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Are Freebies a showstopper? | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

Are Freebies a showstopper?

July 6, 2008 11:52 am

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Last night at SL5B, education & orientation panel, Prokofy Neva made an interesting remark. Behold, it’s not even a complete paragraph!

Well I am grateful to Ingrid Ingersoll who took me to her friend’s store and had me spend my $500 stipend on a shirt and pants, and well, that’s Second Life. That’s how it should work. Everybody can pay something — and there should be less freebies, they clog inventory and stifle newbie initiative. Prokofy Neva

Now, although I like receiving - and creating - freebies, there’s definitely something to be said against them:

  1. They INDEED clog inventory.
  2. People often cherish what they have payed for more - or at least had to do effort to get -, as they consider it to have a higher value.

  3. Using or wearing something selfmade gives you a sense of achievement, and uniqueness.
  4. Without freebies people would ‘learn’ to spend L$ from the very start. Good for the SLeconomy, a bit less good for the retention rate?
  5. A certain amount of the freebies are certainly crap, and those ‘500 freebie boxes’ are bad inventions. Clearly list what it contains, and what it does?

but…

  1. Please don’t take the freebie/OS scripts away!
  2. What’s the use of uploading the same i-net found textures over and over again, you might as well get freebie packages.
  3. I like giving out freebies, it’s kewl to see people all enthusiastic.
  4. Freebies are a good (great?) promo tool.
  5. I would never pay for a dance cow, 10 different types of coffee cups, but it’s still nice to have them.

So, I wonder, Freebies, are they a ’show stopper’ or a ‘great gift to the Grid’. What’s your opinion? And which freebies do you use still/most? For me that would be my flightfeather attachment, the ZHAO AO and.. errr… that’s it. (If I think of more I still regularly use, I’ll add them to the list. Pandora HUD too, I don’t recall 100% sure if that was a freebie or gift. :/ )

31 Responses to “Are Freebies a showstopper?”

dandellion Kimban wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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This is just another Prokofy’s controversy. One one hand he insist on free market while on the other he wants to control it and to forbid freebies and open-source.
lack of freebies will make noobs look all the same even more than they are. It will make impossible one of the favourite noob’s games: hunting good free stuff. Not to mention that some of us learned a lot from free and open scripts.
My fav of all times is ZHAO. That thing should get some award from Lindens.
I guess that Pandora HUD was a gift.

Peter Stindberg wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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When I was new I collected freebies like crazy. It took me a whole week to sort through all of them, deete 99.9%, and keep the few jewels. In fact two of my favourite pants are freebies. Nowadays I am much more reluctant, and most importantly, I try the freebies immediately and delete them when I don’t like them or have no use for them. What is paramount for me is quality: and there are quality freebies, as well as there are rubbish paid items.

As promotion tools, good quality, VALUE freebies can indeed make a difference!

Connie Sec wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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I will ditto all of the above statements. It’s just Prok tilting at the “great communistic conspiracy” windmill again. We all have our fetishes, and Prok has that.

Skinkie Winkler wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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One should not be discriminatory and stereotype freebies, there are many different classes of freebie, some good, some bad, some unmentionable (noob penis’s anyone?). A rough, off the top of my head division would be (in order of quality/usefulness from none to very)…

* Noob Freebies :: Poor quality or very old (and therefore outdated) clothes/hair/attachments/yadda yadda often found boxed up and given to noob’s who know no better.
* Dumb but Fun Freebies :: Dancing Cow’s spring to mind - who the heck thought of that and have they been medicated yet? But no inventory should be without them.
* Promotional Freebies with logo :: Given away by businesses to promote their company but really rather useless to the general avatar who doesn’t want someone’s logo plastered all over their chest/butt/dancefloor.
* Educational Freebies :: Unfinished, partly built or interesting items released for learning purposes, often full perm so the purchaser can play with it, modify etc.
* Widely available creation tools :: including commonly found textures, texture organisers, measures, scripts, AO HUD’s, huggers, basic animations, etc. Invaluable to any content creator.
*Promotional Freebies :: Free versions of a creator’s normal work, given away to their group/visitors as an example of quality/style. A powerful promotional tool.
* Art/Altruism/Lunacy :: Creators who make things just for the sake of making them and want no financial reward. Usually highly talented individuals with impeccable manners, taste and style - think… FourYip, Random Calliope etc. People whose babies you want to have in the hope that procreation might cause some of their talent to rub of on you.

