AviWorlds closes for tenth time

The welcome region on the formerly-recently-relaunched AviWorlds grid.

This time, AviWorlds shut down not with a loud scandal, but without even a whisper.

Alexsandro Pomposelli

Over the past few days, grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli has opted not to renew his grid servers, let his domain name expire, and shut down his media accounts and stopped responding to emails, Skype messages, and phone calls.

While most of this could be due to, say, the owner being held hostage by a crazy clown in the woods somewhere — hey, stranger things have happened with this grid — shutting down the social media pages takes deliberate effort.

So I’m officially calling it a grid closing as opposed to an outage, making it the tenth time the grid has shut down.

Many grids have downtime. There’s a problem with a server, or some maintenance needs to be done, or someone tripped over a power cord. It happens. Usually, the grid communicates with its residents through social media or email, and responds to media request for comment — that’s me, pretty much — and makes promises about getting up and running that it may or many not keep.

What’s also worrying is that the grid’s most recent domain name, aviworlds.us, seems to be up for sale for $12. GoDaddy, where the domain is registered, has a 42-day grace period on expired domain names, so Pomposelli still has time to get it back. He also owns the aviworlds.com domain, which is registered through August.

DigiWorldz has backups

In January, Pomposelli decided to stop trying to run the grid from his garage and switched to professional hosting with DigiWorldz. (A power outage might have had something to do with that decision.)

However, last week, Pomposelli seems to have decided not to renew his grid servers, and the grid went down on Friday.

Terry Ford

DigiWorldz owner Terry Ford said that he has some backups.

“I would like users to know that I do have backups of the OARs for all regions, but I cannot give them directly to the users as they are not mine to give,” he told Hypergrid Business. “When Alex contacts me, he will get a link where he can download them and do with them as he wishes.”

That means that users will, once again, depend on Pomposelli for their region backups, unless they were prescient enough to make sure they have their own backups. As I recommended numerous times.

“It will be up to them to contact him for a copy of the OAR file if he allows them to have it,” said Ford.

DigiWorldz does not have a full database backup of the grid, however.

Region backups, or OAR files, allow a grid to be rebuilt, region by region. They do not include user inventories or asset databases or profiles or messages or any of the other things that a grid keeps track of.

A full database backup allows the grid to be restarted with everything in place — inventories, assets, and so on.

“We always advise our customers to purchase Amazon S3 space in which to use to store backups,” said Ford. “This way, their backups are stored not just on their servers, but also an offsite location as well.”

Pomposelli chose not to do this. Instead, the backups for the grid servers were on the grid servers — the same servers he did not renew.

The aviworlds.us domain name was used for the grid’s loginURI and hypergrid address. That domain is no longer active, and the stats report page is down as well.

There was no website at that URL. Pomposelli said he was working on getting a site back up, but meanwhile, he had been using a Facebook page as the grid’s official website. That page, facebook.com/aviwordsgrid, is now also down, as is the Twitter account @AviWorlds and his Google Plus page.

The domain name, the grid servers, the not responding to messages — that can all be due to some accident. But taking down the Facebook page is intentional. It doesn’t just happen by itself — someone has to go in and delete it.

No business model

With the most recent launch, Pomposelli did not even pretend to have a business model.

His plan was to give away plots and regions for free.

“The free regions are 15,000 prims each, with one region per user,” he told Hypergrid Business last month. The AV$ currency will be available in-world, but it will be a completely fictional currency.

“Users will be able to earn AV$s inworld to survive in the game,” he said. “Money will not be charged at this time or exchanged.”

So how will the grid stay in business?

“I will self fund it indefinitely,” he said. “My business module right now it to fill the grid with people so they can feed their imagination! But I do have a few things that will help fund the grid and keep giving free regions to everyone.”

For example, he was considering a freemium model.

“If they want more than one region then they have to pay,” he said.

There might also be an option for people to donate money to the grid, and he pointed to OSgrid as an example. However, OSgrid is a registered non-profit, and donations are tax-deductible. This is not a simple process, and Pomposelli didn’t have a real plan for that, either.

“I’m bringing in as many people as I can to the grid,” he said. “Once I see that the grid is filled with people and content that will generate VALUE. Then, and only then, I will stop giving free regions. At the same time people will need to survive in the grid. They will have to participate in the events and camps and so on or create things they can sell so they earn AV$. There. That’s my plan.”

As of the last stats report, AviWorlds had the equivalent of 245 standard regions, making it the 26th largest OpenSim grid by land area. At that time, it had 80 active users, which was up to 131 as of last Friday. That would have made it the 43rd most popular grid by traffic numbers.

So, despite a long history of severe problems, people still keep coming back.

