Goodbye grandfathered accounts!
On 15 May 2023, IMVU sent a message to all of its users from the official IMVUCreator account stating the following:
The message reads:
Starting July 1 Earn Money Payouts require VIP
This is an important notice for Creators who are not signed up for VIP but still receive cash payouts in the Earn Money Program.
Starting July 1, 2023, all Earn Money Creators will be required to have either Platinum or Diamond VIP in order to receive cash payouts.
This does not include legacy Creators who signed up for VIP before the Tiered VIP system launched. They already have the equivalent of Platinum VIP and do not need to take any action.
We realize VIP is new to many of you, and to that end, we have provided several weeks of notice so that you can review the Platinum and Diamond VIP offerings and decide which is right for you. See our store for more details.
The IMVU Creator Team
What are grandfathered accounts?
Grandfathered accounts are IMVU users that have accepted the creating Terms of Service before 10 May 2012 when VIP-based creating subscription was added.
Grandfathered accounts do not need a VIP subscription to create on IMVU. Their shops are visible without any VIP subscription and they can request cash payments without a VIP subscription (however the later is now being modified by IMVU).
This means that users who own one or multiple grandfathered accounts are old users that have been around for years.
Based from experience and observations, older users create better quality content than newer users (someone who has been around IMVU just for a couple of years).
*Note: it’s not just grandfathered accounts that create good quality content, however, the ratio between grandfathered creators and standard VIP creators favors grandfathered accounts in terms of quality and longevity.
IMVU’s biggest creators have been around IMVU since a very long time.
What exactly changes?
If you are a user with a grandfathered account or multiple grandfathered accounts, you will be required to have VIP in order to request your money.
The minimum amount you have to pay is 10$ for the equivalent of the Platinum VIP subscription as per IMVU’s message.
THE GRANDFATHERED STATUS IS NOT ACTUALLY CANCELED
…but it will just be useless.
IMVU was clever in how they formulated this change. They don’t say directly that they are forcing you to have VIP to create, which you don’t actually need VIP in order to create as a grandfathered user, however, if you want to withdraw your money, you must have an available VIP subscription (Platinum or Diamond VIP) to be able to have access to your own money.
You can be grandfathered and not pay for your VIP and you will still have the following perks (which are currently available only to other VIP-paying creators):
• you can create products and submit them to the shop
• your shop will still be visible even without a VIP subscription
However, since grandfathered users are grandfathered for the sole purpose of creating, I don’t think there’s even 1% of grandfathered accounts that are still active (creating today) and choosing to earn credits. That means that people are creating to earn money and IMVU knows this, IMVU knows that it’s forcing everyone with grandfathered accounts to pay for a VIP subscription because IMVU knows that people (not just older creators) create content for the sole purpose of earning money, not credits.
Basically, IMVU is doing a greedy move to anger some OG users by forcing them to pay 10$ a month.
Why the idea is met with a lot of criticism
People are angry because they thought they would be grandfathered forever, so that brings us to motive number one:
1. People thought they would be privileged forever
It is important to note that the grandfathered status of an account was nothing but privilege status to silence those that did not want to switch to paying for a VIP subscription when IMVU introduced new changes to its creating system. Fair enough, IMVU agreed and let those older creators get away with a free pass for creating, when everyone else who was signing up and wanted to become a creator had to pay a monthly VIP subscription.
It would be safe to say that the privilege was quite needed (at the time at least) at least for a short period to motivate old users to keep creating (when they signed up, creating was free, so it would have been fair to give them some time to accommodate with the idea of suddenly having to pay to be able to create on IMVU).
However, we’ve been going strong for 11 years with free access to creating.
2. MASA is limiting a creator's access to their own money
Another reason why people are very angry and upset with IMVU’s decision is indirectly because of MASA.
How does MASA affect people you might be wondering, well, MASA truthfully is the downfall of IMVU. MASA is the sole reason why professional designer teams like Anshe Chung Studios, VisNova design and many others simply stopped working on IMVU. Because of this, IMVU lost the ability to have really high quality content (clothing, avatars, heads, makeup, rooms, effects, etc.) provided to its users. Instead, IMVU prefers rewarding the typical teenager who lies about their age, games the system with product boosts, gets to the first page and doesn’t even earn cash. IMVU prefers rewarding those kind of users than long-standing quality content providing creators.