Feel free to add your own classes, but don’t discriminate - not all freebies are equal! :-P

Skinkie Winkler wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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I should add Eloh Elliot (skin creator of Another Shop skins) to the last category.

Alex wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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Well… simple comparison and you will get it (I hope so).
Would you like your RL… I mean YOUR RL - the street you are walking down - to be full of beggars? What would happen to the economy of your country if 10% of the people would be working and paying taxes and the rest 90% would live on a wellfare (Sweden is not so close to it YET, but is rapidly progressing in the direction, hehe)…
Like it? I know that some people DO like this kind of ’social arrangements’, however there are other people who don’t. That’s it. Not so much to talk about.

Vint Falken wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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Alex, no. But the free magazine on the tram/bus called ‘Metro’ is rather handy, despite the ads. (But in the UK they were throwing them at me, about 10 differents ones and full of gossip, that was the opposite, the ‘bad freebies’. Ours more or less still has content, just not indepth articles, short summary of the daily news.)

PS. Most people who read that freebie are going to work/job still. ;)

Alex wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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I understand what you are saying, Vint. The problem is: in fact people belong to two cathegories (in SL too) - those who are working and producing the (you like terms, here’s one from the real economic theories) ADDED VALUE, others - don’t. People who can and are producing added value - really like capitalism, those who don’t… mmm… are not so passionate about it. :) There are tricks of the second order of complexity though. Marketologists, who DON’T produce any added value THEMSELVES are trying to convince businessmen (who DO) that the things like ‘customer retention’, ‘branding’ etc. etc. are MORE valuable than the added value itself. Sometimes they are more important sometimes less, but… attention, here’s my point… TOGETHER THEY CAN NOT BE MORE VALUABLE THAN THE ADDED VALUE ITSELF ! In other words, you can not prove with ANY marketing that s…t is indeed a candy. People just won’t believe.
And it’s all that simple.

Also, Linden Lab is not so passionate about SL market to say the least. I’m absolutely sure nothing can be done to make SL economy healthy unless the change the present attitude. I’m not sure we can convince LL to do it. You can try though.

Without the economy SL will DIE.

Rejeanne Cannoli wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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I think Freebies are, on the whole, a Good Thing. But they’re part of a bigger problem, one that I think is biting the Lindens in the ass.

Inventory size. More specifically the impact of our inventory size on the Asset Database.

The problem isn’t specifically Freebies, it’s more a problem of any of those items that can be copied without limit, and transferred to others as often as you like, so THEY can copy them without limit.

Every time an object is copied, there is an tiny increase in the load of the Asset Server, one that the Lindens have no control over and no way to limit. If there was a way to identify, say, the 100 most popular Freebies, I bet they are a significant chunk of Asset Server storage space. And, in my opinion, Asset Server is a huge bottleneck. As we’ve all experienced.

Tossing out one idea, perhaps if there were a ‘tax’ on transferring copyable items, such as the $L10 for uploading a texture, it would a) slow down the distribution of huge folders of freebies to random strangers, and b) would provide some kind of incentive to the Lindens to keep the capacity of the Asset Server ahead of the demand curve.

Or maybe not.

Alicia Chenaux wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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Oh c’mon…couldn’t we be clogging our inventories with anything? Don’t most business owners in SL have folders full of textures and builds? Don’t most women have at LEAST one outfit that has 30 pieces? And what about folders that contain notecards and textures and landmarks? With or without freebies, we’d be clogging up the inventories.

Yes, there are bad freebies out there. But there are also wonderful gifts by excellent designers. I think of most gifts as wearable demos. If I like what I’ve been given, I go back and spend money. If it’s junk, I delete it and never return to the store. A lot of people in SL wouldn’t even know who is out there aside from the “big names” if it weren’t for gifts.

ArminasX wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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I believe that freebies are useful (and more than just the open source items, which are specifically useful for learning). The freebies serve as a way for newbs to learn about objects, gadgets, clothing and body parts. In other words, immediately subjecting a fresh newb to the often difficult shopping experience would no doubt cause casualties. Let them play with free stuff until they figure out on their own what they need to do. We all did that, why not them too?

