My recent article OpenSim News: Hypergrid Market 2014-12 drew more comments than most of my posts. Maria Korolov, WhiteStar Magic, and Ilan Tochner commented making good points I feel worth further consideration in regard to Kitely’s new market place.
Maria believes the Kitely market will help with the DMCA problems. Her thinking, if I understood, is that having a single market for many OpenSim grids it reduces the work one needs to do to file a DMCA take down notice. Rather than keeping track of all the grids and filing with each, a merchant/creative can file with just Kitely. This is a good point and addresses the concern I raised about the added complexity of the Hypergrid spreading products across a number of virtual worlds.
If each grid has its own market, we have to deal with all those markets and defend content in all those markets. I see that as a big problem. Maria is likely right that a concentrated market would simplify the problem and not present the massive work load I foresaw.
Filing only with Kitely does not get things removed from all the grids. But, that may be a temporary thing. They hope to be able to implement that feature with cooperation from grid owners. For now once an item is in a grid’s asset database it is there until the grid manager removes it. A DCMA take-down will stop sales from Kitely and that may be all one really needs to worry about. More about this farther on.
Maria also points out that like Netflix and iTunes the market place can make getting legitimate merchandise so easy the illegal content is displaced becoming an insignificant part of one’s sales. The idea being that more merchants will move away from small local grid stores to the centralized Kitely market with a larger customer base. Set up one store and get more customers, that works. These are free market forces coming into play. Humans tend to go with whatever is easy, cheap, and works.
My point in counter to these ideas is: While Kitely may be willing to pull things from the MP, that just creates a channel for abuse too. Pirate, DCMA the legit competition, tie things up as long as possible, and sell as much as possible before repeating. We see this in SL. I don’t know that Kitely has the staff to devote fighting such abuse. But, Ilan addresses this point further on. They have a solution to this one.
Whitestar, who I know from OSGrid and respect, points to the Export Permissions. His thinking is the permissions are working. I am not at all sure they are, but that depends on our definitions of ‘working.’ It also depends on what one thinks Export Permissions are. I misunderstood their purpose. It is not to stop or limit theft, but to allow a merchant to decide what can be transferred outside the Kitely grid. In that respect it works.
Whitestar points out that Linden Lab (LL) decided not to add Export Permissions or participate in the Hypergrid and its markets. I think participating in the Hypergrid market could be a big step forward for SL merchants, just as the Desura connection may eventually help merchants. We may yet see an export permission in the SL MP.
The problem is SL people see the Hypergrid as a channel filled with pirates. I expect considerable resistance to other grid sales from SL users. An export-ok flag would eliminate that resistance by giving a merchant item by item control.
I also suspect that the Lab is seeing a major headache in their future from a choice to market to other grids. The up and down sides just don’t seem to work out for a future where SL sells to the Hypergrid. But, they may surprise us. But, don’t expect Whitestar or my self to hold our breath.
Ilan Tochner, CEO and founder of Kitely, makes the most convincing arguments for the new market and selling in OpenSim worlds. His comments here got me looking farther into how the Kitely market works. there are some surprises.
Ilan referred me to a video where he presented the Kitely Market at the OpenSim Community Conference 2013. (Video) The first 20 minutes is a promotional explanation of the market covering the goals they have and how the market works and why one should be in it. Its worth listening. The goal is to be an excellent market place. Features from SL, Amazon, and other online market places have been adapted to Kitely’s market.
An explicit part of the goal is to be better than the SL Market Place. Not to take anything away from Kitely, but being better than the SL MP is not setting the bar very high. Fortunately Ilan has a much higher goal in mind. I think you’ll get that from the video.
The Kitely people are looking at the SL MP and avoiding the problems and mistakes made by the Lab. For both shoppers and merchants the Kitely market is a step up in usability. Free market competition is a good thing.