Google+ Adventures of a Southern Gentleman: First Kerfuffle of 2009 – XStreet SL and OnRez

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Kerfuffle of 2009 – XStreet SL and OnRez

Anyone that’s been in Second Life for at least a year and who follows the numerous SL related blogs and social media outlets will have noticed a recurring phenomenon that goes something like this.

Linden Labs announces something.

Everyone gets worked up and upset over it, then doom and gloom is predicted and the end of SL as we know it.

Thinks settle down and within a few weeks, the furor is pretty well past and everything is back to normal.

In 3-6 months, lather, rinse, repeat.

Linden Labs started early this year, just 20 days into January with the first kerfuffle of 2009, the acquisition of XStreet SL and OnRez, the two main online stores for buying/selling Second Life related merchandise, basically two Amazon.coms for Second Life.

Now, I’m not going to get into a deep analysis of this, I couldn’t claim to be qualified to do so. But I’ve spent 25 years of my life working for decent sized corporations and I’ve picked up a bit about how businesses operate so I’ll give my personal opinion from that viewpoint.

This acquisition by Linden Labs is a logical and correct thing for them to do from a business sense. From the first moment I signed on to XStreet SL back when it was known as SLExchange, I thought to myself that Linden Labs ought to buy this and integrate it into their website. It just makes so much sense, especially if, as some have surmised, Linden Labs is positioning itself as the supplier of a cross world infrastructure containing login information, inventory and a monetary structure. I just wonder why it took them so long.

Ok, great, but why buy OnRez as well? Most seem to assume that it’s an attempt to corner the market, to be come a monopoly, and I disagree with that. One, I don’t think Linden Labs is that sophisticated on the business front to pull something like that. Two, in my experience, businesses acquire other businesses for assets and proprietary knowledge/technology. I think that the OnRez acquisition was for both. The merchants/users of OnRez that don’t use XStreet SL represent an asset, one that Linden Labs is hoping to roll into XStreet SL. Also, I believe that there is some technology behind how OnRez works that Linden Labs wants and that they will use in its integration of XStreet SL.

Nothing nefarious, just sound business. No monopoly either, in my opinion, there is nothing stopping someone else from building a bigger and better XStreet SL or OnRez. And this certainly shouldn’t kill in-world shopping, any more than XStreet SL and OnRez killed it as separate entities. It could in fact create more in-world business once integrated so small shops can get a fair shake on showing up in the in-world search, assuming they opt to put their items into the XStreet SL.

So, what do I see down the road from this acquisition? Hopefully, an integration with the Second Life viewer so that not only can you shop in a web browser, but you can shop from a tab in the current search feature in the viewer. Vendors that can sell to people in-world and also act as the current servers for the XStreet SL do now (should Linden Labs consider buying a vendor system to integrate with this?). No need for XStreet SL terminals and money transfers, just direct debits/credits to your in-world L$ balance.

I believe this is a good move for Linden Labs, a move that fits in well with their future plans of being a supplier of the unifying infrastructure for virtual worlds that include Second Life and Open Sims. I also believe that this is ultimately a good thing for the residents of Second Life as well.

Time will tell.


radarm said...

What?! How dare you not be panicking and calling LL monopolists!! Damn you! You fetid inner core!

It's nice to read something from someone who isn't having a cow.

Shelby Rasmuson said...

mobs of angry villagers....?
I think after a while when you've weathered a few just wait to see how it all pans is a pain for those who have to move everything over..

Sougent Harrop said...

Indeed Shelby, I think Linden Labs should set something up to facilitate the move rather than leaving it up to the merchants themselves to do it all.

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