Please Help Kitely by Participating in the Hypergrid Business Annual Grid Survey

The website Hypergrid Business is now holding its ninth annual OpenSim grid survey, and we need your help to be able to attract additional people to our growing community. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes to help spread the word about Kitely then please answer this short multiple choice survey.

Last year many of you participated in the survey and your endorsement helped convince more content creators to list their items in Kitely Market and more people to join our community. Your continued support this year is crucial for our continued growth.

Please take the time to complete this survey. Thank you!

Record Kitely Market Sales as Former InWorldz Residents Go Shopping

InWorldz, one of the oldest and largest OpenSim grids, has recently shut down. Since then, many InWorldz residents have moved to other grids in search of a new home. Thanks to Kitely Market, we now have some hard data that shows the scope of this exodus, as well as which grids were the preferred destinations for InWorldz residents.

We have seen a remarkable 300% spike in Kitely Market sales since InWorldz has shut down, as users that moved to new grids began restocking their avatar inventories. InWorldz didn’t allow its residents to use Kitely Market, so for many of these users this is the first time that they’ve been able to buy from our marketplace.

We saw Kitely Market sales begin to rise on July 26, a day before InWorldz shut down. The graph below compares sales from the week since InWorldz shut down, to the average weekly sales in the three weeks before that. Kitely’s own grid experienced the biggest growth in absolute numbers, but DigiWorldz and Discovery Grid experienced the most growth relative to their previous sales levels.

Kitely Market delivers to all Hypergrid-enabled OpenSim grids. This page explains how to buy items from Kitely Market and have them delivered to your avatar on another grid.

If you are the owner of a closed grid and you want to allow your users to buy from Kitely Market then follow these directions.

GDPR Compliance and Improved Privacy Settings

On May 25, 2018, privacy regulations enacted by the European Union called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect. Today’s Kitely update contains numerous changes in order to comply with the GDPR. We’ve updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, and added tools to the Settings page that let you view and control your personal information better.

All Emails are Now Opt-In

The GDPR requires active consent in order to send any non-critical emails, so we had to disable all of the optional emails that we used to send to you. This includes highly useful emails such as ones notifying you when another user sends you a message. If you have a Kitely Market store then you will also no longer receive an email when that store makes a sale. You need to opt-in if you want to receive these emails again.

One-Time Privacy Information Dialog

The next time you login to Kitely you will be asked to accept our new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, and optionally opt-in to our emails:

We don’t send many emails, so we recommend selecting Enable/disable all emails to enable all of these emails. (Note that the last three checkboxes in this screenshot will only appear if you have a Kitely Market store.)

If you try to visit one of Kitely’s worlds before accepting the new Terms of Service then the login attempt will fail with this message:

Hypergrid Users Need to Accept our Terms of Service

People who visit Kitely using the Hypergrid also need to accept our updated Terms of Service. When a Hypergrid user tries to teleport into Kitely, they will get this message:

When they open this link in their browser they will see this web page:

After they accept our Terms of Service they’ll be able to visit the Kitely grid without having to repeat this approval process.

Mandatory Age Verification for All Users

The GDPR limits our ability to sign up users who are under 16 years old. We’re now required to obtain the consent of the parent or guardian of such users before we allow them to use our service.

Until now, Kitely didn’t require you to specify your age (only to assert that you’re over 13 years old). We only asked for your age if you tried to change your account’s Maturity Rating to Adult. In order to comply with the GDPR, we now require all of our users to specify their age range.

If you provided us with your date of birth in the past then we have converted it into an age range, and deleted your exact date of birth.

If you haven’t provided us with your date of birth in the past then you’ll be asked to select your age range the first time you login to Kitely:

If you select an age under 16 then you’ll also be asked to provide us with the contact information of your parent or guardian:

We’ll send an email to the parent or guardian, asking them to approve your account. Once they do so you’ll be able to create a Kitely account (or continue using your existing account).

You can view and change your age range in the account Settings page. However, if you’re under 16 years old then we’ll ask your parent or guardian to approve the new age range that you choose.

