AviWorlds reopens under new ownership

Reborn AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy Josh Boam.)

Two weeks after its latest — and supposedly final — shutdown, the much-troubled AviWorlds grid is back up and running again, this time under new management.

Josh Boam

“I’ve liked AviWorlds ever since I first started working for it,” new owner Josh Boam told Hypergrid Business. “I’m excited to be able to take it over now. I have a little bit more stability in my life so I’ll be able to keep it online without any outages and not having to worry about the server fees.”

Former owner Alexsandro Pomposelli has confirmed the sale.

“I am stepping down as Avi-Labs and AviWorlds CEO,” he told Hypergrid Business. “Josh Boam has purchased the domains from me.”

Avi-Labs was Pomposelli’s attempt at starting an OpenSim hosting company. It never gained any traction, possibly because Pomposelli’s flagship grid had such a public history of outages, closures, and scandals.

Alexsandro Pomposelli

“I had a good run with AviWorlds for over ten years now,” said Pomposelli. “As you can see, I have tried everything and more to make it happen. The truth is that if I had more experience when I first started AviWorlds, I would have made better decisions. Josh has convinced me that perhaps it is time for a change.”

Pomposelli said he still plans to be around in OpenSim and in AviWorlds, but not as CEO or president or owner.

“I am helping him around the grid but I am staying out of big decisions,” he said. “All my signature regions will remain in the grid under my name, so I m part of it as a resident.”

Pomposelli declined to say how much money the deal was for, other than that it was in the “millions.” But he said it with a smiley face, so it may have been a joke.

Reborn AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy Josh Boam.)

Solid plans

Boam’s plans for the future of AviWorlds seem solid and reasonable, assuming that Pomposelli doesn’t throw a big wrench in the works.

Boam said he will be covering the ongoing costs of the grid from his real-time income and savings, which will help ensure the grid’s stability. “I also have a nice bit of money put aside for unexpected events.”

Regions will start at $10 a month for up to 20,000 prims, which is lower than the OpenSim average price of $15 per month per standard region.

“We are also offering free slivers of our mainland continent that we have been building over the past two weeks,” he said. “Roadside and waterfront property with a view.”

The free land is for active users, he said, and the grid will keep track of when people visit their free land so that it doesn’t end up abandoned.

“Our free land is on the mainland of Bellmar Islands and when your user is created in-game you are born with 1 AV dollar,” said Boam. “You then can search out a parcel of your desire and buy it for 1 AV. It’s yours as long as you’re active within six months of buying it.”

The current welcome area is about 100 regions in size, he added.

Freedom City region on the new AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy Josh Boam.)
Boam said that he has a backup of the entire grid from December 2019 and will be able to restore content from users around during that time.

“Any content that was created after that time will not be in the database and will have to be remade,” he said. “The users from the past for months are gone,  all content and regions and users. Alex pulled the plug and I was not able to get the data.”

The website is currently under development, and the home page now just points to the registration form. “Soon we will have a better welcome page for users to learn more about AviWorlds before deciding to jump in,” he said.

Boam said he is hosting the grid in multiple locations, including France, Canada, and Brazil. “We are looking to go all-in,” he said.

Boam said that he has also contacted another grid about developing an online marketplace for the new AviWorlds grid. “It is currently being developed,” he said.

He said that he is now the sole owner of the grid, and is being assisted by a long-time friend who is known in-world as Earss Razorfen. “He also is a content creator and has lots of experience.,” Boam said. “We are always actively looking for new in world helpers but when it comes down to the tech side I have that covered. We also have a guy named David who has a computer science degree. He will be helping with some of the new features.”

The Virtual ABDL grid has also merged with the new AviWorlds, he said.

Boam said he plans to use Avi-Labs as the umbrella company, and AviWorlds, yachting content company JP Collections, and other brands will be individual projects under that umbrella.

There will also be some synergies between the different projects, he added.

“AviWorlds is going to have a theme of aquatic and island life with lots of boating flying and so on,” he said. “I am bringing all my products in from JP Collections.”

Reborn AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy Josh Boam.)

Boam is the former owner of the SkyLife grid and the former CTO of OpenSim hosting company CloudServe. He is the owner of JP Collections, a Kitely Market store specializing in boats. Boam has been active in OpenSim for more than 10 years, both as a content creator and as a technology expert.

This isn’t the first time Boam has come to AviWorlds’ rescue. In 2014, Boam, who was then running the SkyLife grid, offered to help AviWorlds with hosting and technical support. Soon after, the two grids merged. Boam became AviWorlds’ CTO but quit in 2016 after not being paid for months and launched his own grid, offered to “recover” AviWorlds’ residents’ old regions. The resulting feud was public and acronymous, but the two patched things up by the end of the year. In 2017, AviWorlds had more issues, another shutdown, and Boam came back on board as a partner that fall.

AviWorlds has been sold once before

According to Boam, AviWorlds has a “fighting chance” now that Pomposelli is no longer in charge.

But this isn’t the first time AviWorlds changed owners.

At the beginning of 2015, Pomposelli handed over AviWorlds to Mike Hart, of the since-defunct Next Reality grid.

Shortly thereafter, Pomposelli changed his mind, and for a while there were two grids, each claiming to be AviWorlds, in a bitter battle with one another.

Boam was involved during that last ownership change, for a while serving as Hart’s CTO, so he’s well aware of the potential of things going sideways — or that Pomposelli might start up his own grid again.

“He already has,” said Boam.

According to Boam, Pomposelli has used the DreamGrid installer to create Virtual Ville.

“But I am not worried. Anyone that follows Alex never paid anything and are all loading questionable content,'” he said.

In fact, every major relationship that Pomposelli has had, whether hosting arrangements, technical support, or financial partnerships, have all ended badly.

Last summer, for example, he brought in two investors as new partners, Lysa Schneider and Logan Hunter. In return for financial support, the two demanded some common-sense improvements, such as turning on hypergrid connectivity, allowing access to the Kitely Market, and lowering region prices. These changes, combined with financial stability, could have made AviWorlds attractive to residents once again — if Pomposelli didn’t immediately undo the good work with his patented brand of bad business decisions.

Stay safe

Given AviWorld’s history — and Pomposelli’s bad track record at actually ceding control — OpenSim users should take steps to protect themselves in case things go sideways.

My top recommendation is to use an avatar from another grid. Get a free avatar from Kitely or OSgrid or Digiworldz or another grid with a strong record of dependability and hypergrid connectivity.

Then teleport over to AviWorlds to hang out with friends, go to events, or build. If anything happens to AviWorlds, your avatar — and all your inventory content — will be safe and secure.

And if you rent land, make sure you’re able to get regular backups of your OAR region backup files. That way you can take your OARs to another grid if things go wrong.

For people who do a lot of building, I recommend an additional measure of safety, no matter what grid you make your home on. Do your building on a personal DreamGrid on a home computer. Then upload your finished content, or complete OAR files, to the grid where you sell your products or do your other business.

DreamGrid is free, and, if your router allows it and you have sufficient bandwidth, you can even have people log in or teleport to your home grid.

Maria Korolov