Why would IMVU reward these? IMVU likes short-term profit. They don’t have to pay someone that has Gucci or Louis Vuitton on the first page, but the average user is throwing away the credits on that product. Instead, if I was on the first page with my original product, IMVU would have to pay me for every single credit sale I’d get, that’s why IMVU doesn’t bother with obviously copyrighted products, or Access Pass items, or boosted products for that matter (they end up disabling creators for boosting eventually and they lock the money, so IMVU still wins by not having to pay the creator).
With professional teams moving away from IMVU, it’s only the bravest of people that took the risk to continue and create for the IMVU shop, although to bypass the MASA restrictions, these creators had to create multiple IMVU accounts to ensure that their quality content and money earned can be cashed out all at once (or as much of it as possible), rather than being stuck with a 500$ MASA limit for an undefinied period of time because:
• MASA does not grow fast at all
• MASA is not transparent
• MASA is highly unstable
The typical designer that would otherwise earn anywhere between 3000 to 6000USD a month for an average job in the United States has to create about 8-10 IMVU accounts to make sure that they can rely on their IMVU income.
The typical creator who is generally a college student who is happy with making 200$ a month is not affected by MASA. But everyone who takes IMVU more seriously and wants to bring some glam, some innovation, some constant growth to IMVU by adding high quality products to the shop, a person like that is punished by IMVU through MASA, through how the shop experience is for IMVU users, through the broken system search.
Now imagine having to pay 80-100$ monthly on VIP subscriptions just to cash out your money.
3. IMVU's userbase is slowly decreasing
Another reason that might have a big impact on how negatively IMVU is viewed by its creators is the userbase going down.
Some users see having to pay for a VIP subscription in these circumstances as the ultimate betrayal on IMVU’s side to make you pay to be able to access your own money.
Whether or not this is IMVU’s ultimate betrayal towards its users is up for debate.
4. More and more sales made with promo credits
Because IMVU’s user population is slowly decreasing, IMVU is trying to keep its users active by offering more deals and more free credits.
By doing so, IMVU will be offering promotional credits (promo credits) to users, users will then purchase a product from creator X with promo credits, but creator X doesn’t earn an income from promo credits. This, bundled up with everything else going on on IMVU, is angering users.
IS IMVU GREEDY OR ARE CREATORS ENTITLED?
One could argue that it screams entitlement from grandfathered users to complain about having to pay 10$ monthly, when it’s a known fact that creators earn good money from IMVU, even more so with grandfathered creators who are pioneers and earn much more than the average VIP creator.
It is a bit of entitlement indeed. However, it’s important to highlight some factors on why this entitlement might not be anything other than simple frustration towards IMVU’s greediness:
As discussed above, one of the most important factors limiting creators is MASA and how some users have created multiple accounts to be able to cash out their own money. This system is made by IMVU.
I can easily earn 6000$ a month as a hard working mesh creator, however my motivation will drop when I will have to wait 1-2 years to be able to cash out all the money I have made in the first 6 months of earning 6000$ a month. This will force me to create multiple accounts and set multiple derivation chains to split my profit, so that I can cash out as much as I can from my own money. It’s already troublesome, a lot of work, a lot of micro management, but I must do it if I want to have a full time job while working on creating IMVU products.
IMVU’s decision will now force me to pay VIP for all of my accounts (which, let’s assume that were all grandfathered accounts), meaning I will have to pay 10$ for each account I have set. Sure, 10$ or even 200$ a month maybe is not that much when you are earning over 4000$, however, the discussion isn’t really about the sum that I have to pay, but rather it’s an observation that IMVU is doing anything it can to make my own work even harder.
Fine, I can pay 50$ monthly for my grandfathered accounts (just an example), especially since I was privileged for a long time and did not have to pay this sum. However, this decision of IMVU is nothing more than another punch in the gut just like every single other decision regarding the creating system on IMVU. I would be mad not for having to pay that sum, but rather that IMVU always finds ways of punishing the good kind of creators (in this case it just happens to be the long-lasting creators that have set some standards for IMVU), while doing nothing for the creator community in general. Or, at least, it seems like it.
Where is IMVU to punish people that abuse the unclear MCG and post obvious Access Pass items while rating them as General Audience? Where is IMVU to punish the creators that keep topping the first pages with branded content and have been getting away with it for over a year? Where is IMVU to take fast action when a nude body stays on the front page of IMVU’s shop for over a week?
