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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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You hear from us as individual consumers, and probably don't recognize us as part of a non profit when we are speaking as individuals.  You are hearing from me on this issue as part of a non profit, but you have heard plenty from me as an individual land owner on other issues.  A consumer, just a person who owns mainland and estate land also and who loves SL.  So yes, you hear from us in the other venues too.  It's not our fault if you don't know who we are unless we have a non profit tag attached to our heads.  When the topic comes up about raising of individual consumer's tiers then you will hear from me as an individual consumer.

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Way to go LL. If your ultimate plan is to promote alternate grids that will  rival SL, your doing a great job!

Just think of all that university and collage talent that can be put to work  to build the edu's a fantastic world, all open source of course!, to play in.  The trickle down effect of open source grid tech should be impressive.

LL's road map to ruin appears to be right on track.

Samantha

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SL was created as a wild wild west where no laws applied and you could be anything, do anything.  "Your world, your imagination" if you'll recall.

Then they got rid of gambling.  Not fixed it so gambling could remain with a parallel monetary unit you could use to pay tier (which would be legal), got rid of.

Then they took people's land with the predatory voidsim mess.  Then they changed the "permissable behavior rules" stating you can't even talk about alcohol in public, etc etc.  Then they (very poorly) remapped mainland and forced all the adult materials to the ghetto.  Then they destroyed Search so nobody could FIND said ghetto anymore.  Then they changed their TOS saying that nobody owns anything anymore in SL, thus making people quit "buying" land because it was a sucker sale.

SL has in 3 years gone from a place where you can be anything and do anything to being even more draconian and oppressive than some police states out in the real world.  And that's a shame.  The only smart move I've seen in 3 years was the banking change, and really that rule should have been in place on day one.  Otherwise, LL has constantly butted in on other people's fun -- the reason those people were here paying money to begin with.  And with the latest LL change involving the teens, and now this, it's clear that people have finally had enough.

Your customers are leaving, Phillip.  They are leaving because you are NOT steering the lab back into profitable waters where you provide the services that we want and are willing to pay for.  You are driving the lab into becoming a DisneyVirtualWorld that we see everywhere else in the net, and that we don't want and we won't continue to pay for.  This was an Adult playground.  How the adults played was THEIR business, just as what the adults drink in a bar is their business.  But you and your board have gone and shot it up to hell and back trying to fix everything that wasn't broken and ignoring the things that were broken.

You have 3 months Phillip.  That's 3 months.  Because when you torque off people enough to just abandon thousands and thousands of dollars of "investments" in your platform, you can be certain that they will forever remember what LL cost them and they and their money will never, never, ever have anything to do with LL or anything having anything to do with LL, ever again.  And as you have recently figured out, those people willing to pay the big bucks to be in LL are already here -- you lose them and you lose your business.

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I see what lindens meant by introducing meshes to sl now....theyre ideas with holes in that see customers slipping through

 

well there are plenty of holes in sl's plans....

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Don't get me wrong, I do think a 100% increase is out of line, and I can understand how this is going to be a huge hardship for the legitimate non-profits and educational organizations. I think SL needs the cultural and educational groups and should continue to encourage their presence and contributions to the SL community. However, this increase in land prices makes it very clear that LL can no longer offer such a deep discount. Companies everywhere are cutting back and can no longer help subsidize charitable organizations as much as they have been. Everyone is having to tighten their belts (unless you are one of the fortunate that has not had someone in your family lose their job or entire business.)

My post was simply pointing out that there are many non-profit/educational regions that stand idle most of the time. The maintenance and overhead for those sims is the same as any other full sim. I don't think this is the death knell for non-profits and education groups in SL...it is a time to see where you also can cut back and consolidate to keep within your current budget. Maybe it's time to examine how you can optimize your land usage. I gave a couple of examples just as food for thought. There have been some other good suggestions for consolidating, such as having shared facilities.

Leaving SL will be like biting off your nose to spite your face. As some others have pointed out, trying to set up your own OpenSim, or moving to a hosted OpenSim or other grid, would be a huge endeavor and would mean the loss of what you already have set up here. Things that you take for granted in SL are non-existent or very rudimentary in other grids. Yes, I am in that "other" grid, too, Kimo (for business purposes and to secure my business and avatar names), so I know.

