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Two Important Updates on 2011 Land Pricing


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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Forgive the humor with the factoids and suggestions, in one of those odd moods ...

A bit perplexed by eluding that a price hike and a still attractive buy-in deal (homesteads without estate requirements) and how that becomes a political thing.

Years of doing car washes, bake sales, tag sales and a plethora of 101 fund raising efforts. With a bare minimum of effort and any worthy cause I can raise enough to buy a few sims and pay tier for a year with a half dozen events over the course of the year. Actually I could probably pull that off with one event.

How many educators and non profits does it take to disengage from the computer long enough to do some fund raising 101? Wondering if teaching courses on this qualifies me for a discount

But, if you don't want the deal can I have it?

-- Dean of Dartagan's Redneck School of Fund Raising for Educators and Non Profiteers. Introductory courses opening this fall at a 50% discount.

About those free (non SL building and scripting) adult education courses I can't find anywhere, I've got a few hundred thousand people that could use basic bookkeeping and accounting, introductory architecture ...

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sigh-- I cant ever get these post to reply to the person intended.

To Nany,

when you say...."I agree that accounting for this stuff is pretty complicated.  We do include the full price of SL land in our budget then list the discount as a donation.  That's the way our fiscal sponsor set it up."

do you mean that on the budget you submit to the granting organization, you show the full cost of the sim under the expense section then put the 50% discount in the Revenue/Funding section of the grant budget?

Or...do you just put the full sim cost on the budget and not list the discount on the grant budget.

Only showing that 50% discount on the finacials of your organization?

sigh-- I cant ever get these post to reply to the person intended.

To Nany,

when you say...."I agree that accounting for this stuff is pretty complicated.  We do include the full price of SL land in our budget then list the discount as a donation.  That's the way our fiscal sponsor set it up."

do you mean that on the budget you submit to the granting organization, you show the full cost of the sim under the expense section then put the 50% discount in the Revenue/Funding section of the grant budget?

Or...do you just put the full sim cost on the budget and not list the discount on the grant budget.

Only showing that 50% discount on the finacials of your organization?

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I did not say that.  I think  that is your perception of what i wrote or an inner feelign you may be  expressing of guilt that   you  know  there is much to  be done in real to give to those less fortunante and that money could  help even one  kid or adult.

However, i do think that money  you are spending here might really do alot to  get a real  book in a kids hand that can not afford a book maybe even an adult. Those are the people you  do  not see in SL ..they are also the ones people seem to forget  so easily.  Not everyone in  the world has it as easy as we do much less internet access or a computer and   they  even lack electricity.  That money can do so much  good in real... think abt it take that money and  make a difference in real make a kid smile or give an  adult a chance to  even learn to read.

As for time in SL we all give that gladly as we love the  venue..  I am not  sure when you  say   resouces  what you are meaning as i know on my  farm what a resource is and it can not be used on line.  So I  can only  hope  your   time and resources are given  becasue  you  love  what you do and it is part of your soul makes you who you are.... not something   you expect to be cheered on for....but most of all  that you  dig  deep in your pocket to stay in Sl and  continue on with   your life here   becasue you love SL and want to  educate and bring your message to the many  here while at the  same  time  taking any  grant money,  donations and  etc and applying them to makeing a  difference to that kid or adult in poverty in real.

My  best to you  in SL

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I do have to admit I am happy  that LL is not increasing prices to the regular sim owners.

However I do think that more notice should have been given to the non-profit organizations.

Someone commented when many of us were irate about the teen influx to the grid, I will paraphrase the comment made----The decision has been made, so if we dont like it we should go to another grid.  I dare say those that responded like that would not respond to this situation the same way ...(ironic).

I personally dont feel that way about the subject at hand.  I believe the educational and non-profit sims contribute greatly to the grid and I would hate to see them go.

Some have offerred possible solutions which I think should be considered before just giving up.

As someone who has been involved with 501c3 organizations, Many if not most pay the going rate for services and goods then receive funding to cover those costs.  All organizations, non-profit and for profit incur cost increases.  It is a fact of life.  This just means that they have to find additional funding and/or explore revenue generating activities, services or goods to raise the funds. Is this a good thing? not really but if we are passionate we just know we have to work harder to raise funds and file more grant requests as each grant individually will probably be smaller due to cut backs.

