UPDATED! HOUSEKEEPING NOTICE: Testing Patreon-Exclusive Blogposts on the RyanSchultz.com Blog

Over the past month, I have been testing out Patreon-exclusive, paywalled blogposts on my blog. For example, if you are not a Patreon patron (more info here), you would only see a paywall message when you click on the link below. (By the way, this post is, by far, the most popular blogpost on my blog, mainly because it is the first result when people do a Google search for “vrchat adult”.)

The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat—Hidden Adult Content

UPDATE May 9th, 2022: After watching BrandonFM’s documentary (more details here), I have made the decision to un-paywall that particular blogpost.

I set it so that you would have to sign up to be a patron of my Patreon, and have paid me at least US$1, to be able to access and read this blogpost (which, by the way, is quite safe for work AND DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY LINKS TO NSFW VRCHAT WORLDS, talking about the topic in a very general way only). I just got so tired of having a page with so much traffic, and so I put a paywall on it! It doesn’t seem to have dented the traffic one bit.

And, as I have discovered, people are indeed willing to pay me a dollar just to read that particular blogpost (or one of the other two I set up in this way). So, moving forward, I reserve the right to begin imposing such a paywall on some of my content.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

As I have said before on this blog a couple of years ago, I need become a little more business-minded about how I operate the RyanSchultz.com blog. Selling advertising and offering sponsored blogposts at US$50 a pop is part of that, and this will become an additional tool in my mercantile arsenal. I do hope that you will understand.

P.S. If you do want to make a one-time financial donation and don’t want to use Patreon to do it, you can buy me a coffee using Ko-Fi or Buy Me a Coffee. Thanks!

Housekeeping Notice: The NeosVR Dispute

SEE ALSO: Housekeeping Notice: I’m Juggling

Because I have been occupied with my full-time paying job as a university librarian these past couple of months, I have fallen behind on my monitoring of what’s been going on in the many social VR, virtual world, and metaverse platforms I write about on the RyanSchultz.com blog.

So I have been out of the loop (and trying to get up-to-date) on the recent news about NeosVR, and the now-public dispute between the company’s CEO and the rest of the team, involving NeosVR’s cryptocurrency, called NCR. I have been madly bookmarking and reading everything that I could get my hands on over the past three days, and at this point, due to the large volume of information I have to sift through, I will probably be writing up a series of blogposts, instead of just a single blogpost, starting sometime next week. I do realize that because of my position and experience, I might be the best-placed person to write up something about this dispute!

But with that position and experience, I also have a responsibility.

I have learned (the hard way) some hard lessons covering corporate disputes and controversy in the past on my blog (notably the series of layoffs at Sansar), where I realized that I wasn’t just a blogger—I’m a reporter, and what I write has real-world impacts on the metaverse platforms involved, and the companies that build them. You could say that I have become somewhat battle-hardened. This means that I have a responsibility to my readers to be as accurate and as neutral as possible, while still having an editorial viewpoint (after all, the tagline of the RyanSchult.com blog is “News and Views on Social VR, Virtual Worlds, and the Metaverse”).

So, I plan to dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s before I publish anything about the NeosVR situation, and I will also try to incorporate a variety of perspectives and opinions, using direct quotes of source material as much as possible.

TL;DR: I am very well aware of what’s going on over at NeosVR, I am actively researching it, and I plan to write up a series of blogposts about the dispute, probably starting later next week.

P.S. Of course, I have many other story ideas in the hopper, as I usually do (for example, the response of the AltspaceVR community to the removal of the central gathering places like the campfire by the company). I never have a shortage of things to write about lately, there’s just so much happening! Stay tuned 😉

Housekeeping Notice: I’m Juggling

Between the ongoing pandemic, the recently-concluded five-week faculty strike at my university, and now the unexpected war in Ukraine, things have been a little crazy around here these past 3 months (did you know that 14.5% of Manitobans are of Ukrainian ancestry?). Like many of you, I have been glued to the news lately.

