It's been a little over a 3 month since Sacrarium changed its hypergrid policy to a paid corporate subscription (ECJBF - Exclusive Content Just for Best Friends). Recall that today the Sacrarium is open to visitors only for selected grids who have monthly subscription. Users from this Grid category have unlimited access to the best free latest content stores in the Sacrarium. There really is something to take here. Sacrarium creators work day and night to deliver the best content across OpenSim. Dozens of unique pieces of clothing, furniture and avatar parts are added to the collections of the most exclusive stores every day. Today we can take stock of the first results of the work of this policy and evaluate the contribution that it has brought to the development of the Sacrarium community. It is possible that these observations will serve for further research into the development strategy of virtual worlds.
When the Sacrarium policy change was first announced many users expressed well-founded skepticism about it. It was seems like the Sacrarium decided to finally become a closed grid and silently leave the stage. Sacrarium referred to a large number of complaints from users and creators, which began to arrive at the address of the administration. Users demanded to save them from an uncontrollable number of various anonymous marginals who annoyed them in various ways. Creators complained about the increased incidence of theft of their content, changes in transfer permissions, change of the creator's name and subsequent resale in other grids for virtual currency. Trading objects for virtual currency has always been strictly prohibited in the Sacrarium. Most of the objects in OpenSim do not have a license and no indication of the real author. The vast majority of objects were imported from Second Life or from stocks of free 3D models. In each of these cases, the original creators did not envisage the possibility of selling their objects anywhere else. The sale of such objects is copyright infringement, disrespectful to the work of the original creators and leading to lose their profits.
Problems and Solutions
When the administration of the Sacrarium turned to the administration of other grids for help in fixing the violations, most often it did not have any consequences. In those cases when the administration of other grids eliminated reseller stores, then after a while they reappeared again. Attempts to contact the resellers themselves and point out misconduct to them most often met with rudeness, ridicule and open insults. The Sacrarium has publicly reached out to the community of all virtual worlds many times to evoke a reaction to these trends. However, the virtual community was unable to consolidate in the fight against these negative phenomena. Unfortunately, trading in copybot and models from free stocks is a common occurrence in the worlds of OpenSim today. It became clear that today the OpenSim virtual community is experiencing a systemic crisis that cannot be brought under control.
All this happened against the background of additional measures taken by the Sacrarium earlier. Recall that earlier Sacrarium closed registration in the grid for new users in order to get rid of the anarchy of numerous fake users. The only positive effect of closed registration was the reduction in the growth of junk content in the database and the absence of fake users and griffers. Sacrarium users began to value their accounts and stopped breaking internal rules. However, the guests of the Sacrarium did not think to limit themselves in anything. The combination of these factors prompted the administration to develop a drastic new plan to regulate access to the Sacrarium for a paid subscription.
We can now list the main results of this policy after three months:
The number of unique visitors per month naturally decreased. This was not perceived as a negative effect, given that popularity ratings are largely overestimated, given the large errors in their calculation. Sacrarium has long relied on stability, security and quality of content. Cases of theft and resale of unique content were completely prevented.
Now all created content is used by users only for their own personal purposes and for their pleasure. This fully complies with the policy of restricting the distribution of the potential copybot and losing the commercial benefits of the original creators.
The creators felt completely safe and started producing a huge amount of completely unique content. Now, traffic to their regions has increased as users purposefully visit their stores for exclusive content they can't get elsewhere. For the first time, creators began to derive satisfaction from their work. Among other things, the work of creators now directly affects the positive development of the Sacrarium and the entire community. Each of them is now a premium user of the Sacrarium. Convenience of creators, prompt processing of their requests and protection of their rights is a priority for Sacrarium. These are VIP users with the broadest powers, authority and privileges, such as free regions with an unlimited number of prims to create their stores. Sacrarium supports only the most talented creators, which is why only the best content is here. You can verify this by visiting the stores of the most popular brands: ACCESS SACRARIUM, EXPO SACRARIUM, Golden Exclusive, NI MAX, Fashionistas island, ILLUSION, Arts Manhas, Lita Store, The Furniture River, MG men, Golden River, Second Hand, FLORA, METPO, 7th Heaven, Cursed heaven, Panorama, GREEDY MUSEUM, DOMINO MODE, PARADOX, Queit Lagoon, Fluffy Store, The Harbor etc.
The Sacrarium has become the one of safest grid in the entire OpenSim universe. Here you will no longer find virtual pedophiles harassing users. There are no more virtual hooligans and thieves, one-day bullies, copyboters and drama lovers. All this is the result of the well-coordinated work of Sacrarium and our partners. If, hypothetically, there is a problem with any user, then he will no longer be able to avoid responsibility. A kind of “virtual Interpol” has formed. If the Sacrarium receives a complaint from partners about the actions of a user from the Sacrarium, then such a user can lose his account forever, without the ability to create a new one. If the Sacrarium submits a complaint against a user from the partner grid, who systematically violates the rules of the Sacrarium, then the administration of the partner grid takes immediate action. We help each other maintain order, respect and safety.
