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Two Important Updates on 2011 Land Pricing

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Nelson Linden

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In February of this year, we shared our 2010 land pricing plan where we discussed pricing and policies for private regions and  addressed grandfathering, transfers, and retail pricing. In the spirit  of giving you as much advance notice as possible about changes that may have an impact on your plans and budgets, here are two important updates on 2011  pricing:

1) All retail private region maintenance, including grandfathered pricing, is expected to continue without increase through Dec. 31, 2011. 
What you pay now, as a retail customer, is what you’ll continue to pay through the end of 2011.

2) We will adjust how education and non-profit advantages are provided, effective Jan. 1, 2011.  
All  education and non-profit private regions of any type, purchased after Dec. 31, 2010, will be invoiced at standard (i.e. non-discounted) pricing.  All currently discounted renewals which occur after Dec. 31, 2010, will be  adjusted to the new price at that time. To continue to provide  entry-level, private spaces to educators just launching their programs,  we will be providing Homestead and Open Space regions to qualifying  organizations without their meeting the retail full-region criterion. Customer Support will be available to answer any questions that you may  have about these changes.

We  hope that these announcements help you effectively plan for the coming  year. And, we’ll continue to update you well in advance of any  additional pricing changes.

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Hmm, you know ... I bet the representatives posting here are in fact brainstorming furiously, just offline at the moment.

This announcement isn't yet a day old and it sounds like there may even be a couple of questions regarding exactly when the costs will change (see posters asking about renewals). Financially, it makes good sense to try in some way just to keep the discount they are currently receiving, play a little poker, at least try the bluff or full gamble (as the case may be) and threaten to leave and see how LL digests it and whether they take that bait.

If that doesn't work, then those who can and have the resources, they absolutely will start coming up with ways to survive this change ... provided of course they have the backing of their organization in the effort.

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Sadly there is no logic.  Their business model is, get every penny you can out of everyone you can, any way you can do it.  While giving as little product and support for the money as you possibly can.  Nothing they do is for the benefit of their customers.  If we happen to benefit from it, we got lucky.  Everything they do is to shake every dime out of us, even our gold fillings if they have to club us to get them out.  They do what they want, regardless of how many of the paying customers it hurts, they do so without apology or remorse.  This practice flies in the face of every rule of a customer based business.  I'm not sure they bother asking us what we want, since they will only do what they want and is best for them anyway.  In any customer based business your paying customer is your bread and butter.  You do whatever it takes to keep them happy and paying. Not LL.  They smack you in the face and say, well that's what our statistics showed you wanted.  And they keey subtracting service but keep looking for ways to make a buck. They bought Xstreet, that was for their benefit only, so they could get another tenticle into our wallets.  They steer premium members to the Market Place, thus hurting in world commerce.  But hey, what do they care?  They made a bit off the sale.  They offer houses in over crowded sims to premium members, thus hurting the rental and land sale business on regions and mainland who are paying them tier.  I mean what a company to compete with their own customers to make a buck.

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That's exactly what they are going to do, I'm sure.  Leave the current land rental in place, then offer a "pay as you go" region rental where the region host pays significantly less for a set period of time, then all the attendees pay a fee to access the region during the "event."

Event can be anything from a regularly scheduled class, meeting, or entertainment venue, or private party.

When the event is over and your pre-paid time is up you take your stuff and vamoose.

This way (to my estimation) they can significantly reduce the number of servers and cut their overhead way down.  And many more people will be able to experience having a whole region to themselves for whatever limited time they can afford.

In other words, you can continue to pay through the nose for monthly region rental, or you can give up your full time region and just rent one sporadically as needed. Totally sucks for those of us who want an established venue, but they don't care I'm sure.

Seems to me there will be a bigger market for "venues in a box" sooner than later. Better get busy.

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Yep! Bad idea and I can't really say anymore than what has already been said.

Considering that I do not expect LL to change course on this decision, I started thinking about the possibilities for an educational environment in the free market. Yes, you have to pay full price, but this also includes the ability to raise your own money freely on the grid. Students could donate items to sell in the marketplace to support the sim. Or the sim could hold events or even hold concerts, plays, or whatever.  For the educational sim, these would be off peak hours for them and could earn the sim money to function.