IMVU needs to understand that while it might seem weird for creators who earn good money to pay a few extra bucks a month to IMVU (because in the end it’s their platform) to be upset about it, IMVU needs to understand that it’s just a dick move on their side to push creators to pay for that VIP without any other benefits. It really seems like a push just for IMVU to get a little extra money. This is even more angering towards the creator community in general considering that IMVU has done nothing in the last several years to help the good kind of creators, but has seemingly done everything in its power to punish hard working creators.
And listen, when I say ‘good’ creators, I’m not saying that everyone who earns money is a good person or necessarily deserves their success or failure. What I am saying is that there are 2 clear categories of creators that you can immediately distinguish one from another:
Obvious thieves/boosters/full of copyrighted stuff vs everyone else.
Naturally, there might be a lot of people in the not-so-obvious category that might do some shady things, but that’s another topic.
HOW THIS WILL AFFECT THE CREATOR COMMUNITY
Well, as painful as it might sound, in reality creators will not do anything. No one will do anything. It’s one of those things that gets worse, but not THAT bad, bad enough for people to point out that it’s bad, but not bad enough to make people actually quit the platform.
Let’s be honest here, no one in their right mind who earns at least 500$ a month will decide to leave just because they have to spare 10$ on a VIP subscription. No one. People say it, but let’s be real here.
Now this is where the really nasty part comes – IMVU knows this and decided to go on with the implementation regardless.
What IMVU might not be aware of, though, and many other users might miss this point out, is the fact that the negativity, the extra blow for the creator community will make creators bitter. The end result? Why would I recommend IMVU to someone else to start as a creator? What stops a newbie from getting scared of all these negative ideas they are reading about? Some ideas might be true, some are usually exaggerated, but no one bothers to do investigative work to check which ideas are true and which aren’t. That newbie creator which might have been the next top creator with original ideas, so original that it would attract users to stay on the platform and enjoy those original creations one way or another – that user won’t even sign up for the creator agreement because of the rising stigma.
A common ground for all creators regardless of the grandfathered status or not, IMVU is becoming greedier and greedier towards the creator community and thus making the creator job more unstable.
It’s also a fact that if there wasn’t constant quality content being produced, content that follows popular trends worldwide, IMVU users would quit IMVU much sooner than they would have if those creators were around IMVU.
Now, maybe all of these arguments are weak, or maybe they don’t apply at all to IMVU’s situation. However, one thing is clear – statistics are not looking good for IMVU’s income right now and this might pose a question to creators of all kind – is creating on IMVU still worth it when you’re in for a full-time job?
I did write a full article on whether creating on IMVU is worth it or not, and the conclusion I drew there was that it was worth it if one was serious and hard working about creating. However, as of May 2023 at the time of writing this article, myself and many other top creators are questioning whether IMVU is worth it long term. It sure is a great choice for some side money, but the dream of making IMVU a full-time job for others is slowly starting to fade away.
HOW TO PAY 6.25$ MONTHLY ON A VIP SUBSCRIPTION INSTEAD OF 10$
Apparently there is a hidden way of saving up 37% of the cost of the VIP subscription by purchasing an Annual Platinum VIP plan which costs 74.99$, putting the monthly price of VIP at 6.25$.
This promotion is only limited to these countries: US, CA, MX, PR, VI , DE, UK, FR, NL, ES, PT, CH, IT, BE, AT, IE, DK, FI, SE, NO, ZA, AU, GU.
HOW IMVU COULD MAKE CREATORS HAPPY
1. Allow users to pay vip with dev tokens
As a dev token is equivalent to 10 IMVU credits, it would cost 2,500 dev tokens a month to pay for a VIP subscription.
But IMVU doesn’t want this, since dev tokens are completely useless to them, however they could make it up to the grandfathered users by implementing this.
2. Allow users to merge accounts when cashing out
Merge different accounts to a single balance and give the ability to request the full balance from a main account, thus helping us both save time and allowing us to pay VIP only for one account (the main one that would be doing the requesting).
3. INCRESE/REMOVE MASA
This is IMVU’s downfall, it’s not too late for IMVU to reconsider removing MASA or rethinking it in such a way that it attracts people to come back to create, unlike the current situation where big names are switching to Second Life and other platforms to create because of the better financial stability of those platforms.
