New AviWorlds owner throws in the towel

A week ago, I asked: Can AviWorlds find stability under new management?

We got the answer today, and the answer is, “No.”

“After many weeks of thoughtful consideration, as well as viewing the many comments on Google+, Facebook, and in private emails, we’ve decided to end the battle and close AviWorlds Grid,” said AviWorlds’ new owner, Mike Hart, in an announcement earlier today.

Hart, best known for The Next Reality Grid, home to a race course and an adults-only “red light” district, took AviWorlds over from previous owner Alexsandro Pomposelli in a process that was anything but smooth and straightforward.

Pomposelli, who is also known as Alex Ferraris in-world, had previously said that he would have to close the grid if nobody took it over because he was unable to continue managing it. But the transition announcement was barely sent out before he had second thoughts and began warring with the new owners over content and domain names.

Then he set up a new, competing grid, Avi-Labs, with the goal of bringing back all his former users.

The users, by the way, were the whole point of the exercise — AviWorlds has long been a popular grid for Brazilians, despite its frequent outages, restructurings, moves, and business model changes.

“We struggled with the decision, but finally came to the conclusion that we would abandon the AviWorlds namesake, and start fresh, but not entirely without a foundation to build upon, hence the step back to Next Reality,” said Hart. “Next Reality has many plans for the future, as well as new places to visit.”

Coming soon on Next Reality Grid -- submarine tours.

Coming soon on Next Reality Grid — submarine tours.

These include more water regions, a cruise ship, a new radio station — and a new casino, he said.

“We hope that everyone in the OpenSim community will support us in our new endeavor, and stand with us in the hope that 2015 and into the future, will be a new beginning, and a positive future for OpenSim communities,” he said.

Next Reality Grid is hypergrid-enabled. Teleport in to or follow the grid on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

What went wrong

In theory, the management change was a good idea. Pomposell has had significant problems in the past getting along with partners and vendors, but seems to have some kind of magic formula for attracting users to his grid.

Reducing his role to that of community manager would not only lighten his own workload significantly, but remove him from the technical and administrative functions that he’s failed at in the past.

In theory, it could have worked.

The question is — is there any way to force him to accept the new structure and to stick with it?

A solid contract, specifying exactly what content is being transferred — including all the domain names, not just the main one — and a non-compete clause, as I spelled out in this article, would have been a start.

But, in practice, a contract is only good to the extent that you trust your partner to abide by it — or that you’re willing to go to court to enforce it.

Given the fact that AviWorlds probably costs more money to run than it brings in in land revenues, going to court would probably take more time and money than the grid is worth.

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Maria Korolov

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

11 Responses

  1.' Alex Ferraris says:

    MIKE HART failed to mention that he is still using AVIWORLDS data base and almost all its contents with the exception of my private regions which I also had to arque during days in order to prevent MIKE HART from placing my own regions as his also.
    I still think MIKE HART should give back my domain name and my data base and start FRESH.
    Mike has said many BAD things about my COMMUNITY in his EMAILS to me completely disrespecting them and even very descriminative remarks about the entire BRAZILIAN community. I have the emails to prove this.
    So I dont know why MIKE still holds my data base with all my community registrations and names , avatars etc. I leave this here for you to know and see and understand.
    I also ask MIKE HART directly, why do you want my data base if you yourself called the brazilians a bunch of freeloaders and monkeys? Thanks!

    • Frank Corsi says:

      I do not think people see that the fight was over the database all along.

      •' Alex Ferraris says:

        My opinion Frank is this: As soon as I told MIKE that I was back in and even offered him a second offer of which HE ACCEPTED. and then left the grid; Mike should have stepped back and let me back in. This was 1 day later. No contracts signed nothing. In fact the only contract I asked MIKE to sign he refused to do it. The one that said MIKE could not use my regions and content. Now MIKE is enforcing what he says its his TOS. That everything placed in his grid is HIS. One of my residents already had problems with that. Mike was refusing to let one of my residents take his items out. In fact I have many residents that have asked MIKE for OARs, IARs etc..just to receive a big no in their faces. Some have had their password changed so they cant login and take their stuff.
        This is unacceptable and to see that some people are turning the BLIND eye on all this is very upsetting. Mike Hart should PURGE that data base after sending a complete copy to me.

  2.' Bryce Cannon says:

    FYI: The Submarine Tours are running daily, with 3 little subs for you – take your pick, or ride with friends nearby! The ‘Coming Soon’ is the Water Taxi boat tour, as it is a work in progress.
    Come to the grid anytime and have a free submarine tour! There is also a new teleporter to transport you to the underwater observatory, there is much to see down below! Pick-up a free deep sea diving suit and exit the personnel air lock and have fun exploring the caves and other attractions hidden in the deep!