The price of a Mainland sim is $199/month, which is less than 50 bucks a week. If you ask me, the educators are sitting on gold mines too. They are some of SL's biggest promoters, but 1 huge thing I think alot of people are overlooking is that they bring in new people on a regular basis. From an SL merchant's stand point, access to opportunities for acquiring new customers on a regular basis is a rare thing. If a bunch of educators got together to buy 1 sim and they brought in 500-1000 new customers every few months, I'd seriously think of sponsoring that sim in some way. As a merchant in SL, I understand the benefits of name recognition, and if all those new virtual pioneers see my brand on a regular basis, then I'm going to benefit in some way or another.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that it is not all that bad to turn your thinking slightly more in the direction of profit. Who knows, maybe some day it can pay for a fulltime teacher or just incentives for more educators to join in. No, I'm not saying that LL's prices are fair. They are very much way over priced for the customer service that we get and total lack of concern overall. All I'm saying is that there are some free market solutions that could do more to benefit these groups than any discount could ever do.

 

Sorry om, I did not mean to reply to you.

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GreenThumb Market  says                                          in response to                                            Doggie Jigsaw:

"karma has a way of biting ya and grants in the backside, as you see now "

 

Karma will come around to the RP sims January 2012 when their tier/maintenance fees increase.

Then we will will hear a whole chorus of new complaints singing the Blues when it is their turn to pay more.

 

Doesn't make any difference to me, I sold all my sims off at a good price last summer. Price increases won't just affect role play sims it will affect ALL regular sims.

I had no problem covering my tiers, even if they had increased it wouldn't have mattered, but the sheer amount of IM's, notecards and hassles were eating up enormous amounts of my time day and night. I'd check in at noon and there'd be 20 IM's waiting or so many they were capped and lost, at night, same thing, everyone wanted this or that, this or that fixed, moved, changed, someone was doing something someone else didnt like, someone was breaking rules, someone forgot to wear their group tag and couldn't TP and on and on it went. Most nights I rarely got to bed before 2 or 3 AM

I'd spend 2 hours setting someone up in a new store or something like that,  and they'd leave a week later saying they didn't sell enough to cover the rent, of course it would usually be someone trying to sell something totally wrong for the theme, like modern pine furniture and rugs on a sim devoted to the 1860's native/cowboy/western theme.

I got tired of wasting so much time 7 days a week dealing with "children" who couldn't get along or couldn't follow simple rules, and teen morons who feel  role play dress rules stated several times in signs and given notecards dont apply to them,  and that griefing 1860's sims with spaceships and lazer cannons is cool,  so I sold the sims off and save all that money in tiers

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As a business professor, I am always cognizant that LL is a business first.  And I have defended many moves in the past that other educators condemned.  However, I know of very few business managers who would double the price of its product or service to one of its most important customers.  Educators have stood by SL when the business community, land owners and content creators departed.

It was hard enough for me to get our project approved at the current pricing.  My dean will surely pull the plug on it now...before it has had a chance to get off the ground.  I'm afraid I have to agree that there will be a mass exodus to OpenSim by educators...and not just K-12.  Higher education institutions' wallets are just as strained.  What a bone headed and ill-conceived decision!

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Nany Kayo  says                                          in response to                                            Doggie Jigsaw:

You  have 5 sims in a cross layout, 3 across and 1 on top and 1 on the  bottom= 5 unless you added more in the last few days or dumped some I  didn't notice, then the number was FIVE.

Macarthur foundation  lists the amount of their grants on their web site macfound.org, if  people go look you will notice in one of the subpages it explains the  grant process and

--

PS, FYI posting netiquette, when you respond to a post, you should not copy an ENTIRE post to quote verbatim and then add 3 little lines  as a response.

In my reply, I didn't make any "personal attacks" Nany, read my earlier posts, I was talking about "a person"  and stated "person" and didn't even mention you at all, YOU however jumped in and replied to my post and let your own  cat out of the bag that you were that person,  and then I replied to YOU, quoting you. You should not have posted a response to MY post "outting' yourself that way, that was beyond my control, your own problem,  and now you are harassing me.

I have the macarthur reference, you posted it yourself quite some time ago elsewhere, but that's all off topic for this thread.

