This blog goes out to all you SecondLife Shoppers out there. In particular you SL Shoppers that do any of your shopping on SECONDLIFE MARKETPLACE which I will call “SLM” in this blog.I am going to give all you SLM shoppers 10 excellent reasons why you should serious consider doing your WINDOW SHOPPING within SLM but do all your BUYING INWORLD at the Merchant’s Inworld store not his SLM store.
But before I tell you the TOP 10 REASONS, let me enlighten some of you about LL’s SLM that some of you shoppers may not be aware of. If you don't all the reading then fast forward to the top ten list below.
To make sure we are all on the same page here, it still surprises me that a portion of residents do not know that there is a huge web-based online marketplace of SL content that residents can shop for and buy on the web and it gets delivered automatically inworld to their Avatar. There is also another portion of the SL community that doesn’t know that the old XSTREET online marketplace was shut down and replaced last fall (2010) by the new SLM.
If you don’t know this, the site URL is: http://marketplace.secondlife.com
For most of you that have experience buying SL content from SLM, there might be a few things you may not be aware of when you are shopping and, more importantly, spending your $L on the Linden Lab owned & operating SLM site.
The first thing is that LL does not run SLM for free. They actually make good coin on SLM. How? Well its simple, for every purchase you make on SLM, 5% of that sale value goes right into LL’s pocket (not the Merchant) and effectively out of the SL economy. I have talked to so many friends inworld that didn’t know this. They thought that the entire purchase goes to the Merchant. NOPE.
Now if one falsely assumes that LL’s new SLM (that just replaced Xstreet) is a well-run site with very few delivery problems and loaded with tons of advanced bells and whistles that make the life of Shopper & Merchant much better than Xstreet, then one can also initially believe that the 5% commission on all sold items is fair.
But, let us all remember one thing about LL’s SLM that is completely unique to almost any other online shopping sites (like eBay, Amazon, etc.) that are selling goods to shoppers. Regardless if you are buying a $0L freebie/demo item or a $50,000L castle the size of half your sim, the cost to LL to process and deliver the SLM product you bought is identical! There is absolutely no difference in shipping costs between a $0L 1-Prim BeachBall or a $50,000L 500-Prim castle – basically near-ZERO process/shipping cost!
So, if there is absolutely no difference in cost to process & deliver ANY sold item on SLM to your inventory, then why would the commission be percent based? Think about this for a second. You can make 100 SLM purchases for a $0L beachball freebie from one Merchant of which LL makes $0L in commission. Then you can make 1 purchase of a $50,000L castle from another Merchant and LL collects $2,500L – that is $2500L that this Merchant does not get. The 100 $0L purchases you made on SLM put much more burden on the site and the inworld environment and lag than the 1 purchase of the $50,000 castle, but they contributed $0L to operating the site.
So the question is… If the LL cost to operate SLM is almost completely flat, then why are all SLM sales not a simple flat fee of – let’s say $10L per item sold? Basically LL is raping all the Merchants with higher priced items and not fairly spreading the costs of SLM operations among all the SLM Merchants’ sales.
So, many of you might now say, “Well if the premium priced Merchants are losing so much of their SLM sales to unfair SLM 5% commissions, why don’t they reduce the prices of their same items inworld to influence Shoppers to buy inworld and not on SLM?” There is an easy answer to that question; LL considers their Merchant’s inworld stores as competition to SLM. Yes you heard that right. LL actual has an SLM TOS that states a Merchant selling the same item on SLM and inworld cannot execute predatory pricing with their inworld price. So the pricing has to be about the same inworld and SLM even though LL penalizes the Merchant 5% in commission in SLM and the Merchant also has a inworld store costs to absorb.
So let me predict your next question and my response. In light of SLM unfair charge model to Merchants and if a Merchant cannot take drastic measures to try to get you shoppers to buy at their inworld store to help them recoup inworld monthly costs (while avoiding the hefty 5% hit on all SLM sales), why don’t Merchants just not sell on SLM? I think you all know the answer to this one as SL Shoppers… the inworld search engine SUCKS! Always has SUCKED and continues to SUCK! LL has no clue how to fix inworld search.
OK, if you are looking for a person with the inworld search, it’s great. But, if you are a Shopper and want an effective search tool to find “landscape sculpty packs”, it’s a mess. As a Merchant, the chance of getting significant customer traffic from the inworld search engine is a formula for failure. Either that or you are a Merchant that knows all the tricks to the inworld search engine and LL’s never ending hopeless tinkering with it.
So if you are a Merchant that wants to get your products easily found, you need to put your products on SLM so that your products are on SLM’s search engine. NO – SLM Search is far from great. LL Commerce Team has not figured out the SLM Search engine either, but it is far superior to inworld search. Most of my inworld sales come from you shoppers that found my products in the SLM Search.
