Recently, Crap Mariner was commenting on the rental model. He suggested that our inventory would soon offer the ability to rent the use of objects. This is similar to how ‘There‘ works with it’s clothing. The article he was commenting on was about Virtual Goods, Accounting, And The Power Of The ‘Rental’ Model. Most types of items in Second Life are not capable of being scripted. These include sounds, animations, note cards, landmarks, textures, gestures, and most importantly – clothing.
If you look at the large number of blogs covering Second Life, you’ll notice that the majority of them cover fashion. The model for fashion appears to be a crippled demo model, in that consumers can try out clothing free, but with altercations that deteriorate it’s quality. This is most notably clothing with the word “demo” written on it, or attachments that have a large box attached to them with an advertisement for the creators store. If anything would get a change to the “rental” model, clothing would be the first candidate as not to deteriorate from the designers original work.
Objects are another story all together. With objects, scripters are able to create their own payment models. When I read through Crap Mariners comment regarding metered access, I brought up the idea of making all of my gadgets free, and then selling batteries to keep them powered. The more that I thought about it, the more that it started to sound like a viable plan.
There are more benefits here than I first realized. The first benefit covers the web based marketplace, XStreetSL. The marketplace is adding monthly fees to list items at 10 L$ per month. Since I list 163 items on the market place, I would be losing 1630 L$ per month. I don’t always sell that much in a month. If I marked all of my gadgets as being free, the price would shoot up to 99 L$ per item at 16,137 L$ per month (about $64 US). The benefit of having a freebie listed on the exchange is that there is a separate section for it on XStreet and people often like to get tons of freebies.
This in turn makes me think about changing the format of listing my products. Instead of listing each product individually, I could list one product that contains all freebies as a bundled package. In turn, I would only be listing four items in total. That would be three different batteries (1, 7, 30 days of juice), and a freebie bundle. This brings me down to spending 129 L$ per month – a savings of over $60 US.
The trick of this would be to figure out how to keep the products updated. In addition, how would I know if it’s really going to pay off or not? It seems as if it may be a risk. There are many ways down this path to address different problems. I could even make my products go viral by allowing anyone to request a copy since everything would be free, but batteries would be purchased separate.