Home News & Updates Setting the Record Straight: My Take on Avatarlife vs. Second Life

Setting the Record Straight: My Take on Avatarlife vs. Second Life

by Prisqua Newall
1.2K views 18 minutes read

My video “Why Avatarlife Can’t Compete with Second Life” sparked a lively discussion, and I’ve noticed a theme in the comments that I’d like to address directly. Some of you have raised concerns about my impartiality and motivations. So, I want to set the record straight and share with you not only the foundation of my opinions but also some insights into the digital world landscape as I see it.

Unpacking Unsolicited Messages: The Entry Point to Avatarlife

My introduction to Avatarlife was unanticipated—it came through an unsolicited message urging me to join their platform, promising better features like free land and enhanced performance. Let’s clarify what “unsolicited” means: these are messages you receive without asking for them, a practice often seen as spamming. This aggressive marketing strategy is my first critique, not of the platform’s potential, but of its approach to attracting users.

The Questionable Marketing Tactics of Avatarlife: A Closer Look

In further elaboration on how Avatarlife has made its presence known, let’s discuss the means through which they attempt to attract users from Second Life. Disturbingly, these efforts include spamming Second Life Facebook groups and sending unsolicited messages. Such practices contrast with the norms of respectful business conduct. Typically, a reputable business would invest in advertising, send out press releases, or engage media outlets to gain visibility. This approach not only respects potential users’ space but also lends credibility to the business.

Moreover, the situation becomes even more problematic when considering the nature of the content found on Avatarlife. Another Second Life content creator, Alicia Chenaux, was approached by Avatarlife with an invitation to review their platform. Upon exploring Avatarlife, Alicia encountered a troubling reality: the platform was offering paid Second Life content for free. She recognised that several content creators had their work shared without consent, a clear violation of intellectual property rights and an ethical breach. Alicia’s decision to decline the offer stems from a principled stance against supporting a platform that disregards the rights and efforts of content creators.

This incident underscores a deeper issue beyond mere spamming. If Avatarlife’s strategy to build its user base involves unauthorised use of creators’ work, it not only reflects poorly on their ethical standards but also raises questions about their respect for the community they wish to serve. The integrity of a platform is paramount; if it begins its journey by compromising on ethical grounds, it risks alienating both potential users and creators.

Contrastingly, Second Life’s approach to community engagement and growth is markedly different. Second Life utilises its social media presence to share engaging content, celebrate community achievements, and highlight the creativity within its ecosystem. This approach not only respects the autonomy of potential users but also fosters a positive relationship with the community.

While Avatarlife may offer certain appealing features, the tactics they employ for user acquisition and content management are concerning. A platform’s success should be built on a foundation of respect, innovation, and community engagement. The digital world is vast, and there is ample room for competition, but success should not come at the expense of integrity and respect.

My Take on Avatarlife vs. Second Life


Navigating the Open Source Landscape and Intellectual Property in Second Life

A point of contention that has surfaced in discussions is Second Life’s open-source nature. Some argue that this aspect could potentially facilitate the unauthorised use of content. It’s important to clarify what open source implies and how it intersects with intellectual property rights, especially for those of us not steeped in technical jargon.

Open source, in the context of software, refers to the practice of making the source code available for anyone to view, modify, and distribute. This philosophy promotes collaboration and innovation but does not inherently negate the need to respect intellectual property rights. The confusion might arise from misunderstanding the scope of what being open source entails. It does not mean that all content within Second Life is free for the taking or can be used without proper authorisation or credit.

Regarding the use of someone else’s work, such as images or designs, the principle remains clear across digital platforms: you must either credit the creator, seek their permission, or both, depending on the usage and the licenses under which the content is released. This standard is not diminished by a platform’s open-source status. If Avatarlife or any other platform uses content originally created for Second Life, the same ethical and legal standards apply. The content creators’ rights must be respected, requiring their explicit consent for the use of their work elsewhere.