I can also enlighten all your SLM Shoppers how regardless of the new SLM being live for over 6 months, the LL Commerce Team still has not fixed a lot of the features in SLM that worked in Xstreet. I can also tell you how the newest generation of the LL Commerce Team that is in charge of SLM has put all their SLM development focus making your life as a Shopper tougher and seriously hurting many SLM Merchants by adding several layers of TEENIFICATION filters (i.e. maturity filters that kick in by default to restrict search results and item viewing unless you make sure your SLM maturity settings are set to Adult).
This new LL team (most of the old LL Commerce team left LL right during the SLM transition) has been asked by the Merchants countless times to focus on fixing and improving the critical features / services of SLM that would improve SLM for both Merchant and Shopper. But all we are is ignored and provided empty promises to get to what is important to us some time in the future – which never arrives. How many of you SLM shoppers have had delivery delays and actual failures lately? Please remember not to blame the Merchant for these LL SLM problems.
SOOO… now that you SL Shoppers know a bit more how SLM works and some of the issues that SL Merchants have been going through, let me give all you SLM Shoppers the…TOP 10 IMPORTANT REASONS WHY SHOPPERS SHOULD
WINDOW SHOP IN SLM & BUY INWORLD:
- When you buy a product from a Merchant’s inworld store, the sales transaction is direct between your Avatar and the product vendor (for basic vendors). This reduces the chance for a delivery delay or failure. It can still happen but far less likely than the frequent delivery failures that are occurring between the SLM website to the Magicbox to your Avatar inworld.
- Your product delivery will almost always be instant after paying the inworld product vendor.
- If you have a purchase problem of any nature whereby you are entitled to a Refund, the Merchant is able to provide you 100% of your purchase price back. If you have the same issue from an SLM sale, the Merchant can only offer you 95% of your purchase as a refund. Why? Because LL has the other 5%. So if you are looking for $1000L refund, the Merchant can only offer you $950L of it – he doesn’t have the rest.
- When you come to the inworld store to buy the product you found on the SLM you often will get to see the product live or in action (i.e. I sell Landscape Sculpt Maps – you see many of them rezzed in my store). You can’t get a good experience of the product from photos on SLM.
- When you take the time to visit the Merchant’s store inworld, you will often get to see several other products created by this Merchant that you might also like or that might even better work for you than the one you initially found in SLM. I have had countless of my Customers that changed your selection of products after visiting my landscape sculpty store.
- Often when you visit the store, you might bump into the actual Merchant / Creator. This is a great experience as you can engage him/her and learn valuable tips/tricks of the products or find out deals in the store that were not available on SLM. I have met many inworld customers where I have engaged in great chats and often came to their sim to provide them advice on how to solve their landscaping challenges.
- When visiting a Merchant’s store, you often get to run into other stores as many of stores are in malls. You might just find an amazing gem of a product you were always looking for or find something that you didn’t even know you wanted! J
- THIS IS A BIG ONE: When you buy from the Merchant inworld and not on SLM, you are making a powerful contribution to the SL’s general economy! Why? Because 100% of your purchase stayed within the SL economy. When you buy from SLM, you are assured that 5% of all your purchases instantly leave the SL economy. That is because LL takes its 5% and removes it from the SL economy – that is their real life $US profit (a complicated source / sink model but it’s gone from SL). It’s not to say that the Merchants don’t take your $L out of SL – because many of us do. BUT, unlike LL, almost all of us Merchants spends a good portion of the $L they make to pay rent, buy other Merchant goods, donate, pay tips, etc.
- When you shop inworld you help the Merchant support his/her inworld store. Remember that LL considers their Merchant’s inworld stores as direct competition to their SLM operation. SLM sales are funded risk free by sale’s based commissions. But inworld, the Merchant takes on big risks by renting or buying land that charges tiers to the Merchant – even if the Merchant makes no sales! If the Merchant’s inworld store costs more each month then it generates revenue, the Merchant has no choice but to close its doors. This has ripple effects in the economy since the rent stops at the mall – the mall owner needs to shut because of no rent…. etc.etc. etc. So, buy inworld and support the SL economy.
- Finally, when Window Shop in SLM and then go inworld to buy your products, you are sending the LL Commerce Team a powerful message – a message we Merchants have not been able to send to LL. You will tell them that they will not be rewarded 5% commissions for running a SL Marketplace with terrible service stability, development priorities that do not have the Shopper & Merchants in mind, and making poor decisions that are often half baked.
So all you Shoppers of SLM, please help yourself, help us SL Merchants, and help the SL economy, WINDOW SHOPPING IN SLM & YOUR BUYING INWORLD!