UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: What Christmas Trees and Advent Calendars I’ll Be Hitting on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

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Photo by Evelyn on Unsplash

There are various locations within Second Life where generous content creators have placed free Christmas gifts under the tree:

  • FaMESHed Event: You can join the FaMESH ed group for free to pick up the gifts under this Christmas tree. As a bonus, there’s also a wheeled cart off to the side where you can still pick up an assortment of gifts from a recent autumn round of FaMESHed!
  • The Dubai Event has an assortment of gifts under their Christmas tree (including a particularly nice blue and gold ballgown by Virtual Diva, for Maitreya Lara mesh bodies only).
  • The Free Dove has gifts under a large Christmas tree, located to the right as you enter the freebie store. You do need to join The Free Dove group for free.
  • The Swank Event has quite a few gifts under their tree outside, but also many more scattered around outside in the snow! So wander around and see what you can find. No group is required.
  • Epiphany has some lovely gifts under a Christmas tree in the centre of the event. No group is required.
  • At the Man Cave event, the “tree” is a stack of green beer bottles, and the “gifts” are beercans with red ribbons standing underneath it! There are over 30 gifts here, all for male avatars.
  • The VERSUS event has five gifts at the landing point, including ice skates, roller skates, and a jetski, and there are many other gifts which are located in Christmas stockings at the various vendor booths. You must join the VERSUS group for free to get these gifts, including the Estephania full-body female mesh avatar by Altamura, which previously was a gift in the SL Frees & Offers Hunt. (UPDATE: Although this was a free group join when I first visited, the organizers have since raised the group join fee to L$50.)
  • The Très Chic event has a pile of presents under the Christmas tree outside, plus gifts at some of the vendor booths inside. Join the Très Chic group for free to get these Christmas gifts.
  • As in past years, the Cosmopolitan event has gifts in over 30 Christmas stockings hung on the large Christmas tree at the entrance. You do have to join the Cosmopolitan group for free to get these gifts.
  • UPDATE Dec. 23rd: I just found out that all the gifts under the Christmas Tree at Sn@tch will be FREE on Christmas Day!
  • UPDATE Dec. 25th: Fallen Gods has a wonderful assortment of gifts under their Christmas tree! No group is required.
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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Most of the advent calendars and 12 Days of Christmas calendars operated by in-world stores in Second Life require you to show up each day to get the advent gift for that date. Sometimes, you may be able to purchase previous days’ gifts for a small fee. But there are a few calendars which allow you to pick up today’s gift, plus all the previous days’ gifts, for free or a small group join fee. Here’s a list of locations where I intend to visit sometime on Dec. 24th or 25th to pick up all the gifts at one time!

  • ALB Dream Fashion & ShuShu has an advent calendar where you can pick up most (not all) of the previous days’ gifts. No group is required.
  • At ML Fashion, you can not only get all the gifts at once on their Advent Calendar on Christmas Day, you can also pick up their Peace on Earth Hunt prize, which is tucked away at the very top of their Christmas-tree-shaped calendar! No group is required.
  • Both Emerald Couture (women’s wear) and Emerald Man (menswear by the same designer) have not one, but two Advent calendars: one requires you to join their respective groups (for free) and you can only pick up gifts on the appropriate date, but each store also has a second Advent calendar which does not require a group, and you can pick up all the previous days’ gifts for free! (Use the provided SLURLs to find the exact locations of the no-group-required Advent calendars; they are in a different location than the “regular” Advent calendars.)
  • JUMO has a 12 Days of Christmas calendar where you pick up all the gifts at once. Remember to come back on New Year’s Eve for a final gift! All gifts are free and do not require a group membership.
  • And, last but not least, Altamura lets you pick up all their 12 Days of Christmas gifts under their Christmas tree at one time! You do have to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group for L$25 to get these gifts, which include the Omega-compatible Leila Bento mesh head for female avatars, and a nice set of Omega skin appliers, in all the Altamura skintones, to use with that head! And apparently, they will also put out a male Bento mesh head as an Advent gift well sometime in the coming days. Altamura often has group specials and gifts throughout the year, so it’s well worth it to spend the L$25 to join their group now, and stay subscribed (usually, the join fee for the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group is L$50).
  • UPDATE Dec. 25th: Surprise! Firelight Hair has made all the previous days’ Advent gifts available for free (you do need to join the Firelight group for free).

So, there you have it! Play your cards right on Christmas Day, and in one series of teleports around the grid, you can pick up dozens and dozens of Christmas presents for free or next-to-nothing! Happy freebie shopping!

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

 

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Two YouTube Channels You Should Follow

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I’ve been meaning to write this blogpost for a long while. I have two YouTube channels that I watch regularly for news about Second Life steals, deals, and freebies:

We’ll start with Naria Panthar first. And what better introduction than her hour-and-a-half-long YouTube video where she unpacks all the gifts you can pick up at the Christmas Shop and Hop!