I think I can speak for the majority of SL residents in saying that the cultural and educational groups would be sorely missed. You fill a much needed purpose in our community to enlighten and round out this otherwise motley crew in SL.

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Virtual Ability is not role playing.  I don't really get all the talk of role play sims here.  Read our group charter or visit http://virtualability.org to see what we are actually about, which in a nutshell is assisting people who are disabled in RL to enter and function in the virtual world in a way that benefits them and is suited to their disability.  This includes having an understanding of assistive technology, inworld support groups and peer support, and venues and ongoing support and encouragement.  Virtual Ability Inc is a RL non profit, recognized by the IRS and based in the state of Colorado in the USA.  There's no 'servers in the garage' or sims with sex beds in the sky.  We have annual meetings with our SL group for financial transparancy, they know exactly what's in our bank account, where it came from and what we spent it on.  We have abided by the rules and policies set out by LL for non profits.  I understand that everybody is not in SL to support non profits, you are here for your own reasons, whatever those may be and that is fine.  We don't expect everyone to be necessarily enamored of our efforts in virtual.  Respect would be nice and I think we have that for the most part.  I just wanted to clarify that we are not roleplaying and this is not a game for us.  Thanks for listening.

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If the problem was widespread abuse or discounts that were unaffordable, then let me suggest an alternate message.

----------------

We are experiencing widespread abuse of the nonprofit discount.  Therefore, we're forced to take the following measures:

1.  As of the next academic year, starting MM/2011, the educational/nonprofit discount for full sims will be reduced to 35%.  Plus, <description of deal for homestead/open sims>

2.  We are tightening the criteria for the discount as of January 2011.  We wish to focus on permanent projects by accredited institutions that  provide structured programs (as opposed to sandboxes and/or social  spaces).We realize that this may cause some of you additional paperwork, and we regret the necessity.   In an attempt to mitigate this, we have run traffic statistics on existing discounted estates, and reviewed our relationship with some institutions with which we have long-term relationships.  That has resulted in a list of organizations that need not resubmit for discount approval: <url>.  The others of you must submit the expanded set of forms, <url>.

3.  Some nonprofits receive nonprofit discounts for sims for short-term fundraisers, such as RFL.  These will no longer be covered by the nonprofit discount, but instead will be administered by LL's own charitable giving office.  Projects already approved for 2010 will go forward without change; however, events scheduled in 2011 must apply for a charitable grant <url>.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience.

-------------------

My consulting fees are $150/hr.  This took 20 minutes.  You can pay me in Lindens.

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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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Yes.

(Well, probably.  #2 would be almost as difficult as... oh, say, moderating a discussion forum.)

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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.

 

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Jeez, guys.

I'm closing in on my 4th rez day here. In 2007, the place was hopping.  Apotheosis (spelling?) Silverman had built a site that let people shop online and have stuff delivered inworld. It worked really well. People were pouring in, all sorts of new ideas and new communities were popping up, things looked great.

Y'all jacked up some prices and killed off the "First Land" program. Oh, well, no business is perfect, and we understood - sort of.  Everyone hung in there and the place continued to grow. Then you teased everyone with $75 OpenSpace sims, and people got really excited and creativity just exploded here. The future looked great.

So... naturally... you waited 'til there was a nice steady level of excitement - and doubled the tiers on all those nice fresh OpenSpace sims.  Hearts broke, lovingly created islands vanished, and people left in droves. The place has been struggling since, and whether you admit it or not, you're still trying to recover from that debacle.

You bought that nice online shopping site, and proceeded to make it less pleasant to use (and are now doing it again, even more horribly).  Revenues were lost, people got frustrated... but fair enough, most of us hung in there, made the best of it. 

There have been too many shenanigans in the many months since to list in detail here. We've had viewer dramas, adult sim drama, Lindens who don't even come inworld drama, this drama, that drama.  And money and access remain constant sources of misery.  Lowered performance, and increased prices.  A lot of people leave, and of those who arrive to take their places, few stay long enough to dig in, build something, and try to contribute to maintaining the community.

Funny thing is, a lot of us hang around, sticking with you, trying to make it work.  Yes, in part that's because y'all are the only game in town, in a lot of ways. But it's also because we have ties here, connections, communities - and we don't want to see those die. And it's also because SL is still a wonderful platform for being creative.

