Linden Lab has announced their purchase of the two web based merchange systems XStreet SL and OnRez. Their plan is to incorporate these services directly into Second Life. This is a smart move on Linden Lab’s part; by incorporating these service merchants are able to streamline their items, and goods through one platform. When Linden Lab created LindeX, the currency exchange service, it tied the purchasing and selling of currency to user accounts making it more accessible and easier to transfer currency throughout the platform. I feel the XStreet SL and OnRez acquisitions will provide a similar ease of use, a more robust classifieds system and an easier method for searching for virtual goods within Second Life.
I do have some reservations, my first being of personal preference. Linden Lab is shutting down the OnRez service and migrating to XStreet SL, I found OnRez to be more flexible than XStreet SL with its features. However, my decision to move from XStreet SL (formally called SL Exchange) to OnRez was centered around sale fees, which brings about my second reservation. When an item is purchased through XStreet SL, a fee is taken from the sale amount. Now that XStreet SL is going to be integrated into Second Life this policy makes little sense. Why list an item through the web based store when I can sell these items, without a fee, through my in world store. I’m sure the lost revenue can be recouped through listing enhancements (visibility, bold item listing, “featured” postings), and an advertisement system.
With the purchase of these systems I hope several enhancements can be added to the service. I feel XStreet SL is clunky, it requires an item in world to maintain sellable goods. When the grid is down, or a sim is inoperable, purchases are unable to occur. An idea would be to tie the inventory system to the web platform, moving items to a “store” folder where XStreet SL can operate from.
I also hope that Linden Lab opens the platform through some sort of API with possibilities of running a store through a personal domain (at a cost), and creating stronger ties to the in world classified system.
One interesting thought creeps to mind. The fact that the Electric Sheep Company is selling OnRez does say something about their activities within the virtual world. It seems like the final nail in the coffin for their interactions with Second Life and more of a push towards their own web based platform.