Some have pointed out that if the content used on Avatarlife has been approved by its creators, then documentation or agreements should be made available to clarify and legitimise such usage. Transparency in these agreements would alleviate concerns and validate the platform’s respect for intellectual property rights. Conversely, content creators themselves play a crucial role in this dialogue. By explicitly stating what is permissible regarding their creations, they can help clarify any ambiguities surrounding the use of their work on platforms like Avatarlife.

The intersection of open-source principles with intellectual property rights in virtual environments like Second Life presents a complex landscape. It underscores the importance of navigating these spaces with a keen awareness of both the freedoms and responsibilities involved. Ultimately, fostering an environment that respects creators’ rights and encourages ethical content usage is paramount for the integrity and vibrancy of any digital community.

Addressing Cross-Platform Content Concerns: The Sims Creations in Second Life

An additional layer to the conversation on content usage and intellectual property rights within digital platforms emerges when considering the experiences of creators from outside the Second Life community. Over the years, there have been numerous accounts from creators of content for “The Sims” video game series, who have expressed frustration and concern over their creations being repurposed without permission on Second Life. This situation highlights a broader issue of cross-platform content theft that extends beyond just Second Life or Avatarlife.

“The Sims” series, much like Second Life, boasts a vibrant and creative community that spends considerable time and effort crafting detailed content ranging from clothing and furniture to entire homes. When these meticulously designed items are taken and sold on Second Life without any form of credit or consent, it not only disrespects the original creators’ rights but also undermines the ethical foundation of user-generated content ecosystems.

This phenomenon underscores a critical challenge within virtual platforms: the need for stronger mechanisms to protect creators’ rights and ensure that all content is used ethically and legally. While platforms like Second Life provide incredible opportunities for creativity and entrepreneurship, they also bear the responsibility to foster an environment where intellectual property is respected across the board.

For creators who find their work used without permission, the path forward involves raising awareness, using platform reporting tools, and, where necessary, seeking legal recourse to protect their intellectual property. Similarly, platforms are encouraged to improve their content verification processes and take proactive steps to deter unauthorised use of external content, ensuring a fair and respectful creative space for everyone.

The importance of dialogue, transparency, and respect for intellectual property becomes ever more evident. Whether addressing the unauthorised use of “The Sims” content on Second Life or discussing the implications of open-source software on content creation and sharing, the underlying principle remains the same: creators’ rights must be at the forefront of our digital experiences.

The Essence of My Content: Unpaid and Unbiased

Let me be unequivocal: my reviews and content are neither solicited nor compensated by the entities I discuss. My commitment is to authenticity and transparency. I critique based on my experiences and observations, aiming to offer constructive feedback or express genuine curiosity, such as questioning why animation quality varies so significantly among creators. My focus is on sharing what I genuinely think and experience.

Embracing Diverse Perspectives: My Approach to Reviews

When it comes to reviewing products or services, my philosophy is rooted in honesty and open-mindedness. I welcome the opportunity to explore what you have to offer, but it’s essential to understand that my feedback, grounded in my personal experience and perspective, might not always align with your expectations. This isn’t to say that I approach reviews with a closed mind. On the contrary, I recognise the potential in every product or service and am committed to providing a detailed analysis that explains my standpoint. It’s important to remember that what may not suit me could be exactly what someone else is looking for.

Our preferences and opinions are shaped by a myriad of factors—our tastes, budget constraints, and backgrounds, to name a few. This diversity in experience and perspective is what makes our world so rich and interesting. Consequently, it’s entirely acceptable, and even expected, that opinions will vary. Disagreement or differing viewpoints are not only normal but also healthy, as they spur dialogue and can lead to improvements and innovations.

Moreover, my views are not immutable. I am always open to revisiting my assessments in light of new information or changes in the products or services I review. If you believe there’s an aspect I’ve overlooked or misunderstood, I’m more than willing to reconsider my position. I see this flexibility not as a weakness but as a strength, reflecting a commitment to fairness and learning.

