Upcoming Changes

L1000396

Event, Hood, and Decorating Changes

Based on your suggestions, the following changes are either in, or upcoming:

  • “Empty” spots which are truly empty will no longer have a “Populated” icon at all.
  • SamSyn is testing a new filter (actually exposing an existing filter) to filter out empty events in the various events pages. This will be controlled by the browser, not the event owner (duh)
  • SamSyn is going to work on making it possible for ‘hoods to have permanent co-decorators. This could lead to There owning hoods in some landmarks or important areas and allowing designated members to “maintain” them (decorate, hold events, etc). Currently, a hood co-host can decorate a hood, but the decorations only last for the event, which is suboptimal for this purpose.
  • Bruce is working on a script to automatically add Hoods and Zones to the maps – a previously manual process. We of course may need to tweak the “automatic-ness” of this process, but it will be better, and more accurate than the current situation.

Price Changes

We are also looking into Lowering Prices, perhaps on Hood Rental, or Developer Submission Fees. We’re making sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot this this one, but lowering fees and subsequently cratering revenue.

Deleting inactive 2D Avatars

We have started sending our warning emails to people who registered 2D Avatars, never subscribed, and have not logged in for many, many months. We’ll be sending out warnings at 30 days, 2 weeks, 1 week, and after we delete the avatars.

Keep in mind that many of these avatars have, frankly, Fake email addresses, and won’t get the mail. We’re not quite sure how we’re expected to warn those folks :-).

Unclaimed Legacy Avatars will NOT be impacted. They will remain encased in Carbonite.

Of course, if there’s some hole in this process, we have lots of time to change it. What we don’t want to do is give people a license to “Park” Avatar names, especially the “Good Ones” forever, which is what some people have done.

By the way, congratulations to Bruce, who wrote the Avatar deletion script. He accomplished something which the Old There never got around to doing for 10 years. Of course, he and SamSyn got There to run “in the Cloud”, which the old There said “Couldn’t be done”.

Other Things

We continue to work on:

  1. Global Chat experiments
  2. “Real Money” transactions for developers.

Things we’re NOT working on.

We’re NOT working on:

  1. Events in PAZs. We looked at this many times over the years, and it won’t work. The biggest problem is the fact that a PAZ can be picked up at any time, which includes just before the event, during the event, etc. Also, since you can drop a PAZ in (for example) a thoroughfare, and have a private event in it, you can, effectively block the thoroughfare. On top of that there are many other technical infrastructure problems which would make this difficult and a questionable use of time.

That’s all.

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  1. #1 by lol on 2013.05.16 - 1:59 am

    People play this boring, outdated game and still give money to this horrible business ran by a democrat with a huge sense of entitlement?

    • #2 by Michael Wilson on 2013.05.16 - 4:21 am

      FrankPrss (since we know that’s who you are), thank you for visiting from 24.14.167.92.

      Oh, and I’m pretty sure your email address isn’t “michaelwilsonisafaggot@gmail.com”, because you’ve listed it as “rankonjtv@gmail.com” in your other posts.

      Thanks for visiting! Have a good day!

      • #3 by brandon527 on 2013.05.16 - 11:00 pm

        Zinger!

      • #4 by swimgood on 2013.05.17 - 10:40 am

        How professional…

        More than a month with no blog update and this is what comes to your attention… R.I.P There2.

      • #5 by Michael Wilson on 2013.05.17 - 11:44 am

        I’ve always been very clear about what happens if you post things like this on my Blog. If you say words, you should be prepared to stand behind them.

  2. #6 by Jonathan on 2013.05.01 - 12:15 am

    Will you ever bring There forums back?

  3. #7 by Andrew Almeida on 2013.04.25 - 4:09 am

    For some reason when I come to this blog now I get the anti virus message saying it blocked a risky connection here. When I clicked for details it said high risk under web reputation.

    • #8 by Andrew Almeida on 2013.04.25 - 6:37 am

      Disregard that. My antivirus updated and now it aint popping up. Not sure what that was all about.

