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What's Free, What's Not, and Why

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MinhyrdinWindrose's page

Joined: 13 Mar 2007
Posts: 17106
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:51 pm    Post subject: What's Free, What's Not, and Why Reply with quote

IMVU is a free 3D chat service.

• You can download the 3D chat client for free
• You can chat for free
• You get a basic starter kit — including a room, furniture and clothing — for free
• You get your own customizable homepage for free
• You can visit public rooms for free
• You can join groups for free
• You can set up your own public room for free
• You can set up your own group for free
• You can earn credits — both real credits and promotional credits — to enable you to buy from the IMVU Virtual Goods Catalog using partner offers, etc.

You can enjoy IMVU and never, ever have to spend any of your real money for virtual goods.

However, IMVU is also a business. It is not a non-profit organization. As such, it needs to make money for things like utilities, equipment maintenance, server fees, salaries, office rental, paying back investors, etc. and ad nauseam, as well as turn enough of a profit to make it worthwhile to stay in business. To earn money, IMVU offers the paying customer options to enhance their IMVU experience.

Paying customers can:

• Purchase their names in order to remove the guest prefix from their account name.

• Purchase the Access Pass to interact with other adults as well as access content available to 18+ users only in addition to:

o The ability to set their public room to AP only
o The ability to set their group to AP only
o The ability to limit chats and access to adults only
o The ability to restrict their homepage to AP only
o AP only animations in the IMVU client

• Become a member of the VIP Club to receive

o An outside ad free experience. (You still will see IMVU ads.)
o Removal of the Guest prefix for as long as you are VIP
o Expedited customer service
o The ability to create up to 10 public rooms
o The ability to create up to 10 groups
o The ability to create unlimited photo albums
o VIP animations in the client
o The ability to block animations in the client
o 5000 credits per month and additional monthly bonus credits for remaining VIP
o A 5% discount on all purchases from the IMVU Virtual Goods Catalog
o A discount on badge fees
o The ability to create and submit content to IMVU’s Virtual Goods Catalog
o The ability to set your own custom room as default for Dress Up and Shopping
o The ability to organize your closet with custom lists
o The ability to whisper privately in chats
o Sneek peeks into upcoming IMVU features

I don’t have a credit card!

You don’t need one. There are a variety of ways to buy credits:

• Do you have a bank account? If so, you can use your debit card — or you can connect your bank account to a PayPal account and buy credits via PayPal.

• If you live in a country where they are available, you can buy IMVU prepaid cards. They come with exclusive gifts and you can redeem them for credits or use them to subscribe to the VIP Club.

• Buy credits via your mobile phone.

Everything should be free!

Like Neopets or Gaia, I assume you mean? Please compare apples to apples. For one thing, on those sites, all content is made by the site staff. On IMVU, catalog content is made by independent contractors called Content Creators and commonly referred to as developers or devs. Content creators use the credits they earn from sales to recoup their submission fees, so they can afford to submit more content for you to buy. Some make a bit more than that (in some cases, quite a bit more) but most would simply like their content creation "habit" to become self-supporting.

Why is everything so expensive?

Define expensive. Credits at IMVU rates cost $1 US per 1000. An item listed at 500 credits would cost you $0.50. You can buy and furnish an entire room for roughly the price of a Happy Meal at McDonalds — and that virtual room will last longer than that Happy Meal and not clog up your arteries.

Why are Content Creators so greedy?

Let’s take a look at that 500 credit price tag, shall we? When a CC submits an item to the catalog, they pay a submission fee, a derivation fee (to the person who made the base mesh that they have “painted” or “derived”), a 10% mark up (aka taxes) and then set their mark up or profit on the item. (Generally speaking, they’ve paid more to submit it than you will to buy it.)

Say they’ve valued their work highly and set their profit at 100 credits. For an item for which you paid $0.50 US, they earn $0.10. If they were to sell their credits to IMVU for $40US per 100,000 credits, their take home pay on that item would be about $0.04. Less than that after they paid taxes on it.

If everything is as expensive as you say, why doesn’t IMVU charge a subscription fee for the chat?

For the same reason grocery stores give out samples of the foods they are promoting: to get you to try it, and, hopefully, get you intrigued enough that you will buy the product (or, in the case of IMVU, buy into the product). Not everyone who tries IMVU will like it enough to stay. Of those who stay, not everyone will find enough value in it to become a paying customer. However, even those who don’t see the benefit of becoming a paying customer themselves may like it enough to invite their friends — some of whom will become paying customers.
I do not work for IMVU. I cannot a) expedite your credit/AP/VIP purchase, b) cancel your VIP, c) refund your credits for a disabled product. Please submit a Help ticket to request IMVU resolve your account-related issue.
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