Monday, November 30, 2009

Whoo hooo something new

I don't really know exactly what I'm doing but... one of my bestselling items is a low cost animated clip board and pen I made (for some reason, I enjoy making animations!).

But people have IM'd me or come to my store, expecting to see it working. I don't quite know how to present the clipboard and pen as a test someone can try on, though I've had them floating around..somehow it's just not the same.

Today I made my first (hopefully not my last) little video -- this one shows Marrant using the clipboard. A bit of work and a little too long for an item that is selling for 50L, but it was fun!

The feather duster --

And the oh so necessary hair brush and primping mirror - I will be putting this in a box with grooming supplies...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Another group, just what is needed -- but if you want, come and join Former Xchange Shopkeepers.

It's intended to be used as a way to share information on what others are doing, or just a griping place.

My latest post to members:
Hey, how are you -- and what are you doing to market your stuff?

I've started a blog, though it's mostly about how I'm marketing now to work around these changes and explaining a little why I am still on xchange while looking around.

Note that is FREE -- it is a way you can market your goods and let off steam if you want to.

On the commerce forum, there are some who are offering places to park your boxes, and discussion of free shops inworld.

Where you find out that SL exchange is going to be down for new software installation on Wed. Dec 2 starting at 8 a.m. for they say 5 hours (yeah, right).

I've been trying out MetaLife, finding it a dream to use. Sales sluggish everywhere! I think ppl are recovering from Thanksgiving in the US, but the economy is still dinging everyone in SL and RL.

Prokofy Neva is putting together a Welcome Kit offer - using freebies and ads from his renters - he'll carry the 99L fee for posting, and no cost to the renters using this.

Read more here.

What are you people doing, if anything?

Have you tried out alternatives? What is working, what isn't? Send me a notecard or post on my blog (address below signature)

Alternatives to xchange (as long as allowed by LL):

Marrant Vita
Former Xchange Shopkeepers

Saturday, November 28, 2009

On being a child in SL

90% of the time in Second Life, I'm in one of my child avatars. I have a couple, children from Victorian times ranging in age from 7 to 11.

And 80% of the time I'm one of them (most often Elizabeth, under Marrant Vita's avatar) I'm someplace safe for people playing children avatars -- Deadwood (Phoenix Pass) or my tiny bit of mainland, my residence at my friends' place in Caledon.

But the rest of the time I'm out and about, visiting my own shops or shopping. I'm very comfortable being a child in SL -- I didn't start out that way, mind you. I tried out the adult life, the wild life. My oats have been sown here and there, I've fallen in love, I've done adult things as an adult with adults.

Being a child, though, has somehow felt right to me, more and more. And in my limited travels, I've been lucky enough to only have interactions with fellow Second Lifers who are pleasant in their dealings with a child avatar. Of course, mine are always dressed in charming Victorian costume, so that may make a difference.

It always comes as a big surprise when I read posts wherein someone declares that anyone playing a child in Second Life is a pervert of some kind, looking for age play sex and the defense from others often is, not all are perverts, some are just messed up in the head.

Hmmm. This comes from a place where people using adult or furry avatars often are going around looking for on-line sex with strangers who may or may not be anything like the person they claim to be.

In any case, I hope I'll be able to continue with my 7 to 11 year old child avatar roleplaying. I love this age -- I used to be it once and now I have offspring in that range. These are people, by the way. We label them as "children" for many reasons, good ones. They are children, innocent, optomistic, full of hope and promise and possibilities for tomorrow. This is the age when for the normal child, friendship and love have nothing to do with sexual encounters. But what I think many forget both in RL and in SL is, children are people - often intelligent, observing adults and drawing conclusions that can be close to the mark and very amusing.

My characters are not in need of parents, either -- they are loners or orphans, but they have caretakers who are somewhere offstage (that would be me, HELLOOO, I'm an adult, the typist, and the caretaker of my avatars). They are at the age when children are learning that they are separate entities, stepping out a bit to see what they can do independently, then rushing back to the comfort of home when things get shaky.

For those who find my avatar upsetting or attractive as a child, I would just ask that you walk on the other side of the street and leave me be. My child avatars are interested in things like wondering if fairies are real, how hummingbirds stay up in the air so long, talking about how stupid boys and grown ups are with her best friends. Most often they don't notice the grumpy, paranoid, name-calling adults around them -- life is too magical to be bothered with all of that.

Where to Begin?

Blogs are everywhere -- not sure we need another blog about Second Life, but here mine is anyway!

I'm starting this one primarily because of the changes going on in Second Life's marketplace, popularly known as the Xchange. Most merchants there or shopkeepers inworld are aware of those, some shoppers may be. It's a long drawn out story having to do with new charges to the merchants causing some reactions among us

Some are outraged and panicked - the cost of doing business has risen from the considerable time we put in to designing and uploading pictures and writing descriptions to a Linden dollar amount.

Freebies are no longer free for the merchants but are now 99L a pop and as of this writing, it is unclear whether demos will be charged likewise.

Whatever we sell now will be charged 10L a month whether or not it sells, plus 3L commission for items 1 - 3 Lindens to customer, 5% of price to those above that.

Many have removed everything from the market -- that was my first reaction though this does not go into effect until January or February 2010.

Others are dancing with joy because lower end items will be removed, taking a lot of competition off the table.

While it is good to freshen up the marketplace, there seems to be much more that's negative about the changes than is positive. There are many things that need improvement in the marketplace before prices get raised .

If you REALLY want to know more about it, you can see it on the SL Commerce forums

But you need a lot of time and energy to slog through that!

After I calmed myself down, I decided I had a lot of dead products on Xchange. I went through the (now) inactive inventory and deleted those.

Next I decided to reactive the bestselling items that would be worthy of the 10L a month charge and to combine some of the inexpensive items into one box items that would cost more.

Not the popular "Fat Packs" -- as a shopper, I really don't "get" those. Not a big fan of four or five of the same item in different colors or - in one case I saw, 4 different widow outfits (was that for the Black Widow who kept murdering her husbands and didn't want to wear the same outfit twice?)

Me, I'd really rather get a collection of 4 or 5 different items - so, for example, I made one that would allow you to completely outfit your child avatar, from undergarments to winter coat and a couple of everyday dresses, a fancy dress and a toy thrown in.

Winter is up now, I'll be adding the other seasons real soon.

Also, I took my best toys and threw them in a toy chest.

Not that I expect your average shopper to buy these collections -- shopping on Xchange for me has always been kind of catalog shopping. I go there first to see what is around, and then go inworld most of the time to shop. Though I do like the convenience of shopping from my computer while my avatars are not inworld, or giving things as gifts, I like to see stuff, too.

So, my more expensive collections (well, cheaper if you add up the items, it's really a bargain to buy them all together) are really an advertisement. And that 10L a month becomes an advertising cost -- if I'm paying 900L a month it compares to renting a shop inworld, though the added commission on top of that is kind of a kick in the pocket book.

I also went exploring and found MetaLife -- nice vendor displays that are so easy to set up and change -- though I'm a bit worried that nothing seems to be selling out of them. Going to send an alt in to make a purchase, just to make sure they are coded right.