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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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I'm in favor of Linden Labs making a reasonable profit, thriving, and growing.  Sadly, I don't see how driving away their educational and non-profit users is going to accomplish any of that for them. It looks like a lose-lose strategy, for reasons so many people mention above.

I would suggest an architectural change that would make it obvious that educational space, especially low-occupancy space, is a money maker for Linden Labs, at prices BELOW what are currently charged.

I would find it fully acceptable if our sim's virtual machine was frozen when no one was on the Island, and the cpu cycles allocated instead to support other sims that have people on them. The dynamic load of the sim would go to zero in those time periods.    The load on neighboring sims would go to essentially zero, as our sim became simply a big black box.  (Maybe with pretty but static pictures on the sides of what would be seen if it were awake.)     There would be no need to reawaken the virtual machine until someone teleported to the sim. The reawaken time would be comparable to what people now see anyway.   Heck, I'd settle for a 30-second "please wait while the sim is unsuspended" airlock, if it cut the price of the sim in half.

That would make the servers, paid for in full by the users,  mostly available to cut the lag time of sims that had avatars on them. It's hard to see how Linden Labs would lose money on that.

But if they would, maybe they could enlighten us as to what their cost structure is, so we can, collectively, put our smart brains together in social intelligence and help them solve their cash flow problem in a win-win way, instead of what seems to be their current lose-lose approach.

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Thats a great idea Starlight but only one little problem....IF they did what you suggest they would then tell ALL of us that it costs them  more  money to do it and then they will hike the tiers even more lol

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But if they would, maybe they could enlighten us as to what their cost structure is, so we can, collectively, put our smart brains together in social intelligence and help them solve their cash flow problem in a win-win way, instead of what seems to be their current lose-lose approach.


I have wished to hear an explanation of the price of land in Second Life for years.  Knowing the strategy behind why the prices are set at the levels they are would alleviate so much mistrust.

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Actaully there was a LInden that responded to all the comments in this post. It was Wallace Linden and he came in here with his trigger finger and deleted all the posts that were considerd "competiton" to LL.

That just shows you how much they care.

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So I am wondering, is this normal with the blog?... then I guess there's always that possiblity as long as it remains open, eh?  Unless I missed it, I'll just keep reading.

I'm checking back occasionally.  The major nonprofits in SL are doubtless contacting LL directly, and they would probably hear first if LL decides to reconsider.  However, it is not at all promising that no Linden has even posted a "We're reading your comments with interest".

If they do reconsider, they would probably update the OP on this thread to indicate the time frame for a decision, which would be announced via a new blog post.  But I wouldn't hold my breath - LL surely anticipated both the outcries and subsequent sim closures.  In absolute numbers, the number of closures may not be a problem for them.  In loss of future growth, it will be a big problem.

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If I recall correctly, there already was a plan announced to load balance regions that are not occupied.  It was a scheme for putting regions into a dormant state until an avatar arrived.

So this may have already been taken into account in their budgeting.

No way to know if Linden Lab is not forthcoming.  The trust in this company is needlessly being destroyed.

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Great news about the grandfathered prices remaining as they are, an increase to $125 per month would have been a deal closer for me as I currently pay more than enough for the 1/2 homestead that I rent if not too much, however, with prices remaining as they are I am prepared to stay rather than pack up and leave.

 

Personally I believe that prices should be lowered to actually increase sales, there is a reason why certain shops and services are thriving in a recession and they all have 1 thing in common.... lower prices, while those companies who have bitten the bullet and raised thier prices in a feeble attempt to keep their head above the financial tidal wave have had noone around to throw them a life jacket.

Helping us to help you Linden is actually profitable.

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I have blogged on this on Music Island if you want to get my full thoughts on the issue and why it is a disasterous policy that affects all residents, not just the non-profit and educational community.  Those of us left behind after a mass exodus of some of the most educated, involved and generous members of our community will find SL a more boring world.  (I am thinking a highway strip of big box stores).  That will only snowball as individuals leave when they find less to interest them.

