As should be no surprise to anyone, we at Murakami Steamworks will be removing all of our items from XStreet. For those interested about what brought us to do something like this, take a look at Hotspur O'Toole's recent blog post and also take a look at this Linden Labs Official FAQ on the matter to get the details.
Not sure what exactly brought about this push to drive small niche markets out of XStreet but I think greed would be the best guess. In most monetary systems power is regulated to a very small elite group while the majority are left to suffer. The little people are not really given a choice, the elite choose for them and say “we know what's best for you, just let us handle everything”. Sadly this happens both in SL and in real life, and the result is that creativity suffers.
I also find the excuses they use to be rather odd. One of the main problems they have is the fact that these freebies and cheepies clutter up the product listings. So when someone does a product listing by lowest price, the freebies show up first... This is something that could easily be solved by simply moving all 0L items into their own category and not have them listed at all in the normal product listings. There are many solutions that could have been implemented to the site in order to make searching easier. One has to wonder if they were really truly considered...
Another excuse they have is the fact that these freebies force merchants to lower prices on certain items. I guess they never heard of competition? I don't particularly see why any of us should care if someone has to lower their prices or not. Why should a shopper buy a stupid 2000L item when they can find a nice product that's cheaper and works better? I have actually seen this on many occasions. [NB from MrB: hell, sometimes the 2000l$ item just plain sucks from the get go]
Then there is the whole idea of charging a fee just for listing items on XStreet. Considering the amount of items we have up, it would be around 300-400L every month just to have them listed. Granted this is not a huge deal for us, but one has to wonder if this is just a way to make extra money for nothing. How long was SLX up for? 3-4 years? They never had to charge that much. I think they only took like 5% commission on everything you sold, that's it. [NB from MrB: it should have been removed when LL bought them] They managed just fine, but apparently it costs a lot to list all that stuff on XStreet! Sorry but I can't help but roll my eyes on this one. I wish they would tell us the exact costs of listing those items... I think we would find them to be rather negligible.
So in the end we can probably still list our items on XStreet and profit from it, but out of principle we have chosen to withdraw everything. I have a feeling if enough merchants pull out it may scare LL back to their senses and force them to reconsider. I also found the timing kind of funny as I am currently working on a nice freebie ironclad that I would have liked to place on XStreet, however it will still be available at our shop when it is done. In the meantime, I suggest all of you go on XStreet and gobble up as much freebies as you can as they most likely won't be up for much longer.
Oh and if you know of any alternatives to XStreet let us know!