empty fields on a server. So even if your not taking a sales cut or the merchant rents land from you, the grid still benefits from the availability of content. Would you rather its not available? I dont get it.

        • corranjournal

          Inworld shops are dying out it’s as simple as that. So, we buy on the marketplace, whatever it is, to play with inworld. I don’t see a problem with that. It just means more residential and “play” areas inworld and less shops. ~Winter

      • Many people wish to have virtual land for activities that aren’t shopping related. That is not going to change just because most people find buying items in a marketplace more convenient than doing it inworld.

        Kitely Market gives most grid users access to more legal content than they can get from the merchants who’ve opened shop in their home grid. This makes it easier for grids to retain users who have no reason to relocate to another grid just to buy the content they want. This, of course, can also be achieved in Hypergrid-enabled grids by having people teleport to whatever destination the content is available at but, as stated previously, most people prefer shopping in a marketplace.

        • corranjournal

          Yes! As in Real Life what’s the difference? online shopping is hurting RL businesses but people haven’t stopped living in homes, farming land, playing/recreation. I think the shift towards online marketplaces like Kitely will “shift” inworld commerce but it will be towards ‘play’. I have 3 regions in TanGLe grid. I offer shop space for free. I offer residential space for free. If I wanted to make money I would rent out the residential spaces. I would “adapt” and that’s what business is all about – adapting with the times. As the old saying goes “change or die”. ~Winter

      • “the sellers do not need to rent land anymore, I see this method will not encourage anyone to rent land from grid owners.”

        As one of the bigger Kitely merchants, I can tell you that is flat out incorrect. I currently have 13 sims, and I know other designers/merchants who have big worldspaces too. 21strom and Hosoi Ichiba for example. In Sl, where land is stupid expensive this argument has merit but not here in OS.