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lucagrabacr

Would an influx of users who joins primarily to earn money by doing services hurts SL's economy, or stimulate it?

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Hey guys, so I just watched a video about how thousands of Venezuelan gamers depend on gold-farming in an MMO to put food on the table because of the country's ongoing economic crisis. Needless to say, while a lot of the players are pretty sympathetic towards these people, many others also hate them because they are practically ruining the game's economy and experience, with many reportedly hunting (killing) and insulting these gold farmers ingame, and of course these farmers are also getting banned because it's against the game's rules or TOS to sell ingame gold for rl currency.

So I was thinking, "Why don't they just join Second Life?" since I know there are many ways for people to legally earn money through low-skill labor or service through Second Life, the kind of money which might be considered pennies for 1st world countries' citizens, but should be good enough to put food on the table for a 3rd world country like Venezuela. I mean, non-creators can easily earn $3-$5 dollar a day doing multiple traffic-boosting games / service in SL with some alts, and maybe some low-skill service-based employment such as being a security in a club, dancers & escorts, etc. And these people won't have to worry about getting banned or insulted for them because SL's economy and business model is different from the aforementioned game. 

And I thought to myself, "Great, I'm gonna make a video about how they should just join SL and how they can earn money through it" because I've been an advocate for SL and want to see more people using it, and I do have a business interest in SL as well. But in the off-chance that my video would actually persuade these people to join SL for the aforementioned reason, I'm worried that it would be bad for SL's economy / LL. Would it? I've been thinking about how it would affect SL / LL but my knowledge of economics is pretty basic and I can't be certain :/

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My initial reaction without any analysis is that it wouldn't make much difference one way or another to the SL economy, but the newcomers would very rapidly exhaust all the "entry level" opportunities (possibly displacing some who currently fill those roles) without generating enough growth to expand the number of such opportunities.

On the other hand, SL has a fairly low barrier to entry for slightly more skilled labor -- creation of template-based content, for example.

I'd also guess that any SL activity would require more computing horsepower and internet bandwidth than the typical MMO gold-farming operation, which may or may not be a hurdle for those who would value such small earnings.

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I assume you're thinking of those fishing games because those are really the only ways to make a few lindens with no skills whatsoever. Everything else - even the Linden Realms and freeplay sploders - require quite a bit of skill and knowledge. As Qie said, there is very little money available in those games. The prizes for those games are paid by landowners who believe hosting them will give them some traffic of value. Each landowner has only donated a limited amount of Lindens and once the money runs out, there isno more money to make until the landowner refills. The little profit that can be gained from those games won't affect the SL economy much but it won't feed many families either, not even in a low cost country.

Slapping some textures onto some full perm mesh clothes templates may not require much skills but marketing your store certainly does. It takes a bit of initial investment too. Those templates aren't free after all.

The one sector that may be interesting, is gacha resale. Do a bit of fishing to get a few Lindens to start with and hit the gachas.

But no matter how you make those Lindens, there's still the problem of converting them to RL money. You have to have payment info on file for that. That means you'll have to have one of the few payment methods LL accepts and you also need to pay them a little bit of RL money one way or another before you can start wthdrawing.

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I am, sadly, going to disagree with Chin here, well, on some points....primarily the "you will never make enough rl money" aspect.....because it's actually dead wrong.

While MANY people could never pay rl bills, in part, let alone in whole, with the measly earnings one could garner from such games (where player monetary investment is little to none at all), there are actually quite a few people that can. Certainly people that are used to gold farming in an MMO(or other similar "game"), will be able to grind at these same activities, utilizing a great deal of the same skills they utilize for gold farming(I've done it, it's really NOT as different from many of these sl games as you think, lol). Where they may run into *problems*, is the computing power portion, but even that can be resolved with a wee bit of knowledge(all of which is readily available at one's finger tips, and ALSO something those who are used to gold farming would know to before beginning...they're a bit more experienced with the "get to know everything I need to know about grinding this *****" department than many sl residents(new and old) seem to be. In other words...they're google pros ;)

