Follow up to Various Things

L1000119

Here’s some follow up to some comments and questions from my last post:

Hotspots

SamSyn has tested a change which will make the “Hotspot” not show up when no one is in a location or event on the map. It seems to work nicely.

However, he did note that when “Zephyr” appears as a Hot Spot, no one was there, but found that people had built something high up in Zephyr, so they showed up as Hot Spot, but, of course, when you went there, no one was there. Not sure what we can do about that, other the the usual suggestion of “Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure”.

Filtering Zero-Attendee events

We agreed we can do this. There will be some issue that when the filter is used, Events where the host hasn’t shown up won’t appear, but we view that as a feature, not a problem.

Price Changes

I asked SamSyn to gather some data on where rental income comes from. Here’s a slightly edited version of the response:

RENTALS: (next due between 2013-01-01 and 2013-12-31) 92 days of data found

Total Rentals: 812 <– as in 'places currently rented by someone other than us'
Total Income: 26547000 TB ( $14748 ) <– includes lot income, which goes to landlord
Total Income (minus lots): 13615500 TB ( $7564 ) <– our real income from non-PaZ
Total HoodIncome: 7818000 TB ( $4343 )
Total DevIncome: 0 TB ( $0 )
Total LotIncome: 12931500 TB ( $7184 )
Total DevLotIncome: 141000 TB ( $78 )
Total OtherIncome: 5656500 TB ( $3142 ) (There houses and funzones)

* HOOD income of $4343 (to US) is less than LOT income $7184 (to LANDLORD) which means that, on average, hoods are fairly profitable for their landlords. (and if we lowered rates, landlords would be less profitable in absolute, but the same proportionally)

* OTHER income of $3142 includes all thereHouses and funzones, but no PaZes. None of the above reflects PaZ income.

* and again, this is all real income as I removed zones 'owned by us' (where we are just paying ourselves with no net profit)

* I didn't break down the ThereHouses vs FunZones since I am not convinced our zoneTypes are trustworthy to tell the difference (they all started off as type 0 back in the day and only slowly got assigned to real zoneTypes)

=====

So… our most recent month had income of about $10K from subscriptions and $24K from TB sales. Of those TB sales, $4400 went to real estate rent.

So, if we were to lower real estate prices (hoods and lots) by the same fixed percentage, we can estimate its impact on our income.

For example, say we cut the rates in half (hoods and lots so as not to disturb the landlord balance), our hood income would drop to $2200 and we would lose $2200 from our $24K TB sales. (on average, though possibly not in the same month, depending on when people purchased their therebux)

That’s some of the data we use to think through things like this.

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  1. #1 by xXxLilAngelxXx on 2013.04.19 - 6:36 pm

    As a therian since 2005 who just this year got a lot in a hood due to the costs I am really excited prices are being looked at! Not because I can’t afford it, but because I think it will encourage other therians to try having lots and encourage current lot owners to get more! I loved having a paz because I would only use a few hours of time on it and then put it away so I rarely ever had to pay money to have a home… However I never got to truly enjoy owning a home in there because I didn’t get visitors and no one ever saw my hard work. I love having a lot so much in a hood now that I even got a second lot today to set up a “community garden” in my hood to encourage people to visit. I highly recommend joining a hood if you haven’t tried it yet. I know if there reduces the price of hood lots I will be putting out more but I can only speak for myself. Great job guys keep up the great work!! ❤ Sincerely, xXxLilAngelxXx of Captain's Island.

  2. #2 by NathanAvis on 2013.04.15 - 4:18 am

    I have a question relating to server costs and unoccupied zones – would reducing the amount of unoccupied There Homes and structures in world make any significant dent in running costs? I’m not on about removing all the more scenic ones (such as a majority of Tyr cliff homes), but say the valleys and open terrain areas where it’s just flats or hills of grass and the standard cabins.

    Another positive it would bring to the table is a decrease of supply and an increase of demand 🙂 on paper at least it would look better, right?

  3. #3 by amxscott on 2013.04.12 - 4:19 pm

    Something to remember, and to take into account regarding the number of lots in world. Most hoods utilize lots to support their hood builds so the hood owner pays for those. They are not profit but T-bucks out then right back in each month.

  4. #4 by rrtt93 on 2013.04.11 - 9:10 pm

    Regarding the real estate figures, saying you would “lose” $2,200 in TB sales by lowering rent prices does not mention the idea that people who are currently not spending anything on rentals might be encouraged to begin renting some sort of Hood or Lot were the prices dropped. Can you predict whether the increased participation in the real estate system would be larger or smaller than the $2,200 decrease? I’m having trouble describing my question, but I think you get the idea. If the cost of renting real estate were to decrease, more people would rent real estate, right? Can you project how many more people would participate in the real estate system, and would it be worth while?

