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Monday, November 26, 2007


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Moriash Moreau

The Adidas attempt, among others, always puzzled me. In particular, why sell the promo products, as opposed to giving them away? Total sales of ~US$5,750 would be a king's ransom for the average SL businessperson. To Adidas' marketing arm, it's fiddly small change.

Don't get me wrong, L$50 seems a quite reasonable price for a quality set of av footwear. (I'm assuming, perhaps naively, that folks wouldn't have collectively dropped a million L-bucks if the products weren't reasonably well made by SL fashion standards.) But it doesn't make sense to me for Adidas to bother charging even that. I have hopes that these fees are being passed to some non-Adidas third party in-world. And, if so, more power to them.

But, if not, is there some other reason for a RL megacorp to charge a token fee for promotional virtual goods? Is there some finer point of perceived value that I'm missing? To me, it seems on par with charging for a promotional T-shirt or an advert-laden frisbee at a RL tech convention.


The fee for the shoes may be just their way to simplify item counts; They can just download and scrape the avatar sales records and be able to have a specific count of unique users.

The way to do it nowadays (with html interfaces available) is to have a vendor link to a LAMP site backend, and have the out-of-world database records in real-time to count unique sales.

Even if the vendor is offering free copies, it does not mean that it can't be done in such a way that you can't count them (and more importantly, who has them). Records in both the above cases you'll have the user's 'key' and can start scraping the user profiles (via libsl etc) for demographics.



@Moriash - the reason is pretty straightforward: by giving away free content, Adidas could adversely impact the in-world economy and potentially put native SL creators out-of-business (see "Competition Law"). That could result in a backlash against Adidas because what you call a "promotional" item isn't necessarily perceived as such by residents. Users would most likely view it as an effort to turn SL into a marketing space, and that would probably not go over well; perhaps even lead to an exodus which would defeat the purpose of the effort.

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