The Day We Fight Back

Friday, February 29, 2008

When is a FREEBIE not FREE

Ok picture this scene...I'm in my office under the store lounging in my favorite chair, listening to Radio Nigel and working on a new dress. It's been a day since I sent out a FashCon or Group notice and it's slowed down but business is good and steady. I have live models on both stands spinning, wearing the newest Sn@tch hotness and greeting customers...all is right with the world and all of a sudden I get an IM from one of the models "Ivey, you better get up here" and I look at the map and in the back of my store I see 20...30...40 green dots all at the spot where my hidden freebies are located. I teleport up and hear this..."ok everybody, this is where the freebies are! One is the Backseat Prom Date Dress in Purple in front of you and the other is the Cry Baby set on the wall under the shapes behind you!" I was aghast. So much for my freebie hunt promotion. I let them all get what they wanted. Grumbling the whole time. One of the models said I must be making a lot of money cause of all the people. LOL not one sale. No one cam shopped, no one even left the area where the freebies were. They took their loot and left. I felt raped. Is that all I'm good for...a quick freebie wham bam thank you ma'am? Oh wait,. I didnt get any thank yous.

This has become pretty common the past few weeks and honestly I've considered stopping doing freebies at all which makes me really upset to be truthful. I'm a huge proponent of the "Freebie" I lived off freebies and givaways my first few months in SL. I purposely put together a large freebie and discount section in my store and every branch location has a freebie bag or traffic cone in it. I do them for a few reasons. One cause I know what it was like to be new and not have any money to buy decent things. Two because it brings in good steady traffic. Three because this weeks freebie could be next weeks actual sale item. Its just good business. It never hurt a designer to give something away...that has been my motto until now and you may say what are you complaining about...this is a ton of traffic for your store..but is it worth it? When is it is actually hurting me to give things for free?

These freebie "Groups" are sprouting up all over. Some started by ligitimate SL Freebie bloggers and some independent, but what happens is someone in open chat announces that a freebie is available and lists the location of it and the SLurl and hundreds of people in that group swarm the store at once, sometimes crashing whole sims. Some people are very considerate and some not so much. If they can't find a freebie they are looking for (it's been moved, or the sale has been OVER FOR TWO DAYS, or they are just too lazy to look for it) they start to argue with the people that work there. My models have been threatened, I have gotten many nasty IMs because a freebie that I took down at the end of an announced sale is gone. I've had people shout over my whole sim that my store was a "rip off" I've heard stories of other store owners that have yanked up their group freebie when the mob rolls in and advised the freebie was for group or customers only and they have been verbally attacked and threatened.

This is getting completely out of hand, hence why I wanted to do this post. I don't want to stop giving freebies. I love doing them and for some people they really help. But to the ones that only take advantage of freebies and never support a designer by purchasing anything or passing a landmark to friends or even bother to say a thank you once in awhile after collecting multiple freebies from a store. To the ones that neglect to read an entire announcement on a sale or freebie and report it incorrectly to 2000 people in group chat....this is for you.

The new policy regarding freebies at Sn@tch, The Hunger and Retox stores.

1. A Freebie is not an entitlement, it is a gift

2. All freebies and hunts will be announced in the proper channels with the item, the time it will be out and may or may not include the location. See number 3

3. Some freebies will be listed as "Hunts" which means the location will not be announced and you will have to scan the vendors in the store to find what is on sale.

4. The location and item on sale may and probably "will" change without notice!

5. Ivey Deschanel and Roblem Hogarth reserve the right to REMOVE any freebie at any time we wish. These are OUR items, not YOURS and we say when and where we will give them away, period!

6. All Freebie items are Mod/Copy only!

7. If you argue with employees or the owners, harass and bother other customers or shout on sim because you cannot find a freebie or one has been removed...YOU will be banned from the store and the entire Pulse Sim without warning. If you behave this way at our store, we will not have you harassing other stores or residents on sim either.

8.If you don't like it, don't come, but know if you do come and step over the line, you will be banned permenantly, muted and reported. I want business, but I don't want YOUR business so bad that I will suffer for it or let my employees and customers suffer either.