I don't think some folks give gold farmers much credit. Such grinding, while a royal pain in the ass, can be lucrative as all get out. Sl grinding, no not that kind ya pervs(yeah, we all went there didn't we?), is really not much different. Once a person has relatively "mastered it", by their own definition of course, it's almost second nature, easy to perform, and can be extremely profitable for someone that lives in an area of the world where $10USD can feed their family, pay for food and help(if not fully) cover bills for at least a week or more. We, ok I am including myself here, so, yeah..we(many of us) are so used t our own expenses being what they are, we often don't consider how very LOW cost of living is elsewhere-admittedly typically due to *****ty economies-and how far money can truly stretch around the world. I also think our priorities of needs versus wants are so vastly different around the world that is affects this bottom line as well. In fact I think that's one of the biggest contributors to why it works...their needs are nowhere near "our" wants- to which we seem to attach, at times, the same importance as a need...because we have that luxury. Also, these things I discuss are not only limited to the most destitute areas of the world, mind you. This earth has people across every nation, every town, every village, city..whatever have you, that could benefit greatly and if not make the majority of the income they need, at the very least, put a dent in debt. I know people assume when they see such things that only the poorest of poor could ever benefit from $10 extra a week, but you'd be sadly mistaken. I see it here in the US, every single day. I work with people in such situations. While I would not tell them "join second life, grind for a while, you'll get what you need", I WILL encourage them to do whatever is necessary to assist them in bettering their station in life. Whether that is mowing a lawn once a week for $10, or some other, legal and safe, method. 

 

I say this as someone that has watched a group of people do exactly that, in sl, and been able to, if not permanently, at least temporary, help to provide income(sometimes all the income they need, sometimes not) the family needs to survive. I've helped them do it too(mostly because it's fascinating, and quite baffling that they manage...ok, to me anyway). I have a very dear friend actually I just recently spent some time with who was not only able to get his family in a better financial position over the years, but was also able to pursue an education once he was able to get his family out of the area they lived in. It was pretty cool to watch over the course of about a year an a half in total. He and his family now live in a nice area, have a car, his wife doesn't have to work, their children can eat properly, they are in a much better position now than they were a few years ago when the streets were looking like home. I'm actually a bit jealous of his accomplishments. No, sl did not give him all of that, but it helped keep his family fed, helped cover some bills that his rl job wasn't covering, helped keep his ill wife HOME so she doesn't have to work with her medical issues, helped him be able to live in an area where his kids can actually go to a school that doesn't suck donkey toes. He still does it today, lol, though I'd like to say it's for fun, it's not, he's actually got a savings account he puts a huge chunk of it in each month. I'm not sure how much he has there, but they are going on a 2 week vacation next month overseas with it , so it can't be that measly, lol. 

wow that was way long, my bad

 

OP, no, even a hoard of people coming into sl to grind varying activities that "pay", solely, and cash out, would not impact sl's economy in the same way it does MMOs and other "games". I know why you might think it would, because I too have seen what you've described, with over saturation. There's just too many variables, too many differences in the overall impact to others(or, in this case...grid), etc.. in SL, despite all the similarities in mechanics, compared to others. You also have to consider how many would give up relatively quickly on the endeavor in the first place. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest(without more than a gut feeling, of course, so take it with a grain of salt...) that at least 25% of them would quit doing it in less than 90 days. I would also suggest that the remainder, likely only half, at best,, will remain after 6 months, doing the very same thing. Even gold farming sees the same stats, or, can..in my own personal experiences anyway. I've only done such farming/grinding(in order to gain $USD) in a total of about 6 or 7 environments/games in the last decade or so..my experience may be severely limited.  

