5 sales lessons from Genesis Global Journey’s land page

Land options on the Genesis Global Journey grid.

Land options on the Genesis Global Journey grid.

In getting ready for my monthly stats report, I’m checking to see whether the grids I’m listing in my directory are up and running, and collecting their terms of service pages and other links.

And I just came across the land sales page of Genesis Global Journey, a small commercial grid that launched late last year.

I routinely get into discussions with grid owners about why they needlessly make their land sales pages so complicated and hard to find. Some grids, for example, require users to create accounts and login before they can buy land, then jump through a lot of other hoops.

But this little grid seems to be getting a lot of things right, at least when it comes to site design.

1. Take their money first

I can’t stress this enough. Make it easy for your customers to give you money. You can work out all the details of the region coordinates and estate rights and all that other bookkeeping later.

If you make your customers figure out their region coordinates before you take their money, they might well go away and you’ll never hear from them again.

Here’s a typical scenario. A customer wants to buy land on a grid, and the grid asks for their avatar name. Let’s say 10 percent of them can’t answer the question right away. Maybe they have more than one avatar on a grid, and now they have to decide which one they want to buy the land with. Maybe they have to go and lookup their avatar password, since it’s saved in the viewer and they don’t usually use it on the website. Maybe they haven’t created an account on the grid yet, but have visited over hypergrid. Add all those up and 10 percent of your potential customers will just leave.

Now let’s say the grid wants to know the coordinates of the region. Who can possibly know that? You’re going to lose 50 to 75 percent — or more – of your potential customers right then and there.

Some grids will then ask about how much storage and processing power and server cores and flux capacitors people want. Again, who knows that? Folks tend to know how many prims they want, maybe how many visitors they expect to get. Asking them for technical details will cost you a certain percentage of customers.

These losses add up. Ten percent here, 25 percent there, and pretty soon there’s no one left.

But if the customers pay first, then they’ve made a commitment. They’ll follow up and pick a region name and coordinates and the avatar because they’ve already spent the money.

Genesis Global Journey asks no questions at all. None. It’s as simple as you can get.

2. Limited choice

There’s a sweet spot of about three to five choices when it comes to buying hosting. More choices means that the customer has to make a lot of decisions, decisions they might not be ready to make.

Genesis Global Journey offers just four options, ranging from $8 a month for a single-region starter plan to $160 a month for a 25-region-size varregion.

3. Simple, simple, simple

Each of the plans offer unlimited prims and avatars. In practice, of course, at some point, the regions will start slowing down. But customers don’t have to worry about keeping within specific limits.

But when it comes to the initial buying decisions, it means that customers don’t have to decide ahead of time whether they want 15,000 prims or 30,000 prims or 5,000 prims, or whether they will ever have more than ten visitors at once.

There are no setup fees, and no restrictions.

For example, some grids have covenants on their land, or rules about mainland regions, or there’s a limit about who can buy how many of what kind of region.

Sure, it makes sense to have a limited time promotion as part of a marketing campaign where only a certain number of customers can get a particular deal. But that kind of thing is separate from having a good, clean basic sales page. Especially since there’s no logical reason why a customer shouldn’t be able to order, say, ten landscaping regions. It’s not like they’re a limited commodity.

4. Free trial period

This part really impressed me. New users get a free region for seven days, without having to give any billing details, and if they like it, they can buy a region hosting plan.

I really like this offer, but it might make a little bit more sense to put it on the home page, to motivate people to sign up for new accounts, instead of on the land sales page, where people come already willing to spend some money.

Plus, I couldn’t find any information on the site about how to actually get this free region.

But I love the idea, even if the execution needs some work.

5. Slick and clean design

The folks who set up this website picked a design theme and stuck with it. As a result, the whole page looks crisp and professional.

I do have to add a disclaimer, though. A well-designed sales page will not, by itself, make a grid successful or unsuccessful. There are lots of other factors in play.

In particular, Genesis Global Journey has really high new user registration rates — they gained more than 600 new registrations this past month alone. But their active numbers are very low, with just a couple of dozen users a month. So folks are coming in — maybe attracted by the free region trial offer — but, like me, can’t figure out what they’re supposed to do after they’ve registered. I’ve also not been able to find any activity on their social media sites or in their forums, so there might be other issues involved as well.