For those who find value and satisfaction in Avatarlife or any other platform I discuss, I fully respect your choice. My aim is not to judge individual preferences but to share my insights and experiences. We are all unique, with diverse needs and desires. The beauty of the digital age is that it offers something for everyone. If Avatarlife is where you thrive, more power to you. I champion the idea that everyone should find their niche and enjoy it to the fullest. After all, the essence of a vibrant community lies in its ability to cater to a wide range of interests and preferences. You do you, and I’ll do me, and through this mutual respect, we can all contribute to a more inclusive and understanding digital landscape.

My Take on Avatarlife vs. Second Life

Exploring Avatarlife: Sparse buildings and minimal decor mean no lag, but it lacks the complexity and interactivity of Second Life’s scripts and rich details.”

The “Free” Business Model: A Double-Edged Sword

Avatarlife’s offer of free land is an enticing one, reminiscent of many businesses that initially provide services at no cost. However, sustainability is key. In my personal experience, operating below cost led to an inevitable closure due to unsustainable expenses. While free offerings can attract initial interest, a business’s long-term viability requires a monetisation strategy that may eventually diminish the allure of “free.”

The “Free” Business Model: A Reflection on Sustainability and Growth

Avatarlife’s strategy of offering free land to attract users mirrors a common tactic in the digital and broader business landscapes: the allure of complimentary services as a gateway to user engagement. This approach has undeniable appeal, drawing in users eager to explore what’s on offer without financial commitment. However, my own journey in the virtual world realm, particularly the difficult decision to close down two regions after consistently charging rental fees below cost, serves as a reminder of the sustainability challenge that such models face.

The reality is that while free offerings can generate initial interest and build a user base, they do not negate the underlying costs of running a business. Every venture, regardless of its size or sector, incurs expenses—from server maintenance to customer support and beyond. My experience shows the harsh truth that operating at a loss, driven by a desire to keep services accessible, is unsustainable in the long term. This lesson is not unique to me; countless businesses have had to reevaluate their ‘free’ models as they confront the financial imperatives of survival and growth.

At the core, the raison d’être of a business is to generate revenue. While this may seem a cold truth to some, it’s a fundamental aspect of ensuring a venture’s longevity and capacity to serve its customers. The transition from free to paid services, or the introduction of premium models, is a delicate but necessary step for many, driven by the need to balance user satisfaction with financial viability.

Adding to this conversation is the situation with Destiny 2, developed by Bungie. This high-profile video game has encountered financial difficulties, leading to significant layoffs despite its vast user base and critical acclaim. This example illustrates that even large-scale businesses with substantial investment in content and user experience are not immune to economic pressures. It serves as a cautionary tale of the volatility in the tech and entertainment sectors, emphasising the need for a robust, transparent plan for growth and adaptation.

For Avatarlife, and indeed any platform looking to carve out a sustainable niche in the competitive digital landscape, the story of Destiny 2 underscores the importance of forward planning. Providing users and potential investors with a clear roadmap of future developments, monetisation strategies, and value propositions is crucial. Such transparency not only builds trust but also allows for community feedback, which can be invaluable in steering the platform toward success.

The allure of free services is a powerful tool for initial engagement, but the long-term viability of a business hinges on its ability to evolve beyond this model. As I reflect on my own experiences and observe the challenges faced by others, the lessons are clear: sustainability requires innovation, transparency, and, above all, a keen awareness of the economic landscape that shapes our digital experiences.

Competition: The Catalyst for Innovation

I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of competition—it drives innovation, improvement, and choice. Avatarlife’s ambition to compete with Second Life is commendable. However, success in competition comes from uniqueness and fair play, not from questionable tactics like spamming or using content without permission. Growth should be fostered through originality and quality, setting a platform apart in the digital realm.

The Ethical Path to Innovation and Growth

The principle of competition serving as a driving force for innovation, improvement, and expanded choices is a cornerstone of a healthy market ecosystem. It encourages businesses to strive for excellence, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible to meet and exceed consumer expectations. The ambition of Avatarlife to position itself as a contender against established platforms like Second Life is essential for the vibrancy and dynamism of the virtual world industry.

