Vendors, Ethics and Oh My!

I may have missed the boat on this one but since this is still an issue I feel a good old “fuck it imma do it anyway!” is in order.

For those of you who may have missed it and thus may be confused with the subject I am about to rail on about let me bring you up to speed.

In the deep, deep dark realms of Second Life in a region known to the locals as Loach there exists a shop. It’s not much of a shop. Just a simple square skybox, a cheap logo and one of those Neo Post-Modern Art Deco desks that covers the rent cube.

eyJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL2kuZ3lhem8uY29tL3RodW1iLzEyMDAvXzNmNzAwOGM3NzdhMDg2YzAzNzBlMTA2N2FiODc4N2QzLWpwZy5qcGcifQ

It is nothing more than a bog standard Vendor farm, hosting a number of affiliate vendors from various builders including ZSK, THI, Shana Carpool, AMOK and several others.

But there is a difference and a seedy one at that. One that threatens to become a new chapter in the great, dusty book entitled “stuff that we don’t like”. For you see boys and girls this shop, these vendors and the spineless good-for-nothing weasel that operates it is STEALING sales.

Shock Horror!

And how does this dastardly fiend get away with such a scam? Well friend buckle in for I the great and sexy Malcious Vuckovic shall tell you.

You see my child when one sets-up an affiliate vendor and that vendor makes a sale the owner of said vendor makes a commission on that sale which is provided via a percentage of the final cost the customer paid, normally between 10-15%.

What these “vendor farms” do instead is return a percentage of their own commission back to the customer, effectively allowing that customer to obtain a Discount.

OH MY GAWD!

hqdefault

Offering discounts to people. It’s like these people are just trying to be evil! But it gets worse.

You may be asking yourself, how does this steal sales?

Well you stupid shit you see each and every time one of these vendor farms entices someone into their spiders web to buy a discounted product it steals a sale from an Airport that runs it’s own vendor farm but does not offer a discount.

And those Airports rely on the income produced by those vendor sales and now may have to close due to the rise of those greedy, discount offering vendor farmers.

Oh the inhumanity, ohhh the suffering, the children why won’t anyone think of the children!

 

You may have noticed a slight note of sarcasm in the way I’ve been writing about this and you would be right to assume so.

Blogs such as the SL Airmenship and McKeenan Aviation have brought up this subject in the past, questioning the ethics of this system and referring to it as a “scam” a way of “poaching sales” and calling out the owners as Parasites. Builders such as Astral-Tek and ZSK, people I like, have come forward to condemn the practice and many are already reviewing their affiliate vendors some going as far as to disable them entirely.

It may have not escaped your attention that I may have something of a contradicting thought on this experience. In fact I think the whole thing is dumb as hell. Hence why my article on this subject was a little late of the gun, this is a non-issue, it’s a mountain that’s been made of a molehill and I can’t even begin to describe how fucking stupid this entire drama is.

 

But I will try regardless.

 

Let’s not beat about the bush here. This entire argument, besides the unpleasant behaviour of several of the individuals who run these vendor farms, is a simple matter of “People would rather shop at this persons store, that is unfair because I don’t make money!”.

It’s a ludicrous and stupid argument and it bares a striking resemblance to the old “player poaching” accusations Sim owners used to throw at each other back in the days of SLace.

Firstly No-one has stolen sales from you. You lost them. What these so called vendor farms are doing is simply competing. Past and existing customers are not yours. You cannot claim ownership of a person because they once bought something from you and expect them to continuously patronise your store forever.

Customers can often be Brand loyal but history has proven that this loyalty does not transfer over to vendors and customers rarely consider Ethics and morality when choosing a Vendor to buy from. If they did then this blog wouldn’t exist.

Customers frequently drift between airports such is the nature of aviators. An Airport which doesn’t have the luxury or convince of being large and having the perfect location has to consistently re-invent itself in order to appear interesting to pilots through events, dance clubs, Airshows, Acrobatics courses or even things like the Landing game.

An Airports history, it’s behaviour, reputation, traffic, and the size of it’s group nor tales of it’s dramatic struggles do not win it any “karma points” in the community and it’s stories fail to make it any more unique from any other Airport.

Expecting exclusivity from any Pilots which drift into your net in terms of vendor sales is expecting them to turn their back on any number of other Airports which may also be looking for Affiliate sales to cover gaps in finances.

It also expects the customer won’t simply buy direct from the builder, perhaps from the convenience of marketplace or perhaps ,through an act of loyalty to the builder, decide that they deserves all the money from the sale instead of passing on a 10% commission to someone who did little more than rezz a vendor.

