HG Biz Plan: Hypergrid Post Office
The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering products and services in this metaverse. My team and I have been brainstorming some ideas of what these products and services will look like.
Spam is bad enough with email, but imagine how bad it can get when we are able to send virtual objects to one another! The damage done by malicious scripts would be combined with the large file size of the biggest objects — it could bring down entire grids. A hypergrid post office, where senders would pay a nominal amount for each object, would be a place where spam would get screened out before it ever reaches the recipient. In addition, the post office could serve an aggregation function — if a popular item is sent to many different people on a particular grid, it could make sure that the item is only delivered once to the destination grid, and all the recipients get copies of that original item, reducing asset storage load on the grid’s central servers.
The revenue streams
Virtual postage. Extra storage for those who decide to use their mailboxes as secure backups for purchased content. In addition, the post office could offer — as an opt-in service — “freebie of the week” deliveries, where virtual world merchants can pay a fee to give away samples of their products.
The post office can issue personal mailboxes that can be setup on private regions which will automatically fetch deliveries, reducing the burden on the post office’s storage servers. Users could also opt for post office boxes that they can visit at the post office grid itself — as traffic grows, the post office might need to occupy a larger land area, or have multiple versions of the post office up and running simultaneously and send visitors to the ones that aren’t too crowded. Either way, this is a no-touch service with little customer support required, allowing it to scale as the hypergrid grows.
This is a “winner take all” area. If there are two or more competing mail delivery companies, merchants will opt to use the one with the most customers, while the customers will use the one with the most merchants. At the beginning, some will hedge their bets and subscribe to multiple services but, over time, one will come to dominate. Once that happens, it will be extremely difficult for competitors to gain a foothold.
If third-party inventory services arise where users get their avatars — virtual closets, if you will — these platforms can also serve the role of virtual post offices, receiving virtual goods on behalf of their users from merchants, and screening out spam and trojans.