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Only 9% of SL Users are Premiums


Prokofy Neva
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SL Hamlet has an article about the latest survey by Tyche Shepherd.

I didn't realize that Premiums had sunk that low - 9% of the user base.

Another telling statement: "Total Monthly Mainland Tier comes to US$692,265" and "down on the Jan 2017 rate by US$21,739 or 3.0%

That means that Linden Lab makes less than a million in revenue from the Mainland, out of the $4 million to $6.8 million that they make yearly (according to Hamlet, and that needs more study).

A product that makes you a quarter or less of your revenue is important, like a publisher's backlist or the classic model of your vacuum cleaner, but it doesn't compel your greatest attention and resources.

Hamlet adds about Tyche's survey:

Specifically, there are now 56,797 mainland owners, she tells me -- a small change from 56,946, the total in January 2017. "That breaks down as 46,940 individuals and 9857 groups.

This is a very important statement to understand why the Lindens don't -- and can't -- care about the Mainland. That is, at one level ,the Linden do care and have to care about the Mainland in a kind of basic way, promoting Premiums, getting rid of griefers now and then, maybe repairing roads (although I'm not sure Moles make new roads or content any more on the Mainland, APART FROM the company's own games and portals with special features of their own which are of less interest to me and many others).

Hamlet, who, BTW  isn't a fan of the Mainland, writes:

56,797 or so subscribers is a small amount -- about 9% of the roughly 600,000 active users. Linden Lab has been trying to drive more users into becoming Premium subscribers, but sad to say, that's not happening. 

There's another way to look at this for those of us who have historical memory of the last decade. At their heyday, the Premiums were at nearly 100,000 users. We knew that because the Lindens used to publish their economic statistics which was a very important thing for business people to understand the market, to understand what was worth in investing in, and so on -- like any liberal democratic society promoting rather than punishing free enterprise. I could find my old blogs discussing this but the links won't work because LL retired all that economic data sadly -- years ago.

I recall Premiums fell to 90,000 after some big pushes like that CIS detective show from the major TV network, but still, 90,000 seemed like a great number. Now it is about HALF that. In a decade, it has fallen by 50%.

The reason is that the accounts are not compelling and people prefer to buy private islands (for which you don't need a Premium account) or rent on islands (ditto). 

The figure of Premium accounts is a story mainly -- but not entirely -- about the Mainland. Some people have premiums to get the stipends automatically so they don't have to think about them and how to work the LindEx which can be scary at first. If they are an oldbie, they still get $500 a month and not $300 a month so really have an incentive to keep those accounts. I can't imagine that's a big percentage of the Premium user base because you can buy Lindens for cheaper, the free content isn't worth it, and recurring expenses are always annoying. 

But mainly, if they have a Linden Home, own their own parcel, or contribute to a group, they need Premium to get first the 512 "free" tier (i.e. included in the $9.95 price) and build upon that. Those people -- the land-owners -- are the core of Premium, I don't know, 80% of them?

Premium does not equal land ownership. But perhaps Hamlet and Tyche simply count as land owners anyone who has 512 of tier in their possession, used or not. I don't *think* that's what Tyche is doing (I'll ask) and if that's the case, there may actually be more Premiums, accounting for those who keep premiums, but don't use the 512. Believe me, there are such people. I find them all the time, which is why I offer rental discounts for people's unused tier from their Premiums. Hamlet clarifies:

42,733 is the number of Linden home plots not subscribers , of which 36742 are occupied Unique mainland land owners including Linden Home owners stands at 56,797 which is a reasonable conservative estimate of current number of Premium Account Holders - It has to be at least 46,940 since that's the number of individual who are mainland owners (the other mainland owners are 9857 groups.

Sure, you could argue whether every Linden Home owner is also a Mainland individual owner, or how all that works, but I think these numbers are fairly accurate. It does seem odd to me that there are more Linden Home owners than Mainland parcel owners, but then she explains that there are also 9857 groups, so maybe it makes sense, but still -- not what I thought. That is, by her numbers, there are 14,064 accounts who own Mainland only, and not Linden Homes. We know that many people have a Mainland parcel AND a Linden Home, and that many of those accounts are alts. So it's hard to know what the real "core" is here. Whatever that is, the bottom line is: Premium Accounts have sunk terribly.