If you don't have time to read the full blog post (or you are totally with me and don't need to) I have suggested as a starting point we all think about the following actions:

  1. Twitter/blog/post everywhere that there will be a vast reduction in interesting content on SL if non-profits and educational institutions leave SL.
  2. Boycott Marketplace in protest but support your SL businesses inworld.
  3. Ask people to pledge a discontinuance of Premium Accounts by Dec 31, 2010 if LL does not continue discounts for Education and Non-profits.
  4. Start Facebook/Linked-In groups to publicize actions.
  5. Spend spare minutes in SL at welcome centres handing out notecards to newbies telling them how their SL experience will be adversely affected by the reduction in non-profit and educational presence in SL
  6. On a protest day (TBD) cancel all eductional, non-profit, and affiliated events. Publicize the results in attendance.

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Hey, guess what was waiting for me in my inbox when I got to work this morning? An email from my dean, asking about the doubling of fees. Well done, Iggy.

We're pretty strapped here ensuring that all of our other technology keeps running smoothly. I doubt that we'll devote resources to running an open sim.

I'll miss our (admittedly underused) island . . .

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Ignatius, if "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."... then that is a VERY big gamble they will likely lose. They are counting on administrators continuing a very esoteric and difficult to justify initiative.. because in most universities Second Life is not a fully supported learning management system (in the way that Blackboard or Moodle is). Faculty and staff who advocate SL generally have to beg and plead for budget, trainings, lab use and more to maintain these initiatives.

I'll bet that many upper level educational administrators are simply looking for a good excuse to get rid of SL and here it is. They will at minimum halve their SL projects rather than double their payout. And if they can get something as good elsewhere, for less cost, they will. I am looking to see which grids most educators are flocking to next, and then I will suggest to my bosses that my university follows suit.

Lorraine Charron
Administrator, UNC Charlotte Nursing region

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Kate, the fact that it might have a bad (snowball) effect could be true. It's probably the most important point - there will be less interesting places to explore.

Now i wonder what the future target audience for SL will be: Teenagers welcome ..... no education, art and culture.....world of warcraft, imvu, frenzoo ?

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Not just fewer interesting places to explore.  It is perhaps understandable is a largely visual medium like SL that people focus on the visual.  However the glue that makes SL sticky is not builds, it is events, groups, social connections, things to do. Non-profits provide most of the help to newbies and they host most of the conferences, discussions, public affairs panels, that interest core users.  What would "events" look like without non-profits and educators?  Who will teach building classes?  Who will host the freebie walls?  Who will create all the discussion sites and write the articles about SL that attract interested people to SL... the effects are enormous.

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Ayla said: Well this is a smart move if any. It was the non profits and educators that wanted the kids on the main grid. The slight increase I take it is to pay for the added security programming that is needed?

Ayla, I hope you are being tongue in cheek? I am an educator against bringing in under 18s because I have an under 18 year old child, and if she saw what is going on in some supposedly PG regions I'd be mortified. But after 3 years of struggling to get SL initiatives going at my university (a never ending uphill battle) this will only serve as the biggest roadblock ever. We have a major Distance Ed program that after 3 years finally got approved for SL tech specs and got their own SL island. Really worthwhile efforts to reach out to students at a distance in new ways, and now what will happen to it? I shudder to think.

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I love LL's blog post.

They inform, people become upset and no one at the Labs gives a shit.

But please people, if you are THAT upset, just sell your sims then.

Thats the only thing they care about, as long as they earn money on you they wont listen

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When we see the increase on an invoice, we'll level our island and pull out.  No problem.  We've already started looking into the transition to either OpenSim or ActiveWorlds.  It's more secure anyway.

Linden doesn't care about us, fine.  Good luck managing your ghost world.

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Perhaps LL could start charging for all those free alts residents can create. I suggest 1 free alt per account, then charge if you want more. Would gain LL some revenue and perhaps thwart griefing, stalking, cheating etc if there was a cost involved. If this is really a decision about money and cost saving, then make wiser decisions than pushing out the educators who helped put SL on the map. Just my 2 cents.

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The only eye-opener:  The comments of some of the "educators" posted here

i think it might not be a bad idea for some of them to move on. They should not be educating anyone.

