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Prokofy Neva

Should There Be Disincentives for Free Accounts?

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This is a question that for years I've said "no" to.

There is a decided contingent in SL that hates free accounts because they are used for griefing, copybotting, spying and cheating on spouses or SL partners more than they are used for anything else.

But in my experience, the one reason I keep endorsing them is that they also enable people from poor European, Latin American and Asian countries to come on to SL, pursue a design or service idea and make money, and that's all a good thing.

Over the years, I've seen tenants from say, Poland or Italy or China or Russia or Brazil able to come in, start a business, and make money that they use at least to pay rent. Now, then the question comes as to how they will cash this out if they don't have a form of payment on file, but eventually some of them achieve this.

It can be very, very hard for countries like Russia or some Latin American countries to get a card that is recognized by the rest of the world or that isn't confiscated the minute some foreign transaction comes in on it. This has gotten better over the years as PayPal, for example, works from Russia -- when it works, which isn't always -- and certain other things work as well. But it can be hard. It would be good to survey this landscape and pronounce on it.

But the ability to use day-old accounts for griefing that the Lindens are slow in removing, and which can be replaced instantly when they do -- because of their unwillingness to block proxies which I really wish they'd get over -- means these free accounts are always going to be a nuisance.

I've thought about what could be done in terms of disincentives, as the incentives for going premium and providing forms of payment, which generally deters griefing, aren't enough.

1. Make it so that people can't put items to sale on free accounts. Plus -- immediate end to copybotting exploitation since trying to force people one-by-one through DMCA takedowns doesn't work. But then this offsets the good I've described of poor people being able to use SL to become entrepreneurs. In my view, this still outweighs griefing.

2. Make it so that people with free accounts cannot buy more than X amount of cash -- because "form of payment on file" can be an anonymous pre-paid credit card. Or can't cash out unless they provide a dedicated form of ID and payment.

3. In that vein, don't allow pre-paid debit cards to be used -- many sites simply reject them. I don't know if this is enough of a deterrent. Plenty of free accounts make money from hooking or money trees and spend it on clothes and never come out of the system.

4. Don't allow free accounts to access adult land. Now there's a thought! What that will mean is merely more abuses on mature though that won't be policed, making "mature" meaningless.

I can't really think of something that would be a good disincentive that wouldn't have a down side (in keeping with my original values outlined above).

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39 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

2. Make it so that people with free accounts cannot buy more than X amount of cash -- because "form of payment on file" can be an anonymous pre-paid credit card. Or can't cash out unless they provide a dedicated form of ID and payment.

3. In that vein, don't allow pre-paid debit cards to be used -- many sites simply reject them. I don't know if this is enough of a deterrent. Plenty of free accounts make money from hooking or money trees and spend it on clothes and never come out of the system.

 

You can no longer use pre-paid debit cards and I don't think the pre-paid credit cards work anymore either.  You have to now have a regular credit card or a verified paypal account or a Skrill account (I don't know much about those - whether or not they have to be verified or even if they can be).

 

Edited by LittleMe Jewell
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39 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

But in my experience, the one reason I keep endorsing them is that they also enable people from poor European, Latin American and Asian countries to come on to SL, pursue a design or service idea and make money, and that's all a good thing.

My own personal opinion is if you can afford a 500 dollar computer and 50 dollars a month for internet access then a one time 5 dollar set up fee per account should be well within ones means.

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49 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

You can no longer use pre-paid debit cards and I don't think the pre-paid credit cards work anymore either.  You have to now have a regular credit card or a verified paypal account or a Skrill account (I don't know much about those - whether or not they have to be verified or even if they can be).

@littleMe Jewell, I have been using an American Express Bluebird Pre-paid card since they came out AND before that I used a Green Dot Pre-paid Card, I have never had any problem buying lindens or adding a payment. Maybe it's because you DO have your name on the card but it is still and always will be a pre-paid card...just sayin'

 

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6 minutes ago, anniepany said:

@littleMe Jewell, I have been using an American Express Bluebird Pre-paid card since they came out AND before that I used a Green Dot Pre-paid Card, I have never had any problem buying lindens or adding a payment. Maybe it's because you DO have your name on the card but it is still and always will be a pre-paid card...just sayin'

That makes sense, in thinking about it.  You have to provide full RL info in order to get a pre-paid credit card, which is what ensures it is legit and all LL cares about.

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As someone that *chooses not to pay for premium, because there are no perks that are of any interest to me...I am vehemently against all the "no one should be able to play for free"(including the "limit what free accounts can really do) mentality, regardless of the reason(s) someone may utilize to back up that mentality. Though, you can't actually sell stuff on MP with a free account anymore..so those of you with that mentality got at least part of your wish. Though I don't really want to get in the whole "what good are free accounts versus non free accounts for the grid" pissing match again...both can be equally useful for the entire grid, and no one can really argue otherwise and still expect to be taken seriously....on anything, ever. 

