So, which groups are worth joining?

Second Life only limits users to 25 in-world groups at one time. It may seem like a fair allowance to someone who has just joined SL, but most of us figure out quickly that 25 are not enough. Which groups are worth joining…how can you as a user chose the best 25 groups to join? And which groups are even worth PAYING to join?

I evaluate a group’s value by what benefits the group has for me as a member. The quality, frequency and value of group-only freebies. The access to promotions that are only for group members.

Some groups are run by specific stores. I’ve blogged before about Weatherby’s…and IMO this is a good example of a store group that brings frequent benefits to its members. Every day (except when Mrs. Weatherby needs a break), Weatherby’s offers a free dress to group members. A new female avatar can build up a wardrobe of good quality dresses in just a few weeks, thanks to Mrs. Weatherby. Many other clothing stores give frequent freebies to group members, so if Weatherby’s isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other options out there.

A number of the skin stores have groups as well, but with many of these one has to pay a fee (in Lindens) to join. Are these worth the cost? It may depend on how often the store provides freebies to its members. Bear in mind that skins can tend to be one of the more expensive purchases in Second Life, so if the first promotional freebie is worth more than the cost of joining, it may be worthwhile for you to spend your Lindens and join. Consider how much you like the skin designer’s style as well; this will help you chose which groups you might want to join.

Will I pay a fee for a clothing store’s group? Well, I have, in at least one case – Sasha’s Designs. The dresses and gowns are beautiful, and the moderate fee ($50L) gave me immediate access to several freebies. I am a little sad that everyone else in the blogosphere seems to love them as much as I do, and got to them before I did! There’s been so many recent posts about these dresses and gowns that I really don’t want to feature a photo shoot with them right now.

Keep on the lookout for groups which normally cost to join – but during a special promotional period, allow users to join for free. This may happen during a store anniversary or other special event.

One more thing – stores lists can become more or less active over time, so if a store has stopped sending out notices on a fairly frequent basis, you might want to reconsider their place in your group of 25!

The next type of group is focused on a group of stores in a shopping area, like SL Divine Divas (Lemania Indigo and the other stores in their shopping area). With these groups, you’ll be getting notices from a number of stores instead of one individual store (which can help reduce the number of lists one joins). My experience has been that freebies aren’t frequently sent directly in these type of lists, but sometimes in-store group-only freebies are linked from notices. Depending on the group, there may also be notices of hunts and other promotions. Again, I evaluate the benefits to me as the user as far as the group’s earning and keeping a place in my 25 allotted slots…generally there are a few of this type of list in there.

The third type of group are event-focused groups, such as groups related to a hunt or weekly promotion. While I’ve joined a few of these groups in the past, I tend to do so less and less. There are usually other ways to find out the information that would be conveyed on these lists, such as blogs and photo sharing sites.

The fourth type of group are the thematic groups that have a lot of designers/stores participating. This type of group includes both the freebie-focused groups, like Fab Free, as well as the groups that feature promotional notices that don’t necessarily have freebie or low cost items, like What’s New in SL. Because of the number of designers/stores participating in these type of groups, the volume of posts will be typically be high. I generally have at least 3 or 4 of these type of groups in my list of 25. The value of these groups to me varies depending on the quality/value of the freebies and promotional items being offered; some stores that participate will likely be of no interest to you. What is ideal IMO is for the group managers to be selective as to which stores and designers they allow to participate. I love finding out about new stores, but I don’t want to waste my time teleporting to what sounds like a great offer, only to find that it’s yet another of those places were someone has set up a boilerplate shop with the mass-reseller junk.

Hopefully, I’ve given you some ideas on how to prioritize the groups you choose for your list of 25. What are the groups you’ve found most valuable? Let me know, I might like to try them as well!

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