    If you were to cut prices in half, you would need to increase real estate rental participation by 150 members averaging a $15 / month lot to create a revenue of $2,250. I’d even say 50% might be too much of a decrease. Perhaps 30-35% is more reasonable, that would lower TB sales for real estate by $1,100, and would require an increase in real estate participation of 75 members averaging $15 / month to break even. (Assuming increased server cost because of more real estate usage is negligible… ? Doubt that. Do you guys know what the aggregate server costs of running say, a single 1 acre PAZ for one month would be?)

  5. #5 by Samsyn on 2013.04.11 - 4:20 pm

    On the subject of “hiding empty events”

    You can try this out today with this url:

    http://webapps.prod.there.com/eventmgmt/eventmgmt?op=search2&HappeningNow=1&EventTypeSearchString=&x=30&y=11&minPop=1

    that &minPop=1 at the end means to not show any events with fewer than one participant.

    —–

    Now we have two basic forms of event listings, which I will call “browsing events” and “happening now.” They are basically the same, except the browse shows ALL future events, and happeningNow stops a few hours in the future. That “minPop” argument currently only works with browse, but the idea is we would:

    * add support for it to happeningNow
    * add something at the top of ‘browse’ to let you turn it on/off
    * but maybe force it on permanently for ‘happening now’

    Thus “happening now” would only show ‘really happening, hosted events, with people in them’, but “browse” could filter the empty ones, or not, at your desire.

    Mini lists like “My Events” or “My Schedule” would NOT filter empty events since, if nothing else, the Host (and people who signed up in advance) probably use those lists to get to the event in the first place.

    You would still be able to have an un-hosted event, but people would normally only see it when browsing events.

    • #6 by samsyn2 on 2013.04.11 - 6:24 pm

      Testing 1…2…3… sorry about the ‘2’ but that’s life 🙂

  6. #7 by Mr_Perry on 2013.04.11 - 6:44 am

    ok, I just want to address what you said about “in example we cut the price in half……lose 24k…etc.
    seems to me that you forgot to factor in that if you cut the price in half, you would have a lot more rentals, no?
    you may make up some of the loss in quantity….. just throwing that out there.

    • #8 by Samsyn on 2013.04.11 - 4:38 pm

      True, we were just discussing the guaranteed ramifications. The whole point in *doing* it however, would be hoping for some un-guaranteed ramifications (doubling the total rentals to get back to breakeven, for example)

      Actual implementation would be, no doubt, messy, trying to adjust all existing hood/lot rentals and escrows simultaneously, so that’s also a cost to be factored into the concept.

      So it would be terrific were it possible to estimate the un-guaranteed ramifications in advance. Impossible, of course, but still great to know 🙂

      However, we can infer from the large number of un-rented, inexpensive ThereHomes that it’s not just about price.

      Oh, and we’ve re-discovered how Hoods and Funzones were placed on the googlemap, so we will come up with a way to automate that in the future. Probably re-do the “Featured Hoods” on ThereCentral at the same time. PROBABLY based on whether you set an image in your Hood’s description (as in, a Hood without an official image would NOT appear in Featured Hoods on ThereCentral, and any hood that DID appear would be described entirely by the Hood’s info… in the past we took requests manually and then an employee would have to manually shepherd the data around. At this point we need to depend much more on automated processes)

      Ditto for ThereCentral featured Events… need to automate that as well, I mean. Though there are different issues there. No offense, but there are a lot of events that don’t really belong on ThereCentral :-).

      Also, the hood info could be static for 24 hours at a time with no real hassles, but event info is more dynamic and probably would benefit from some additional meta-info like “is a regular event, that is regularly attended, and is probably a good bet to be popular enough to deserve ThereCentral advertising”. Forget I mentioned it, sorry, still too un-focused, other than “what we do today is wrong” 🙂

  7. #9 by DLMcKenzie2004 on 2013.04.11 - 4:37 am

    Also I think that the company shouldn’t own a lot of “zero income zones” I agree that there should be one of each type for company events but If a majority of those company owned zones were in the hands of others (therehouse, clubhouse, funzones, etc…) would they use up more resources? If they would use up the same cost running as they do now why not have a fire sell on zones like that to where you would be making something, vs nothing on them.

  8. #10 by DLMcKenzie2004 on 2013.04.11 - 4:33 am

    Would the hotspot change back to how it was before where zona, fisher, and paiz are listed. Since we don’t have as many new members I think now it would be beneficial to be able to see that there is activity on those islands. Also if you cut hood and lot costs in half I would imagine that would actually work wonderfully. I can see your thinking of adjusting everyones cost so owners are not hurt by a lot decrease. The question I would have is would more people rent at half cost? I know I would certainly drop a few smaller lots in other hoods. but would you get double the amount of hoods and lots rented to keep you from losing money?

