SL Exchange: The End of Malls?

While they certainly deserve more promotion, I don’t really write this as a “sponsored ad” to SL Exchange, but just to present a new economic model emerging from the hard work of Apotheus Silverman & Merwan Marker, which may probably represent one of the biggest changes in the way we view the SL economy.

Anyone who has shopped in SL for Christmas, having a specific idea in mind – say, a special item, a piece of clothing, or something – to give as a gift for a friend, knows what I’m talking about. There are no good search facilities in SL (while they’re promised for an upcoming major version, say 1.7 or so, which should be around in the summer of ’05). Even when you locate a certain type of item you wish to buy, and teleport to a mall where it’s available… well, you have lag to consider!

Malls serve the same purpose in SL as they do in RL: in a limited space, you get all sorts of small shops and can browse around to find lots of items. So you don’t waste time hopping from place to place to find what you need. And most “brands” (ie. merchants with a good reputation) will rent space on several malls, so you’ll be able to quickly compare prices and buy quickly what your budget allows – or, by contrast, just stroll around the many booths and vendors, and pick what you like 🙂

However, SL is not RL… meaning, malls are laggy in Second Life® (while they’re only “busy” in your real life), sometimes to a point, that shopping isn’t fun anymore. Or, if it’s not “fun” you’re after… it means it’s so hard to browse through the many vendors until you find the item you wish that it starts to be pointless.

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