Location: Duck, Cover, Rant
Especially when, in her blogger profile picture, she sports a tiara. My loose-cannon mouth has gotten me in trouble, again! Yay, me.
At Hamlet Au's post about the impending closure of a sim based on Firefly, I ranted without any evidence that if RP goes out of Second Life, Linden Lab will have to close the doors:
- For all the fashionista angst over mesh doo-dads and the right eyeshadow, I'd wager that there's not enough XXX and play-Barbie customer base out there to keep the Lab open.
Tophat v. Tiara, Round One:
It is partly true that I'm a cranky oldbie, because I'm actually a "midbie" who came into SL in early 2007, smack-dab during the Hype Era. Still, CronoCloud misrepresents me badly in some regards. I don't actually think women are 10% of the Internet or SL; in VWER, they represent more than 50% of the attendees and, yes, they are RL women too because they have First-Life info in their profiles and care about hair, clothes, and shoes.
But this post is not about me, or even women in SL, darn it! It's about how Linden Lab pays its bills. And at the end, I'll offer to place a bet with CronoCloud.
The Numbers, PLEASE!
I faced this claim at CronoCloud's blog:
- Oh Iggy, the hardcore RP community in SL is miniscule. the clubgoing howlzers outnumber them 10 to 1 at least, even in the old days hardcore RP was a niche.
Let's begin with a journey to the bare-chested macho men and naked slave girls (does good skin make one a fashionista?) of Gor. The numbers may have changed, but over a year ago I encountered a statistic that 300 Gor-RP sims exist in SL.
As of yesterday, Tyche Shepherd's Grid Survey for Oct. 2010 (latest available data) shows this:
- 17153 Moderate-Rated Private Estates and 2853 Adult-Rated Ones
- 56.5% of Private Estate regions are Full Regions, 42.9% are Homesteads, 0.6% are Openspaces
- 43.2% of Mainland owned directly by Linden Accounts (Contiguous Mainland is 6723 regions including Linden Home regions)
Using my 300 as a baseline and Tyche's percentages, that means that 169 Gorean Sims are full regions (169 @ $295/month means $49,855 / month income to the Lab). The other 131 Gorean Homestead regions bring in, at $195/ month, $25,545. Total for Linden Lab: $75400 per month.
I don't like Gorean philosophy or RP, but that's a tidy sum. And how does income from Marketplace fees stack up against the sort of income that even 17K moderate regions generate?
Tiara v. Tophat, Round Two?
I'm going to assume that not too many fashion-related regions are Adult-rated and that all of the Gorean ones are. CronoCloud, show me those 3000 fashion sims! It's possible, perhaps, that 17.4% of SL regions rated Moderate are for "clubgoing howlzers" who go shopping.
But I'd like more evidence.
- But, Iggy, The Barbie girls...they outnumber you and the people like you by a HUGE margin. Haven't you SEEN the HUGE number of SL fashion blogs?
I suspect CronoCloud is correct about the "Barbie girls" outnumbering the rest of the SLers. But not about the role of land-income that goes to Linden Lab. Hamlet Au ran some data recently about Minecraft's success, and in that post he cited these numbers from about a year back: using Tyche's numbers at the time, he estimated that for Linden Lab's cited profit of 75 million dollars consists of 72 million from land, 3 million for everything else.
The Bottom Line: Tier is the Thing
So, I want some economic stats to show that fashion-focused SL residents exist in numbers that correspond to an income-stream capable of keeping SL viable, long term. That was my original point in replying to Hamlet's post. Even though I poked fun at virtual fasionistas, my claim was really about the economy.
- Do you not realize that avatar appearance enhancements, drive the SL economy? In other words, the Fashionistas basically run SL behind the scenes. They have for quite a while now. They're the ones spending the money. Skin Fair? Hair Fair? Sin Fair? Fashion for Life? Vintage Fair? Fantasy Fair?
But you are not correct when you say "drive." Even if fashion is the be-all and end-all of SL, it is tier that drives the SL economy. Otherwise, the Lindens would have cut it long ago to swell the number of residents owning regions.
Fashion might be the indirect driver of tier (places to shop, socialize, or just strut), but I need evidence. Fashion creators may or may not be renting server space, depending on how deeply Marketplace has affected their in-world traffic.
Without tier from sims and parcels, SL won't survive.
- There's tons of old fashionista centric regions STILL going strong. Because unlike college students popping into SL for a class project. . .fashionfolk spend money. A LOT of money.
As for college students? They are already young and fashionable, in my experience. They spend a lot of money, too, in the physical economy. They don't need avatars to be glamorous because they are avatars with profile info groomed fanatically at Facebook. But this is a digression in my counter-rant.
What I still need to be convinced of CronoCloud's arguments would be numbers. How much money goes to LL, directly from Marketplace fees or tier from land rented by fashionistas or their suppliers? How does that compare with the RP community? Builders?
Can we even find out? Or do we keep swapping competing and sweeping generalizations?
The Wager: Dreads or 1000L on the Line!
This is fun. Let's see if we can get some answers, CronoCloud! What does it cost to keep the lights on?
Here are more numbers, in the form of a friendly wager. 1000L if you can get some hard numbers, so you can go on a shopping spree. If I am correct, you buy me some new dreadlocks at a hair store of your choice.