Cherlindrea posted a list of freebie etiquette on her Blog and it is indeed FABULOUS! Read it, know it, LIVE IT

As I said, I don't want to stop making freebies or having sales. The ones who are doing this are ruining it for you all, so there is only so much I can do. Police yourselves as much as you can...when you see a friend being an asshole, call them on it. Give hints about where hunt items are instead of leading someone right to them. ACTUALLY READ THE BLOGS AND NOTICES ALL THE WAY THROUGH. When I say a sale is for 24 hours. It's not for 24 hours from when YOU read the notice. SL time is SL time not YOUR time zone. A thank you once in awhile would be really nice. I don't do it for the thank yous, but I may want to stop because I don't think anyone appreciates what I do and the time it takes to put these "FREE" things together. And please please don't harass or argue with in store employees and other customers. You are ruining business for people who are giving you GIFTS. Does that make any sense at all?

Anyways, thats my rant for today. I'm bushed. Feel free to comment, and I would love to hear your horror stories about things that have happened in your stores from other designers. It's nice to know you're not alone. Maybe if we all put some kind of say in this now, we can curb this mob mentality before it gets too insane and the people that really appreciate our gifts will get them. To you that do...keep coming. We love to see you and we love to make things for you!

I was gonna do a post on the new Hunger items now, but I'm gonna relax a bit in my comfy chair and listen to Radio Nigel. Nite!


Achariya Rezak said...

Ahaha. This makes me feel guilty for blogging about your clothes and mentioning that I bought it while I was there for the free thing.

I didn't have hints, btw. =)

Sorry it turned out horribly for you, but I'm actually happy that you did the hunt, because it got me to your store to see your other clothes. =)

Ivey Deschanel said...

Ohh definitely not going to stop doing the hunts and anyone that gets a freebie shouldnt feel guilty at all! I love to do them. It's when people start getting a mob mentality and becoming abusive about the freebie that it makes me crazy. I'm like are SCREAMING obscenities at a live model in the store because you can't find a hidden freebie...come onnnnn lol. This is not a single occurance either, this is common!

Anyway, love the comments and would love to hear any ideas people have on curbing the problem too! Thanks!

Que Tee said...

This makes me ashamed to be a part of some freebie groups. The people who act like this in no means speak for the rest of us. Thank you for putting your time and effort into freebies for the rest of us. I say, in the future ban away, and let the group owners know who are acting like children.

Sasy Scarborough said...

DONT take them away, it is hard and working for others in the past I have watched flocks come in for lucky chairs tp in hundreds of people so that the letters changed so fast it was stressful to be sure, and then wooosh all gone again and ignoring me saying hi and welcome to the store - I HATE THAT!

I have also experienced the 'where is it' and 'it said' comments and thankfully I usualy copy paste in text doc what I send in notices so I am able to go back and go 'Sorry but it actualy said this'

I also with all the different time zones have started stating what time/date it is when I send the notice and what time/date whatever it is will end, because so many dont log in for days at a time and then expect that all the notices they recieve on log in are current...and thats not always the case.

I am really sorry you have had this experience and many others have voiced similar concerns in the past, but those that do value the free/dollarbies hunts etc, do remember, and do try and come back, maybe not that day and maybe a while from then, but all those things are showcasing your talent, they are samples and whether we get them by mail or go out to get them at the location it is a way to try that product.

Also though not everyone will take advantage of the hunts etc, they do notice them , I know who you are and what you do, by your fash con notices and your blog, even though I havent had a chance to pop in yet, I am very aware of your store and that is what its all about <3

xoxoxo Sasy xoxo

Stephanie Misfit said...

Really good post Ivey. I've certainly seen the cheat sheets for Treasure Hunts posted in freebie groups (landmarks or descriptions of the locations of items ), and the yelling out of locations of hidden items during Treasure Hunts. Unfortunately, many people really are there to grab the freebies and get out as soon as possible, and the likelihood of them staying to browse or add to your traffic count is very slim. I know of some designers who are considering no longer releasing freebies because of this and other rude behaviour ("I don't like the colour" or "Can I have THAT hair free instead?")

Freebies are best viewed as a token of your appreciation to your existing customers. If it helps others to become aware of your work and maybe buy something in the future, that's great too. But a little bit of consideration from those who are ONLY in it for the free stuff would be nice as well.