We get it - things change, times get tougher, things get more expensive. Only the most juvenile among us would think that your prices would/should never go up, or that there would/should never be glitches and places where you don't perform so well. We're not idiots. For the most part, we're reasonable people.

Now... don't YOU get it?  SL isn't going to become a corporate mecca. SL isn't "Web 3.0" or whatever you fantasized. What SL is, or could be, is a high energy, well populated, nice and busy hive of activity, a metacommunity full of hundreds or thousands of different groups - and could be very very profitable for you.

You seem to be oblivious to the fact that you need us, and you're pushing us away. The sim owners are your profit base. They create the environments that allow people to gather. When they can't afford to to that anymore, they'll move away, and there won't be a point for anyone else to hang around. It's really not that complicated.

This is another insanely boneheaded move. Increasing tiers on people who can't even use their sims for profit (if I understand the terms of educational tier pricing correctly) just shuts down more places for people, and kills off even more creative expressions. I'm seeing yet another massive exodus coming in the next few months, and even fewer coming in to try to fill in the empty spaces. You're closing off access, yet again.

You got yourselves a really great platform here, for all of its flaws. And you could make money hand over fist by just being... sensible. And sensitive. And respectful.

A lot of us love this place, despite all of our bitching. And we're trying to hang in there with you, make the best of it, create and maintain community here. And, along the way, make some money for you.

But you're making it really... really... hard.

Jeez, guys.

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(Well, probably.  #2 would be almost as difficult as... oh, say, moderating a discussion forum.)

*smiles*  Well, only if LL were terribly concerned with maintaining an image of completely even-handed giving.  But, they're in a budget crunch, I'd really suggest that they simplify the process instead.  Many fewer projects approved, and less bending-over-backwards to give folks the benefit of the doubt.  Isn't this how it would really come down?

> Some sims, even after 2 email warnings to their administrator, would not respond to the requirement to resubmit.  Result: 1 further warning in January, sim deletion Feb 1st.

> Some projects have already been up for 6 months or more with no significant traffic.  Result: unless the new submission outlines a dramatically new project, sim deletion Feb 1st, because the project appears to have failed.

> Some projects really are just sandboxes.  Again, sim deletion Feb 1st.

Going forward, of course, traffic cannot be used as a criteria, it's so easy to game.  But at this moment in time, it can be used.

Also, the splitting of sims for short-term fundraising off from the nonprofit discount enables LL to impose a stricter budget on them, so that otherwise worthy projects can be simply denied because LL's yearly budget for charitable fundraising has been spent.

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ROCKCLIFFE UNIVERSITY CONSORTIUM would like to extend its continued commitment to educational and non-profit support within Second Life. The role of providing supporting services to the user community has never been greater. While it appears that Linden Lab has forgotten this, we have not. Core services including our forums, sandbox, library, and performing arts programs will continue. Rockcliffe is going to have to scale back our land holdings rather than proceed with planned expansion as we had hoped over the coming year. We are not however scaling back operations instead preferring to see this as an opportunity to move some of our other plans forward substantially.

Rockcliffe will be expanding beyond the boundaries of Second Life. This will include expansion into OpenSim, Unity3D, WOW, and other virtual collaborative environments. Second Life will continue to be our main hub in the virtual universe for the foreseeable future however our emphasis will no longer include as strong a preference for Second Life as it once did.

Rockcliffe will continue to support the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference (March 17-19, 2011) and Avacon's SLCC 2011 (August 2011). These are both valuable contributions to the Education, Healthcare, Government, Arts, Music, and Non-Profit communities.

Rockcliffe fully supports Virtual Ability's comments above (see Gentle Heron - Mon Oct 4 @ 7:27pm) in terms of the negative consequences of this decision. Rockcliffe stands with Virtual Ability, the Non-Profit Commons and others with the goal to have Linden Lab seriously reconsider the implications of this policy.

Kevin Feenan,
President, Rockcliffe University Consortium
SL: Phelan Corrimal

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Simple math LL guys and gals. Let's say in a year one instructor brings in and orients 50 higher education students to SL. Let's say 5000 teachers do this. Hmmm, 250,000 well-trained people who have now been introduced to SL, have returned multiple times, and they in turn help build critical mass by brining in friends. Get the point??? We may be better at effectively marketing SL than you. :-)

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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....???

 

 

Hi Maelstrom....

