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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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It is, of course, true to say that LL is not a charity and needs to make a profit. I have no problem with that. Google as a company is exactly the same. However, Google, through its Google Grants programme, offers charities free adwords advertising to get their messages across. In other words, Google recognises that as a huge business it can afford to put something back into the wider community.

This hike in charges will have a huge impact on us and we will have to look at whether it makes economic sense to remain in Second Life. I would hate to leave as we have built up a brilliant community over the almost 4 years we have been working in SL.

I hope LL reconsider.

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Perhaps the discounts were always too deep.  Is this  true?  I honestly don't know, but they seemed incredibly generous, to an  outsider.  Do all suppliers of non-profits typically provide such attractive discounts?

Still,  though, if the discounts were just too big, why didn't LL merely scale  them back to an industry-standard level (whatever that may be)?

50% is a whopping discount unless you're comparing it to some of the educational discounts the likes of Adobe give with regards to their learning editions of software, which is basically the same as the full version but you're not allowed by the terms of the license to use the products for commercial services.

Microsoft every now and then run the ultimate steal, which produces whopping discounts on Microsoft Office and such like for students, again it requires you to read the license carefully.

Apple do discounts for students and faculty staff, but not in the 50% bracket.

There are always educational discounts available for hardware, always, but again not at 50% and often based on bulk purchasing.

So yes, the discounts are generous.

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I am starting to believe that my hypothesis of SL being some kind of a Stanoford University modern day prison experiment just might hold some water.

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Well put Qui!  This is exactly the options that education and non-profits will be looking at this week. Option 1 - pay the increase - is simply not viable for most schools and non-profits at this time of year. Option 2 & 3 have them leave Second Life entirely which actually causes a decrease in revenue and grid use for Linden Lab. Option 3 - cut back half their presence in Second Life - will probably be the most common because schools have to use their money for what it was budgeted for. That will get them though the end of their fiscal year and consequently provide no increase in revenue for Linden Labs (not to mention loss of good-will and a ton of other associated benefits).  At the end of the year the non-profits will be going to their boards and grant agencies with new requests. At those meetings they will present the new more expensive (and less service orientated) Second Life option alongside others like OpenSim. Assuming that the funding agents agree a virtual presence is still worthwhile, I think at the very least that Second Life will seem way overpriced for the product. On the other hand, this could be the catalyst that has OpenSim break out as the prefered virtual world and frees everyone from Second Life once and for all.  Now there is an interesting outcome!

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This decision to increase tier fees for non-profit organizations does boggle my mind. I thought LL was working towards towards making it affordable for Non-profit organizations. This was a very bad decision LL. I can imagine other virtual worlds right now are getting there marketing group together to bring those who do not have the new cost budgeted in their finances to their lands. I imagine the group I work with will be looking for options.  Maybe that is what LL wants. These nonprofit organizations are not buy a sim play for awhile then leave customers. They are long-term customers that bring good quality & productive facilities to SL. I hope LL reconsiders grandfathering existing non-profit pricing for both LL and customer's sakes.

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I guess we can assume that the Atlas program will continue to go full steam ahead, giving the larger land barons grandfathered monthly tier fees on all new Homestead sims they order?

You know if Linden Lab can still make money by giving the large land barons the 95 USD monthly tier still on new Homesteads ordered, if it made this price available to all eligible Homestead buyers, then it would sell a whole bunch more of them. Hello? Is any one home at Linden Lab?

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Wow, really - I've spent nearly four years committed to this platform.  This is a disaster to our community, this policy (which is a very bad decision apparently based in greed) will force many non-profits to dismantle the communities they serve and leave Second Life.  How can LL keep making such bad decisions that are clearly made with no regard to the very residents who've been loyal through every bad decision.

Regretfully,

Sophianne Rhode
Pastor and Community Organizer

Koinonia Church - the progressive Christian Community in Second Life - welcoming LGBT residents for 3.5 years.

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I have had 3 SIMS for 3 years that make up the "International Schools Islands" Estate, funded by myself as a single self employed education consultant/advisor.

These price increases mean I'll not be renewing in 2011 ... what a great pity.

But I do appreciate the advanced notice ... it does allow time to make alternate plans.

I've enjoyed the ride ;-)  ... my avatar has a tag line "Digital Nomad Evangelist" ... I guess the 'nomad' part is about to come true.

Shamblesguru

(Chris Smith)

in S.E.Asia

p.s. I'm glad I kept a Blog of the story over the years .. it will be a brilliant record for historians

http://internationalschoolsisland.info/

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Seriously,  you're going to just sit here and gloat about the loss of education in  SL because you got personally peeved at one provider. You clearly have  no understanding of karma.

