I visited Bear for the first time in a long while (perhaps two months?), and immediately entered a controversy! Score for Second Life Dramha!
And this was what got everyone over at my old haunt hot and bothered: Someone threatened that they'd get Lindens to break up the Bear crowd because it's too crowded. Conveniently, newbies unable to funnel into Bear due to such a cap would go to that someone's friend's welcome area. This was so serious it made Ryan Radio reasonable! C'mon, that's a major red flag right there!
AT least, that's what I pulled from it. There was a forum link, but I'm not permitted onto them. That's the gist of what I picked up, debating over whether Bear and any infohub should have a cap on visitors so that the others in the sim can enjoy their land.
The complainer couldn't understand why local businesses were upset (obviously, he understood why the Bear regs would be upset, you're smashing their hangout). He thought by limiting the traffic at the infohub, it'd allow more people to funnel into local businesses. And who cares if his friend's infohub/store got some traffic? Newbies don't land in SL with cash, you know! They'll just leave and never come back!
That last argument had Bear stumped, it seems. Even Ryan was fairly convinced, because they don't land with cash. They can't buy anything. So really, whether they land here, there, or on the moon, it's moot. They won't buy anything from you if they got nothing to spend, so don't worry your heads about who handles the waves from Orientation Island.
And that's when I came in. And I heard this, and I realized something. I said, "Sure, they may not land with cash. But they'll remember the stores around where they started, and they'll return with cash. That's why infohub stores tend to do well."
And everyone just sat there stunned for a bit. Because word of mouth is big in SL. As I stated, stores near Infohubs do better than stores in the middle of nowhere. The people come in, they see the shop set up nearby with reasonable prices (around L$1-100, pretty cheap), and they go off to find jobs or money to buy things. And when they do earn the cash (either earning it or just pouring some dollars into the game) they come back. They remember. Big brand names usually don't reach the majority of the new population who don't quite understand how to work the search, or haven't heard of Talisman Designs.
This is why commercialized orientation islands and commercialized welcome areas are an issue in SL in general, as a result of this realization that the bigger you advertise when they're new, the more likely they'll return when they're able to spend. It's a competition for their minds and pockets. If Jack has newbies plopping into his store, they'll remember Jack but not Paul three sims over. So why does Jack have welcome area status and not Paul?
I'm afraid this kind of problem can never be completely resolved. This has been raging ever since the dawn of SL, when people bellyached that those closest to the telehubs (in a time when you could only teleport between Hubs!) had an unfair advantage, being much closer to all that traffic and garnering all those eyeballs. So the Lindens made direct teleports and took out the telehubs. But it didn't really solve the problem, since some telehub-turned-welcome areas still gave the neighbors a distinct advantage. So the Lindens made Ahern, Waterhead, and Hanja, all infohubs surrounded by either expanses of great plains or Linden offices and museums and forests, the primary welcome areas, with the rest being backups in case those welcome areas filled or failed.
That was all okay, but then SL exploded, and increasingly the backgrounds become de facto main infohubs. But it had been a long time, and most of the whiners had brand names and such that they didn't really care anymore. Now we have the Lindens selling off orientation islands and welcome areas to anyone who has the money to do so. Now, I can buy an orientation island, and saturate with ads and info of the Tsiolkovsky Studios products and locations, and all well within my rights! There was an outcry when it was found that the Ben And Jerry's Orientation island was practically impossible to escape. So for awhile, about an estimated three hundred newbies were trapped in an OI, unable to leave, and probably all ended up quitting in frustration ("Is this all there is to this shitty thing? What is the big deal about a neon coloured prison?? This isn't my world, my imagination!!").
Having destroyed their main argument, Ryan and Bear followed the next logic course of action in SL. Did they proceed to dismember the rest of their opponents' arguments, or force the opposition into a compromise? Please! This is SL! They called in the Lindens who banned the lot of the traffic limitation supporters for 'impersonating Lindens and acting in same regard'. Take your complaints, and don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya! Ah, SL justice.
Having witnessed such an intense showing of Dramha and debate, the citizens of Bear proceeded to crawl back into Voice chat, which bewildered the newbies and hearing impaired who wondered why everyone was just standing around. At which point I left, my job done.
I plan on visiting again in a year. I can't be expected to show up every day and save them from impending doom, after all. I have other non-drama related things to do with my day!