Edited by Tari Landar
forgot a word lol
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1 hour ago, Tari Landar said:

I am, sadly, going to disagree with Chin here, well, on some points....primarily the "you will never make enough rl money" aspect.....because it's actually dead wrong.

While MANY people could never pay rl bills, in part, let alone in whole, with the measly earnings one could garner from such games (where player monetary investment is little to none at all), there are actually quite a few people that can. Certainly people that are used to gold farming in an MMO(or other similar "game"), will be able to grind at these same activities, utilizing a great deal of the same skills they utilize for gold farming

Yes that's how it is now, Tari but I think you missed the most important point I had: If more people start playing those games, there will be less or each to earn. The total amount of prize money will not increase, if it changes at all, it's likely to drop a little bit. So ten times as many players means there will only be a tenth of the L$ for each to make from it.

Edited by ChinRey
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22 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

Yes that's how it is now, Tari but I think you missed the most important point I had: If more people start playing those games, there will be less or each to earn. The total amount of prize money will not increase, if it changes at all, it's likely to drop a little bit. So ten times as many players means there will only be a tenth of the L$ for each to make from it.

Except not all of the games are the same, despite being similar, and not all of them and their mechanics actually work the way some people think they might, or should anyway. It may be that SOME of them, likely very few, would actually leave less available for everyone, but honestly I do not believe they would be any of the games that are even remotely successful at this time. Now plenty of the prior games, oh heck yeah, some of them couldn't even handle an influx of a couple dozen new people over a short amount of time, much less anything significant.. But at this point, not really, for any of the ones I do currently participate in, either as a landowner, or a player of said games. In fact, an influx of new players often BOOSTS these communities, and these games...quite the opposite of something like a breedable, or gacha re-sellers(or any re-seller for that matter) where over saturation is the absolute bane of the game itself. More often than not when we do see an influx-and I've seen some huge ones over the years(I'm rather fond of these gathering and grinding type games in sl, lol), many, if not most, players that are actually active, will see an *increase in their income. Sometimes it's temporary, sometimes it's not, it depends entirely on the mechanics of the game(s). While the resources one needs to gather, collect, grind, whatever, are finite, thier overall quantity increases rather than decreases, provided interest stays at an increase, and stands rather stagnate when the interest and participation remains average to a bit above. All profit will decrease, for all participants, if interest does. This is due to the fact that landowners get discouraged and stop participating when it stops giving them the benefit(s) they desire..and naturally, players get bored and leave(ie...interest diminishes, profit slows...landowners leave..etc.)

Take the gems(realms) for example, there actually used to be a hell of a lot more of them, when there was a hell of a lot more interest. LL changed that when interest diminished, not because more people were playing..but because interest dropped significantly and it no longer benefit LL to have it at that level..so, game was scaled wayyy back from what it was. Still is scaled back now, even though quite a few people play, the numbers just aren't what they once were. If interest had continued gaining momentum, or at least stayed steady, LL wouldn't have changed it as drastically, or started looking at other similar "games" to implement. They did so, not to help us residents out because they love us and want to offer us a myriad of ways to make more money off them(albeit it pennies if most are lucky, lol) but because plan A stopped being beneficial. 

 

Edited by Tari Landar
clarity

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The money has to come from somewhere.

With gold farming, the money is coming from the entertainment spending of other players. That's a pretty deep pool in some games. They also get something they value from it - easy gold for their game. They're paying someone to do work for them that they don't want to do.

In SL, the outgoing money will be coming from landowners, store owners and LL (who have certainly banned some types of farming in Realms). In most cases, that means it's coming out of their incomes. I doubt that's anywhere near as deep a pool. And since their lindens will be leaving SL, what will they get from their investment? Is anything of value (other than helping people in need) being created through farming lindens?

From the post Tari put up while I was writing this, I guess she's certain there is something of value being created. What is it?

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2 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

The money has to come from somewhere.