However, the essence of constructive competition lies in how it’s pursued. Success should stem from offering something genuinely innovative and of high quality—factors that can genuinely set a platform apart. This principle extends beyond just providing competitive features or pricing; it encompasses the methods used to attract and retain users. Employing questionable tactics such as spamming or using content without proper authorisation undermines the very spirit of fair competition. It casts shadows on the platform’s integrity and can alienate potential users who value ethical practices.

In my view, competition does not necessitate cutting corners or resorting to ethically questionable practices. On the contrary, true competitive advantage is built on the pillars of uniqueness, creativity, and fair play. These elements not only foster a more respectful and collaborative industry environment but also encourage platforms to invest in their unique selling propositions, ensuring they offer real value to their users.

The history of technology and innovation is replete with examples where competition has led to remarkable advancements. From the space race that catalysed advancements in science and technology to the rivalry between tech giants that continues to push the envelope in computing and consumer electronics, competition has been a catalyst for breakthroughs that redefine industries and consumer experiences.

For Avatarlife, embracing competition means focusing on what they can uniquely offer to the virtual world community. Whether it’s through innovative features, a distinct user experience, or exceptional content, the goal should be to distinguish themselves in a manner that resonates with users on a profound level. Moreover, fostering an environment of transparency and respect for intellectual property rights is not just about adhering to legal and ethical standards; it’s about building a foundation of trust with both users and creators—a critical asset in the competitive landscape.

Competition is undoubtedly a force for good, driving platforms to evolve and better serve their communities. However, the path to competing effectively is paved with integrity, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to fair play. By championing these values, platforms like Avatarlife can not only aspire to compete but also to elevate the entire virtual world space, contributing to an ecosystem where innovation thrives on the principles of respect and creativity.

My Take on Avatarlife vs. Second Life

Crossing a bridge on Second Life, into a realm of serenity by the river and under the enchanting light through the leaves, capturing the meticulously crafted beauty that awaits explorers at every turn.

Second Life: Beyond Commerce, a World of Discovery and Community

Amidst voices labelling Second Life as overly commercial, looking deeper into its essence and the diverse experiences it offers a lot. Over its 20-year journey, Second Life has evolved into a rich mosaic of creativity, community, and exploration that transcends mere commerce. The perception that it lacks fun or is purely commercial overlooks the myriad ways in which users can engage with the platform and each other, creating unique and fulfilling experiences.

The commercial aspect of Second Life, while significant, is but one facet of its vast universe. Yes, the platform has given rise to entrepreneurs who have found their niche, turning their virtual endeavours into full-time incomes. This economic evolution proves the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of its residents, reflecting a broader trend of digital innovation and commerce. The success of these businesses, driven by demand, indicates a vibrant market within Second Life, but to reduce the platform to its commercial transactions is to miss the forest for the trees.

My personal journey on Second Life, shared with my partner, underscores the platform’s capacity for adventure, learning, and discovery. Every weekend’s exploration of new and old regions reveals spaces that are anything but commercialised; they are realms of creativity, beauty, and often, tranquility. While it’s true that some regions may be quiet, the sheer variety available ensures that there’s always something new to discover, be it through interactive experiences, games, or simply admiring the creativity of fellow users.

Critiques regarding the abundance of shopping events on Second Life are not unfounded. I’ve observed and commented on the proliferation of such events, questioning their necessity in a world teeming with possibilities. However, their continued existence and popularity speak to a demand within the community. Second Life is a marketplace of ideas and interests, where the principle of choice reigns supreme. No one is compelled to engage in commerce continuously; the world is vast and varied, offering countless opportunities for engagement beyond shopping.

Activities like sailing, horseback riding, or exploring with friends—or even solo adventures—are testaments to the platform’s diversity. Second Life is what you make of it, a canvas for your interests, passions, and explorations. My experiences on Second Life, whether shared or solitary, are a source of joy and fulfilment, not defined by shopping but by the connections and discoveries made along the way.

