InWorldz merchants concerned about future

Update: The Chamber of Commerce group mentioned in this article has been shut down, according to a source.

Merchants on the closed, commercial InWorldz grid are concerned about perceived drop in users and commercial activity, and worry that the grid owners are no longer committed to the success of the grid.

“I am in InWorldz where I have a shop and we have seen a drastic decline in sales and residents,” one merchant told Hypergrid Business.

The merchant requested anonymity.  “If Elenia [grid owner Beth Reischl] doesn’t like what any of us report, then she could ban us from the grid because she has done that in the past,” the merchant said.

Residents have also complained on social media that the founders haven’t been paying attention to their concerns. Of the top managers, owner Reischl moved to Panama and founder and CTO David Daeschler has mostly moved on to other projects.

In an apparent effort to stem the flow of bad news, the grid shut down the public discussion forums a couple of years ago and stopped publishing monthly user statistics last spring.

According to the owners, there was too much drama in the forums and moderation would have been too expensive.

“Our forums have literally cost us thousands of dollars in customers,” Reischl said in a forum post in 2015.

Staff developer Jim Tarber followed up with a very confusing statement about why InWorldz doesn’t need to have a public discussion forum.

“It’s not InWorldz’ core business, we are not a social network like Facebook, we’re a software development organization providing an online service,” he wrote.

Some residents found other channels to express themselves.

“One of the best things about InWorldz was the fact that it was so easy to talk to the founders on the forum and they actually listened to us and gave us feedback — it made InWorldz feel like a community,” wrote resident Shannara Llewellyn this past November in a comment on its support forum at ZenDesk. “This is just one more step to making InWorldz like Second Life, where Linden Lab doesn’t care about its residents.”

Last month, in a response, Reischl seemed to blame the residents for the grid’s communication issues.

“There was a time I adored logging into the grid, and doing things,” she posted last month. “At one point though, I had to start using an alt, because the moment I logged in, all I got were support requests. Then I’d see issues as an alt, and want to help and couldn’t, so I finally abandoned that idea… I once had someone call me seven times in a row at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I am NOT awake at 5 am on a Sunday morning, or any morning for that matter.”

And when it comes to merchants worried about falling usage rates, she again seemed to put them blame on them, this time in an iNewz video.

“A lot of times merchants think that we’re supposed to bring them traffic,” she said. “It’s not what we do. That’s not part of our job.”

Instead, Reischl said that merchants should work harder on their marketing. For example, they should get involved in events, do more networking, create a profile, and use the third-party InWorldz Marketplace and paid search classifieds and the InWorldz Explorers HUD, InWorldz groups including the InWorldz Welcome Group, the new directory that was scheduled to launch in December, and use social media.

“When you have somebody who says, well, I don’t know how to sell my stuff, I’m not getting traffic … you can hopefully push them over to this video
and say hey, why don’t you go watch this and take some of what they say and see if it applies,” she said.

She also defended the grid’s decision to close down the classified ads section on its forums.

“The classifieds being closed down, the forum’s themselves, it was becoming a really big ball of unworkable tension for us,” she said.

This advice didn’t go over well.

“We tried to ask her questions, such as, ‘what is she doing to keep merchants in InWorldz or bring back those who have left’,” one merchant told Hypergrid Business. “Her response was snarky — she said it’s not her job to keep merchants — or anyone — in InWorldz… if it’s not her job, then she must not really care if the grid dies or not.”

Merchants organize to save grid commerce

To help promote in-world commercial activity, and to collectively advocate on behalf of their interests, merchants have formed the InWorldz Chamber of Commerce last fall and have since held events and met with grid leadership.

“The InWorldz Chamber of Commerce wants to support the founders in mutual efforts to keep the grid alive and vibrant,” Esparanza Freese, the director of the chamber told Hypergrid Business. “Our motto is ‘Stronger Together’.”

The office of the InWorldz Chamber of Commerce. (Image courtesy Esparanza Freese,)

But Freese added that she, too, was concerned with what she heard from Reischl.

“She said it was not her job to keep merchants or residents in InWorldz,” Freese told Hypergrid Business.

The chamber now has 150 members.

One of the issues the members are concerned about is the lack of mesh bodies, and there have been efforts made to get mesh body developers to come to InWorldz, but they haven’t been successful.

Merchants also say that the technical side of the grid has been problematic. The January edition of iNewz is expected to touch on technical issues.

Freese said that merchants can join the chamber by clicking on a chamber logo board if they see it displayed in a shop.

Logo of the InWorldz Chamber of Commerce. (Image courtesy Esparanza Freese,)

“It contains a group joiner script,” she said. They can also search groups for “Chamber of Commerce” and click to join.

They can also ask one of the three current board member to add them to the group.

“We will add new board members in the near future and have a system to rotate on and off the Board of Directors just as in a real chamber of commerce,” she said.

In addition to holding events and helping members to grow their businesses, the chamber will also try to promote InWorldz commerce to merchants and creators outside the grid.

But merchants say that there’s not much they can do without the grid owners.

“We can do nothing much to save the grid without the support of the founders and in particular, Elenia, who is rarely ever on the grid herself,” said one merchant.

Declining numbers

Does the grid need saving? It is still one of the largest and most successful OpenSim grids and, according to the last available numbers, the grid with the most active users.

However, there are some warning signs.

Late last spring, InWorldz stopped publishing its region and active user statistics after a several months of declining numbers.

The number of regions on the grid is important because land rentals are a key revenue source for the grid. In March of 2017, the grid reported 1,288 regions — the lowest land area since June of 2015.

Total reported regions on the InWorldz grid for the last twelve months these numbers were reported.

The number of active users is the most important statistics for merchants — it shows the total number of residents that logged into the grid at least once.

Last March, the grid reported 5,276 unique 30-day logins, the lowest number since February of 2012.

As with the land area, the numbers began dropping quickly last winter.

Total reported active users on the InWorldz grid for the last twelve months these numbers were reported.

But InWorldz has continued to report one statistic — the total number of registered users on the grid.

Users rarely delete their accounts. Even those who leave the grid tend to keep their avatars, just in case they need to come back for something. As a result, registered user counts tend to increase on every grid.

However, the size of that increase is interesting.

For the past twelve months, the number of new registrations has been declining. In December, the grid reported 176,981 total users, an increase of 1,026 over the previous month. That was the lowest increase since 2010.

Increase in new registrations on the InWorldz grid over the past twelve months. The blue line is the total number of registered users — legend on the right — and the red bars are the new users that were registered that month, with the legend on the left.

Historically, InWorldz has been the grid that brings in the most new users to OpenSim. But over the last couple of years, it has been eclipsed by Kitely.

Kitely is another commercial grid, and, like InWorldz, also has a strong economy and merchant community. However, the Kitely Market isn’t limited to just Kitely — it currently delivers to a total of 240 OpenSim grids, and three quarters of the content listed on its marketplace is exportable.

Kitely has only a fraction of InWorldz active users, however.

But other grids have also been gaining on InWorldz in active users. OSgrid, for example, had more than 4,200 actives last month. And the hypergrid as a whole, which is increasingly feeling like one, big interconnected grid, had more than 33,000 actives.

Meanwhile, all OpenSim grids, not just InWorldz, face existential questions this year.

While OpenSim’s overall numbers have been improving, the pace of growth has been very slow.

Will OpenSim continue to be a viable platform, tied as it is to an obsolete, ten-year-old technology, without a web viewer in sight? While some grids launched with the goal of serving a small number of people, others have been hoping for wider adoption of the technology. As hopes of mass adoption fade, will more and more users and creators turn to the increasing number of new platforms, many of them natively built for virtual reality?

It’s a question that every grid owner, resident, and creator is now facing.

Related Posts

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. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

  • Fred Beckhusen

    5,276 people this month who have not yet realized they can run their own Dreamgrid, for free

    • Mike Chase

      Fred no disrespect for what you’ve done with Dreamgrid and Outworldz. But the hypergrid and lots of one off grids are not for everyone.

    • Content Creator

      Oh I am fully aware that I could run my own grid, and have in the past, but I am perfectly happy with InWorldz. We have a great community and I am happy to be part of it. I have yet to find anything worth leaving IW for.

    • I’ve been in OpenSim a long time , I think my OSgrid avi is even older than my IW avi. My friend Curt uses your Dreamgrid sometimes for creation purposes, and Ive been on it – you have done a great thing by making this available to the people. I’ve also self hosted off and on over the years but I spend the majority of time on IW for the community. Those people aren’t replaceable, and their creativity, for me it’s been perfect, also I love to shop and I like that I can just go to stores, by things and it works. No worry about grid version compatibility etc. I know for some that stuff isn’t as important as being Lord of their own Land 😀 but for me community and friendship is #1.

      • Han Held

        With the hypergrid, you can have both community and “lord”(or “lady)ship. 🙂 This is not to say that your friends in Iwz are replaceable (people, as a rule, aren’t), This is to say that there is community here as well …not to mention friends. 🙂

        • I agree Han, I just didn’t find it to be true for me, maybe because I had already established friendships elsewhere, my time in OpenSim felt kind of lonely, and I initially got into virtual worlds becuase in RL I was very limited in my social activities so I neeeeeded people. I can certainly still log into OpenSim and visit people without having it as my central home, and I do this for events and to check out people’s projects. I do think that where we create our deepest friendships is often where we think of our community as being and because mine were established in IW, even moreso than in SL, it doesnt matter if i can host for free or have really cheap land elsewhere, my home base will be the place I am most happy to log into each day.

