On January third a story was written by Maria at Hypergrid Business. I emphasize that it was a story because it was mainly fiction. It would seem as though she had a lull in interesting things to write about so, she went to her fav ‘go to’ – InWorldz.
There was so much wrong with that article that I couldn’t just ignore it, nor do I have the patience to respond on a point by point to everything but there are a few key things I’d like to point out.
The first thing that caught my eye was “Merchants on the closed, commercial InWorldz grid are concerned about perceived drop in users and commercial activity, and worry that the grid owners are no longer committed to the success of the grid.” Right there, one can tell that the article is all about how InWorldz is dying and the founders don’t care. This isn’t a surprise, as it’s the angle Maria enjoys the most. It is also of course, untrue.
What was most irritating for me however was the ABSOLUTE twist in words. She says that Elenia Llewellyn , one of the founders ‘seems to blame the merchants’ for the declining sales and loss of merchants. She directs her audience to the video shared of Elenia (and others) suggesting ways that merchants can increase their sales.
Apparently there are those who would like to be spoon fed their success. If being told ‘hey, make use of the tools available, free blogging tools, social media, UP TO DATE CLASSIFIEDS ‘ is blaming the merchants then so be it.
If you are in a city and have your shop in some little known area, you don’t advertise, don’t promote – are you going to blame the CITY for your sales? Seriously. In my opinion it is NOT the responsibility of the grid founders to increase the sales or retain merchants any more than it is for them to help me get renters, or help me get my Roleplay sim happening! There is already a working classifieds section in the browser that allows people to find the merchants, and although there was once a classified section in the old forum, how is that useful for hundreds of creators? Anyhow, point being, Elenia didn’t BLAME her community, she simply pointed out some free tools they could use to help boost their sales.
Throughout the article Maria brings up things Elenia has said 2+ years ago, things not at all relevant to now. Maria says “She [Elenia] also defended the grid’s decision to close down the classified ads section on its forums.” – and then after also mentions , hey in fact it was the whole FORUM shut down. NOT just the classifieds. The forums were a place that although a great way to get an opinion out, were too easily fueled by emotion and then bombarded with angry posts. This happens in forums all over and like it or not, the content can be cruel or rude enough to make people not want to be in that world. That DOES cost a grid money. So the ‘forum’ has moved to Zendesk and does fine there.
Maria also insinuates that the grid has been abandoned by Elenia and Tranquillity.
“owner Reischl moved to Panama and founder and CTO David Daeschler has mostly moved on to other projects.” Who the hell CARES if Elenia moved? InWorldz is still registered in the US. And Tranquillity having other work he does doesn’t mean he has abandoned InWorldz, even if he isn’t logging his avatar on. So much work goes on behind the scenes to keep IW going. There are still IW sponsored events, still updates to the grid and the servers were all updated recently. Elenia does her iNEWZ shows and posts on ZenDesk.
Lots of small starting grids have owners with nothing but time on their hands to individually connect with everyone. InWorldz isn’t small.
Another thing is the numbers Maria uses. She says InWorldz unique active users has fallen to the lowest since Feb 2012, but only shows a graph of 12 months so there isn’t a way to see other trends that have been lower and higher. And to compare, that LOW number is still 5,276 unique log ins over the past 30 days. Compare that to the big Opensim grid OSGrid , their unique log ins was only 3,884. Interesting though is that OSgrid has 6,146 regions and InWorldz only as 1,288 regions. InWorldz is definitely more densely populated! ( No, Maria doesn’t make unique log in comparisons with OSgrid however)
She does compare the new registrations last month of 1,026 in InWorldz against Kitely (though she doesn’t state a # for Kitely, I looked and that grid received approximately 1400 registrations last month). Am I missing something though? Is it fair to compare new user registrations in InWorldz with Kitely, when Kitely requires that you make a Kitely account in order to send items to your avatar in any other grid? It also requires you to have a Kitely account in order to sell from the market. So EVERY seller and EVERY Opensim buyer HAS to have a Kitely account. With Kitely being the only opensim market is it a surprise that it sees such a huge number of registrations? Also again, with land region numbers lowering in InWorldz, if Kitely reports 16,000 regions, it has to be remembered that even regions that are in storage ( free region that each avatar gets and never uses again, or larger regions paying a storage fee) those land amounts are included. These aren’t necessarily regions you can go visit. Also, OSgrid’s total land mass and some other grids is quite large because they allow remote connections to regions hosted on people’s private servers of computers.
