Universal Market Place

Daniel Voyager and Hypergrid Business (HB) both have articles out about the Kitely Grid’s market place going live. This is news and a good step forward for the OpenSim grid. You’ll find the Kitely Market here. But, I am reading all these articles on how great this is going to be and going: Really!?!

New Kitely Market Opens - Image by: travelourplanet.com

New Kitely Market Opens – Image by: travelourplanet.com

I’m not up on the in’s and out’s of this new market. I am not using it. While I watch advances in OpenSim I haven’t been logging into OpenSim grid much during the last year. But, I do know some of the problems regarding merchandise sales in OpenSim and I’m not seeing them discussed or reported. So, I’m going to take some shots. 

The Market

Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner has written about the new market place in an article titled: Kitely Market Featured Merchants and dated August 11, 2013. You can get the idea of what he plans for the Kitely Market to become. Sounds good to me. It seems like a smart plan.

He is planning for it to be the Universal Market Place for all OpenSim worlds. So, whether you are in OSGrid, In-Worldz, Kitely, or any other virtual world based on OpenSim or OpenSim-like servers you will be able to purchase from the market and have your goods delivered into the world of your choice. Oh! Wonderful.

If that happens, this would be a unifying force for OpenSim. As it is now merchants must build stores in worlds where they want to sell goods. With a single universal market service for all grids it would be a one stop selling point for merchants. Open one store and sell to all grids. That sounds good to me and I am sure many others.

In real life companies go international and sell to the world. We suppose that some day in the future there will be intergalactic commerce as human kind spreads from world to world. Don’t let the fact that we haven’t made off this dirt ball in a few million years distort your thinking. We’ve done pretty well the last couple of hundred years and may actually put people on Mars this century. So, to Kitely merchants may be able to sell in ways equivalent to international or intergalactic commerce.

Kitely has an economy based on Kitely Credits or KC’s. The exchange rate is about KC$1,000 to US$5.00. However, on the K-Market I find a US dollar is usually equivalent to 300KC. Prices are given in both US$ and KC$. I am not buying KC$ or doing business in Kitely. So, I have no real knowledge of the exchange rates.

The Kitely Market will be different from the Second Life™ Market Place in several ways. For one it is newer, meaning the web tech is supposedly better. The site is said to be based on HTML5. But, the site fails testing for mobile ready. You can use http://ipadpeek.com/ to see how a site performs on various iDevices. It works. But, sucks on phones. Sort of like this site. I have to fix that some day.

Windows XP users are going to run into a problem with the site if they are still using Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8 (IE8), the latest version of the IE browser available for XP is 8. Even those using IE9 and IE10 in Vista, Win 7,  or Win 8 will probably have problems. IE sucks when HTML5 is used. (Reference) Net Market Share is showing IE browsers with a 56% market share.IE6 = 6%,  IE8 = 24%, IE9 = 10%, and IE10 = 15%… there some round-off error in there.

Of course those stats are for the full Internet audience. Looking at my blog stats I find these numbers: IE6 = 0.04%, IE7 = 1.5%, IE8 = 9.5%, IE9 = 16.4%, and IE10 = 72.2% and there is a bit of round-off in there. But, some version of IE is only used by 11% of the people visiting my site. Chrome = 38.6%, Firefox = 30%, Safari = 12.8%, IE = 11%, Android = 2.3%, Opera 1.7%, and all others 3.6%.

These numbers suggest that virtual world users are 5 times more likely to use a browser other than IE. So, Kitely’s decision to go with support for HTML5 and let Microsoft catch up, is not that much of a problem for potential mechants.

There is a fee to list items in the Market, KC$100. So, US$0.20 to $0.30. There is a discount for entering variations of a product.

Search in Second Life is a disaster. Market Place search is better than in-world search. But, both are horrible. Kitely is working to make their market’s search usable and user friendly. Form a merchant’s point of view and a user I find that highly commendable.

Export to other grids is an option in the Kitely Market. You can restrict products to just the Kitely grid or allow export to other grids. The Kitely Market information page says, “At this time the only way to transfer products to other grids is by rezzing them in a world; exporting the world to an OAR file; and then importing that OAR file in another grid.” So, that is not real handy.

To learn more about the Export Permission check: Export Permission Implemented.

But, this OAR export thing is going to change… we think. Other grids that are on the Hypergrid and that sign up for Kitely’s Market will be able to receive goods in-world on their grids just as we do in SL. This is good because doing OAR world exporting and importing to buy a dress is not going to work for most people.

PayPal is an option for payment in the Kitely Market.

Product Demos are not separate items in the Kitely Market as they are in the SL Market Place. I suppose merchants will still create a demo product. But, in the Kitely Market it will apparently be a variation of the actual product, not a separate product listing as we see in SL. A customer can choose to buy the demo or real version. This should make it easier to find the demos and the actual product. It is a good idea and a time saver.

It Sounds…

As I wrote earlier, everyone I see talking/writing about the Kitely Market is promoting it. I agree it is a good thing and I wish them well. But, there are lots of challenges ahead.

That it will be possible to set up one store and reach multiple worlds is a great idea. But, what does that mean in objective quantification? 

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