          • Han Held

            For me, I felt lonelier in inworldz, whereas in both SL and the hypergrid I have the most social activity and am the most productive (I could not imagine putting on an event such as avatarfest in inworldz, for instance).

            Understand that I am not writing to take anything away from your point of view nor your experience. But my perspective …and I am not alone on this… is that those things can be found, maybe more readily …or at least not any less readily, on the hypergrid.

            It’s fair and valid for you to claim IWZ as your primary grid -as your home. But I’m going to have to point out that there is community (eg the hypergrid safari) and friendship and even community to be found out on the hypergrid as well.

            For those willing to find them, a home (not a market…a home) can be found in either place (and in SL as well)

        • Content Creator

          I don’t need “lordship.” I need stability, a functional and snappy scripting engine, decent physics, and a friendly community.

          • Han Held

            most of all, you need to stop smearing and spreading baseless fud. 🙂

            Have a happy 2018, “content creator” (whoever you are….)

          • Content Creator

            So responding to a smear piece is now smearing and spreading baseless fud? Good to know. Also, you may not be aware, but your original comment is what I’ll see in the email notifications that Disqus sends. If you’re curious about “whoever I am” then feel free to look me up in InWorldz.

          • Han Held

            >So responding to a smear piece is now smearing and spreading baseless fud?
            Your mom told you what two wrongs make, so yes.
            For the love of god I hope she at least gave you advice about following friends who jump off of cliffs

            Lastly, I edited my post after seeing your cheerleading posts on zendesk and realizing you were’t a sockpuppet (shill, sure; sockpuppet -maybe not?). Why do you think that you’re important enough for me to stalk you in Inworldz?

            If you feel so strongly, come see me in SL or Metropolis. I bet ten to one that encounter would end up with my either muting or ejecting you …but still, come on over if you feel so strongly that we oughta meet avatar-to-avatar.

          • Content Creator

            Ok then… lol

            Let me know if you would like to have a mature conversation.

          • Han Held

            I already am…with several other people in this comment section. Mike Dickson, for example, and I seem to be in the same book, maybe even the same page.

            If you wanna put on your big-boy pants, you’re welcome to join us. 🙂

          • Aww ~ lol I quite like CC. I consider him a friend, and hes a long time IW resident, 7 years I believe. I didn’t see that he was pulling a ‘two wrongs make it right’ – there were MANY of us disgusted when we read this and we definitely wanted to try to balance out the negative being spewed with our own positive experiences >.>

          • Han Held

            And that would be fine, except that what he did was come in and spread the same old tired FUD…in direct contrast to others on this page (whom I’ve already mentioned).

            I’m glad he’s your friend. Knowing him for seven years I can understand why you’d take his side in an arguement between he and I (although I’ve no idea why you’d jump between us to begin with ..but you did, so have fun with that. )

          • Sorry, that’s not what I saw, I simply saw someone sharing their opinion, much like anyone else and your responses seemed super hostile (calling a shill, put on your big boy pants) and so I wasn’t sure if maybe you thought he was someone else or what. I in fact encouraged him to share his opinion here because he feels strongly about IW, and so he made an account to do so. That doesn’t mean I don’t consider you my friend, you know that I do.

          • Content Creator

            Han, no idea why you feel such malice towards me, or why you think I’m spreading anything. But it’s all good. No worries. I am going to assume something else is bothering you and all of this is simply blowing off steam.

            Olive branch and clean slate. Sound good?

        • Mike Dickson

          (Mike Chase on IW) What you cant easily have is lots of commercially supported content from creators who prefer to sell in a closed grid. There is benefit to both approaches. And to be honest as a part of the Opensim community InWorldz as a closed grid fulfills a useful purpose. Providing a “home” and access to content that would otherwise not be available on the hypergrid. The right answer and the vision IMO for OpenSim is both not either/or. I’m trying to participate in making that real and I see things like the Dreamgrid work that Fred has done as VERY high value but it doesn’t replace a closed grid for the people who want/need what it provides. We need to finally decide to pull together rather than building one approach at the cost of the other. This article was an attack on OpenSim as well and I’m just disgusted (but not surprised) that Maria wrote it as she did.

          • Han Held

            Freedom means being free to be closed or open; commercial or non-commercial. I agree that there’s benefits to both approaches -and that either one (closed or open) can provide a “home” for those that want one. The right answer is both, as you say. I agree.

            I’ll also agree that articles like this don’t do our community any favors either. When people leave inworldz they’ll look at the hypergrid, think of this article and say “nuts to them”.

    • Cinder Biscuits

      5,276 people who aren’t running an HTTP server on their home PC that accepts and stores any arbitrary data posted to it.

      • Fred Beckhusen

        Dreamworld is 100% stock opensim. You of all people know it runs the same viewers and protocols as Inworldz and hundreds of other grids. Like all opensim systems and probably 100,000 regions, it runs in datacenters, laptops and at home. In some ways it is more trustworthy, as it won”t go bankrupt, or steal your gloebits, and is compiled and digitally signed by me, so it won’t be ripping off your credit card info and selling your personal information, and ripping off your oars, either.

        • Cinder Biscuits

          Not meaning to slight Dreamworld at all, Fred. That isn’t my intention. I think Dreamworld is excellent and I would much rather people run Dreamworld on their home PC than attempting to setup OpenSim themselves at home. There’s a much greater chance of them configuring it wrong.

          However, the hypergrid protocol is one huge gaping security disaster, and running OpenSim with hypergrid, in whatever form, from a home PC is akin to running anonymous FTP with uploads enabled from your home, only more exploitable.

          • Fred Beckhusen

            There is no security risk in running a ftp server at home with uploads enabled. Ftp will not run programs. Yes, you could click on something nasty, but you can click on all kinds of nasty stuff using a web browser, too.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            There will always be a risk when you allow anyone on the internet write access to your computer. It is never to be trusted. Path traversal, DoS, injection attacks, XXE in this case, and more, or someone could simply just fill your disk with child porn and retrieve it using hypergrid protocol. Hey, now you’re an accomplice.

          • Han Held

            From what I’m reading, between the recent intel fiasco ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16072368 )and this lovely little doozy: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16070050 …we’ve collectively got a larger problem (security wise) than whether or not someone’s enabled the hypergrid protocol. As a commenter from the first link says “It’s like we spent 20 years building houses out of wood, and then suddenly someone discovered fire.”

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Apples to oranges. Opening a gaping hole in your system anyone can upload to is a different beast than accessing kernel memory. PS. ISP rules don’t apply if someone uploads illegal content to your PC. You’re culpable for it.

          • Han Held

            “everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon” sounds scary too, until you look at how brief an eclipse lasts. Likewise a CP attack a)requires the attacker to posses cp themselves (a MAD situation) b)can be defeated through the permissions system.

            I’m not outright dismissing what you’re saying. CP one of the concerns I had about running a grid that people could join (legal liability) and that’s why I never have. But what you’re describing is on a par with the risk one takes browsing links over the web (ever hear of a site called 4chan?)

          • Han Held

            Also, I’m sure the folks who are trying to undermine opensim by spreading copybotted crap (afes, etc) are probably creaming themselves and thinking of how they’ll follow your advice. So thanks for that. 🙂

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Not really. Becoming an unknowing host to child porn isn’t really the same thing as “browsing links over the web.” and if you think that’s far fetched, just consider how Wikimedia Commons has had to safeguard their uploads in the last decade since they were found to be the largest host of child pornography on the internet.

          • Han Held

            If you’re saying to serve it, that implies making it available to other people to come and take (or view). That can be defeated by judicious use of the permissions system.

            Do you have an argument that doesn’t rely on very extreme corner cases and hyperbole (“largest host of cp on the internet” indeed…)?

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Apparently you don’t understand how the hypergrid asset service works. That’s ok. I had been discussing this with Fred who does before you nosed your way in to argue, but you may want to wind your neck in. 🙂

          • Han Held

            Now just hold on here a minute! If this security flaw is as urgent as you’re saying and you’re aware of it, then it’s on you to make us understand how it works. Waving off the general public with a “oh, don’t worry your pretty head about it” or equally patronizing drivel won’t cut it if the danger is that real…if it’s that clear and present of a danger.

            You’re basically saying each sim on a stick, each dreamworldz, each opensim instance is potentially a childporn server -a second darkweb! That has serious implications and by sitting up in your tower waving away the peasents you’re placing a lot of folks in danger.

            So let’s go back to the question I asked, and which you dodged:

            Do you have an argument that doesn’t rely on extreme corner cases, hyperbole and (adding the list) patronizing hand-waves?

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Oh pobrecito, do you need me to help wipe your nose and dress you too?