To expect and even demand that is, in itself, as much unethical as it is unrealistic. But this is where the argument has been lacking somewhat, my fellow bloggers, as much as it pains me to admit, have forgotten the Golden Rule. Always check the other side of the argument before filling the internet with cheese.

The problem here is that many of the people who run these vendor farms, or at least the ones that have been highlighted, are rather vulgar in their manner. Highly unpleasant and prone to outbursts of profanity whenever their fragile ego is prickled. Such childish tantrums, assuming they are real, make great Tabloid sensationalism at proving just how much of an arse said person is.

But in our rush to condemn such obviously distasteful people we are missing out a massive chunk of the argument and I’m afraid it’s about Ethics and well….common sense.

Out of all the Builders rushing to deal with this new arising threat of discount Affiliate vendor farms only Tig, surprise surprise, has been sensible in her approach. By matching the farms discount, so long as you are in her group, using her vendor.

It’s amusing how no-one else seems to have thought of that.

Other idiots builders like Tank have reportedly decided to “troll” people who do this. Quietly changing that persons affiliate vendor to 0% commission, meaning they are now accidentally giving away money on each transaction, potentially loosing thousands of Lindens without their knowledge. All for the crime of, well, offering customers a discount.

And let’s remind ourselves, there is nothing illegal or even shady about this. The builder isn’t loosing any money, the customer hasn’t been scammed in anyway. The Vendor farmer is returning part of their own money back to the customer and choosing to take a smaller cut of the sale. Hardly the work of a greedy mind. In fact it’s just good business sense.

Syria-Nothing-Personal-Its-just-good-business

There is nothing “unethical” about what they are doing. The builder hasn’t lost money, the customer hasn’t been mislead. The only people who have lost out at the Owners of other Vendor farms who refuse to match the discount.

But calling them out, referring to their business as a “scam”, insulting them and enticing builders to enact punishments against them. THAT is unethical.

It is unethical to expect customers to only ever buy from vendors that you can squeeze a profit form. It is unethical to slander your competitors when you lose sales to them. It is not the Duty of anyone to ensure that any Airport on this grid remains financially stable other than one person. The Owner.

Second Point and I have to pick on McKeenan for this. Reference was made in his Blog Post to Unity Airport which is situated on the Jeogeot Gulf. McKeenan wrote about how the Airport was struggling against the personal vendetta of one particular Vendor farmer.

The argument was based on a Hypothetical situation which showed that active marketing i.e approaching customers and talking to them, was a more effective way of making sales than sticking to the motto “build it and they will come”.

Now I could base an entire article of the shady dealings of Unity Airlines and I would immediately call bullshit to the claim that neither Fey nor Unity “did anything wrong” to attract the negative attention of the Vendor they mention but Unity will have their turn to bask in the unwithering Gaze of the MalQusition another day.

Instead I pose the thought:

Unity Airport has, in the past, requested from builders an Affiliate Vendor with a larger commission share than the Standard one other people might have. Average commission from vendors being around 10-15%. A few notable builders in the region have happily informed the MalQusition that Unity have specially asked for vendors of up to 25% and more using their High Traffic numbers as justification.

And they are not alone. Almost every high Traffic airport requests or demands a higher percentage when it comes to Affiliate vendors with places like Hollywood Airport in the Blake Sea reportedly charging up to L$2,000 per week for vendor space.

Unity itself is not a high traffic airport. In fact it uses Bots and traffic camps (services which tp newbies into the region and pays them L$1 for every 5 minutes they remain there) in order to artificially inflate their traffic numbers.

Unity1

This could be argued as being a kind of deception. Don’t you think? And by playing this deception as an excuse to have builders fork over more of their profits. Now who is the one running the Scam?

 

In order to scavenge some conclusion in this rather dry and long overdue article. This is just another ill-thought out battle in the long war of People who don’t understand Capitalism and ,for some reason, expect everyone to adhere to a list of unwritten rules which aims to neuter anyone’s ability to make more money than a designated list of specific people. Finding out that life doesn’t work like that and bitching loudly to whatever authority they can find about how wrong it all is.

Effectively, it’s about money. I mean don’t get me wrong if I were in McKeenan’s shoes I would of disabled that guys Affiliate Vendors too. But in reality this entire situation boils down to someone doing something creative to make money and someone else getting angry that their ability to make money with little to no effort may be damaged as a result.

Boo fucking hoo.

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “Vendors, Ethics and Oh My!

  1. Rich Reynaud says:

    Hollywood Airport vendor spaces are L$250 per week, and have never been L$2000 per week to my knowledge (going back 5-6 years).

    The one argument I’d make about “stealing” a sale is when the farmer sits in a store and lures people away from the creator’s own vendor, back to his or her farm for the sale. In that scenario, he is stealing the price of the commission from the creator. Instead of paying the full cost to the creator, the farmer gets his or her cut.

