Posted in business in SL, day-to-day, I wrote this, money, SL Marketplace, tutorial

Writing an excellent Marketplace listing

Copywriting is just an industry word for writing the description and information related to your product. When you’re writing your copy, remember that this and your image are often the only impression people will get before deciding whether or not to make the purchase. So what important things must your description do?

What is this thing?

"What the hell is that thing?!"
If your copy answers no other question in the mind of the shopper, it should answer this one. I once had someone TP me into her shop to ask my advice on marketing a Big Incredible Thing she had made that nobody seemed to be buying. I went to her shop, saw that the parcel name included “Home of the [Item]!”, and waited for the shop and item to rez.

“So,” she finally asked, “How do I get people to buy this thing?”

“What thing?” I asked.

“The [Item]! It’s awesome, isn’t it?”

“What is?”

“Don’t you see all the [results]?”

“Oh, yeah, sure. So your [Item] is a [results]-maker?”

“Well, no! It’s so much more than that!” And she proceeded to list off all the amazing things her product could do.

When she was done, I asked, “How would I have known that, if you hadn’t been here to tell me?”

By now she was getting impatient, thinking I was stalling before offering some Big Marketing Secret. But the questions I was asking were really the important part.
Continue reading “Writing an excellent Marketplace listing”

Posted in child avatars, cuteness, I wrote this, in character, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, travel, updates

Recovering: Petal on the Road, Day 8

It’s time to check in with our intrepid young adventurers, Petal and Joline, as they explore the roads of Sansara on their bikes. No flying, no TPing unless stuck, photographing and blogging as they go.

When last we left off, Joline had gotten a bad cold while they were staying in the Chamonix City sims, so they stayed a while longer while Joline recouperated. Petal’s mom Clover shipped some of her famous chicken soup to the Chamonix City Post Office. And sure enough, Joline was feeling better after a good, warm night’s sleep.

In the Warming Hut by the fishing pond, we sat by the fire and planned out our route. We got out our maps and our phones and decided we'd go back out of Chamonix City, pick up our bikes where we left them at Off Sides, then get back on the main road in Braggiani. From there, we'd follow the Amundsen Road, which went south and looped back up north on the other side of the mountain.

Continue reading “Recovering: Petal on the Road, Day 8”

Posted in day-to-day, humor, I wrote this, music, song

Anthems for Second Life

The deadline is coming up for the SL Anthem Contest, you guys.

I’m not taking part. For one thing, the lyrics are already written, and that’s the part I’d have any shot at being good at. I’m not a composer. I’m the kind of composer that would make Mozart go, “and then it’s just the same thing, right? It doesn’t really work, does it?” and he’d laugh his insane goofy laugh while composing circles around me in that lavender crushed-velvet coat (which, nothing to do with anything, I want).

'It doesn't really work, does it?'

Additionally, you not only have to compose it, but you have to record it. Do you know why there are no Cat Agus Cu recordings? Because a certain elf who will remain nameless (but whose name rhymes with “This’ll Go” ) is phobic of recording. I have a grand total of ONE existing recording of me singing, dating back to 1994.

And even if I were to compose the perfect melody, get my chicken-shit ass into a studio, and somehow win? I’d win under $200US, if I’m doing my math right. Call me a greedy bastard, but for all that, I want a little bit more to show for rights to something I composed.

It does get me thinking, though, that SL really could use an anthem. I’m just not sure the lyrics proposed for the contest are it. So I sat me down and tried a few possible anthems, to the tune of already existing ones.

Rod save our awesome sims
Rod save our pretty sims
Rod Save Our Grid

Lags are notorious
Load times laborious
But it can be glorious-
Rod save our Grid!

I figure, being a Yank myself, maybe I should write something to the tune of our own national anthem:

O Say can you see
By your eighteen face lights
What so proudly we built
After six months of dreaming

Bold sculpts and big prims
Of improbable height
On the screens you can watch
Diff’rent videos streaming

And the textures so fine
Perfectly in a line
Give proof you can see
of our awesome design

Oh why is this outsanding
Parcel still gray…
I’ve been here half an hour-
Rez sometime today!

