VirTec stops selling vending system, still supports old customers

VirTec has stopped selling its products to new merchants, but the company says it will continue to support existing customers of its multi-grid vending system.

VirTec has removed the stands that sell the vending system from the Great Canadian Grid, Genesis MetaVerse, Dynamic Worldz, DigiWorldz, Mobius Grid, ZanGrid, 3rd Life Grid and Kitely, although merchants are still using the vending machines that they’ve already bought to sell products.

The move and decision was due to a job change and the fact that the project was taking up too much time, VirTec owner Virtouse Lilienthal told Hypergrid Business.

However, VirTec will continue offering support to its existing customers, the website will be kept alive for the next few years to come, and VirTec will continue reporting its monthly statistics to Hypergrid Business, he said.

Although Lilienthal is not considering selling part or whole of the operation, he is open to discuss licensing the code. He is already talking to someone who might pick up the business and continue with sales, development and support of VirTec products.

“I considered multiple scenarios and decided that I am open for licensing the code however not for a complete brand takeover,” he said. “Individual products maybe purchased full perm and may be re-branded without the rights of reselling them full permission.”

As of last month, a total of 72 merchants have been using the VirTec vending system on 15 different grids, with $475 in monthly transactions, as we reported recently.

Lilienthal said that the decision to scale back the service was not connected to recent case of illegal distribution of his products and content. Last month, VirTec accused a number of grids and a copybot website of using his products illegally, but the grids later took down the content.

VirTec posted this and other images as a proof that his vendors were being used illegally in a number of grids. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)

Grid owners surprised, disappointed

Suzan De Konning

ZanGrid owner Suzan Koning-Moennink had been recommending VirTec to her grid’s merchants, and was unpleasantly surprised when she discovered  that VirTec had emptied his shop at the Hypershopping region at Hypershopping.

The decision to withdraw without an explanation means he might also not be reliable in providing needed support in the future, Koning-Moennink told Hypergrid Business.

Plus, if he stops regularly logging into the grids where his system is used, he might miss some support requests, she added.

“On some grids internal messaging to mail does not work or  there is a max on the amount of internal messages people can send to each other,” she said. “So he might not even get  a ‘Help Question’ from a costumer.”

The empty VirTec shop at Zangrid. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)

For now, she recommends that merchants switch to using non-scripted objects to sell products, and use Gloebits as the purchase currency, and the merchants are adjusting well to the changes. And she is working on finding some alternatives for merchants.

“I immediately got in contact with someone who is looking into working on a vendor system for OpenSim compatible with Gloebits,” she said. “But this is in the first phase and I cannot say much about this at this time.”

A vending system offers some advantages over the unscripted object sales because it can track sales and performance and provide other useful functions. However, non-scripted objects are simpler to deploy because the use the built-in OpenSim buying functionality. Plus, there are no limits to the prim size of the products on the Hypershopping region, said Koning-Moennink.

“We gave that region extra memory to be sure the performance is and stays,” she said.

Other grid owners were also concerned about the VirTec news.

The Great Canadian Grid recorded the highest transactions on VirTec’s network last year as we reported in February, but Lilienthal has withdrawn all his products, grid owner Roderick MacDougall told Hypergrid Business.

“I have a feeling we will see VirTec here again soon when he has time,” he said.

Cliff Hopkins

Genesis MetaVerse was one of the top grids for VirTec, with 195 transactions, the highest recorded by an individual grid on the VirTec network last month and the second after InWorldz in terms of spending on the network, but the withdrawal came without any advance warning, Genesis MetaVerse grid owner Cliff Hopkins told Hypergrid Business.

The withdrawal has not affected the grid because they have their own booming economy. Some of the products that were purchased before Lilienthal stopped selling are still in the grid but he is not selling any new ones at the grid. Genesis MetaVerse will release a statement on the same news soon.

VirTec’s ZanMotion shop at Zangrid is now empty. (Image courtesy Zangrid.)

The decision is untimely and can hurt grid reputations, given that VirTec website continues to announce Dynamic Worldz as one of the top four sellers yet it has withdrawn without an explanation, Dynamic Worldz grid owner Danny Cruise told Hypergrid Business.

“One of the things that I am very hot on, is the ability to offer our vendors and users the best possible assurance that their product and trust is well invested in our grid,” he said. “That I as the owner can, with integrity and certainty, say that all product is securely entrusted to us, within the bounds that are made available to us on the OpenSim platform.

Lilienthal had a good product that many came to rely upon, said Cruise.

VirTec acquired this parcel at Mobius grid and was to bring in his products for sale but has not. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)

Lilienthal acquired a new parcel at Mobius Grid last month and was planning to import his products there but has not to date. Mobius Grid has its own freebie vendor system that uses Gloebit, but was considering buying a copy of Lilienthal’s product for the grid’s freebies hub, but might need to stop the plans because of the news.

The Kitely Market has also carried copies of the vending system for merchants to buy and deploy on any of the 185 — and counting — grids that the market delivers to.

Ilan Tochner

Those listings are now gone and the VirTec storefront has been taken down.

But merchants still have alternative vendors that they can buy on the marketplace, Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

“Merchants who wish to use a vendor system instead of an online marketplace can find several such systems on sale in our marketplace,” he said.

Plus, merchants can sell directly on the Kitely Market itself.

“Kitely Market has much better reach and sales volume than VirTec’s vendor system ever had in OpenSim so I imagine merchants will take that into consideration when thinking of alternatives,” said Tochner.

Some merchants also have in-world stands displaying their products, and when customers click on them, they get taken to the Kitely Market listing page.