Sans said...

I love freebies, but I didn't know there were actual groups for them, sheesh. I consider freebies a sample of what a designer has to offer, and if I have the cash I spend money in the store even to buy something small. I do hesitate about contacting designers to say thanks for their freebies though because many designers have the "No IM's!" announcement in their profiles, which can be off-putting, and we ALL have an excess of notecards, who wants more that say "thanks for the freebie! <3 your stuff!"?
I am starting to feel a deep sense of guilt about accepting freebies these days though, not due to this post, but because so many freebies come by way of group only gifts, and the group limit is small, and you hate to leave someone's group just to grab a freebie and then crawl your way back to the group you left, begging forgiveness...heh. Worse is when the freebie is limited edition, comes in one color only or something, and my hugest weakness is limited editions. I don't know what to do about this dilemma, except keep lists of designers who have provided freebies and making a point of visiting all of them at some point or another to buy more stuff. That may be more organization than my brain is used to doing, but I'll give it a try. :)

ava & blake said...

I belong to a freebie group and I love when designers set things up in a hunt. I'd much rather see it that way. I joined the group, and FashCon, to find out about shops I'd never heard of and discovered yours that way. When I get there, if there's a huge crowd and a time limit, I may get the free offereing and leave, but if I like what I see, I always come back. It frustrates me to think that with the tremendous amount of daily postings of generous free items from designers, people are being this rude about them.
I'll thank you Ivey, because I do appreciate what you're doing and the quality of your designs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sans :) I just wanted to say that the no IMS thing isn't because we don't want to talk to you... it's just that Designers IMs often get capped because we get so many. When that happens we never see those IMs! We don't want to be thought rude either.. :)

Thank you for this post I'm glad I'm not the only one getting frustrated.

I have a few friends in those freebie groups and everytime I have a hunt and someone starts posting the location they tell me and I move it :D

Mina said...

I follow the fashion blogs, and appreciate the freebies.
I'm lucky enough to have the L$ to buy as well however, and the free offers do exactly as they are intended. I come in....I (gratefully) receive said freebie....and then look around to what else else the designer is offering.
I'm very sorry that many people take advantage, and suck all the purpose out of your generosity.

Teagan Blackthorne said...

I will have read a blog about a freebie, gone there, found it gone, and that is fine it was going to be free anyways. I will have read the WHOLE blog where it tells people that this is for 24 hrs like you said. The blogs will also say if it is gone then you missed it or some variation of that. There will still be people there arguing with each other as to the locations. I missed it, I missed it. I usually take the time to explore the area because this is how I find new hair places or new designers in general. Following the freebie trail can be more than just finding a freebie but about finding something new.

If you follow some of the freebie blogs, you will see some comments from the type of person who whines that freebies may have a time limit. I think the worst I read was a person complaining that they didn't have time for the area to rez so the blogger needed to provide more details as to the exact location. If you do not have time to let the area rez, then you do not have to be there at all.

Sans, if someone is not comfortable sending an IM, a quick thank you notecard works just as well. The group issue is frustrating because due to store locations and commitments I am having less room for my favorite designer groups.

Sherpa said...

As a freebie blogger I would like to say a)thank you and b)sorry. Right from the beginning I made it my policy NEVER to say where a freebie is in a store. I stated that I knew that part of the reason for a freebie was to get people in to look around and knowing exactly where the freebie is defeats the purpose. I've also been to sim wide hunts where part of the fun is helping each other find things. It's a good way to make friends and have a good time. I think that is different from posting a list of locations. I actually went to your store to find the freebie, spent a long time looking for it, couldn't find it and left. No harm no foul. I didn't ask where it was. As other freebie bloggers have also mentioned, I have more than one Avatar. My Alt spends all the money. I don't spend money as Sherpa because I only blog freebies and I store them as soon as I blog them so they don't stay in my inventory. I wish I could buy things as Sherpa and transfer them to my Alt so that people could see that I spend money, but I understand why things can't be made transfer. I do think that some people have a mentality of things being worth only what you pay for them, but I hope they are the minority.

Taille's Tales said...

