Crayonistas talk Smack: “We pwn you SL biotches” (or something to that effect)

by Urizenus Sklar on 10/11/06 at 8:17 pm

The Crayonista Street Gang Showing their Colors on the Mean Streets of SL

Wowzers, those Crayonistas sure have their own style of smack talk. It’s the sort of raw, unvarnished street talk you might hear on Madison Avenue in front of Paul Stuart’s (certainly nothing you would hear in front of Brooks Brothers). In a 78 minute long snoozecast called the For Immediate Release: Hobson and Holtz Report they did a lot of dissing of other people’s podcasts (glass house, rock, don’t throw), and then eventually (i.e. just after the halfway mark) got around to talking about Second Life and Uri’s typist in particular, and what they said was not very nice. First of all we had the following remarkable bit from Shel Holtz:

I saw a post on somebody’s blog about the Nissan promotion in second life. What Nissan did was put up a huge vending machine, and they had, I think it was a thousand and one Sentras that you could get out of the vending machine. And what they said was that Nissan came in here without understanding the economy of Second Life – there are people who build and sell cars and by giving away a thousand cars you’ve disrupted that economy and the comment was that Nissan is one of those organizations that is going to have to learn. And I shook my head and I said no, I think the existing residents are going to have to learn.

And then they got to hating on the Second Life Herald

Neville “first corporation to launch in Second Life” Hobson was hating all over the Herald, calling it and in particular my typist “foul mouthed” and accused the Herald of containing rabid commentary and even using words that can’t be repeated “in a family podcast.” Shockers! The case that Neville used to illustrate all this however was the contrast between Eric Rice’s post taking the Guardian to task for blindly repeating the claim of Axel Springer that it was lauching the first tabloid in Second Life. Apparently he thought Eric called out the Guardian in a reasoned way and I, by contrast, was rabid and vituperative. The only problem is that *I* didn’t write that article, Prok did. And Prok didn’t break out his potty mouth for that story. But wait, let’s roll the videotape and see what Eric said:

So Jess and the Guardian, please correct your article. And Axel Spring, correct this, or, as we like to say ’round these parts, shut the fuck up[emphasis his].

Blimey, Neville has a brain like a salad spinner. Stuff goes in, and it gets all mixed up, and who knows what comes out. Which is not to say that we aren’t in love with the F-bomb.

But getting to the main point, and both Shel and Neville actually had one, it seems to be that they think this is just like the old days when the AOL newbies came onto the internet and everyone hated on them. Problem is, the analogy fails miserably. The noobs came in and they eventually learned some nettiquette and in a few months we loved them — we even stopped calling them AOL-holes. But note that they didn’t come in like a bunch of arrogant pricks claiming they were the first people there or that they invented virtual communities or anything else. That is the issue here. I certainly welcome corporations and PR firms into SL. I just wish they would check their fat fucking egos at the door, try to get one or two facts straight, and spend some time trying to learn about this amazing new space rather than walking in on day one and telling us “you guys need to learn.” If my “potty mouth” makes them not want to have a conversation with me that’s fine. There are supposedly a million other SL residents they can talk to. But I doubt they will. They already know everything.

22 Responses to “Crayonistas talk Smack: “We pwn you SL biotches” (or something to that effect)”

  1. Bob the tomato

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Who the hell are these crayon assholes anyway?

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 10th, 2006

    I’m still back at the part where we’re supposed to ‘learn’ something from some big deep-pocketed corporations flooding the micropayments economy with this cartoon-textured crap of theirs for free?

    What part of that am I supposed to understand as good of the economy…other than good for THEIR economy?

    Well, Uri, you’ve been pretty potty-mouthed, it’s true. Of course, you were schooled on the SL forums where Jeska always gave a pass to potty-mouths unless they were like…me…or something lol.

    You might dial it back a bit, but on the other hand, they make such a huge gigunda splash in this pond and scare all the fish that maybe it’s in order.