  3.' skylifegrid says:

    Onto the next chapter !

  4.' Bryan French says:

    Talk about not even trying or give things a chance to grow.

    • says the guy who gave up on zetamex after only dealing with a few minor problems.

      •' Bryan French says:

        Minor problems? We haven’t had one problem with Dreamland. And we gave Zetamex a chance for 3 months. Not one week.

        •' Rick Wilbur says:

          Your right , some of the grids still listed on HB are no longer online, yet the same founders own half of the other grids listed.Business in a box Orion seems to be the new way of doing business.People have alot of the issues Bryan experienced,you even have grid owners (i wont say names) who spend half the time asking how to fix things online.They have no clue-I mean if you have to ask publicly how to rotate an aor file or how to restore someones missing currency….why do you start three new virtual worlds?That shows the average person you have no clue what you are doing….and neither does your tech.
          We have all had issues that needed addressed,alot of the issues we avoided by doing the work ourselves and making smart decisions and sticking to them.If you make changes-even small changes daily that effect the users daily routines,they see instability and will bail on you as they should do.You cannot change from offering free land to no free land-hypergrid enabled…ooops no not this week we are non hypergrid.
          I am amazed by the number of people that go from “new grid 2014” on to “new grid 2014 part 2”.If a grid fails….what makes you think the same owners and same grid with a couple letters added is not going to fail again?Why would you invest time and money supporting a grid that has known failures at the helm?SMH
          If you WERE to buy a failed grid,and WERE to make sure you had everything covered including some that Maria pointed out , why then use the same failed brand name?Our brand is not just a logo on a screen it is our badge of honor.Our reputations are at stake and we put our money where our mouths are.We are a commercial grid that pays high dollar for the best possible servers with all the perks to improve speed and performance.
          We have the trust of our members to protect and serve them to the best of our ability.If something absolutely crippling were to happen as a result of our own stupidity we would be forced to exit the virtual worlds with our heads hung low.Embarrassed of the fact we failed and have let so many people down.That may be why we refuse to ever even come close to putting ourselves in that position.We opened after promising each of the other founders that we will keep these doors opened regardless.
          If every single person were to cash out and leave right this minute-we have every penny covered.The doors will stay open even if only for our own amusement and we would find out what happened and why and fix it .We would not hide by re branding the grid and changing our names and start another.We would never sell the grid risking even more damage depending on how badly the new owner runs our grid.We would cash every member out , lock out access except for invite to friends only ,fix it ,test it for months and then possibly reopen to the public once WE are happy with its’s performance.
          Finding tech help you can TRUST is next to impossible.If you are fortunate enough to find a trusted and qualified tech it is in your best interest to treat them well and make sure they feel the love and the equality.We are fortunate enough to have a techie/founder that is also a white hat,he does outstanding things including locking down our back end and making it much harder for child hackers to have their way with us.He is honest and hard working and he stays ahead of the curve.Without a good tech at the wheel….you do not have a grid that is going to last-period.
          He or she IS the grid and needs to know that YOU know that.On the other hand you need founders with good reputations that are established and well known and that people know well and trust with their content and their virtual lives.That is what fills the grid for him or her to be able to run.So it takes both sides of that coin to be a success.
          A front end of respected people working the floor doing promotions and greeting new members,and a tech who is talented enough to ensure they have a bug free environment to enjoy.The hardest part of involving a tech is finding a tech who shares your same philosophy and business model and is on the same page if you find that person I highly recommend you latch onto them and keep them.-Justin Case

          • Rick —

            The 303 grids in the “active grids” list have all been up at least once in the past month. Yes, some are special-purpose grids and only up for events, classes, role playing games, or home-based grids only up in the evenings or weekends.

            Or some might have been down temporarily for upgrades or other maintenance. But if a grid hasn’t been heard from in over a month, I move it to the “suspended” list if it looks like it might go back up or the “closed” list if it seems to be down for good. The one exception is OSgrid — the website is still up, and the plazas have been up for testing, and there were active users reported… so until OSgrid is official closed, I’m keeping it on the list with the official stats.

            If you’re looking for grids that are up all the time, I suggest starting with the busiest grids — if a grid has had more than 1,000 active users this past month, odds are good that it’s got an excellent uptime ratio and good stability.

  5.' Orion Fhang says:

    Must be nice to have so much money to throw away buying and selling and opening and closing all these grids. Yeesh. Once thing is for certain though, public displays such as this really don’t help to create an air of professionalism and stability around those who may be trying to build a serious business based on OpenSim as a platform. If anything it makes the whole lot of “grid owners” look like a bunch of overgrown children squabbling over a toy they bought for $0.99 at a yard sale. Do these guys have any experience what so ever running a real business or are they just leftovers from the old “Business in a Box” days on SL?