Clickable Culture   Official Research Blog of Phantom Compass  The of ‘Second Life’  
Posted 2006-06-13 by Tony Walsh
SLBoutique, arguably the equivalent to for the digital goods of Second Life, has relaunched with a new look and new tagging functionality. A project of The Electric Sheep Company, allows residents of Second Life to buy and sell virtual-world items via the web--a process now made easier with the introduction of searchable tags. Items are purchased with Linden Dollars transferred from Second Life ATMs. Purchases are then delivered directly to one's avatar in Second Life. Not exactly 1-click shopping, but with Mozilla web-browser integration slowly improving, transactions should soon be able to be executed without ever having to leave Second Life.

It bears mentioning that is (in my opinion) SLBoutique's closest competitor.
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Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
June 13, 2006 @ 11:28 am
It's funny to think of SLBoutique as a "project of" ESC -- it was described as a "buyout" at one point, but since FlipperPA Peregrine, the owner of SLB, sold it to ESC, where he is now on the staff, it's more like a merger.

Third-party sites are a huge business -- they take credit cards, display prices in dollars and Lindens, and people can shop during their lunch hours or when they can't get online inside SL -- all their packages are automatically delivered and waiting for them when they arrive. It's hard to know what the revenue of this business is, because SL businesses are very secretative, but it's probably pretty substantial.

The issue of how all the data gathered is used, or exploited for commercial advantage, when it is gathered from avatars, their shopping habits, their sales habits, their movements inworld, etc. remains an open one, and not only for me, BBC covered this issue yesterday, but in their minds, "Big Brother" is the big business "out there" in the real world. The big business is here in the virtual world, too, and they will be very much related. It was via ESC that Microsoft came into SL, for example.

SLB appears to be a successful and improving operation that serves many avatars and appears to be one of the small percentage of resident-run businesses that makes serious RL income for its owners.

So...that makes it all the more annoying that they continue to try to get the Lindens to nerf the platform in their own direction. Why does FlipperPA work so hard to try to stamp out other residents' businesses?

This is my main beef with the FIC/SIC/"Big Business" of SL, and always has been.

In the Events Working Group last year with Robin Linden, we had a strenuous debate about opening up the events list, and reducing the net-nannyism of the Lindens on commercial types of events. The world itself sorely lacks communication and advertising capacity, bulletin boards and ad space that people can access for free, and event announcement space. What is on the client in the user panel is too restricted.

We achieved some victory, with getting the category "commercial" and getting a loosening of restrictions, i.e. enabling the events calendar to be used for real estate tours and store grand openings, etc.

But the yard sale -- the emblematic entry-income position for newbies and the life's blood of SL -- is something that FlipperPA and his buds are determined to kill off. First in the Events group, and now in a series of vocal postings on the forums and in meetings with Lindens, FlipperPA, backed by other oldbie leaders, is declaring "all yard sales illegal". In fact, they aren't, if they have duration and a host.

The hatred of yardsales and this huge lobbying effort by a big business to kill them really seems unseemly to me. It seems to be obviously about trying to kill off independent revenue streams not under their control (obviously neither merchants nor third-party sites get a commission or sales fee out of a yard sale).

Yard sales must remain free and this overwhelming FIC-provoked Linden prosecution of them must end. New people especially should be able to buy and sell goods, and old people should be able to change inventory in this fashion without the FIC big business getting in our hair.

I cannot have respect for SLB and ESC until they can call off the dogs on this -- given their own success, they really need to knock it off, trying to squelch newbies and their much smaller competitors. They really cannot justify this, and they surely can't say it's about "rules" or "aesthetics" on the events list, when they are busy arbitrarily interpreting rules and pressuring the Lindens to change rules.
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