AviWorlds vs. AviWorlds battle rages

One grid was not enough to hold all the drama that is AviWorlds — so now we have two. And they are at war.

In one corner, there’s Alexandro Pomposelli’s AviWorlds grid, at aviworlds.us, with 61 regions and 83 active users.

Welcome region of Pomposelli's AviWorlds.us.

Welcome region of Pomposelli’s AviWorlds.us.

In the other corner, there’s Mike Hart’s AviWorlds grid, at aviworlds.com,  with 17 regions and 15 active users.

Welcome region of Hart's AviWorlds.com.

Welcome region of Hart’s AviWorlds.com. Except for the freebies, gates, special offers and people, it’s the same region.

Did you catch the difference in the domain names? No? One ends in .us, and the other ends in .com.

The hypergrid addresses are extremely similar as well — login.aviworlds.us:8002 and login.aviworlds.com:8002.

And as you can see from the two snapshots above, they look extremely similar.

You might think you’re going to one, and you’ll end up on the other.

Pomposelli, the original founder and owner of the AviWorlds grid, is spitting mad.

“Mike does not have any rights to start building another grid with my name and my welcome region,” he told Hypergrid Business. “It’s not ethical and he is pissing off many here in my community.”

Pomposelli's AviWorlds.us.

Pomposelli’s AviWorlds.us.

Pomposelli was about to give up on the grid altogether late last year after repeated problems finding stable hosting and partners when he decided to turn the grid over to Mike Hart, who is best known for his car-themed Next Reality Grid. The two grids had merged back in October, and Hart became the chief technology officer of the combined grid.

But within a couple of days of the handover, Pomposelli changed his mind and demanded his grid back. At first, Hart was in no hurry to turn it over, but he eventually relented.

“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,” he said in an announcement in mid-January and promised to focus on Next Reality instead.

Hart's AviWorlds.com.

Hart’s AviWorlds.com.

Now Hart has also changed his mind, and brought the grid back — or his version of the grid, at least — and seems to be declaring open war on Pomposelli.

“I still own AviWorlds and the aviworlds.com domain,” he told Hypergrid Business. “With his attitude towards me I will now be standing my ground. I have also received an offer for the grid and domain name which I am seriously considering.”

Who owns the domain name?

It is clear that Hart is in control of the aviworlds.com domain — otherwise, it wouldn’t be pointing at Hart’s grid and Pomposelli wouldn’t be so upset about it.

But according to Whois, Pomposelli is still the registrant and the admin contact for the domain, which is registered with GoDaddy.

Pomposelli did not answer questions about why he couldn’t point the domain back to his own grid.

Pomposelli's AviWorlds.us.

Pomposelli’s AviWorlds.us.

Meanwhile, no paperwork ever changed hands, so it’s down to he-said, he-said as far as what actually happened last fall.

According to Pomposelli, the domain is rightfully his, and Hart is a “no good, very bad character.”

Hart, meanwhile, has posted chat transcripts purporting to show his side of the story.

Hart's AviWorlds.com.

Hart’s AviWorlds.com.

Who owns the grid name?

Aside from the domain name, what about the name of the grid?

Again, no paperwork was ever signed, and no money changed hands. And nobody has the name “AviWorlds” trademarked.

There are plenty of companies out there that have the same name as another company — just Google “Joe’s Pizza.”

Since Hart is based in the U.K., and Pomposelli here in the U.S., there are probably no legal obstacles to them both using the AviWorlds name until such time as one or the other files for an international trademark.

Hart's AviWorlds.com.

Hart’s AviWorlds.com.

Who owns the content?

Here, the situation is a little more straightforward.

Hart cannot be the legal owner of most of the content that was originally on the AviWorlds grid because Pomposelli did not have the legal rights to sell it.

Take for example the welcome region. According to Pomposelli it was created under a verbal agreement by Johnny Button.

By default, copyright belongs to the original creator and, without a written agreement, the buyer only gets first-use rights to that content.

Pomposelli's AviWorlds.us.

Pomposelli’s AviWorlds.us.

In order for Pomposelli to sell the region, he would have had to have had a content agreement with the original creator that either gave him that specific right, or included that right in an “all rights” or a “work for hire” contract.

According to Pomposelli, Hart took a copy of the region without permission.

“He must have taken the backup when he was CTO,” he said. “He is a charlatan.”

According to Hart, Pomposelli turned over the entire grid and all the content in it.

It actually doesn’t matter who’s right here. Hart doesn’t have the legal right to use the builds he acquired from AviWorlds.

However, Pomposelli isn’t the injured party here. Johnny Button is. And Button is the only one who can file an infringement claim against Hart, supposing that he cares enough to get into the middle of this fight.

This should be a wake-up call for anyone considering buying or selling a grid. Make sure all content is correctly licensed. In addition, if users and their regions and inventories are being sold, then those users should have signed agreements to the effect that give the grid owners the right to transfer all their content as part of the sale of the grid.