If the grid bounces back — for the eleventh time — and you are interested in participating, remember to use a foreign avatar for all your in-world activity. One from OSgrid, Kitely, or one of the hundreds of other grids out there which are infinitely more reliable. That way, when AviWorlds goes down again, you won’t lose your inventory.

In addition, if you do get land, remember to get plenty of backups. Lots and lots and lots of backups.

Or just pick a better grid to build on right from the start. OpenSim land prices are extremely reasonable and several other grids also offer free land.

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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.

52 Responses

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


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

    Geez you a a real piece cliff just stay away from kea, poach elsewhere. I advise people to stay clear of Genesis there are loads of other more respectable grids out there. Genesis hasn’t got a squeaky clean record has it?

  3. trrlynn73@gmail.com' Minethereé says:

    Aviworlds: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the grid Aviworlds. Its fifty-year mission: to explore strange new simulators, to seek out new avatars and new places to feed the imagination, to boldly go where no Avatar has gone before!

  4. fonsecaloffpt@yahoo.com' Carlos Loff says:

    I was expecting a more thrilling row of comnents and answers, but maybe it is just still too soon

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

    yup! gotta say one thing for Alex…. no one can say he didn’t try

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

    As much as I like Alex, I think you could be right there, unless there is a real legitimate reason. But with the contact email gone I’m not holding out much hope

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

    Hello everyone.

    I owe an explanation to the opensimulator community.

    I have not been abducted by aliens or ufo like Maria wrote above.
    I have encountered a huge problem involving family and for that reason I had to tell Butch I could not renew the services.

    First I would like to say that the service given to AviWorlds by DigiWorldz hosting was the best I have ever employed in these last 7 years. Thank you Butch for a class A+ service!
    I turned off all media because I knew I was going to get hundreds of emails and messages so I turned it off Temporarily. Sorry about that but I did not and could not be disturbed for reasons I will keep private at this time.

    Sorry Mike I know I disappointed you and all my friends, the community that has always backed me up each time AviWorlds was placed back online even when Maria here keeps saying do not go to AviWorlds …

    Anyone who desires their OARS yes I give BUTCH from DigiWorldz authorization to supply it. So Mike you can get a hold of Butch he may have the OAR for the 200 regions areas I gave you. Sorry for your roads loss perhaps you can get it via the oars.

    Thanks all!

    Alex Ferraris.l

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

      Hey Alex sorry to hear about that. Hope you do get through it soon. Feel free to pop in and see us inworld we are here if you need support, remember you do have lots of friends in here.

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

      Thanks for the kind words Alex.. I wish you well. Thank you for your business.

    • Alex — Just FYI, but you can just mute your Facebook app and stop checking messages without taking down the entire account. Similarly, you can just stop checking email until you’re available again. They even have autoresponders that you can use that can say, something like, “I’m sorry that I can’t answer messages right now, but I’m dealing with an emergency, and will get back to everyone when I return.” In fact, in the time it took you to take down the Facebook page, you could have simply posted a quick message that said something like, “Dealing with emergency, please be patient, back soon.” Or something like that.

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

    Mike you can ask Butch for the oar for the TWO vars 100 regions size each with 65000 prims each I GAVE YOU for free. I already gave Butch authorization to release it to you if he has it.

    • fonsecaloffpt@yahoo.com' Carlos Loff says:

      Is not Digiworldz responsibility to give or send OARs to that guy or that girl – They hosted your grid and you are the one who cared for people, they are not paid to care for your tenants because your tenants pay or don’t pay but deal with you – If I have a problem with Amazon I don´t go to the product factory in China to ask for a new one, I deal with Amazon and only Amazon can solve it

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

        Hey come on Carlos, You are a good guy…give Alex a break. At one stage all 3 of us were friends remember?

      • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

        Yes thats what I am doing. I am sending the OARS if they request.
        I am not having Butch send them.

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

    I feel Strongly about this as at times I have probably overly criticised some of Alex’s past actions… but in saying that I have always admired his never say die attitude. I think the best course now is lets not kick the man while he is down, Rl does have a nasty way of interfering with our “virtual life’s”. I sincerely wish Alex the best and hope he gets through his rl problems soon.

  10. b54563@mvrht.com' Thelma Marks says:

    Wishing whoever is involved good luck.

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

    AviWorlds is already back online and everyone is getting their regions.