Sacrarium began to receive some material support from its partners and tenants. All proceeds go towards improving and scaling servers, improving performance, reliability and security. A powerful grid control system was created, a regular backup system. Previously, Sacrarium could not make regular backups, given that regions with stores contain up to 25 GB of content, which takes up a huge amount of memory. All this would be impossible without our partners and sponsors. Considering that the amount of content is growing almost every day, it is necessary to constantly create backups. Of course, in terms of profit, the administrators of the Sacrarium receive absolutely nothing. It turns out that the Sacrarium pays to work for the benefit of its partners, who pay the Sacrarium for access. It may sound ridiculous, but after all, we are here to have a good time first. But there is a big difference in the fact that before the Sacrarium constantly had to fight against violators, but now the Sacrarium deals with conscious users who do not seek to cause damage, but use the content for their own pleasure. Some partners have even decided to change their policies regarding the ability to withdraw content from their grids. For example, AviTron, a project by Alex Ferraris, has banned the export of its objects to other grids. Alex wrote:
“Number we have now secured our doors. This means AviTron's content does not get out. Nothing comes out of our grid now. It is totally secured. Residents may still travel in and out of AviTron but they can not take objects from AviTron and bring them to another virtual world”.
This is a very interesting strategy, which allows AviTron users to enjoy the privileges deservedly and to be sure that they own exclusive content. Sacrarium can be sure that the content is reliably protected from distribution, and AviTron users are fully provided. Avitron strives to provide the best service for its users. Alex Ferraris has created a revolutionary and effective policy that can serve as an example for all who seek to prevent the copybot trade and illegal distribution of content. This is a huge contribution to the common cause. Everyone is outraged by the copybot, they arrange dramas, but only Alex Ferraris prefers to act.
The number of users who prefer to rent regions in the Sacrarium as the one of safest and most secured with the content of the grid has increased.
Just for Best Friends
Sacrarium partners were able to provide their users with the best content without spending any effort. All of them have the best technical characteristics and today are approaching luxury status. They got a larger number of people who want to become their users, which means that the number of regions needing to rent will also grow which will bring them profit and will significantly improve the service or cover the cost of renting servers. The price for a subscription to the Sacrarium is rather symbolic. This can be correlated with the rent for only 1.5 regions per month. This is paltry pay for unlimited access to premium Sacrarium content for EACH USER 24 hours a day. In other words, it is beneficial. The Sacrarium does not aim at enrichment, but only the creation of a certain barrier of symbolic payment. This barrier allows Sacrarium to weed out thousands of small and unprofitable grids that have no reputation or clearly defined goals. If the grid cannot afford to spend as little as $ 25 per month, then there is no point in taking the risk of providing access to those users. That is why a subscription to the Sacrarium makes sense mainly for serious projects that seek to expand their capabilities and can afford it. In other cases, it is more rational to use existing content in the hypergrid and spend money on maintaining its own existence. Nobody buys an expensive watch if they can hardly make ends meet. This is simple logic.
If we summarize the reaction of the mainstream community to the changes in the policy of the Sacrarium, a number of negative and angry responses can be found: “Sacrarium creates Second Life in OpenSim!”, “The Sacrarium creates a division into Elite and Poor Grids!”, “We will not pay for free content!” etc. Firstly, the Sacrarium is NOT going to and don’t want recreate a Second Life ecosystem. The Sacrarium is fundamentally opposed to the use of virtual currencies such as Podex or Gloebit. One should ask this question to grids in which objects are sold for real money. For some reason, this does not upset anyone. Secondly, the Sacrarium does not divide grids into elite or poor. We only try to cooperate with those grids that are well organized and strive to maintain order and security. Thirdly, all the content of the Sacrarium has always been and remains free. Symbolic fees are charged only for access to the Sacrarium, not for content. One last thing: Most likely you won't have to pay the Sacrarium for anything. The Sacrarium has no interest in your money. Sacrarium partners are mostly private and secured grids that aim to provide the most positive experience for their users. There are not many of them. This is a closed club for a special contingent of users.
Here's what the head of the Sacrarium WhiteAngel Deed thinks about this: “I don't understand why anyone might be unhappy with the new policy of the Sacrarium. I am primarily interested in the opinion of users, creators and partners of the Sacrarium. I am ready to defend their interests only. I also respect all users of all grids by default, this is a normal thing. But I just don't get involved in other people's business. There are a large number of closed and private grids, no one is outraged by them, but for some reason there is a special attitude towards the Sacrarium. The Sacrarium once held the leading position as the most popular grid. However, this popularity cost me a lot of money and nerves every day. My users and creators constantly plagued me with complaints. Today they are all contented and enjoying the free virtual life. Now everything fell into place. Popularity isn't worth all of these problems. The Sacrarium went into the shadows. It was worth doing from the very beginning. Sacrarium means "sanctuary", "palace", "secret place". It doesn't have to be available to everyone by definition. Today you will not find Sacrarium in the ratings and lists of grids, no mentions anywhere except in our media. Only the most experienced users know what the Sacrarium is. If you are new to OpenSim, then most likely you do not heard anything about it. And I like it. Now I know who I am dealing with. Our visitors from hypergrid are members of our club, we respect each other. We always conduct an equal dialogue, no problems arise. I call it civilized business. We are all tired of the constant anarchy and fuss. Therefore, now we have found what we always wanted to achieve: harmony and order”.
These are the main observations to date. All the problems that were previously described have been resolved. Something had to be sacrificed, such as the number of users, but in return there was a significant improvement in the quality of virtual life for all involved users. We all come to the virtual world to have fun and rest from the problems of real life. This is the most important goal that must not be forgotten.
Voice of Sacrarium