          • Han Held

            If you’ve got nothing, just say so! It’s alright. 🙂

          • Fred Beckhusen

            Han, since anyone can anonymously log in to almost any grid, and upload kiddie porn, or stolen content at any time, whether HG enabled or not, then obscure security issues where they sneak bad stuff in over the HG becomes a low priority. So I think this is a red herring of an argument and has nothing to do with Inworldz specifically, or the hypergrid. I do appreciate Cinder pointing it out, and I have already had a long chain of emails about this subject with a core dev on a fix. I am compiling the (simple) fix into Dreamworld and Dreamgrid right now. And yes, Inworldz has the same flaw in their code… sort of.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Well no, hypergrid comes into the picture since you don’t have to be logged in to interact with the asset server. You can GET, PUT, POST, DELETE all from anywhere on the web with zero authentication or validation.

          • Fred Beckhusen

            Han, a specific security flaw she mentioned today., was fixed today. Shame she never has reported it until now.

          • Han Held

            That she waited until today to share with the class? Well, better late than never, I guess.

            Here the whole time her and I were talking I had thought she meant that entire design of the hypergrid would open someone up to running a cp server. She could have spared a lot of flamage and ink by posting “Well no, hypergrid comes into the picture since you don’t have to be logged in to interact with the asset server. You can GET, PUT, POST, DELETE all from anywhere on the web with zero authentication or validation.” A lot earlier instead of snark (“Oh pobrecito, do you need me to help wipe your nose and dress you too?”) which presumes that everyone knows what she knows…

            When people talk about how toxic the opensim community is? That’s the sort of crap they mean. (I’ll be the first to admit my hands aren’t clean -it does take two to tango and I do love to dance).

          • Cinder Biscuits

            It was only you who didn’t get it and only you who was arguing an ignorant stance, so not it doesn’t “presume” any of that beyond your own misconceptions.

          • Arielle

            The immediate question is how long has the vulnerability been relevant? Just .9 + or back to .8.2 even?

          • Cinder Biscuits

            All versions since the dawn of time, but I wouldn’t say this is critical and necessary to update ASAP at this point. Nobody is exploiting it.

          • Arielle

            Ahh so we are ok with security through obscurity and noone can be bothered anyway 🙂 Good to know. It begs the question of supposedly security conscious core devs totally missing what seems to be a fairly well known vulnerability. Will a fix break the hypergrid as we know it?

          • Cinder Biscuits

            No, fixing will have no impact other than guarding against maliciously formed data.

          • Content Creator

            I hadn’t thought of the darker side of the darkweb exploiting hypergrid for distribution of illegal materials before…

          • Han Held

            To take advantage of that; assuming that you’re willing to possess CP to begin with, you have to think through all of the ways that tossing that around could be traced back to you.

            I’m reasonably sure that folks who are looking to share cp have more secure means of doing so, and would themselves be aware of how insecure and unsuitable the medium is for that.

          • Fred Beckhusen

            Well then Inworldz, OsGrid, and Metropolis will go out of business since anyone can upload kiddie porn there, too.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Ah, but it can’t be done anonymously at Inworldz. You have to sign up and login to download or upload content there. There’s the clincher for why hypergrid is such a poor design. Services like OSGrid and Metropolis are protected by laws like DMCA which provide safe harbor from illegal content being stored unknowingly.

            You as an individual consumer running OpenSim from your home are NOT protected by the same laws that protect OSGrid, Metropolis, and Inworldz.

          • Han Held

            > Services like OSGrid and Metropolis are protected by laws like DMCA
            which provide safe harbor from illegal content being stored unknowingly.

            I’m obviously not a lawyer, but the keyword (“unknowingly”) would put consumers into the same category as people who inadvertantly stumble on it in the web.

            Particularly since the logs and database entries would show where it came from (or at least, that it came from an external source).

            Again, what you’re describing is a corner case and one that can largely be defeated by the permission system. If someone cannot build, then their options for spreading CP remain the same ones that they would be on OSG or IWZ.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            You’re right. Not only do you not know how the asset server works, you don’t know ISP law either. lol Google Justice4Matt to see what I mean.

          • Cinder’s comment was accurate. In this case, “unknowingly” here refers to the business ownership (grid, in this case), not end users. DMCA provides “safe harbor” from user content, so long as fairly simple conditions are met. Hosting your own server eliminates that safe harbor, even if you were to register as the DMCA agent for that grid. How many of these self-hosted regions or mini-grids have actually done the official DMCA agent registration? I think that would be extremely close to none.

          • Han Held

            >Ah, but it can’t be done anonymously at Inworldz. You have to sign up and login to download or upload content there.

            Because throwaway emails and vpns don’t exist ? LOL

          • Fred Beckhusen

            17 U.S.C. 512(k)(1)) says otherwise. It costs $6.00 to register

          • Han Held

            I think the objection is to end users being able to host their own servers, and the assumption (giving the benefit of the doubt) is that Metro, osgrid, inworldz and others are somehow shielded from legal liability because of due diligence (or so I’m guessing).

          • Fred Beckhusen

            Cinder, you are right about the XML issue. Inworldz has identical issues, but may be immune to it because they are closed grid, and their “OARS’ are encrypted to prevent this type of issue from effecting them. Do you know of other problems like that I can fix? Please contact me about security issues non-publicly.

        • Content Creator

          OpenSim, Second Life, and InWorldz all run different scripting engines and physics engines. There are different behaviors in each environment. I happen to prefer InWorldz options for both. Sure, I might lose some content made by others if IW goes offline, but everything I create I already have archived on my hard drive.

  • Mike Chase

    Total piece of trash journalism. I’m in the Chamber of Commerce group and I can very safely say that the sentiments here don’t reflect on 99% of the people in it. Look numbers for grids across the board are declining for a number of reasons. We don’t need hearsay and gossip and a bunch of unsubstantiated trash talk, we need people who are willing to work hard to promote their businesses and creative efforts and build the community up. Something *MOST* of the people in the Chamber group are trying to do.

    Look every grid has its challenges. IW has some as well. But some of us are trying to build what we have up not tear it down. Maria I think it’s disgusting you;d do a piece like this. It’s damaging to OpenSim as a whole as well as InWorldz and the very people the Chamber there represents. The only benefit I see is you get page hits. Shame on you.

    • James Miller

      Lol remember now, this is just a Fake News Website written by a Russian

  • LadyCalliope

    I agree with Mike, I’m in the chamber of commerce group as well and these statements do not at ALL reflect on 99% of the people in it. I think whatever information you got was from a disgruntled source out for their own agenda. It’s sad, and a shame you felt it necessary to smear InWorldz for the sake of your own page hits.

    • James Miller

      That’s all this site does is smear Opensim destinations at the behest of Second Life
      Fake News from Russia with Love…

  • Curt Halberd

    Mike, I couldn’t have said it better. I personally have incredible sales in Inworldz. I had taken a break and am in the process of resetting up 2 regions. I can’t turn around without someone making a purchase.

  • Orb Nim

    I’m a merchant in IW. I’m not looking to make a RL living online in a virtual program that is suppose to be for entertainment purposes. I have a lot of great friends here and so much joy it’s an enrichment to my life in all worlds. IW IS MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME. Hugs!

  • James Miller

    Fake News Website written by a Russian

  • Neytiri Omatikaya

    Adding my 2¢ and ALSO a member of this same Chamber group, like the others I do *not* share the thinking of this trash journalism that ignores two of the core principles of journalism, namely Truth and Accuracy, and Fairness and Impartiality, neither of which this article contains. It appears to be little more than a smear piece from someone with a personal vendetta. Sad. For the record, my business was busier in 2017 than the 3 previous years combined. Anyone who knows what my business is, I gladly offer an open challenge to anyone from any grid. 😉

  • Willow Rose

    I just wonder what Maria gets out of Trashing IW? Does she have a personal agenda? I have NEVER even seen her on IW, so hmmm, makes me wonder. My experience as a Builder, is that IW is doing fine, fairing well & still a viable online game to participate on. If I am NOT getting business, I look to myself, cause I need to do a better job of Advertising, NOT to the Creators. They provide the venue, I provide additional content. I created Pandora on IW because, I feel IW is the best place to have a beautiful public park for all the residents to enjoy, I made the choice, not Ele or anyone Else, I am accountable for what I give. And prefer to do that on InWorldz. I find Maria’s “article” to be a personal attack on me, and NOT Fair. Contact me directly Maria if you need further information.

  • Content Creator

    I would love to invite anyone to register an account with InWorldz and see for themselves how off this article is. The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, so grab a spoon and dig in!

    Look, it’s no secret that Hypergrid Business doesn’t like the closed grid business model, and I see this article as another expression of that dislike. But I have yet to see anything close to the gross misrepresentation presented in this article with InWorldz. I have a steady and healthy flow of customers, the scripting engine is far more stable than I’ve seen on other grids, and you can’t beat the friendly nature of our community.

    I would also like to address the claims that the InWorldz founders aren’t doing their jobs in terms of bringing merchants customers. In what world does a mall go out and advertise for the businesses that rent retail space inside them? Can someone direct me to the web hosting company that will generate sales for the people that host their websites with them? Or perhaps a telephone company that will generate hot leads for a telemarketing firm? The whole point was that businesses are responsible for their own marketing and lead generation. InWorldz has done quite a bit over the years to bring people into the grid. Once they’re there… it’s up to the merchants to attract their business.

    No grid is perfect, but InWorldz is a wonderful place to plant your prims, but don’t take my word for it. Come see for yourself!