Secondly, they do clog inventory. But that’s not the fault of the freebies; it’s the fault of the avatar (i.e. You!) Those who do not clean their inventory are doomed to swim in it.

dandellion Kimban wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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Alicia is right, one can clog an inventory with just about anything. I bet that most of us have more notecards and old LMs than freebies.

Which makes me run into shameless self’promotion of that virtual ecology action CLEAN YOUR INVENTORY

Nuschi Martynov wrote a comment on July 6, 2008
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i have a bus in SL - and i made a living out of it. i mean: i wrote a book about it! and it is based on a freebie car i got in my very first week.

the day i was able to do it, i stripped the thing and built my own bus out of it. freebies give you the possibility to learn about SL-Building and -Scripting.
they allow you to be creative without having to start at Zero, and this way they help newbies to discover the possibilities. which motivates them to stay.

and - hey! - we need some noobs. SL should soon attract a few more of them, otherwise prok&co can have their beautiful businesses for themselves, in the Geek Republic of SL, as it was before the boom!

Faerie wrote a comment on July 7, 2008
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Call the Fire Dept - Prokofy is lighting bush fires again!

Freebies are generally good things, there is no doubt about it. They probably do more to encourage new resident retention than anything else.

Yes they might clog inventories - but that is the avatar’s responsibilty, no one else’s. As Dandellion says: Clean Your Inventory!

Yes some of them are poor quality - but so are many items for sale!

Have you considered that access to quality free items like skins, hair and clothing, reduces the need for (new) people to camp for a few lindens per hour? Surely everyone would agree that anything that reduces camping is a good thing?

And all this talk about SL needing an economy? SL doesn’t “need” an economy - Linden Labs (and only them) “need” a revenue stream and part of that is currently based on taxing the “economy”. But it doesn’t mean that is the *only* way LL can maintain a revenue stream is it? It seems to me that the people who complain about residents who don’t add to the econoomy (who don’t “value add” for goodness sake!) are really ones who are trying to derive a profit from SL and therefore, are trying to force everyone else to contribute to their profits.

When Eloh Elliott released her free skins she was accused and abused because she was “going to destroy the market for skin makers”. Well guess what? The market for skins is still thriving and the general level of quality has risen, AND new residents are now able to have good skins from day one which mean they are MORE LIKELY TO STAY IN SL and eventually start “value adding” to your profits.

What people need are the knowledge and discipline to keep their inventories in rough control - not a ban on freebies.

I would rather ban people that charge far too much for their products instead, because I think they drive people away from SL more than freebies do.

Beatrix Noel wrote a comment on July 7, 2008
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I agree with Alicia. I can quickly clog my inventory just on landmarks and notecards I get from visiting places I’m going to spend money.

I think I landed at one place and was quickly given several landmarks and notecards, just about 5 things for one place. Cleaning out your inventory is a good thing, all those rezzing scripts or hover scripts can go not to mention old notecards and landmarks, etc.

Most of the stuff clogging my inventory I paid for.

I really don’t buy that freebies stifle creativity or that freebies keep people from creating their own things. If someone is inclined toward that– great! but I’m really not. If I had to design anything of my own I’d be running around in …well system clothes. I’m not inclined.

I think it’s an argument to stir up trouble and it’s kind of like the argument about restricting people without payment info. There’s no way to tell if someone contributes to the SL ecnomy or if they are a creator by seeing if there is payment info on file. I had payment info on file for a long time and never did much except camp and fill out surveys. I know there are builders and others who don’t have payment on file and who would probably be considered more valuable to SL since all I am is a consumer.

Stephanie Misfit wrote a comment on July 7, 2008
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Freebies have their place, but the proliferation of high quality free items in recent times has led to a culture of entitlement, and generally bad behaviour from people who expect that everything should be given to them for free. Examples of this type of behaviour are criticising the quality of a free item on your blog, or while standing in the creator’s store; IMing the creator to complain that you are not happy with the free item, and would like a different version; abusing the creator because their time limited promotional item is no longer available; whining that a high quality freebie costs ONE linden.