  4. #9 by SNIPERBAIT on THERESniperbait on 2013.04.24 - 2:20 pm

    Samsyn, if anyway this can be addressed πŸ™‚

    I am rather hoping this can be addressed since the “shared” hood thing with another half owner is. To many times by accident someone hosting an event via neighborhood has accidentally removed pieces or caused total mayhem and cleared it all. Would be nice if the “owner” pieces could not be removed via a setting yet folks could still decorate area with there stuff. For example: You have a banquet hall and the building, the outside decor, lobby etc are dropped by owner. Resident or other hoster comes in to decorate and oops.. pics up wrong tag which they thought was there own yet it was the building itself. The building instantly poofs and owner is not on to fix. Anyway to make it where “owner tags” can be hidden or something to prevent this yet keep it able to be decorated by others? Have seen this to many times and have heard other hood owners / funzone owners say the same issue. Thanks for looking at this and i am very happy about the ‘shared” decor of hoods coming soon. Have a great one!

  5. #10 by used to be Robynn on 2013.04.23 - 2:35 pm

    I don’t understand the email I got about deleting my avatar. I log in just to see a bit of what’s happening but maybe my avatar is looking at deletion because I don’t actually play There and I don’t pay that monthly fee?

    • #11 by Andrew Almeida on 2013.04.24 - 4:11 am

      Based on the last 19 words of your comment it looks like you very well understand that email lol.

  6. #12 by Truck Thereian on 2013.04.21 - 8:35 am

    “Other Things” 2.β€œReal Money” transactions for developers.
    I realy don’t know how this would really benifit There.com…. How is There going to get the “Wholesale costs” if it all runs throught Pay-pal, will Pay pal reverse pay there fer the “wholesale costs” after the designer get there money? and will the Buyer be able to sell said product fer T Buxs sence it was bought with real money??? (or is the buy going to demand to be able to sell it fer real money? They tryed in the past at yard sales- Cash no t-buxs) (4 fun zones u had to pay real money to own them due to that person wouldnt take t-buxs, This is y i gave up on owning a fun zone)
    Personly i wont do it, and i told other i won’t.(even if it’s offered both ways. i’ll pay my 10 bucks a month) Im not going to pay taxes on it.. if i sell items by t-buxs it stays in game and there will profit due to i use my designer profit on paz time and submitions.. This makes ppl buy t-buxs which make there stay up and running, Im not greedy i want there to run fer a long time. I know 1 other person that will fill the same way. becuse he’s already noted it in all his auctions.. ‘tu to F7

    • #13 by Samsyn on 2013.04.24 - 11:18 am

      “Real Money” works like this, more or less, with some hand-waving

      * it only applies to first time purchases of Developer listed items. That is to say, I, the developer, choose to put N copies of my cool design up for sale. Ideally, I would have the choice of indicating “I would like to sell this for real money” as opposed to tbux. But let’s assume for a moment that all first-time developer sales are in real-money. You might have additional questions about what “first time” means. I just mean “the first time this particular instance of the item is sold” and not “the first time this developer ever sold this kind of item”

      * it does NOT apply, thusly, to re-sales of anything. If I buy something for real money, I can only subsequently sell it for therebux. If I already own something from the past, I can only re-sell it for ThereBux.

      * There is still a ‘wholesale price’, paid by the developer to Makena for the manufacture of the item, plus the ‘profit’ for the developer. These are defined internally as if they were in ThereBux. Let’s say I have designed some new item with a wholesale price of 10K TB, and I want a profit of 8K TB, so the total cost of the item is 18K TB (numbers picked randomly, but to add up to a multiple of 1800 for an obvious reason πŸ™‚

      So the shopper sees my listing with a TB price of 18K, or a “Real Money” price of $10 (1800 TB / dollar)

      They click the button to purchase it. A window pops up from PayPal asking them to login and confirm the purchase. They do. PayPal tells us about it and the transaction takes place. If they then go to shop some more, thanks to the miracle of cookies, unless you specifically turn this feature off, on the next purchase it will remember the PayPal logged-in state, and only ask for confirmation of the purchase, which is reasonably peppy.