  • Geir Nøklebye

    Also SecondLife is “tied as it is to an obsolete, ten-year-old technology, without a web viewer in sight”, yet is seems like a continuous success that keeps improving every month, both in functionality and content fidelity.

    What matters is attitude and mindset, an to a lesser extent technology.

    • Susannah Avonside

      I often wonder at all this dissing of so called ‘obsolete’ technology, and the lack of a web viewer. The technology may be a decade old, but that pales into insignificance when compared with Active Worlds, which is now well into it’s third decade of operation and seems not to be going anywhere soon and enjoying the support of a dedicated bunch of people who appear to run rings around many in OpenSim in terms of open mindedness and the prospects for apparently outdated virtual world environments. As you say Geir, it is largely a matter of ‘attitude and mindset’ and not so much the technology.

      I do wonder about the constant updates and technical improvements in Second Life, as I often wonder how many users there are actually able to utilise them. I remember one interesting, and perhaps quite worrying* statistic that was reported back in 2010 or 2011 where research had revealed that the majority of people accessing Second Life were doing so on hardware that was bog standard home PC type equipment, using default video chips so weren’t able to use anything but pretty much the most basic graphics settings in the viewer. I don’t know how much that has changed, but I suspect that many are still accessing Second Life with somewhat less than optimal hardware, such as basic desktops, laptops and even mobile phones and tablets, which in my (albeit limited) experience is quite lacking. Most of us who gravitate towards OpenSim are usually those who are more open to upgrading our hardware when we can, and often we do, as there are many around who are more than ready to share experience and advice – even to the point where we install relatively humongous video cards, (GTX 1060 in my case) on the advice of others, only to discover that the renderer in the viewer can’t utilise the cards full performance potential, (though one of my informants has told me that LL have recently employed a render specialist to look at the renderer and improve it… I look forward to that happening)

      I don’t have anything in particular against ‘walled gardens’ apart from, to me, they appear somewhat pointless when compared with the alternative of open grids that can be accessed from other virtual worlds, but that it what captured my imagination. Some people prefer the illusion of security provided by a closed grid, where I’d find it somewhat claustrophobic and limiting to my freedom, plus I would be at the mercy of others in terms of safeguarding my content… Which, as we know is also somewhat fraught, as evidenced by disasters like happened in 2014 on OSGrid, and also due to the various vicissitudes of AviWorlds. Nowadays I prefer to trust to myself, and thus I now home host my own regions as standalones. I make regular backups, and store them elsewhere so I’m as safe as I could possibly ever be from data loss.

      HGB appears to often upset people, but that is no bad thing, but I don’t detect any bias from any of the writers. There are sometimes some pretty wild claims made, and sometimes 2+2 equals a number far larger than four, but on the whole, apart from a tendency to sensationalism HGB provides a valuable service, indeed, basically the only news service we have. We are aware of the shortcomings, and also that it’s journalism, and we make allowances. However, swallowing the bait and getting riled because your favourite grid has come under the spotlight and you don’t like the way it’s been presented is a little primadonna-ish. Please spare us the drama, you just make yourselves look rather silly and immature and appear as if you have nothing else going on in your lives.

      Get real, there are people actually dying in Syria, as well as in many other places in the real world. If you want to be dramatic, get dramatic about those events, and not someone apparently slighting your favourite grid.

      • Content Creator

        Bringing up dying people in Syria in a discussion about misrepresentation of data in virtual worlds seems a fair bit more dramatic than anything anyone has said here thus far. If you were so worried about the Syrian death toll why are you wasting your time writing such a long-winded reply here? Shouldn’t you be doing something about that rather than complain about complaining?

        People tend to get upset when data is misrepresented, intentionally, and usually react to it. There is no value in misrepresentation, and I don’t accept such as mere “shortcomings,” journalistic integrity should be demanded at every level. If you’re going to write “news” then it should be as factual and unbiased as possible.

        Do you disagree?

        • Susannah Avonside

          I’m far from sure that the data has been misrepresented, as I only have the contributions of a few InWorldz fanbois and fangirls to base any opinion on, and we all know how biased people are. All news is biased, some more than others, something we all need to be aware of, especially in these dangerous times. Didn’t your mother tell you not to believe everything, or indeed anything you read in a newspaper, or indeed hear on the radio or see on the televison?

          HGB articles are often quite sensationalised, and becomes contraversial, as this will attract comments and maybe debate.

          • Content Creator

            Yes, we do know how biased people are, that’s why we’re commenting here. To set the record straight. People don’t have to take our words for it, register an account with InWorldz for free, log in and see for yourself. Do an apples to apples comparison.

            You are quite correct, HGB articles are often sensationalized, and a lot of news is these days. That doesn’t make the practice of posting inaccurate, misleading, defamatory, and fabricated any less unethical. It does add the controversial element though. And controversy might get views/clicks, this publication isn’t doing any favors for hypergrid enabled grids, since they share branding, but I suppose that’s something I don’t have to worry much about.

            Notice the general lack of logical fallacies, personal attacks, and distractions posted by the “InWorldz fanbois and fangirls?” Food for thought.

      • Mattie

        “Get real, there are people actually dying in Syria, as well as in many
        other places in the real world. If you want to be dramatic, get dramatic
        about those events, and not someone apparently slighting your favourite
        grid.”

        This comparison is tasteless.

        Especially seeing as you, too, took the time to a) read and b) write a long comment about people commenting. “Get real”, indeed.

        • Susannah Avonside

          I mentioned those commenting in my last paragraph. The rest of my comment was about OpenSim in general.

          I stand by my comment about Syria, as sometimes I feel that some people need to be reminded that there is a whole, real, world out there where there are real nasty things going on and not just the kind of things that dent a few feeble egos. It may appear tasteless, but I care little for matters of taste when highlighting real injustices.

          • Mattie

            If nothing but reports of war and cruelties get to you at all, I utterly admire you and honestly wish I could have a slice of that attitude. Because you are, of course, right. Infighting among virtual world users, fighting about which grid is better, perceived injustices ARE insignificant and trivial in comparison to what is going on all around the real world.

            However, your need to take the time to react to other comments and justify your own somewhat belie your objective. If you hold yourself to a higher standard, perhaps you should lead by example – let it go and spend your time on issues you care about deeply.

          • Content Creator

            It IS tasteless. You’re not highlighting real injustices, which people are fully aware of but not discussing here because it isn’t topically relevant, your creating one using other people’s misery to attack people over blog comments about a virtual world platform.

      • lmpierce

        I admire your attempt to bring the larger life picture into play and put the drama of this discussion into a more appropriate, less existentially-threatened perspective.

        • Content Creator

          Right… because comparing frustration with misrepresentation by a virtual world related blog to the Syrian crisis puts anything into perspective. Well, in a way, I suppose it does. It shows that some people will say anything to discredit opposing views and the people expressing them, regardless of how exploitative, sensationalist, or underhanded.

          • Susannah Avonside

            Exploitative and sensationalist? These things are happening, and cannot be sensationalised, they are sufficiently shocking it their own right. As for being exploitative, not really, as people need to be made aware that there are more important things going on than trivial concerns over an online article that seems to have upset a handful of InWorldz grid loyalists.

            Finally, underhanded? Hardly, as I wrote it plain as day.

            I also think you must be somewhat lacking in comprehension, as I’ve not even attempted to discredit ‘opposing views’ or people. You retain the right of reply on this blog, so your suggestion is somewhat farcical.

          • Content Creator

            Personal attacks rather than substantive thoughts. Your motivations are clear.

          • Content Creator

            Personal attacks, logical fallacies, and insults designed to distract attention from the topic at hand (which has nothing to do with Syria) will not serve to prove your point. But they could malign your character in the eyes of the reader. These are exactly the sort of tactics many of us have addressed our concerns about in these comments.

            I will be sure to post my full thoughts about this exchange, this article, and more elsewhere as it has become apparent to me that this platform isn’t meant for anything but one-sided dialog.

          • Get Real

            Yes, I would agree with this, “I will be sure to post my full thoughts about this exchange, this article, and more elsewhere as it has become apparent to me that this platform isn’t meant for anything but one-sided dialog.” except for the fact that you and several other IW proponents are in fact expressing your own dialog (just as others are doing, really).

            And to be expedient, your LOL (from up there) is in fact correct and anyone should agree. Because everything IW has done whether or not truthful has not gotten them the approbation IW protagonists seem to feel is their due. In fact, the opposite. So it is funny, but in a sad way.

          • Content Creator

            Get Real, yes, we have posted our thoughts. And rather than engage in civil discussion and discourse, a number of the HGB community responded with personal attacks, red herring fallacies, and condescending nastiness. I have never had an antagonistic attitude towards hypergrid or opensim in general (ran my own grid for a time back in the early 0.7 days), and I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward people that prefer hypergrid enabled grids over closed grids like InWorldz, people can make up their own minds for what works for them. But I do take issue with misinformation and misrepresentation. The only sad thing about any of this is the ease with which some participants have in using personal attacks to disrupt and divert attention from the concerns raised about this article.

          • lmpierce

            To everyone: Any reader may flag comments if they violate the Discussion Guidelines. This does not include flagging a comment because you do not like it. Please review the Guidelines if you are considering flagging a comment for review. If I review a comment and it does not violate the Guidelines, it will remain posted.