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

      Yay Alex welcome back

      • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

        Thank you DA..
        I am now back to my original plans which is build a garage based structure.
        I had a huge family problem and when I asked Butch for 1 week waiting he wasnt able to give it to me so I was forced to not renew it. I m not blaming DigiWorldz hosting for that but I strongly think that any hosting should give some GRACE period. 24 hours grace is not always enough. And I was never told about this amazon storage deal. But anyway I do think it will be better that I have more control of my own servers and not depend on someone else’s. I was very impressed with the digiworldz service and the amount of attention Butch gave to all my needs. Excellent service but I do have this suggestion. Give a longer GRACE period. I would have paid the servers in the following week so this could be a plus !
        And because I couldnt renew the services Butch told me he would not be interested in offering me hosting anymore. So that is something that is not a very good way to deal with your customer. But it is what it is. 🙂

        • b54563@mvrht.com' Thelma Marks says:

          Sounds like a bad hosting company if they acted like that to you. You can’t control if things happen! Welcome back and hope you have good luck with your new venture.

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

            Well I do think its Great Alex is back into the fold.
            But TBH we have had no issues with DigiWorldz and would recommend them to anyone.
            DigiWorldz has treated us fantastically.
            But good stuff Alex its great to see you have the never say die attitude still and we sincerely wish you and AviWorlds the best.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            Yes DA Hayward I am not saying it was a bad hosting experience. But yes I think there are certain areas that could use much improvement like the GRACE period for example and because I couldnt renew he says he cant host for me anymore so that is something needed to be looked at. Nothing is perfect I know that. I myself was very impressed with his service and attention. So I am not throwing rocks just giving a suggestion so that Butch maybe can think about and improve that area of his hosting company.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            I would not say it is a bad hosting company. It does have space for improvement and Butch did even improve on a new feature I asked him to do which was great! But yes there is space for much improvement and hopefully he will do that.

          • b54563@mvrht.com' Thelma Marks says:

            From what Butch posted sounds like normal operating procedure for billing. At the end of the day you can’t expect someone else to pay a bill for you because it sounds like he would be responsible for the remainder of the month if you bailed. Sounds like they lease servers and would have had to pay the bill. Maybe home hosted is better for you then you don’t have to be responsible. Running a business you have to have good Risk Mitigation which sounds like thats what they have.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            Yes I agree. But I do think that a grace period of more than 24 hours is good business too. Second Life gives you 7 days. Then after 30 days they suspend your account. So being that said I do think 24 hours is not enough. But it is a suggestion and I am not asking anyone to pay bills for me excuse me Thelma and I am responsible.

          • b54563@mvrht.com' Thelma Marks says:

            The article says Aviworlds has closed for the tenth time. I’m pretty sure you are now considered a risk in a lot of peoples minds. If I recall some articles also say others paid bills for you and you didn’t pay them back. Doesn’t sound like you are very responsible. I’m sure second life can handle 7 day grace periods because they own the servers and they are also a billion dollar company. In opensim I don’t know of any billion dollar company running a grid. Maybe you should go back to Second Life?

            In opensim though I think maybe your credibility is gone it is a much smaller community.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            Well you are wrong Thelma Marks. You did miss to see that I have given all for FREE to everyone and that I never made any profits out of aviworlds. Yes AviWorlds has closed a few times and I will bring it back soon after! I also never give up and I dont think NOT GIVING UP should be a reason to smear me or criticize me. There were reasons why I had to shut down before.
            Well we will see about that credibility story when I finally do what I intend to do Have a nice day Thelma!

          • uk1and@hotmail.com' Fanny says:

            “There were reasons why I had to shut down before.” – most of them being you didn’t pay for hosting services.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            That is a flat out lie and I can prove that. You have substantial proof I would like you to send me immediately to my email [email protected] because you are making a public claim against me here. So lets see it ok. I am tired of being accused and you know what you people can go to where the sun doesnt shine! Enough!

          • cinder.roxley@phoenixviewer.com' Cinder Biscuits says:

            Don’t feed the trolls, Alex. FEED YOUR IMAGINATION! FEED IT!

          • arielle.popstar@gmail.com' Arielle says:

            You can’t offer 1000 free regions either Alex. In all of this it is all about you and your dream and imagination without any regard for the 100’s if not 1000’s of people who were inconvenienced by your inability to keep a grid going, not once, not twice but 10 times!! I do like you like you Alex but I think you really need to start considering what the people who were depending on you for parcels and regions had to go through registering on your grids, shopping for clothes, building materials etc etc so they could create something for themselves on the grids you were administrating. Combined there were likely thousands of hours of time and effort and real money put in by those people creating something so you could parade around these boards bragging about being a big shot grid owner. Then family crisis, unpaid hosting fees, bad hiring practices, flip flopping policies and multiple other excuses pushed you to unplug all that your customers had invested leaving them stranded without a virtual home. Those are the true victims. Tbh i have been amazed over time that I haven’t seen more of your ex-customers posting on these boards sharing their stories of how they lost everything to another of your excuses.