      So what Happens to the $10?

      * first, the PayPal fees are removed from it (and kept by PayPal). The fees charged vary with whether or not the price qualifies as a microtransaction. The customer does NOT pay any PayPal fees, just the $10 shown on the auction listing. The PayPal fees probably will be split between Makena/Developer proportionally to the wholesale/profit ratio. (That nut has not yet been cracked). Let’s pretend the fee on this transaction is 50 cents, leaving $9.50 to be shared between Makena and the Developer. Makena gets 10K/18K percent of it (55%) and the developer gets 8K/18K of it (45%) (in this example only.. real sales affected by real wholesale and profit pricing of the item)

      Makena and the Developer each receive their cuts as ‘real money’ deposited in their respective PayPal accounts. (The account the Developer is using to pay their monthly subscription with)

      What happens if I return the item?

      * First time sales of new developer items retain their old refund rules, in the sense that the portion paid to the developer is non-refundable, but the wholesale price (paid to Makena) is refundable per the old return matrix. I.e. no change. Any such refund is paid… in ThereBux. (aha!)

      First time auction purchasers continue to be advised to use TryIt or otherwise inspect any item they are considering purchasing, before making the purchase.

      Will this drive us out of business?

      * well… one never knows. However, new designer submissions are an important part of the economy of There, so to the degree that this encourages more developers to take part, and that leads to happier members, who buy more stuff and invite more friends, it’s a benefit.

      * Plus, it’s “the right thing” to do. IMHO.

      But just to do a little math for math’s sake. Let’s consider a mythical $10K in sales, old way and new.

      BEFORE

      * people buy $10K of TB (Makena makes $10K, but adds $10K of TB to the money supply)
      * people spend $10K of TB on developer items
      * of that, say $5K is the wholesale cost, kept by Makena, and thus removed from the money supply
      * 5K is ‘given to’ the developer (as TB, which stays in the economy, sloshing around)

      Bottom line for Makena: $5K of cash income, $5K of TB inflation…
      Bottom line for Developer: $5K of TB income, whether they need it or not.

      AFTER

      * people buy $10K of real-money goods
      * of that, say $5K goes to Makena as wholesale cost (cash for makena, no TB created)
      * the other $5K (ignoring PayPal fees) goes to the developer(s) ( no TB are created)

      Bottom line for Makena, $5K of cash income, no TB inflation.
      Bottom line for Developer: $5K of cash income, no TB balance increase.

      The effect of that TB inflation is hard to gauge. Currently it manifests as Developers having large TB balances, more than they know what to do with in-world. Leading to the desire to conduct third party TB sales (now illegal) which then undercuts future TB sales by Makena.

      A little inflation is OK, since the economy has ‘sinks’ (like rent) that permanently remove TB at various rates. Too much inflation, on the other hand….

    • #14 by samsyn2 on 2013.04.24 - 11:53 am

      PayPal offers something called “adaptive payments” which allows a single transaction to have multiple beneficiaries. So when the customer spends $2 on an item, $1 can go straight to Makena and the other can go straight to the developer. (those numbers picked at random and not meant to imply any fixed price-sharing rate)(price sharing is ‘the same as before’ basically, just done in real money instead of TB).

      As mentioned below, auction refunds work as before, with only the Makena portion being refundable (Developers are protected against refund at that level). Refunds will be in ThereBux (an ugly asymmetry, but overall consistent with the caveat emptor for these auctions — inspect all merchandise (tryIt) before making your purchase.)

      There should be no ‘reversals’ by this policy, but say a member gets upset and ends up challenging the PayPal payment and somehow that leads to a banking reversal of the charge, then PayPal will reverse both payments (to Makena and the Developer) with our having no way to tell them otherwise. Abuse of this would result in the termination of the avatar, of course.

