Thinking It Over Again
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

So, I've been revisiting this whole thing again lately.

Recently, I checked back on dandellion Kimban's rather epic To Free Or Not To Free article.

I re-read a lot of the comment responses, in particular those of Prokofy Neva's comments–she's probably the ideological opposite of me on this matter, so I figure it's a good place to get a fresh perspective on all this ;)
And there are way too many freebies in SL, and that deprives newbies from having incentive to make and sell.
  —Prokofy Neva
I think there are certain practices to be encouraged, and one of them is for all these people thinking they are so magnificent as to give something “for the People” in the form of freebies should turn on “transfer/sell” and “mod” and let them resell it modified if they like. That would do more to help the newbie economy than anything out there, because people could be concentrating on making and selling and trading rather than sitting like zombies in camp stations.
  —Prokofy Neva
Even given whatever ideological differences Prokofy and I have–I totally agree with her points.

Prokofy's suggested practice won't do anything to curb the “Instant Skin Business–Just Add Water” issue–in fact, such a practice would exactly result in more businesses.

The problem isn't more businesses–it's the “instant...just add water” aspect of it–namely BIABs and freebie-sellers–these businesses are, in essence, the same as the zombies in camping chairs: they don't really add anything of value back to the grid.

So there in lies the paradox: how do we provide free and valueable mod/transfer items to new users in such a way that discourages BIAB/freebie-selling (preferably without the involvement of lawyers)?

I've already got a lot of good advice and suggestions from the SLU forum thread:
  • clearer usage terms and wishes (in plain English like Sezmra's Splendor, rather than licensing legalese)
  • use DMCA or legal recourse against BIABs
  • BIAB is and will continue to be a constant problem in any SL asset commodity
  • exclusive early access to PSD resources (I'm still a little on the fence about this... being communist and all.... ;)
DM ( September 10, 2008 at 5:03 AM )

LOL @ Prok. Just because I have a first life, I'm a communist in her book? Don't make me laugh.

Solo Mornington ( September 10, 2008 at 7:19 AM )

Hmm. If the question is, 'Should people not give away their carefully-crafted skins because free stuff doesn't add any more value to the SL world than camping?' then perhaps the answer is....


thiscakeisgreat ( September 10, 2008 at 5:52 PM )

Its not going to stop masses of resellers. There will always be resellers. Who cares about em?
There will always be an influx of truly creative people too though. I spend most of my time in sandboxes, I see newer and newer people doing awesome stuff and a lot of these people need stuff like you provide to learn from. Not to mention, you put most other skin businesses in SL to shame, and a lot of them know that and of course there is bound to be some childish jealousy. Don't let that stop you EE. You're an SLebrity in your right, and the whole community benefits from the Arcadian spirit (as I like to call it) :P

Anonymous ( September 10, 2008 at 8:23 PM )

"And there are way too many freebies in SL, and that deprives newbies from having incentive to make and sell.
—Prokofy Neva"

Wrong. If someone comes into second life with a creative spark they will use it.
I am of the mind if I release something for free I will let the chips fall where they may. The only exception was with a skin mod I made from your source. I made that skin no mod so that:
1. They could not erase the credit I gave you.
2. They could not charge money for something I distributed, but did not make.. just modded.

I have some inventory I am teetering on releasing full perms as freebies. If I do this I honestly do not care what people do with them. They can sell them, tear them apart to learn from, give them away.. whatever. I won't spend my time worrying about it because they were my creations and I have every right to release them that way and turn away from them at that point and never look back.

That is what I think you need to do for your own peace. Your PSDs do not dilute the market. They do not make newbies lazy. Yes, people have taken advantage of them in selfish and shady ways, but some do what you ask. When they do, it makes something unique. BIAB products all run together. It is all the same thing over and over. That is what happens when people take your PSDs and slap them on a skin and sell as is. It is a small sector of the market that does this.

I look at Beebo and remember when she first got your PSDs and made her makeup free skins. She inspired me to look at your PSDs closer. Had you not released those PSDs I would likely have never decided to learn something new.

Meh, I am rambling. Whatever you decide to do.. do it for you and because of what you feel is right. Don't study the words of people who make profit on all they do. Look at your piers.. the ones who give for the sake of giving. Not the big creators who give a small freebie to draw a customer in. (Nothing wrong with that.. they are just not your piers).

You will not ruin the economy and you will not make a newbie crippled with lazyness for what you do. But you just might inspire a few more of us to do something new.