Griefing comes from all kinds of folks, yes even those who pay for premium. The actual risk of losing one's account for griefing is pretty damn minimal, at best, and most people actually know this. Of course non-premium accounts grief more..the sheer number of non-premium accounts outweighs the number of premium accounts by a massive amount. It stands to reason there would be more griefers within those ranks, simply due to numbers alone. 

I'm kinda tired of the whole "if you can afford..." mentalities too, because frankly, it's no one's damn business what anyone else can afford, and assuming you DO know what someone actually pays for, isn't very smart. Really no one should have to justify what they can and cannot afford to anyone, regardless of their income or current value of any of their possessions. Just as no one should have to justify what they spend their rl earnings on every month in order to wualify why they cannot, or do not want to, pay for an account here. People aren't asking you for your tax records and monthly spending...so you don't get to ask them to. I actually think that's really tacky when people do that, and serves no real purpose, at all. Take that from someone that lived in a car for a while as a kid, and someone that struggled for many years just to keep her kids fed, clothed and housed...and still occasionally does struggle with that...I won't judge you for your spending...don't judge me for mine.  I keep my head OUT of others' finances, for good reason..and that reason is...you will *never* know the whole picture and assuming that you do, is just not nice, it's quite unkind actually. 

If LL made *paying* for an account actually worthwhile, more people would do it. Until that point in time(assuming it ever actually happens) LL is completely in the right to keep allowing a "free to play" option-because it serves the *entire grid* well to have that. If the grid only had people that paid for an account, or paid for premium, the grid would be much much more empty and rest assured, it would die out far quicker than anyone-including LL and even the most die hard "sl is dying" fans, could even imagine. That's not a doomsday type of deal, it's just the reality. Free accounts far outweigh paid for accounts, and it has been that way since...what, 2006/2007-ish? 

I can think of a lot of people I don't think LL should be allowing to be merchants, or even access a lot of the areas of sl...if only to save the rest of the grid from having to deal wit them. But...those are merely my opinions, and I don't presume that I should get to make any of the rules here in sl....That's LL's job, and so far...they're doing a damn fine job of it.

Those who are merchants or offer some kind of service/product ought to remember where the vast majority of their earnings come from.....FREE accounts. Don't be so quick to bite the hand that feeds you. 

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this is true, even though it is pre-paid you do have to have a physical address, and a legit email. I do know that cards such as Vanilla Cards will NOT work with SL, even though I recall when I first started LL DID except them. 

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7 minutes ago, anniepany said:

@littleMe Jewell, I have been using an American Express Bluebird Pre-paid card since they came out AND before that I used a Green Dot Pre-paid Card, I have never had any problem buying lindens or adding a payment. Maybe it's because you DO have your name on the card but it is still and always will be a pre-paid card...just sayin'

Prepaid cards have been hit or miss since 2008-ish and those who are only just adding them as a new form of payment in the last few years can attest that they work even less now than ever before. You just said you've used yours for years-which means..YAY..for you, but yours is established now....consider yourself the exception, not he rule(and I have used one too, btw, I, too, would fall under the exception not the rule). THe rule, and even if you ask LL about it you'll quickly find out, is tht the vast majority of prepaid cards, regardless of type, won't work. 

Greendot itself is pretty finicky at times (yep, I use one like that too, lol) even outside of sl, it can be a bear at times..it's entirely on their end, but it's problematic on and off and has been for about five or so years now. I've run into plenty of instances where the card didn't work, even outside of sl, the bank it connects to is a pain in the butt, and that's why. Even cards that do have a registered owner(with all personal information connected to it). It really is the bank associated with the card. 

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2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

1. Make it so that people can't put items to sale on free accounts. Plus -- immediate end to copybotting exploitation since trying to force people one-by-one through DMCA takedowns doesn't work. But then this offsets the good I've described of poor people being able to use SL to become entrepreneurs. In my view, this still outweighs griefing.

You have to be payment registered to open a store on the MP, that means RL financial info on file. Name Address etc., all traceable. Your assumption thatr all griefing and copybotting is donwe by payment registered accounts is wrong and generally insulting. Typical behavior for Self Entitled Madlander Premi-Nazis from Planet Delusional.

2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

2. Make it so that people with free accounts cannot buy more than X amount of cash -- because "form of payment on file" can be an anonymous pre-paid credit card. Or can't cash out unless they provide a dedicated form of ID and payment.

