Events, Prizes and Payment

So, events in Second Life™, how have they changed? Well, not much really. I don’t mean the quantity or quality of events either, but hosting them. Those of you who know me also know that I have (or had) regular events. They have changed though.

Mentor/Instructor Events

I became a Mentor in Second Life™ in late 2003. I hosted things like Second Life Basics, Show & Tell, Avatar Contests and Photo Contests. These options have been slowly eroded. Second Life Basics has been rendered defunct by Live Help, and now is completely unsupported, Avatar Contests are now the most common event in Second Life™, though now instead of being rewarded for making a good avatar, you get rewarded for bringing lots of friends to an event, or being naked. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but that’s how it appears.

I became an Instructor not long after, early in 2004 I think. I taught Basic Building and sometimes Basic Scripting. Occasionally a more advanced course, but I’m not a teacher by nature, and that’s difficult for me. Now, “Introduction to …” classes are unsupported.

So, basically, I’m one of those who’ll no longer be paid for Mentor events. I don’t actually mind this, since I never relied on it in the first place. I was hoping to use the L$500s from my classes to fund my money tree though. Still, “you can’t win ’em all” and I have enough reserves to last a few weeks. Of course, if anyone wants to donate to the money trees, it’s a great way for older players to help newbies. You even get your name on the donor list (until a tree upgrade removes it at least) if you’re one of the top three for a particular tree. (Mine is in Mocha, directly under Mochastyle, for those who’re interested – though I might move it around to give searchers more of a challenge :))

Private Events

This, to me is more of an issue. I run contests occasionally, and well, I need to give out prizes. My events area is a clear spot, away from the mall, and so, sponsored adverts are not an option to me. It would clutter the area and destroy the look of the place. So, my option is to charge entry. I can charge everyone, or just contestants. This isn’t an issue, since it works just like Bingo/Tringo then, the bigger the pot, the bigger the prize. Except… people don’t want to pay. They’re happy to put into a bingo pot, or pay a casino where their odds of winning are between 30-1 and 10,000-1 but they baulk at paying into say a building contest where the odds are between 5-1 and 10-1. I don’t even (at the moment) take a cut for myself!

I’ve toyed with…

  • Charge everyone the same… say L$30 or L$50
  • Charge only the contestants
  • Charge dependant on whether you compete… L$50 if you compete, L$10 if you’re there to watch and vote, L$5 if you watch but don’t want to vote.

But still people complain… “So and so’s contest is free… Why should I pay for yours?”. Well, the prize is potentially bigger, and you won’t get bombarded with ads. Though I have nothing against sponsored ads, I do sponsor events myself, on behalf of Mochastyle. Basically, almost 100% of my weekly income (sometimes a lot more) goes back to event funding, yet still people complain that they have to sometimes pay to enter.

Now of course, don’t think I’m going to stop doing events. I have no plans for that. I would like to hear some opinions though, from those who’d like to give them, either here or privately. Constructive criticism or advice is also welcome. If I do private classes, they will remain free, at least at a basic level – though donations are welcome – and contests, well, I’ll have to review. If I keep giving out money at the current rate, I’ll run out pretty soon.

Of course, I could raise prices at the mall. I currently charge between L$30 and L$50 a week per stall for up to 40 prims next to a Telehub. There are some who’d claim that only the undesirable malls charge this, and for a good spot you need to pay Anshe or Sensual L$400 a week. Well, I say, pay me L$50 and you get

  • Less lag
  • Less clutter
  • A mall where the owner is around at least daily if you have any problems

The booths are sometimes smaller, but they’re customisable. Again, I’d be interested in hearing your views. Do the merchants find they make enough at Mochastyle to make it worth staying? Would you even consider a higher rent if I needed to raise it (not that I have any immediate plans to do so)?