I'm a freebie sucker, and like to see them as a sample of the designer's work. If I like the freebie there is every chance I will go back to the store and spend some cash. I'm always grateful, but like Sans, have never IM'd a creator unless the person is there, in store, as I consider it to be rude and intrusive.

Sidonie said...

I belong to two freebie groups, one being the one started by Creamy Cooljoke and one being a group I was invited to through one of my friends.

I try my very best to always say thank you for freebies if I see on my mysti that the designer is anywhere around in the store. I usually leave the store if the store is very laggy or popular right that second with a lot of people going in and out to get the gift. An example would be teh whole gossipgirl, rue d'antibes, skin faire shebang going on right now. I've not even gone to skin fair and the other two places I will get in and get out.


I do take notes of places I got something nice. I do take a look around if things have rezzed enough that I can. I do go back to the store. For example, I sent an alt to Sn@tch recently for some clubbing clothes. It's not really the style that my main (this one) wears much but for the alt, it was perfect. So, that is also true. Just because I only grabbed a freebie on one name, doesn't mean I didn't shop like a mad woman on another name.

It is my regular habit, to return to stores that have given gifts I like and *Deliberately* spend at least twice the value of the gift if at all possible. Why? Because I know that gifts are just that, gifts. And I know that the designer has spent time and energy on creating them, and that is my way of saying that I appreciate what they have given. Shopping at a store, imo, is much more of a thanks than simply *saying* thanks.

I don't approve in anyway this rude, disgusting, entitled-bitch behavior of some of my fellow freebie hunters and I am entirely sorry you have had to deal with it.

aemilia case said...

I have had the same thing happen to me as well Ivey, also people getting annoyed because the group gift was no longer available in archives. This is one reason i flipped to the subscribeomatic to hand out things. Group only gifts are really group only with that. Thank you for doing this post <3

Christine said...

I almost pulled ship on the Valentine's hunt. My gifts were:
a 50L gift certificate, earrings, necklace, and a ring. I stayed at my store most of the time during the hunt (when I wasn't at work) so I could help people find them and move the boxes intermittently to prevent slurlers. Sure enough I got complaints about the items were only in one metal (they were scripted to metal change to 3, I just set them as platinum for boxing), there weren't more options on gemstones (it was valentines day- hence the red), and "that's all?"

THAT'S ALL? After that I had to log off and almost wrote a pissy blog post about it...but decided to drink instead. :)
I know yer pain. Hopefully I will meet you sometime at your store- I plan to go there as soon as I log in.

-Kesseret Steeplechase

-B- said...

Though I have not purchased many things from your store, the few I have purchased, I've been very happy with. Some have become favorite outfits of mine.

Anyway, to keep on topic, I do agree with much of what you say to a degree. In the end it's up to each individual to decide what is best for themselves. I always want to say hello, be a friend... but you seem quite busy. Keep up the good work and keep speaking mind.

Tsu Dho Nimh said...

Ivey -
Use scripting and turn the freebie vendor invisible, turn it off, or move it at another location every XX minutes or every XX vends. 5 vends and it moves.

I recently joined 2 freebie groups, and this weekend the stream of "lucky chair" messages - all from one person who was apparently trying to get her letters to come up - was a PITA!

I made the mistake of TPing to the landmark a few times: it's a flash mob, and often the same people. Can they wear ALL that stuff? Are they trying to see how many items inventory can REALLY hold?

Kalia Withnail said...

I can really relate here with ma
sis Iv - I just done my first Fashcon notice this past
saturday and did a "find that
hidden freebie " and let me tell
you - I never seen such slapping
scratching nail clawing and hair
pullin - you would have swore there
was a a million lindens being given
away or something - now mind you I
used lil tiny 0.100 x 0.100 boxes
black ones at that and hide them on
the walls in corners and on other
objects that were black to begin
with - there was 10 placed and I
made them all to sell for 1L so
I could track who got the cash ones
and originals so they had to pick the
item up and well within 5 mins one
person already had found half of them
so either people have xray eyes or
they cheat very well - which I didnt
mind - there was one who got a cash
box and did not even follow the
instructions as to how to claim it
and I was nice enough to contact her
and tell her how to claim her money. =]
gawd arent I so nice - claps -
anyways it all turned out well had
alot of turn out and alot of sales
and they are still coming in at a
steady pace " yayyyy FINALLY "!
Also started a blog
"not that I have the fainted
clue how to do one" so that should be
a markful event that changes like we
change our underwear until I get it
set up and figured out LOL
- anyways nuff rambling -got tons to do-

love and lixx to Ma Sis Iv! rawwr

see yas on the flipside .!.(-.-).!.