But if you notice that your grid’s land sales page is getting a lot of traffic, but isn’t bringing in any money, then take a look at whether you’re making it easy and pleasant for your customers to give you money, or whether you’re throwing a lot of unnecessary obstacles in their way.

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Maria Korolov

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

14 Responses

  1. da.tonyhayward@gmail.com' Da Hayward says:

    Great Article Maria

  2. butch.arnold@digiworldz.com' Butch Arnold says:

    According to their page, hypothetically, for just $8 I could buy a region, place 500k prims on it, and I could login 5000 avatars.. or I guess it wouldn’t matter.. I could rez as many prims as I wanted and login as many avies as I wanted since it’s unlimited?
    I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

    I’d like to test this… may I buy an $8 region and give it a try?

    • I have a feeling it’s similar to how my website provider sells hosting — unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth BUT the site starts slowing down if I actually get a lot of visitors, and they start suggesting that I upgrade. 🙂

      And, yes, I finally went and upgraded the hosting plan for Hypergrid Business and the site HAS become faster. So their evil marketing plan worked! (Just FYI, I host it with Dreamhost, and like it very much.)

      • butch.arnold@digiworldz.com' Butch Arnold says:

        The Unlimited Prims and Unlimited avatars is a marketing ploy that is very misleading.
        Many users buy into that and think they are getting a great deal only to end up disappointed by the what they get after they waste their time building everything up.
        In the meantime, great hosting providers who know better than to advertise in this manner suffer lost users/lost income.
        I can’t count the number of users DigiWorldz has lost to offers like this only to have the users come back to us after finding out it’s not true.

        I’m not speaking specifically of any grid here, but often times offers like this are running on under powered servers, poor networks, slow connections, etc.

        Offers like this hurt us all. If these grids attract users only for those users to be disappointed then guess what…? They go away with the opinion that OpenSim Sucks. Then they tell their friends about their experience with OpenSim and they tell their friends about this friend who tried OpenSim, etc.
        It gives us all a bad name…. period.

        DigiWorldz has been accused at times of selling our services too low, but the fact is, just like any other grid we want to attract users because we know users attract more users so at times we run specials and our everyday prices are pretty low, but we never oversell our services. You will get what we advertise and if, for any reason you aren’t happy with our services, we have a money back guarantee.
        Instead of spending lots of money on advertisements, we give our users a great deal, one that is both deliverable and sustainable on quality equipment with great connectivity.
        If we instead spent money on advertising we wouldn’t be able to have the lower prices, without the lower prices our growth would slow or stop as people flock to those providers with lower prices.

        There are some great hosting providers out there who offer great services, great support and users will get what they are promised, while on the other side, there are hosting providers using cheap servers on questionable networks, whose support is not very good, etc. – the point is, users “should” get what they paid for or we as a community will get a black eye from the reputation created by those providers.

        There’s a point at which a provider has to at least break even or they risk not being able to pay their hosting costs, licenses, helpers, etc .. (expenses).
        At DigiWorldz we have a great crew of helpers who donate their time to help make the support in DigiWorldz great.
        Without them, we couldn’t sell our regions for the prices we sell them at.

        While we have had a few people who have not been happy for one reason or another, we always make it right by fixing the issues, or refunding their money… period.
        We will not oversell our services, we will not provide questionable support, and we will not make promises we can’t keep.
        You can see what our users are saying about our support here: http://digiworldz.com/feedbackcomments.php

        There are many great providers suffering from lost income and users due to promises like this. The best we can hope for is that we have the resources to “Wait” the bad providers out and the users will come back.

        I’ll be the first to say the hosting market for OpenSim is terrible from a providers perspective.
        A standard 256m x 256m with 15k prims should sell on the low side for somewhere around $50/mo. but we can’t get that kind of money for a region because we have other providers who want to oversell and over promise for a very low price and that destroys the market. If DigiWorldz did not have helpers who donated their time helping to provide support, we could not do what we do.