With gold farming, the money is coming from the entertainment spending of other players. That's a pretty deep pool in some games. They also get something they value from it - easy gold for their game. They're paying someone to do work for them that they don't want to do.

In SL, the outgoing money will be coming from landowners, store owners and LL (who have certainly banned some types of farming in Realms). In most cases, that means it's coming out of their incomes. I doubt that's anywhere near as deep a pool. And since their lindens will be leaving SL, what will they get from their investment? Is anything of value (other than helping people in need) being created through farming lindens?

From the post Tari put up while I was writing this, I guess she's certain there is something of value being created. What is it?

It is a mutually beneficial relationship. Whatever landowners get out of hosting these games is something each individual landowner has to figure out for his or her self. Very few of us host such things for shizngiggles. Some of us do, because we find the games fun, or we have some disposable income to pass out, at least during the time we have these offerings. We aren't really doing it out of the goodness of our hearts though-as altruistic as some landowners may want to make their efforts seem, we gain something just as the players do. We gain traffic, we gain word of mouth, we gain customers if we have a store in the same location, we get advertising-all of which, and others of course, is still very much us "paying someone to do work we don't want to do". Heck we even get to meet more folks we may not likely meet(intangible as that is, it can still have some value for some folks)...there are all kinds of reasons. Helping people in need is something loads of folks say....few really ever mean, rude as that may sound, it's true.  I do it, and have done it, for these reasons and plenty of others...occasionally simply to be nice, but mostly, because it's a mutually beneficial relationship between the players and me. Landowners don't host these things if there is no benefit to them.some might tell you that, but I'm inclined to be suspicious, both as a player, and game hosting landowner ;) 

 

As far as where the money is coming from....it's the same in both scenarios...the money comes from the company that owns said game/environment, other players, landowners. etc. Yes individual pools are not huge, but collective pools can be quite large and that's really what we're talking about, not just individual landowners who are paying other players through these games, but the collective of them all, the entirety of these "game communities", as it were....those are far deeper pockets that an individual would most likely have. 

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On the one hand, I want to appeal to "economics" here, and on the other hand I want to distinguish between RL and the SL "economy".

It seems to me that, whatever the benefits obtained by those who pay into such unskilled earning systems, there's some market equilibrium where they're paying exactly what it's worth to them. That is, if having more of these benefits were cost-effective, they'd be paying more to attract more supply (or, equivalently, more payers would be engaged in the trade) so the equilibrium would be at some higher volume. But the market has resulted in the current volume, which therefore must be somewhere near optimal. Adding more supply could only attract more demand by lowering wages. Unless...

Unless there's some broader, systemic effect of that greater supply. And here's where there's an important distinction to be made between SL's "economy" and RL economics. In SL, as Bitsy points out, "[t]he money has to come from somewhere" and go to somewhere, where ultimately that "somewhere" is external to the "economy" itself. Yeah, L$s slosh around inside SL for however long, but ultimately they're bought and sold with RL currency, and for almost all participants, that external currency is all that matters to their real lives.

This distinction is why a fervent pro-immigration supporter like me, who knows RL immigration grows economies, can nonetheless be skeptical that an influx of unskilled SL participants would spur enough growth to balance what they cash-out. The difference is that the RL immigrant lives inside the same economy that pays their wages, buying food and clothes and shelter, all increasing demand that grows the whole system. In contrast, the SL economy is a tiny system with inflows from a slice of some participants' discretionary incomes and outflows overwhelmingly to Linden Lab with a little sloshing though to cash-out on the Lindex. (And the RL economy is not going to be affected by anything that happens in SL. The RL economy is more or less a closed system, whereas the SL "economy" leaks in both directions.) 

Edited by Qie Niangao
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(replying to Tari)

Traffic, yes. Meeting new people, probably, depends on how talkative they are and if you have a language in common. (And I definitely recognise the value of that, it's a significant part of why I continue with my shop.) But the rest of the gains you mentioned come from attracting people who are part of the SL community. Will outsiders coming in for the primary purpose of removing lindens from the world buy much more than a few things for their avatar? Advertise the venue as somewhere to spend lindens rather than take them?