Modify your User Names

You can now view and change two names in the Settings page:

Account name – this is the name that appears in the Kitely website (e.g., in the Account History page and in the forums). It’s the name that you chose when you signed up to Kitely.

OpenSim avatar – how you appear in OpenSim. This name is usually the same as the Account name, but sometimes it’s slightly different.

In the past you were only able to choose your Account Name, and only when you created your account. We then generated your OpenSim Avatar name automatically based on your Account Name. Usually these names are the same, but sometimes we have to make the OpenSim name different from your Account name. This can happen for several reasons: e.g. because your name is already in use in our OpenSim grid (which doesn’t allow two avatars to have the same name), or because your Account Name contains characters that are unsupported in OpenSim. This can cause some users to have OpenSim names like “John Smith_2”. If you wish, you can now change your OpenSim Avatar name.

We strongly recommend that you make your Account Name and OpenSim Avatar Name identical, or at least as similar as possible. Otherwise things will get very confusing, as you’ll be known by different names in our OpenSim grid and on our website (which includes the forums).

One last warning: if you change your OpenSim Avatar name then you might not see the results of the change until you clear your viewer cache. Similarly, other users who meet you in OpenSim will also see you using the old name, unless they also clear their viewer’s cache. So you should think carefully before you change your OpenSim name.

Modify your Email Address

You can now view and change your email address:

For security, you’ll need to enter your password in order to change your email address. We’ll send a verification email to the new email address, and a notification email to your old address.

Disconnect your Kitely Account from your Facebook or Twitter Accounts

If you created your Kitely account using Facebook or Twitter (instead of using an email and password), then you can now view and delete your link to these services. If you remove your link to Facebook or Twitter then you’ll be able to login to Kitely using your email and password instead.

Download Usage Reports

You can download your account’s usage reports:

Some of these reports have existed before today’s update, but the purchases report is new. (Note that the sales report option will only appear if you have a Kitely Market store.)

Delete your Account

You can now delete your Kitely account without having to ask us. To start this process, select Delete account in the Settings page:

You will need to confirm that you want to delete your account by first entering your password, and then by clicking on a confirmation email that we’ll send to your email address. Once you do this your account will be deleted immediately. All of your Kitely worlds will be deleted, and if you have a Kitely Market store then it will also be deleted.

Your Right to be Forgotten

We keep some information about your account even after you delete it. We need this information for security, so that bad people don’t come into Kitely; wreak havoc; and then quickly erase all the traces that can help us identify them. This retained information will be removed from our system 30 days after you delete your account. After that, some information may still exist in our backups, but even that information will be deleted within 90 days.

Information relating to your PayPal and Kitely Credits transactions will be stored indefinitely, even if you delete your account, in order to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and accounting regulations.

Deleting a Hypergrid User

Hypergrid users also have the option to delete their information from Kitely. Since Hypergrid users don’t have a Kitely account, they can’t go to their Settings page to delete themselves (as Kitely users do). Instead, we’ve added a sign in the Kitely Welcome Center that enables Hypergrid users to delete their information. This sign is located in the information kiosk area (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Kitely Welcome Center/63/127/25).

When you click on this sign a web page will open in your browser, where you can tell us to delete all of the information that we’ve collected about your avatar. (If you’re a Kitely user and you click on this sign then we’ll open your account’s Settings page instead.)

Better control over email settings

We updated our system today with several privacy-related improvements. We’re working to make Kitely compliant with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is a wide-ranging privacy law enacted by the European Union. Many of the changes we’re making are behind the scenes, but some are user-visible, and one of these changes is included in today’s update.

Email Settings

We now provide you with more control over which emails we send you. The Settings page now contains an “Email Settings” section where you can opt in or out of all types of emails.

If you have a Kitely Market store then the Settings page will also show you Store-related email settings. These settings were moved here from the Store page.

We will implement other GDPR-related changes in future releases.