Brenda said...

[Gotta say 1st off]
I hafta meet her attitude! :D
Ivey, you work your butt off and have to be yelled at to take a break! *laughs*
I'm sure many creators do for the sake of creating and then to turn around and offer some of it free astounds me!
The subscribeomatic is an excellant idea for freebies, not limited like groups yet we can accept what you hand out that way if we want.
(How long are the inventories growing, girlfriends?)
Greed is ugly, no matter what form it takes!
I overheard a female tell another how cute she thought it was that the guys just got a small house for hair while the ladies got a huge place with tons of hair, then (I had to laugh in her face) she griped that it took forever to load!
To all you creators who offer freebies, I seriously can't thank you enough for your generosity!

*many hugs*
Ima Peccable

Anonymous said...

3 words: THANK YOU IVEY!

Creamy Cooljoke said...

Oh gawds, I feel so ashamed. For those of you who don't know, I am the person who created Free*Style group and blog. I feel I've created a monster from what started as a bit of fun and to help to new players who don't have much money but don't want to look like strippers and blingtards.

When I started this group I naively expected people to behave as I do (I am respectful and grateful to designers, I always look at what else is on offer, I often buy from the designer, particularly if I like the free gift). I can't understand why people feel like they can behave rudely just because they are hiding behind an Avatar. Do they do this in RL?...I hope not!!

I am working on a post about this on the Free*style blog. It's taking a couple of days to compile because I want to cover everything but I will put a link to your post here Ivey, so they can see the store owners perspective. If things don't change after I have said my bit I'm shutting the group down as I don't want to be associated with this sort of thing.

Again on behalf of Free*Style, I'm very sorry about this.

<3 Creamy

Creamy Cooljoke said...

Oh yes, I just want to add as well, as que tee says, the majority of freebie group members are fantastic and sadly it just takes a few crazy fools to give us all a bad name.

BOOO to them!!

Deena Bailey said...

Wow so glad someone else has said what I have been feeling for months! I love to give things away and did often... I have closed my store and left the fashion industry all together now for this and many other reasons I am just done with the whole thing... One of my last straws was when the sim I was on asked us all to be involved in a freebie hunt for valentines day. I painstakingly created 10 different items all unique and special just for the hunt and took the time to hide them throughout my store. I adore hunts, love the challenge and wanted to create that atmosphere in mine. The hearts that were given to us were HUGE so I made them very small... thinking that is was the point of a hunt to hunt lmao! The sim owner contacted me asking me to make them larger and easy to see... needless to say I refused. The next day she actually sent out a map to all of the hearts in my store. I was livid! I was not asked to be a part of a give-away, had I been things would have been different. It's one thing when the freebie hunters send them out to each other.. maddening but what can I do? But when the owner of the sim I am paying rent to does??? Well I went to the shop and pulled them all immediatley then proceeded to walk randomly through SL giving them away as a set.. then put them all into a HUGE heart on the front steps and without announcing it gave it all away. The last straw? Flying above my shop and listening to my stuff be bashed by people while they were grabbing everything they could get their greedy lil hands on! I have decided to close my shop altogether and now I will wander the newbie zones and give it away to people who actually appreciate it! To those of you who took the time to say thank you and actually purchase when I announced freebies... I have your names:) And don't be surprised if freebies just show up now and then;)

amaterasu said...

I am a member of one Freebie group (Creamy's), and really appreciate hearing of freebies. Specially as a way of learning about new places/designers.
I adore Sn@atch, and religiously get every freebie, BUT also buy most new releases either on this avie, or my alt.
The worst behaviour I have seen was during the FashCon event. People were even orbiting others there just so they could get in before them. It was appalling behaviour, and quite unacceptable by any standard.
I have also always had a fondness for Hunts. And have been known to spend entire days doing them. To my mind it ruins the fun if people broadcast where things are located (it is not a hunt then).
I would hate to see designers stop putting out freebies (quality ones, not the fifth rate garbage some think should be a freebie.) It is a great way to sample that designers wares, and see how their clothes/skins/hair look on your avatar. If the quality is good, AND it suits your build, then chances are I will buy a lot more from your store. And I know there are a lot of others that think that way.

