We're gonna sit on top of the watertower and pretend we're Batman.

DDSM Rewards program: A Little Clarification:

Yes, I have closed both the Dare Chair Addicts and the old DDSM groups. In their place I have created the DDSM Rewards program group.

Here’s the basic information – after this we’ll get into some clarification.

DDSM Rewards Program

The Group: The group is open enrollment and there is no fee to join.
However, in order to receive any rewards and benefits from the group, you must **register** at the time of joining.
Registration is simple: join the group and send a notecard to Dare Munro with your avatar name and the the name of the person who recommended you to the group or ‘signed you up’ – if there was one (there doesn’t need to be). **This MUST be done by the new member only. At this point you will receive a basic level group member tag.

To join the group on your own:
Search for the group name with ‘Mature’ results ON, open the group profile, click ‘Join’

Member benefits and rewards:

As before, members of this group will receive notices of new releases, special events, sales, and giveaways related principally to Dare Designs (though not solely limited to that store).
Periodically there will be special members-only giveaways, events, and sales as well.

However, that is only the tip of the iceberg.

The real benefit to membership comes in the form of the rewards program itself.
In a nutshell, Dare Designs will pay its members a reimbursement each month based on the quantity of L$ they have spent in the store that month (think of it as a discount you get back in cash once a month). The amount each member earns back depends on their membership level.

Membership levels:
Just Looking : reward level: 0
Tempted : reward level: 5% (of purchases made each month)
Enchanted : reward level: 10% (of purchases made each month)
Ensorceled : reward level: 15% (of purchases made each month)
Cursed : reward level: 20% (of purchases made each month)

So how do you get the better membership level and reap greater rewards?
I knew you were going to ask that.

Simple – spread the word.
Remember that bit up at the beginning about new members sending in a notecard including their own name and the name of the person that recommended the store and the group?
This will be recorded, and as more people join the group based on your recommendation, your status and rewards within the group improve. These people become your registrants circle.

*Just Looking : move up to ‘Tempted’ requires : registering and maintaining 10 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 10, you go back down)
*Tempted : move up to ‘Enchanted’ requires : registering and maintaining 25 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 25, you go back down)
*Enchanted : move up to ‘Ensorceled’ requires : registering and maintaining 50 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 50, you go back down)
*Ensorceled : move up to ‘Cursed’ requires : registering and maintaining 100 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 100, you go back down)

So, the more people you bring to the store and group who stay and shop – your registrants circle – the more rewards you personally receive.
And it gets better – BUT – before you just run out and sign up anyone you can find… in order to count each month in your registrants circle, each avatar has to have made at least one full price purchase during that month. If not, they will be dropped from the group. (I realize this may occur due to RL concerns, but no avatar dropped is barred from re-registering at starting level later).

Here’s the better part:
Each avatar that creates and maintains a registrants circle, also receives a small stipend based on the purchases made by the members of their circle (and yes, members of one circle can have their OWN circles in turn).
Each month, DD will total the purchases of the members in each circle, and pay the head avatar a percentage of that total based on their membership level.

Tempted : reward level: 2% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)
Enchanted : reward level: 5% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)
Ensorceled : reward level: 10% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)
Cursed : reward level: 15% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)

So, in a nutshell – if you register 25 avatars to the group, you get the ‘Enchanted’ tag, make back 10% of everything you spend in the store each month, AND receive a cash reward of 5% of everything those registrants in your circle spend each month.
If this month you and each of them spent L$1000, at the end of the month you would get a payment from DD of L$1350. Simple, right? (that would actually make your own purchase free, plus extra).

The fine print:

NO HARASSMENT
BE POLITE
BE NICE
NO PUBLIC OR GROUP CHAT RANTING, BITCHING, ARGUING, OR FIGHTING.
You MUST deliver this notecard, in full, to each new person you register.

Break any of these rules and you will be cut from the group and banned from the store without notice or warning.

– – – – – – – – –

So now we get into the clarification.