Removed Support for Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, and Twitter Lists

For users who created their Kitely account using Facebook or Twitter, we used to provide the ability to restrict access to their worlds to users who are their Facebook Friends; Twitter Followers; or in one of their Twitter Lists. This feature has now been removed. It was very rarely used, and it has become difficult to enable due to Facebook’s and Twitter’s recent privacy-related changes.

You can still restrict access to your Kitely world by selecting OpenSim groups whose members will be allowed to enter the world. To do so, go to the Access tab in the world’s Manage World dialog.

Other Changes

We’ve made it easier for Kitely Market merchants to redeliver a product to many customers.  When merchants update a product, they sometimes want to redeliver it to all of the customers who had previously purchased the product. But these deliveries can fail if the destination grid is down. We show an error message when that happens, but until now that message didn’t specify which customer failed to receive the item. This is a problem when delivering to many users at once. We’ve now improved this error message to show which item and customer failed to receive the redelivery.

Easily Deliver Product Updates; Help Users of Grids That Have Shut Down

We updated our system today with a couple of features that were requested by Kitely Market merchants. It’s now possible to easily deliver product updates to all the people who had purchased them in the past. We also added a feature that allows users of grids that had shut down to regain access to their Kitely Market purchases.

Deliver Product Updates

Kitely Market merchants often make tweaks and improvements to their products even after they’ve been released. They’ve told us that they would like to have an easy way to deliver the new version of their products to all the people that had bought them in the past. This is now possible using a feature called “Batch Redeliver”.

To redeliver a product to all the Kitely avatars that had received it in the past, go to the product’s Edit page and click on Batch redeliver:

You will be asked to confirm, and then the latest version of the product will be added to the inventories of all of the Kitely avatars to which it was delivered in the past. These avatars will receive an IM telling them that they received the updated product. (Or an Offline IM, if they’re currently offline.)

This feature doesn’t deliver the updated product to avatars from other grids (i.e. non-Kitely avatars), because that’s very error-prone due to the many problems that can occur when communicating with other grids. The merchant can, however, send a product update to a specific non-Kitely avatar by going to the Sales History page and selecting the “Redeliver” option for that avatar.

Transfer Hypergrid Orders to Kitely

This feature allows Kitely Market merchants to select orders that were originally delivered to another grid, and redeliver them to Kitely avatars.

This feature is intended to be used when a grid shuts down. When that happens the grid’s users lose their inventory, including their Kitely Market purchases. By using this feature the merchant enables their customers to get back their Kitely Market purchases, using their Kitely avatar. Kitely Market has been used to deliver orders to hundreds of OpenSim grids. Since dozens of grids shut down each month, this feature can be very useful for merchants that have customers from a grid that no longer exists.

It is completely up to the merchant to decide whether to use this feature or not. They might use it if they’re contacted by someone who had an avatar on the now closed grid, and transfer only that avatar’s orders. Alternatively, if a merchant hears that a grid has closed, they might decide to transfer all of the purchases that were delivered to any avatar on that grid.  Lastly, the merchant can decide that they would rather handle such cases in other ways and not use this feature at all.

This feature is described in detail here: Transfer Hypergrid Orders to Kitely.

Other Improvements and Bug Fixes

In the Kitely Market Sales History page, it’s now possible to search for orders by entering the name of the avatar that received the purchase. Until now it was only possible to search using the name of the user that bought the order. Usually the user that buys the order is also the receiving avatar, but they’re different in the case of Gifts, or when the order is delivered to an avatar on another grid.

We fixed a bug that caused a few fonts to stop working in OpenSim. The affected fonts were the Microsoft ClearType fonts, including Cambria and Calibri.

Please Help Kitely by Participating in the Hypergrid Business Annual Survey

The website Hypergrid Business is now holding its eighth annual OpenSim grid survey, and we need your help to be able to attract additional people to our growing community. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes to help spread the word about Kitely then please answer this short multiple choice survey.

Last year many of you participated in the survey and your endorsement helped convince more content creators to list their items in Kitely Market and more people to join our community. Your continued support this year is crucial for our continued growth.

Please take the time to complete this survey. Thank you!

