I'm going to digress a little bit and get serious. Meh, it happens. I'm going to talk about content creation, history, and a little bit about perspective. I recently read a LL blog entry and the resulting open discussion on SLUniverse. For those that don't care to read, there are people suggesting that content be limited to paying accounts only, or even a new kind of premium 'builder' account. By themselves, these are nothing new really, but they really got me thinking about content on a grander scale. In order to fully understand my point of view on this subject, maybe a little backstory is needed (feel free to skip the next 5 paragraphs. I'm long winded tonight and I apologize).
I joined Second Life in 06 ish on an account I rarely use anymore. In January of 08, I decided to make an alt, attempt to stay away from dramatics, and settle in to make some things and open a store. I rented mainland from a very popular land baron. I paid exactly 8 months rent up front for a 512M parcel. Bought myself some nice duds to play dress up. All in all, I started Johnnytreadlightly Nightfire (my SL name) with about 30,000 L's. At the time a pretty major investment for me. I had decided if I didn't 'make it' in 8 months, I'd close shop and eventually just lose interest.
Free of IM's, a friend list, or any customers to speak of I quickly pounded out about five or six items. Two of which were full perm freebies with a LM in the box. The other three were all under 100L. Within a week or two of listing on SLX, I started selling a LOT of freebies. After about three weeks my product line was around 12, still just the two freebies. I started to make sales. Doing the math, my sales were paying my rent, which was really surprising to me. I had sold content before, but always on someone else's land and not in any volume. Custom work is a whole other entry.
After about two months I had a pretty good sized nest egg in L's, but was quickly getting bored. I had dabbled in roleplay sims and thought it was a pretty good way to pass the time. So I went exploring. I found this nice little Celtic themed group of sims and talked to some of the residents. I ended up renting yet another plot of land. This time a 4096M plot. With the land came inspiration of sorts. My plan was to set up some cool stuff and participate in some roleplay. I shopped...and shopped...and shopped some more. I ran into two major problems. The first was I couldn't find specific things I was looking for at all. The second was what little there was available was incredibly expensive.
So with necessity comes innovation. I made stuff. I'd done some game mods in the past (privately, never posted anything) and found it came pretty quickly. At first I made a blacksmith and tools, then a set of armour, then an arena etc. I was having a blast and the items seemed to become popular rather quickly. Price probably had a lot to do with it I'll admit, but it wasn't lower quality stuff (though primmy!). Everything I made I listed on SLX and put up at my small shop. It usually sold ok. Those little micro-transactions really add up. So after approximately two years in SL, I was 'profitable'.
Eventually, my landlord left SL. He left his land group in the hands of his managers, and I quickly outgrew my current location. So they moved me to another group/another region. Long story short, I wasn't happy there. I had to ask permission for everything and overall was a very bad experience. So I moved to a private region a friend of mine had opened. More land, more prims, great right? For a while yes. After about 3 months there I get an offline that he was closing the land down to do something 'special'. Artsy types should not be landlords..just sayin. So I moved. Another friend, another private region. Same conclusion. Tired of moving, another friend suggested mainland. So I bit. Upgraded to premium, figured out what I could afford, bought some extremely overpriced mainland (like 30,000k for a 4096M plot?!?). As overpriced as it may have been at the time, best decision ever. I've since grown to about 18,700 something M plot and greatly expanded my store there. I am fortunate to cash out fairly regular and still keep my prices what I think is reasonable. I know many better creators aren't as lucky.
It's not exactly rags to riches, but close. So what has all this have to do with anything you ask? Perspective, I think. With the discussions going on about limiting who can and can't create things I think its important to remember your roots. There's this caste system idea that kind of rubs me wrong. It rears its head in discussions about freebies, MM boards (really?), paid advertising, premium accounts, and now content regulation among other things. Don't get me wrong, there's been discussions about this even in 06, and probably before that even.
The idea seems to be if you pay LL a fee, you're legitimate and can therefore create and sell. It's not a conspiracy, they've had some success in the past with people paying to be put on a list for outside contracts (see Gold Solution Provider). There's even been attempts at content certification in the past and present(see SL Certification). In other words, go in front of a board of your peers (other SL residents) and prove that you are capable. In all honesty, I have mixed emotions on this. I am premium now, I can afford any additional fees with the money I do make in Second Life, I could pass most of the tests listed there (I think)...but it wasn't always so.
I think if the Second Life I had entered into had been what people are suggesting now... I can't say for sure, but I doubt I'd still be here, and I'm sure many of you feel the same. People may say SL is for adults, adults who can afford to pay for it. To a certain extent I agree, but the little guy in me absolutely loves to watch a creator come up from nothing to 'make it'. Even just a few sales can make you feel very proud. How many power players still appreciate that? That's what its all about; the idea that you can make it all on your own. You don't necessarily have to succeed, you just want the chance. I often wonder if there's motives behind these suggestions other than what's on the surface. Is anyone reading "We need to stop these guys from creating, they're ruining our business"?