I went out hunting this eve. That has nothing to do with my snapshot *wink*, I just had a few things on my mind and I so hate posts that are only text. I am, actually, dressed for the morrow when I hope to show you some fun photos using Chandra's latest release (no hints). My necklace and earrings are from Ticky Tacky and those are all the fashion notes you get with this eve's prose.

The hunt could have been a good one, there were signs that it might be. But a few stops to places I would never actually visit of my own accord, no LMs or hints on the official blog, full sim locations with no "happy little footprint hints" -- you get the idea. I abandoned the hunt.

I am guessing there are at least fifty grid wide hunts this month. Baubles ( no longer viable but still there) is in one. I can tell you from long time hunt experience AND experience with the hunt group I am currently  in (a good one) that attendance is WAY down. No one really wants to talk about these things, but since I don't consider myself a retailer any longer, I am happy to share my "personal info". It might make others feel better and that would be a good thing.

Business is way down in general. Designer are "dropping like flies" (not my quote but one from a member of a group I am part of). When faced with a bad economy, fewer shoppers, fewer BUYERS -- we can only expect that. I imagine that there are still some folks that are making money, but the good old days are definitely on hiatus -- for many of us anyway. Will they return? I don't know.

We all have to make our own adjustments to this climate change. We can stay. We can go (sometimes quietly disappearing in the night with no hints at all), or we can sit on the fence awhile longer. Our RL situations have much to do I imagine with how varied our choices are and how our enthusiasm fairs. Some designers have rereleased items, some have gone to low cost basics, some have (amazingly) produced some of their best work yet!  We have no idea how this will all play out over time. It has been coming for a long while, clearly after the second quarter of 2010.

And how does this general downturn relate to tonight's hunt? It is simply a case of over-saturation. Those of us paying attention have watched it over and over again. Good ideas (Fifty Linden Friday?) become the fad. They get repeated and repeated and eventually no one cares any longer. I seldom even open the endlessly incoming notecards from sales events.  I still check out what my favorite designers are putting up for the weekly (daily - hourly) sales groups, but the mass mailings just get tossed. Since I consider being "in the know" part of my personally definite job description, I can only guess that I am not alone in the tossing.

So, we had some spectacular grid wide hunts in the beginning (say 2.5 years ago). Then they became more popular, then a marketing scheme, then -- well honestly, most of them are fairly yawny these days. That doesn't mean there aren't  some OUTSTANDING gifts out there, but finding them takes a lot of time and effort and the folks giving those great gifts often get lost in the shadows of the other less than fantastic participants.

I have no magic solution here. Baubles has signed up for the Peace on Earth hunt for December. I don't expect to make any sales (or very few anyway) from the hunt. I am participating principally because I get lots and lots of great items from designers through hunts and release items and I feel it is only fair to give a little back. And it is likely  that the Baubles doors will close once again after the hunt is over. It is essentially dead.

SL can either be a hobby or a business. For those in business, this is most likely a pretty depressing time. I used to make a fair amount of money in SL, I didn't pay the rent or anything, but I hung out on the profit side of the ledger. Now, my sales come almost totally from the marketplace (Xstreet). Part of this I suspect is the continual worsening of in-world search.  If you think about this from The Labs point of view, the unfriendliness is smart. If people can't find something in-world, they will often turn to the Marketplace -- assuming they know it exists. I do too these days. The Labs get a cut of each of those sales, so for them it makes good sense to lessen the ease of the local shopping experience.

I doubt anyone is still reading at this point *wink*, but here is my personal plan. I am back in free rent mode -- living on unused land of RL friends who mysteriously keep paying their yearlies (yeah). I am still working very hard taking "pretty pictures" and supporting the designers who are hanging in there. I am still having fun! Recently I built a mini mall and the beginnings of another, simply to see if I could. I don't expect to sell many, but I enjoyed the process and for me that was enough. Yesterday I was invited to be the next interiors stylist on display at the SL Home and Gardens sim and that has been a lot of fun!

So my point in all of this I guess is that being realistic needs to figure into  our next moves. We can be optimistic, certainly, but pragmatism is often a wise mode to adopt when faced with the unknown.

And with that long winded rambling I will return to the other real world.

  1. gravatar

    # by Talena - October 26, 2010 at 4:01 AM

    I'm not making my living on SL at all, but I do think that part of the problem is the "the going rate is this so i should charge this" idea. I tend to charge considerably less than the going rate and I am still doing well enough to feel it is worth continuing. When the economy of the real world is not that great, then we have to adjust in sl too. Part of that means lowering prices, not just for sales but as an every day thing. But also, I am making stuff cause I enjoy it. When that stops, i'll be done with my shop too.

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    # by Nissa NIghtfire - October 26, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    whew! i read all the way to the end! But seriously -- a good post. I know we are all thinking about the economy these days. As I encounter other changes in my SL life too ... I'm definitely re-thinking how and why I do what I do. I love SL, I have fun here, and I definitely don't want to leave. So -- I'll look for whatever solution keeps SL a retreat and a respite for me. But, no -- I don't know what that is yet ... I'm still sorting it out.

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    # by AvaAdore - October 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Hi Chic,

    This was a good post. I think that items that are really common-clothes, home furnishings and decor, shoes, etc-the big things-have tons of fierce competition. My home and garden store would probably be able to pay its tier alone but only because of the aforementioned hunts and special weekly sale days. My nursery furniture store on the other hand is fairly niche, and does extremely well. I think how people are doing depends a lot on what they sell. Market saturation of certain types of products makes it very difficult to make a sale. When you add in all the ready made kits that can help people put together a product...yes, it becomes a race of who can sell for less. Definitely tough out there.