Nope, I'm gloting at the loss of that ONE "education" block of 5 sims whose owner received huge grants fromt he MacArthur foundation (minimum grant as I remember according to their web site was something like $25,000) and then proceeded to attack every 1860's Western role play sim owner with threats to shut them down by complaints about religious insults and selling "illegal" goods not made by "real" native indians, and then threatened to go to tribal groups in RL and rally them to flood LL offices with complaints and lawsuits to shut down every sim and group in SL that either role plays with native indians or sells native indian style goods in SL.

Go back in the archives and read a threads, some said

 

"... You crossed the line to outright defamation of religion with the Keetoowah stuff."

"We are enlisting the support of real world tribal governments in this.  Preparing the complaint will take a little time.  When it is prepared, you can debate with the tribes themselves whether your freedom of expression gives you the right to rob their graves and sell the stolen contents."

""It turns out Tombstone's exploitation of Apache culture is extremely offensive to Apache tribal members.  We are going to file a formal grievance with Linden Lab concerning Tombstone's  violation of SL's Terms of Service and enlist the help of the tribal governments involved.  It looks like Tombstone will turn into the initial test case that will set the standards on this issue.
Further discussion on Tombstone's violation of the Terms of Service and Community Standards will be conducted through formal channels."

The real goal was eliminating competition for selling items in SL, nothing ever came of it though and this person riled enough up we took counter-action and stopped this person dead in the water.  I went after the grant givers with complaints and showed them what their money was being used for, attempting to subvert other paying member's enjoyment and use of sims THEY pay for.

Keep in mind, the "keetoowah cherokee" tribe or however they spell it here was not using the same exact RL name either, the name was altered slightly to avoid any issues with copyrights or trademarks.

There's a lot more to this story you are not party to ninjafoo, but trust me, this one needs to go bye bye for sure! SL doesnt need bullies who feel they own all rights to native indian (or any other culture or group ) content and try removing everyone else's content. I suspect all of that bully attitude and negative activites were a big reason those sims failed to lure much interest or traffic.

They were contacting stores on my sims and other role play sims demanding to know if they were REAL native indians, and all but ordered them to remove their "fake" goods from their stores and close them down, then threatened to file complaints  under a 1935 native goods act that covers fraudulent advertising of real goods being made by enrolled natives which are not made by real natives at all, this doesn't apply to virtual goods made in SL not being advertised as being made by "real" natives.

It all caused a huge scene behind the scenes, and in the end that person failed, as did the 5 sims which even now stand vacant and unused LOL.

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Oh, this is a blow. As with most other universities, I think we'll have to look elsewhere. We have 3 sims and whilst around £7K a year isn't a ridiculous charge for what is effectively a sitewide software licence, it's the sudden jump that makes me nervous. I also worry that educators and non-profits will leave, and that will make the environment far less rich for education. I also worry that Linden are in trouble, hence the price hike. So is this rumour that Microsoft might buy them out just a rumour?

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This could have been handled better ... even though I kind of understand where this is coming from.

For every well-meaning, actual non-profit sim out there, you can find five that are basically cheap rental properties for those within the group.

There should have been a way to allow those using these sims properly, to keep theirs ... while more closely monitoring "non-profit organization" sims with 20 skyboxes filled with scripted beds and lap dance chairs.

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Student discounts on software is different than a discount on a continuing service. Offering software at a discount for students doesn't cost the software company anything. They write off the entire discount and get the product in the student's hands, which basically guarantees that person will continue to use the product in the future and pay full price for updates and related software. LL on the other hand can also write off the discount, however, the continuing overhead on maintaining that service (the sim) is a loss in the long run because there is no real expectation of future full price purchases resulting from that discount.

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This  really is taking a giant step backwards for SL. None profitable  organizations will just flood out of SL next year. Also, I was hoping to  see standard regions being significantly reduced now with all the  cutbacks and layoffs. I hope reconsiderations will be made.

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With all due respect to the non profit/ education sector - but where are all of you when ordinary sl users bemoan heavy tier pricing....???

 

we never hear a word from any of your groups then....

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The whole issue of tier pricing needs re examining but I suspect nothing good or worthwhile is going to happen because if it was Philip would have been singing it from the roof tops at his inworld meeting several weeks back. Needless to say the matter of pricing and all matters relating to it never arouse....