Whish would stop a great many payment registered people from being able to buy the L$ needed to pay the RENT on the private estates that make up TWO THIRDS of SL, putting most of the real estate tycoons out of business, slashing LL profit margins and income and hastening the closure of SL. This blatant ignorance of how the SL economy works is, again, typical behaviour for Self Entitled Madlander Premi-Nazis from Planet Delusional.

2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

4. Don't allow free accounts to access adult land. Now there's a thought! What that will mean is merely more abuses on mature though that won't be policed, making "mature" meaningless.

Yup that';s right, ban all those payment registered people that keep the SL economy going, from accessing SL's most popular areas, thus destroying more SL businesses and damaging the economy beyond repair, hastening the death of SL. Once again, myopic behavior typical of Self Entitled Madlander Premi-Nazi's from Planet Delusional.

2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

I can't really think of something that would be a good disincentive that wouldn't have a down side

There is already a disincentive to being in SL as a free account...

Constantly having to listen to Self Entitled Madlander Premi-Nazis from Planet Delusional, endlessly spouting clueless fact free crappola from EVERY bodily orifice.

For somebody that frequently boasts about having been a Business Woman in SL for 12 years, involved in Real Estate rentals, you appear to have a damn poor grasp of how business in SL and real Estate Rentals actually work.

 

Edited by Klytyna
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Not wrong, not insulting, either, but the truth. You don't have the experience I do. Sure, someone can be not only with payment info on file but a chartered oldbie with a huge million dollar business and still grief. But there are many day-olds and they make up the bulk of the reports. Just ask the Lindens.

Also, DERP, I get it that people willing to pay more on islands can do so without premium accounts -- end DERP.

You've made so many assumptions here, it's silly. Also, if it is not on the profile, you cannot out people's RL information.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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27 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Not wrong, not insulting, either, but the truth. You don't have the experience I do. Sure, someone can be not only with payment info on file but a chartered oldbie with a huge million dollar business and still grief. But there are many day-olds and they make up the bulk of the reports. Just ask the Lindens.

You forgot, and forget, one...HUGE fact. People with non-premium accounts outweigh premium accounts by a massively large amount. It's pretty damn obvious that most griefing would be done by them when they make up the majority of residents. In fact it's pretty much a no brainer and one would have to be an idiot to think anything the opposite. No one has to ask the lindens squat to know this, lol. By and large non-premium, and non-payment info on file residents make up the vast majority of all aspects of sl, all communities, all merchants, all customers, all activities participated in, all land "rented", etc..etc...non-premium/NPIOF residents make up the vast majority of everything.  Your entire sl "living" and business existence relies, heavily, on the very people you put down, constantly......that is, people without premium accounts. You wouldn't have the business you have today without them...NO ONE, including LL, would.

Like I said..stop biting the hand that feeds you, lol. LL learned long ago that it's a bad idea, and I believe they're pretty spot on with that assessment. 

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23 minutes ago, Tari Landar said:

You forgot, and forget, one...HUGE fact. People with non-premium accounts outweigh premium accounts by a massively large amount. It's pretty damn obvious that most griefing would be done by them when they make up the majority of residents. In fact it's pretty much a no brainer and one would have to be an idiot to think anything the opposite.

True, but angry people bent on revenge don't create premium throwaway accounts. You "would have to be an idiot" to think otherwise.

Prot is not talking about random assholes.  The percentage of premium assholes is going to be equal to the percentage of non-premium assholes.  However, accounts created specifically to harass, antagonize, pirate and stalk other residents (free and paid) are universally free.  The ease of creating free accounts by the thousands encourages this type of behavior. over things like negotiation and compromise.

 

Personally I would like to see free accounts remain free for the first 90 days.  But with limitations on those accounts.  No IM outside of Sim or friend list.  Limited friend list. limited groups, Linden land only ... whatever ...
After 90 days or earlier if the owner is comfortably SL literate they can pay a one time setup fee of 5 USD to have all restrictions dropped.   If the fee is not paid, drop the account and release the name.

 

Anyway, just my opinion.  I have no say in Linden Lab policy and it's not like this is some new idea no one has ever heard of.  There are people with a much higher pay-grade than us who also have intimate knowledge of SL economics who are making these decisions.  In short, this is not a hill I feel is worth dying over.

 

 

Edited by Rhonda Huntress
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I can only say that there are plenty of non-premium folks that give a lot back to the grid.

I am one of them.

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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

You don't have the experience I do.

Your arse has been your arse for a very long time, but that doesn't mean WE have to listen to ANYTHING it says...
 

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19 minutes ago, Rhonda Huntress said:

True, but angry people bent on revenge don't create premium throwaway accounts. You "would have to be an idiot" to think otherwise.