Comparing this to my brief encounter with Avatarlife, which, while still in its early stages, has yet to offer experiences that resonate on the same level. However, it’s important to acknowledge its potential for growth. Just as Second Life has evolved over two decades, so too may Avatarlife find its footing and niche, contributing its unique voice to the tapestry of virtual worlds.

Second Life’s legacy is made of evolving community that invites exploration, creativity, and personal growth. The true value of these platforms lies not in their economic transactions, but in the rich web of experiences they offer to those willing to explore.

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Wolf March 28, 2024 - 7:04 pm

Bad article, the same things are repeated over and over. What thoose people did to you? Or you’re paid by SL? Because noone asked your opinion.

Dante June 6, 2024 - 3:31 am

Brilliant essay! I did not intend to read the whole thing but you’re writing is so cogent and articulate that I did.
I am a long time Second Life denizen but have not tried AvatarLife yet.
I found your arguments well-reasoned, sourced and balanced.

MTR June 9, 2024 - 1:08 pm

I found this article after I received the same unsolicited emails from Avatarlife. I appreciate the information! It does seem like AL isn’t so much trying to build a virtual platform so much as they are trying to copy and paste one. SL’s main strength has been that it’s resisted becoming part of the enshitification of everything; while player populations come and go, the platform itself is as good as its ever been. I’m not interested in a second platform that is merely a watered down, exploitive version of the original. Thanks for writing this article.

DougieC June 18, 2024 - 6:10 pm

Overall, mostly a good article, reviewing the contrasting issues between Second Life (SL) and Avatar Life (AL). There are however, issues not being addressed. To talk about SL as though they were respect-clad innovators overlooks reports about conduct of leadership in Linden Labs (LL), in many ways far more important than violations of intellectual property rights. It is for that reason, that after 11-12 years with SL, I left permanently two days ago. Whether any specifics of the allegations are proven true or untrue, I cannot afford to remain associated.

I had no idea about AL, but searching revealed it. Right away I and my friend who signed on with me noticed copies of items created on SL and appearing on AL (some being the exact same items she had saved up and paid for herself in SL)…whether free or paid, seeming to be violating the creators in a personal way, rather than just because of any policies or intellectual property rights laws. The creators put huge amounts of time, and often money, into creating such wonderful, intricate items and immersive and engaging environments. Leaving was enough to make me cry…I loved my experiences in SL, creating memories I will cherish for the rest of my life (I’m 77 atm). But my situation is not the common situation for most people on SL, and I truly hope and expect that the many people enjoying SL will continue to be able to do so.

Setting all the SL vs AL issues aside…

You also branched out into more generalized comments about ethics, marketplace ecology, factors that draw and motivate people to come and to stay, and to trust enough to share creations and actually their lives with others in a newer type of environment.

While I don’t disagree with your comments particularly, they tend to skirt around certain salient issues, almost implying that the business world and tech giants, etc., are icons of ethical example. Instead, they are behind much of what drives the world crazy today…telemarketing, unfair outsourcing, abuses toward both customers and employees, price luring and variations on bait and switch, planned obsolescence in the extreme, low quality and the list goes on and on (including horrendous outcomes in the world). The global business infrastructure and most (if not all) areas it touches are in shambles, shattering the hope of a bright future in which all people use the ethical underpinning you describe.

