+ In 2007-2008 Second Life customers demanded less copybotting and more new products. More stores opened and the community tried to introduce ways to police the marketplace.
+ In 2008-2009 customers complained that it was expensive to shop and that most freebies were stolen or junk. Designers countered by starting midnight mania, lucky chairs and group gifts. This gave customers a number of options for high quality freebies.
+ In 2010 – 2013 customers complained about the “freebie culture”. They saw that favourite stores were closing because they couldn’t keep up with demand for high quality freebies whilst maintaining releases. Freebies decreased, cheap events began to appear.
+ In 2014 customers complained that there were too many cheap events and that shopping was boring. Themed events and gacha events thrived. These offered not only more variety for customers but gacha could be resold. This gave customers a whole new market of their own.
+ In 2015 it became common for designers to charge for group membership. After 8 years of bowing to demand they needed to find a way to offset the costs. Paid groups needed to offer freebies and discounts to avoid customer complaints.
+ In 2016 customers are bored of themes, events and gacha. They want more regular full priced releases and less charges for groups. We are coming full circle.
These dates are approximate but we can see a pattern. Designers are constantly gauging demand and adapting to stay in business. They work hard to keep working hard. This is just like RL markets.
Except they’re not paid RL market money. How many freebies do you see in the real world? How many stores sell full priced unique products for just a few cents? It is extremely difficult to make a real income in Second Life. Most creators never do. Most do it for the love of creating.
A mesh item can take a week of full time hours to model, rig, texture, script and prepare. This isn’t counting time spent advertising and helping customers. Most stores have one person wearing a lot of hats. That item, given free, is a week of unpaid work.
So, maybe it’s time we gave a round of applause to the designers of SL who do what they do to give us a market to shop in. Without them SL would be a very different place.
If you have a favourite content creator why not drop them a note card saying thanks? I am sure it will make their day.