As someone who has approved grant requests, I look for grants that can support their projects with ongoing donations, related business income, and other granting sources.  Most 501c3 organizations have some kind of service, goods or other revenue generating projects that they an do to help support their organizations in addition to grants and donations.  There are many creative ways to raise funds. I would hope that the educators and non-profits would explore some of these options and others that have been previously mentioned before they leave.

As a side note.....non-profit does NOT mean that the organization cant show a profit on their financial statements...and as long as services or goods sold are "business related income" they are encouraged and fully acceptable under the IRS regulations.

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Linden Lab... Why?

I need to ask how on earth is this going to help LL Garnish wages in any way? Why even have 'non-profit' sims if you will be running them at the standard $250 USD per month? Honestly, these simulators do not cost that much to up keep!

 

I'm sorry LL, the wake of M. Linden is still not over. I am sure this was one of his 'fantastic' decisions as well.

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Boaz, I'm not quite sure what you are asking, but the full market value of the virtual land as set by Linden Lab and their discount are both budget items.  That's the way I was instructed to set it up by the grant making foundation.

 

As a side note.....non-profit does NOT mean that the organization cant show a profit on their financial statements...and as long as services or goods sold are "business related income" they are encouraged and fully acceptable under the IRS regulations.

Thanks for pointing this out.  People get a little confused about it.

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If any representatives of non-profits or educational groups want an office on the OS Grid, I have nine regions and a sandbox and I can provide you with free land to use as a mirror facility, refugee camp or whatever you please while you explore all of your many options. I can help you get set up with textures and/or building assistance, as well. Just contact me in SL or on the OS Grid.

I still think that this is going to blow over and maybe even prove a blessing, and that Second Life is our best option in many ways but it never hurts to have a PLAN B. If nothing else it's very nice to see all of the cooperation being discussed. Cooperation is what second Life is all about.

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Wow...really giving it to the educational and non-profit organizations huh?

And on top of that grandfathered land that is transferred will be un-grandfathered and lemme take a stab in the dark and say that non-grand land rentals are gonna go up in price too?  (Wow, this is as good as God telling me who is gonna win the next World Series)

And this isn't all, money is being squeezed out of the marketplace merchants too, the landowners and new restrictions put on what they're paying more for.

If SL was a spiral which way would you say it was going...upward...or downward?  Hmmm... :|

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As an educational island administrator, I can only add my shock and frustration to the growing list of discontent posted here already.  I am just finding it so very hard to believe that the numbers of residents who utilize non-profit and educational sims are a tremendous burden on LL.   These sims validate the many uses of a virtual world.  They, like their real life counterparts, are vital to any community.  A world made up of shopping malls, strip clubs and sex toy shops will be ridiculed beyond LL worst nightmares.   Education and non-profits create the balance in Second Life that is essential to it's survival.   It's not just about more money.  Some of us might be able to come up with a little more money.  It's about a community of residents, artists, students, young, old--where skin color, sexual orientation, height, weight, religion and all the other trappings that stifle our real world civilization---can be equalized for the greater good. 

I would be very sad to have to abandon Second Life, but if everyone else leaves---our university probably will leave as well in time.  We are evangelists...our administrators with the cash, are not.

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I'm pretty intuitive... here is my read:

The educational clients and non-profits per se, are the only customers of LL who have a prayer of suing LL for breech of contract and other losses. That's why they just had us accept a new TOS, as the wording lowers their liabilities to us.  Individuals mostly, won't have a chance of making a dent in court.  So before LL either sells out lock, stock and barrel and keeps everyone's content or shuts down, ...the idea is to drive off the only ones who can make these two alternatives difficult, who would make LL less mobile.  With the educators and non-profits gone, LL is free to do whatever comes along and can expect almost no resistance. 

