In most situations, both RL and virtual, the merchants follow the consumers.
It’s different in OL. Here we’re almost all pioneerin’ sorts: we build, we create, we script, we innovate, we lead. Problem is, there are many more leaders than followers. Many many more creators than consumers. Creators generally don’t buy from other creators what they can make by themselves. So we find ourselves in the unique position of waiting for the consumers to follow the market, instead of the other way around.
I will say, however, that I’ve noticed that while many freebies are given away and there’s an overall feeling of “share the wealth”, it isn’t a forced system or one of entitlement. You’re not looked upon with disdain for selling what you make; in fact you’re respected for it and others even look out for you. Thing is, respect doesn’t pay the rent.
This frontier still isn’t the friendliest to newcomers. It’s not that the people aren’t. Quite the contrary. The people are extremely helpful and generous… when you can find any. Most of us are in our workshops and skyboxes, hammering away at our next project, when we’re in OL, and the place is pretty sparsely populated as a rule. OL isn’t friendly to newcomers because it’s new and green and has its share of bugs. Your legs disappear one moment. You’re bouncing across the room involuntarily the next. I suppose if you’re busy building and innovating, you don’t worry about it as much because you’re busy building. But if you’re not there to build–if you’re there to meet and explore and spend–it’s a right royal pain in the ass sometimes.
So, all things in their time, I suppose. I do believe that in time consumers will trickle in with Credits burning holes in their slider-clothing pockets. Until then, we just keep building and creating and innovating and leading, so that when they do come, they’ll come to something amazing.