I have two money trees that I give only $50 to, and only occasionally, like once a week, because it's just not really worth it.
I always say sales make sales, traffic doesn't make sales. A mall owner may be able to dupe a tenant into renting in his mall for a time by using bots or money chairs or even a tree, but unless that merchant actually makes some sales, they will leave. A mall owner just can't depend on duping endless series of merchants with fake traffic made by bots or gimmicks.
I remember using the free Linden chairs for about two days before abandoning them -- because people sucked down thousands of Lindens by sitting on them all night. It never seemed rational to me to spend thousands of dollars on people sitting in the chairs in the hopes that they might spend a few bucks on my sim with my tenant merchants. Maybe they did, but it just didn't seem like a wise ratio. The merchants who have been with me for years make sales because they have something interesting or useful or popular to sell, and have a good price and good customer service, not because there is traffic injected on to my sim by bots or anything else.
Even so, I have kept money trees because it's "what you're supposed to do" or "what is expected" if you have newbie communities, because people on new accounts don't get money usually. They wait to try out SL, or they just don't have money to spend. So they collect it from trees or contests or giveaways from boyfriends or girlfriends and then they buy stuff. Except...when they don't. Some newbies come right in, figure out how to buy Lindens, which is more efficient and cost-effective in terms of one's time, and then they rent right away or buy a skin or a car or something. But there are less of them (the Lindens must know the percentage, but they aren't telling, and it would be inflated with alts anyway).
From long experience I have to say that money trees just aren't for traffic. Trust me, the traffic you would need to have some "high traffic" sim that *used* to show up in search and now doesn't (by that method) would be so expensive as to be unjustified, given that the people who pick money trees tend to fall into these three categories (as I've found by polling them):
1) "professional" money tree pickers who make lots of free accounts and drain money trees and don't spend money on SL but cash it out
2) dedicated money tree pickers who are adverse to "spending money on a game," who join lots of groups, and go to activities and save money and buy stuff, but usually not on your sim
3) people, especially women, whose spouses won't let them spend money on SL or control their finances, so that they are forced to scavenge for money trees and prizes and handouts to have a second life.
Given these categories, the chances that any of them will actually pick the money tree, that might at most give them $10 or $20 in one go, and then actually go buy something for sale on your mall, are slim -- due to the motivations and the methods. Basically, only no. 3 might buy a dollarbie or something cheap while on your sim, as they are saving to go to another high-fashion sim that has traffic anyway.
Money trees and Lucky Chairs are just a bit of starter fluid to give newbies "something to do" -- they might get a prize, they will get a few bucks to buy a dollarbie or save. Most people don't hang around for Lucky Chairs to get to their letter, they catch it randomly. Occasionally, I do see someone hang for 20 minutes but they are rare -- most people catch it by accident or TP in a friend when they happen to see a friend's letter come up. But in that sense, Midnight Mania is better for the "TP in a friend" concept because then both are working toward winning the prize they want that they can get if they get enough friends in before midnight, in which case the prize distributes to all of them.
I've watched carefully over the years to see if there is any correlation at all between the people who pluck the money trees; the people who buy my cheap stuff; and the people who rent from me.
That is, there might be an exception now and then, but the reality is, most pluckers are the "professionals" simply trying to drain SL. The trees now have anti-bot features to keep bots from draining them really mechanically on a program that would push them to a list of trees all over SL, but I don't know how well that works.
I look at people who have joined a lot of groups as being more active, and those who might say "thanks" or talk to me while at the money tree as "more real," but there aren't that many of them, most people are grimly waiting to pluck the money and move on to hose down the next soft-hearted oldbie.
Then you get the entitlement-happy freaks who actually IM you when the money tree has run out and demand you re-fill it, and even lecture you about refilling it as if this is somehow in the public interest.
Here's one for the annals:
your money tree is Roses is buggy.. it's not giving out money at all.
[2012/07/25 16:11] 9Toes: oops Ross
[2012/07/25 16:12] Prokofy Neva: I'll check it
[2012/07/25 16:12] 9Toes: ok GL
[2012/07/25 16:46] Prokofy Neva: try now
[2012/07/25 16:46] User not online - message will be stored and delivered later.
[2012/07/26 20:27] 9Toes: (Saved Thu Jul 26 13:22:22 2012)great!
[2012/07/26 20:27] 9Toes: (Saved Thu Jul 26 13:24:04 2012)ok if you reset the tree you may need to "donate" to the tree so it has some money to give out (it has zero balance to use) also there's a ghost $L in the tree that's not active since you reset it.
[2012/07/26 20:28] Prokofy Neva: I did that, it's just that it got wiped out. I'm not made of money and can't endlessly subsidize everybody's game, I can only put in so much a day.
[2012/07/26 20:28] User not online - message will be stored and delivered later.
[2012/07/27 19:02] 9Toes: (Saved Fri Jul 27 14:39:45 2012)you don't make money on money trees.. you gain traffic from them
[09:25] 9Toes: (Saved Sun Jul 29 11:52:39 2012)Fuck you snob i don't feel entitled to anything. I was just telling you your tree was broken. Money trees are to boost traffic that's how they market these things. If you don't care.. remove it asshole! I don't need a lecture from some self delusional fucktard who's been playing SL for the past 8 years whoich seems to me you've had no life since then,
[09:25] 9Toes: (Saved Sun Jul 29 11:53:09 2012)so fuck you and the prim you rode on
[09:38] Prokofy Neva: Um, what an asshole you are. Money trees were originated by oldbies who wanted to help newbies and attract them to their stores. But they aren't very good traffic injection advices as anyone who knows who can do the math. The money you would have to keep depositing in them to get any significant traffic just isn't worth it if you have no other traffic that in fact really ensures sales. Newbies don't have money and rarely go get it to buy something. They don't make big purchases. If the merchants renting from a mall owner don't get real sales, instead of inflated traffic, they move out and the mall fails, word spreads. So you're just ignorant about how it works. Nowadays, HUDS have been developed that enables tree pickers to whisk quickly from tree to tree so that they don't wait the minutes in between one sim and thereby give traffic, they go to another sim. So it really is pointless and that's why you don't see that many money trees. Just because someone has an account for 8 years and does things in SL does
[09:38] User not online - message will be stored and delivered later.
[09:39] Prokofy Neva: NOT mean that they have "no life." I have more life than you'd ever know what to do with. And proof of that is that I've never had to go around scavenging Linden dollars from other people's money trees.
[09:39] User not online - message will be stored and delivered later.