Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Going viral...

I did say when I started this blog it'd be sporadic... OK; I didn't expect it to be quite as sporadic as this... in fact in the last seven weeks a lot has happened. Easter was surreal... somewhat morbid in fact but I'm not going to talk about that. I was... but I figured it was something I ought to keep to myself; especially after my post on oversharing. Since then other things have happened. Numerous things; including the dates being released for the 2009 Hair Fair. Basically I could have gone into all manner of stuff that have half formed as blog posts in my head, but I chose not to and have been working... and working bloody hard, I'll have you know.

But this has stuck...

I've noted that in the last 28 hours, over 100 people have joined the update group. One every fifteen minutes... and I don't know why.

There was an article in a prominent freebie blog yesterday featuring my products... well... this isn't the first time, and last couple of times the impact was negligable. They posted a pic of the group freebie as it is now... but nothing untoward. In fact aside from saying what it was and suplying a slurl, no comment was made about it.

Generally, blog posts never seem to have a huge impact on group joins or sales figures... not that they aren't apprieciated... but the last spike was just 34 joins in a 24 hour period - so what's going on?

I wish I knew. Only that the people joining seem in the main to be either Italian or Portugese; and while my google-fu is pretty good, I cannot fathom why. My only thoughts are that people have got the freebies and are telling their friends... en masse. OK - there's a slight pisser insofar that the bulk of these people are subscribing without so much as trying on a demo of any of the other styles (which to me says they're after the freebie and little else) but this after a fashion is to be expected; particularly with the economic climate the way it is right now. Besides, I'd be a right diva claiming that people who picked up teh freebie were obliged to actually buy something. If that was inded the case I'd keep a list and circulate manually... but no; I don't.

These days, people have less to spend on luxuries; and no matter how you slice it SL, as a source of outflow, is pretty far down the chain of importance. and I admit, nobody actually NEEDS a virtual hairdo... so people aren't going to spend unless they have to... or really WANT to. I know full well that I'm unusual, in the sense that I'm a premie - I pay the $72.00 a year premium subs like around 90,000 other subscribers... but I don't own mainland land. The reason I have it is solely so that I *can* should I choose to; and so that I know I'm supporting - at least in a very minor way - the company that hosts the service that I am reliant on as a source of income.

I know I'm lucky that I can do that; and I know there are people out there who are reliant on freebies to make a go of things in SL - they simply couldn't put the money in; and I'm not going to begrudge them grabbing what they can. There's been a lot of bellyaching of late from both sides of the fence though... designers talking about how they're going to stop giving out freebies because some residents seem to feel its an entitlement vs the residents out there who; while they do collect and appreciate freebies, feel it's tarring people with the same brush to include regular shoppers with those who feel that it is their right to go through life without paying a cent.

You know what? this is the real world... even if it's a virtual one. Everybody has different motivations; and in SL, the vast majority of people are simply being who they are in RL, except pixellated.

Regarding my stance on freebies... well... the majority of people who join don't immediately unsubscribe (some do... but that's unavoidable I guess) and those who take the freebie get a landmark and a sample of hair which, I hope, works for them so that they may consider coming back.

It becomes about playing the percentages. So far this year I have given out numerous freebies. Paige and Harvey in January, fatpacks the both... along with the fatties of Craig and Ragnar. I gave away a limited edition colorway of Avril, and the current one on the freebie stand is a 12-way color pack of Ramona. Basically, if you were subbed to the group on the first of January, by now you're going to have recieved L$3910 worth of free merchandise. Extrapolate this across the 2000+ members of the group, even those who have only received some, or even one of the handouts, and you'll soon see that I've given away no small amount of stuff.

That said, one fact remains; even though the last few days have shown little movement in terms of sales, my average daily take is still slowly rising; despite the world around us seeming poorer and bleaker; and the styles that I once gave as freebies, now that they have returned to full price vendors, are still selling in equivalent quantities to the rest of the range.

Maybe this is because the standard of stock has improved and people are more willing to buy it. I don't doubt that as I've improved massively since I started. Maybe it's because there's a bigger range... This is also the case... but maybe it's because I give away so much that people are seeing it and thinking "hmm"... I hope so at least. At the end of the day, show me a designer out there who doesn't want to be immediately identified and tied to the product they make? Actually having your stuff OUT THERE is the real crux of the battle. Some say that the best way to make a go of SL was to be here and making in 2004; and I don't deny that either. With a December '06 account I'm not new on the block, but I'm not old guard either. The real trick is to either create something so unusual that it's instantly recognisable and people want it, or to flood the market so that everybody knows your name.

Just a matter of finding that one style that's going to do that for me...

Until next time,