Newbie Notes: Don’t get ripped-off #1 – Full-Perm/Resell/Businesses in a Box
Newbie Notes: Don’t get ripped-off #1 – Full-Perm/Resell/Businesses in a Box
OK, here’s yet another new series for the newbies here, and it’s called Newbie Notes. This series will, like all my other newbie ones, be collected together in a links list at the top of the blog: just look for the ‘Newbie? Start here’ tab :)
Newbie Notes is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I intend it to be like an information area. I won’t be posting too frequently in this section, as my planned Newbie Q&A should hopefully deal with the “How can I…?” and “What does XXXX mean…?” questions newbies might have. Newbie Notes is more of an alert service, and thus we begin with a BIG alert:
Don’t get ripped-off!
As it happens in Real Life, so it happens in Second Life. SL is a fabulous place, full of wonderful things, but there are scammers waiting to con you out of your hard-earned L$ here, just as they sit in your email inbox, tell you to call expensive phone numbers to claim your mystery prize, and try to swindle you by every means possible in RL. It’s a fact of human existence that where there is money, there is greed, and virtual worlds are no exception.
So what ways can you be ripped-off in Second Life? I’m afraid that, as a clueless newbie, there are many ways you can get conned, and they’re not all instantly obvious.
The list that I’ll be compiling in the first part of this series is by no means a comprehensive one; it’s just the ways that I’ve come across and spotted in-world since I’ve been in Second Life. If any experienced readers have found other ways, I’d be very grateful for comments, especially if they include links to blog or forum posts about it, and hints and tips to help newbies avoid the pitfalls. I’ll amend this post accordingly, with credit for the authors of those comments/posts, etc.
Hop behind the cut, and we’ll get started with the first way you can be ripped-off: Businesses in a Box, Resell, Full-Perm and Stolen Content.
WARNING: The image immediately behind this cut is NSFW (Not Safe For Work)
Rip-off #1 – Businesses in a Box/Resell/Full-Perm/Stolen Content
Take a look at the following (huge, I know!) image. It’s a composite shot of the same item sold by many people on XStreet SL:
Note the prices. The cheapest is L$9 and the most expensive is L$997! How come there’s such a massive difference in price?
That is the same skin and shape set, and it’s what’s called a resell item. Many resell items are actually stolen content that have found their way, with full permissions (copy, modify, transfer) onto the SL marketplace, and unscrupulous dealers will try to sell it to you as a fantastic item you must have… at a price. You know, if you looked in the right place, you would find that ‘Skin Extreme’ for free in Second Life, not even L$9.
See the description by the second listing there? “Extreme Real 3D skin you can resell it…”
“Resell” is a term used for full-permission items that people can buy and then sell on to other people, usually with some permissions removed. It mostly applies to non-original content (ie: content not made by the person selling it). Resell items are usually very old, often ripped-off content, which you can tell just by looking at it. The clothing looks old and amateurish, the poses any models may be using on the box or ad are the old freebie ‘model’ poses, and things like shoes and jewellery usually contain a ton of bling (a particle effect that is supposed to look like the glint of diamonds, but which is very dated and horrible).
“Full permission” often applies to resell items, but it’s also used in the content creation community. Used properly, full-permission is a valuable and legitimate business commodity. For example, many furniture creators in Second Life probably don’t know how to make good animation poseballs so that users of their furniture can have great sit poses, so they might go to a reputable animations store, where they will buy full-permission (“full-perm”) poseballs for a high price. The creator of the poseballs will stipulate that the furniture creator MUST remove some of the poseball’s permissions before he includes them in his furniture, which any reputable creator would do. So the furniture creator gets to use those poseballs over and over (because he has full permissions and can copy the expensive original that he bought) in his furniture.
But sometimes mistakes are made. The furniture creator might forget to un-check the ‘copy’ permission, someone buys his couch, finds out they can copy that expensive sit animation to their inventory, and before too long that animation finds its way into a resell box, with full-permissions. This doesn’t just happen with animations; much of the content you’ll find in full-perm/resell stores was originally stolen, either in this way or by other sneaky methods, such as Copybot.