They will certainly be competing with customers who do the valuable word of mouth advertising. (I've used Realms to get myself through lean times when I was too unwell to create, and saw some of the bots waiting for the green and blue gems. It was fun getting a blue or green before they did, but their presence did mean that it was harder for me to earn my target for the day.)

I understand that collective pockets are deeper than individual ones. It's the basis for organised charities and government spending. It also provides much of the benefit for give-away investment. The person who receives the lindens likely spends them elsewhere and that venue or shop owner re-invests them in SL in some way (even if they take the lindens out and bring content in), which gives other people reason to bring lindens in, and so on.

Farming breaks the cycle though, because it's all about taking money out of the system.

And I do contend that there are important differences between the well-off gamers who support gold farming and venue owners in search of word of mouth promotion and attracting customers. How much can the latter sustain? Gold farmers aren't likely to differentiate between sources and I wouldn't be surprised if many venue owners had to find other means of promotion. That in turn would shrink the supply and put more pressure on the pockets of those who continued.

Maybe the collective community could manage this for awhile but I don't see how it would be sustainable in the long term.

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8 hours ago, lucagrabacr said:

So I was thinking, "Why don't they just join Second Life?" since I know there are many ways for people to legally earn money through low-skill labor or service through Second Life, the kind of money which might be considered pennies for 1st world countries' citizens, but should be good enough to put food on the table for a 3rd world country like Venezuela. I mean, non-creators can easily earn $3-$5 dollar a day doing multiple traffic-boosting games / service in SL with some alts, and maybe some low-skill service-based employment such as being a security in a club, dancers & escorts, etc. And these people won't have to worry about getting banned or insulted for them because SL's economy and business model is different from the aforementioned game. 

And I thought to myself, "Great, I'm gonna make a video about how they should just join SL and how they can earn money through it" because I've been an advocate for SL and want to see more people using it, and I do have a business interest in SL as well. But in the off-chance that my video would actually persuade these people to join SL for the aforementioned reason, I'm worried that it would be bad for SL's economy / LL. Would it? I've been thinking about how it would affect SL / LL but my knowledge of economics is pretty basic and I can't be certain :/

I doubt it would work for them in the same way farming gold works in an MMO. For gold farming, you don't need to understand or learn anything. For handeling SL however...thats a whole kind of different level. And honestly, some of the jobs you mentioned do require more than just "being there". Namely escorts and dancers. I assume you haven't looked into those jobs, but that sure isn't easy made money anymore, especially if you depend on it. Maybe in 2006, when you could make money by sticking two prims together, but not today. Both jobs require initial investment into your avatar and building up a group of patron to not depend on the randoms coming by and maybe spending some money on you. You also need some roleplay skills.

Would they benefit Second Life? No, absolutly not. They wouldn't participate in the social aspect of SL and they wouldn't spend their money inworld and just cash out everything they got. The SL economy might be different than that of an MMO, but it relies on people spending money within it to keep running.

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Great, now I'll have to compete with Venezuelan hookers offering their services for pennies an hour.

Unless I'm mistaken isn't Venezuela another one of those socialist utopias so many Americans dream about?

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9 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Farming breaks the cycle though, because it's all about taking money out of the system.

And I do contend that there are important differences between the well-off gamers who support gold farming and venue owners in search of word of mouth promotion and attracting customers. How much can the latter sustain? Gold farmers aren't likely to differentiate between sources and I wouldn't be surprised if many venue owners had to find other means of promotion. That in turn would shrink the supply and put more pressure on the pockets of those who continued.

Maybe the collective community could manage this for awhile but I don't see how it would be sustainable in the long term.

