Product End Of Life Issues

productendoflifeEvery product sold has a life cycle of support. For some products, it can be much shorter than others. For instance, some scripted objects such as proximity sensors, resizers, communication tasks, and others can have a life cycle that is limited as a result of new scripting functions being made available.

Typically, there will be a successor product that one will try to steer customers into that replaces functionality with improved efficiency. However, there is always the problem of maintaining older versions of a product that is still being used by an existing loyal customer base. Ways to support older products, at least for a period of time, might require occasionally releasing bug fixes to adapt to a new environment.

Nobody wants to support an older product because they usually are not generating any new cash flow into a business, so they are a drag on the bottom line unless the product’s existing business model includes reoccurring revenue. Some businesses direct customers to a web site or pass out note-cards that has all of the pertinent information and then provide an upgrade path for users to obtain new versions at a discount or sometimes even for free.  For many businesses, the expense of supporting existing products whose life cycle has ended can be quite costly. The number of customers who are using an outdated product will dwindle over time as more and more of them switch to the latest technology.

How to Receive Fewer Advertisements

Unwanted group notices, group chat, instant messages, and inventory offers (sometimes referred to as “spam”) that advertise products and services are usually sent by direct marketing firms or business owners. Stopping these from being received can be complicated depending on the method that was used to send the unsolicited material.

It has become an increasing problem for many avatars. Some are about identity theft (either about preventing it or an attempt to steal an identity) which has become an important concern for many. Unlike junk mail in real life, if the avatar makes a deliberate effort to stop it they are very likely to be successful thanks to the many technical features available to everyone.

In addition to deleting unwanted notecards or closing group notices and chat windows, the avatar also has the ability to uncheck “Receive group notices” on a group-by-group basis. In addition, such advertising received from an avatar can be “Blocked” and also the sending avatar may be “Muted”. When the preference option “Email me IM’s when I’m offline” is enabled then sometimes these notices or instant messages can appear in the user’s email inbox. In this case, utilizing the junk-mail filtering ability of one’s email service or email software may be required.

Fortunately, most legit businesses in virtual worlds will honor “Unsubscribe” requests which are usually sent to the business owner via instant message or by clicking a sign in the business owner’s store. This is different than the unsubscribe links sometimes found in real life email messages in which case if they are clicked an illegitimate business will interpret your email as being live and an actively used account therefore sending even more unsolicited marketing literature. The most important aspect to preventing this from happening is to stay pro-active.