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Nuhai Ling

Linden Lab's latest preferred treatment SLam...

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I didn't see anything on the forum about this, so pardon me if its a repeat. Usually news like this hits here pretty fast...

Wagner James Au reported in New World Notes on March 14 that Linden Lab appears to be offering educational groups a discount again... under the table and only to those who have recently left Second Life! Here is the link:

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2013/03/second-life-education-non-profit-discount.html

Of course this has lead to many others picking up the story and tons of comments being generated about fairness (especially to the few schools that have stayed in SL) and what it implies about Linden Lab's financial condition.

So what do you think?

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I agree regarding it being a bad idea to stop discounts in the first place but given discounts to selected customers is standard business practice, it might rub some up the wrong way but it's a done thing.

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I'm trying to remember now but wasn't the decision to drop the discount done under Mark Klingon's rule?

Regardless, I too thought it was a bad decision at the time.

It would be interesting to see a copy of the exact offer.

Hard to comment further without seeing that.

 

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Nyll Bergbahn wrote:

Linden lab should never have stopped the discounts but offering a discount to new customers only is hardly new to the marketing world. Banks, telephone companies, electricity and gas companies etc frequently use this marketing ploy. Hopefully it will bring many new residents to SL and improve LL's balance sheet.

All those types of companies you mention generally widely advertise the fact that they have special deals for new or returning customers. It's an obvious selling point. LL have not done this and I have to wonder why. If they have deals available to attract new business then they should be shouting about it from the rooftops.

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Porky Gorky wrote:


Nyll Bergbahn wrote:

Linden lab should never have stopped the discounts but offering a discount to new customers only is hardly new to the marketing world. Banks, telephone companies, electricity and gas companies etc frequently use this marketing ploy. Hopefully it will bring many new residents to SL and improve LL's balance sheet.

All those types of companies you mention generally widely advertise the fact that they have special deals for new or returning customers. It's an obvious selling point. LL have not done this and I have to wonder why. If they have deals available to attract new business then they should be shouting about it from the rooftops.

I was going to suggest that they don't shout about it because it would get up the noses of paying customers who don't get the discounts. But then I remembered that LL doesn't give a hoot about what their paying customers think so I abandoned that theory.

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so if you were smart enough to leave back then you have a good chance of getting this if they pick you?

 

the ones currently here don't get it or any new customers..

these guys are terrible at business i swear..so much micro managing going on..

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I'm a college mentor and a student too.

I deserve a hefty reduction on sim costs and shopping sprees.

This news is unfair and is enough to make me leave in a total huff :smileyfrustrated:

then come back again very quickly :smileytongue:

anyone got the applicaton form handy ^^? :smileyvery-happy:

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Maryanne Solo wrote:

I'm a college mentor and a student too.

I deserve a hefty reduction on sim costs and shopping sprees.

This news is
unfair
and is enough to make me leave in a
total huff
:smileyfrustrated:

then come back again
very quickly
:smileytongue:

anyone got the applicaton form handy ^^? :smileyvery-happy:

there is no application form for it yet hehehehe

they are contacting the ones that left..

i believe i read that they said it is part of their "customer win-back efforts"

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Educational users have been asking questions about this as well.  For those who don't want/need the ability to shop/travel/whatever for their educational goals there are many cheaper options--even with educational discounts.

I am guess that someone at LL realized that educational users gave SL some credibility that it could use as part of a general marketing campaign.  When I got here a bit over a year ago I was very aware of the "over 300 educational sims in SL" or some such as part of their advertising.   I know that the claim made it easier for me to put forth the effort to look into educational opportunities in SL.

There are no longer anywhere near 300 educational sims present in SL and I am guessing someone in marketing figured out that it was hurting efforts to attract folks to SL who legitimately want to look into the platform for non-sexual uses.  Or folks who want some legitimate activities in SL to explain why they are in world so much.  

Or maybe a lot of students get converted to long-term users? 

Whatever the case, only a few educators are coming back based on the discounts. 

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Porky Gorky wrote:

All those types of companies you mention generally widely advertise the fact that they have special deals for new or returning customers. It's an obvious selling point. LL have not done this and I have to wonder why. If they have deals available to attract new business then they should be shouting about it from the rooftops.

Not always, my cable company gave me a discount when I phoned up to downgrade, it wasn't an advertised discount.