First of all – Emilly Orr kindly raised some obvious but necessary concerns over this program here: http://razorblade-cookies.blogspot.com/2010/10/so-real-when-youre-just-ghost-of-me.html
Her principal concern was that this was some sort of pyramid or MLM scheme at worst, or an open invitation to harassment at best. (thank you, Emilly)
She noted examples of schemes within SL that do amount to nothing more than MLM designed to make the creator tons of money for doing absolutely nothing – such as ‘The Hunger’ and ‘Bloodlines’, for example – that have not only become excuses for random and ongoing harassment by people trying to exploit the system (not all players of these games are bad, but many are, it’s just a fact) – but ALSO receive the full support and encouragement by the creators to actively harass people and ignore requests or demands or rules to stop. (the creator of The Hunger is notorious for telling players to ignore other sim owners’ rules and requests not to harass people on their land). My rule against harassment is precisely the opposite.

So first of all I will summarize my responses to Emilly’s concerns, because they address a few points everyone needs to be aware of.

Unlike these other systems, and perhaps not wholly obvious, is the fact that people can be a group member, do nothing extra, and nothing changes from before – they shop when they feel like, and all remains the same. But those that wish to get more, or be more involved, only need to do a little more – no different than picks rewards, or any number of other inworld promotional/advertising options that have come and gone or even still exist.
Yes, this is utterly and unabashedly a marketing tool.

With search broken, with picks and traffic no longer counting towards search rankings, and NO tool available to us (merchants) working any longer – leaving us no real way (except good old-fashioned word of mouth) to introduce our work to new customers as old ones leave SL in droves… it’s time to be creative, and invite loyal customers to work WITH us, and get something back for it.

It also rewards those that put just a little effort where their claims to love and support the store lay.

This program is simply rewarding shoppers out of my own pocket for any word of mouth they provide that works.
In that way it is completely different than Bloodlines or MLM (though, ironically, pretty much spot-on to HerbalLife’s early marketing strategy). Unlike any MLM or Pyramid scheme, the participants DO NOT SELL. In an MLM or Pyramid scheme, the participants sell product, then pay a commission to their upline out of THEIR pocket.

Here – the only person paying anything – is me. 🙂

In fact, if people truly like the store and what I do, they need do nothing more than they did before – tell people. But now, they get paid for it, out of my pocket. And hopefully this gives them incentive to talk more about what they like.

That was the basic first response to those concerns, and there have been some others.

The second round came from someone inworld, and was considerably less well-put (and in places outright insulting), though some of the concerns are still legitimate and deserve answering.

First of all – why did I close the previous two groups:

The DDSM store group:
The reason for closing this was in part personal and does not need to be gone into in detail here. The rest of the reason was the group just sort of sat there and didn’t do much for the store or the group members – the DDSM Rewards Program actively works for everyone concerned. It seemed a good trade.

The Dare Chair Addicts group:
First of all – I did NOT start that group, nor did I even WANT that group – I was forced to take it over when it began to spread misinformation and create a lot of confusion IN MY NAME and in the name of my store. The degree of drama and headaches in my life increased by at least a factor of ten when that group really got into full swing. I had to monitor the group chat DAILY, even HOURLY, just to prevent more damage being done under the supposed approval of my store and myself. After maintaining the group for over a year, I learned a simple fact:
MOST (not all, but most) of the people in that group had no interest in anything but collecting cheap and/or free stuff. They were not actual customers, and never would be. Furthermore, for not being actual customers, they were on average ten times the pain in my ass – drama, bitching, complaining, demanding, harassing, fighting on my time and in my domain, under my name – than the REAL customers who actually supported the store by occasionally buying things at full price.
In short, the people contributing the least were creating the MOST hassle and drama.
After a year of this experiment, I closed it – enough was enough.

Don’t kid yourself – this is not a hobby for me – this is a real business, and I am going to treat it as such. Those that respect that and me (and Axi) will receive my wholehearted support and generosity – but those that don’t, are not welcome. Period.

To address the rest of the concerns that have been raised, I will go back to portions of the original description of the program, and add a little explanation.