    Like

    • Sniper4Hire says:

      After reading the article- watching the emotional responses and note cards in group as well as reading the comments here—
      The basic premise of the authors argument is: It is neither unethical or stealing to offer a discount on to customers by rebating a portion of their commission.

      Though the author presents the argument in a lengthy article with some possible writers bias his assertion that it is not stealing is true- Therefore the argument is correct. You may have an emotional response to this or do not like it- but the facts are the facts. The inspiration for the writer’s work (the first article being responded to) is clearly a false premise- a fallacy filled with pure bias opinion with no citation or support.

      The strawman fallacy used in an attempt to discredit the author is not supported- for an example- a reader responded, Hollywood charges only 250L per week for vendor space this is true- but they also charge 5600 for 4 weeks for vendor hangar “space”, though not 2000L as the author states in the blog (although he accurately cited “reportedly” which indicates he was not citing a fact. The article and argument is not about Hollywood it is a response to the False argument presented that by people discounting through rebate some how is stealing. that claim was never proven and is a common business of all auto, boat and RV dealers.
      Nevertheless- I am deeply disappointed that an intelligent group of people that populate SL can not engage in a debate or conversation with allowing emotionalism, bias and hatred taint the objectivity of the discussion.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Dax Dupont says:

    Astral Tek just lowered overall affiliate percentages from 20% to 10%.
    Now people have to request the 20% which has certain requirements, not too much different from most larger company’s policies like say, smartbots.

    If people want to vendor farm they can do it with the 10%, but not with the 20% as the reasoning with it being so high in the first place was to support people running sims.

    We’re not going to block vendor farms, but we will not give them anything beyond the standard affiliate percentage which is 10%.

    Like

  3. quarlo quandry says:

    Only rarely will anyone mention the fact that playing fields are leveled by lowering them, not by raising them. Wal Mart will never exist in Second Life because — horrors — they sell the same things their competitors do but for less money. And according to some, that just isn’t fair. How about if all creators come up with a standard price on their goods so customers don’t need to shop around. An Apache helicopter from one costs the same as an Apache helicopter from any other. All are the same price regardless of looks or performance. Level playing field for all. No competition. Perfect solution!

    Like

  4. A large part of the original issue with MrJules (yes I’ll name names), was that he was more or less throwing a tantrum when he was told he wouldn’t be getting an affiliate vendor for Mick’s new aircraft until it had been on sale for a few weeks. You know, so Mick would get the benefit of the initial rush of sales for the aircraft he made. It also pissed off Jules that he didn’t get to be a beta tester and get one for free for himself and his alt waifu. Of lesser import was that while advertising for people to get their discount, he provided nothing of any other value to the aviation community. Basically he’s an ass and got treated to a boot.

    Personally, my solution would be to not distribute affiliate vendors at all. They aren’t needed. They cause lag, and barring any data to the contrary, I don’t believe they increase sales one bit.

    Like

    • Dax Dupont says:

      They don’t really cause lag unless you’re using hippovend or some other old retarded vendor system other than Caspervend.

      Also they deffo help with sales, especially since having vendors all over the place will lead more people to the brand. It’s essentially passive advertising.

      There seems to be a lot of new-to-the-brand users sales coming from affiliate vendors.

      Like

    • Tank Kwaszes says:

      For large builders who have a well established name it’s certainly true but for those up and coming affiliates can be a huge help in getting the exposure in the lime light that is sometimes so difficult to get otherwise.

      Like

    • malcious says:

      Let’s keep the insults to a minimum Crim.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Aside from the part about his partner being his own alt (at least I can’t prove that part), it was all factual. I have logs to back up what I said. So do Mick and a number of others. I’d be more than happy to repeat this to MrJules to his face in front of witnesses in SL along with the logs which I’m sure he’d give permission for everyone to see so that he could prove me wrong. We all know that isn’t going to happen though. MrJules internet balls may be large, but they are very fragile.

        Like

    • MrJules Sixpence says:

      Very cowardly Crim! I challenge you to repeat these lies to me in SL and I will hit you with so many ARs you won’t know you were born.

      It’s rather ironic Crim to see you portraying yourself as an upholder of moral behaviour in SL when your airline were one the originators of griefing and bad feeling in sl aviation.In past your team harassed each smaller airline in the attempt to make them go away or join/get affiliated with VA

      In fact you are nothing but a lackey of the powerful in aviation doing their work for them and spreading their lies.