            All readers may post a link to other forums and invite readers to follow the discussion to those forums. Please note that links are automatically withheld for moderation, and sometimes it takes time before I get to them for approval.

            Moderation is handled by myself as moderator. Readers should not be moderating each other’s comments and such comments may be removed. Discussions are meant to be civil discourse about the content of an article, or the topics that evolve out of such discussions. Claims and concerns about personal attacks can be sent to me at: [email protected]. It is possible a violation of the Guidelines gets through and I miss it, so an email or flagging of a comment is helpful. However, I do not moderate based on opinions or requests, and of course, sometimes we will disagree about my application of the Guidelines. I will, however, do my best to consider your concerns.

          • Susannah Avonside

            I have neither engaged in a personal attack on anyone, or indeed set out out to insult anyone. If you feel that to be the case, then it remains your personal interpretation.

            I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to inform us that you will be publishing your full thoughts elsewhere, but there we go. I just seems to me a little self-important, pompous even. I would suggest that your opinion that this platform is one-sided is demonstrably not the case, as you have been able to express your opinions just as freely as anyone else. That you may not like, or agree with the opinions expressed by others, which disagree with you, does not make this blog one-sided. In this case you seem to find my comments irksome to the degree that you feel the need to ascribe imaginary qualities to them. I am merely expressing an opinion, and if that upsets you, or anyone else, then I’m sorry, but I will not hold back from expressing an opinion as I see fit. No-one has a right not to be offended. I never set out to deliberately upset or offend anyone, and I’m certainly not offended by anything anyone has said here.

            My general point remains, and I’m far from convinced that my ‘character’ has been maligned in anyone’s eyes but yours, besides which, my character is irrelevant to the topic under discussion.

          • lmpierce

            Hello to everyone… This has been a heated discussion. Please remember to critique ideas, statements, representations, data interpretations and so on to your heart’s desire. However, it is in everyone’s best interest to self-moderate comments that could be reasonably construed as personal attacks on one’s ability to think, evaluate or otherwise respond. If your point is not being understood, find a different way to explain it. But remember, free expression means that people may bring in a variety of semantic tools and examples for clarifying their point of view. I do my best to have a light hand on moderation to encourage as much discussion as possible, but some comments in this discussion have really pushed the boundaries of civil discourse. Please carry on, but hopefully toned down just a bit. Thanks.

      • Why do people like video games? One game with a set of players, guidelines TOS etc. One place where a player is created and interactions are made.I cant jump over from BDO to WOW. So what. Is it so hard to believe that we aren’t TRAPPED in InWorldz? That ‘walled’ doesnt mean there isnt an open gateway to come and go as we desire, as in LOG OUT and reLOG IN elsewhere? its NOT that hard. Why is it seen as a This OR That? I can be logged into InWorldz, decide to go visit Han or Curt somewhere and simply log in elsewhere. The only issue is that – what? I cant bring my stuff from grid to grid? Lots of stuff in Opensim isnt exportable anyhow. Anyway point is, Im not sure what you find so hard to believe about enjoying a grid for what it has to offer and making it a primary space to call home.

  • Ben Vennegoor

    Why is this article published before Beth (you name her EXPLICITELY) had a chance to reply/defend herself?
    (Journalism 1 on 1)

    I could point out to at least a dozen of inaccuracies in this article, but quite honestly… not gonna bother because you know where you went wrong.

    A journalist, you obviously are not:

    Five Core Principles of Journalism
    1. Truth and Accuracy
    Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. We should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts we have and ensure that they have been checked. When we cannot corroborate information we should say so.

    2. Independence
    Journalists must be independent voices; we should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural. We should declare to our editors – or the audience – any of our political affiliations, financial arrangements or other personal information that might constitute a conflict of interest.

    3. Fairness and Impartiality
    Most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, stories should be balanced and add context. Objectivity is not always possible, and may not always be desirable (in the face for example of brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.

    4. Humanity
    Journalists should do no harm. What we publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.

    5. Accountability
    A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold ourselves accountable. When we commit errors we must correct them and our expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical. We listen to the concerns of our audience. We may not change what readers write or say but we will always provide remedies when we are unfair.

    • Talla Adam

      lol, I don’t know of any media that sticks to those principles. They all put a slant on news to further political objectives or push product or belief. Hypergrid Business is no exception and I don’t doubt Maria sets out to be controversial but I think maybe she thought it was time to look under the hood at what has been happening at Inworldz since the owners pulled the blind down on their user stats last summer. The angry reaction from some IW residents here is to be expected though. No one likes the grid they call home criticized like this but no grid is, or should be, immune to critical review. And you get to hold her to account here in the comments anyway.

      However, what Maria had to say at the end of the article had me thinking about the future of Opensim worlds in general though…

      She wrote, “Will OpenSim continue to be a viable platform, tied as it is to an obsolete, ten-year-old technology, without a web viewer in sight? While some grids launched with the goal of serving a small number of people, others have been hoping for wider adoption of the technology. As hopes of mass adoption fade, will more and more users and creators turn to the increasing number of new platforms, many of them natively built for virtual reality?

      It’s a question that every grid owner, resident, and creator is now facing.”

      I can’t deny I myself have been taking a closer look at High Fidelity and I’m keeping abreast of other developments such as SignSpace and the new Blockchain platform, Decentraland.

      I have to admit finally that Opensim as a platform is probably not going to see much more development, no more than Second Life will. Most of us are diehards but you have to admit the technology has moved on.

      That said, the fact is there is still a big Hypergrid community out there that some grid owners choose not to be part of even if many of the residents keep feet on both sides of the fence. I think Hypergrid is Opensim’s greatest strength because it aims is to pull community together regardless of world ownership. I still believe in that.

      • Wolf Hartnell

        I think that is a valid question. Personally, I think that the next “big thing” has yet to appear. It won’t require new hardware or vast social engagement, though it will support both, but it will take the freedom of expression and creativity of Second Life and it’s offshoots (IW, OpenSim, etc.), combine that with fresh technology and simplicity, making personalisation and sharing truly effortless add a drop or two of brilliance and inspiration, and then spice it up with some things we never realised we wanted. Second Life was so unlike anything before it that it started a new chapter. The next big thing will do the same. I don’t see that yet but I look forward to it. In the meantime, interest must inevitably decline to the levels of the real fans.

      • Da Hayward

        I believe in it to Talla, a lot of residents are quite “comfortable” with the current level of technology and Hypergrid enabled grids do allow for a greater community

        • Han Held

          I’ve said for years now that in the end, technology will move on and take a lot of opensim users with it; but you’ll be left with a small hobbiest crowd.

          Basically I see opensim taking the same path that the CB fad of the 70’s took.

          The decline of the desktop might put a dent in that …or it might not, if laptops continue to be viable opensim clients.

          • Da Hayward

            true Han but i like to refer to the “hobbiest crowd” as friends.
            To me and a lot of my friends being on OS or SL or even Inworldz is more for the social experience.
            sure nice to get all the latest tech but it would also be nice to win the lottery

          • Han Held

            >true Han but i like to refer to the “hobbiest crowd” as friends.

            I consider myself strictly a hobbyist -so no slight intended on that front!

            That actually means I think that for me and others on my level, we’ll be able to count on it for a while into the future (if not indefinitely). 🙂

          • Da Hayward

            no slight perceived Han.
            One thing very evident in this thread though that although it can probably seem the article is harsh on Inworldz is that Inworldz has so much support from their residents.
            Surely that is a good thing if their residents are happy there is no prob.

          • Susannah Avonside

            I for one will never give up my desktop, as there is no other way to get similar bang for my buck, (well pound, as I’m in the UK). There is a lot of talk about the new and upcoming technologies, but the hardware requirements are not trivial, and that will restrict those to consider them to those with substantially powerful rigs – i.e desktops, or dedicated gaming machines.

            Though we in OpenSim compare ourselves to Second Life, we need to put it all in perspective and remind ourselves that even Second Life is extremely small potatoes when compared with general use of the internet. Virtual worlds have always been a bit of a niche interest, and will remain so. So what if OpenSim becomes a hobbyist thing, it seems to work for the Active Worlds crowd, and that technology is almost prehistoric when compared to OpenSim!

          • Han Held

            Amen to that! Also, as far as I know none of the alternatives honestly have building and avatar customization as front-and-center as Opensim has. (Hifi has building, but it’s cobbled and very much an after-thought).

    • Mattie

      What makes you think this blog is a journalistic publication to begin with?
      It’s pretty obvious that it’s not. The author’s past work for Reuters doesn’t really mean anything in connection with this blog.
      Or do you honestly believe that a top journalist gives a rodent’s posterior about opensim virtual worlds? Come on…

    • Han Held

      Those are some high standards! No argument here that HGB doesn’t meet them (or even try). I’d be interested in getting a list from you of media outlets and websites that do adhere to that list, in practice and in full.

      While I wait, I’ll meditate on the old saying “in theory, theory and practice are the same; but in practice they’re not”

      • Fred Beckhusen

        NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post.

        • Han Held

          Have all fallen down at various times on points one, three and five. 🙂 Particularly point number 3. Also no fair covering for Ben Vennegoor since he was the one I was asking.