You are right that those looking merely to cash out and nothing more would not necessarily benefit the landowners the same way that many other game players would. But, the overall effect of *all* players, whether they are merely grinding/farming to get lindens to cash out, or just making enough to support the slife they want, benefits landowners. But, it's not about the individual, it's about the collective. 

As a landowner that has had these games for years now on and off, I can say there are players that enjoy these games for just as many reasons as landowners host them. I have seen it all, from people that just enjoy games, those that are uber serious about making as much lindens as possible so they can cash out, those just looking for something to bide their time, etc.... People that play these games and such in sl JUST to cash out lindens, already exist and have for over a decade now.  A sudden influx of them won't change this...we have seen these influxes, for years, in these game communities(sorry I really don't know what else to call them, or at least can't think of anything atm). One game I participate in on a more steady basis has had several influxes of hundreds and hundreds of new players in a week's time frame(sometimes even less). So, another one, will most likely have the very same effect all of the others have. Successful and sustainable "games"..will continue, players will make whatever profit they are going to put the effort in to make, and all will be right with the world....or as right as this world gets.

I get the feeling some are looking at this as if it will cause an influx of tens of thousands upon tens of thousands thousands of people to jump into sl, join all these games, and take up valuab;e(eye of the beholder and all) resources which current players wish to keep for themselves, lol. Even IF the OP went ahead and advertised such a thing, encouraging people to join sl, play these games, and essentially farm lindens, do you REALLY think so many of them are actually going to do it, especially long term(which is the only way it will REALLY negatively affect other players, even landowners)? As I said before, influxes BOOST these communities, because they encourage new landowners as well as current ones to have more offerings..I know, because I've been participating in them since I joined sl, I see it all the time, as a player, and landowner. I have watched what influxes do, and it's not reducing the overall quantity of resources, despite the finite nature, it's actually increasing it. It may seem bizarre and make no sense to some folks(and logically, I understand why, I really do, especially when compared to other scenarios that are similar in some fashion)..but it's exactly what happens. More players is GOOD for these particular games...less players is bad, because it reduces the number of landowners(as I stated) and *significantly* reduces overall income for everyone, no matter what..without fail, every single time. I have only seen an influx of new players have a negative impact on overall income earned by current players with one game, and that game is long gone but was never really all that right to begin with. It wasn't the influx that caused the game to close, it was doomed from fruition. I am certain there are some which are poorly managed, created, whatever..and may feel a negative impact, but my experience with those kinds of games tells me, they would fail with or without an influx. The income potential for all players would have been greatly reduced, or in the case of games that shut down completely go away, regardless of an influx and most likely quite quickly after it's "open for play"...like sooooo many others over the years.

 

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1 hour ago, BilliJo Aldrin said:

Unless I'm mistaken isn't Venezuela another one of those socialist utopias so many Americans dream about?

More a failed petroleum kleptocracy once propped-up by a little socialist window-dressing. But yeah, plenty desperate for sure, now that oil is abundant.

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I'm sorry, but i can't see how this could possibly be a benefit to SL. People joining with the sole purpose of farming as any $L as possible just to cash them out without spending a dime can only hurt SL. If everyone who played the farming for $L games did nothing but cash out, why would the host of such games keep them going? Traffic is no longer a valid reason as it has no bearing on search anymore. And if they aren't buying things at the landowners store or their renters stores, why spend the $L? 

I personally feel anyone $L farming should not be allowed to cash out. Or their should be a minimum spent wither inworld or on the MP before you can. And not a pittance either. 

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If all of that is true, Tari, then it's true. I don't have the raw data to dispute it and you're very very certain of it so it seems my attempt at a contribution was a waste of everyone's time. Sorry for that.

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I didn't see anyone mention this, but there's another thing to consider.

In other MMO's, you generally can't buy your in-game currency from any legit source. You're supposed to earn it by playing the game.

These people farming gold in games are selling said to other players on a black market. They make much more per unit than they would per L$ here, I believe.