    Nov 11th, 2006

    “I think the existing residents are going to have to learn.”

    Holy FUCK!

    Someone publish some SL names cause these guys are getting permabanned from any land I own.


    Nov 11th, 2006

    As for “disrupting the economy”

    Bahahahahahahaahhahahahahaha .. you WISH! I think the point is that you guys have absolutely nothing to offer and nobody cares, not that you’re going ‘disrupt’ anything.

    Oh god that was so funny. The reason the SL is so popular is because you guys have ruined the FL with all your souless crap.

  5. Nacon

    Nov 11th, 2006

    Start complaining, bitches.,,824307,00.html

    Seriously, they had a page for that. Go spam it up.

  6. Shel Holtz

    Nov 13th, 2006

    Context is always useful:

    Nice to mention the AOL situation but ignore the anti-business analogy, which doesn’t fail miserably at all.

    But seriously…thanks for listening!

  7. Urizenus

    Nov 13th, 2006

    Hey Shel, thanks for dropping in.

    I think the anti-business analogy fails in a couple ways. First, I don’t think anyone here is anti-business in the least — not even a tiny bit. Second life never has been much of a gift economy like the early internet was, but has, from day one, been a place where people have been launching new businesses and trying to make money. Even people who are not hear for that reason recognize that it is a big part of the space and accept it as such.

    Nor has SL been adverse to outsiders. In large measure the businesses here (virtual real estate sales and rentals, clothing sales, bling sales, tabloid newspaper sales) all need and want a growth in usership. Clearly.

    The problem as I see it is that the companies recently coming in are violating several cardinal rules of the space, not least of which is the rule that one should respect the achievements of others. That counts for a lot here.

    In addition, some of us are baffled by the way the new corporations are violating all the cardinal rules of marketing, which include, first and formost, getting to know your customer and figuring out what they want. We don’t see that here, just a lot of people pushing crap at us without doing any market research. The thought seems to be “this crap works in meatspace so it will work here.” Mistake.

    I suppose there is another view which is the “SL is our toy now and so we are going to charge in and do our meatspace thing here,” but this is another mistake. It is not the technology of SL that is impressive(far from it), it is the social dimension of the space enabled by the technology. So if you come in and ignore the social dimension you are not just missing out on the market but the utility of the tool. And yeah I think that the street figures out what the utility of the tool is, not someone sitting in a plush office in chicago or new york.

  8. Shel Holtz

    Nov 20th, 2006

    First off, Urizenus, a few apologies.

    I’m sorry for the terse comment last week, followed by a silence in response to your thoughtful (and appreciated) response. I was on the road for nearly two straight months, trying to catch up on email and other correspondence in the hour or so I had in a hotel room each night. There was really no excuse for so inadequate a response to your post, or for the gap in responding to you.

    More important, though, I’m sorry to anybody I offended with any of my comments. It was certainly never my intent to anger or upset anyone. As an advocate of the social media space, I’m a huge believer in conversation, and I hope I can initiate one here and move beyond the confrontational relationship I seem to have started.

    I would like to take the opportunity, in the spirit of conversation, to explain a few things better than I have so far.

    The reason I pointed to an earlier post from my blog was to show you that I don’t, in fact, think I already know everything, as you suggested at the end of your post. To the contrary, I don’t think I know anything, and I was asking for some help. I believe Second Life is important and I want to understand it, but I can’t do that alone, which led to my confession of ignorance and my plea for assistance. (It’s also worth noting that you accused me of having done no research, while a 30-second Google search on my name would have revealed my public statement that I’m relatively clueless when it comes to SL.)

    The statement I made about Nissan in my “snoozefest” podcast was based on the notion that any real economy is bound to be affected by unanticipated economic forces. There was resentment that Nissan gave away cars (at least, that’s what I read), prompting somebody to suggest that Nissan would have to learn the way things are in SL. The situation reminded me of what happened to Netscape when Microsoft introduced the free Internet Explorer, which it later bundled into the Windows OS. There was a lot of protest about Microsoft’s practices, but ultimately the free IE spelled the end for the Netscape browser. What Microsoft did may not have been nice, but it wasn’t unfair or illegal. It represented an economic force having an impact on the status quo. (And now the free and excellent Firefox is eating slowly into IE’s market share.) We’ve seen similar disruptions with Linux affecting IBM, Microsoft, and Sun.

    Isn’t that what Nissan did? Introduce an unanticipated effect into the economy that could cause change that might adversely affect some people? Any economy — if, in fact, it is a real economy — has to expect to go through evolutions as these forces apply themselves.

    And, if the actions are so heinous as to be unethical — such as the copy-bot recently introduced into SL — then it is up to the proper authorities to deem it illegal.

    Of course, if I’m wrong, I’d love to know why. I want to listen more than I want to talk. I’m serious about wanting to learn.

    My analogy to the influx of America Online residents onto the Net had nothing to do with the outcome (as you noted, they were eventually assimiliated), but more about the treatment they were given by long-time residents as they entered the space. They were dismissed, bullied, harrassed, denigrated and otherwise abused, just because they were new. And I would argue they DID change the landscape, since their interests were broad; they were not academics, hackers, computer enthusiasts or early adopters. They were just folk, and they brought that sensibility to the environment. They changed the Net culture even as they learned to embrace established online ettiquette.

    I see some of the same treatment of newbies taking place in SL. Not from everybody, certainly; I’ve been warmly welcomed in many quarters.

    Again, I raise this as a point of discussion, not of acrimony or argument.

    One reason such ire has been aimed at crayon is, I think, a misunderstanding of a claim we made, the now-well-known “first” claim. (I should note here that I’m speaking only for myself, and not for crayon.) It’s interesting that this was not a major marketing point for us, but rather a casual observation of something we thought was interesting. But let me explain further. crayon is not a Second Life marketing company. While some have written that we were formed to help bring companies into SL, that’s simply not the case. We are a real-world marketing company that applies social media and other “new” marketing techniques to our assignments. We have several existing clients, and in none of those engagements have we recommended or implemented an SL strategy. We may, in the future, if it makes sense based on project goals, but if we do, it will be with the aid and counsel of people who have been in-world residents for a long time who can help us make sure we’re not making any mistakes or violating established norms. We very much want to soak up as much culture and knowledge as we can in order to make a tangible and positive contribution.

    Our presence in SL — crayonville island — is primarily for internal use. crayon’s team is scattered around the world and it makes no sense for us to have a physical headquarters in Manhattan or some other physical locale. It made much more sense to have a virtual headquarters where we could meet with each other, with clients (in those instances when clients have come to SL), and to hold events such as panel discussions or workshops (we’re hosting an in-world CaseCamp, for example). Our “first” claim, then, was fairly detailed and nuanced: We thought we were the first real-world, non-SL company to open its only offices in SL and then formally launch the business from within SL. We never thought (or claimed) to be the first company of any kind to launch in SL. I apologize personally if the claim offended anybody who has already launched a non-SL business from within SL and to anybody who was offended by the claim due to the lack of clarity with which it was communicated. We certainly should have checked more thoroughly into the claim and been far more careful about how we explained it.

    Anyway, as noted earlier, I hope to engage in discussion and conversation, to learn, and to become somebody you’d want to know. I’m a fan of the Herald, and have been for some time. It’s one of the sources of learning I already depend on. Your excellent thoughts in response to my comment are dead-on, and reflect exactly the approach we want to take.

    But, if my past remarks continue to lead anybody to want to ban me from their spaces, I certainly understand and wouldn’t hold it against them. My avatar is Shel Witte.

  9. urizenus

    Nov 20th, 2006

    Hey Shel, thanks for dropping by again. My take on the Nissan thing is two-fold. First, I think they did more than drop an unanticipated event on the economy. What they did was tantamount to product dumping — what in the real world would be recognized as an unfair business practice. Indeed, in the real world we have treaties and laws that forbid such a practice, so it is natural that people would be offended by the practice here, even if not explicitly outlawed.

    But *my* point was that the marketing end of their project was all fubar…

    (i) because even if their product dumping was legal it did not make them any friends,

    (ii) it did not establish their product as something to be coveted or saved for but rather as a freebee that you nab by IMing someone for a PIN number. I won’t want my product to be represented by a freebee virtual stand-in.

    (iii) the image presented by a great big monolithic build, and at that a vending machine pushing cars at us, was all wrong for SL. It just didn’t seem to fit in, IMHO. It also gave the impression of being push media rather than interactive media. “take your car, step aside please, next.”

    (iv) it totally missed out on the point of SL, which is community and socializing. Why not pay a couple of people to hang out and talk cars with us. I know a couple car salesmen and a couple mechanics that would absolutely love a job like that. I believe that Nissan like most outsiders were so wowed by the graphics (which are not even impressive but rather backwards by the usual video game standards)they thought the point of this place must be the eye candy, but that is far from the truth. If you have spent time in other games you know just how lame our game engine and graphics are.

    (v) in the land of unicorns, copybots, furries and freaks are we supposed to be impressed by a Sentra? Instead of paying people to build Sentras for you why not show us your stuff? Show us what *Nissan’s* design engineers can do given a world that is only limited by your imagination. Would they make us flying saucers? Nissan battle suites for PvP contests in Jessie? Space stations? I’d like to know. All I’ve seen so far is that the most clever thing they can come up with is to ask someone else to make a copy of a Nissan Sentra.

    So my issue here is that it seems Nissan doesn’t understand this medium or at least is not taking advantage of it and is misplaying their opportunity to do something with genuine lasting impact.

    Oh, and btw, its snooze*cast* not snoozefest, and this was originally a term that Johnny Ming came up with during a taping of SecondCast. I’ve decided to apply it to all podcasts of over 5 minutes.

  10. Shel Holtz

    Nov 20th, 2006

    Urizenus, I appreciate your thoughts and certainly don’t disagree! I think Nissan’s point was to have 1000 Sentras seen driving around SL, and 1000 residents did acquire them. As for product dumping, did Oprah do that when she gave every member of her audience a Pontiac G6 (with GM’s assistance)? Didn’t that keep dealers from potentially selling those cars to those audience members?

    Mainly, though, I agree with your point about community and socializing — Nissan certainly did miss that boat — and most definitely think your ideas about other contributions Nissan designers might have made absolutely rock. I learn something every time I hear from you. Thanks!

  11. urizenus

    Nov 20th, 2006

    >Nissan’s point was to have 1000 Sentras seen driving around SL

    I think they were misinformed on that score too. Given that there is almost no place to drive in SL (and driving isn’t that workable given the game physics) all those cars went into inventory to be dragged out on rare occasions or placed in a driveway, or possibly never dragged out again. I doubt that they caught many eyeballs in world with that campaign, although of course it generated out-of-world buzz, so maybe that made it worthwhile.

  12. Cocoanut Koala

    Nov 20th, 2006

    They aren’t participating in the economy.

    They’re advertising.

    Imagine the earth. Just as it is. You go to your local car dealership and buy a car. You go to the store and buy clothes, or furniture, or whatever else you are buying.

    This is true all over the earth, and has been since time began.

    Suddenly space ships land everywhere.

    “Planet Zyron’s Number One Car Dealership!” is emblazened on one. They give out free cars to everyone.

    “The best shoes on Zyron!” says another, and they give away free shoes.

    And so forth.

    These spaceships are everywhere, all from Zyron, all wanting us to buy their products on Zyron, and all giving away copies of their products on earth, which are useless on Zyron anyway, but which work as well on Earth as any the Earthlings ever made.

    Zyron is where their real business is. They want us to come to Zyron, and buy their cars and clothes there.

    What happens is eventually we stop making our own cars and clothes, because no one on earth can compete with that, and anyway, who would want to?

    So Earth becomes Advertising World, existing to advertise what’s available on Zyron.


  13. Aimee Weber

    Nov 20th, 2006

    People from another planet coming to Earth and giving us free, high quality goods and services?

    I for one welcome our new Zyron overlords.

  14. Shel Holtz

    Nov 20th, 2006

    While I understand your analogy, Cocoanut, it’s not quite valid because Nissan gave away a limited number of items. I’ve seen people on street corners in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, D.C., even Des Moines giving away everything from candy bars to packs of cigarettes in order to get people to try them and, presumably, buy them. If Nissan’s vending machine never emptied, your analogy would be apt, but since there were only 1,000 (or was it 1,001?) cars, it’s not the same.

    Urizenus, though, your point about the fact that the cars can’t be driven, and mostly remain in inventory is excellent and instructive. Here is where Nissan may have been clueless, in addition to their failure to understand the social/networking nature of SL. Thanks for the observation; I bet you can smell my rubber burning from wherever you are.

  15. Sativa Prototype

    Nov 20th, 2006

    Dear Mr. PR

    I am your average joe Second Lifer. Here is where I see the problem.

    We do not need you.

    It’s really that simple, Second Life was puttering along quite well before your kind washed on it’s shores and, if it survives, will continue to do so without you.

    “Isn’t that what Nissan did? Introduce an unanticipated effect into the economy that could cause change that might adversely affect some people?”

    No, they came and dropped a finite number of prims into the world with their brand on them. If Nissan were selling cars in SL then maybe I could see your rational, but this was a dumping of a competitive product inworld where the seller has no market. Nissan could care less if people in SL are driving around in their cars, Nissan wants to sell real cars. This was just advertising that affected the people who actually do make and sell inworld cars.

    “My analogy to the influx of America Online residents onto the Net had nothing to do with the outcome (as you noted, they were eventually assimiliated), but more about the treatment they were given by long-time residents as they entered the space. They were dismissed, bullied, harrassed, denigrated and otherwise abused, just because they were new.”

    People resented AOL’s blight on the net in the early years for exactly the same reason we are hating what you people are doing right now. People are being told that SL is the coolest darndest place ever to go hang out and make friends while driving your Nissan Sentra by people like you. So when this flood of people knocks on the door to the party and wants to know what to do, where to go, why won’t that girl have sex with me, why doesn’t my Sentra drive right, why does my avatar look so bad, why can’t I do X, etc fucking etc, how about you sit down and explain it to them? When the customer doesn’t get the experience they signed up for it causes bad blood, who is left holding the bag? You?

    “We very much want to soak up as much culture and knowledge as we can in order to make a tangible and positive contribution.”

    Then don’t bring PR spin and real world business practices into it, it is not needed. Come on in, hang out, help build community and expand the world. Don’t throw a big block party in my neighborhood, hand out party favors with Brand X written all over it, then leave and wonder why I don’t get it.

    Your claims of “first” are amazingly funny given this statement

    “It’s also worth noting that you accused me of having done no research, while a 30-second Google search on my name would have revealed my public statement that I’m relatively clueless when it comes to SL”

    Look, I have nothing against you, you seem like a rational individual, you came here and laid out your claim without resolving to name calling and bashing, which, in this realm is shocking, but I think what those of us on the other side of the fence are trying to say is keep out.

  16. Urizenus

    Nov 20th, 2006

    I dunno Satvia, I think there is a place for RL PR here and RL corporations too. But I think social spaces are pretty fragile and their ecology is easily destroyed. The puzzle for guys like Shel is figuring out a way to integrate RL business into SL in a productive and profitable way, and that means integrating it without pissing people off or destroying the space or building irrelevant monuments to meatspace corporations that no one will ever visit. I think there are solution paths to this puzzle; for example I think the Nissan entry could have been more productive if they had followed some of the suggestions I gave above.

    What I’m saying is this: It’s not that we don’t want PR people, its that we want them to be smart.

  17. Sativa Prototype

    Nov 20th, 2006

    Perhaps I am being a bit heavy handed here, but given the knock on the door and rush to open the gates by certain groups of this trend I am getting paranoid. Perhaps I should see if Merck has something inworld that can settle my nerves. ;)

  18. Cocoanut Koala

    Nov 20th, 2006

    It is completely valid, Shel. Those companies are only charging anything for the things they sell because, according to their own words, they don’t want to step on us.

    The vending machine deal was just a variation on that.

    Don’t look for that to be the norm. It’s free advertising for their real products, which don’t even exist on the grid. I don’t think they are going to be so sensitive to us for long.


  19. Shel Holtz

    Nov 21st, 2006

    Sativa, you may have missed my assertion that crayon is not doing in-world PR. We have merely set up our headquarters in-world for our virtual business, which deals with RL clients and RL assignments that have nothing to do with SL. crayon is also a marketing company, not a PR agency. My colleague and I are the two members with a background in PR. But our work is not in-world; that’s just where we have our meetings.

    I also noted that we would consider an SL element to a client engagement if it was appropriate, but would undertake such a venture only with the counsel of some hard-core long-term SL residents to make sure we were going about it in a smart way that wouldn’t disrupt or offend anybody.

    I cannot speak for other companies, but I like what Text 100 has in mind, for example, providing sims that allow customers to test products in 3D that haven’t been produced yet to see what they do and don’t like. If you haven’t seen their machinima video on YouTube, take a look.

    But since, according to Linden Labs, SL is what its residents make of it, organizations like Text 100 are as free to make something of at as the original residents were. Yes, they need to be sensitive and smart. But I also believe that a growing population in any environment, real or virtual, changes cultures. In short, crayon, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Wells Fargo, the CDC, Text 100, Leo Burnett — all have the right to buy islands and establish a presence. The only question is what we do with it once we have it. I can speak oly for crayon; we hope to learn and do everything right.

    Coco, my only dispute with your analogy was the difference between making everything free forever (your alien race) and offering a limited number of free items (1,000 Sentras). Beyond that, I had no argument with your post and do believe Nissan could have managed its entry into SL better.

  20. Shel Holtz

    Nov 22nd, 2006


    I just read that 4,000 avatars PER DAY are test-driving a Sentra at the Nissan locale. I guess something about their effort is working…


  21. Bob the Tomato

    Nov 22nd, 2006

    Shel, when will you realise that there is no need of people like you in SL? We don’t need PR or marketing bullcrap, what we need is a stable grid that can’t be bought to its knees by six lines of code, and a place to have fun instaed of being bombarded with advertising everywhere we turn.


  22. Shel Holtz

    Nov 23rd, 2006

    Sorry you feel that way, Bob. I guess my question would be: How do you know there’s no need for “people like me” in SL? (BTW, I joined SL as just a guy months before I joined a company that decided to establish its headquarters in SL.) If I knew what you did for a living in the real world, I wouldn’t presume to tell you that I understood it enough to make sweeping judgments about it. Can you honestly tell me you understand what PR people do, or are your perceptions based on shallow characterizations on bad TV shows?

    I honestly don’t mean to be argumentative. But based on the flood of businesses into SL, there will be a serious need for those organizations to be able to communicate effectively and not do exactly what you’re worried they WILL do! My job is to make sure I can provide that kind of counsel that will keep relationships between businesses and SL residents cordial and even positive instead of deteriorating into the kind of acrimony you’re anticipating.

    I certainly agree that plenty of marketing is bull…well, what you called it. We certainly hope ours isn’t — we have an entirely different view of marketing than other firms — but keep in mind, as I mentioned before, our efforts at this point are all OUTSIDE SL.

    And I certainly share your aspirations for a stable grid!

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