          • Mattie

            The difference is that news outlets like WashPost, NY Times (just sticking with those two as an example because I’m a subscriber so I read them regularly) at least TRY to adhere to high journalistic standards. They have fallen down, yes, but they also issued large, public corrections.

            Be that as it may, it’s got nothing to do with the post. HGB is neither WashPost nor NYTimes so it’s all irrelevant anyway.

  • Mattie

    What would this blog do without InWorldz?

    It looks like the post comparing kitely with InWorldz didn’t quite generate enough interest so this one hits the spot.

    It looks a little sad, a little desperate really, a little dirty but at this point, do people still expect unbiased “reporting” from this site? The author obviously holds a personal grudge against InWorldz in general and Beth Reischl in particular and it all makes for really good drama.

    As long as InWorldz supporters rush to the defense, posts like this will continue. While IW residents express their outrage everybody else will reach for the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show.

  • Wolf Hartnell

    Everyone has their own experience and their own opinion, and I respect that. Journalism can have a powerful influence on opinion, however, and has a responsibility for that, but frequently leans to the personal bias of the journalist – I am not sure that it can be any other way, but it’s still disappointing and irresponsible. It’s the responsibility of the reader to get a sense of a writer’s bias before they allow an article to influence their opinion too much. A search of other InWorldz articles on this publication will clearly show their bias.

    I have a bias too, of course. Like many other residents of InWorldz, I have my concerns, but I also love InWorldz. So much so that I co-host iNewz with Elenia, in an attempt to better communicate between management and residents. That communication may not have been ideal lately (for a variety of legitimate reasons) but it has been far greater than in Second Life, for example, who have lots more staff to do that if they choose to.

    As co-host then, I would point out that either the resident or writer behind this article have completely reversed the context of Elenia’s comment in that iNewz show. I recommend actually watching it if you haven’t yet. For the record, Elenia dedicated that show to helping merchants advertise and promote themselves. Her initial statement that it was not her job to help merchants do their job, was followed by lots of help and advice on how to do just that. Much of it was not new for established merchants, but a reminder of the established means that exist to do that.

    I would not expect my local government in RL to promote my own business, but I would appreciate the general tools and advice on how I can do that. My local Chamber of Commerce in RL would be a better bet for that, and I had hoped for more of that from the InWorldz group mentioned in the article above, perhaps themed business fairs, more ways to advertise, and the sorts of things that a RL Chamber of Commerce organises. I suspect there’s some sour grapes there though, since Elenia declined to give that group the priority they had expected.

    Is InWorldz perfect? Hardly! There have been some serious challenges for the company in terms of staff and RL issues, but the truth can only come from the company itself, and there was very little notice given for a response before this article was published. An update on the business and the technical development has been planned for some months, but has been awaiting feedback from developers and the time to finalise budgets and plans whilst actually doing the day-to-day management of the grid. My understanding is that the February iNewz show will be all about that and residents are encouraged to attend and ask questions.

    I co-host iNewz and I run the marketplace in InWorldz. I am also working on other web services for the grid, including a business directory and merchant news subscription service, all aimed at helping merchants promote their businesses. InWorldz management have always been clear that their focus is running their grid, so I have chosen as a resident to do what I can to provide other support services for other residents. I do a lot of work to that end, and have never once thought that InWorldz should be doing it instead. Their mission has always been very clear and I’d rather they put their very limited resources into doing that job as well as they can, and leave merchant promotion to merchants and those residents like myself that choose to develop other services to help.

    I share the technical concerns for my second home, but I will wait until I hear what is actually happening behind the scenes before I go leaping to conclusions of disinterest and announcing such conclusions to the world.

    Finally a disclaimer. I do support InWorldz, by choice, without their input or income, and with no more bias than that I have loved this grid since I joined it many years ago. It’s very rare that I talk to Elenia outside of the iNewz show, and I do not have any greater insight into what is happening than anyone else does. I am not “favored” in any way, but I am grateful for their tacit blessing on the projects I choose to do to help merchants and residents of the grid. It has always been my impression that Elenia is grateful and supportive of those that work to support merchants and residents in InWorldz, even when that work is outside the scope of their own projects and support. Aside from that, I have never received nor expected to receive any time or contribution from the people that actually run the grid.

  • LadyCalliope

    And now comments are being removed… That’s truly a travesty as differing opinions should be part of the whole freedom of speech we are entitled to. What a shame, if we don’t share the writers opinion we aren’t allowed a say. That in and of itself should say something very loudly.

    • lmpierce

      Comments are only removed when they violate the Discussion Guidelines. Actual opinions, one way or another, are not moderated. In this current discussion, only the comments of two commenters have been removed due to such violations, resulting in five comment deletions. Comments may also be delayed in posting if they are automatically put into a moderation queue. Such comments are reviewed and often, but not always approved. Again, they are evaluated against the Discussion Guidelines.

      If a comment you have posted is removed, you can email me at [email protected]. I will respond to your concerns with further information. Comments about moderation should not appear in a discussion, although, such as in this instance, I may use such an occurrence as an opportunity to remind readers of the circumstances of moderation activities.

      Commenting in this forum is a privilege, not a right. Freedom of speech arguments are not applicable, but also not particularly relevant. As noted, comments are not moderated based on the opinion(s) expressed. We promote the expression of diverse points of view. However, we specifically and purposely moderate to prevent personal attacks so the the discussions do not feel threatening or toxic to the authors or readers.

      • LadyCalliope

        I would love to see this applied to the article. But apparently that too is irrelevant. Thanks for the clarification.

  • LadyCalliope

  • Ba Baar

    I love to create and have the Blueberry Patch here.. I absolutely fell in love with IW because there isn’t the drama that other places have. My own opinion is not what was written here. There is a lot of great people here..please don’t let one persons opinion speak for us all. Huggies

  • Mattie’s comment below is one that seems to see what is going on here. I think there are pros and cons to both closed grids with tighter content protections, and open grids allowing inter-grid transfer of content, and the benefit of all this choice is that end users can choose whatever works best for them, and that can even change from week to week, or as circumstances and needs change. This article continues the previous bias of “closed” == “bad”, and further it provides a very negative *personal opinion* of the author against a specific grid, based on a single resident whose identity is withheld, which is a disservice to both the grid and the community as a whole. It’s good to see many of the other residents step up and comment that the view of this one resident view does not represent theirs.

    The article also repeats yet again the falsehood that InWorldz stopped publishing the stats because of some perceived decline. This was made very clear that this was done specifically in response to misleading and heavily biased posts, on this specific blog, that did not do the same comparisons with the data of other grids.

    For example, this article describes a decline over the last 12 months of published data, however it does not show the numbers other grids for the same period, and if they would also show a decline. If you look at the chart in the other article, see image below for what I mean: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Most-valuable-grid-of-2017-1.png You’ll see that the number of new user registrations for the popular grids followed parallel ups and downs.

    From the chart above, I assume the next story we’ll see on this blog is that Kitely has suffered a (roughly) 30% decline (looks to be about 32%) in new user registrations over that period? And that InWorldz has taken a *similar* drop, therefore the whole OpenSim/Metaverse community is in overall decline? (Something we’ve been saying for years now.)

    Furthermore the first chart in this article starts the data at the *peak* usage for InWorldz (and likely for other grids), and doesn’t check how that compares to the last 24 months or 36 months (which would have been much flatter). Obviously if you start a chart at the peak of any stat, it will show a decline, regardless of any and all other factors. This is just lazy blogging and should for the most part just be ignored. As far as I can tell, overall, InWorldz has been holding mostly steady in spite of fairly significant overall/total declines in the community. And finally, that same chart from this article (and several of the others) doesn’t start vertical axis at 0, instead starting it at 1200, exaggerating that difference over that 12 months.

    It was due to this spreading of misinformation by this blogger that InWorldz stopped publishing the stats. That was made very clear, and was supported by the fact that had been publishing the stats through both ups and downs for many years. What I can say is that based on the numbers I can see, InWorldz remains the most popular of all the alternative (to SL) grids, based on the number of monthly active users. But I do think the metaverse industry is in jeopardy, and negative divisive posts such as this one only hurt it. From my perspective, this article does not report information, it starts with a false premise, based on a single anonymous annoyed user, and tries to build a case around that premise rather than reaching out for counter-opinions. How many other members of the Chamber of Commerce were asked for an opinion? Every member of the InWorldz Chamber of Commerce that I’ve heard from has made it clear that this does *not* reflect their opinion (and some have resigned in protest). In other words, this site has fallen victim to fake news.

    • Arielle

      Oh puhleeze Jim. Every time Maria writes an article on anything about Inworldz, you find something to take exception about and along with a few other inworldz cohorts trash anything and everything she has written about. I’ve been following her articles for years and in all that time have never had any sense that she was being in any way antagonistic or unfair about Inworldz. In the comment section of the last article “Kitely was Opensims most Valuable Grid in 2017” she posted an up to date chart of new user registrations for Kitely vs Inworldz showing much of the same data as you just did now while at the same justifying why closed grid models have legitimate uses. She went on to say:
      In almost every year for which I have data, InWorldz has been the top grid when it comes to registering new users. In fact, in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, InWorldz was single-handedly responsible for about a third of all new registrations of all the public OpenSim grids.

