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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.

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