Thursday, 16 October 2008

AvaStar - Some More Thoughts

Following my last post, about the demise of the AvaStar I thought I would root a little further. So I took a look at the range of recent articles available at The AvaStar. I was a little surprised to find it was not the vibrant, information-packed newsfest I had been expecting. There was just a trickle of posts and comments - far fewer, as far as I could tell, than would be found on the average Second Life blog (like this one).

Supposedly, the most popular article is "Too many girls are really guys!", posted back in May, 2008. This also boasted the most recent comment - on September, 28th, 2008 - about 3 weeks ago. More worryingly, aside from the article announcing their demise, there have been just 3 articles posted in October. While September was busier, with over 20 articles, this can hardly be called vibrant.

Did their focus shift elsewhere, away from Second Life? The AvaStar did branch into other areas of the Metaverse - but articles on Kaneva, There and Entropia are very few and far between, accounting for maybe 3 or 4 a month, combined. No news about these worlds has been posted in October.

So to sum up... it seems that, while many of us had heard of the AvaStar, and enjoyed reading it, the actual content generation fell away over time. I don't think the move away from PDF helped, since that at least gave you the feel and 'heft' of a real newspaper - you could see the content, because it was all laid out before you. The website, by contrast, served to conceal the drop in content. I have to confess, I was approached to write for the Travel section of the website some time ago, but declined the invitation. While I obviously write this blog for free (I don't event take Google Ads), I would expect a small something for writing in a more 'professional' capacity. Perhaps others took the same view.

I would conclude, then, that at least a major contributory factor in its closure was simply "lack of content."


VeeJay Burns said...

Think that's a pretty good and sound analysis. Move from PDF to Web to mask dropping amount of content, sounds a good intro to "Mission Accomplished" when in fact the wells have dried up.

Ari Blackthorne™ said...

I wrote about how Linden Lab is shrinking into the shadows for a lot of obvious reasons and how the Second Life landscape is changing drastically.

We all are just a frog in the pot.

The Avastar's first problems began when they moved away from a 'real' published eZine that looked and felt like a real tabloid off to the blog format.

I paid big bucks for full-page ads in the eZine. Someting to the tune of $200 worth of L$ a month.

When asked to renew my ads on their blog, I refused. I didn't like the blog format. I wanted my advertisements in-world and they wouldn't show the new demographics. There are too many other good blogs to advertise on. As much as I despise the Second Life Herald, I admit, even THAT would be a far better investement of advertising revenue.

When they went blog, I suspect advertising dropped dramatically. No money income - drop the writers (who WERE paid back when it was an eZone if I remember correctly.)

No writers = no content = no readership = no demographics to show advertisers = no advertising = KAPUT.

It's that simple.

But I do agree that such a pillar of the SL community as a whole shuttering it's doors is a kind of 'hit in the gut' feeling.

It is simply another clear sign of the massive changes occuring in-world. The exciting, vibrant 'wild western frontier' is cooling-off and the mundane, 'respectable' citizenry moving-in.

It becomes mundane.

Aleister Kronos said...

Thanks Ari.
Very interesting. I had wondered about advertising revenues (and changes thereof), but frankly had no idea what the charges had been like when it was an eZine, so had nothing to go on. Your comment certainly provides the necessary "monetary backbone" I didn't previously have.