      In this one regard, we probably make out a little better than before (since before, this would have been a reversal of a TB purchase for the full price maybe and not just the wholesale price)(with the Developer sharing the other half of the risk now, as it were).

  7. #15 by Ox64 on 2013.04.20 - 6:55 am

    In regards to pricing considerations, it’s pretty obvious that not everyone can be pleased. But a company that puts out several choices is more likely to please more people. I still think having various levels of subscriptions would be good. Example:

    Free(eek no don’t use the F word please…ok sorry, very low priced…. <$5/month) – Very limited access to There, allowed only in one or two regions, no event hosting priveleges, no pazs, etc etc etc. Limited Inventory.

    Basic subscription $10/month – Everything allowed except for being an operator of zones/hoods and designing. (Paz's allowed)

    Premium subscription $20/month – To be operator/designer. Monthly rentals fees of zones/hoods could be reduced with the difference in pricing as well as reduced submission fees. May not seem like you are really gaining anything from this, but for those who want to submit many more items with the reduced submission fees would end up doing so. The more they can sell of their items …meaning people buying…meaning you need people in world , the more the better chance of items being bought, the better chance they will continue submitting and spending more overall in submisssion fees.

    It's just purely a stupid example, and so many variables and factors on exact pricing/features/etc to make it work (did I say it's just a stupid example?), but more options would bring more people and hopefully if done right, more revenue into the world. πŸ™‚

  8. #16 by Riot_Girl_1 on 2013.04.19 - 5:25 pm

    I think lowering the developer fees wouldn’t shoot you in the foot. I know I have a massive back-catalog of things I plan on submitting but with the fees being what they are and sales being so few and far between (with clothing at least) I’m in no rush to submit the items for fear of going broke. With lower fees it would be easier for me to make back the Ts I’ve paid out, thus allowing me to submit MORE items. I’m not the only developer that’s talked about this either, seems a decent number of us old devs are like this. Thanks for letting us know that submission fees are on your mind, hopefully something good will come of this so I can start releasing more things!

    • #17 by Riot_Girl_1 on 2013.04.19 - 5:57 pm

      Also, do you think it would be possible to have the co-decorating permission be for hood lots too? I’d LOVE to have co-decorator privs there! It would be handy in store situations for example. I share a shop with another designer via 2 hood lots placed side by side. It would be handier if we could drop one larger lot with MORE drops over the top of our store and both be able to decorate inside of it then just split rent via spoken agreement or whatever.

  9. #18 by Robert Haazen on 2013.04.19 - 4:41 pm

    Hey I am worried with the deletion of avatars that haven’t subscribed for long periods of time. Now I used to have a subscription to there.com but due to my funds changing for the worse I had to make a lot of sacrifices in a lot of things to save money just to live on and still am struggling to cope, there.com subscription was one of those sacrifices I had to make… I didnt like doing it but had to. Now I intend to resubscribe when money gets good, which may be in 4 r 5 months time. Now I am worried you will delete my avatar before I get to set my subscription back up.

    • #19 by Samsyn2 on 2013.04.24 - 11:32 am

      We’re being “extremely cautious” with the avatar deletions. While there is probably some marketing value along the lines of “better get a subscription or your avatar might eventually be deleted,” our actual goals are more along the lines of “keep the databases from blowing up like they did in old There”

      To that end, we check lots of stuff before picking a candidate avatar for deletion. Basically, if that avatar has ever been ‘active’ (i.e. had a subscription and bought stuff) then it is extremely unlikely to ever be deleted. And the plan is to always email-warn you first in any case (so keep those avatar email addresses up to date πŸ™‚

      Again, if you get a deletion warning, and you feel your avatar HAS been ‘active’ then you should definitely send an email to feedback@thereinc.com with the avatar name so we can look into why we felt it was inactive.

      This is intended to be a ‘good thing’ while admittedly it is fundamentally terrifying!