Who will win?

Despite his inability to keep on good terms with partners or hosting companies, Pomposelli has a track record of getting people into his grid.

Hart is known for his technical and building skills but has had problems attracting people to his grids in the past.

In the end, it all comes down to traffic.

Yes, there’s a possibility that hypergrid travelers will type the wrong address and land at the wrong grid, but plenty of grids have that problem.

For example, Littlefield‘s hypergrid address is lfgrid.com:8002, Littlebird‘s is lbgrid.com:8002, and Lost Paradise‘s is lpgrid.com:8002.

For Pomposelli, Hart’s grid should be nothing but a minor nuisance.

There are many more pressing reasons why Pomposelli’s grid might go down again, including his latest idea to switch back to the “most expensive land in OpenSim” business plan he originally started with — and abandoned shortly thereafter.

As always, Pomposelli’s biggest enemy is himself.

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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.

28 Responses

  1. bryanf37@gmx.com' Bryan French says:

    The name AviWorlds should have been retired a long time ago. The name has been run through the mud so much in Open Sim circles why would anyone want to use that name and better yet go to battle for it? Personally I think Pomposelli thrives on drama and creates it intentionally, otherwise just change the grid name and build something else.

    • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

      To you MR. French. I dont care what you have to say and I will never care . The name stays and I will one day show each and everyone in here that I can and I will create a successful grid.

      • bryanf37@gmx.com' Bryan French says:

        Hum and to think I defended you once and encouraged our residents to visit AviWorlds when it had problems. Oh well, since you don’t care and never will I guess you don’t care if our residents never come to AviWorlds again. You seem to burn bridges very well MR. Pomposelli

  2. netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

    As usual I am to blame and I am my biggest enemy as Maris pointed out.
    I guess if I were to open up grids with the names KITELY, OSGRID, AVINATION, INWORLDZ etc I could huh?
    Ethics and shame plus morals are no longer a factor here I guess.
    Yes! Mike Hart is correct by taking oar copies and copying my grids name. TOTAL lack of originality.

    • Alex —

      I think you took this article the opposite of the way I intended.

      The point I was making is that it’s not the domain name, or the region OAR, that makes a grid successful or not. It’s the users.

      As long as you have the users, the fact that another grid has a similar (or identical!) name is just a small nuisance.

      It is not a factor in your success or failure. In fact, other grids *have* had identical names before — causing me headaches when I try to do the stats! — because everyone tries to put “virtual” and “world” in the title and there’s only so many ways you could do that!

      Take it this way — Avination could very easily have complained that your grid name– AviWorlds — sounds a lot like theirs and people could get easily confused. They didn’t. Because they’re much bigger than AviWorlds, and are pretty focused on running their own business as well as they can.

      You could do the same. You have the users. Focus on the important stuff — getting reliable hosting. Getting paying customers. Showing a history of stability. Stop doing crazy stunts like switching hosting providers each time you get upset, or going from one price extreme to another. Don’t give away a bunch of free regions and then get stuck supporting servers and users you can’t afford to support. Charge reasonable rates for reasonable service, and then focus on what you do best — building a community, promoting events.

      Nothing that Mike Hart does on his grid will make an iota of difference.

      You could waste your money on lawyers, but really, it would just be a waste.

      Let it go. Work on stuff that matters.

      • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

        I created this name. I started it out with AVWORLDS before than I improved it and created the current one AVIWORLDS. That is my creation.
        AviWorlds name is mine and will remain.
        Regarding the free land I m doing it because I can otherwise I would not do it.
        My grid is growing again we are up to 91 unique. All this in one week back and my people having to re do everything over and over again.
        Once the grid is established and sticking online I am sure we will be once again one of the top grids.

        • fly.man.opensim@gmail.com' Fly Man says:

          @alexferraris:disqus @MikeHart Normally I wouldnt even bother to come out of my busy schedule of making things but for this once I am making an exception.

          Why don’t you and Mike both make sure that the AviWorlds disappear from the earth and start something new. My G+ is exploding each time when 1 of you decide to play “Good Cop / Bad Cop”

          I think everyone will agree that the name “AviWorlds” will forever be remembered as the grid that went up, down, and up again and down again.

          • bryanf37@gmx.com' Bryan French says:

            “I think everyone will agree that the name “AviWorlds” will forever be
            remembered as the grid that went up, down, and up again and down again.”

            I suggested that only to get yelled at and my post removed.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            AviWorlds had problems but as you see after only 1 week back online we reached 101 uniques with 100 users and averaging 15 -20 people online during pick ours
            Not to bad for a yo yo grid….

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            Well Fly Man…
            Is an average of 15- 20 people online after 1 week being back ok for you? Yes your exception was good so you can learn that I will never give the name AviWorlds up and that I will make this grid a success one day that even you with your BUSY SCHEDULE will want to invest on. last time I check we are now at 101 unique visitors after only 1 week back online.