Thanks for your past releases. I hope you find peace in your decision. *hugs*

Anonymous ( September 10, 2008 at 8:26 PM )

And I know the difference between a pier and a peer. That was an odd typo to make. :P

dandellion ( September 12, 2008 at 4:42 AM )

BIAB is a fraud. It's a noob bait and it probably never pays off. It's a false promise of quick cash to somebody that recently came to SL. If you do a research, and travel the grid searching for the affordable skins (or any other article that is usually in those BIAB boxes) you'll see many resellers with the same products, in ugly malls (you know those lowest grade places with non-aligning textures and too many floating text spamming the air), and all that with price tags that are almost higher than premium products of top creators. And you clearly see the face of fresh "businessman" wondering why the sales count never hits three and how is he supposed to pay the next rent.

someone somewhere ( September 13, 2008 at 12:55 PM )

I second macphisto angelus. I love your arcadian spirit, Eloh. I find it inspiring. :)

HeatherFev21 ( September 15, 2008 at 2:47 PM )

I can't really add much to this discussion, cos I don't really know the ins and outs of everything but what I DO know is that I probably own one of the largest collections of skins on the grid, over 4 years i've collected well into the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands (maybe not :p) and i've messed with your psd's and had so much fun tryin to learn how to mod them, but that has, and never will in any way shape or form stop me from purchasing from skin owners who's skins I love

Nor will it stop me hoping more people do what you and sezmra do, within reason, to help the people that don't have oodles of talent, but just enough to make themselves a lil something special (and by special, I really do mean "special" :P)

I think you do whatever your heart tells you to do, easier said than done, I know, but hey...for every hater theres a lover. or some crap!


Creamy Cooljoke ( September 27, 2008 at 10:23 AM )

1. I have heard so many times from many creators that they actually just get pleasure out of making things, giving them away, and people enjoying them. I would be interested however, to discover if sellers who make a RL living out of SL actually benefit from giving free gifts.

2. I absolutely hate the crap that people get in BIAB, I feel sorry for anyone who is ripped off by thinking they can make money from this, but they should really do their homework before attempting any moneymaking scheme in SL.

3. I will always be grateful to you Eloh for releasing your PSD's, they have got my creative juices flowing after playing SL for nearly 2 years and doing nothing of any use to anyone - apart from shopping. They have given me some confidence and I am understanding more and more about how to create cool things in SL. I am happy to give it all away for free or nearly free too, I just love making the stuff. I'm still not that great though, but I can't believe how far I have come and I thank you for that :)

<3 Creamz

Unknown ( September 28, 2008 at 10:36 AM )

Again: if you are so magnificent that you imagine yourself "Helping The People," then give your freebies away full-perm, and do not worry about their resale, and do not worry if they are merely "instant add water" -- let them go. Nobody is likely to be able to resell them for much, and it REALLY helps newbies who are entrepreneurial by giving them something to sell.

Selling takes work. It needs land for display, it needs advertising, it needs customer service. While these things can be cheaper in SL than RL, they are still work. So the idea that someone reselling free things is some sort of evil parasite is false -- they are entrepreneurial. You gave away something free with perms? *Expect* it to be sold, and don't browbeat; be glad you are REALLY helping people by enabling them to REALLY spread your design around by tiering the display of your lossleader at their own expense.

It's an entirely different matter if they have *stolen* the design, i.e. if it is NOT put on full perms and they have *hacked it*. Then DMCA notices and browbeating apply.

But an entirely different spirit needs to inhabit the freebie space. It should be more like the notion of open source software you are all so in love with -- nobody objects if that is resold when taken for free, or licensed for dual use or whatever. That's considered "the norm".

So extend the same kindness to newbies. Let them REALLY make money instead of endlessly tiering your lovely product for free.

Unknown ( September 28, 2008 at 10:37 AM )

Freebies do in fact sap away initiative. They kill the newbie-to-newbie market completely. No one has incentive on their brand-new sim or continent, far from your store selling stuff, to start their own little store, or help their neighbours by making a little prefab or a plant or a dress. It kills the economy for new people.

someone somewhere ( October 8, 2008 at 10:12 PM )
This comment has been removed by the author.
someone somewhere ( October 8, 2008 at 10:14 PM )

prokofy - I will not speak for the people in general, because I do not know them. But I can say, for myself, that I would not be inspired to make and sell stuff without the freebies I've found. It's precisely because I've been able to get stuff for free (and therefore at no risk), take a look at it and see how it works, that I've gained the confidence to try it myself.

I don't know about the market. Maybe no one will buy my stuff. But my initiative is intact.

Airedine Poe ( October 12, 2009 at 2:25 PM )

I disagree... I think that if someone has the drive to greatness they will achieve... or at least try. If someone is going to be a mindless zombie, they're going to be a mindless zombie, regardless of whether or not there are an abundance of freebies or not... I mean weren't there just as many campers before the hunt boom? Maybe even more! Some people just haven't got the skill or drive to be an entrepreneur in Second Life... Some people just want to interact and enjoy it as a game, and I don't think that they should be faulted on that. Aside from that, your skins are amazing, and a fantastic resource for other designers to learn about how to create skins. There are a number of designers that likely would not be doing skins at all had they not had your skins as the fantastic resource that they are. ♥♥