Improved Wish List and Demos in Kitely Market

We’ve updated our system today with several improvements that were requested by our users. Among other things, we’ve made it easier to use the wish lists in Kitely Market, and to add Demo items to Kitely Market product listings.

Improved Wish List Usability

It’s now easier to buy items that are in your Wish List. The Wish List contains a “Buy” link next to each item. Previously, clicking this link would switch to the Shopping Cart, where the item would appear. This made it cumbersome to add multiple items from your Wish List to the Shopping Cart, because you’d have to flip back and forth between these two pages for each item.

Now, clicking “Buy” adds the selected item to the Shopping Cart but doesn’t switch to the Shopping Cart page. This makes it much faster to buy multiple items from the Wish List.

Simplified Demos Creation

Kitely Market has built-in support for adding Demos to product listings. Previously this feature required a lot of work from content creators, because they had to create a Demo item for each of the product’s variations. Products in Kitely Market often have many variations, so this quickly became tedious. It was also mostly unnecessary, since usually a product only needs one Demo, regardless of how many variations it has. For example, even if a dress is available in 8 colors, it’s often enough to provide a demo in only one color.

To address this issue, we’ve now changed Kitely Market so that if a product has any Demo, in any of its variations, then that Demo can be used by all of the variations. This eliminates the need to create multiple Demos for the product.

Of course, you can still create individual Demos per variation if you want. Each variation uses the following Demo, in order of preference:

  1. The variation’s own Demo.
  2. If that doesn’t exist: a Demo from the nearest previous variation in the Variations table.
  3. If that doesn’t exist either: a Demo from the nearest succeeding variation in the Variations table.
  4. If none of the above exist then the product has no Demo.

Removed Warnings for Standard OpenSim Assets

Kitely Market has built-in tools for finding and fixing problems in products. When content creators add a product to Kitely Market, we check their product and show warnings if it contains references to non-existing assets. However, sometimes these references are for standard predefined OpenSim asset identifiers. These predefined identifiers aren’t regular assets, but they’re not missing, and therefore shouldn’t cause our system to display warnings. We maintain a list of such assets, and we’ve now added several additional asset identifiers to that list to eliminate a few incorrect warnings that our system had previously displayed.

Enabled OSSL Functions

We’ve enabled the following OSSL functions for use by everyone. Previously they were only enabled for the world owner, but this was too restrictive:

To learn more, see this list of our supported OSSL functions.

llCastRay v3

We’ve switched to using llCastRay v3, which provides more accurate results than llCastRay v2.

Updated OpenSim 0.8.2.1

We upgraded to using a newer version of OpenSim 0.8.2.1. This update contains a few minor changes that only affect the backend, and no user-visible changes.

Kitely Market Passes $100,000 in Sales

We are proud to announce that we’ve passed a new milestone: with significant growth over the past year, Kitely Market has sold over $100,000 worth of virtual goods to date.

Kitely Market first opened to the public on August 2013. Over the past few years, Kitely Market has become the main marketplace serving the OpenSim metaverse (the Hypergrid).

Here are a few noteworthy stats:

  • When Kitely Market first opened it had under 1,000 product variations listed. It now offers more than 17,000 product variations.
  • Kitely Market’s sales revenue last month was over 16 times higher than its sales revenue on its first month in business.
  • When Kitely Market opened, Kitely was still a closed grid and only Kitely users could buy from it. In March 2014 Kitely Market started delivering to the Hypergrid, and has since delivered to avatars on more than 170 different OpenSim grids.
  • Our top merchant has sold more than $10,000 worth of virtual goods.
  • Our top 10 merchants have each sold at least $1,300 worth of virtual goods.
  • More than 100 Kitely Market merchants have each sold at least $100 worth of virtual goods.

One of our main goals for Kitely Market was to enable content creators to easily make money selling their creations to users from multiple OpenSim grids, without having to manually deliver their goods to all of those grids. Kitely Market’s growth over the past few years demonstrates that talented content creators can see a nice return from selling to an open metaverse, even when it still includes only a few tens of thousands of active users, which are spread between hundreds of different grids.