(On IMVU you can’t cash out all the money you make in a month if it’s over 500$, unless you earn regularly very high amounts of money. Making 10,000$ in a month can be cashable over the course of one year, I’m not even joking, it’s really bad with MASA.)
4. ADD ACTUAL BENEFITS AND TOOLS TO HELP CREATORS GROW THEIR BUSINESS
What benefits do I have from VIP? Nothing of interest.
I want to know trends, styles, I want to know where my regular customers are from.
I want to know what keywords are trending on IMVU.
I want to know the average age of my customers.
I want to know what colors my customers prefer when shopping.
I want to know metrics for my own shop to be able to create some business plans to grow.
IMVU doesn’t provide anything of that sort and it would be essential for me as a creator to know those things.
5. FIX BUGS
• The classic client is unstable and transparency does not work well, making a potential customer avoid purchasing a product because it might look broken.
• IMVU Studio is still an absolute joke as of May 2023 because it’s very slow, deriving a product is on average 5 times slower than creating that product in the classic client:
- limited to 4 products to edit
- changes take a few seconds to be visible on the avatar
- textures randomly unassign themselves
- interface is still not the most user-friendly
- textures loading very slow
- editing products is very slow
- shine doesn’t always show up, etc.
• Products between platforms are not fully compatible (classic-desktop-studio):
- eyebrows clip/disappear
- some accessories that use blending don’t show up
- clothing meshes have a lot of clipping in IMVU Studio/Desktop
- Skins/mesh heads don’t work with added shine and the transparency adds gray shadows to the face
There’s a lot of small things that are simply annoying as a creator
6. Implement a new shop and search function
The classic shop on the web was designed to be a good choice when there were 5000 items in total on IMVU. That shop is still active and it’s just a complete mess.
The shop on the client is also a joke mostly due to how hot products work. The algorithm is not good enough for such a large shop variety. The way the system works now is by sale comparison in the last 48 hours, with the items that have the most sales in 48 hours topping the pages.
The shop section on IMVU Next is just an ad for IMVU NFTs that are useless and ugly. Not sorry, IMVU, you missed the NFT train, it’s just an artificial hype around NFTs with no real value to any user.
The search function regardless of where you try it, it’s either broken or a joke. It’s usually the ugliest and nastiest products that turn up on the search result list. Plus, sometimes keywords are transformed into the category they might define which makes it impossible to search for specific items. For example, if I want a t-shirt with a design of blue eyes, I will search “blue eyes tshirt” and it will automatically search in the ‘Eyes’ category. Useless.
7. Change the credit rate for paying creators
IMVU likes doing many things in its sole discretion.
In its sole discretion, IMVU should also make the rate from 4$ for 10,000 credits to 4.5$ for 10,000 credits when paying creators.
8. Have team meetings to discuss changes to favor the creator community (or, at least, not anger it)
It’s not really my job to brainstorm ideas on how to improve IMVU, yet I do it free of charge to an amazing extent (it’s not the first article that takes me hours of research and hundreds/thousands of hours of experience), yet I do it.
I would imagine that the motivation for a full team when these people are paid Californian wages would be much higher than mine or anyone else’s for that matter.
IMVU is not really removing the status of grandfathered accounts, but is forcing users that are creating to pay for a 10$ VIP subscription monthly to allow them to cash out their own money.
Grandfathered accounts still have the benefit of having their shops visible and being able to create without having a VIP subscription.
I don’t think people are upset to be forced to pay 10$ a month to continue creating (cashing out) on IMVU. The real dealbreaker is IMVU first forcing users to use multiple accounts to be able to cash out their own money, then capitalizing on all the accounts created.
If I’m cashing out 5000$, I don’t mind paying 10$ a month to be able to cash out 5000$.
The problem? I need 5-10 accounts to cash out that 5000$ (realistically). Fine, I can afford even then to spare 100$. But I’m not happy knowing that IMVU does this on purpose to make my work harder, then to force me to pay just because they want some fast money.
I want fast money too, IMVU. Remove my MASA and we’re square, heck, I’ll even pay 50$ a month on an account to be able to cash out ALL of my money after 2 weeks of a pending balance. But you’re not doing that, IMVU. That’s enough for anyone to understand that the creator community, grandfathered or not, is not a stable environment for serious and talented users to invest their time here long-term.
VIP Discount Thread: https://help.imvu.com/s/question/0D54p00002UtDqTCAV/announcing-vip-discount-for-quarterly-and-annual-subscribers?language=en_US