            Some people admire your never say die attitude but a flip side to that coin is that a common definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. You want to be a grid owner and administrator, great. Please don’t drag another few hundred new opensim users to their virtual deaths because of another handwringing catastrophe that you are prone to. Why don’t you try hosting a stable grid for 20 of your friends for 6 months before tramping through here promising a 1000 free regions on your garage server. I would be impressed if you could manage that long with 20 accounts without some major drama nuking it to another fiery death.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            I believe that I can .. and I will. My plans do not include listening to people that do not know what is inside my heart and my vision.

          • skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

            I sent you an invoice Alex for the Delinquent balance you owe for my services back when I was working for you.. It would be super kind of you to seriously consider my invoice and get back to me or Just send payment.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            Josh I have already explained to you that the last 3 months before you and Quill deleted everything and stole aviworlds data base and then went on a rant distributing it all over the internet; that I was not going to pay because I WAS THE ONE DOING ALL THE WORK while you were doing nothing. Time for you to be HONEST and stop trying to take advantage of every situation in order to make money. Thats the area that I do not like in you! I have been your friend and helped you a lot but it seems to me that it is a 1 way street only with you. I am not paying for services that WERE not provided to me or avi-labs. You did it TWICE now to me. You completely destroyed everything and now even my trust. Never again Josh. Never again …

          • skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

            A little late on the reply just like you were late paying your server fees . have fun with your delinquent juvenile grid

          • skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

            or the staff that ran it for him.. That ended up paying the servers out of pocket to try to keep it alive after all the work we all did to just pull the plug was very hard.. I wish Alex the best in what ever he decides …When my life settles down I will start another grid someplace not sure of a name yet but it may very well be SkyLifeGrid .I hope everyone is enjoying the nice weather we are having ((Canada Is nice lol))

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

          are sent out 10 days in advance of being due, thus providing a 10 day grace period, and I have our skype convo
          where I clearly told you the due date and you agreed to have it paid by
          then. Per your request, I agreed to extend it by one day as you indicated you would have it paid by then. Had you not paid your server and I kept it running for you, I
          would have had to pay for it for you, thus financing you until you could
          make your payment to me so that I could get my money back.
          I did
          tell you I wouldn’t be interested in hosting your grid anymore as I
          didn’t want to take the risk of having this happen over and over again..
          you gave me your word and then you didn’t follow through.
          I thought you were a pleasant person to deal with and you seem like a nice guy.. sorry it didn’t work out.
          Good luck with your grid, I wish you the best and thank you for your feedback.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            Yes. I paid on Feb 2nd. 2017 thats when the service started. I kept receiving REMINDERS about 10 or 15 days before the due date thats correct also. March 2nd was the due date and you gave me until the 3rd. 24 hours. I did tell you I would not have the money until the next friday. So what I am saying here is perhaps a 1 week grace period would have avoided me not renewing the service with you. I am not talking about 15 or 10 day reminder notices. Things happen like it did to me and it happen 3 days before I think the due date. Anyway I am not throwing rocks at you or your company. I enjoyed it and really am impressed with your service. I am simply giving you a suggestion. 1 day grace period specially on an invoice that is almost 400 dollars is not enough. Maybe you can change that for future customers.

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

            Thanks for the feedback Alex, I’ll keep it in mind. I do wish you the best of luck with your grid and it wasn’t anything personal, you seem like a great guy.. just a business decision.

          • netinterprizes@yahoo.com' Alex Ferraris says:

            I do understand that Butch. I had plans to add 5 more servers with you and paid them all 1 year. But this family problem happened/ I was going to that in MAY. that was the objective. Pay for 6 services a whole year. 🙂 The money for that will be available in MAY 2017.
            I will use that to develop my own I guess.

  12. totaster@gmail.com' Peter says:

    At this point I just can’t feel sorry for anyone who loses money or content every time Aviworlds shuts down. If you invested resources into Aviworlds without doing prior research about its rocky history, you only have yourself to blame. Maria has documented its many shutdowns over the years, the info is all out there. It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that people keep falling for it.

    It’s very generous of Alex to give away free regions, but a “free” region that could disappear at a moment’s notice isn’t really free – the cost is just delayed. You end up paying dearly when it eventually shuts down. All the time and money you invested into the region is gone forever.

  13. woopsee@mailinator.com' Woopsee says:

    stupid is is a stupid does and anyone who goes BACK to aviworlds has to be extremely STUPID knowing how unstable and unreliable alex really is.

  14. skylifegrid@yahoo.com' SkyLifeGrid says:

    Retired life is nice But I’m Getting board.. Time to start up another grid