  10. #20 by MadHatterMemphis on 2013.04.19 - 1:19 pm

    Have a question regarding the deleteing of inactive avatars.I have a 2nd avie that I have reclaimed and is currently subscribed but don’t plan to have it subscribed all year long due to money being tight some months and not others.But it is an avie I really don’t want to lose because it was my very first avie from way back in ’04.And I’m sure there are others who have alts that maybe they only have active subs for during the There Games or folks who turn on their subs when they are out of college classes for the summer.And then cancel the subs during school so not to interfere with them actually doing their school work lol.Will those run the risk of being deleted if they say forget to log in for several months? Or will a email be sent every time it is coming up on time for their avie to be removed for not having an active sub? Then they could pay for a month or however long they wish and when they cancel the sub a timer restarts before their next email about possible removal of the avie for inactiveness. Also love the idea on possibly lowering prices on submissions.I’ve seen those high costs crush the dreams of some potential designers when they see how much it costs to submit.Well keep up the awesome work.

    • #21 by Robert Haazen on 2013.04.20 - 4:25 pm

      Yeah looks like both of us are worried about our avatars. Yet no one has got back to either of us yet, they could be quite busy just now to reply. But I hope it is soon. I dont want to lose my avie because money is tight. 😦

      • #22 by Andrew Almeida on 2013.04.22 - 8:43 am

        They aint answer you cause the answer is given in this blog posting. “We have started sending our warning emails to people who registered 2D Avatars, never subscribed, and have not logged in for many, many months” They are focused on avatars that were reclaimed, inventory was migrated back onto the servers, but has not once subscribed at all. Not on those who have paid ten a month and are taking a break. There’s a feed on Thumdar where I very recently asked MW about this. I asked what about those who take breaks every now and then, & how long between subscriptions before I’d need to worry it may be deleted. He said a very long time probably, and even then we’d be warned prior to it. They will probably later on change the TOS to reflect something like “if said user doesn’t subscribe for 12 months account may be terminated”. 12 months is just an example, not quoting that part as fact.

  11. #23 by Arbata on 2013.04.19 - 12:27 pm

    Love the ideas!

  12. #24 by martin71a on 2013.04.19 - 12:02 pm

    MW is they any chance of updating the shoutcast so my self and other dj`s in the world can use an up to date sam broadcaster..
    and is they any news on the cohost to be add to the neighborhood oweners???

    • #25 by samsyn2 on 2013.04.24 - 11:38 am

      Please send us an email about this (feedback@thereinc.com). If the station ultimately Is listed on shoutcast, then at least we have a chance of decoding it. If ‘sam’ stations are NOT listed on shoutcast, then probably not. But if they are, and maybe if you could provide an example station, we could take a look. Thanks!

  13. #26 by samsyn2 on 2013.04.19 - 10:32 am

    Just a few comments on the event filtering as we are currently testing it:

    * There are two different event listing styles: Browse and Happening Now
    * The 3D client *was* opening “browse” when you selected “Happening Now” from the client activity menu (I consider that either misleading, or a bug πŸ™‚
    * Most event listings used ‘browse’ (you have to push the ‘list’ button in the Happening Now section on the Activities main webapp to actually see the real Happening Now list).
    * Ergo 99% of users have probably only really seen ‘browse’ and not ‘happening now’, even when they literally selected “happening now” from the client menu.

    So, the changes we have made (testing in QA now) are:

    * The HAPPENING NOW menu choice now really does open ‘happening now’
    * Happening Now *only* shows ‘now-ish’ events (not events scheduled far in the future) (That’s what has always distinguished it from Browse)
    * When you invoke “happening now” from the client, it invokes it with a new http argument “&minPop=1”
    * That limits the “happening now” list to filter any events with less than one participant.
    * But the ‘browse’ listing is NOT filtered (unless you manually add that argument to the url)

    If we like this, we will probably add a minPop checkbox to the top of the ‘browse’ page to make it easy to turn on and off.

    BUt overall, the goal is to have HAPPENING NOW always filter empty events, but for BROWSE to only filter if you tell it to.