Katerina Kirax said...

I'd like to start by saying THANK YOU! I love the shop, I love the clothes, and I love the freebies. I'm going to go broke looking for freebies at Sn@tch because there are so many wonderful things there. I think I bought most of the new releases while I was waiting for everything to rezz. I've crashed mutiple times but I keep coming back because I'm not done looking at everything. And that's how I am at most places. Send me there for the freebie and I will usually take the time to take a really good look around. And I walk not fly so I don't miss anything.

And one last thing to Ivey, I love reading your notecard notices - so humorous, so flippant, so deliciously rude! Keep up the good work!

So again - to all designers - thanks!

Anonymous said...


First off, thanks! Ive been a regular at your shop since the first freebie, and have gladly handed out LM since.

I wanted to let you know that I have been threatened in your store for not revealing the locations of the secret freebies..I dont know what has gotten into a large group of ppl in SL, but its vultures and idiots such as this that will ruin SL for good.

Keep on...there are those of us out here who quietly appreciate your work.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Demi said...

I LOVE freebies. I pore over the various blogs and stalk lucky chairs like mad. I don't know what it is about them; I can't tell you. Partly it's the thrill of the hunt, and partly it's the discovering of a new place. And heck, to be perfectly honest, part of me loves getting something for nothing. Anyone who says otherwise is probably lying. :) I'm selective about my freebies, though-- I don't get them for the sake of getting them-- they need to suit my character. And I don't join the freebie groups though because I can't even get through all the notices and they take up a precious spot in my groups I could have used on a fave designer.

Furthermore, I always buy from designers I like. I had around 10k around Halloween, and I have 1300L left. I'm not a big spender compared to some, but it's a chunk of change for me. Especially if the designer is generous, I always plan to go back and buy something from them. This includes Sn@tch. In fact, I have over half a dozen alts,-- dressed in various styles. For example; one dresses The Hunger and another is into ReTox and the third is a Sn@tch girl. (I'm weird like that). Each has paid items from Sn@tch. I know I don't have to justify my freebie-hoarding, to you-- I know that's not why you posted what you did, but I guess in a way we all felt we kind of had to, to let you know; "Hey, we're not all like those people who came and didn't buy anything at all." (In actuality I wasn't there-- I somehow always always manage to miss your hunts and freebies, I don't know how I do it!) Sadly, the bad ones always ruin it for the good ones, though.

That said, most people are frickin morons, and I would ban anyone who gets fresh with your always lovely models or you! I can't believe people are abusing you over the loc of a freebie. Even when I can't find things I positively covet, I obviously go 'darn!' but I would never, ever, abuse the creator. That's just insane. Who told you you have to put up with that?

If you're getting burned out by ruthed blingtards who will never ever give anything back, not even by accident, a paying customer group might be a good idea. Another idea is closing the group while the freebie is current, and reopening it when it's over. (Although, I personally hate this because there's a certain group that does this to their limited edition things, thereby making them unobtainable when the promo is over-- even if you want to pay for it!)

Lastly, thank you for your freebies and chairs and hunts. Sometimes I get into the bad habit of letting my linden do the talking, "instead of thanking them, I will buy something!" which isn't any less rude than click-n-run sometimes. (Okay, maybe slightly less rude, but still, I should do both, and if not at least the former). So, sorry and thank you. I appreciate it, really. I never thought to tell you how amazing Cutting Class was, (just the right difficulty for me, too). So thank you for your part in that. It was amazing fun. =)

And cheer up! We luv joo!

Renee said...

Thank you Ivey... I haven't said that enough. Your freebies were amongst my favorite clothing for my first year in SL, and I still wear them quite a lot. I confess, I'm a cheapskate, but when you have a half off sale, I load up. And I do it because I remember your generosity. (and because, you make great stuff!) I've grabbed and ran with dozen of freebies from your store, but I want you know that I've spent too. Just not necessarily at the same time (or on the same alt :p )