Throw in a broken Valve Index VR headset (my unit, of course, died a couple of months after its one-year warranty expired, and Steam has asked me to ship back my headset and cables to be replaced with a refurbished, non-warrantied, headset.) Also, Carlos and I have also—finally!—started working on Episode 1 of Season 2 of the Metaverse Newscast, about which I will be sharing more news soon.

I forgot to mention that after 23 months of working from home for my university, this week I finally returned to my office in the library full-time. (The University of Manitoba has a firm vaccine mandate and a KN95 facemask mandate. Faculty, staff, and students were required to upload proof of vaccination to a special, secure website, and students who did not do so were deregistered from their courses this term. U of M is following the science and absolutely not messing around, which makes me feel much more comfortable coming in to work every day!)

I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment
(photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash)

I’m juggling a lot at the moment. All of this is my very long-winded way of saying: don’t expect a whole lot of blogposts from me over the next few weeks. I’ll do my level best to stay on top of all the news and events happening in the metaverse, but no promises 😉

Thanks to my readers and followers for your continued support and engagement! And you are welcome to join the RyanSchulz.com Discord server, with 650 passionate members, representing every social VR platform and virtual world! We discuss, debate and argue about the ever-evolving metaverse and all the companies building it, and we’d love to have you participate (or, if you prefer, just lurk and learn!).

Blogger’s Dozen: My Top Twelve Most Popular Blogposts from the Past 365 Days

An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.

Oscar Wilde (source)
Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash

One of the things I love about hosting a blog on WordPress is that I can review my statistics over time, to see which posts are more popular and which ones aren’t. I have completely given up on my ability to predict which ones will fall into the first category, and which ones will fall into the second! A blogpost I dash off in a hurry without much thought can blow up on me, while a second one I slaved over and post in high expectations goes pffft! It just happens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So, on a whim, and to get a better sense of what’s trending overall, I ran some stats today on my 12 most popular blogposts over the past 365 days (Feb. 16th, 2021 to Feb. 15th, 2022). I do hasten to assure you, gentle reader, that all links in this list are safe for work, so don’t be afraid to click on them 😉

  1. The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat: Hidden Adult Content – I am endlessly bemused by the fact that it is still, far and away, the most visited blogpost on my blog, with 72,351 visits over the past 365 days, which works out to almost 200 views per day, mostly because it is usually the top result when people search Google for “VRChat sex” or “VRChat adult”, or something similar…and I hate to break it to you, people, but you are not gonna find NSFW worlds in VRChat using the Google search engine!
  2. Welcome to the Metaverse: A Comprehensive List of Social VR/AR Platforms and Virtual Worlds – this popular, constantly-updated alphabetical listing has seen a surge in visits since Facebook rebranded to Meta in October 2021
  3. A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Started in Decentraland (and Some Caveats for New Users)
  4. Clip and Save: Ryan’s All-In-One Guide to Freebies in Second Life – this is a constantly-updated compilation of my best tips and tricks for finding fabulous fashion freebies and bargains in Second Life
  5. Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Meshbody Offers Free Versions of Their Classic Mesh Bodies for Men and Women
  6. 3DX Chat: A Brief Introduction (and the Biggest Problem with Most Adult Virtual Worlds)
  7. Second Life: Maitreya Releases Version 5.0 of the Maitreya Lara Female Mesh Avatar Body
  8. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Female Second Life Avatars
  9. LGBTQ Spaces in Social VR and Virtual Worlds
  10. Shopping for a New Penis in Second Life: Any Recommendations? – this link is safe for work
  11. List of Non-Combat, Open-World Exploration/Puzzle/Life Simulation Games
  12. How to Change Your Avatar Name in Second Life: A Step by Step Guide

So, what trends do we see in this list?

Trend 1: Sex (As Homer Simpson would say: D’OH!)

Well, it would appear that sexual/adult content and activities are perennially popular in virtual worlds and social VR, regardless of platform (#1, #6, perhaps #9, and most certainly #10 on this list).