These attitudes devalue the hard work, talent and energy that creators have invested in developing their products. I know some creators who are now reluctant to release any free products because basically, it is no longer worth the effort when you are confronted with ungrateful and sometimes abusive people as a result.

Another issue I have with this new “freebie culture” is that it may actually encourage underage users to remain in SL. They have no money, they shouldn’t even be on the grid, but they can quickly transform their avatar into a blingtard bimbo without investing a cent.

Nadine Nozaki wrote a comment on July 7, 2008
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Freebee’s are good, freebee’s are essential, and LL should find a way to not clog there inventory. There is no copies saved just a in identifier that you know about the item. This should be possible so solve in better ways.

To be honest 90% of the stuff for sale is less worth than the 0 linden stuff. Thate the stuff that should be removed from SL the stuff that’s all about cheating n00b’s out of money.

Alex wrote a comment on July 7, 2008
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Hehe :)
Stephanie, ‘entitlement’? You are way too PC. :) BEGGARS!
Faerie, what a disgusting people are around you, right? All are chasing some profit, want to work and get paid. Shame on them! :) What kind of an ‘old money’ do YOU live on, may I ask? Ever worked? Don’t like ‘Value add’? That’s fine, but please notice that the alternative is - STEAL. People on wellfare indeed STEAL the money from the people who are producing that disgusting added value. They use the Gov. and taxation system as an intermediary, but nonetheless it’s indeed a THEFT. PICKPOCKETS is the right word.

Faerie wrote a comment on July 8, 2008
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Alex - we are talking about SL aren’t we? You know - the virtual world.

The world where welfare is completely unneccessary (because no one gets cold or hungry) and where also, I might add, a capitalist economy is not neccessary for the world to function.

Only LL *need* to make a profit in SL. You and I do not (although it might be nice) because we won’t starve or freeze in SL if we don’t make a profit in SL.

Shockwave Plasma wrote a comment on July 8, 2008
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Hmmmm:-
‘Alex - we are talking about SL aren’t we? You know - the virtual world.’
‘Only LL *need* to make a profit in SL.’

Not sure this makes sense to me, I think the other companys such as the Electric Sheep and Rezzable would like to make a profit as well.

It’s like saying only ICANN need to make a profit off the http://WWW.
You call also say the WWW is also a virtual world, just it’s a flat 2d one.

I’m sure Vint would like to get paid, her rent /bills/bier money has to come from somewhere, and also to pay for her new laptop.

Last time I spoke to Meta Linden she said she knew of at least 100 people who made their living from SL products and services, and that was some time ago, so I guess there must be more.

These are the people who provide the richness that make it all so interesting, so it has to worth their time and effert for some kind of return.

Giving Freebies can be part of any business, usually you give your old or second rate goods away, but I have noticed the quality of freebies are getting much better, and there are more off them.

My 3-month old Alt has some great stuff that we didn’t have 2 and half years ago. It’s good stuff, but not great stuff. I spend that money on me.

I think SL is to diverse to have freebies kill any markets. We (well I don’t ) know what happens in the Japan/German/French/Brazilian SL realmes. For all I know the market in Japanese skins are keeping LL afloat.

My .1pence

dandellion Kimban wrote a comment on July 8, 2008
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Sure that some people want to earn money in SL. Sure that some are using freebies as promotion. Sure there are people who just enjoy creating things and like to give them around for free. Each of those has a right to do what they do. Asserting that free stuff is bad because it kills the biz of people who wants to get money is just hilarious.

Somehow I expect that somebody who wants to get money out of this should offer better things than somebody who is just having fun around. If one is so serious about biz he should be ready for the competition. Even the competition of talented amateurs.

Josh Miller wrote a comment on July 8, 2008
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I like Freebies in general but I hate how they get repeated so much. Maybe there should just be a centralized distribution in the all accessible library or something. You get a “500 Free Whatevers” box and 50% of it is the same as the “350 free whatevers” you picked up last week.

Truthfully, I think a BETTER idea though over getting rid of freebies would be an offline inventory organizer. Some way I can sort through my items without being in world in a File manager style environment. eck, I’d be happy with being able to open multiple inventory windows in world so I can drag and drop between them.