I've had landlords do the same thing.  They made critical decisions on what to fix and how to treat their renters at times when they were mulling selling the properties... thus, if things went 'well' they wouldn't have to pay off lease holds to termination.  Not that things always go well... for instance, I was told the landlord was going to lift the roof off on my business building to 'fix it' and so I opted to leave.  They accepted a medium payoff for my lease value and I was gone.  Meanwhile behind the scenes they had gotten a nice offer from someone to buy their building and figured the money they paid me was substantially less than they would have had to pay to buy out the complete lease had the people actually bought the place... but, once I moved out, the offer people figured that my constant cash flow was gone and a big incentive for them buying the building had left... OH!!... so now, I am in a larger nice building, and the old one I moved from is empty with a big sign on it, losing money.  So no, things don't always work out for everyone... I think... something is seriously brewing at LL, and we just don't know what's going on.  I suggest that EVERYBODY back up their stuff, and run away!... if nothing happens in a year or two, maybe people might come back and play again... but that's what I suggest.

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I have to say that no customer has the right to tell LL how to run their business..

but realy LL,  all these comments are not just whining..they are real feelings..

and to be honest,  the only sound on the grid you might  hear soon is the sound of empty sims..

and if anyone says..Yeah Like who? the answer is ..your customers.

 

edited..If you rented a house .building..or whatever, and the landlord suddenly put up the price 200 percent, you would look elsewhere wouldnt you? thats almost seems what might be happening here..

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Well, the really good thing is the boost this should give to the open sim grid. Grids like SL will have a big impact on the internet in the future I believe and to do that we need viable competition. So far I have not seen much  being done in grids other than SL to actually make them viable in the long run. An influx of educational institutions may be the boost that competitive grids need.

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There is no breach of contract. It states above that the new pricing will take effect when their "contract" (although I doubt it is called that) is up for renewal. And no, regular residents don't have a contract with LL. Read the TOS...LL can change anything at any time. It has always said that. The education and non-profits are able to lock in the annual price so they can get funding.

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Although I could only stay for an hour, I was reasonably encouraged  by the generally constructive, problem-solving orientation of the  meeting at Rockcliffe yesterday.  Returning to these comments this  morning is rather less encouraging.  (I even started writing "A Reader's  Guide to FUD" but screw it: Everyone's a grown-up and capable of reading past the surface text of blog comments.)

At the Rockcliffe meeting, I was struck by some things that are  probably painfully obvious to most people.  In particular, I was  disabused of the mistaken idea that educators and non-profits in SL are a  monolithic community with common interests (beyond the discount, of  course).  They come to SL for a wide range of reasons and have widely  varying uses of the platform.  I expect that these differences will  motivate different responses to the discontinued discounts.

At one extreme, some rely on the population of SL residents as part of their mission.  They may use SL residents to influence RL outcomes, such as  an organization that drives RL donations (or membership, or other  desired behavior) because their SL presence and activities gain  increased awareness among residents of SL.  Or they may seek in-world  donations from residents, or rely on residents as volunteers, a  ready-made audience, experimental subjects, etc.  These organizations  are either in SL or they're not in virtual worlds; for the foreseeable  future, there's nowhere else to go with a comparable resident  population, and the "hypergrid" remains mired in... well, it's not going  anywhere any time soon.  These groups also must be very careful about  how and what they communicate publicly (on any topic, but specifically  w.r.t. the new prices), lest they alienate their resident audience.   (See "Beware of the Just World Hypothesis," below.)

Other groups gain synergy by interacting with other in-world communities as part of their virtual world activities.  If, unlike the first group,  they don't rely on SL residents, they can say any inflamatory thing  they want, as long as it doesn't alienate other communities with which  they interact.  They are, however, constrained by the "network effect":  to retain the benefits of inter-group cooperation, to leave SL they  would have to move all the groups at once.  If any of those networked  groups also relies on the SL resident base (above), they can't move.  (This is why Facebook can do whatever the hell they want with user  privacy: nobody can leave because they'd have to convince all their  friends to leave, and the friends of those friends... and maybe Kevin  Bacon's second cousin doesn't want to move.  Any suggestion that  Marketing Linden attended the Mark Zuckerberg Charm School is purely  coincidental.)

Finally, some groups function as standalone pre-existing communities or exist as technology experiments,  using SL as a 3D conference hosting site or sandbox.  There are no  strings attaching these uses to SL; these groups can go wherever the  functionality is adequate to their needs and the price fits their  budgets.  And, of course, they can say anything they want to anybody,  including other groups.