The other piece of news is that the Linden Homes, which we always felt was a problem as it competed with inworld rentals agents and content creators, is also falling a bit in its usage:

The total number of Linden Home regions remained unchanged since the last census at 1163 (17.1% of Mainland) . In total there are currently 42733 Linden Home Plots which is also unchanged since last census. Of these 36742 are occupied,(86.0%) This is a fall of 172 owners since Jan 2017 (a drop of 0.5%). The fall in Linden Home Ownership is a little greater than the overall decline in ownership

If this were a Mainland rental business, 86% occupancy would already start to be in the red zone for making profits.

While LH as a system does me no favors, it doesn't really impact me that much as I can offer people refuge from their boring and frustrating Linden Homes, and so can others. But at the same time, I appreciate that from Linden's point of view, this is a necessity to deal with the problem of people wanting a home, but finding the huge diverse and crazy market just too scary and confusing. 

I liked the "First Land" concept but it was gamed, it was too hard for Linden to police the gaming, so they dumped it. I often wondered why they didn't have First Land that simply dumped the newbie off in 30 days, and never was available for sale, so that they could ease into SL, but then make their way out of the warren of newbiedom that inevitably ends up in griefing, ugliness, stupidity, etc. because the Lindens don't want to make rules for land that they then have to police and add to their governance load.

That is, on the one hand, I thought the first land buying and selling experience was wonderful for newbies, I myself enjoyed it and I still have my very first piece of land in SL, and I thought the Lindens shouldn't fuss about gaming in terms of making multiple alts to keep buying 512s for $1/meter, because each new alt was still a $9.95 a month revenue generator for LL. They didn't see it that way, however, and another problem happened, which is that with new devices to instantly detect when new land went out, some land sales agents with armies of bots could scoop up massive numbers of plots and flip them. 

Imagine, though if you were brought into SL, and just like choosing an avatar at random that may already be fully clothed, you could choose a generic house for 30 days without fussing with Premium, fear of recurring fees, fear of land losses and overtiering make you impoverished (a huge problem) and so on. So you click "Shabby Chic" or "Vintage" or "Sci-Fi" or "Ranch" or "Victorian" or "Japanese" and boom, land there, and that theme pops up -- and maybe you even Holodeck it and make multiple themes.  No work or decisions or money involved, you just land and live.

Then, after 30 days, you have the option to buy that land, although I actually think that's not the way to do it, because newbie villages inevitably fill up with griefing and crazy, and you shouldn't be forced to buy your condo in the midst of that. But what if you could be teleported to a mirror sim -- you live in Victorian land 30-day version, and on day 31, a screen pops up and takes you to permanent Victorian land, where your neighbors are all solid citizens who gave real payment information and invested at least $9.95 in civil society. I think that would be great for SLas a world, although perhaps not great for my business or your business.

The problem of incentives for Premium has been talked to death for a decade. The reality is, nothing is working and it fell in half. So you have to radically change that system not layer on other baubles to the dead Christmas tree.

Yes, I realize people have said "put in 1024, not 512" or "hand out texture bundles, not cars and dolls" or "remove the steep step-ups on the tier ladder" or "have a bigger stipend". But all of this might only appeal to people who already understood the complexities of SL, and now are willing to pay for an alt to their main, or even two alts. 

To appeal to brand-new people dropping down into the rabbit hole of SL, you need something different, engaging, but stabilizing. And I think making a house be like an avatar is a solution. 

Of course, it's more competition to us rentals agents and that's always annoying. Why doesn't Linden behave like a Chamber of Commerce building on the highway at the entrance of a town or an exit off a highway, and let us put flyers for our offerings in the rest area on that highway with our offerings (to use a RL analogy) that people click on an teleport to?