    • #11 by Samsyn on 2013.04.11 - 4:52 pm

      The way google map hotspots (and “Find a Place” hotspots as well) is:

      * we identified some number of ‘destinations’ relating to the more famous locations in the world (but not EVERY place in the world)

      * we periodically count how many avatars are ‘near’ each destination

      * That data is then what gets displayed. It is reasonably accurate, but can only report avatars near those select destinations. Someone having a party not close to any destinations, will not appear at all.

      * The deal with the googlemap is that when you turn on “Where’s Everyone” it was putting up a little people icon next to every single destination, but using an ’empty’ version of the icon when the population near that destination was 0 (true for most destinations at any given time).

      Hence you would see a ton of little people icons, but had to ignore the ’empty’ ones if you were actually looking to hook up with random people.

      The change we have made so far just suppresses the ’empty’ icons, but continues to show the non-empty ones (indicating various amounts of people found)

      —-

      One other recent change is that the blimp teleport on the Welcome Walkway is now sending everyone to Zona (and no one to Paiz or Fisher, which they are still welcome to visit manually), so as to increase the number of people they see right away.)

      Such people (newbies) start life with their forcefield on, and hence should not be overly deranged by aggressive paintballers.

  9. #12 by used to be Robynn in There.com on 2013.04.11 - 1:49 am

    just wondering,,,,,why can’t kids play There ? our kids have already taken sex ed in grade 1 ,,,, they play Roblox and we got to see even more sex ed with block head like robots showing off their “privates” and having sex in all different positions ,,,,, I don’t recall There ever being like that,,,,

    • #13 by Samsyn on 2013.04.11 - 4:56 pm

      I believe it boils down to “parents can sue” and we’re not in a position to take responsibility for what your kids see on the Internet, even if you tell us in advance you hold us blameless. That is my personal, un-lawerly, opinion, and is not intended to describe existing Internet law.

  10. #14 by Ä(v)åNЪ (@MiseryGoddess) on 2013.04.10 - 5:21 pm

    Good ole Zephyr ❤ When it's showing as a "hotspot" we're all there, it's just a matter of finding us…and Samsyn did. 🙂 he may have gotten shot on his lil flutterbug, but hey, that's what happens when you hang in the wild wild west!

    • #15 by Samsyn on 2013.04.11 - 4:57 pm

      I knew you were there, as I had ‘faith in the map’ 🙂

  11. #16 by Soledadnegativa on 2013.04.10 - 12:45 pm

    As long as we can take that awful screen off our monitors and the use of it does not create more lag I am all for that WC window idea.

  12. #17 by Soledadnegativa on 2013.04.10 - 12:43 pm

    Financially, you will never please everyone, I have placed lots of energy into maintaing hoods, participating in anti griefing campaigns by droping empty lots in Zephyr and Alex etc. In the end those that were my friends still are. The bottom line here is that if you want to be in game, you will find a way to save the fee for that. If you really want a PAZ then you will save up for it. Lowering the price of PAZs and lots will only encourage those so called Therians from monopolizing the space with items of their taste. I would understand if it was a hood, but not in an open area.

    • #18 by Andrew Almeida on 2013.04.11 - 5:02 am

      I’m one who prefers a PAZ over a hood lot, and from what I gather none of this has anything to do with the possible lowering of PAZ prices, but rather about hoods and funzones. I won’t lie, I wouldn’t mind seeing a cheaper 3 acre PAZ but I can deal with my 1 acre one. We cannot monopolize any space by lowering prices anyway. We’d have a limit set and we can only drop so many PAZ’s per account.

  13. #19 by samthere on 2013.04.10 - 12:06 pm

    cool mw you rock be nice its will come back to you rock on ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::)

  14. #20 by Juli on 2013.04.10 - 11:08 am

    I like hearing “our most recent month had income of about $10K from subscriptions and $24K from TB sales” WHY? Because that means There will stay open! I don’t mind paying for my monthly subscription or hood lot not at all since There is part of my entertainment budget.

    I would like to hear about There adding new features such as more womens hairstyles, more emotes for dancing or otherwise, new landmarks, etc, etc.

  15. #21 by Arbata on 2013.04.10 - 10:31 am

    Whats wrong with running a self running event? Assuming —> “Events where the host hasn’t shown up won’t appear, but we view that as a feature, not a problem.” this is what its meant. Or meaning Hosts post events non self running and not being there, I can see a problem. If a host isn’t at an event then it won’t appear in the happening now. hmmm good idea, but this won’t effect the self running event will it?

    • #22 by Andrew Almeida on 2013.04.11 - 4:58 am

      Yes it will effect the self running event. If no host showing up removes the event from the list then no members will find the event. Rendering it obsolete. It’s a clever way to get rid of dead events without making a rule against them.