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The servers LL has to pay for are a fixed cost, whether they have clients paying for them or not.  So if they are losing money on them, it's understandable that a small increase be passed along.  But not doubling the price, especially after all the lip service about promoting education in SL.  You could have easily said prices were going up 15% and there'd be some grumbling, but no exodus.  However, as the lab is wont to do, it jacked up prices by unreasonable levels -- 100% in this case.  And here we thought the voidsim debacle was predatory.

If LL's profits are dropping, perhaps the CEO needs to examine the whys and reasons instead of jacking up the prices so he can show constant increases in profitability.  Any business will have good years and bad years -- it's ludicruous to pretend otherwise.  Long surviving businesses are more interested in remaining profitable, even if it means a quarter or two have no growth.  Only idiots and MBAs think growth is forever and that showing an increasing profit for a quarter or two is more important than the foundations that the business is built upon and remaining profitable for the long run.  Businesses that keep customers in lean years survive -- businesses that lose customers in lean years do not.  And if keeping LL alive means lowering the profits for a few years, in the long term you still make more than you will if LL goes bankrupt in one year.  X * 4/5 * 10years is far greater than X * 1 * 1.

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Well to me sl needs more consumers... I reckon consumers will probably want the basics i.e. land and the tools to build...if they get hooked they'll want more land ..I know because thats what happened to me... I want my money spent on better inworld functions and features. Unfortunately Im not in sl to fund education especially not in the USA (as I see it Im paying my bit for the 'good' of my country via vat paid to lindens....)

The obvious way to attract more more paying consumers is to drop tiers and ENCOURAGE land sales... more land sold more tiers...

 

Its not - as they say - rocket science

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It’s an unbelievable decision by Linden Lab. Innovators and educationalists everywhere will reflect on this decision in years to come as (another) one of the key errors in the company’s lifespan. It’s tough times all over but this surely will have a wide knock-on effect for the legitimacy of Second Life as an educational platform. We’ll find an alternative solution of course, and many developers will benefit from the transition. Second Life still offers the best 3D virtual world experience for teaching and learning.

For now and over the next 12 months or so the challenge will be to use our Second Life presence wisely. Educationalist will have to pool together on the main grid and share resources. Some developments simply cannot be migrated to another platform because of the permissions issue. I envisage not a mass exodus from Second Life to OpenSim or another virtual world but a pruning of Second Life educational development. I’m not yet convinced that there is a workable alternative platform that can offer sufficient functional quality.

We’ll need to reuse materials and space, share and collaborate more. We’ll have to help each other and adapt to the inevitable restructuring and changes this will bring. It was never going to be an easy journey. We’ll have to work smarter!

Milton BroomeAvatar and Virtual Worlds Educator

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Incidentally I know that its not lindens fault that they charge VAT even if their efforts to set up any sort of European operation have been basically useless and pointless...but in the UK we have hefty VAT increases due in January - not Lindens prob maybe, but certainly if any tier increase is heaped on this...

 

Basically I think Lindens should be charging all nationalities their own charges in their own currencies - it immediately cancels out and shift in charges due to exchange rate shifts... I cant understand why we in Europe can't be charged at our own rates to take account of 'local ' differences....Surely easy enough using pay pal.

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One of the hallmarks of 21st century schools and non-profits must be flexibility.  We can't just pack up and quit when things don't go as they have for the past three centuries.

We have operated a hybrid Web-and-SL school on the mainland for nearly three years now. We can adjust the size and complexity of the main campus, the number and location of remote facilities, and generally  accomodate any changes in current needs and budget.

Go to the mainland. You will have all the control you ever need.

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NO REASSURANCES ON TIERS FOR ORDINARY SL USERS ........IT TALKS ABOUT PRIVATE REGIONS - SO WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US ???

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I'm no expert in what's going on, but I've seen plenty of news stories. There are alternative grids. There are ways of an organisation running their own physical servers, and of users sim-crossing in and out of these local grids. There have been tests with huge numbers of users on one sim.

Linden Lab can claim reliability, and that is worth something. Will some of the alternatives last? But a sudden CEO change, closing down recent acquisitions, cutting staff, and hiking prices: a guy can't help but wonder. And I've seen places I know cutting back on the number of regions they use.

Personally, I can stick with SL without spending a lot of money. It's not an option open to the educator business. As long as Linden Lab stay in business, I can meet friends here. But the stuff yoiu guys do is different.

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I was just told by my supervisor that we would not be able to renew our SL island rental due to the combination of this price increase and our budget cuts.  We are now looking into Open Sim.

What a pain!!!  I wish SL would reconsider their pricing to educators.

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