There almost seems to be some sort of rule that if you can get two avatars together on a platform—any platform—they are going to try and have sex. In fact, to prove my point, the BBC reported today on sex “condos” in Roblox!

Strip joints in Roblox proves my point: if you can get two avatars together on a platform—any platform—there will be sex! There appear to be no exceptions to this rule, even on platforms intended for children’s games.

So I was not terribly surprised when Meta’s Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues social VR platforms recently implemented a hard-coded, four-foot boundary between avatars, after several women reported being sexually harassed (even though the avatars literally have no lower body!).

Trend 2: Lists of Metaverse and “Metaverse-Adjacent” Platforms

Secondly, people seem to be looking for comprehensive lists of metaverse platforms (#2) and what I like to call “metaverse-adjacent” content, i.e. non-combat, open-world platforms like Fortnite Party Royale and The Sims (#11). Of course, the line between the two is becoming ever more blurred.

One of my major tasks over the next few months is to complete a thorough reorganization and recategorization of the well over 160 entries on my increasingly popular list of social VR, virtual worlds, and metaverse platforms. I also want to update my equally popular, but by now somewhat dated, spreadsheet of what I consider the “top” social VR platforms (and a shout-out to Dr. Fran Babcock for doing some updating of the latter over the past few months; it is much appreciated!).

It would appear that there is lots of interest in my big-picture look at the metaverse and all the companies busy building it, so I intend to make both of these tasks a top priority, once things die down a bit at my full-time paying job as a university librarian!

As I have said before, I never expected to become a prolific Second Life blogger, but it’s clear that my coverage (with a focus on Second Life steals, deals, and freebies) continues to be popular with my readers, and among the most-viewed content on my blog. While it may seem weird to write both about 18-year-old SL and then switch to writing about much newer platforms, I see everything as part of a seamless, whole history of the metaverse.

Of particular interest, I note a lot of traffic to my posts about both free and paid-for Second Life mesh heads and bodies (#4, #5, #7, #8, and of course, #10!). Therefore, I will continue to provide that coverage, and I may restructure my now-sprawling blogposts about free and inexpensive male and female mesh heads and bodies in SL, to make them easier for people to navigate…but only after I tackle the long-delayed reorganization of my metaverse list, mentioned under the previous trend!

Finally, people seem to value good, step-by-step instructions on how to do things in SL, like rename your avatar (#12), so I will be continuing to write up more blogposts in that vein.

I notice that my step-by-step instructions for getting started in Decentraland (DCL) is an increasingly popular blogpost, even though the instructions may already be a bit dated (#4). As I have mentioned recently, DCL and all the NFT metaverses are seeing a huge surge in interest (and in financial speculation!), ever since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, and Mark Zuckerberg announced that they would become a metaverse company.

And, as promised, I will be writing about all these platforms in 2022:

Although I have mentioned and written about a number of virtual world/social VR platforms on this list which DO incorporate blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), please note that I have, up until now, tended to focus only on those projects which ALREADY have an actual working platform, where you can create an avatar to visit and explore NOW: NeosVR, Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium Space. I have not really written much about projects which have yet to launch, because frankly so many of them are vapourware!

However, given the current burst of enthusiasm for all things blockchain/crypto/NFT and metaverse (particularly after Facebook/Meta’s repivot to become a metaverse company in October 2021), I will endeavour to expand my coverage of such platforms in 2022.

And I remain highly concerned about the number of poorly-thought-out NFT metaverse projects (and frankly, just flat out scams) that seem to be proliferating by the day. I will also be writing a lot about that topic in the next 365 days, I suspect.

Trend 5: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Spaces in the Metaverse

My blogpost about LGBTQ spaces in virtual worlds and social VR (#9) is becoming more and more popular over time, an indication that queer people are actively looking for community in the metaverse. Therefore, I will write more articles about that, too!

white and multicolored love is love banner
Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com