Do you shop the Second Life Marketplace? Most of us do. It’s convenient and just by typing in the name of an item we can usually find what we want. We can see search results based on relevance, price, prim count, user rating, or even how new something is. There’s no denying that it’s useful, good for reference, and it makes things easier if we want something quickly.
And yet I prefer to buy inworld, if possible – and here’s why:
I like the experience of shopping in a 3D store. The main reason I’m in Second Life to begin with is that I enjoy a virtual environment. Shopping in a store, seeing the building and decor chosen by the creator, is all part of the fun for me. I can shop Ebay or Amazon if I want something on the web.
Going to the inworld store gives them traffic. Each time we visit a Second Life location we give that place traffic. Why is that good? Because when we use SL search the locations with the most visitors show at the top of the list. People see high traffic sims first so they tend to go to them first. Even if we don’t buy anything, we’re still helping the creator if we visit their store.
The creator usually gets more lindens if you buy inworld. The SL Marketplace takes a tiny cut from each item sold. It’s not much, but still something. This is not necessarily bad because it’s good to support Linden Lab too, but if you want 100% of the purchase price to go to the creator, it’s better to shop from their inworld store.
You can often find items and deals inworld that you don’t see on the Marketplace. Stores have sales and give freebies now and then. They have contests, boards you can click to win things, and all sorts of stuff. If you just look on the Marketplace, you could miss that.
Some things need to be seen in Second Life. For homes, furniture, and even knick knacks you can’t really know what they’re like without seeing them in 3D. Photos never show the full story. I would never, ever, recommend buying a home without seeing a fully rezzed version first.
The Marketplace is so popular that many creators no longer have stores in Second Life. They sell only on the Marketplace because they didn’t get enough visitors to justify paying rent or having land. This is a shame because discovering an intriguing new store is part of the fun exploring. I get excited if I wander into a whimsical new place and find a hidden treasure.
Yes, the Marketplace has its uses. I’m glad we have it, and I’ll continue to shop on it. However, if a store still has an inworld location, I will teleport to it if I can.
Photo credit: Blot Brickworks