Friday, April 10, 2009

My Take on the Closing of Runway Magazine

A serious post for me today. But I have been getting messages inworld asking for my opinion on this, so here it goes.

Runway Magazine, one of SL's largest commercial publications, has suddenly closed as reported by them. A potential scandal has erupted, apparently, since advertisers who have prepaid are not getting their prepaid advertising refunded, and staff has not been paid.

You can read more about the issue here, and in other publications. And if these allegations are true, it definitely is a scandal.

Here is my position:

1. I am hearing all of this second hand, was not directly involved, and refuse to condemn anyone until all the facts are verified. I will not mention any names in a negative manner .

2. If it is true that advertisers have not had prepaid advertising refunded, shame on the proprietors of Runway who are keeping this money. You owe these advertisers their money back. You are stealing from them. There are no if, and, or buts, and since some of these people may have paid upwards of 50,000 for schedules I implore Linden Labs to get involved here through legal means to see that any advertisers prepaid funds are returned.

3. If some advertisers have prepaid, and will not get their funds returned, there are many other fashion publications on Second Life who would kill to get these ad schedules. And many publications offer free pages to advertisers on a trial basis. I would love to see any prepaid advertiser (and I guess this would have to be done on an honor basis) have free advertising in come of the other publications. This would probably benefit both . Jago and I (I need to check with him LOL) will even run ad pages on this blog and Sex Aficionado for advertisers who have prepaid - contact me with a notecard inworld since my IMs are capped.

4. Runway, pay your staff if you have not. I can see from your ad schedule that you have made a bit of cash. You do not have a print bill to pay. Your advertising is profit. I am sure they did not work for much money.

5. The owners of Runway has attacked Frolic Mills of Best of SL. Their staff members approached Frolic to take their publication over. And he agreed to with no upfront cash benefit for himself.

See Frolic's press release here:

I think that this is wrong on their part of the owners of Runway. They should be thankful that Frolic offered to keep their staff employed and fulfil their advertising commitments!

I have news for the owners of Runway. The "wonderful" Runway name, if advertisers and staff members have been left in the hole financially, is not worth much ! Any new owner would have a liability to meet in terms of advertising, and memories are short in Second Life! If you think that you can market or revive your publication after screwing people over, you are mistaken. Do the right thing and try to find someone to take over your liability.

6. The over riding lesson for everyone. It is very very hard to make real world money in Second Life. It is rough to clear a profit of US $1000 US a month (about 250,000 Linden). Very few people do this. It was easier during the property boom that ended in mid 2007 when gambling was forbidden in Second Life. Before then, property was going for L$ 8000 per 1000 meters, and sims were going for L$ 500,000 as an SL property "Ponzi Scheme" was occurring.

If a publisher in the real world makes a salary of US $150,000 a year, it would be hard to make 10% of this in Second Life. So don't get into the publishing business here to become rich. Do it to have fun instead.

Thanks for listening, Eddi

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