Now, you might think this is too long to watch, but think about it this way: if you had to fight your way through the lag to traverse all five sims, then pick up all the gifts, then take them home and unpack them all, it would probably take you as long or longer! (It took me at least two full hours to cover the entire Shop and Hop due to the horrendous lag and problems with sim crossings, and that doesn’t include unpacking time!) And, after watching this video, you can zero in on the gifts you want and avoid the ones you don’t!

And watching Naria’s unpacking videos is a hoot. She has definite, strong opinions about most of the items she unpacks and tries on, and she doesn’t shy away from strong language either in her often hilarious commentary.


Cat Pink’s videos are also worth subscribing to. Her videos are in Spanish, but she doesn’t talk a lot and she includes English subtitles, so it’s not hard to follow the action. Here’s an example, a recent video showing various free and inexpensive animation overrides (AOs):

One service that Cat Pink provides, which some Second Life content creators might not appreciate very much, is that she compiles videos of various hunts in SL, showing you exactly where the hunt items are hidden in each of the stops along the way! Here’s an example, a recent hunt for dollarbie items hidden at Arata Shouten, a store I had never heard of before:

Some people do consider this cheating; they are welcome to avoid those particular videos on her YouTube channel if they choose. Frankly, I just don’t have enough time to hunt for every single item, and then take it home and unpack it, just to find out it’s something I don’t want. Cat Pink often unpacks and shows us each of the hunt prizes she finds, too! I think it’s a wonderful service. I hope she does a video on the Peace on Earth hunt before it ends on New Year’s Eve! With over 100 stores participating, it is always a rather grueling ordeal to get through it all every year, and yesI will watch her hunt videos in future!

So there you have it—two YouTubers whose coverage of steals, deals, and freebies is well worth subscribing to! Happy shopping!!!

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Altamura Leila Bento Mesh Head and LAQ Joline Omega Skin

I’m not sure how I missed this, but one of the Advent gifts under the Christmas tree at the Altamura main store is a female Omega-compatible Bento mesh head, called Leila:

Leila Bento Head 2 19 Dec 2018.png

You do have to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group to pick up all the Advent gifts (the group join fee is L$25 during the Advent/Christmas season; usually, the fee to join is L$50). The Leila mesh Bento head is the gift for the 8th day (see the arrow in the picture above). The Christmas tree is located to the left of the main entrance as you walk in, you can’t miss it! Here’s a SLURL to guide you.

Now, this is an Omega-compatible head, but you will have to buy the Omega System Kit for Altamura. A message recently posted to the Altamura group about this gift head included a notecard (which you should get a copy of, for future reference), and it states:

Go to the Omega mainstore and buy the Omega System Kit for Altamura. It’s cheaper to get it there than on the Marketplace (MP). (It’s 99L at the Omega inworld store, but 199L on the MP.)

If you’re on a viewer that has Area Search, you can just search for Altamura when you get there. Please note that there is only ONE system kit for Altamura, so it doesn’t matter if you buy it from the Men’s or Women’s section.

Here’s the taxi: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Omega%20Solutions/224/129/24

And here’s what the vendor looks like at the Omega mainstore (the SLURL should place you right in front of it):

Omega Store19 Dec 2018.png

Here’s what the default head looks like, with the included eyebrows shape, body shape, and head/body alpha. I also included the notecard that comes with the head:

Altamura Leila Head 19 Dec 2018.png

If you want to apply your own Omega makeup to this head, you will first need to remove the default makeup provided by Altamura using one of the free Omega makeup-removal HUDs available on the SL Marketplace (such as this free NEFA Clear All Layers Omega HUD).

Note that this head only comes with one HUD, for animating the eyes and mouth. There are no other HUDs for different skintones or makeups for the Leila head, which were (for example) included in last year’s Giselle Bento mesh head gift at the Christmas 2017 eBENTO event. In this picture, I am using the default system eyes, but Altamura recommends:

WEAR or ADD your mesh eyes. The Altamura Leila does not come with eyes, but there are plenty of lovely FREE eyes on the MP. Here’s one that you can try:

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/NSS-VERMEER-mesh-eyes-demofree-sample-AMETHYST/9638616

NOTE! Don’t be afraid if it says DEMO on the link. It’s a WORKING demo, meaning it’s a fully working free sample that the creator generously provided so everyone could have a good pair of mesh eyes.

Now, it just so happens that LAQ is offering a very generous free gift throughout the month of December: the Joline Omega skin applier in all skintones, both with brows and browless, so you can apply your own brows! You do have to join the LAQ Updates group (which is free to join) in order to get this gift. Here’s the SLURL to pick that up.

LAQ Joline 19 Dec 2018.png

Isn’t it beautiful? So, let’s put the two together, along with the free mesh eyes recommended by Altamura, and see what we come up with, shall we?

Leila and Joline 19 Dec 2018.png

Looking good!

The total cost of this head (not including the mesh body and LAQ appliers for that mesh body to match the skintone of your head): only L$124 (L$25 for the Altamura group join fee, and L$99 for the Altamura Omega System Kit). I think the result compares very favourably with much pricier Bento mesh heads that cost L$5,000 or more!