Other than the biased ‘reporting’ and the twisting of words, what I found disappointing was that the owner of a group I belong to in InWorldz – Chamber of Commerce – decided to air her thoughts to Maria, as though she were speaking on the behalf of all the merchants. Considering the ‘merchants say ‘ this and ‘merchants say’ that ~ with no actual NAMES except for the owner of the Chamber of Commerce Group, it is REALLY hard to say who it is that ran to Maria with their anonymous sad bit of ‘poor me’ news. I guess I could watch the video again and refresh my memory as to who it was that was asking Elenia these questions, that might help to figure out who it was but either way it boils down to this:
InWorldz is NOT about the founders. It is about the PEOPLE. It is not about expecting the grid owners to do anything other than provide a stable, virtual world for us to access in order to create and enjoy, whether for fun or profit. People can whine about stability but it’s the most stable grid I’ve been on outside of Second Life (and I’ve been on MANY) it has great scripting, psychics engine, working classifieds, no arguments over ‘Version 8? Or version 9? Bullet? or uBODE’? Things just work. Sailing waters, sponsored regions for events, members who have been active as many years as the grid plus new people all the time. So much great merchandise available, prices a fraction of the cost of Second Life and it’s been around a good long while now.
To finish, I’d like to include some words from some of my fellow InWorldz folks (though MANY more can be found at the initial article at Hypergrid Business:
“I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce group, I was not aware we had a ‘director’. There is a group owner who does not speak for me (or most members of the group), and IF in fact the interview was as stated in the HGB article, speaks pretty much in opposition of my own views.
I watched the interview mentioned in the article, and I agree with everything that Elenia said. I have a successful business and I have never depended on IW to drive my traffic. That is MY job. I have seen merchants come to IW and expect to succeed based on their performance in other grids – but not market themselves or work to grow their customer base – then leave and blame IW for their lack of success. Everything she said I have basically said at some point or another. I love IW – my ‘work’ here is a hobby, I make enough to put a good amount of money back into the grid in tiers, rents, purchases and entertainment with a little left over to take home once in a while. I don’t look at concurrency, I look at sales, and they keep going up 🙂 I don’t look at concurrency, I look at new faces (and recently a LOT of those new faces are people who are returning after years away), I see the numbers of people that are out and about, and I see growth”. ~ Sophia Larkspur: Sophia Fashion
“I saw that article on HGB and all I can say other than what I already responded to there, in regards to my great sales at InWorldz and my expansion of land here is there is a sense of community, of ‘coming home’ when you come back to InWorldz after being away for a bit. I love that all my boats work wonderfully here, and that I can concentrate on just creating things without worrying about whether or not scripts will work or about transfer permissions for Opensim. I have some great sales there too, but here it is just a lot easier to know that each customer will get the item working the same way it works for me, instead of an often change of performance from one grid to the next.” ~ Curt Halberd: REALized Mesh
“Ever since I’ve been in IW my real life has been richer, more full, and there’s so much joy, every day, because of the people in IW. I’m a merchant here as well. Multiple entities… I get to share my art and creations with friends as well as take part in the entertainment industry here. Something I never would have thought of before coming to IW. There is so much to learn… it’s a win / win!” ~ Orb Nim:Owner of the Galley Lounge and i-Rent rental agency and Creative Director of Bridges Creative Learning
(from the HGB article but passed to me to use)“Adding my 2¢ and ALSO a member of this same Chamber group, like the others I do *not* share the thinking of this trash journalism that ignores two of the core principles of journalism, namely Truth and Accuracy, and Fairness and Impartiality, neither of which this article contains. It appears to be little more than a smear piece from someone with a personal vendetta. Sad. For the record, my business was busier in 2017 than the 3 previous years combined. Anyone who knows what my business is, I gladly offer an open challenge to anyone from any grid. 😉 ~ Neytiri Omatikaya: PyroVR Fireworks
Come into InWorldz, take a look around, look at our active events in classifieds, our amazing stores that I would LOVE to list but don’t want to be dinged for favourtism 😀
But just using the General in General, Moderate and Adult tab – in search, looking for skins:
Never mind the tons of places for awesome mesh hair, clothing, feet, shoes, eyes, furniture, homes, vehicles, roleplay, rentals — and it is all, right here. I do still love visiting my Opensim friends, but I also love that I can shop, purchase and play right here all in one spot ~ checking out stores, wandering around – not just ordering from a website and having it drop delivered (though we do have that also with https://iniw.net/marketplace , and an awesome directory coming soon, both from our amazing Wolf Hartnell ) . To sum it up, InWorldz is Alive and Well. Still cared about by founders and residents alike. Still growing and still an AWESOME place to call home!