Of course, I try to be a citizen of the world…

Allons, enfants de la Teen Grid
Le jour de fusion est arrivée!

Actually I don’t know enough French to continue that one.

O, Second Life
My home and virtual land
My kids and wife
Say it’s gotten out of hand…

I don’t know O Canada well enough to scan beyond that one.

Anyway, those are my humble contributions to the idea of a Second Life anthem. What have you got?

Posted in day-to-day, graph, I wrote this

I made you a chart…

It’s been said that it takes an average of 10 years to become an overnight sensation. So by that measure I’m 8 years ahead of schedule.

Two years ago, I wrote an article, and I was kind of shy about promoting said article because most of the reason I blog is… well, here, I’ll illustrate it with a chart too:

Anyway, one day when a conversation came up in the SL Business forum in which a new person asked for some advice, I figured, hell, maybe she would find the article useful. So, I linked to it. Other posters really really liked it and it even ended up linked via the SL Wiki. Not bad! And, largely because of the links from the forum and the links from the Wiki, it’s pretty much the most read article in my whole blog. It even finally beat out the outdated listing for houppelandes (a mystery which eludes me to this day).

Well, being curious, I followed some of my incoming traffic links and found a discussion on the forums– about my blog post! Knock me over with a feather. But the part that really surprised me the most was the fact that one person was, I can’t make this shit up, honest-to-goodness offended.

By what? Bad grammar? Inaccurate or false claims? Product placement? No, she was offended because the article contained what I’ll lovingly call Graph 3:

This chart was made by Prad Prathivi, also two years ago. Underneath where the graph is posted, in my article, are the following words:

The graph may have been intended as a parody, but it’s still not that far off from the truth. You can hype the hell out of your product, get people through the doors in droves, but if your product isn’t good it won’t stay.

Now, having read that, is anyone here in question about the intent of the graph? Apparently, the forum poster still was, even though another poster said (in not so many words) “Um, dude. Parody.” And yet it still wasn’t enough to get the offended party to stop clutching her pearls.

So, I don’t know, maybe someone will read this, maybe nobody will, but I’m going to reiterate what I said at the forums (and have even said here before):

Posted in day-to-day, I wrote this

Community Management Styles: Pros and Cons

So the communities I’ve worked with seem to fall into a few different categories:

  • The Absolute Dictatorship – One person owns the sim or estate; one person makes the rules. That one person also makes all the decisions, and has sole property-owner type rights. The one person decides what stays and what goes, and there is no system of appeal.

    Benefits to residents: When it’s a small sim or estate, you don’t want to have to go through hoops just to ask a question or make a request. And, there’s minimal miscommunication about the rules; you don’t get one person saying one thing and one person saying something different. Political drama doesn’t happen often, if at all.

    Disadvantages to residents: If the one person in charge is called away by RL, the place falls apart.

    A sure sign you’re in this type of community: someone with tags reading “king”, “mayor”, “president”, etc.

  • Absolute Regime, Light – One person (or small governing body) owns and manages the sim or estate. The rules and decisions are made by this governing body; however, the remaining populace (tenants) have some control over their personal space (such as some property owner rights). There is much railroading, and talk of “proper channels.”

    Benefits to residents: An opportunity to make suggestions or wishes known (though they may be disregarded). There may be some elected positions or juried events. Residents are able to control their own parcel: its name, description, search keywords, ban list, and radio stream; and can make announcements at the SL website about events (provided the parcel is large enough).

    Disadvantages to residents: Governing body can appear clannish and out-of-touch with less deeply involved residents and their needs. Free exchange of ideas limited to meetings. Instead of help provided when requested through incorrect channels, there can be belittling comments and opportunities for help/chat diminished further. Conflicts of interest. Feelings of powerlessness with residents.