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1) All retail private region maintenance,  including grandfathered pricing, is expected to continue without  increase through Dec. 31, 2011. 
What you pay now, as a  retail customer, is what you’ll continue to pay through the end of 2011.

Yeah!

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You might wish to archive this post...the monitors are certain to nix it because it "encourages" others to leave SL...

They make it hard to stay but they worry about who will leave.  Well, I guess when they get everything all nice and streamlined, they still want a few people around so they have something besides pea green land and faux water to sell to the next owner...

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Yep! Bad idea and I can't really say anymore than what has already been said.

Considering that I do not expect LL to change course on this decision, I started thinking about the possibilities for an educational environment in the free market. Yes, you have to pay full price, but this also includes the ability to raise your own money freely on the grid. Students could donate items to sell in the marketplace to support the sim. Or the sim could hold events or even hold concerts, plays, or whatever.  For the educational sim, these would be off peak hours for them and could earn the sim money to function.

The price of a Mainland sim is $199/month, which is less than 50 bucks a week. If you ask me, the educators are sitting on gold mines too. They are some of SL's biggest promoters, but 1 huge thing I think alot of people are overlooking is that they bring in new people on a regular basis. From an SL merchant's stand point, access to opportunities for acquiring new customers on a regular basis is a rare thing. If a bunch of educators got together to buy 1 sim and they brought in 500-1000 new customers every few months, I'd seriously think of sponsoring that sim in some way. As a merchant in SL, I understand the benefits of name recognition, and if all those new virtual pioneers see my brand on a regular basis, then I'm going to benefit in some way or another.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that it is not all that bad to turn your thinking slightly more in the direction of profit. Who knows, maybe some day it can pay for a fulltime teacher or just incentives for more educators to join in. No, I'm not saying that LL's prices are fair. They are very much way over priced for the customer service that we get and total lack of concern overall. All I'm saying is that there are some free market solutions that could do more to benefit these groups than any discount could ever do.

 

Sorry om, I did not mean to reply to you.

 

Medhue, you rent from me - drop me a notecard inworld and I'll tell you about a place that will welcome you with open arms, if you're up to it.

M

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So LL is doing away with the education discount entirely.  That's truly unfortunate as it will make it even harder for colleges and universities to find the necessary funds.

This comes at a time when LL is going to make it possible for high schools to get started in-world with the lower age limit at 15. I wonder if the prospect of a large number of high schools coming into SL has made LL greedy?

The downside for SL is educators have been leading the way by showing SL to students, parents and others and giving it an image of acceptability in an era when people fear the Internet. With fewer educators, who will help spread the word?

It's wrong to shoot down the educators who have built LL up.

And here's something else. I wonder if the news that the U.S. Congress is talking about legalizing Internet gambling has dollar signs dancing in LL heads over the huge parcels they can sell to those casino operators LL threw out a couple of years ago?

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If you have any real content in SL... for goodness sake, back it up now.  Either make sure you have the "originals" on your RL hard-drive or export your stuff to another grid or two immediately.  I've seen this pattern before.

It's not a good sign.

Me too I've seen this pattern several times and I have all my stuff on 3 tb drives

 

Wish I could say the same. All of the houses I have created use at least 1 megaprim somewhere. Which of course means the entire build can not be exported now because the megas were created by someone else.

Then there is the little issue of the inventories of things everyone has bought over the years.

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It's taken us several semesters to build faculty interest in using Second Life and now we'll have to stop the pilot dead because of these price increases. Does Linden Labs realize what tiny budgets many of us work with in the community college setting: $3500+ per year for the annual fee is more than my entire budget for this pilot. As an earlier post observed, you don't build your customer base by doubling the price. I'm sure Linden Labs would be surprised to learn that the vast majority of our 20,000 students don't even know what Second Life is (we did a survey). Just one example of what LL will be losing: The distance learning arm of our college was going to begin using our island for online student clubs. Sorry, LL, that's thousands of students who will now be blissfully unaware of your existence.

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You forgot they canceled the community gateway program. (And wasn't there some kind of "Mentor program", too ?)

Somehow i have only the question "Who will it be ?". Means, if LL really cuts down to only focus on their core business - the grid. Who will be the one who takes SL (that runs on LL's grid) and does all the things beyond tech ?