Prot is not talking about random assholes.  The percentage of premium assholes is going to be equal to the percentage of non-premium assholes.  However, accounts created specifically to harass, antagonize, pirate and stalk other residents (free and paid) are universally free.  The ease of creating free accounts by the thousands encourages this type of behavior. over things like negotiation and compromise.

 

 

Of course free throwaway accounts are much easier to make when one is hell bent on being a jerk than a premium/PIOF account would. I don't know that allowing free accounts encourages more *****ty behavior towards others than any other aspect we could dissect would (I've seen plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest the opposite, loads and loads of PIOF/premium account holders that are assholes, but..it's just anecdotal and not super helpful I suppose). 

Then again, there are plenty of jackasses with premium and PIOF accounts out there too ;) So I'm not sure discouraging free accounts any more than LL already does, would stop that. I'd like to think it would, many people probably would like to think that, but, I doubt any of us have evidence that it would, I'm not even sure LL does to be honest. If we discourage free/NPIOF accounts any more than we already do, just to get rid of/prevent some jerks, the grid would be missing out on a LOT of amazing people and content too. I'd hate to see that happen. I'd hate to see the number of folks in sl drop that low, and it most definitely would at this juncture. 

Edited by Tari Landar
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I've been here 10 years, almost 11.  Ive payed into SL way more then I get back from it.  I do not hold a premium account, as it's not nesscary as it has no real advantage for me to hold it, as I do not want main land and private estates are good enough for me there.   and somebody mentioned setup fee's.  little late in the game now for that. 

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I haven't seen enough bad from free accounts to outweigh the good really..

A lot of awesome scriptwriters and creators have been on the free accounts..would be pretty boring without a lot of the stuff that's been created that makes it a better world..

Edited by Ceka Cianci
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Who's playing for free? I put much more than the cost of a monthly subscription into the SL economy in the form of purchased Lindens. I have no desire to live on any mainland property, or any estate without well-enforced neighborhood guidelines. What's in it for me, when I could just spend that $10 a month to buy things I do want?

Edited by Blaise Glendevon
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13 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

I've thought about what could be done in terms of disincentives, as the incentives for going premium and providing forms of payment, which generally deters griefing, aren't enough.

1. Make it so that people can't put items to sale on free accounts. Plus -- immediate end to copybotting exploitation since trying to force people one-by-one through DMCA takedowns doesn't work. But then this offsets the good I've described of poor people being able to use SL to become entrepreneurs. In my view, this still outweighs griefing.

2. Make it so that people with free accounts cannot buy more than X amount of cash -- because "form of payment on file" can be an anonymous pre-paid credit card. Or can't cash out unless they provide a dedicated form of ID and payment.

3. In that vein, don't allow pre-paid debit cards to be used -- many sites simply reject them. I don't know if this is enough of a deterrent. Plenty of free accounts make money from hooking or money trees and spend it on clothes and never come out of the system.

4. Don't allow free accounts to access adult land. Now there's a thought! What that will mean is merely more abuses on mature though that won't be policed, making "mature" meaningless.

 

Griefers don't need money or the ability to sell anything; nor, in the case of certain well known and DEEEEE-lishiows targets, do they need to go onto adult land.

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1. Make it so that people can't put items to sale on free accounts. Plus -- immediate end to copybotting exploitation since trying to force people one-by-one through DMCA takedowns doesn't work. But then this offsets the good I've described of poor people being able to use SL to become entrepreneurs. In my view, this still outweighs griefing.

 

So Prok, who dictates free?   me? yeah let's limit a 10 year old account that buys and sells a few things... good one...  and the copybotting.... it's not going to end.  if they can see it, they will steal it. and with your idea, it's just going to ramp it up more, oh wait, that's right only free accounts do that. HAHAHAHAHAHAH....  

 

but I might as well be talking to the wind.

 

 

 

 

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Not allowing free accounts to sell on the MP would be a problem since some creators make different things that they want different stores for. Since an avi can only have one store in their name, an alt with payment info on file is often used for that second store. No need to have a paid account for that unless they choose to be on mainland and want the group land bonus.

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How about no, because punishing the well behaving masses just to get rid of a few bad apples has never done anything but royally piss people off and destroy games and virtual worlds. I and my family members that also have accounts pay more then a monthly sub for lindens whenever we can, because theres no reason why we need a premium account when we can do everything we like to do without one.

 

Need i tell the story of arks "incident" where disabled core features of the game just to punish "greifers"? I shouldn't need to.

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This is a terrible idea. It would be like weilding a sledgehammer where you only need a scalpel.

I can tell you for one this is insulting. I've been a free resident for years and I've spent thousands on lindens. While alot don't like me for how outspoken i am, I don't appriciate being lumped in with copybotters or greifers.

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