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11 hours ago, lucagrabacr said:

Hey guys, so I just watched a video about how thousands of Venezuelan gamers depend on gold-farming in an MMO to put food on the table because of the country's ongoing economic crisis. Needless to say, while a lot of the players are pretty sympathetic towards these people, many others also hate them because they are practically ruining the game's economy and experience, with many reportedly hunting (killing) and insulting these gold farmers ingame, and of course these farmers are also getting banned because it's against the game's rules or TOS to sell ingame gold for rl currency.

So I was thinking, "Why don't they just join Second Life?" since I know there are many ways for people to legally earn money through low-skill labor or service through Second Life, the kind of money which might be considered pennies for 1st world countries' citizens, but should be good enough to put food on the table for a 3rd world country like Venezuela. I mean, non-creators can easily earn $3-$5 dollar a day doing multiple traffic-boosting games / service in SL with some alts, and maybe some low-skill service-based employment such as being a security in a club, dancers & escorts, etc. And these people won't have to worry about getting banned or insulted for them because SL's economy and business model is different from the aforementioned game. 

And I thought to myself, "Great, I'm gonna make a video about how they should just join SL and how they can earn money through it" because I've been an advocate for SL and want to see more people using it, and I do have a business interest in SL as well. But in the off-chance that my video would actually persuade these people to join SL for the aforementioned reason, I'm worried that it would be bad for SL's economy / LL. Would it? I've been thinking about how it would affect SL / LL but my knowledge of economics is pretty basic and I can't be certain :/

Gold farming works in the games where it does work because the currency is realistically a unit of time. On the conceptual level of things a gold farmer trades their time for someone else's money. Any player with real-world money and limited time would be a prospective employer, and even the least capable person in the world has up to 24 hours a day that they can make available.

In Second Life, the in-game currency isn't a unit of time. They can be bought instantly with real-world cash. The only people who might be interested in paying for time are landowners, but:

1) This is a much smaller pool of prospective employers.

2) They would need a much smaller pool of "employees."

3) Those landowners have competitors in Second Life who don't need these "employees" to get traffic and attention, so having them isn't necessarily a competitive advantage.

 

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Hmm, lots of different opinions and insights, thanks a lot for them guys :). I'm leaning towards not making the video for now just to be safe. 

I do however have a theory that Linden Lab don't consider money that they get from people buying L$ as "usable income" because they know people can still cash out these L$, and instead consider the money from their "money sink pool" (marketplace taxes, Linden withdrawal taxes, etc) as "usable income" because these are L$ that no one can possibly withdraw anymore. 

No one other than LL knows for sure I guess, but if that theory is correct and that's how LL is handling their internal finance, then having more people cashing out might actually be an immediate short-term boost in revenue because there would be more money in their "usable income" pool from withdrawal taxes.

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1 minute ago, lucagrabacr said:

Hmm, lots of different opinions and insights, thanks a lot for them guys :). I'm leaning towards not making the video for now just to be safe. 

I do however have a theory that Linden Lab don't consider money that they get from people buying L$ as "usable income" because they know people can still cash out these L$, and instead consider the money from their "money sink pool" (marketplace taxes, Linden withdrawal taxes, etc) as "usable income" because these are L$ that no one can possibly withdraw anymore. 

No one other than LL knows for sure I guess, but if that theory is correct and that's how LL is handling their internal finance, then having more people cashing out might actually be an immediate short-term boost in revenue because there would be more money in their "usable income" pool from withdrawal taxes.

I would be willing to bet the amount of income LL makes when people cash out is a pittance compared to the MP cut and Tier fees. What you may not realize is, you are not buying and selling $L to and from LL, you are buying and selling them from other users of SL. 

Lets be real here for a minute.. Realistically, how much can one "earn" hunting for gems in the realms in a 10 hour span? 1000L, 2000L, 500L?  Even saying they can get 2500L per day, lets break it down..

