To sell, or not to sell

I’m having some internal conflicts at the moment regarding if I should start to sell my products again or not. There is a gray line that I don’t want to cross, now that my real life company is within the virtual environment of Second Life. The other problems is that I wasn’t doing so great selling things anyhow. The last I saw, I was making roughly 75 dollars a month at best. At one time, I was making around 500 US$ a month.

There are many excuses that I have come up with as to why sales have gone down over the past few years. I’m starting to focus on one that brings up diversity. The thinking goes like this. I had so many products, that I couldn’t concentrate on the quality of one. Therefore, competition is able to easily surpass the features and quality that I offer. If I just focus on one thing alone, then I could have a fighting chance in a niche market. In addition, it wouldn’t be as hard to determine how to advertise my product since I would only be advertising one thing alone.

In the past, my products often targeted people who owned land so that they could take the product out of inventory. I am starting to think a bit different. In the past, I had thought the only alternative was clothing. However, there are also services. Subscribe-o-matic is one such service. Although the individual users do not pay for it, the owner of the product pays a service fee if there are more than 500 people who subscribe.

The idea of automated services is what I am starting to look into. Free to use by the majority of people, but paid for by the individual owners who control the content. There is an additional part to this equation though. I want to leave it open to expand outside of Second Life. Perhaps OpenSim, and then maybe websites too. The first part would be an in-world server to hand out inventory as prizes, and the individual items that you find. This is your basic inventory server (think of XStreetSL, JEVN, Apez.biz, etc.). The difference is that instead of handing out inventory for money, it hands out inventory as a reward for finding things. I designed one a few years ago for the Relay for Life of Second Life. People were able to find a collection of records that had 10 second sound clips of songs done by in-world musicians. Amazingly enough, I had 18 songs from musicians that agreed to be a part of it. Once people found all the records, they got a trophy.

With the idea of a new system that was HTTP based, I used Gliffy to create a diagram of how it all works.

Flowchart Digram of Prize Box made using Gliffy

Flowchart Digram of Prize Box made using Gliffy

The main thing that I’m thinking of here also is that this shouldn’t have anything to do with my employer. There is a scavenger hunt in place on the island, but I did not design it, it is not like the system I have designed for RFL or the one I am working on. I am hoping to have a system that is very easy for novice users to just rez it and forget it.

In addition, I have setup a virtual PC with LAMP using Ubuntu to start testing against before putting out money for a hosted solution. It should cut down on costs during development, and perhaps even speed it up.

Half of me is still not certain if I should keep going. Is the business plan sound? Do I even have a business plan? Would people buy into this? The other half is just begging to do something with what little spare time I have regardless if everyone hates it.

2 Responses to To sell, or not to sell

  1. Rika Watanabe has developed an amazing treasure hunt server that allows for a multitude of hunts – among many others the “scavenger hunt” you describe. The various hunt types can even be combined to make almost unlimited interesting combinations of the hunt. It even supports simwide hunt with many participating organizers and none of the co-organizers needs to give full-perm items to the main organizers.

    So unless it is for the joy of development, you can simply buy a turnkey-solution from Rika.

  2. Lewis Moten says:

    *shakes fist at sky*
    Damnit. I had some extra ideas about it too.

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