As the end of the year approaches we’re working hard on improvements to Second Life, including your most-requested features such as Name Changes, enhancements of the Marketplace, Events, and Premium Membership. Here’s a rundown of what to expect, including some important fee changes which will soon take effect.
THE RETURN OF LAST NAMES -- UPDATE & CONTEST
We heard you loud and clear. Soon it will be possible to change the name of a Second Life account. This is one of our Residents’ most requested features and we’re working furiously to make it available by the end of January. Name Changes will be exclusively for Premium members at an additional fee. Changing one or both of your First and Last Name will be available as a single transaction. Last Names will be picked from a list, which you can help us curate.
What’s a last name you would choose for yourself? We’ll soon hold a contest seeking your contributions to the pool of last name options. From all of the suggestions, we’ll pick five, and those five lucky Residents will be able to change their names completely free of charge! You will not need to be Premium to participate or to win. The contest will run December 16 through January 15th, and participation details will be announced shortly.
MARKETPLACE CHANGES & FEE UPDATES
Effective December 2, 2019, Marketplace Product Listing Enhancement fees will be reduced by 10%. Listing enhancements allow merchants to promote their items by displaying them as “Featured Items” on Marketplace pages.
On December 2, 2019, commission rates on Marketplace sales will become 10% of the item price. This will be the first commission increase since the Marketplace debuted a decade ago. This new rate remains significantly lower than most digital content commissions across the industry. Apple and Google charge a 30% commission on sales in their app stores, as do many other popular virtual worlds, VR and gaming platforms, such as Oculus and Sinespace.
This fee change helps offset our costs as we invest heavily in new Marketplace features and improvements, which remains the Internet’s largest user-created virtual world Marketplace with more than 5 million items. Over the past year we’ve added a store owner’s ability to designate other Residents as Store Managers, who can help merchants run their businesses. Recently we have taken steps to clean the Marketplace of outdated or inactive listings so that higher-quality listings are more visible to purchasers. We’ve also added long-requested features like customer-initiated redeliveries, a Revenue Distribution page, Wishlists, Favorite Sellers, and much more.
More changes are coming in short order. The ability to filter limited quantity and demo items is just around the corner. A number of improvements for navigating shopping and order history for shoppers, and a way to prevent limited-quantity item redelivery for the Merchants. Mobile-friendly layouts are coming. Additionally, we’re working to improve the ability for Merchants to issue refunds. We’re also planning to give the Marketplace a facelift later in the year, and we’re looking into a way to develop a native vendor system that better connects inworld sales and tracking with Marketplace transactions.
EVENTS FEES & CHANGES
Improvements to the Events pages are in the works for 2020, too. You’ll soon see more functionality and a new look, such as the ability to set an alert on an event you want to attend, to follow your favorite event hosts, to share your event calendar with friends, and to see the latest event developments in a news feed. Here’s a peek at a concept design (subject to change):
Pictured: Early concept for redesigned Events pages
We’ve heard many complaints from our Residents about duplicated event listings and spam. To combat this problem, we’re introducing a nominal fee which will help discourage spamming and encourage higher-quality events from committed event hosts. Basic members will be charged L$50 to create an event listing while Premium members will pay L$10. On the heels of this change, we will introduce the ability for Premium members to schedule recurring events.
Changes are underway for Premium Membership. In 2020, you’ll see a new membership level, Premium Plus. This new option will join our classic Premium tier as an additional choice for Residents who want to get even more value from their Second Life. We think that many Residents will appreciate the new benefits and features of Premium Plus.
Speaking of Premium … some astute Residents have noticed a lot of Mole activity around the Belliseria continent. Could something be afoot? Speculations abound! We are happy to confirm...
NEW LINDEN HOMES
Yes, it’s true! A new Linden Homes theme is on the way. On the heels of our recent additions of new Traditional, Houseboat, and Camper themes, the final touches are being put on for the next theme. You’ll be able to get an exclusive first peek at the newest Linden Home offerings at the SL Christmas Expo, held Dec. 5-25 in Second Life.
MORE TO COME IN 2020
We’ve got more in the works for 2020, too. Don’t forget that you can contribute your own feature requests for our team to review in JIRA. Simply login to create a new JIRA and select “Feature Request.” Did you know that most of the recent improvements to the Marketplace came from Feature Requests?
Thanks for your continuing dedication and creative contributions to the Second Life community. We are so excited for everything that lies ahead!