Thursday, 15 January 2009

Subscriber Kiosk vs. Subscribe-o-Matic

I've noticed Subscribe-o-Matic is the group update-that-doesn't-take-a-group-spot of choice in Second Life, and Zanzo has been using it for a number of months. But as your subscriber base goes up, so does the cost. With recent group freebies and subsequent blog coverage, we've have tons of new subscribers and were edging in on 500 total, which would have cost us around L$2,000 per month. Then if we'd gone over 1,000 subscribers, which we're pretty sure in time we would have, the cost would have gone up to a hefty L$5,990 per month. Such costs wouldn't exactly cripple us like it would a brand new business, but is still a heck of a lot of money, money that could be used on rentals or classifieds.

So Averie over at Hourglass Shapes brought to my attention an alternative called Subscriber Kiosk. Basically, you pay a one time cost and then that's it, unless you wanna upgrade to more members - then you pay the difference. We maxxed out and splashed $2,350L for the "Pro Combo", which allows us 10,000 members - a number we're not likely to get to any time soon... in 2010 maybe, if we're lucky? But that price is only a little more than 500 to 1,000 members would cost us per month with Sub-o-matic.

So after that, we tried it out, and it has its pros and cons in comparison to Sub-o-matic. One thing I'm not too keen on is it doesn't tell me when someone subscribes or their name and the only way to view recent subscribers that I can tell is to view the WHOLE list in world - so in my case, if I want to see who joined in the past 12 hours, I have to have 400+ names thrown at me (and that number will go up as the subscriber count does). The online database (and other tools) that Sub-o-matic has is an advantage, but not sure if such little luxuries are worth the cash unless its rolling into your business.

One feature I do like is that if we decide to send a freebie, the gift is sent to group members, then... thats it. No group history, no join and grab, you have to BE a member to receive it. One thing that has bothered me is people joining our Subomatic just for a hot freebie, grabbing it, then leaving the group. People joining for a freebie and staying in the group doesn't irk me, as at least there is the pretense of showing some interest in the shop rather than raiding it dry and heading to the next store of choice to do the same (imagine everyone did that... SL economy collapse, anyone?).

Overall, it has been a positive and much better value for money experience so far. Sub-o-Matic does have more polish and professionalism, and messages/items finishing sending quicker, but its a sacrifice we're willing to make. So, yeah... Subscriber Kiosk, yo!