Thursday, January 31, 2008

On The Soapbox

So in the midst of all the fun we were having yesterday, one designer who shall remain nameless decided to ban a a few avatars for simply having a good time in the store while they were stuck there. If you were part of all the madness yesterday, you know that a lot of the time, if you were able to get into a store, there was a good chance you weren't going to get OUT of the store for a while. Why not make the best of things? But apparently this designer wasn't about having fun.

So when one of the banned talked about it in her blog [I won't name names, but if you read the freebie blogs, you've probably seen it already], she got the comment from someone who said that if we "freebie obsessives" bought something now and then, store owners wouldn't kick us out.

Well, I don't know about this person, but I know PLENTY of the "obsessed" who spend 10 times as much as anyone else.

I know that I don't have to justify why I set the $5L challenge for myself. I don't have to justify why I personally enjoy the gifts that the wonderful designers of SL give so willingly. But this comment really got to me.

Yesterday I saw many of the "big names" of SL out and about with the rest of us. They were laughing with us with the lag, picking up gifts from their fellow designers, and really were just nice people. It was wonderful to get to meet some of them, even just briefly, while we muddled through the whole thing. You can't tell me that they never spend money in this game. They were getting free gifts because it is FUN to get things for free.

Are those of us who regularly hit the shops where gifts are being advertised obsessed? Depends on your definition of obsession. A lot of the time, I go out there just to look and to say hi to the other group members. We've all been on each other's heads at one point or another. :)

If you're in SL to make money, then I would guess that you're in the minority, as most people I know are here to have a good time and to escape a first life where things may not be so wonderful. There are people with families and responsibilities that may make it impossible for them to spend extra cash on buying $Lindens. Remember, a dollar isn't always just a dollar. You may think nothing of spending $10 to purchase something in SL, but another person may need that same $10 to buy bread and milk for the week for their family. Getting these gifts here in SL is the way that people can enjoy the game, look the way they want to look, and have a fabulous life for a few hours.

Also consider this - The gifts that you as a designer give away are free advertising. When someone tells me that they like something I'm wearing, and this does happen frequently, I almost immediately tell them where I got it. [Provided that I remember. Sometimes I don't, but I'll gladly tell you if you'll wait a moment for me to look in my inventory.] Those of us who love freebies almost always end up going back to the stores that were good to us and spending money. Although I do not spend all that much in SL, when I do choose to spend on my "investment pieces," it's usually at stores that I have been given things from before. For example, a couple of weeks ago I was at Miriel picking up her cute free jewelry and I noticed that she sells really pretty eyes. I was wearing some lovely eyes from Sin Skins that were free in an avatar pack, and I always got a lot of compliments on those, but I decided to try Miriel eyes. Yesterday, in the middle of all the lag and craziness, someone tells me that they really love my eyes. How she managed to see them in all of that, I don't know, but I was happy to tell her where I got them from. And because it was in chat, everyone that was around me could hear it. So check it out, free advertising. :)

Cen and I were discussing this, and she said that at least the stigma of the freebie is going away, although there are still the "If it's free, it sucks" people. Why?? If someone gives you a sweater as a gift for your birthday or Christmas, do you not wear it because you didn't pay for it? No! It was a GIFT. And that's what the designers are doing. They are giving us gifts.

[Not that there aren't sucky freebies out there. There are. But if you aren't fresh off Noob Island, you probably know what is and isn't good quality.]

It's very simple in the end. Either you give gifts or you don't. Either you love gifts or you don't. If you don't give, then that's totally fine and you don't have to ever explain why you choose not to. If you do give, give because you love it and have fun seeing people happy, not because you feel obligated. If you receive, be polite and say thank you and have fun. If you don't like to receive, then don't bash the ones who do because you don't know them.

Now if you will excuse me, I have 20 prims surrounding me that won't delete.


Sidonie said...

I could not agree more. That comment has been burning in my brain since I read it this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

yup yup..I second that...freebies lure me into places I've never been before, and I explore, and spend.. designers cannot put a value on a good quality gift..cause it will keep on giving, just as crap, with be deleted.

Andria Meredith said...

Very well said. I find most of the goodies that I end up buying on freebie stops. And the other thing I've noticed, all of the "freebie-obsessives" are NICE, and love to have fun. That's why I stick around, not for a couple of free items! =]