        The reality is, it takes money to pay for servers, it takes money to pay for someone to take care of them, it takes money to pay someone to do bug fixes, it takes money to pay someone to develop new features, it takes money to pay support people, it takes money to pay for phone service so someone can call for support, it takes money to pay someone to do billing/collections, it takes money to pay for domains, licenses, etc., it takes money to pay for marketing and accountants, etc.

        If a provider pays just $50 for a cheap server on a questionable network and they can fit 40 regions on a server and they sell those regions for $8 each they’ll be bringing in $8 x 40 regions = $320. Now, as these regions grow, they will continue to consume more and more resources, especially if they are allowing unlimited prims and avatars.. eventually, there will come a time when even a single, very large, resource intensive region could not run on this server. Do you really think a provider can pay for the $50 server while they are only being paid for an $8 region?
        Where will they get the money to pay for everything if they are losing $42 on this server?

        I would like to see an unbiased report done showing the results of testing each grid’s standard region offerings and features.
        I’d like to see the following tests, from an unbiased 3rd party tester at random times over the course of 30 days:
        – Performance of the region under low, moderate and high loads (prims/scripts/avatars)
        – Uptimes
        – login times
        – Support times
        – tp times to other regions
        – how smoothly scripts runs
        – Standard Features – what is the user is getting for their money
        – Are you getting what has been promised?

        I’d be willing to provide you with a free region to test Maria if you are willing to do the tests and the article.

        A report like this could provide the community with a “REAL” picture of the hosting landscape and could be a real service to the users.

    • geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

      I was mostly impressed by the 137 cores listed under the RAM row.

      I call BS on this. The community has nothing to learn from such a scam.

  3. dharmalittle456@aol.com' Dharma Little says:

    I support this little grid it’s very obvious someone just wanted a small grid able to offer features just like the bigger grids but is not really trying to grow beyond the ability to manage the place. it is very easy to see it’s just someone living the dream they have while impressing friends with a great interface while having a small easy to manage friend community.

    Anyone that has to huff and puff and ‘teach them!’ is blowing it way out of proportion. maybe lighten up a bit as well.

    • da.tonyhayward@gmail.com' Da Hayward says:

      so so right

    • butch.arnold@digiworldz.com' Butch Arnold says:

      Hi Dharma, sorry if I came across as “Picking” on them, I wasn’t.. as a matter of fact I give “Kudos” for offering the free region for a week! Great stuff there. I’m just concerned that not only does advertising unlimited prims and unlimited avatars border on false advertising, it also sets up a user for a lot of wasted time and sets the grid up for a bad reputation when they can’t deliver what was promised.
      I’ve chatted with the Genesis grid and have helped them in the past and I for one think they can be a very nice grid, they have great intentions and seem to care about their image and users which left me very surprised when I seen this being advertised as anyone who advertises this kind of deal is setting up both themselves and their users up for failure.
      What happens if I’m an SL user who wants to setup a roleplay community… ? I buy the $8 region, I invite 300 of my roleplay friends from SL, and my region crashes, or we can’t move around on the region… my SL friends laugh, I have egg on my face, OpenSim gets a black eye and so does the grid. Being part of the OpenSim community myself, I care about the image of not only my grid, but any other grid who is representing OpenSim. If they look bad, we all look bad.

      A grid should never sell on based price alone. Concentrate on what makes your grid different instead. Maybe that’s your community, maybe that’s your roleplay features, maybe it’s your events, maybe it’s your grid’s features, maybe it’s your performance, maybe it’s your service/support…. but the first rule of marketing is never sell on price or you will go broke.

      There’s so many potential users, all with different ideas of what is important to them. A grid should find what they are good at and be the best they can be and sell on that.

      We’ve all seen grid after grid fail when they sell on price alone, and doing that sets the rest of us up for a bad reputation as well when these grids cannot deliver what was promised.

      Market degradation only hurts everyone, users, grid owners, developers, the entire community and advertising something that is not sustainable or even deliverable is nonsense…. period.

      The people at Genesis are friendly and good people, they can obviously do what they like and sell at whatever price they like, but based on my personal experience with them I would like to see them around for awhile.