      Also let me contradict your ordinary redneck try to discredit me about not doing anything about aviaton.We kept up a small airfield for more then 8 months,but due lack of funds was forced to close it unfortunately,otherwise would be still there
      Here is the link towards sl aviation wiki site about the airfield http://sl-aviation.wikia.com/wiki/Fantazia_Airstrip

      Calling my partner as being my alt its behind every limits,so will tell you…If you would get a few kicks in your arse irl you would feel four legs and not two

      Have a nice time in your future endevours you worthless bastard!

      Like

  5. Tank Kwaszes says:

    0% affiliate, yes, the the person who stood in (at the time) my only shop and told people not to buy from my vendor and threw a fit when they refused (which was how i found out). After they came to me with their tail between their legs and tried to explain themselves they were given back their commission on the two sales they did make along with the precentile they had originally. either way it was a single incident and i’m sure people can guess as to whom.

    Like

  6. Darsh Lucero says:

    I, for one, I’m just happy Mal wrote another post *kicks back with a glass of brandy*.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s great to see this discussion. It seems to me that percentages could be tweaked and that this really outlines the need for creators to create a meaningful interaction with their customers. If the main store is a destination, customers are eager to shop and have the added incentive to buy more. Sooner or later everyone buys from an affiliate vendor, but it pales to going and seeing all the creator has to offer. 2 pence paid.

    Like

  8. eowynsblog says:

    Just to add to Mals article, I’d like to point out that these discount vendors also indirectly help to contribute to the aviation community in SL in a few ways.

    Firstly, some of them are actually based at airfields, and no doubt the small commission that the vendor owner makes helps them to pay their hangar rental, thereby contributing in part to help keep that particular airfield open.

    Secondly, by giving discounts, they encourage consumers to buy items that they might have otherwise never have bought. For some of us, a 10% saving might change our opinion of a product from “it’s not worth the asking price”, to “ok that’s more palatable, I’ll buy it”.
    This is certainly the case for myself as I’ve bought a few aircraft where I felt I wasn’t getting value for money at the full price, and the few hundred lindens saved made all the difference. So in this scenario, aircraft builders have made money from me which in the normal situation would NOT have happened. Clearly this is a positive.

    Finally, since I see some are taking pot-shots at Jules, I’d also like to point out that he HAS contributed to the aviation community, by encouraging consumers to buy items via discounts as I already mentioned, but also by previously having a local airstrip (Fantazia) where he had aircraft set out in guest mode for anyone to fly.
    Again, using myself as an example, I bought 2 Amok vehicles after being able to test fly them from Jules’ airstrip – I couldn’t get ANY of Aeons staff to guest these aircraft for me due to various reasons like timezone differences, so I might never have bought these aircraft were it not for that service Jules provided. So since he was responsible for me handing over more lindens to Aeon, I would class that as contributing to the aviation community, indirectly at least.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tank Kwaszes says:

      I believe the issue is less that it is happening and more the way in which it is conducted by a minority. in the above example i mentioned i talked about a person who was standing in my own store selling at a discount. That would be like getting a catering order so you got food at discount from a restaurant then selling that food to people in their own parking lot at a price under their menu. That’s the point at which i would question motives.

      Like

  9. Karl Reisman says:

    It’s been a recent, but wise move to move product in the affiliate vendors, it has also been a wise move to delay new product a week or so before moving it to the vendors.

    Like

  10. MrJules Sixpence says:

    While peoples chewing same bone over and over one thing must be admitted.

    The golden age of aviation is passed by,even the Dani rush is gone,less peoples flying

    Sims around blake airports are not crowded anymore as in past

    The ones who are into aviation are loaded already with vehicles and the newcomers are rare…

    This is a real issue and a solution should be found to make the aviation community active and a welcoming community again

    Like

    • Karl Reisman says:

      actually the whole environment is slowing down. i joined in 2005. it’s a different world now and sl is just not the “fresh new thing” it was back then, and the platform is declining. I expect it has maybe a year or less before it’s no longer profitable to operate.

      Like

  11. Rebecca Rathbone says:

    You know, if the aviation community in SL put this energy they’re using trying to cut each other’s heads off instead to try to unite our splintered community, and perhaps even get the attention of the Lindens to start un-borking things faster, perhaps we’d have a more enjoyable experience over all.

    The sailors got it easy compared to the war zone that’s the aviation community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, in the time Mal has been on hiatus along with a few others, the aviation community has begun to come back together. People who were at each others’ throats at one time are actually now talking politely with each other and the level of drama is generally pretty low. I hope the return to more active levels for some of said individuals doesn’t reverse that trend. Perhaps they will realize that aviation in SL not only continued just fine without them, but some newer makers have created some remarkable aircraft in that time that are setting new (higher) standards.

      Like

Leave a Reply (Please use your Second Life name. Anonymous posts will be deleted)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: