Three ways to make a grid unique

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Community Resident
Community Resident
Feb 23, 2019
Hello everyone,
Most grid founders are technologists at heart, since there’s a common misconception that it takes a lot of technical skill to start a grid.
Surprise: it doesn’t! Anyone can launch a grid if they have a good service provider. Some will even throw in a basic website to get you started.
But let’s say that you’re running your grid yourself, you have technical skills, and you want your grid to stand out based on its features.
The bad news is, this is the single hardest way to market a grid.
Most features that you can think of are not enough to overcome the network effect. Grids can boast about their physics engines, border crossings, vehicle support and most users won’t even notice. They can experiment with pricing and discounts and currency exchange rates and promotional give-aways and nobody will care.
Worst of all, if you come out with a new feature, such as offering Vivox voice to everyone, or turning on hypergrid connectivity, and the feature turns out to be attractive to users, then often other grids will simply follow suit, and your differentiation is lost.
I can think of exactly three features that grids have rolled out that were unique at the time and have remained unique, and two of them belong to the same grid.

Users need stuff, but stuff is rarely enough, by itself, to bring people to a grid and to keep them coming back. But content is about more than just shops and pretty builds. It’s also about events. And events bring people in.
The most successful grids have calendars full of live music, parties, tours, contests, shows, exhibits, storytelling, classes, community meetings, role playing campaigns and a lot more.
The content least likely to attract new users on an ongoing basis? Pretty builds. They are fun to create, and fun to photograph, but then what? You visit it, say, “Oh, how pretty.” Then you bring a friend to visit, so they can appreciate it. And that’s about it.
To keep people coming back, the build has to either be host to fun events, or it has to keep changing, and topping itself.
Building a successful content-based grid requires that the owner and founder themselves be a successful content creator or event organizer, or the budget to hire them, and the patience and commitment to keep producing new content or events and keep promoting them.

The single most effective way to start a new grid is to find a community of people who need one, and build the grid around their needs.
Nara’s Nook is the prime example of this approach. Created to serve a community of writers, this niche grid has been growing steadily and has recently passed the 200 active user mark. But it plays well above its size. The strong focus on community helped the grid take the lead in the most recent grid survey, despite running a write-in campaign.
In addition, members of the community need to be able to recognize themselves as members of that community, and see a need for a world dedicated to their needs. In addition to looking at existing Second Life communities, other possibilities may include other online communities, such as fans of particular performers or games or blogs, or groups on Facebook, Google Plus, Reddit, or other social networks.
The grid founder then needs to have credibility with that community, or take the time to build it, and a strong appreciation of the community’s needs.
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