Edit: just found another point that increases my panic: Phil Linden repeatedly stated he's "interim" CEO. Now i was looking at LL's job offerings at http://lindenlab.hrmdirect.com/employment/openings.php?sort=da& . Is Phil planning to stay devoted to us :-) ? ...and if not, did LL miss to post the CEO position or has it already been decided behind the scenes ?

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Your continued personal attacks on me in Second Life and in the real world are harrassment.

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I have a question:  I am not in the blogs very often, usually am in other parts of the forum, such as Discussion.  So I am wondering, is this normal with the blog?  That a Linden makes a post and then you get 5 bazillion comments from other SL residents and no more Linden interaction or responses, from the person who made the Blog post?  Is that how it works?  I appreciate the majority of these posts, the support I see for the non-profits and educators; I am just wondering if that's all there is, no more response from Lindens?  I've carefully kept up, I thought, reading all of the comments but maybe I missed one, the Linden one?  I thought, in the past, I remembered blog writing Lindens responding later in the thread, but then I guess there's always that possiblity as long as it remains open, eh?  Unless I missed it, I'll just keep reading.

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Treasure, sometimes there are comments from Lindens. But recently a couple of 'sensitive' news were announced that caused 'heavy' and plenty of reactions.

From what i see, the Lindens read the comments. They also add/comment if something has to be added or was unclear in their OP.

But they don't take part in wild discussions with complaints and speculations. Simply, if they have no news other than in the OP, they'd just get bombed, accused and such. From this point of view it's simply sane for a Linden to only post/comment if there is 'something new'.

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I see.  So, that means, nothing else to say.  Thanks Marielle.  I suppose you're right.  Unless there's new information, it would just be an argument.

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Marielle asked,

"Phil Linden repeatedly stated he's "interim" CEO. Now i was looking at LL's job offerings at http://lindenlab.hrmdirect.com/employment/openings.php?sort=da& . Is Phil planning to stay devoted to us :-) ? ...and if not, did LL  miss to post the CEO position or has it already been decided behind the  scenes ?"

No. He's a businessman. His devotion is to the bottom line and perhaps the company he made. That's not evil; it's just the way the system works.

Rosedale buttered educators up at SLCC and let this increase move forward. I have lost faith in a man whose vision I respected. As "Interim" CEO, he's come back to either save the company or, it seems more and more likely, to arrange to sell it to someone else.

In the end, I've reached the conclusion that either:

--Linden Lab does not want the good will and marketing power of having so many educational institutions and nonprofits associated with its product. This seems far-fetched, but that would make eliminating the discount actually a reasonable decision.

OR

--Linden Lab is so desperate for an income stream that they'll boost prices in hopes that educators have long-term investments in SL and will need to stay for a bit longer.

OR

--As others have said in this stream and elsewhere, Linden Lab has decided it needs to jettison colleges and universities as soon as their contracts end. That way, they'll avoid breach-of-contract cases by a host of well-funded and talented legal teams in US higher ed. My own school's amiable lawyers are a scary bunch when they go into action.

If it's #2 or #3, look out other users. Don't think for a second that LL won't sell you out the second they can get a buyer.  And most of you won't be able to muster a legal challenge to what they do.

I don't know why another company would want the database or our user base, given the stigma of the adult content--a fact, not a value judgement by me because I don't care what you do with your avatars.

Will another company need us, except to exploit our information for marketing purposes?  They might want some of the core technologies and staff from Linden Lab.

As for the fate of your virtual goods and invented "lives" in SL? Just read the TOS: it is not exactly "all your IP belong to us" but you've no recourse if they dump the database after a buy-out offer.

And there will be real suicides among those who call SL "home" and have complicated social relationships here.  That saddens me.

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@Treasure, I'd bet a bunch of Lindens are meeting regularly to come up with a sanctioned reply to this firestorm.

Nelson only posted the company line. Now we await the palliatives.

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Ignatius, the TOS say  "7.6 Linden Lab owns Intellectual Property Rights in and to the Service, except all User Content,...". But i'm not lawyer enough to judge if these TOS still would apply if the Lab or/and SL would be sold.

I'm simply yearning for a reliable statement from SL about LL's future plans. A clear word of "we are cutting back to focus on the basics (already heard) and do not want to sell." or "we're cutting back to match the interests of potential (or existing) buyers".

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