Up and Down. Way Down!

Thursday, December 13, 2007 Thursday, December 13, 2007

Like any business, Electric Pixels has its up days and its down days. But this week has been ridiculous, especially on Tuesday the 11th. On that day I had my lowest sales ever. A single L$1 box of freebies was purchased by Bobbi Voom. That's it - one sale! For one single Linden. Thank you Bobbi Voom, whoever you are. Really, thank you.

Even on the first day I opened in January, visitors purchased many times more items than on December 11th 2007. So what's going on?

When I first started selling items in Second Life, I was quite pleased when people purchased items from me. After a while sales became more or less regular. But certain days sales were down substantially - and I wondered what I was doing wrong. Several possibilities immediately arose in my panicked mind:

  • I am not spending enough on advertising! Quick! Double the classified payment!
  • A secret competitor has suddenly opened and is taking away all of my customers!
  • Somebody had a problem with a product and has told everyone in Second Life to avoid my stuff!
  • I'm losing my edge and can't make something people want! Auggh!
Rationality prevailed then, and also now.

Asking other business owners how they did on these bad days often came back to a single answer:

"Oh, the grid was down/broken/slow/laggy/sucked today"

That always happens when I experience a bad day. The 11th is just particularly bad. Pictured is the graph from Second Life statistics of concurrent logins from that disastrous day. In other words, it shows how many people were logged in for each moment of that day. You might notice a slight dip in the middle of the 11th. Well, maybe not so slight. Perhaps you might describe it as a Massively Dead Afternoon.

That's why no one was at the shop that day. The grid was busted.

You might ask why items weren't purchased during the rest of the day. I suspect it's often because the grid was shut down because it was in bad shape and few bother or are able to shop in those laggy times. Or people avoid starting a shopping trip if they know the Grid has a scheduled outage. The "outage" is often much larger than the actual declared outage for most business owners. Especially for me on the 11th.

Meanwhile, sales resume sometime after the grid perks up, and things are back to normal. I wonder how much correlation there is between Second Life sales and Grid status? Now that might be a good topic for a future post...


Peter Stindberg said...

A lesson I learned early was to NOT make any transactions involving L$ or non-copy items on a "bad grid day". From a subjective standpoint more often than not you end up with BOTH losing money AND losing inventory.

I just read the message on the Linden blog that they have returned a plethora of lost items. I have not yet logged in, but I'm already eager to find out what "missing" items might have turned up.

ArminasX said...

I'm with you on that one. The worst thing about inventory loss is that you might not even know it's gone! I have almost 10K items in my inventory, and how would I know if a particular item were missing unless I went looking for it. I don't even know what half of my items are, let alone their names or what they do. I'm going to check anyway to see if anything has suddenly shown up.

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