I can only speak for myself here but I am standing right along with you bemoaning the same pricing.  I have personal lands/parcels within SL apart from the nonprofit I work with.   None of this land is located on a nonprofit sim.

Anything that I do that is not associated with the library is paid for out of pocket on full price land... my personal money.  I know a large number of librarians and other other library folk who do the same thing.  We do understand the ethical differences between nonprofit and personal use and we abide by that in renting/owning personal-use land on full price sims where we pay tier/rent that is probably just as high as yours.

Rocky Vallejo

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Qie,

We could see solutions made up of a combination of the alternatives you list.   Second Life could be used in a very limited fashion as a contact point while installations on other grids could be expanded for a full scope of operations.  The hugely increased demand for other grids is certain to drive their development.  With so much demand, OpenSim will probably not remain as undeveloped as it is for long.

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This is a complete disaster...

Unless Linden Lab is already broke and backing off in phases to keep what little cash is trickling in until they are ready to fold up shop?

I hope you appreciate the shockwave you have sent through the community... errr wait.  Your paying customers are not happy.

Skylar Smythe

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This seems an odd decision for non-profit and edu.  I think you will lose a lot more in goodwill and new users than you will save by charging more.  Extremely odd gamble you are taking.

Your best case scenario would be for these groups to down size land expenditures and continue using SL.  But you just cost yourself, and the managers of these non profit spaces, a lot of credibility.  I certainly don't blame anyone for looking to alternative grids.

LL, back to the drawing board.  Please.  Non-profit and Edu DO deserve a discount.  Perhaps less than a 50% discount, but Something to encourage their adoption and continued use of SL.

I suspect you tax accountant can not find a way to write off your donations to these groups.   Surely you can find a way to verify these groups as non-profit groups and thusly making all discounts deductible.  Try starting here: http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96136,00.html  Also, a trick I use in my business with non-profits.  Bill them the Full amount, and then return them the Discount.  =)  This leaves you a tidy column of Discounts to write off.

Alisha

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Qie, you make some very good points....yes, the discounts were too deep, and yes, the abuse was too widespread. How many of the educational sims are actually being used at capacity? I suspect very few.

 

May I point out that Qie used the words, "perhaps," before his/her statements which you have reinterpretted in a manner that would imply fact.  Qie also ends his/her message with the statement, "But this is all speculation."  You throw out a sweeping, "I suspect very few" without facts to back up anything you've surmised.

There are libraries, univeristies and many other nonprofits in Second Life which are experimenting with the use of virtual reality in educating, informing and assisting others.  Many of them are not insular, wrapped up only in serving their own purposes/clientele, but provide access and services to the general population of Second Life.  A statement like "I suspect very few" reflects an unqualified stereo type without any facts to back up the statement.

Yes, LL is a for-profit company and SL is not a charity.  But it will be a great loss if all Second Life becomes is a virtual commercial/residential world interspersed with.a few wealthy nonprofit sims.  I've been in Second Life over four years working primarily with the library sims.  It's been a great experience working with library folks and meeting people from all over the world.  If I leave in 2011 I'll be grateful for the experience and saddened for the loss to future and present residents in all that they will miss if many of the nonprofilts leave.

Rocky Vallejo
Community Virtual Library
http://infoisland.org/

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One of our largest client is an active educational institution in Second Life. They have a sim for almost 2 years now.  Luckily for them (and Avatrian), they have decided early this year to migrate their sim and full application to OpenSim.  By November, 100% of their 3D content of about 9000 prims and scripted objects of about 6000 lines of code will be migrated over fully to the OpenSim grid we configured for them.  If they didn't have this forsight to move to a platform that will give them more independence and control over their system, they will also be in the same boat as most non-profit and educational institutions with presence in SL (i.e., feeling trapped and betrayed by LL).  But, the important thing to remember is that THERE IS a viable option.  Like many of the comments already posted, a quick survey of OpenSim's current version will show that it is a solid platform with sufficient controls and lower maintenance cost. Especially for educational institutions who normally have a targeted set of audience, the OpenSim platform will actually be a more suitable environment for users.

Unfortunately, as a result of this drastic price hike, the SL counterpart of our client's sim will most likely be discontinued as soon as the OpenSim version goes live next month.  As for our other non-profit clients, I fear that they might just discontinue their presence point blank.

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