    A sure sign you’re in this kind of community: Five or more different groups related to the community, not including a “staff” group. Public smackdowns for chatting in the “wrong” group on any topic. Also, if its name rhymes with “Swindon Crab”.

  • Democratic Process – In larger, more populous sims or estates, especially with a real focus on community, there will often be numerous governing bodies on various aspects. It may be a multi-tiered system of government: one estate owner, heads of committees, committees and subcommittees. OH the committees!

    Benefits to residents: Free exchange of ideas encouraged. Questions asked are questions answered. Every single decision made is made with the involvement of everyone in the community. Residents are empowered, and encouraged when they take initiative.

    Disadvantages to residents: Where more people and ideas converge, there will you find drama. Decisions made with everyone involved will by nature take more time to implement. Someone will always be offended, and everyone will be hearing about it. Chat, while containing useful information and social catching up, will by nature also contain unwanted chatter, advertisements, and topics not always agreeable.

    A sure sign you’re in this kind of community: It will contain hundreds of active members and five or more groups. The word “committee” used liberally in said groups. Group notices with multiple authors. Group chat is frequent, and on countless subjects.

    No one system of community management is better or worse in all cases. What works in a small quarter-sim may not work in a dozen-sim estate. And, each has its pros and cons. No single form of community management exists which is absolutely perfect for everyone.

Posted in business in SL, I wrote this

Advertising Doesn’t Cost… Except When It Does

You’re probably already familiar with the old saw, “Advertising doesn’t cost; it pays.” Lots of businesses, in SL and in RL, drop insane amounts of money for promotion right from the get-go, figuring that the sooner they get their name out there, the sooner they’ll get lots of customers to come through their doors to buy their products.

What the pat little saying doesn’t mention is that advertising can indeed be very costly, especially when your business is brand new. This blog at A VC talks about marketing in RL business, and it provides some important insight as to what works and what doesn’t when you’re trying to get “heard of”. Many, if not all, of the tips mentioned in the linked article can be translated into practical use for your business in Second Life.

Before dropping thousands of lindens on that magazine spread, TreetTV spot, banner ad at the Marketplace, or even classified, you need to make full use of what is available for free. Numerous tools are available for your use to get people to hear about and spread the word about your virtual business for free and cheap. Are you getting the most out of them?
Continue reading “Advertising Doesn’t Cost… Except When It Does”

Posted in day-to-day, I wrote this, love, marriage, personal

Happy Birthday, Professor.

There’s a lot of things I wish I could get for you, to show you how much you mean to me. But even though times are hard, I know there’s no other woman anywhere loved as much or as well as I am by you. And I seriously doubt there’s a man anywhere loved as much or as well as you are by me.

You’re my best friend, my voice of reason, my sounding board, and so much more to me that I can’t even express in words.

I love you, “Archimedes Skytower”. Here’s to another year, and to me being thankful that it’s another year that you chose to share with me.

Posted in child avatars, I wrote this, in character, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, travel, updates, vacation, work in progress

Warmth Amid the Cold: Petal On the Road, Day 6

Yes, once again, it’s time to check in with our intrepid nine-year-old explorer, Petal, as she makes her way along the Mainland roads on her bike. When last we left off, Petal had left her bike in Belmondo, got carried away in a sleigh ride to Moritz, climbed a mountain, and snowboarded all the way to the Infohub in Anzere. Let’s see if she can find her way back to the road and her bike.

Deep in the mountains, in the Snowlands, is the Anzere Infohub. I had hot cocoa and a good night's rest, but now it was time to get back to Belmondo and my bike. I hoped it wasn't towed while I was away, because with only a couple Ls to my name, I'll have a hard time getting a new one!