Note that if you can’t afford an expensive mesh body like the L$2,750 Maitreya Lara, there are free and inexpensive options available. Try them out with your Leila head!

Here is what the Altamura Leila head looks like with all the default makeup removed, and a dollarbie Omega lipstick by Poema added, with a Maitreya Lara body (LAQ body appliers to match the LAQ skintones are L$300 per tone):

Leila Head 20 Dec 2018

Looking very good!

Since you can pick up all the previous days’ Advent gifts at Altamura, I would suggest you wait until all 12 gifts are under the tree, then make one trip on Dec. 24th or 25th to pick them all up! I plan to do this for several stores which allow you to pick up all the previous days’ gifts at one time. Happy shopping!

UPDATE Dec. 21st: The 10th Advent gift under the Christmas tree turns out to be an Altamura Omega full-body skin applier HUD, in all the Altamura skintones! You have a choice of with brows or browless (so you can apply your own Omega eyebrows):

Leila Head 21 Dec 2018

What this means is that you can now match your Leila Bento mesh head to literally any Altamura body! In the picture above, I am wearing the Leila head with all the default makeup removed, and with the third Baltic Sea skintone applied. I am wearing the head with the free Altamura Jenny mesh body I had picked up at the Women Only Hunt back in 2017 (not the free version you can pick up now at the Freebie Megastore at London City; that version, unfortunately, does not let you remove the head).

Frankly, I was a little surprised that this was not part of the Advent gift on the 8th day. But I now see they are spreading out the gifts over several days. So be sure to drop by and pick up gift #10 to use with your Leila head!

Are Freebies Hurting The Second Life Economy?

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Photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash

I still find it somewhat ironic that I have done a complete, 180-degree change of direction in this blog: going from swearing that I would never cover Second Life at all (because hundreds of other bloggers do it already, and do a much better job than I ever could), to actively carving out a niche for myself, blogging about the various steals, deals, and freebies in SL.

My Second Life freebie coverage actually brings a fair number of readers to my blog, probably the biggest percentage of viewers overall when compared to my other categories of blogposts. In fact, my blogpost about free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for female Second Life avatars has now had a whopping 1,598 visitors—my third most-popular post ever.

So, I guess you could call me a freebie expert, or a freebie fashionista if you prefer. And this December has been the usual bountiful bonanza of advent gifts and hunt prizes. But sometimes I stop and ask myself: this is steady rain of freebies actually hurting the Second Life economy, and the livelihoods of SL content creators? In other words, are people not making as much money as they could and should be because of the abundance of free and inexpensive items in-world and on the SL Marketplace?

At first glance, the answer would appear to be “yes”. There has been steady rumbling from various quarters that many vendors are not earning the income that they used to. But are freebies really to blame for this?

I would argue that freebies, if handled properly by the store, can be an extremely effective way to promote a brand. For example, an attractive, well-made free item placed at The Free Dove (which usually includes a SLURL in the package) will often prompt my visit to the mainstore location to see what other products are for sale. In fact, I first learned about the store Alaskametro through their mini hunt at The Free Dove last summer (sadly, I have learned that The Free Dove has decided to stop having designer mini hunts as of January 2019). I had never heard of Alaskametro before, even though I had been an avid consumer in Second Life for over a decade at that point!

You could argue that the reason that powerhouse Second Life brands like Scandalize, Addams, and Blueberry became so well known is via freebies and inexpensive hunts, like the current reindeer hunt currently taking place at various stores on the Scandalize sim. (Technically, it’s not really a “hunt”; some store owners like Scandalize didn’t even bother to hide their reindeer.)

SCANDALIZE SIM ! -CHRISTMAS HUNT

You pick up one colour of an item of clothing for only L$15, try it on, and like it so much that you land up going back to the store later to buy more colours, maybe even the whole fatpack! I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it too. Admit it.

Savvy marketers know that freebies and cheapies can effectively drive traffic to their stores, and increase overall sales. True, many of the people who pick up a free item won’t (or can’t afford to) buy a full-price item. But enough do so to make it worth the store owner’s time and trouble to create and promote freebies. Why else would a store like Alien Gizmo’s regularly offer free L$200 gift cards to their customers?

So, no. Freebies are not the reason for an economic downturn in the SL economy. If anything, freebies are helping content creators get the word out about their brands, and thereby earn more money.

In fact, I seem to remember a closed (i.e. not Hypergrid enabled) OpenSim-based virtual world (I believe it was Avination) which strongly discouraged vendors from offering freebies, thinking that the policy would lead to more people actually buying goods and leading to greater vendor profits. Well, I’m not sure if that was the main reason that Avination eventually closed (they had a couple of fraud scandals, and OpenSim grids tend to be rather precarious enterprises at the best of times), but I’m pretty certain that a ban on freebies didn’t help with user retention any.

My point here (and yes, in a very roundabout way, I am trying to make one!) is that freebies are a good thing. Freebies promote brands, encourage newbies to become full-fledged consumers, and lubricate the SL economy. So get out there and pick up some freebies today! Tell’em Ryan sent you 😉