Wednesday, 1 August 2012

How to Win Friends on HUNTS


HUNTS are a fun way to experience a sort of guided tour of Second Life, and find cool new places to visit, great new stores to spend your lindens in and pick up some awesomely great FREE stuff... right? RIGHT?  Well, sure, so long as everyone plays ball and doesn't do things that IRRITATE everyone.

Let's deal with the hunters first, shall we?  I'm a fan of brevity, and believe in understanding implications, so I'm gonna go with a list approach.  This is MY list, these are MY opinions, and please remember, they are ONLY opinions.  That said, I think they might be opinions that a few folks share :

DON'T:

1. Whine about the quality of a prize or gift.

Seriously, you have no idea how much that PISSES CREATORS OFF!! Less than one percent of the creators in SL make anything like a liveable income from making stuff.  They make stuff for hunts because they love to create, because they would like people to see what they make, and they would like people to maybe buy some of it.  Even the simplest of teeshirts has cost the creator AT LEAST 10L$ to make, in texture uploads alone.  If we assume an ability to work at lightning speed and a willingness to work for minimum wage, the time spent in making the teeshirt is worth about £4... or $6... or about 900L$... yes, that's right, I said NINE HUNDRED LINDENS.  What gives anyone the right to whine about the quality of a gift they got FREE that has cost the creator a minimum of 910 Lindens?  And that's a simple teeshirt, remember... multiply up exponentially if we're talking about a complex outfit, a piece of jewellery... and again if we're adding in script of any kind or animations, like toys or furniture for example.

So, if a gift is not to your taste, quietly delete it and move on... do NOT whine like an ungrateful spoiled child, because that is exactly what you will sound like.

2. Whine about not being able to find a gift.

This one is very simple... it's a HUNT... not a hold out your hands and automatically get the gift.  Play the damn game a little, all right? READ the clue, work it out, LOOK around the store or sim.  Take your time... a leisurely stroll takes less time than a whine to a hunt group and a moan when you get embroiled in an argument in the group.

3. Fill up group chat with a blow by blow account of every gift you have found.

Seriously... NOBODY cares.  People look at groups to find out news about the hunt... which vendors have dropped out, which clues or locations have changed, to ask for additional clues for the trickier gifts, how many days they still have to hunt.  They generally do not give a rat's arse whether you found the yellow polka dot vase and butterfly hat that you hate and are only going to delete anyway.

4. Tell people exactly where the gift is.

Yes, you're very very clever for having found it, and feel free to give CLUES about where it is, but saying "it's underneath the golden throne behind the front left leg" completely kills the fun and the thrill of finding it for anyone else.

5. Cheat.

Yes, there are ways to make hunting easier, certain tools available in the viewer software... BUT... the more people who use those tools, the more creators get frustrated and take revenge by creating decoys, renaming bits of their store, etc.  It's a GAME, it's a HUNT... play along... cheating is like looking up the answers on a crossword puzzle book, or always employing "godmode" on a PC game... sort of pointless. If you don't like the damn game as it is.... don't play it.

DO:

1. Use the group to notify folks if you find a broken gift.

Most hunts have active groups with active moderators who are watching for exactly that news, and will get on the case quickly to get the issue resolved.  You can help them by being brief and precise about the location's number and name, and exactly what the problem is.

2. Use the group to ask for additional clues if you are REALLY stuck and have genuinely looked all over.

Chances are if you found it challenging so will other people.  Be smart about asking for help... saying "um, I need help" doesn't tell anyone what your problem is, get straight to the point... "is there an additional clue for location #1, Z&A Productions please?" is clear, short and allows folks to help you out.  You did notice the "please" in that sentence, right? Of course you did :)

3. Help other hunters who are looking for help.

Remember your first hunt, when you were clueless? Well, it might be their first hunt too.

4. Look around the locations thoroughly.

Very often the stores have group gifts, MM boards, Lucky Chairs, or just a freebies section.  You're there anyway, why not take advantage?  You might find something unbearably cool that you simply have to have. Don't rush through and miss out.

All right then... sitting there, nodding like a crazy thing and feeling smug now?  Then you are either perfect, or a creator.  Don't get comfy, it's your turn.  If we want the hunters to behave nicely, then WE have to play ball too:

DON'T:

1. Just throw out your oldest creation in a new colour as your gift.

If you do that, you are only shooting yourself in the foot.  Hunters very often use the gifts they get as indicators of your skill and creativity, so putting out the oldest (therefore, most likely... worst) example of your work is frankly a bit stupid.  Being blunt, it makes you look lazy, mean spirited and cynical... are you sure you want potential customers to see you that way?

2. Hide the gift TOO well.

As a rule of thumb, expect hunters to spend less than ten minutes looking for your gift.  If they haven't found it by then, resentment starts to build and your "approval rating" plummets.  Trust me, frustrated hunters do NOT buy your products... what they often do, however, is whine at great length about your store and how difficult it was to find the gift.

3. Get too cryptic or culturally obscure with your clues.

Get too weird, or too obscure with your clues and people will just be confused.  Confused people get frustrated, and frustrated hunters do NOT.... exactly :)  If you're a brit and use a very clever quote from The IT Crowd or Little Britain as your clue... MOST hunters will not get it, they're not brits.  Just saying :)

4. Whine about how lazy and ungrateful hunters are in the hunt chat group.

Yes, you're quite right, some of them are, and always will be.  But, saying that publicly, you run the risk of offending someone who is not lazy, nor ungrateful but just new to hunting and needing help.  That person might have lots of friends... and can directly affect your "approval rating" in the wider audience.  Are you really doing SO well with sales that you can afford to alienate and insult potential new customers? Thought not :)

DO:

1. Hide your gift near to things you want people to SEE.

Do you want more members in your group, or your mailing list? Hide the gift there then.  You want more people to see your latest product? Guess what - that's a great place to hide the gift.  Maybe you want folks to find and use the Freebie section or the MM board or the Lucky Chair?  You've got the point now, right?

2. Consider making your gift an exclusive, special edition of your latest product, or, even better - something built specifically and exclusively for the hunt.

What would you rather hear? "WOW! Did you see the prize at location #45? It's awesome, and the only way to get it is in the hunt"... or "Geez, did you see #45's prize?  Just a crappy green teeshirt with their logo on it".  I know which one will boost my "approval rating" more.

3. Consider putting out a few impulse buys near the information or landing point, beside the hint giver.

People will hesitate to spend serious money while hunting... but, put something cute and fun and irresistible right beside the hint giver or the prize itself for a low price and people may well snap it up.  I have lost count of how many cool things I have picked up because I thought "oh that's cute, and only 25L$".  Think about it, increased traffic... lots of 25L$ adds up quickly.  And people leaving your place with a bargain are happy and more likely to come back.

4. Follow the hunt guidelines.

Sounds obvious, right?  Most of the whines and moans in groups about finding gifts are related to creators not following the hunt guidelines:  not putting out the footpath where needed, not providing a clue at all, renaming the hunt object, hiding the gift TOO well, too many decoys, etc. For example, if it's a big hunt, I keep track of my progress by looking at the folder names.  If someone renames the object so it lands outside the list, or randomly decides to give me an object, not a folder, it messes me around and makes me growl... do you want to do that to people who might spend actual money in your store?

Okay, rant over... basically it boils down to this... THINK about implications, be NICE and if you don't like the implications or can't be nice... don't bloody play; take your drama some place else, because those of us who enjoy hunts cannot be arsed with it.

Hope your lives are treating you well

Bright Blessings

Eve :)


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