      Like wtf are you even talking about Jim? The only ones shooting Inworldz in the foot are the Inworldz drama queens coming onto HGB and flaunting their grid insecurities all over the comment sections of her articles. The degree of professionalism Maria and HGB exemplifies in her treatment of Inworldz overall in spite of the regular abuse you heap on her at every opportunity, makes the Inworldz staff look like rank amatuers. That should tell any discerning person more about the spirit that exists within Inworldz then anything Maria has posted about.

      • Oh puhleeze Arielle, “find something”? Did you read the article? The chart I included is not “much of the same”, it’s exactly the same, as I said I used HER chart from the other article. That’s the point. That other article was okay, although an ad for Kitely, and I don’t have much of a problem with that article. You’ll notice there was no real uproar over that one, while the same could not be said for this hit piece.

        In that chart, in that one article, for the same data she shows them side-by-side, clearly showing the same ups and downs for both grids. Good. But this article one singles-out InWorldz with charts that don’t show whether the same applies to other grids (it does), as well as statements she knows to be false with phrases like “In an apparent effort to stem the flow of bad news”. She knows that isn’t the reason, partly because the news wasn’t actually that bad — it was a slow but steady industry-wide decline and InWorldz was withstanding it nicely, and partly because she was given a denial of that speculation and a clear statement to the contrary before she wrote it the first time.

        This falsehood has been corrected many times and I definitely reserve the right to call this blog out on not issuing either a correction or an apology every time. You can complain that you don’t agree with my post, and I can complain that I don’t agree with hers. She continues to repeat her speculation about what Beth was thinking when Beth clearly corrected that mistake before the first time Maria included it in a posting. Yet she posted it anyway, without Beth’s comment. So your talk of “professionalism” is most definitely misplaced. There’s no attempt to be accurate here, when facts have been provided — in an email *before* the article — and yet the same falsehood gets repeated over and over in articles weeks and months later.

        I promise to never comment on another HGB article, if the articles can either stick to facts and compare IW using the same stats from other grids too when doing an assassination piece, or clearly indicate the article is her own opinion piece that speculates on the motivations of others, in spite of denials and statements to the contrary by those folks. Either one of those would hint at some professionalism but I don’t see either above.

        I didn’t mention it before, but describing my IW forum comment as “very confusing” in this article should have been qualified as her own opinion, rather than the opinion of IW users. The replies to my comment were supportive and agreeing so it’s pretty clear she didn’t pull that “very confusing” out of her bag of journalistic fairness and accuracy. The article is poor in that it mixes feedback from a small number of users with a large dose of her own opinion.

        I have to question the “Kitely was Opensims most Valuable Grid in 2017” article being so… IW positive. Um, okay. But there’s no real mention of the fact that there’s hardly anyone logged in there compared to InWorldz. Yes, it says InWorldz is still the *most* active etc, but no mention that it’s not even close, instead it just deflects by looking at OSGrid instead, and isn’t having people in-world kinda important for a valuable grid? How is that just glossed over?

        We’re all concerned about the decline of interest in all of these virtual worlds, but that’s not really just related to IW, and this article isn’t anything close to professional. Let me be clear here: Maria is a good writer; at least in general, I like her writing style. It’s just the hypergrid bias of posts like this one and the drama from manufactured news like this is just *adding* to the decline of the metaverse across the board. In a couple of years when the community has thinned by another 50% or whatever, remember this day, and this article.

        Arielle, I do think you’re right though about InWorldz folks stepping up to disagree with such a post. It looks defensive and as Mattie said, I guess that’s part of the plan here. The Kitely vs IW article didn’t generate enough controversy and drama, so HGB had to dream up something more directly offensive to some segment of the virtual community. Of course, IW was chosen as the target. Congratulations HGB, there’s the web hits and comment activity. And I’m done here.

  • Yes Fred, indeed anyone can register as their own official DMCA agent, but how many of these self-hosted or mini-grid owners actually have? See the last two sentences of my comment. I don’t know, but I would think the answer is very very low. Cinder’s comment was that those who have, don’t fall into the same kind of content trap as those who haven’t (including those who provide other upload capabilities like anon FTP).

  • Steve_S

    Well, one thing for certain is that this article generated a lot more Click Traffic for hypergrid business, so task accomplished it seems… more angst = more clicks = happier site owner. This is how Media works in 2018.

    Media is also being used as a general WMD – ‘Weapon of Mass Deception’, once you realize that salient point, question everything, consider all points and engage in some light critical thinking, you will see it for what it really is and then decide on the message that article is attempting to deliver. This unfortunately applies not only to Commercial Media but also private media and personal blogs as well.

    • And the other option of course is just to ignore her article with no response from those who feel completely opposite. It’s not like she is just attacking some opinion about houseplants, but she is painting an untrue picture that affects 1) people doing google searches for second life alternatives, who find her blog and read this dismal portrayal of a very viable option. 2)People who are already residents who have come across or will come across this article and suddenly think their ship is sinking – because many IW residents are involved in their own projects and don’t realize that these articles of Maria’s are just a way to get people to read her things. This blog is presented as an online magazine and so many first timers read it as such.

  • Content Creator

    IW propaganda… LOL

  • Content Creator

    Most IW folks have no idea who Maria is, and those of us that do typically don’t think about her much either way, though articles like this one caught our attention because of how poorly it reflects reality. And it isn’t the first to do so here.

    I have run OpenSim since 0.7, I have a local instance I use for region planning and testing large builds, and I have visited a few other grids over the years. I haven’t done as much exploring lately as I am simply too busy… not a bad problem to have I suppose.

    As far as numbers go, most of us couldn’t care less how big or small other grids are, we care more about the success of our home and the metaverse at large. The success in the “alternative grid” arena is success for us all as the likelihood of people finding InWorldz and making it their home increases if the overall size of the metaverse increases.

    We have a lot of residents that have homes in multiple grids. Some of us simply prefer to make IW our primary place of residence, others don’t, and that’s just dandy fine… so long as such decisions aren’t being influenced by publications misrepresenting, misinterpreting, and fabricating data.

  • I haven’t been reading this page lately and I was kind of surprised when I came here and saw 115 comments on this post so I had to read what it was about. I haven’t read the comments because I am pretty sure it’s the same people with the same complaints. It’s tiring. But I want to comment on the post and not on the comments. I just think it’s crazy that residents expect the grid or the grid owners to get them traffic or help with their business. You don’t see Linden Labs getting into peoples business and helping them. They sell you land and then you build your own business, get your own traffic, have your own events and they do nothing. And SL is thriving. People who work their business’s and do events and hunts and make good product thrive there.
    So in case anyone wonders what the job of a grid owner is it’s to manage the grid… not your store or events or your social life.
    If the grid is running wonky or your inventory is getting lost or you were billed twice in the same month then run to the grid owners. Otherwise take care of your own self. Grow up.

    I’ve been in SL for months now again and you really never see any of this complaining or drama there. People take care of themselves or each other but they don’t run to lindens with every little issue as if they are the mommy or daddy.
    And as far as taking down the forums or whatever social thing they had up who cares? Why should they provide that for you? If you want a place to interact with others and be social then create one.

    When I started SL I’d log in and the splash screen would show how many users were online. I remember my friends and I getting excited that there were actually 500 online at one time. It was a crazy big number for SL at the time. It’s grown so much and not because the employees or owners of the grid did anything special. The users made that world. The users built that world. The users invited their friends into that world. That’s why it grew. The whole game is based on it being the user’s world.

    So once users start taking responsibility and building their own world in the grid they choose then they can see their business’s grow and their social life blossom. And it would take less time to do that then to complain about not being taken care of and having things done for them.

    Now here’s where someone comments and says “You’re not even part of OpenSim anymore”. And they would be right. And this attitude of residents thinking everything needs to be handed to them is one of the reasons. And I am so glad. If you don’t like OpenSim then do what I did and go back to SL. The water’s warm…. you’ll like it…. jump on in 😛

    • Da Hayward

      You are right the users or residents build the world, the grid owners provide a world for you to build.
      Well said Linda

    • I agree so much with your post ~ and in fact that is what most responses (oddly very few this time actually stated the ‘not part of opensim anymore’ response) actually were. Im not sure who the ‘anonymous’ merchants were in this story, no one I’ve ever run to. I, and many other people that were in the Chamber of Commerce group led by the avatar mentioned in this story, have left the Chamber of Commerce group because we do not feel that she was right to come to HGB without even talking to anyone else about it. She says her meaning was misconstrued but I don’t see her posting here to clarify this story so I’m not sure I believe that. I wrote a rebuttal on my blog and I will tell you, the majority of merchants do NOT feel it is the grids job to supply them with customers, they feel (as you mention) that it is the grid owners job only to provide the framework in which they create.

    • Content Creator

      Most of us don’t disagree with your points about the merchants being responsible for their own promotion. It isn’t the phone company’s job to give telemarketers leads any more than it is the responsibility of a commercial landlord to bring customers to the shops that rent from them. No different with a virtual world platform.