On a positive note, there are people, groups and companies who are realizing that the deficiencies and non-ethical practices cannot continue forever, and that eventually the infrastructures built on these things will falter and collapse. Despite the fact that some mega-wealthy people and groups seem to be planning to take even more advantage as such collapses occur, some are actualizing changes which are people-centered, and “service to the community”-oriented. Effective processes are being put into place and into action which change people’s lives whether blue collar, white collar, professional or functionally illiterate (even with these mixed together and growing side-by-side). If we’re fortunate, these processes will go viral, becoming capable of permeating the lives and practices of business leaders, religious leaders, political leaders and members and leaders of the ever-present military and laws-driven machines. So there is reason to hope, and yet most people are unaware of this reversal and of the revival of better ways of being in the world. The major key is that which impacts the inner psyche and emotions, drawing the individuals (who discover their part in that motion) into renewed lives. I don’t plan to discuss that here, but I do personally observe at least some of that. My son is creating a company that works with businesses to shift their business models from “bottom line thinking” toward approaches that serve the people of communities who are ultimately responsible for their existence. That is of course, motion toward returning to what you talked about throughout your article. Although people are often not accustomed to things like being treated well and fairly by truly caring business and government…to the extent that this motion continues and grows, they will become willing to open up to it and regrow their trust more and more. Gladly, the majority of people on the planet are still somewhat hopeful and waiting for such change to occur so they can join in the chorus.

And lastly, there is the simple fact that SL is dying. I agree that unless there are major changes made with AL’s business model, it will buckle and fall. SL is actively doing some things to improve the quality of their offerings overall…kudos…but it seems too little too late actually. It isn’t that long ago that LL wanted to close SL. More and more who are or were owners of multiple sims and tons of cool things and activities…and peaceful environments as you mentioned, are begging for donations, speaking of and actually cutting back on active features or failing and disappearing.

AL has potential. So far it’s fun but…it has so very far to go to make it truly successful, regardless of any competition with SL. Thanks for the article.

Prisqua Newall June 18, 2024 - 6:21 pm

With what Linden Lab has been doing lately, we might all be moving to AvatarLife soon. Second Life needs competition…

DougieC June 19, 2024 - 6:08 am

Whether I ever end up reentering the Second Life scene, I hope that some important current issues are resolved and that ways are found to attract people and businesses to regain confidence in Second Life and return. There is still so much there with wonderful capabilities’ technical details already figured out and made real. For my own preferences, the best experiences of beauty, community and role playing were found on the (Pandora) sims related to the movie, Avatar…truly amazing and serene in many areas. I missed much of it, coming late to those sims, but years ago they were a robust going concern with buzzing Na’vi and human communities within the earlier versions of the sims. Unlike some other places, these are currently growing, adding more sims, and hoping people will come as they add areas and features related to the more recently released sequel. The main sim (now 3, plus 2 non-contiguous) is named nAvitar and there are people there daily (varying by times) that one can ask about what they’re up to or be shown around. I loved being with and working with the people there.

Sushant July 3, 2024 - 5:52 pm

Hi Prisqua! I am Sushant, one of the founders of AvatarLife. I respect your views and unbiased review of SL vs AvatarLife. I want everyone to know the rationale behind why we do what we are doing:

1) AvatarLife started as a really small company. With no content whatsoever. People came, saw there was nothing and then they left. It was a chicken and an egg situation. Then a few people suggested about content being available on hypergrid for Opensim based grids to have content. Thats how AvatarLife got its content and not directly from SecondLife. Hypergrid has henceforth been closed at AvatarLife and we dont intend to open it again to public due to the entry of a lot of stolen items. We definitely take action on any item identified by creators as their creation when they give us proof of it. Being a creator myself, I would not like my creations out there for free.

2) Lands are free and its sustainable on AvatarLife: How? Because we charge a grid maintenance fee of 10% from all users irrespective of them holding land or not. Even This fee is waived off for Diamond premium members.

3) I took in your feedback from the video and we improved our website to show content from our inworld. It looks so much better now. Thanks for the valuable feedback!

Prisqua Newall July 8, 2024 - 7:49 am

What do you mean you charge 10%? I joined for free and got a full region for free (although I have not logged in since the video, so probably lost it), so does that mean you can’t join for free anymore?

nonya July 1, 2024 - 9:52 pm

sl banns people and give no reason and when they give u a reason it dont add up, and then they cant prove to you why your account was deleted other then your a bad person with no prove. that they have nothing and still deleting peoples profiles and accounts … why? cause they want to shut SL down they want to get rid of people so there for all them who did get kicked there is a second better chance avatarlife. here we come.


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