    • #23 by Samsyn on 2013.04.11 - 5:05 pm

      The current proposal would hide an empty event from the “Happening Now” page, but not from the “Browse Events” page(s). Note that a self-running event with at least one person IN it, is ‘not empty’ and *would* appear in Happening Now.

      It would not affect the actual event, just the listing of the event on the page.

      Other changes might occur to deal with other event issues (like preventing 8-hour event abuse somehow that doesn’t break legitimate activities), but this is not that.

  16. #24 by Admin on 2013.04.10 - 9:25 am

    Is there an ‘official’ place/site/form to send suggestions? I have a few fun ideas but wouldn’t like to post them here if it’s not the appropriate place.

    Keep up the great work with There! There Forever!

  17. #25 by wizzle on 2013.04.10 - 8:38 am

    I’m not really sure where to post this, as i don’t know if there customer service is opened. I just reinitiated my subscription and am trying to log onto the There client, but I can’t seem to log in. After a while it just comes up with “multiple log in attempts failed” – any ideas?

    • #26 by Samsyn on 2013.04.11 - 5:20 pm

      That sort of thing should be reported via email to “feedback@thereinc.com”

      That error message means that the client retried the login automatically several times and then gave up. If it were a password issue, you would get a different error message.

      This particular message implies a connectivity issue somewhere between your client and our servers. Possibly a firewall or other security product (like Windows User Account Control – UAC) blocking the connection.

      You may have been unsuccessful running our client installer ‘in admin mode’ (which, if not done, can make UAC wake up and block the client from doing lots of things correctly) A super high UAC setting probably blocks everything, but with a normal setting, this should guarantee the install happens at admin level:

      * shut down the client
      * uninstall the client
      * delete the folder the client was installed to
      (that’s to undo any UAC ‘shadow file system’ crap that might have been set up)
      * download the full installer (as opposed to the “get_there” pre-installer):
      http://www.there.com/install/there.installer.exe
      * select SAVE not RUN
      * once the full installer has downloaded (about 50 MB), RIGHT click on it and pick “run as admin”

      That SHOULD result in the client being installed ‘as ad admin’ and so long as you install to the default folder (c:\makena) that should limit any UAC issues. (UAC will freak out more if you install to “program files”)

      After the installation, you might also want to:

      * right click on the launch shortcut
      * select PROPERTIES
      * fiddle around and find/set the “always run as administrator” checkbox

      That way, not only is the client INSTALLED by an admin, it is also RUN by an admin. A running process is generally limited by the privileges of the user who started it running. If UAC feels that was not an admin, it will interrupt all sorts of program activities (connecting to servers, downloading assets, saving to disk, etc.) Before UAC, if a windows user account WAS an admin, then anything it did was automatically done AS an admin. But since UAC, that is no longer assumed to be the case.

      • #27 by wizzle on 2013.04.14 - 11:58 am

        I’m afraid this hasn’t solved the problem 😦

        Somehow the client remembers my username and password when I uninstall it, so presumably there is something I have to delete outside the Makena folder where this is stored?

        Thank you for your help though! I have emailed feedback, however.

  18. #28 by soede on 2013.04.10 - 7:46 am

    “Filtering Zero-Attendee events
    Events where the host hasn’t shown up won’t appear, but we view that as a feature, not a problem.”

    MUPPET ARMS LEVEL OF EXCITEMENT!!!

    • #29 by coolnet560 on 2013.04.10 - 8:19 am

      I love the idea!

      How will this affect with Zone owners? Will we be able to turn it on/off the feature?

    • #30 by DLMcKenzie2004 on 2013.04.11 - 4:29 am

      This sounds wonderful! as long as it is a feature that can be toggled. I would love to see the default search as “hide 0 attendee events”. If the event host did their work they would atleast be in the event

  19. #31 by coolnet560 on 2013.04.10 - 7:41 am

    I can see your point. Yeah, every penny helps out with There.com. We all want There.com to run as long as possible. As you pointed out before form a previous post, I’m not sure if it’s still in the plans, could we have add another renter for the FunZone and Neighborhood to help us to keep cost of running it?

    • #32 by Soledadnegativa on 2013.04.10 - 12:23 pm

      @SOEDE

      I have admitted to in the past to host 8 hour events in the zone I rent after confirming the following 2 items:

      1. That there are no events planned on my zone by co -hoster’s.

      2. That there are avatars without their forcefield turned on in a paintball gun enabled zone and NO I do not mean new members.

      It is depressin when I look up in the activities tab a paintgun event, so I make them.

      IMO A more positive way to remedy this problem would be “catering” to the new members as the guides used to. All kinds of events were always on and at least ONE greeter was there.

      Sure I can make and event and sit and wait hoping someone will show up.

      Sniper’s
      Angels Of Death

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