Pasiphae says, "Wheeeee! Faster, Caddy! We have a dozen more sites to visit today!
"These days we see more and more web sites offering shopping Ó la carte. Most of them have a 'free' site where you don't have to pay anything out of your pocket to get the goodies, plus a collection of items that you have to pay for, piece by piece. It's becoming quite an industry within the sims community.
"As web hosting costs rise and the bandwidth crunch gets tighter, almost every site is trying to do something to stay on line; so many artists have simply started charging for their best work.
"Prices vary between $1.00 and $10.00 per piece, so be careful. You can easily spend $200 on a single household full of furniture at these nominally 'free' sites. On the other hand, if you think about how much it would cost you to hire an artist to spend several weeks making a perfect set of furnishings just for your game, you might conclude that it's darn well worth it.
"Most of these sites use the euphemism 'donator gifts' to refer to the items that you have to pay for piece by piece. It started with artists making a few nice things that they gave only to people who contributed money to help with paying for the site's web hosting costs, but now you'll often find that more than half the site consists of a pay-per-piece catalog.
"We also see many artists who will make something really nice as a 'donator gift' and then offer recolors of that object as 'free' downloads. Many are also offering several small items from a set as 'free' downloads while charging quite a handsome price for the pieces that complete the set."
Caddy says, "Whenever you see us with our shopping cart, you will know that the site we are reviewing offers shopping Ó la carte. When you visit those sites, be prepared to pay some pretty stiff prices for the best stuff.
"We've run across one site in particular that charges $1.30 per download, with the explanation that you are paying for the bandwidth cost for delivering the file to your computer. That might be a misleading; bandwidth isn't that expensive.
"Just so you'll know the facts, you'll want to look at the table of example download costs from SimsHost. The items in that table are real examples of things downloaded by SimsHost subscribers. As you can see, the bandwidth cost for delivering a single item is usually quite a bit less than a penny.
"The bandwidth fee that Simshost charges is really quite a bit more than just what it costs to deliver the zip file to you. It includes an estimate of how much it will cost them to display the item on the public web so that you know what you are downloading."
Pasiphae says, "Now for the fine print. None of the items in our shopping cart are really from Ó la carte sites. Except for the plaque next to my right elbow, all these goodies came from SimGoddesses, which was hosted by us, Moon Sims, from November 4, 2001 to October 23, 2002. We pay for all the hosting and bandwidth costs for all the sites we host."
Caddy says, "Isn't that cabinet from Byline's Moonstruck theme? I love that stuff!"
Pasiphae says, "Yup! Most of the rest of these things are from her Granita theme.
"The carved wooden plaque isn't really available on the web. It's just an example that Greg made for the SimGoddesses staff. We'll let you know if it becomes available somewhere!"
Caddy says, "Oh really, Pasiphae? There's one more item in the cart you didn't mention! You! So what's the price if I want to take you home with me?"
Pasiphae says, "Smarty pants! You couldn't afford me! And besides, anybody who wants me has to come to Luna City to get me!"
Caddy says, "Or they can download you for free from our Tour Guides page!"
Pasiphae says, "OK, so I'm a cheap date."
Caddy says, "You're also about to fall out of that swimsuit!"
Pasiphae says, "Yeah, I broke a strap, so I'm holding on to it! Think anybody will notice?"
Caddy says, "Oh, they'll notice!"
Pasiphae says, "Yeah? What about you? You're running around half-naked in those shorts and that stretchy tank top! I can see everything! Almost. Hey, isn't that one of Bruce's undershirts?"
Caddy says, "Um... why yes... now that you mention it, I believe it is! But we're on our day off! I'm not showing up in anybody's game dressed like this!"
Pasiphae says, "Yeah, right. Unless they snoop around your tutorials in the Tech section!"
Caddy says, "Shush!"