** In a nutshell, Dare Designs will pay its members a reimbursement each month… The amount each member earns back depends on their membership level…
Unlike any MLM or pyramid scheme, the members of this group do not have to sell anything, nor do they have to pay anything out of their own pocket beyond making occasional purchases in the store (as they most likely would have done anyway). The rewards paid out are paid BY ME alone, and are a direct answer to two things – shopping in the store, and recommending the store to friends, etc.. In this way it is much more like an air miles or shoppers’ reward program at your local grocery store.

** BUT – before you just run out and sign up anyone you can find… in order to count each month in your registrants circle, each avatar has to have made at least one full price purchase during that month. If not, they will be dropped from the group. (I realize this may occur due to RL concerns, but no avatar dropped is barred from re-registering at starting level later).
Yes, you must make one purchase a month to maintain your status within the group, and so must those you introduce to your circle in order for them to remain in and count towards your rewards.
Why? Because this prevents people from ‘gaming the system’ – signing up a bunch of people and then sitting back, doing nothing, and collecting cash from me. <— read that part twice.
I wish it did not have to be this way, but WE ALL KNOW there are many, many unscrupulous people who would and will try this very thing.
All this really means, however, is that you get dropped if you don’t make a purchase this month. You can rejoin at the basic level when you come back to it, and then just leave it alone and carry on and nothing changes. The cheaters are weeded out, and those that simply want to be in the group and stay informed can do so at their own leisure.
Besides – a single purchase at full price once a month in my store amounts to – $1-$2 US… about the same price as a bottle of soda or a commercially bought cup of coffee. ONCE A MONTH.
This is hardly extortion.

It was suggested I should employ an affiliate vendor program instead.
No.
Just… No.
I will not release my product and my brand to be abused in the way I have seen others get abused by unscrupulous people taking advantage of vendor programs. Again – we all know there are plenty of bad apples out there ready to do ANYTHING to make a few Lindens, or dollars – and I refuse to enable them and let my store and my reputation suffer for it. I maintain certain standards, and I make sure my paying customers and the friends and supporters of my store are well taken care of. An affiliate vendor program would take a large part of that out of my hands, and significantly increase the amount of headaches I have to deal with.

The rest of the objections so far were made to the rules posted at the end of the original document, so let me explain.

** The fine print:

NO HARASSMENT – here’s the one that prevents this from turning into another Bloodlines or Hunger fiasco. If a member of this group harasses other avatars to join up, and I hear about it – they are EJECTED and banned. Permanently. Yes, I would like lots of people to be members of this group. I will NOT tolerate harassment or high-pressure tactics employed by people just out to get free money.

BE POLITE, BE NICE, NO PUBLIC OR GROUP CHAT RANTING, BITCHING, ARGUING, OR FIGHTING – I maintain certain standards of behavior in my groups and in my store. I will not come into YOUR house in front of your friends and family and throw a fit, bitch about you, or start a fight – it’s simply rude, and this rule only states I expect the same level of consideration for me and the rest of the people in the group. Think before you post. There is always private IM to vent your thoughts if need be. It’s not that hard. And no – I will not reconsider.

YOU MUST DELIVER THIS NOTECARD, IN FULL, TO EACH NEW PERSON YOU REGISTER – this is simply to prevent people from grabbing a bunch of registrants and not letting them in on the fun and rewards. Again, there are many people out there ready and willing to try and exploit the system for their own selfish and greedy benefit. This rule is just another (sadly necessary way) to keep everyone honest. Seriously folks, it is a tiny effort to type ‘DDSM’ into your inventory search box and then drop the notecard on whomever you are talking to – but that tiny effort is a measure that you are serious in your support. If it is too much, then I apologize, but this is not for you.

So there you have it.

– all my best, Dare

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One response

  1. Yeah, so I turned in another post on the blog, but I really think that’s the end of it. At least this one was more favorable.

    Thanks for the further explanation; it does help. And you’ve set yourself up for a great amount of work, but hopefully, it’ll turn out to be a FallnAngel situation–where Angels in the group turn and stomp people for things they know Azriel has said he doesn’t like. Sure, that can get out of hand, but by and large, good groups self-police after a while.

    October 10, 2010 at 8:18 am

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