          • fly.man.opensim@gmail.com' Fly Man says:

            @alexferraris:disqus I am very happy to hear that you had 101 unique visitors. Please do tell how many people you have in 1 month from now. For some reason, it’s quite obvious that AviWorlds is a YoYo grid which you already explained 2 posts earlier.

            Make up your mind, Do something for the community and make sure to keep that promise. It’s getting a bit predictable how long AviWorlds will be working. Even @mariakorolov:disqus can put up a countdown on her page about how long it will be until AviWorlds announces a new feature / grid option only to tell us 2 weeks later that it not worked out and had to wipe the grid database / halt all regions / drop everything / hoster wasn’t happy / hoster was being an ass / etc

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            Oh well its uo now….224 in three weeks.
            Anyway as u see i dont need your opinion on how to rum my grid. Thanks anyway Fly Man.

          • fly.man.opensim@gmail.com' Fly Man says:

            Sadly my post last week was censored by the HyperGrid team for being too spicy for words it seems.

            @alexferraris:disqus I am quite happy for you that you have a steady base of people that are coming in and looking around. But it’s not all about visitors, retention of those visitors is even more important then getting 10k visitors.

            Without people staying and investing in a grid, a grid can just be a empty shell with some filling to attract them but if the empty shell never grows into a tree / plant / bush it’s just like a dead fish in the water.

  3. skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

    I thought this fight was over so last year. It’s rather unsettling that it appears Mike is doing this out of spite to get Alex’s feathers ruffled up. Why do you guys not play nice. Alex is the founder and after all said and done you did say you were going to consistrate on your Nextreality grid.. As far as I’m conserned this is a low blow from Mike. And it sure does not help your character. My 2 cents. Give Alex back his grid your only doing this to piss him off we’re not children but some of us sure are acting like it.

    • The best way to resolve this issue will be to boycott both grids and starve them of their egos once and for all.

      • skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

        Boycot mmm not likely AVIworlds can rename the grid to poopoo and people still register “why I don’t know but Mr Farraris is doing something right. Just lastnight the regions had to be shut down to merge to a new server and in the 1 hour down we had many people eagerly waiting at the welcome Center trying to get back to the regions I can say the traffic is real even if most do not speak English 😉

        • skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

          Perhaps this is why they come they don’t follow the drama online because they can’t understand it lol

        • Having a collection of people who follow you along like sheep isn’t really the sign of a successful grid. I wonder how many of these eager users would flock to another grid if it opened in the same country, or to another entirely if it catered their language and culture. I think the boycott should be by the media who continue to give these two attention just to feed their egos and give the impression to the general public that their “ongoing battle” is in the least bit accepted by the OpenSim community as a whole.

          • Traffic is the ONLY measure of a successful social grid. And there are, in fact, other Brazilian grids that have come and gone.

            Here’s Virtual Live Brazil, for example: http://www.virtuallive.com.br/

            I don’t know how Alex is able to attract his users. But he does. The guy does have charisma. And, in person, he’s funny and very likeable and self-deprecating. In fact, he was a great guest on Metaverse Week, and poked fun at his own persona.

            The guy has issues, yes, but not being able to build a community isn’t one of them.

          • traffic is, repeat traffic is more, the same 50 people following you around isn’t traffic it’s a cult

          • skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

            Media will alwase follow drama and disputes it’s what makes for an interesting read. If you report on how one butterfly looks like another your page reads are low but when you bring drama action fights into the picture it crys read me

          • I’d like to think the Corran Journal still makes for an interesting read even without the drama and disputes.

          • Hey — your lead story right now is “Canada Nearly Nude”!

          • a nude beach is dramatic or in dispute? you really need to get out more +Maria

          • I plead guilty. But, in my defense, some of the people who come for the drama might accidentally wind up learning something about how OpenSim works — for example, from this story, they might learn that OpenSim is not one grid but many grids. (Something which a lot of people actually don’t know!) And they might decide that they could do a better job running a grid than either of these guys and start thinking about their own… or create a user account and drop in to see what all the fuss is about.

          • skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

            I’ve had my issues but I keep coming back “why” because he has the CEO mentality and gets things done. Plus we make a good team. before we had our differences but things are different now and for the better. Just today we had a party and the region was packed with users 🙂 I had a blast !!

  4. netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

    I have asked Mike to transfer the domain back to me and let this be water under the bridge.
    Be friends and go on with our projects.. There is no reason for Mike to keep trying to hurt me. Like I said norhing good will come out of this.
    But if he reconciders alot good will come out of that specific decision.
    I want to be friends not enemy.

  5. phannietaur@gmail.com' P Taur says:

    I personally think the instability alone im seeing says enuff for me to run very fast the other way to any other grid…theres enuff drama in SL to make me toss my cookies without finding it out in OS grid and in HG..no thanks..