2500L = $9.38 USD. I have no idea if their are taxes involved in Venezuela or not but lets say no, for ease of numbers. 

So $9.38 for 10 hours of work. $.94 an hour. Now.. take out the cost of electricity, food, rent, internet and i would be willing to bet you are left with very very little if anything. Is it really worth it? 

Add in the fact they are contributing ZERO to SL and you get a big fat NO.

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5 minutes ago, lucagrabacr said:

I do however have a theory that Linden Lab don't consider money that they get from people buying L$ as "usable income" because they know people can still cash out these L$, and instead consider the money from their "money sink pool" (marketplace taxes, Linden withdrawal taxes, etc) as "usable income" because these are L$ that no one can possibly withdraw anymore. 

The Lab has to be careful about how it treats the L$ to comply with financial regulations and accounting principles. One very large way they monetize the L$ is by charging for Premium membership for which a L$ stipend is distributed. They don't have to treat that as a sale of L$s, explicitly -- rather, it's just income from subscription fees -- but L$s are being given and US$s paid, so....

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9 minutes ago, lucagrabacr said:

Hmm, lots of different opinions and insights, thanks a lot for them guys :). I'm leaning towards not making the video for now just to be safe. 

I do however have a theory that Linden Lab don't consider money that they get from people buying L$ as "usable income" because they know people can still cash out these L$, and instead consider the money from their "money sink pool" (marketplace taxes, Linden withdrawal taxes, etc) as "usable income" because these are L$ that no one can possibly withdraw anymore. 

No one other than LL knows for sure I guess, but if that theory is correct and that's how LL is handling their internal finance, then having more people cashing out might actually be an immediate short-term boost in revenue because there would be more money in their "usable income" pool from withdrawal taxes.

But why would people be giving all these new people Lindens to cash out if they aren't providing anything valuable?

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22 minutes ago, Drake1 Nightfire said:

So $9.38 for 10 hours of work. $.94 an hour. Now.. take out the cost of electricity, food, rent, internet and i would be willing to bet you are left with very very little if anything. Is it really worth it? 

There are places where that sort of income is more than good enough to make a living, Venezuela is one of them I suppose. (and according to Google Venezuela's average monthly income is $20 as of now)

 

25 minutes ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

But why would people be giving all these new people Lindens to cash out if they aren't providing anything valuable?

I didn't assume people would "give out" Lindens to anyone, I was saying that these people could legitimately earn money in SL through various ways instead of selling an MMO's currency for real money which is against said MMO's rules / TOS. 

 

29 minutes ago, Qie Niangao said:

The Lab has to be careful about how it treats the L$ to comply with financial regulations and accounting principles. One very large way they monetize the L$ is by charging for Premium membership for which a L$ stipend is distributed. They don't have to treat that as a sale of L$s, explicitly -- rather, it's just income from subscription fees -- but L$s are being given and US$s paid, so....

I suppose so, I'm a premium member with quarterly membership myself and according to my calculation LL would still get around $2.70-$3 per month even after the stipend they give out.

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All in all I would say, go ahead and make your video. The influence on it might not be that big, that anyone notices and it might even provide an interesting insight for anyone who likes to know more about games to play for L$. I mean I would probably watch it now, just for curiosity.

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Took a few minutes to track down some of those articles referred to and with the usual 'take anything on the web with a grain of salt' :

1) I didn't know you even could farm in that game. If it is where its happening then technical resources are a lot lower - I reckon even the scrapped box I grabbed from the last bin day would run it and I was going to demolish it to make xmas ornaments its that old.

2) SL can be a bit hostile but compared to the rest of the web (in this case that perennial place of nastiness 'message board' beginning with R that has a little alien as its mascot. Used to have presence here too) its a beacon of tolerance.

So yes, go ahead and make that vid - your work is always fun and anyone forced to grind games for basic survival (if they have the means) might even find a sympathetic reception. 'Might' being the operative term as ever.

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