SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Con, or genuine error? You decide.

A newbie has contacted me with a question regarding a deceptive piece of hovertext over a box of shapes in the Sebris Shopping Mall, in Iladil.

This is the box:

Now, being a newbie, she was grateful to see a box of free female shapes put out on offer, so she clicked and selected ‘pay’ (just as you do when buying a freebie for L$0, as well as buying any other object) and the shapes were hers. And, just as one does with any other item when you receive it (free or paid) she clicked away the blue drop-down flag when it arrived.

But a few minutes later, she looked at her L$ balance and was startled to find it was L$200 less than it had been a few minutes previously. This newbie av has been running around money trees and had gathered some L$223 or so from them, and was very upset to find almost all of that had gone.

I TP’d out to the location she gave and took the above screencap. I even used camera controls to move all around the box, and right-click-edited to view the contents. The hovertext was, unusually, no copy/no modify/ no transfer, which meant I couldn’t read it. But it was definitely in there, and it definitely said ‘FREE’.

However, hovering my cursor over the box itself, I saw this:

It’s clearly not just a nice box of free shapes for newbies, but a full-perm business-in-a-box, set out with hovertext that says it’s FREE, and yet when clicked on and bought, it actually costs L$200.

Okay, you could argue that the newbie should have been more careful and checked that blue flag. But she says she only got one of them, and that’s crucial. When you buy something for a full price in-world, you usually get two blue flags: one to tell you that you’ve paid the object’s owner the cost of the object, and a second one that actually gives you the object. When you buy a freebie for L$0, you only get the blue flag for the object: there’s no payment alert. The newbie swears blind she only clicked away one blue flag. She has also checked her transaction history at, and sure enough, she has paid L$200 to Xanna Benelli, the owner of that box.

When you’re a newbie, and living the SL life with empty pockets, trying to make yourself look nice using freebies, you grow used to buying boxes for L$0. Sometimes, if a dollarbie tempts you, you’ll part with the few precious Lindens you’ve got from money trees, but on the whole you grow rather… inured to the same old same old: right-click > buy > blue flag tells you you have a new object. It’s easy to grow lax and not check before you actually pay.

But when an item has bright green hovertext over it, telling you it’s FREE, then you’re much less likely to check whether it’s going to cost you almost every L$ that you have.

Con, or genuine error? You decide.

Edited to add: The newbie contacted the box’s owner via IM, explaining what had happened, and was given a refund of her L$200. However, she informs me the hovertext is still above that box…

Edited to add #2: There’s an update to this post included here. Scroll down a little way through the images to find it.


February 29, 2008 - Posted by | second life |

1 Comment »

  1. […] from great avatars to more silly names. There’s also an update on my post titled “Con or genuine error ? You decide“. By the way, Bewitched Hair is holding a treasure hunt for St Patrick’s Day. The hunt […]

    Pingback by This week’s images « SL for Nowt | March 15, 2008 | Reply

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