      Second Life grew because they were innovative, engaged with the media, proactive with their communities, and visible. They had the mentor program and active participation in-world by the Lindens to help residents get situated until they knew what they were doing. Once they grew to a size that could sustain itself without such involvement (and people were more tech friendly to begin with as times had changed), they phased the mentor program out, and the Lindens pulled further and further away from the community. Also, keep in mind, Second Life was REALLY popular with the online gambling crowd before LL put a stop to it. By that time, there were 70k plus logging in during peak hours, the ban really put a dent in that for a while. Then they merged the teen grid with the main grid, that caused an uproar, as did other policy changes over the years. Wasn’t long after all that when OpenSimulator popped off.

      SL does pretty well for itself, if that’s your thing, I still log in there from time to time to visit friends that are still there. It’s a good fit for a lot of people, not so much for others, but it’s all good.

      • I agree with you. Also SL has sex. And it’s everywhere. And a lot of people (not everyone) want that as part of their virtual life. To find regions that are populated and social you mostly have to look at regions that are “Adult”. There are a lot of reasons for people to not be doing good business. But blaming the grid is not a viable reason. Basically the grid is there. If they choose to use that as their place of business then they need to find a way to bring customers there. There is blogging and G+ communities and they can do events or put something special there that make people want to create an account with IW and visit and buy at their shops.
        I’ve been in that spot myself where I wanted to blame the grid owner. And I did for a bit. But in the end I realized that I am responsible for my own promoting. I am happy if a grid owner just takes care of the grid.

        On another note (after re-reading this article) I am so disappointed but not surprised to see that once again HGB is focused on slamming InWorldz and praising Kitely (as she does so many times with Digiworldz too). I feel like this now rates right up there with Fox News….. but that’s a whole other topic. And it’s really sad that the author has blinders on and can’t see the big picture and give us an unbiased post.

      • Arielle

        Content Creator said: Most of us don’t disagree with your points about the merchants being responsible for their own promotion. It isn’t the phone company’s job to give telemarketers leads any more than it is the responsibility of a commercial landlord to bring customers to the shops that rent from them. No different with a virtual world platform.

        Then how much less is it HGB’s job to promote Inworldz?

        • Content Creator

          Considering InWorldz has absolutely nothing to do with Hypergrid, it isn’t really HGB’s job to write about InWorldz at all, but since they do they should at least get their facts straight.

          • Arielle

            Grid owners and new residents would be interested to know the pros and cons of Opensim worlds with and without Hypergrid to make a sound judgment as to which would best suit their needs. Inworldz being the largest of a very small group of non hypergrid enabled grids, is very relevant to HGB’s readership in that regard and has more then likely resulted in some of them joining Inworldz.

            The facts Maria listed in the article were all backed up with links to where she obtained them from. There is little question whether Beth said what she said, Jim said what he said, Inworldz stopped releasing certain data etc etc. These are well known and verifiable facts. The contention is not the actual facts but what they mean or why they came about. I felt her interpretation of some of them were legitimate while others like Beth moving to Panama not to matter a hill of beans to the current state of Inworldz, but whatever it was food for thought as to why things are the way they are currently.

            The comments in the thread would have been a lot more fruitful had Inworldz posters focused on the issues brought up rather than doing what they could to trash the writer or the facts presented. Until Inworldz people can do so, I am not optimistic of their long term viability. Jmo.

          • Content Creator

            The “issues” this article brought up are fabrications based on misinterpreted or misrepresented data and “anonymous merchants.” So long as this is the type of work published on HGB, I am not optimistic of their long term viability, just my opinion.

            If any of us felt these “issues” needed to be addressed… we’d have addressed them. Time will tell whether or not you’re right about the longterm viability of InWorldz… same for the rest of the metaverse… but I am perfectly happy where I am in the meantime.

          • I think this blog post (in no way is it a news article) should be changed so it doesn’t say “merchants” and instead says “merchant” because it seems that only one merchant offered a quote that was about being worried about the future of IW. And even then apparently does not feel enough conviction over that statement to put his/her name on it and own it.
            And I too think that IW should just be left out of any comparison to hypergrid or non hypergrid OpenSim. IW is more akin to SL or even IMVU or Sims or World of Warcraft than it is to OpenSim. They are their own game.
            When did journalism become about trying to write something that will get a lot of comments and cause a stir rather than writing the truth and having credible sources and having it relate to the venue? It’s disturbing to say the least.

          • Arielle

            I count 4 people quoted in the article who had misgivings about where Inworldz was headed. 2 named, 2 anonymous or no name given. Asking for anonymity is not surprising when one considers these types of Grids that give no or filtered backups to the resident also tend to be a bit ban happy. Noone wants to endanger their investment in a grid if being honest lands one outside the gates but you can bet that if there is one or two, there will be a host of others keeping their heads low and not even risking an anonymous quote but still less than happy about the situation. Note too that all the Inworldz commenters are commercial content creators. Either that is what Inworldz is comprised of or the regular users know when it is best to be quiet.,

            As far as being left out of comparisons, you thought the same about GCG and they still haven’t recovered from that fiasco.

          • Content Creator

            I’ve never heard of anyone being banned from InWorldz that didn’t violate the publicly viewable Terms of Service. The reason why the commenters here are commercial content creators is due to the fact that most of us heard about this article through the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, which was referenced in the article. The “regular users” are being quiet because most of them don’t read this blog, either because they’ve never heard of it, or because it isn’t very friendly towards InWorldz.

            Don’t think for a second that InWorldz residents know when to be quiet… lol. They just don’t usually post here… because InWorldz has nothing to do with Hypergrid. 😉

          • Normally I wouldn’t even reply to a comment from you. I really hate to jump into the mud with you and I really really don’t like you but I feel I need to clarify.

            I never once said that GCG wasn’t part of opensim or hypergrid. I thought “Every Grid” should opt out of the stats on HGB because the data is wrong and there is no accurate way to get numbers that are true. Of course GCG should be compared to other OpenSim grids when it’s not biased and the FACTS are true.

            And I don’t know what “fiasco” you are talking about. I spoke with Roddie recently and he loves his grid still. So seems fine to me. And if you intend on blaming me for said “fiasco” but I’m going to view that as just another way you like to troll on the comments of every post on this website and I’m going to just ignore it. buh bye.

    • Han Held

      >And as far as taking down the forums or whatever social thing they had
      up who cares? Why should they provide that for you? If you want a place
      to interact with others and be social then create one.

      Honestly, that’s usually my reaction whenever I see that complaint too.

      Glad to see you; I hope SL is treating you well. 🙂

  • Debby Whitemore

    I seen the group notice for the last of the Elf Clan regions in IWZ closing, while I have found this sad, it is not too shocking considering they tried for years to get the founders to consider ideas to help put the place on the map again like adding inviting interactive welcome regions but it seems at every turn someone would cry favoritism.

    I think in my opinion the reason OpenSim has grown was do to the fact the last four or so years IWZ has bleed out all it’s talent and creators to leave to form new grids leading to them taking even more growth away from IWZ.

    I think the residents can be blamed only so much when simple things like communication,obvious website & grid updates should have been happening, closing the old forums was a rookie move (deleting the scripting section unforgivable years of work deleted), at the end of the day I believe nothing will change, never to get the grid back to were it was or beyond with it becoming the next Avination.

    All this talk of Elenia coming up with a plan to share next month seems ludicrous when it should have been actions all along for a company in business a few years sky of a decade!, It’s like the grid went from a focused driven company to being run like someones hobby.

    I wish the little red dragon all the luck, I’ll will shed a teardrop when the last of those kind elves sail away to new shores leaving the rest of us facing an uncertain future.

    • Mattie

      Good riddance to Elf Clan and their trail of drama, entitlement, hate, and bigotry.

    • Moontan_Valeeva

      Debby, I don’t know what you have seen but your information is inaccurate. ElfClan sims are not closing and there has not been a notice on this.. Í own an ElfClan sim and have no intention to leave
      ElfClan has many members. ElfClan as such is not in dispute with the founders of InWorldz. It seems to me you hold a grudge on InWorldz and you use ElfClan to vent your opinions. If you are a member of ElfClan and have questions, talk with one of the eldar. If you are not you have no business venting your opinions over our backs.
      My apologies to readers of this forum as my response here is way off topic.
      My name Inworld is Moontan Valeeva, Eldar of ElfClan.

  • Christine Cochran

    First, let me say that InWorldz does have at least one mesh body. The Sapphira has been there since we first expanded from SL. It was the first grid we went to, before their viewer was even mesh enabled. It was before I had even heard of the Hypergrid or had visited any of the other grids out there. Now, they have more than one mesh body. I know of at least one other that is well on it’s way to being a major competitor. I have never had an issue with any of the staff there. They have always been a great help. I took a break from most of the grids I was on due to health issues, but they always responded to me when I contacted them during that time. I can’t say that for some of the other grids we were on. I really don’t worry about the forums since I don’t use them on any of the grids I’m on and a lot of the grids don’t even have them at all. Traffic has never been an issue. I have a product that pretty much sells itself, so I don’t have to rely on someone else to bring in my traffic or blame them when it isn’t there.

    Yes, the owners/staff of the grid should be responsible for bringing people in to the grid overall. That is what marketing is for. By the same token, everyone who calls InWorldz their home should be bringing in their friends, as well. If everyone worked together instead of blaming someone else, the grid would grow. I have a group of merchants that go with me to pretty much every grid I expand to. Unfortunately, most of them have left InWorldz due to a lack of interest. Not due a lack of sales.