It is happening. Arguing over whether it is fair is a waste of time. The current rules allow for it, and if Ansche doesn't do it someone else will. Use your time, words, and $L where they will be most effective.
Here's what I'm expecting to see with the introduction of a Walmart to SL.
- Goods offered by independent and small group creators will dramatically go up in quality. They need to differenciate themselves from Ansche-mart, and keep their $L per hour rate up. Niches, branding, and image will become very important.
- New advertising modes for these creators will appear. Fast. If you have an idea for a new advertising service, NOW is the time. Watch the channels Ansche-mart uses; that business model requires large numbers of purchases and that requires being seen and heard. She's already started this in Dreamland, remember the 16M ad plots on her sims?
- The newbie and casual creator end of the market will suffer. Newbies often make a handful of lindens by learning how to create and sell. They're new to it, so the goods they make are usually low quality and involve a high time investment. Cheap goods discourage people from learning to make their own, so long term there'll be a lower percentage of newbies who become high-quality creators.
- Assuming LL ever gets their billing problems fixed, there will be more people buying lindens. Newbies can't easily sell their creations, but they want $L, so they'll have to buy them. Meaning more money flowing thru the linden economy. Long term, this will be a good thing for everyone involved with the economy.
- Cheap and free goods will encourage people who are trying out SL to stay. Cheap goods encourage them to start buying items, getting people over the concept of buying virtual goods.
As an aside, I wonder if the reason furniture was released first is to encourage land buyers and renters? Most avatars have no land, and so no use for furniture. The goods are using animations from someone else so I wonder if there's no skilled animators on staff yet. Quality control is also an issue - the furniture line was first released with full perms accidently on those animations.