Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Lucky Tribe Venue Application Process - de-mystified!

Today, I'd like to spend a little time discussing the application & approval process for venues that want to take part in Lucky Tribe. As the reputation of Lucky Tribe spreads, we're getting a massive increase in interest from merchants who want to be part of the event. Hopefully, this guide will de-mystify our selection process a little, and also help prospective event partners to better-prepare themselves for Lucky Tribe participation.

I should emphasise from the outset that participation as a Lucky Tribe location is not guaranteed to all applicants. We want this game to be successful, popular, and to have a reputation for being a really cool way to spend your time in Second Life. It's therefore important that we focus our attention on venues that deliver the "right" kind of experience to our players - places that are interesting to visit, and places that can provide our players with prizes that are really desirable and worth having. Exceptional venues, or venues that happen to hit the right "mix" of features that we're looking for on a particular day, are likely to be fast-tracked through the process. If you hear rumors about us having a "huge" waiting list, please DON'T be put off. It's true that our application pool is pretty large... but it's also true that the waiting list is far from linear when the right kind of application comes along...

So, what are we looking for?

Here's how the application process works:

1. You fill in an application notecard (available upon request, from me). This is a very brief questionnaire about the nature of your business - who you are, where you are, what you do ... and asks some really basic checklist questions, like which "Lucky" devices you have on site, and whether or not you allow external scripts to be run on your land (answering "no" to this last question pretty much excludes you from the running - the game HUDs don't work where scripts aren't turned on!)

2. You return the notecard to me. I then pass the notecards on to a team of elite covert operatives, who will come along and scout your location, and compile a report on it's suitability for Lucky Tribe inclusion. The location scouts are going to score your location on a number of criteria. The really important ones to know about are as follows:

  • Are you selling your own creations, or are you mainly a business-in-a-box / affiliate reseller site? Unless the location is exceptional in some other respect (e.g. area of outstanding beauty / interest), we tend to score first-party content creator sites way higher than BIAB/reseller venues.
  • Do you have a Lucky Designs device on-site, that we can turn into a Kudos booster? In the current phase of the game, this means you need to own a Lucky Chair, Lucky Cup-Cake, or Lucky Fortunes. We are NOT planning to issue Kudos Boosts through Midnight Manias; if the only thing that we find at your location is a Midnight Mania - but your venue is otherwise ideal - you're likely to be "blue-carded" (see below).
  • What level of Lucky Designs "brand purity" do you have at your site? This is an important one. Lucky Tribe is being provided as a "value add" service to existing customers of Lucky Designs. If we get to your site, and we see you're using a bunch of lucky chairs made by some other vendor, you get marked down heavily. Similarly, if we see "clones" of other Lucky Designs products (e.g. "RiotVend" instead of MobVend, "Midnight Madness" instead of "Midnight Mania", etc etc), you also lose points in this category. There's a simple commercial reality at work here; Lucky Tribe has the power to send a whole bunch of visitors your way, and - when push comes to shove - we'd sooner send those visitors to sites that have supported us and bought our original products, rather than cheap knock-offs. Sites that we see as an ideal venue - but are only let down by "brand-purity" - will be scored as normal, but "blue-carded".
  • Are you an active tribe member? OK, this one isn't a huge decider (since a lot of content creators - me included! - play host to events that they don't play in themselves) - but if you're somebody who we see active in Tribe chat a lot, or who we see has accumulated a lot of Kudos points, we tend to give you a bit of credit. The people who understand the mechanics of Lucky Tribe tend to have much smoother set-ups than the sites who just got into it because "a friend told me to!" ...We know that we can usually squeeze these sites in to a new batch with very little extra work.
  • Do you offer something "a bit different"? ... again, this will nudge your score upwards a little. We like variety. We love unique prizes. We like venues that will appeal to all sexes (and species) of tribe members. Different is good!

3. At the end of this process, your venue will have a score, on a scale of 1 to 10. It might also have a "blue card", or a "red card" (I'll come to those in a moment, honest!). Your application then goes into "the pool"... this is the repository of all the vendor applications that we've received. Applications with a high score float up to the top of the pool... applications with a low score sink to the bottom of the pool. Other adjustments take place (like, how long a particular application has been waiting, or whether we consider demand to be strong for a particular genre of venue) - but the basic principle is, the most attractive locations rise, and the less-desirable sink. When we're ready to add some new venues to the game, we go to the pool and scoop off whatever's floating on top.

What's all this stuff about red cards and blue cards?

When we see a venue that would be *perfect* for lucky tribe, but they only have one or two failings (e.g. they don't already own a device that we can readily turn into a Kudos generator ... or they have a big, ugly, rival-branded product stuck on the wall), their application gets a blue card*.

(*in real terms - we change the colour of their box on our master spreadsheet to blue. But that sounds way less exciting!)

In theory, a blue card means we're going to get back in touch with those venue owners to discuss the road-block, and give them the chance to fix things and re-submit the venue for a second consideration. In practice, we're juggling so many new applications that we haven't had time to deal with many blue cards yet. If you've read this document, and suspect you're currently blue-carded, then by all means, go ahead and jump the gun - tweak your venue and ask me to initiate a second review ... I won't mind!

(in the future, I'm probably just going to steer our blue-carded applicants to this blog entry for further explanation!)

And red cards? Well, they usually get attached to people who have _no_ lucky devices on site, have no real idea what Lucky Tribe is anyway, and who seem to trade almost entirely in camping chairs and resold freebies. The fact that you're even reading this document is probably a good sign that you haven't been red-carded ;)

What happens next...

Once we've scooped a venue out of the top of the pool, they get a final site check in which we determine what kind of kudos device we're going to place at that site (and I come up with some kind of awful pun to go on the HUD badge!). The owner is notified that they've been approved for activation, and asked to confirm that they still want to take part. "Set up Kits" are normally ready to ship to the venue owners within 24 hours of confirmation, and most sites are live shortly after delivery ... so things move pretty swiftly once you've reached the top of the pool :)

And that's it!

Hopefully this article has been useful to anybody planning to apply for inclusion of their venue in Lucky Tribe. Hopefully de-mystifying the process hasn't made it look too intimidating - the process isn't that harsh really ... most of our applicants do emerge from the pool eventually! ;) ...if you want to apply for YOUR venue to be included in Lucky Tribe, just drop me an IM in-world, and I'll get an application notecard to you ASAP!

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