Many of these stolen items are so old now, they’re regarded as lost causes. There are thousands of copies out there, even in reputable freebie places, and many people regard them with a shrug and an attitude of, “Well, yes it’s stolen, but it’s been out there for so long, it should be a freebie and not paid-for”. Which is where Businesses in a Box (BiaB), full-perm, and resell fall flat.
We know there are legitimate full-permission places, such as our animation creators. These places usually specialise in one type of item only. But if you come across a full-perm or resell place in-world, and they sell everything, then you’re probably looking at mainly stolen content, or a mixture of stolen and legitimate content. The main thing you need to consider when you’re there is: Are they trying to sell these items to you for silly money?
I always recommend the full-perm store at Chromex, simply because most of the items in there are free, or sold for a very small amount, such as 2L$. Newbies can get good clothing from the freebie area there, for absolutely nothing. Yes, it’s the same clothing that you’ll see all over Second Life, but the owners at Chromex don’t try to charge you a lot of money for it.
Try typing into search the words “full perm” and/or “resell” and teleporting around a few places. Take a look at the content you see there. If you visit enough places (ten or so will be plenty) you’ll realise you’re seeing the same stuff, over and over. The ‘flexified’ dresses, the ‘male jeans’, the ‘photorealistic Steve skin’, those t-shirts with band logos on, etc. These are all ‘lost causes’ in the resell ‘genre’, and you’ll find them now being given away free in places such as Sarah Nerd’s Freebie Paradise, and YadNi’s Junkyard. You should never pay what the resell stores are asking you for these items; they are almost always available for free elsewhere.
This brings me to the second point in this specific rip-off area: Businesses in a Box, or BiaB.
A lot of newbies want to make money in Second Life, so they can buy nice things. They teleport around a bit and often decide they want to do one of two things: open a club, or open a store. If you’re one of the “I want to open a store!” types, you need to read this next bit:
DO NOT BUY A BUSINESS IN A BOX TO GET YOUR STORE STARTED!
Was that big and bold and bright enough? *g* I needed you to read and understand it, you see. Remember your full-perm teleporting session, where you discovered the same stuff over and over in those resell stores? All of that stuff is what you’ll find in those Business in a Box packages. There are literally thousands of people trying to sell the same old stuff all over Second Life, and it’s only newbies that are conned into buying it because they simply don’t know any better.
In short: if you buy and then try to sell BiaB items, you will be one of thousands of people that think this ‘easy way’ of starting a store will bring them money. Well, it won’t. The way to start a business in Second Life is to learn how to create things yourself. Find a sandbox, start playing with prims, identify something you’re interested in, and see if you can create a new twist on what other people are already doing.
Want to make clothes? There are thousands of clothing stores out there. What will make yours different from theirs? Narrow your planned product range down a bit. Want to make Gothic clothes? Start searching for gothic clothing, teleport around, see what kind of things people like AVid and RFyre are selling, then try to make something different. Want to make Neko items? Search for Neko stores and malls, look at the kind of items being sold, and find a new twist on them. Into architecture? Start building houses, or look around and see what’s currently not being offered.
The NCI (New Citizens Incorporated) locations, which are great newbie-helpers in Second Life, all have a Freebie Wall, and on those freebie walls they give away many Business in a Box items, and they have renamed them as Freebie in a Box. Inside each of these boxes, you’ll find a notecard called “Businesses in a Box are Scams! Here’s why”, and I’m going to close this post by quoting that notecard, written by Carl Metropolitan:
“Businesses in a Box” Are Scams! Here’s Why!
Recently SL has seen a rash of people offering “Business in a Box” kits–a box that contains a store full of copyable inventory for you to sell. Sounds good? Not really–at best you are going to be competing with dozens–mayby hundreds–of other people who bought the exact same inventory.
Another reason why they are a rip-off: most of the business in a box kits contain inventory which is freebies. You could pay your money and all you would get for it was a reputation as a seller of freebies. Not good. Most items that are freely copyable will eventually become freebies over time. So the “inventory” that the business in a box kits offer–even in the best of cases–is destined to quickly lose its value. Even worse–the “Business in a Box” kits that are not freebies are usually items that have been hijacked from their original creators via permissions bugs or exploits.
You are far better developing your own talents if you want to make money in Second Life. Like in Real Life; shortcuts usually are not.