I've mentioned constraints on what  different groups might say publicly.  Some prominent organizations have  been conspicuously silent in their public response to this.  I think I  understand why: their mission requires that they retain the support of  SL residents, and not all SL residents are going to rally to the cause  of affected non-profits and educational institutions.  And that's not  because those skeptical residents are jerks, but rather because there's  no narrative explaining the rationale of LL's decision.  The brain  abhors a vaccuum in cause-and-effect, and devises its own rationale for  events:

Beware the Just World Hypothesis.

In the absence of another explanation for misfortune, people  ascribe fault to the victims.  The "logic" goes something like: Bad  things happen because of bad behavior--it's a "just world"; somebody  suffered a bad outcome, so that person probably deserves it.  In this  case, maybe the discounts were abused (I raised this myself, in an  earlier post).  Maybe those who got the discounts were more trouble than  they were worth.  Maybe they didn't hold up their end of the bargain  for good PR, attracting and retaining residents, or whatever.

There was more than a little schadenfuede at the fate of those  herded to Zindra.  They deserved it, right?  They were smutting-up the  whole platform.  Well... one step of "just world" recursion and we're at  "what goes around comes around," this time to the non-profits and  educators.

It doesn't matter whether any of these explanations are valid or  even  plausible--what matters is that they fill in a missing link in the  chain  of causality.

My point is to suggest that some responses may not have the  intended effect. Trying to rally the general SL resident population to  the cause of retaining the discounts may not work, and may even  backfire.  And emphasizing the positive contribution of communities with  discounted sims may help -- but not if accompanied by an appearance of  entitlement.

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We are evangelists...our administrators with the cash, are not.

The least LL can do is to offer a way of a sim-backup, so educators can move their sims with the use of a simple oar-file to OpenSim.

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Oh my goodness.. thanks so much Doggie!!!! The donation will go to very good use and I will let my college know - thanks again and keep in touch!

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             Cierra, homesteads are not an option for most of us. As for the regular teaching initiatives I am involved in, I am dealing with classes of 40 or 50 students at least.  Also we regularly run 3-day educational conferences in here which have 500 or 600 attendees overall and 3 concurrent sessions with at least 40 or 50 attendees at each session...and a keynote with 100 attendees.  The SL conference I am referring to (the University of North Carolina Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference, aka UNC TLT)  used to be a "RL" conference. Well, budget was slashed for that (as budgets for worthwhile things so often are) and so a core group of us now volunteer our time and efforts to keeping it going in SL. Thanks to UNCP for providing administrative support and overall coordination, and for the kindness and grace of the NC Community Colleges in allowing us to use their beautiful sims, were able to offer a conference not only to NC educators but well beyond. In fact this past Spring's TLT conference actually brought together hundreds of educators from all over the world. It deeply saddens me that such a wonderful educational community event of sharing, learning and networking could be in jeopardy.

http://conference.unctlt.org/

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Thanks Ignatius, I am talking to a few folks re: these alternative grids, I will explore them again, I appreciate the support and ideas!

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New Mexico State Univ. and all other higher ed institutions are under great financial pressure due to declining state education budgets and the economic downturn. We have already been forced to fund our island out of branch department budgets and personal contributions by faculty. Increased pricing will force us to abandon SL with SL's loss of our students and new recruits.

I suspect many of our faculty will abandon using virtual worlds altogether.

BAD IDEA!

tiopete

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Thanks so much David. I agree with you on the cooperation, and I also hope and pray you're right about it blowing over. Maybe even for a reversal of decision. But the silence (by Lindens) is killing me. After the Viewer 2 fiasco, they said they would listen to us and be more responsive to our concerns. We are waiting. Meanwhile, Plan B (and C and D) is under progress...

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Do we really need to stick debating viewer 2? I'm really fine with it, and many others are. call it a fiasco if you like, but the only stuff missing in V2 is about "doing another one's business", and I for one find annoying that you don't even SEE how a major enhancement it is.

Ok i'm done with the off topic

good luck for your new life in open sim, I know well how it works so i guess that it will fulfill your taste (for vintage stuff)

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I can't help but wonder why this shift in policy regarding university educational discounts, and the only inciting incident I can think of is the fake Woodbury University who was claiming the educational discount before.  It's sad to think that one case of fraud like this could ruin things for everyone else, but it's the only event that springs to mind that has had any exposure.

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