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It's the standard and accepted way to get to get lower prices from your cable company. It's mine too. When your contract is up, it's very good policy to sound out Retentions for lower costs, and they'll usually give you a discount simply for accepting another 12 month contract.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

I was going to suggest that they don't shout about it because it would get up the noses of paying customers who don't get the discounts. But then I remembered that LL doesn't give a hoot about what their paying customers think so I abandoned that theory.

 

In my neighborhood they shout about it all the time. All of the wireless and internet providers routinely offer attractive discounts/bundles/etc in radio and tv advertisements* that always end with the disclaimer "New subcribers only". It is SOP in the US, so one can hardly blame LL for doing the same.

 

*just so you'll know: the accent is on the first syllable and the third syllable rhymes with 'size'. And your and Porky's later suggestions that asking for a better deal on renewal is exactly right here in the US, too. Same with credit card companies. How well it would work with LL I don't know, but given that there really isn't anyplace else I can take Dillon Levenque and be with all the people I know in SL, I'm guessing that if I asked, LL would just raise one eyebrow, and say, "Next?".

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hehe. And just so you know, over here the accent is on the second syllable and the third syllable sounds like 'is'. We have a posher way of speaking over here :)

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I have several thoughts regarding nonprofits in SL. The first being, why would they offer ones that did not leave a discount? My impression was that the nonprofits that gave up their sims did so because they could not afford full price tier. Those who stayed seem to believe they can manage, and have been doing so for some time, so why offer them a discount that is designed to bring back those who left?

My next thought regarding nonprofits in SL ... in order to qualify for that discount, organizations had to be "legitimate" ... by which I mean a non taxable charity or education institution in RL. Now, there are a lot of good works and fundraisers in SL that do not fit that criteria. There are landowners who let shops and residential parcels for nothing other than to be neighborly ... and as landowners know, for a sim to break even let alone make a profit is rather rare, so much of SL is "non-profit."

Third thought ... why entire sims, unless part of that is to rent out retail or residential space to defray the tier cost?

Lastly on the subject ... I worked for a nonprofit for over two years in SL. When it was announced that LL was ceasing to offer a 50 percent discount, the powers that be there decided to close the sims they owned. There was no discussion about remaining open and exploring alternative financing to have them remain viable. If any sim is valued by enough people in SL, it is not beyond reason to expect those who appreciate it to contribute donations, or for a small fee to be charged for those who visit. We're talking about 97.50 USD per month..  100 visitors making a monthly contribution of less than 1 USD per month would cover that ... it is not a lot if a place has patrons who are passionate about keeping a sim open. People decry the loss of nonprofit sims as places of value to the SL community that were lost. If they had genuine value to a significant number of SL residents, efforts to remain and pay the same tier as everyone else could have been made and been successful. Hmmm .. should I purchase that evening dress for 600L or plunk half of that into a donation kiosk at my favorite nonprofit sim and go bargain shopping for a less expensive dress? That really should not be a hard choice if the priorty is keeping a nonprofit sim viable. No one said anything along the lines of "well, it was a nice discount while it lasted, let's see if we're as vital to SL as we like to believe and buck up."

So ... why are "legitimate" non profits worthy of discounts while others who do a lot of good ... fundraising, creating digital art, showing kindness to others and helping out, not?

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I wonder if they may have offered such discounts all along, quietly, to the most deserving non-profits... where "deserving" translates into image appeal, which translates into customer appeal, which means bottom-line positive--same as every instance of "corporate social responsibility" ever.

If not, that was pretty dumb.

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Lucretia Brandenburg wrote:

So ... why are "legitimate" non profits worthy of discounts while others who do a lot of good ... fundraising, creating digital art, showing kindness to others and helping out, not?

The difference is that legitimate non profits have to meet RL standards such as a minimum amount of money raised has to go directly to their stated cause.  The money they raise goes to people that really need the help or to fund organizations that  relieve suffering of humans and  animals that can't help themselves.  In other words the non profits fulfill a real life need that would go unmet if it were not for their efforts.

Fund raising for legitimate RL charities may deserve consideration but giving a free shop to someone so they can sell things and make money in SL, funding SL art, etc. is not filling a RL need.  SL itself is not a RL need.  These types of things are best supported by donations from SL residents who wish to support them because they want them to continue in SL or on a case by case basis if LL chooses to support them.