  14. #27 by martin71a on 2013.04.19 - 9:51 am

    well its there loss for putting a fake email when they made the alt avatar

  15. #28 by MademoiselleFifi on 2013.04.19 - 9:18 am

    In the case of quests which last 7 days, we list the events in activities, but cannot be present, as they are continuous.

    • #29 by Andrew Almeida on 2013.04.19 - 10:52 am

      Then they will only show in browse unless someone happens to be there when someone looks in happening now.

      • #30 by Ox64 on 2013.04.20 - 6:41 am

        Yeah, that’s how I would perceive it to be as well….as long as it’s an option to the person viewing the events on whether to see empty events or not πŸ™‚

  16. #31 by samthere on 2013.04.19 - 9:18 am

    Mike ,you need to advertise I know you are trying there.com. Back in the day,it was the best.You need to put it out there, it takes money to make money. You need to put it out ther. I know its pg but there are a lot out there who want to see there.com work. you need to put it back to being free. Who did have a life time in there and the new people who come in to there, you need to work on i.t let some in the way it was be 4 and see how it goes. I am back from 2004 we all put a lot in to the game and some are scare to put a lot in to the game there .com was the best out there and you can get it back to the way it was. You need to put out some money to make some, and it will take time. You know Mike I play sl to, its fun in sl but there .com can rock like back in the day .You just need to try, we all love http://www.there.com/ its why I pay the 10$ to help, but for now I am to scare to put a lot in there. A lot more like me make it work and I will put more into the game. Hope it all works out for you, there is a lot out there who love there, its just not fun like it was. you need a lot more in game to make it work out thx. iIam just trying to put some input in to try to help.

  17. #32 by samthere on 2013.04.19 - 8:54 am

    mike you need to advertise i no you are trying there.com back in the day was the best you need to put it out there its take money to make money you need to put it out there i no its pg butthere a lot out there who want to see there.com work you ne to put its back to free who did have a life time in there and the new 1 who come in to there you need to work on it let some in the way it was be 4 and see how it go i am back from 2004 we all put a lot in to the game and some are scare to put a lot in to the game there .com was the best out there and you can get it back to the way it was you need to put out some to make some and it will talk time you no mike i play sl to its fun in sl but there .com can rock like back in the day you just need to try we all love http://www.there.com its y i pay the 10$ to help but for now i am to scare to put a lot in there a lot more like me make it work and i will put more in to the game hope it all work out for you there a lot out there who love there its just not fun like it was you need a lot more in game to make it work out thx i am just trying to put some input in to try to help

    • #33 by Arbata on 2013.04.19 - 12:26 pm

      I wanted to advertise for there.com and still haven’t received any emails back. I will do this on my own and at my expense cause I love there and would love to advertise there in many ways.

  18. #34 by okalnix on 2013.04.19 - 8:47 am

    Cool a event filter,the see better or actief events.
    Thank you.
    Good works guy’s

  19. #35 by shanghei on 2013.04.19 - 8:41 am

    very cool stuff….
    can we have sparkles back please? is that a possibility?
    just asking… cause it was fun, and you meet new people sparkle hunting…

    anyway… thanks for all your hard work phoenix team !!

    • #36 by Jimmy Kluding (@LegionNinja) on 2013.04.21 - 12:18 pm

      I would also like to see sparkle hunting make a comeback.
      -SonicWarriorXP

    • #37 by cands2011 on 2013.04.24 - 10:53 am

      I would love to see Sparkles back too!! That was soo much fun! Gave us something to do! =) I think There should create more games like Sparkle! πŸ˜‰

  20. #38 by samthere on 2013.04.19 - 8:01 am

    you rock wm you the man

    • #39 by NathanAvis on 2013.04.20 - 9:43 am

      Wichael Milson? I guess he’s like Wario, but with a strong Californian accent.

  21. #40 by samthere on 2013.04.19 - 7:49 am

    your rock mw

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