Old marketing hacks, part 1

I (as Opal Lei) personally owned virtual businesses that produced products, not services. I always had land inworld. However, since the Second Life Marketplace came along (and now the Kitely Marketplace), it doesn't really makes sense to own much land anymore. I've noticed that, recently, at least 80% of my sales happen on the web. Maybe even closer to 90%.

(I wonder if Linden Lab knows how much the web Marketplace cannibalized their virtual land sales.)

Creators of home and garden products still need a place to showcase their products though. Most people still like to walk through a house before they purchase it. Same with sellers of animations.

Some wearable designers might also have the same requirement for a different reason. A very large number of variations in products (such as color and style, like hair) would be too unwieldy to sell on the Marketplace. The Marketplace still doesn't allow you to properly sort the products with your own categories (fashion line? summer versus winter? all colors of the same style near each other?), and so customers could get frustrated sifting through the listings. So it's still nicer to browse inworld.

Browsing at Truth Hair store.
The sheer number of hair options requires an inworld store.
Location: Truth Hair
For most service providers, however, it's a different story. Why would you need virtual land just to put up a billboard or a kiosk? How do you effectively advertise your services to a wide audience? So far, service providers have resorted to whatever means of advertising is allowed to them, and I will talk more about these in the next few posts:
  • Profiles: About and Picks
  • Inworld classifieds
  • Adboards inworld
  • Personal and other websites
  • Inworld groups
  • Inworld events
  • SecondLife.com forums
  • Flickr / YouTube / other social media
  • Word of mouth
  • Cold-calling
Some of these require that you own land inworld. Many require that you pay some fee before your name even gets a mention.

I've seen people on Flickr who would put "Accepting clients" next to their display name, but people who join Flickr are mostly photographers themselves. So isn't that like preaching to the choir? Or, in this case, advertising to the competition?

So, in the next few posts, let's talk about what we've all collectively been doing. Or, more accurately, been hacking.

AvaHyr twinkled: The inspiration

teal star fieldNot too long ago, an ex told me that he was investing 50k Lindens on a "friend"'s business. Second Life is the ideal platform to bootstrap a business with no investment, not even a membership fee. So why does anyone need 50kL for a business?

He explained the service that she would be offering, and he said that the money is for a banner ad on the Second Life Marketplace.

Well, I don't know what banner ads he was talking about. Plus, I had tried offering that service before, and a lot of my friends are more skilled at it than she is. So I told him that her business isn't gonna fly, and he would never see that money again. And, besides, she's targeting the wrong audience, because people go to the Marketplace to look for a product, not a service. (Although, I'm sure there are exceptions.)

So, that problem churned in the back of my head for a while.

  • There really is no single place for customers to find good service providers in Second Life.
  • There really is no single place for providers to advertise their service without spending a lot of L$.

The Marketplace made it possible for new content creators to start a business and reach out to a wide audience with minimal investment (just enough to upload textures and mesh objects). Service providers need something like that too.

So, I created AvaHyr. And my goal is to make it the place to search for service providers.

Anyway, my ex and I no longer speak to each other, so I don't know if he actually gave his "friend" the money. He became upset, when I blatantly told him that she was probably just trying to turn him into her sugar daddy.

He thinks I'm just jealous; I think he's an i.... Well, let's just say I mistakenly thought he was smart. ;)