Thank you for using Kitely Market! Your help in spreading the word about our marketplace is what enabled it to grow and provide you with more content buying options. With your continued support, we believe that this year we’ll be able to serve even more buyers and content creators.

Search for People, Groups, Places, Events and Classifieds

Following many requests from our users, we’ve now implemented the viewer’s in-world search tabs. Click Ctrl+F to open the Search window, and then click on the tab that you want to search.

Search Events

People

This tab lets you search for avatars.

Groups

This tab lets you search for OpenSim groups.

Places

This tab lets you search for parcels. Only parcels that have enabled the “Show Place in Search” checkbox can be found (see details at the end of this post).

Events

This tab lets you search for Events. These are the events from our events system.

If you’ve created an event then we highly recommend that you specify the event’s location, as described in How to Add Events. Now that people can search for events in the viewer, they will want to click “Teleport” to go to the location of the event — but that’s only possible if the event creator has entered a valid location for the event.

Classifieds

This tab lets you search for Classified Ads.

We’ve implemented a complete Classifieds system, so you can now buy Classified Ads (using Kitely Credits). Each Classified Ad runs for one week, and you can choose to have it be renewed automatically.

The minimum price of a Classified Ad is 50 KC (per week). In Search, the Classified Ads are sorted by the price that the classified’s creator chose to pay for the ad: from highest price to lowest price.

A few people had created classifieds in the past. Those ads have been deleted, because we didn’t charge people for classifieds until now, and we don’t want to start charging people unexpectedly.

Web Search

This is the only tab that worked even before today’s update, and it hasn’t changed. It still lets you search for People or Places.

Note that in the “Web Search” tab, searching for places searches for Worlds. In contrast, searching in the “Places” tab searches for Parcels.

Add Your Parcels to Search

If you have a parcel that you’d like people to visit then we highly recommend that you make it visible in Search:

  • Open the About Land dialog (using the menu: World > Parcel Details)
  • Give the parcel a good name and description, to make it easy to find in Search. (When people search for Places, the results are sorted by the best match to the parcel’s name and description.)
  • Enable the “Show Place in Search” checkbox (in the Options tab of the About Land window).
  • Set a Landing Point.
  • Set a snapshot (not required, but recommended).
  • Select an appropriate Category.

Parcel Options

When you make changes to your parcel, it may take a few minutes before these changes are visible in Search.

Parcel Maturity

When searching for Places, it’s possible to select the desired maturity rating: only parcels that have this maturity rating will be shown. Therefore, you should set your parcels’ maturity rating correctly. But this is a bit tricky, because the region’s maturity rating limits which maturity rating you can assign to the parcel:

  • If your region has a maturity rating of  “General” then all the parcels in the region are also “General”.
  • If your region has a maturity rating of “Moderate” then you can choose, for each parcel, whether it’s “General” or “Moderate”.
  • If your region has a maturity rating of  “Adult” then all the parcels in the region are also “Adult”.

You can change the region’s maturity rating, but note that this only takes effect after the world is restarted.

It’s possible to set a region maturity rating (in OpenSim) that’s different from the world maturity rating (which is chosen in the Kitely website), but this is confusing so we recommend that you keep the two maturity ratings the same. In other words, if you change one maturity rating then you should also change the other one to match.

To change a world’s maturity rating, go to the My Worlds page on the Kitely website and click the Manage link next to the world you wish to change. This will open that world’s Manage World window. The option to change the world’s maturity rating is found in that window’s Access tab.

Database Storage System Upgrade

We upgraded our infrastructure today with a faster storage device for the main system database. Until now, this database was stored on a regular (magnetic) hard disk. This hard disk was sufficient for our needs until a couple of days ago, when it started limiting the speed in which our system could handle database requests. We have therefore decided to upgrade our database to run on an SSD (a fast flash-memory-based hard disk) to help us keep up with the increasing usage of Kitely worlds.

By the way, the world nodes (the servers that run OpenSim) have been using SSDs since 2014.