Monday, July 23, 2007

SLBoutique ReRezzed

For quite some time the SLBoutique has been a topshopping site for Second Lifers next to the SL-Exchange. As the Second Life economy grows, these shopsites grow accordingly. Most started over a private initiative and SL-Exchange evolved into what I'd call a typical Open-Source community design.
The SLBoutique was taken over by the Electric Sheep Company several months ago and was pretty mothballed due to ESC's neglect, and in its latest design it's just pushing the ESC logo and brandname.
Today, July 23rd, the curtain falls for the SLBoutique as it will be taken offline to return in the shape of Shop OnRez come thursday. In the meantime its content will be migrated.
The Shop OnRez previews I've seen look very promising, giving it an overall slick Web 2.0 look and feel. I've never been much of an outworld shopper -primarily due to crappy navigation on these shopping sites - This one I might check out.

Last friday, ESC's Giff Constable promoted the new OnRez shop at the weekly Geek Meet. In the wrap up I've published just a part of Giff's comments on OnRez, here's some more:
"To give you a quick intro, The Electric Sheep company has long been known as a consulting company for virtual worlds, but our business goals always included building a consumer software business. Our goal is to create technologies to make virtual worlds easier to use and make information flow more efficiently.
We are launching a new brand around these consumer technologies called OnRez, with the first step launching next Tuesday. Shopping has always been important to us, which is why we bought SLBoutique in early 2006, but while we focused on our consulting business SLBoutique was neglected.
That changed early this year when we looked closely at the technology and decided we needed to overhaul the entire SLBoutique system. On tuesday we're launching Shop OnRez. Our goal overall is to make shopping easier wherever you are, and to make life a lot easier for the small businesses of SL.
We've made a lot of changes to make the whole thing more robust, to make deliveries more stable, and the whole thing better functioning. SL has some tricky things around object deliveries that took some finagling.
What really interests me though is how we're trying to bridge the Web and SL (as some others are as well). We provide a single place for a seller to load their goods, we now provide scripted vendors so they can sell those goods on the Web or in their stores. We provide search capabilities so that you can walk into a store and search right for the item you want.
The in world shopping can take the form of a scripted vendor specific to a seller, or a general OnRez shopping HUD, or a shopping kiosk you can put up. Frankly I view HUDs as rather crude, so we're also working on the open source SL client to see how we can improve shopping by embedding functionality right in the experience, but HUDs are the best we have right now!
A HUD is built on prims and LSL and it's text display and input capabilities are rough, to be extremely kind, I'd like to see more widget type functionality but that's not a tomorrow thing. we're months away from that but my view of all of this is that we need Linden Lab to improve the SL performance and scalability -- make what we have now better, but we also need to see innovation on top of this platform.

In a few weeks we'll also be relaunching the second life search engine. Linden Lab is also working on one, and I look forward to what they come up with, but we are going to go ahead and try to put out some better Web search capabilities than currently exists right now."

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