The bottom line is LL is a for profit corporation.  As such they have a right to decide for themselves what charities to support.  Other businesses in RL are not forced to support every charity, and LL shouldn't have to either.

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I was not referring to fund raising efforts, I was referring to giving a 50% discount on tier to RL nonprofit organizations. However, in regard to fundraising efforts, not all non-profit organizations raise money to relieve suffering of humans and animals that can’t help themselves, nor do they all fulfill real life “needs” if “needs” is defined as lacking in basic necessities and the suffering that comes from such a lack. There are non profits that support education and cultural activities in RL, and while those are fulfilling and worthwhile, are not (in my opinion) as vital as say, potable water, cancer research, and animal rescue efforts. 

As for fundraising in SL that fulfill’s a RL need “that would go unmet were it not for their efforts” ... with the exception of a very few nonprofits’ fundraising efforts, what is raised in SL is a proverbial drop in the bucket as it relates to their budgets, and those “needs” can be met by RL fundraising efforts. That is not to say that efforts in SL are not worthwhile and do not do some good, merely that your statement is a bit of an exaggeration.

I am not talking about a free shop or gallery to support artistic and cultural endeavors in SL versus donating to a RFL kiosk. The non profits I had in mind are those that support similar RL endeavors.  I am talking about the idea that RL nonprofit organizations need entire sims for their efforts and many feel they should be given a 50% discount on tier because their reason for being in SL is better than other reasons. 

 

A successful fundraising effort for what I deem to be a worthy cause (supporting the AIDS Committee of Toronto) does very well without owning a sim, and without special consideration from LL. It is one of the few RL nonprofit organizations I support whole heartedly in SL because the money raised in SL does provide vital services for people who would not have them otherwise. Relay For Life is another effort I strongly support. I am not anti charity in SL, I came to SL specifically because I had heard of the good works that were being done here and the potential. In RL I have worked for non profit organizations most of my adult life, I am in no way down on non profits.

 

The non profit for which I worked in SL for over two years was raising funds in SL to send to another non profit, the goal of which we felt to be a noble one (to decrease ethnic violence and hatred in a troubled region of the world).  It turned out that rather than sending all the funds raised in SL to where we thought they were sending them, they were borrowing a good deal of the funds to support their own RL regional cultural events that, while assuredly edifying, constitutes in my mind a “want" and not a “need." When approached with the notion of SL fundraising going to them directly, the charity everyone thought we were supporting with 100% of our efforts and donations wanted nothing to do with SL and would not allow their name mentioned. It took a lot of effort to find a legitimate RL organization with goals akin to what we were committed to supporting that had an above board presence in SL.

 

As for LL being a business that chooses what charities to support or not, that was precisely my point, that it is a for profit business, and a choice to support some charities or none at all is for them to decide. I remember the hue and cry that went up when LL announced that non profits would no longer be getting the 50% discount on tier. I remember thinking back then that if all the effort and energy that was going into complaining about it went into brainstorming regarding how to cover the costs, it would not have been such a blow. However, the biggest question I had at the time was why do so many non profits need full sims at all? If a sim can’t attract enough patrons to keep it afloat financially, regardless of the purpose of the sim, how vital is it deemed to be by the SL community as a whole? If a non profit’s budget is so tight that between 97.50 and 147.50 extra a month will break it, why have the expense of a sim? Why not utilize the NPC? Why not interest sim owners in hosting events (whether fundraising for a cause or to promulgate cultural awareness) or donating land for virtual classrooms?

 

 

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for charities I don't think it make any economic sense for linden to support them by subsidise their activities thru tier. if the linden company wants to make a donation to a RL charity then they can do that direct

is a feel good factor in supporting charities but it don't hardly ever translate into increased revenues. like as a customer/user I am not going to increase whatever amount I put into the world just bc linden is subsidizing a charity i might support myself. i just donate to the charity myself.if is substantial donation then can offset against my taxes. which i cant do with money put into lindens pockets

+

for RL education providers then can make a case for subsidy. but only if is a directly applicable benefit that may result. like if is a engineering or art or 3D design school then can be a benefit for me as owner long term in terms of the students technical growth in using my world/tools. and their awareness of 

for other RL educations then the benefit that the students might offer longterm i can obtain as owner already without tier subsidy. same way i get from any other person/resident. i need only give them a free personal account. which i do anyway 

   

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