29 December 2006

The Service Provider Blues

The biggest problem with trying to sell yourself as a service provider is that people expect you to be one. Gamers expect their VWs to be unavailable regularly. We don't expect the electricity or ISPs to do so. We expect responsive customer service, trouble ticket updates, service stability, speedy failure recovery...

I'm musing about the advantages and dangers of market positioning. Interesting stuff. You aren't going to get the PR machines, hype, and hopefully investments if you're "just" a game, but if you aren't prepared to either handle the maintenance burden or pass it on to your customers you're on borrowed time. If you pass it on effectively enough, the financial niches for you seem to be as a hosting provider or "expert" ... would those be viable enough to be worth the investment? Managing expectations - customers, investors.

For all of you who're currently dependent on SL, businesswise, socially, careerwise... I feel for you.

Added later: Pathfinder Linden put up a post explaining what was going on. I hope this level of transparency continues. Turns out they were experiencing multiple hardware failures - one of those situations where really all you can do is wait for the equipment.

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