Friday, 26 December 2008

I'm a SLebrity...

Three days ago I had an exchange with a resident who was requesting a refund from my store, which, as is policy, I refused - my items are no transfer therefore cannot be returned. This means I don't offer refunds (and say as much in my profile)... This is the same for nigh-on all hairmakers in SL. Either way; he was not best pleased and threatened to get me banned from SL with the warning line that "You don't know who I am!"

Well no... I don't know you, save from what's listed in your profile; which is the case for everyone in SL save my closest friends. It's fair to say as well that relating to SL, after reading the profile in question, I was STILL unaware of who this person was, as all that was contained were details of his SL partner.

SL, to me has always been a level playing field, although some people, admittedly, did "get here first"... the oldest friend on my list has an account creation date of the 26th December 2002... so six years ago today (Happy Rez-day Washu!). A lot of people on SL have made a name for themselves through whatever means, and that impresses me, insofar as they're being successful in a new frontier medium.

Now I must confess to being the impressionable type who gets a little starstruck from time to time... and this happened to me in the evening before Hair Fair this year, when I was online LATE.. 4am my time, touring the compound ahead of it opening to the masses, when I fell across the one resident who was my inspiration to start making hair... And the funniest thing is she has absolutely no idea, because rather than say Hi and introduce myself, I spazzed out. I stared at her for a few minutes while she shopped on unaware of my attention, and eventually TPed out... leaving me behind to kick myself.

The person? Helyanwe Vindaloo... So now you know... I'm not immune. Sorry.

On a personal note, I've been described as a SLebrity in my own right in the odd blog post, and in communication with (admittedly newer) users, but I don't agree. I make a little cash in SL, it's true, but I cannot vouch for Celebrity status, as I'm never seen anywhere in-world. I just perch myself on a posing stand and shift prims about.

SL is a meritocricy in my honest opinion. I look up to those who can do things that I cannot, as it impresses me. I hope that this attitude is universal, but I suspect it's not... and even so, status, however achieved, should not be levered about to pressure or bully people into treating others differently. "You don't know who I am" is and should never be a threat... merely a statement. After all, SL is about networking; and as the Irish say, A stranger is merely a friend who you haven't met...

Still... I doubt I'll hear from them again; and I wish them well, but suggest that they might like to take things a little less seriously in future... SL is, in their opinion, only a game after all... I was able to get that much from their profile...

Thankyou for playing..

Kalli

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Make fun of me all you want...

...but if you're making fun of my business; you're in trouble.

I was recently offered the chance to have my work showcased in a fashion show...

Well OK I thought, so I looked at the clothes that were going to be paired with my hair and wondered why I was asked... but what the hell... free publicity for the sake of a few hairs, and the clothing designer was happy with my work; so I agreed to go ahead.

This was two weeks ago

During the interim I've received some notecards containing publicity materials with my store strangely missing... so I made a few tentative inquiries with the organisers as to why. They told me not to worry; but naturally I did.

Then the list of styles and colors needed for the models came through. I read it with increasing nausea. They wanted a list of primary colored pigtails; which while yes I do sell them, they are not a core part of my business empire. No braids were on the list; in fact teh newest requested style was Siren, featured in Savoir Hair in MAY of this year... so 7 months old. I raised this with the organisers and they responded with "we weren't to know". This was before I found out that the venue wasn't where I thought, but in a locale that I had strong objections with the d├ęcor for. Now I'm not going to say why, as to do so will allow you to pinpoint the event. And while I am fuming, I do not want my words to adversely affect the other designers who are still involved in this thing.

I made suggestions to the organisers about my work, about the lie of the land and even about internationalising the advertising (which could have been read as offensive in one or two languages), I sent notecards with my requests, but still I got stonewalled. Finally, after arguing the toss with one of them for two hours yesterday, I got dropped, and accused of making things hard for them...

Well I guess it's a learning experience; and one I will not be repeating. I'll be drawing up groundrules that must be adhered to for future reference.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Yesterday...

