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Peacekeepers Tips

Peacekeeper Tips

On Our Corporate Relationship

First a reference:

The article above was published in Hiperia3d News, an online virtual reality news source. The article is called How do Virtual Worlds Survive? I encourage you to read the entire article. It will give you some insight into why Active Worlds makes many decisions that some of us fail to understand.

Many of our Peacekeepers have been associated with Active Worlds for more than 10 years. Over that span of time a large number of virtual reality competitors came into existence, flourished, and died. The most recent example is the demise of "There." There are many reasons that virtual worlds pass from the Metaverse. I suspect the number one reason is a poor business model coupled with an inability to attract and retain users.

The Active Worlds Business Model

Often in the AW Forums we see people who bash Active Worlds. It is important to remember that it is by the grace of Active Worlds that we have a place to build and make friends. This service is not free. Active Worlds is a business and as such must make a profit to survive. Contrary to popular belief, the universe we inhabit is not the only Active Worlds universe. In fact there are hundreds of universes, most owned by educational institutions or corporations. It is revenue from these sources that keeps Active Worlds alive. It is a sustainable economic model. Active Worlds makes payroll every month, has no debt, and a small margin of profit. There are very few companies in America that meet those criteria.

Paying Focus Group

We have all of the components of a successful virtual world. However, we are sustained not by our citizenship or the cost of worlds but rather by all those other universes. So if we are not economically sustainable why does Active Worlds keep this universe running? For starters it is the oldest virtual-reality universe on the web and this sense of leadership has an emotional attachment. However, the most important reason is the users. This universe has gifted builders (if you are not a gifted builder go to AWSchool and become one). Further, many of our users are consummate innovators, often using objects exactly the way they were not intended to be used. We have an extremely vocal user population. All one has to do is glance through the community forum. It is these suggestions and those innovations that are guidelines for the other profitable commercial ventures undertaken by Active Worlds. Our universe is in essence a paying focus group for the development of future products. As such, much of what they intend to sell later we test first. This formula often results in unexpected results, but more importantly it puts all of us on the cutting edge.

We have a wonderful relationship with the parent company but anything we do that detracts from the profitability of our specific universe places us on the chopping block. Fortunately, Active Worlds staff have never forgotten that a social virtual world is about the people and not the content. To that end, they provide a dedicated member of their staff to act as a liaison with the user population. It is important to remember that they welcome constructive criticism but do not particularly appreciate mean spirited comments or hurtful statements.

The Hand That Feeds Us

So as valued users of our universe, Peacekeepers encourage you to do what you can to attract new users because that increases the profit bottom line. And, more importantly, do not badmouth or act out against the staff as this is, in essence, biting the hand that feeds us. It is just as important to mind our manners with each other as it is with those who provide the very worlds in which we play.

Respect the Active Worlds staff and work with them! After all, none of us want to end up like the citizens of “There” who gathered on the end of a virtual dock one last time, looking over a tranquil sea, as the sun set one last time followed by the ebon darkness of a server that was no longer “There.”

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