Taryn London wrote a comment on July 8, 2008
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Josh - go to file > new > window. Multiple inventory windows :)

An offline inventory organizer would be *great*. I have long since given up looking through folders, or keeping things in organized folders - no-copy objects make that very difficult sometimes. Especially no-copy objects that you would use in a lot of outfits, like skins and shoes. Save just one outfit and you end up with quite a mess.
I just type in the keyword now, which means I don’t change outfits much, because I can’t remember what half my stuff is called.
I still have a folder of freebies to sort through - the folder is about a year and a half old, and I don’t think I have accessed it since I started it. *finger hovers over delete key but just can’t do it*
Maybe one day I’ll take the time to clean things out. Maybe.

Melissa Yeuxdoux wrote a comment on July 8, 2008
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“I’d be happy with being able to open multiple inventory windows in world so I can drag and drop between them.”

That, it turns out, is already possible. Alas, I don’t remember the precise path, but you can open a new inventory window for just that purpose.

dandellion Kimban wrote a comment on July 9, 2008
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Off-line inventory organizer would be great. It would actually provide back-up option and prevent inventory loss. But keeping everything on-line is a way of providing copyrights for creators too (rather bad way, imho) so it hardly will happen in the near future.

Centralized distribution would (maybe) do some benefit on server load, but it won’t work with moddable items. Maybe there are thousands of the same objects, but if somebody change a single bit in one of those objects, it has to be saved again with a new key. But yes, it is noticable that so many of us have loads of the identical items in our invs.

But…. no matter how your finger hesitate over the delete button - hit it! You now that you will never be bored enough to check what are those hundreds of more than a year old items. And you know that there is MAYBE one of them vorth keeping in every thousand of them. And, if you ever need it, you’ll easier find it at Yadni’s than in your cluttered inventory. Delete it!

Josh Miller wrote a comment on July 10, 2008
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I just wanted to ad that I may have found a solution for the off grid inventory sorting. I’ve downloaded this low demand client called SLeek. It’s still keeping you in world but it’s not graphically demanding and looks enough like a utility that I don’t worry about running it in my free time at work.

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on July 11, 2008
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Freebies are indeed a good thing. However, there’s a limit. For example: through a friend’s account (he was inworld on one computer, asked me to come near to show me something and showed me a few places on the MG) I saw “Yadni’s Junkyard”. Now, it’s great to see such a huge place with nice freebies, but as we were checking out some boxes, I saw a lot contained too much of a type, bad-quality freebies or about 70% you’d delete, 20% you already got and 10% you will want. In addition, as it seems, freebies are often in bad quality (at least on our grid), and only the “medium-high” or high quality ones should be used.

In conclusion, freebies are a great thing, but please don’t over-spam the grid with freebies and try to invest in their quality as much as you can. Because freebies should be at least as good as average products. Not a bit under and certainly not low-quality. (Stretched textures, bad attempt of creating a mesh using prims, over/under use of prims, etc.)

Vint Falken wrote a comment on July 11, 2008
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/me smells paradox in Josh Miller’s post: ‘a utility that I don’t worry about running it in my free time at work‘ *confused* ;)

A small discussion about the ‘added value’ mentioned before. Assume two tshirts, both with a production cost (and various costs) of 10 USD. One is sold for 50USD, another one for 200USD. The only difference between the two is ‘brand name’, thus the value added through marketing. Is that actual ‘added value’ to you?

Josh Miller wrote a comment on July 11, 2008
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Well, if someone walks in and I’m running this text based SL program, no one will be the wiser. If I’m running a 3D Virtual World, it’s a bit suspicious.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to show individual items, just folders, so it’s slightly less useful than first though.

Also being a “Blind Person in Second Life ” as a friend of mine put it is a bit of an odd and disappointing experience. I may as well be running IRC.

Clio wrote a comment on October 23, 2008
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I don’t think freebies are a bad thing. They are obviously a great advertising mean, and they are likely to make people happy… so all good.

But the noise lately has been more about the attitude of some shoppers towards free items, then the release of freebies itself, like Stephanie said.
And most likely this situation came from the many months of loads of quality free items around the grid…

freebie culture inSL - Ana Lutetia sent a pingback on October 23, 2008
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