I was afraid... I knew what I had to do, and I was going to do it... hold my nerve...

I stared at the knife in my hand - a Stanley Boxcutter, just so you know - my throat dry, adrenaline, as well as the obligatory caffeine pumping through my veins, knowing that what I had to face would, doubtlessly cause me to cease to exist. The question was, what would be on the other side?

I had been building the moment up in my head for over a week... well... truth be told it's been on the agenda for nearly a year... and it was simply a matter of when the time was right and I could put it off no more. It came yesterday.

The groundwork had been complete, I had sorted out everything else... My affairs were in order and I just had this one final thing to do. I unsheathed the blade, and held it's cold steel edge against the thin vein down which my very lifeblood flowed... I closed my eyes, steadied my breathing and in one swift movement I brought the blade to bear, slicing all the way through in a single stroke.

I, Kallisti Burns, died in an instant... I ceased to be, right then and there.

30 minutes later, out the other side, in RL, my flesh and blood avatar reconnected my phone line to it's new point, and none the worse for wear, I emerged, albeit slowly, at 3 frames per second on the wireless laptop...

Now dear readers, I can safely say that my dread machine (known as Evil, just FYI) has found it's new home, and from here, I hope once again to get back on my quest of making hair...

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Nice hair... can I sell it?

Its a known fact as a designer on SL, that you run in a herd; virtual wildebeest, chewing the cud on the planes of the metaverse, launching your products out for all to see; yet on the outside of this herd... well... no, I tell a lie... on the inside of the herd exist a number of hyenas, wildebeest pelts draped across their shoulders so they blend in - the copybotters.

Many often like to portray themselves as upmarket, classy even, supplying the best products at reduced rates because... well... they're nice people.

Bull...

These people lure in unsuspecting residents who know no different undermine the work of those dedicated to creating new and original content, until in the end, covered in bitemarks, some or more of the designers fall by the wayside, raising a their arms in capitulation that they can no longer face making more stuff to be ripped off. Lost Thereian, RIP...

Well, I talk in metaphors as last week I was bitten for the first time. One of my braided styles that I'm getting more and more known for was ripped off by a 'botter from Brazil... so I spent hours poring over the legal requirements of submitting an official complaint, citing the DMCA in the USA, and then faxing Linden Labs with the claim.

It was upheld. The offending product has been removed.

OK... This is a good thing, in a small way, but I lost two days of my works time trying to rectify this issue, and I don't know how much in revenue... chances are not a lot... but still - not good when I make between sod and bugger all on a daily basis at the best of times.

One has to wonder though, how long until it happens again... and will the frequency of such copies increase? Who knows. All I want to say is thanks to the removals team at Linden Labs for their prompt response.

So... where am I going with this? Not sure... I guess I wanted to just say the folowing to all you out there in SL land. New users, established residents and anyone else that I choose not to categorise.

There is no such thing as legitimate, good, free hair. There is no such thing as a legitimate, good free skin. The ONLY exception to these rules are group gifts from established designers... and these are NEVER offered full perm.

If you find full perm skins or hair, they're ripped off. If you resell them, you're selling illegal goods, whether you choose to admit it or not. You are NOT doing new residents a favour, you're simply perpetuating the abuse of the designers working like slaves to keep ahead of the copybots; and you're flooding the market with cheap black-market merch that we have to fight against. Full permission, copied work is, in SL, like a big fat bag of crack is in RL. Expensive, Illegal, and dangerous. Some people think it's OK, and choose to take it... well more fool them. Some think "how much harm can it do" and sell it on... well...

Sooner or later a crack dealer's going to hear about a client who's died as a result of their efforts to make a few dollars. Sooner or later, the designer who's been ripped off is going to walk; and SL will be poorer as a result. Please... no matter how much of a bargain or a get rich quick scheme you think it is, don't deal in 'botted merchandise.

Thanks for reading.

Kalli