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Kate said, "Non-profits provide most of the help to newbies and they host most of the conferences, discussions, public affairs panels, that interest core users.  What would "events" look like without non-profits and educators?  Who will teach building classes?  Who will host the freebie walls?  Who will create all the discussion sites and write the articles about SL that attract interested people to SL... the effects are enormous."

@Kate - I imagine this news means non-profits like NMC and NCI and FLWM and others among the non-profits doing a lot of the good basic training camps will see land fees go up.  Losing many of the non-profits will be as much of a blow as losing many of the universities.

@Marielle - Yes, the community gateways went away and they killed the mentors, too. Considering all this news, taken as a whole, SL isn't what it used to be. It's hard to fathom what it will look like a year from now.

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Doggie said:

"I've been to some of these university sims, they have massive huge vacant buildings sprawled all over the sim or sims, clock tower, office furniture and many many rooms, fountains and all the rest. Atmosphere is great, the buildings look fantastic, but you don't need 16 campus buildings spread all over 4 sims!

So the fix is, you partnership with another edu or non profit and share one half of a sim each or whatever, and the cost is half of $295/mo for 7,500 prims.

The only issue with universities and sims is concurrent avatars, I've been to plenty of  full sims which are allegedly able to support up to 100 av's grinding to a near halt at 30-40 avatars with lag so bad commands etc  took minutes to finally execute."

Doggie, my university has only ONE sim and it has been a struggle to acquire. A grant was acquired but now what? (since that was a fixed amount). And our sim supports unique educational experiences and initiatives that are needed by health educators and nursing students learning at a distance, and (due to their success) we had plans for many more initiatives to follow. We need the full island space to make these things happen.

Because university money is tight, and I as the graduate assistant, sim admin, trainer and Instructional Designer care so much about these initiatives, I just spent about 75 USD of my own money to outfit our new teaching hospital with the finest virtual hospital equipment (which btw I can't bring to or purchase on any other grids). We not only have a required course but also planned to have health educator conferences on that land. We were starting to build a Museum of Nursing History on the island. I am seeing 3 years of effort (along with my dissertation) now going out the window.

Right now, I feel like throwing my avatar off a virtual cliff.

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Shirley, Linden Labs definitely *will* see a mass exodus of educators out of SL to other grids. Many of us educator advocates have been fighting for years to legitimize educational uses of Second Life, because we believe in SL as a unique medium which can offer creative, hands-on, collaborative and immersive educational experiences like no other. Some of us have strugged for years to convince the "powers that be" (i.e. educational administrators that pay the money for this) that Second Life IS worth our time, money and effort. However unlike the instructional designers, support staff and  dedicated faculty that work directly in SL and are pouring their whole  hearts into it, the higher level administators always remain a tough sell and are often never fully committed to these SL projects...its simply too abstract for them as they are not generally directly immersed in it themselves.

This drastic cost increase (which is SO much more than just a simple cost increase but really a thumbing of SL's nose at education's importance) will simple give those "powers that be" a very good reason to cut the purse strings for these initiatives....ending Second Life courses, student collaborations, educational resources, conferences, support jobs, trainings, graduate assistantships, dissertations, and so much more.

 

Lorraine Charron
Instructional Designer
Administrator, UNC Charlotte Nursing
In-World Operations Coordinator, Annual UNC TLT Conference (in SL)

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LOL Stone, then you need to be Thelma to my Louise and we will drive off of it together, take pics and post as protest. Where is the biggest cliff in SL??

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In the very first post when the grid merger was announced I was talking about the K-12'th  educators especially one that I got in an arguement with over why it is a bad move to bring minors into a grid that is not minor friendly. As a parent I didn't agree with that however There does and will be upped cost somewhere along the lines if they are working on new filters for the main grid. Programming and scripting is not cheep by any means, takes a lot of hours and is ususaly underpaid.

I however don't really agree with this move either as I see a pattern here looks like they are following other VR's. First zindra followed by other things then the merger then they higher a marketer from WOW now this. Follow my line of thinking you'll see its logical.

(sorry about the spelling I'm dyslexic)

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Oh, they are responding; they're just using their alts to do it. Very old trick with Linden Lab staffers. All of the trashing of alternative venues, that's not the truthful response of anyone who has logged into them lately.

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