I came across some very interesting Second Life business ideas the other day quite by accident. Readers may recall my rantings on how best to organize your store for traffic management earlier, but these ideas take them a lot farther.
ATown Fall is the owner of multiple successful sims, most of which involve 24x7 DJ clubs - a rarity itself in Second Life. He sets up sims one after the other, hiring staff and gathering residents and merchants to populate them. While he certainly does the basic things, ATown has several very unique Second Life business approaches that I hadn't considered:
- ATown's admission policy echoes real life - you often must pay a cover charge to get in. This makes the events more important, if only because those who are inside really want to be inside because they paid to get in! This raises the profile of the events.
- Because you must pay a cover to enter events, the concept of VIPs becomes real. All too often clubs hand out "VIP" tags to basically anyone, but that makes the concept of VIP meaningless. However, ATown's cover charge is waived for his VIPs, and the tag is no longer meaningless. You really are "important".
- Many businesses try to increase their traffic by planting as many poorly-paid campers as possible on their parcels. But these zombie-like operations appear quite artificial and often scare away real visitors, who immediately recognize it for what it is - a scam to game the traffic counter. Meanwhile, ATown has a very unique approach to camping. Instead of paying people to camp, he simply has people wait for a specified duration before they are given a pass to enter the club. Of course, you could pay the cover charge and get in immediately, but instead many people simply wait out the time for their pass. And in the process, cause the traffic count to rise - because their wait time in the line is equivalent to a row of camping zombies. But it's much more realistic.
- I've written before about the importance of traffic flow in a shopping mall. Essentially, the problem is that TP allows people to skip by the shops and go directly to and from the entertainment. Many, many clubs have this issue. They hope to make money by renting space to shopkeepers, but fail to encourage traffic to the shops. The shopkeepers fail, and ultimately the clubs are unsuccessful. I've previously recommended using careful placement of the landing point such that arriving TP'ers must walk past or near shops on their way to the entertainment. This has proven successful in a few malls I've seen. However, ATown takes this concept a bit further. He sets his land to no-fly. This, combined with the landing point trick, means that visitors must walk past the shops - and walkers are more likely to see items they'd like to purchase than someone flying by at warp speed.
Why do these techniques work? Simple - they are already well proven in real life! ATown has recognized that the same things can also be done in Second Life. And evidently very successfully.