InWorldz was one of the first grids I signed up on OpenSim. I have enjoyed attending events, helping out and I have been hugely interested in InWorldz since the start. I have had so many happy memories over the years and it would be heartbreaking if the grid went offline forever.
If InWorldz does shut down on Friday 27th July 2018 it would be the biggest lost on OpenSim so far. I think that OpenSim will be much weaker and interest may start to fall. I really hope the InWorldz community can come together and help save InWorldz from closing down later this week.
Over the course of the last 10 years, I have met some amazing people in the metaverse space. Creative, honest, intelligent, caring and wonderful people. Those of you who know me, you pretty much know who you are, the list is too long to post here.
During that amount of time, we’ve done some amazing work to bring the absolute best results to InWorldz. Were all of them perfect? No. But I’ve yet to find any software that is ever actually perfect.
I know a lot of our residents are wondering what is going on, cashouts have been frozen for 2 weeks, support has been spotty and a host of other things. So this is probably the hardest post I’ve ever written about the state of InWorldz currently. I’ll start with the history so everyone knows what has been going on, and I’ve always been as honest as possible with everyone, so bear with me please.
In middle May, we took a loan from LoanBuilders, a subsidiary of PayPal. What made this so attractive to me, is the fact it was the same company I’d done business with for years under PayPal’s Working Capital loans. It’s how we’ve managed in past to cover some development costs, moving David from Buffalo to San Antonio, etc. Common business practice. Under the Working Capital loans though, it was never a revolving credit, just a loan that was there until it was paid off, then you could re-apply after it was finished being paid off. So when they notified me that they had become a subsidiary of PayPal and could offer the revolving credit, I was very happy.
That happiness took a huge turn. The first payment was scheduled at the end of May. I received notice from them that it was NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds). I checked our bank account, the monies had not even attempted to be taken and the monies were definitely there. I emailed them and let them know something was wrong as they had not hit our bank account. They asked me for a voided check, to which I responded on May 30, I did not have access to since they are up in storage. I asked them if I could provide a different form of proof of account, namely a PDF of our routing / account number provided to me by Chase, our business bank. No response. As I traveled, they left me a voicemail as I was not taking international calls. When I returned, I discovered that they had put UCC Liens against both our Regions and our Cashout Accounts through PayPal. The liens means no payments out, no transfers, nothing. I called them and asked them how we get this taken care of. I might mention at this point, that instead of saying, yeah ok we made a mistake and yeah you got no email back from us on May 30 or May 31, the representative was very combative in blaming me for the entire mix up. She tells me to pay up the past due balance, and it might take a week or two to get the UCC’s, but all should be ok. I authorized the amount. I call her the next day to ask when we can get the UCC liens removed, she tells me, well now we need to see you make 2 more payments and it will still take at least another week beyond that (3 weeks in total). I ask the obvious, ok how would you like me to do that when you have all the funds tied up behind the UCC’s? She says, that’s not our issue you have to figure it out. I canceled that transaction.
I called them the following Monday, obviously they were not happy with my decision. We spoke with a different representative, and we worked out a deal for a partial and then the next week, plus the Stop payment I had put on to be removed. I called a few days later, I was told that now I had to negotiate the UCC liens and what was being held, and they would absolutely want the past due balance. I agreed and even said, take the next payment as well. The next day, I’m informed they want 100% of both accounts, plus the following payment. This was last Friday. My response to that ridiculous offer was succinct: If you are determined to shut down my business, then I shall use the last tool at my disposal to protect my customers. This is essentially what it boiled down to with me. I was told I was not willing to work with them, I was told that it was all my fault for not answering their voicemail. I was told that it takes 30 days from last date of contact to file a UCC, well last date of contact was May 30, and June 21 was the date of the UCCs. I pointed out all of the hypocrisy and my last words to the gentleman whom I spoke with was very simple: Had you simply answered my email on May 30, none of this would have happened.
At this point, what all of this means is very simple: Without payment from the funds sitting in the UCC liens, RackSpace will be shutting our servers down. I’ve extended our servers out until Friday, July 27. I can not process cashouts, no payments may be sent out. For that, I’m truly sorry. The only thing I can do at this point, is the last power I have left under PayPal: to honor all disputes of monies paid to InWorldz during this timeframe. We will start the refunding process tomorrow morning, and go through as much as we can until PayPal shuts us out of the accounts. In meantime, each and every single customer can dispute the monies paid to us, and PayPal will honor all disputes on behalf of the buyer if there is no response from the merchant. It takes a bit longer, they have to give merchants 15 days to respond, however, if they’ve yanked our access, it may go faster. So whether you’ve purchased I’z or paid for your regions, please dispute them if you don’t see the refunds coming throughout this week.
I will be pulling down all OAR files for every region on the servers over the next day or so and matching them up with our customers. If you need a copy, and you email me after the servers go down sometime this coming weekend, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every person can download their Inventory, but realize, it will not work on any grid other than InWorldz. You can do this via your login page on InWorldz, Inventory Backup. It will make a request to our Inventory Servers to provide you with that file. If someone manages to make the Backups work on their grid, you can get your inventory there.
I know many of you will be angry over this, my heart was broken Friday afternoon, and I know many of you will have harsh words for this decision. Do know, I tried my hardest to avoid this outcome. For 10 years, InWorldz has been my bread and butter, and now I no longer have that. It’s raised my children, it’s seen many of us come together in real life, it’s facilitated a community I never thought possible. I’ve seen so much goodness pour through this community for those who needed help and I’ve seen the worst of what can happen when group negative think takes over. I’ve seen the best of creativity brought to life, and I’ve seen the absolute horrid side of cheapness and fraud and greed. I’ve watched a community that has gone through inclusion and seclusion. Through all of this though, I know many friends have been made, contacts made from around the world, loves found (and some lost), heartache over loss of community members, outpouring of charity for various causes, and even for personal members who had no hope previously. I’ve watched those with social challenges blossom and grow and find inner talents they never knew they had. And now, I hope and wish that each and every one of you finds a way to continue your path, to continue to create, to love, to grow and to be the absolute best you can be.