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Changes and more

It's been ages since I posted. So much has changed. Oh, I'm still on the grid and I'm still quirky. But my RL schedule prevented my continuing work with Prim Perfect Publications, much as I miss it. And, as you may suspect, it prevents things like musing on Second Life as much as I'd like.

However, I can't bring myself to give it up. It's a social circle that means enough to me that I light up when a friend name appears in the IM window. And, frankly, what better venue is there than Second Life (especially the Caledon community) if you like snappy chat.

I'm not fond of bloggers who post in order to figuratively stammer before they finally reveal that they had nothing particularly compelling to say, but they just felt like getting some air time. That means I either have to clear the airwaves or develop something to say.

So for this moment — over and out.

In response to an intriguing post at Wagner James Au's New World Notes on the "culture of freebies", I asked for help.

As you may know, I'm the Advertising and Client Relations Manager for Prim Perfect Magazine. We extremely grateful to our readers and advertisers for our success, but we always want to do better. When content creators discuss marketing, I see a lot of discussion about blogs, effective use of Search, and so forth, but little reference to advertising in publications or in-world media. Why is that? We hear frequently from our satisfied advertisers, but I don't have as much opportunity to learn the views of the many well-respected and successful designer who pursue other channels. I'll paste my comment below, and I ask for your input. Have you considered advertising? Are you aware of the factors that influence the results? Have you tried it and been disappointed? And most of all, what could Prim Perfect do that would help our advertising partners be more successful?

N.B. I realize that the majority of content creation in SL is apparel/avatar related, but you've probably learned many lessons that would help all creators, including those in the home/furnishing/landscape world that Prim Perfect serves.

In my role as manager of advertising for Prim Perfect Magazine (latest issue here), I have a lot of conversations about retail economics in SL. The costs to the creator are all incurred up front: creation time, store rental, etc. Additional costs for each sale approach zero -- all money flowing directly to profit -- so the case for effective marketing is enormous. Freebies are one way of making your products known, but not only are you giving away product for free, but collectively, retailers are sapping the need/appetite of the customer. (I confess that I could look really good for days wearing only items I've gotten for free around the grid. A smart customer might ask, "Why buy?")

So some say Search is ineffective; blogging, though perhaps effective, is not a equally-accessible playing field; and designers aren't just competing with the makers of similar items but for anything else that will grab the interest, attention and $L of the residents. How can a content creator market effectively in the Second Life world?

So, talk to me about advertising. Our approach at Prim Perfect is to focus on the fact that our advertisers' success drives our success, so we try to make sure that all our advertisers are extremely well-served, including additional exposure (via blog, etc.), helping matchmake profitable partnerships, inviting participation on occasional special projects, etc. Do you (or people you know) consider advertising in a well-regarded publication to be a good investment? If not, why not? Do you see a difference between channels with good content (e.g. some magazines, in-world TV or radio) and others that may have wide distribution but are mainly just collections of ads? What would make it a more attractive proposition? What can we do to serve content creators better to help them get the word out?

I'm going to post this on my blog at and I'd really appreciate comments and input. Thanks very much.

(My working assumption is that the creators are making high-quality stuff. Developing a good reputation, generating word-of-mouth referrals, etc. is the 'price of entry' to being successful; plus Prim Perfect has an investment in its own brand and so wants to be able to confidently stand up for our advertising partners.)

I've been a citizen of Caledon since I arrived in Second Life, and if you're going to make junior-high-snide remarks about it, don't do it here. But, like all uncles of whom we are fond, the Caledon community needs affectionate forbearance from time to time.

In that vein, I give you Otenth Paderborn's inspired Venn Diagram of Caledonian interactions:

Sorry I can't remember where I found the link to this. If you have it posted, please consider this a hat tip.

Diva bestows a well-deserved bow in the direction of Prad Prithivi for this industriously hysterical parody that I've seen cited on several blogs. Study it. Really. It had me laughing out loud at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, that's how funny it is.

Thanks to my friend Perplexity Peccable (I think -- or was it Mal Burns) on Twitter, I took a look at Loco Pocos. Too much fun. The island is a great place to explore, and I completely fell in love with the easily-customizable tiny avatars. So, here's my latest look.

I came across this web page that discusses a real "Diva Regina" -- an operatic mezzo-soprano who sang with Maria Callas and Placido Domingo. My avatar in Second Life, I confess, is rather more attractive than her typist is in real life, but one would be hard pressed to create an avatar as beautiful as this lady.

Hi, guinea pigs . . . er, friends.

From Indexed

A number of my friends are involved in exploring the opportunities for beefed-up education in Second Life. I'm interested in it too, mostly as it applies to models of interaction. I suspect that some of the earlier competence will be developed by universities, especially those with significant online offerings already.

I attended a web presentation presented by Capella University, an online degree-granting institution based in Minnesota, U.S. They have a good idea - short presentations on various topics via live web streaming. But the technology, as might be expected, has some holes.

To cut to the conclusion: when you are presenting something live online, do not neglect to have a phone line open as a back channel. You will save yourself a lot of distress and your viewers a lot of distraction.

Caveat presenter.

Last night's celebration marked the one year anniversary of the inaugural issue of Prim Perfect magazine. Not only has circulation gone from zero to over 10,000 in that time, it has been praised as highly professional publication with which many of the top content designers of Second Life are proud to be associated. I know the whole team is grateful for the ongoing support of all those who have contributed to making Prim Perfect such a success.

So, of course, there was a party. Music and event planning by Radio Riel provided a wonderful setting for so many to come and have great fun. Thanks to everyone.

I just found Grace McDonough's insightful blog, Phasing Grace. In response to her thoughts about the Second Life trademark brou-ha-ha, I posted the following comment. Since it seems to stand alone okay, I offer it here for your thoughts:

Though my comment might be more well-placed on your March 26 post, I'm a johnny-come-lately to this discussion.

You are absolutely correct about the current situation reflecting a significant misunderstanding on the part of LL regarding the interdependence between themselves and the Second Life community. Following in Coca-Cola's legendary and infamous shoes, Linden Labs assume mistakenly that the brand equity of Second Life belongs to them alone. Coke learned, when it eliminated its storied formula for "New Coke", that the brand really belonged to the lovers of the brand. In order to recover from one of the in business history, Coke reinstated its original recipe as "Coca Cola Classic" and soon afterward allowed New Coke to slide into a deserved and unlamented death.

So the actual reasonableness of protecting the SL trademark can be said to be beside the point. SL provided the platform, but it has been the residents who added the value, creating the world to which so many are attracted every day, and the residents are just plumb mad as hell that LL is so clueless about that fact. It's the slap in the face that's creating the furor -- not the need to refrain from naming my blog "The Second Life Manual" or something like that.

Speaking for myself, I think it would be most effective to completely ignore all concerns in any case where it's not super-clear that our usage is improper. Let Linden Labs come after us. They won't start by exclusion -- they'll start by making a request. How many staff do you think they'll hire to police the entire web universe? Yeah, I don't think they'll get to most of us soon, either.

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