Continue reading “Warmth Amid the Cold: Petal On the Road, Day 6”

Posted in business in SL, I wrote this, list, Shopping!, SL Marketplace, tutorial

Your Shop: Build and Design for your Target Audience

When it comes to your shop build and design, I’ve got some tips that may seem a bit abstract:

  • Think about your audience.  Who do you expect will buy your product? (For example, if you sell women’s shoes, you expect adult female avatars to be your primary target.  If you sell medieval weapons, you’d expect RPers with an interest in medieval things to be your primary target).
  • Ask yourself what appeals to your target audience, and what won’t. (For example, and let’s stay with the medieval weapons example: cutesy rainbow-sparkly text isn’t what will appeal to your audience; images of castles and heraldic banners, on the other hand, probably will.)
  • Ask yourself what feeling you want to create in your audience.  Again, this can be a bit abstract.  I sell food.  So what I want people to feel when they come in my store is hungry! I want them to be thinking of food, so I make my store look and feel like a supermarket.  If you sell shoes, you probably want your customers to feel sexy and confident. If you sell things for kids, you probably want them to feel happy, safe, and childlike.
  • Now that you’ve addressed that, ask yourself what things–be it colors, images, fonts, etc–help to call up that feeling.  Some examples:
    • Fonts: Make them readable first, then fitting with your shop’s feel.  A shoe shop might use a slender, sleek, trendy font to give a feeling of being modern, sexy, and confident.  A kids’ shop might use a handwritten-looking font (JUST DON’T USE COMIC SANS OMG) to give a feeling of cuteness.  A scripting shop might use a futuristic but formal-looking font to give a feeling of being professional and innovative.  A medieval weapons shop might use an ancient-looking font, similar to runes, to give a feeling of being rustic and tough.
    • Colors: Dark color on light background, light color on dark background.  People need to be able to read your signage.  Beyond that, think about what emotions can be brought with colors.  For example, earth tones tend to be mellowing and “adult” feeling (not in the “adult content” sense; in the “bookshop or cafe” sense).  Bright and pastel colors tend to be whimsical and inspiring.  Cool colors (blues and purples) can be mystical and dreamlike; warm colors (reds and oranges) can be exciting and passionate.
    • Imagery: What are some images/items that come to mind when you think of your audience?  I mentioned the castle walls and banners with the medieval weapons example.  For my shop, I’ve got shopping carts and a checkout counter (complete with moving conveyor!). Think about images that help convey what you want your target audience to feel/think about when they enter your shop.
    • Music: Have you ever gone into a Chinese restaurant IRL and heard Celine Dion?  I have.  It takes away from the intended feel of the place.  Whatever it is you’re selling, pipe in the appropriate music.  I have 80s pop and soft rock in my shop, because that’s what I hear when I shop in local RL supermarkets.

This article is listed in the SL Business section of the Know-it-All Pages, where you can find even more useful information. Go now, and see for yourself!

Posted in business in SL, events, I wrote this, list, Mistletoe Creek, New Year, Northstar, OpenLife, personal, RL, Wee Little Irish Pub

Self-serving New Year Post (2010-2011 edition)

It’s time to do what I did last year and review my virtual life over the past year, maybe make some predictions, and make some resolutions.

2010: Mistletoe In Review

January 2010 opened with me in OpenLife Grid and mostly out of Second Life (or so I thought). I had big plans to open up a region of my own in OL within a month or so, a Wild West RP sim called Mistletoe Creek. But frustration with OL was getting the better of me. Ultimately I decided to stick it out and try to open the new sim, figuring if it doesn’t work then at least I gave it my best shot. Meanwhile disgruntled former OLers were contacting me anonymously, and I called them out.

I also don’t want you to worry about me being “harassed”. I know you were fretting over it, which is why you protect your own identity. I mean, that harassment must be brutal. I for one never knew that digitized text could be such a dangerous thing, but then I’m green to many of the ways of the world. But at any rate, it should please you to know that nobody has harassed me. This cult of OLG supporters you all seem so worried about hasn’t said one word in opposition to me, even in my angriest rant. They must be scared of a 130-pound elf. I’m such a badass after all. Rawr. Fear the elf. FEAR HER.

Continue reading “Self-serving New Year Post (2010-2011 edition)”