Why can't newbies land and see big ad boards that they can click to that takes them to those Victorian or Sci-Fi villages I imagine -- but to resident-run businesses who then earn a living that way. Then LL doesn't have to manage and police it. That would be the solution if this was a normal place, but it's not. Even so, one still lives in hope... And BTW the LL method if they did such a thing would be to pick their pals and put hurdles for everyone as they do with the Community Portals. I'd do it differently -- make it like a classified ad that you click on and pay if you have an offering. That way it's a free market and not favoritism.

Every time this suggestion is made, either LL or their fans say oh noes that would clutter up with adult sex clubs and furry sandboxes. Well, Classified is cluttered with such things. Why is that ok and not something that serves the public's need for accommodation? And just as the Classifieds are monitored, why not say that the newbie housing has to be PG in rating or M and not adult, or make an adult hub with those offerings separately. This is doable when you have good will to create a free market to help your business grow, instead of thinking of ways to wind down your hippie experiment of 13 years ago...

There's some warnings in these numbers for all of us. With this low rate of uptake on their subscriptions, with this low generation of revenue, which may be seriously eaten up by the costs of maintaining staff and infrastructure, the Lindens can't justify the Mainland. They need to look at the hard numbers and the bottom line and are motivated by their technolibertarian/technocommunist ideals, not your heart or your hobby.

The sudden loss of search/place ads for 30L may have been a bug, but it could have also been an accidental live test not on the beta grid to see if they could flush out all the businesses that rely on that, and start clearing the Mainland. I know people who think it is. I have no idea because we live in a black box. But at any time, for any reason or no reason, just like YouTube decides to change the rules on channels, LL could say "We are retiring 30L search/places ads that are not sufficiently used to enhance and embiggen our new Classifieds user panel that will enable you to spend way more money on getting visible while we pretend that this is better for you."

So in the other thread I want to discuss abandoned land....

 

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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

The reason is that the accounts are not compelling and people prefer to buy private islands (for which you don't need a Premium account) or rent on islands (ditto). 

This is wrong, you can’t buy a private island without being Premium. Someone other than OP correct me?

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36 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

This is wrong, you can’t buy a private island without being Premium. Someone other than OP correct me?

You don't require a Premium to buy a private island because tier is not used on private islands, it can only be used on Mainland. Click through the menus on the land section of secondlife.com and you will see this.

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2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

You don't require a Premium to buy a private island because tier is not used on private islands, it can only be used on Mainland. Click through the menus on the land section of secondlife.com and you will see this.

Got it. Funny. A private island at full price is so expensive, you’d think LL would try to squeeze the relatively small Premium fee out of sim owners too!

*Edit* Since I didn’t know this when I originally went from mainland to private sim, and kept my Premium (though now I’m back to mainland)..you can guarantee that I am NOT alone in this. So, many other sim owners probably also pay Premium fee to LL.

Edited by Love Zhaoying
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You would think, but it would anger customers because they couldn't use the tier, so what is the premium worth? The Glytchy avatar? 

I allow my customers to put in Mainland tier to use to get a discount on the private island sims but that's because I have group land and it is worth it to me so I can accommodate them but that's not the norm.

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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

You would think, but it would anger customers because they couldn't use the tier, so what is the premium worth? The Glytchy avatar? 

I allow my customers to put in Mainland tier to use to get a discount on the private island sims but that's because I have group land and it is worth it to me so I can accommodate them but that's not the norm.

Since I didn’t know this when I originally went from mainland to private sim, and kept my Premium (though now I’m back to mainland)..you can guarantee that I am NOT alone in this. So, many other sim owners probably also pay Premium fee to LL.

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Iti's impossible to determine the total number of premium members from the data Hamlet is using; Tyche didn't even try. Tyche uses bots to visit regions and determine the owners of the parcels thereupon; that can only provide a list of individual landowners. All of my "family's land is currently held by a group which includes three premium accounts. Those three accounts are invisible as landowners and only count as one instead of three if you add the number of groups to the number of individual landowners. That's the same as with any of your tenants who have premium accounts who are donating their tier to you instead of holding land in their own name. It's very possible that Prokofy Neva isn't even counted in this "list of premium members" if you have all your land owned by your group.

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SL Hamlet's article is assuming that the total number of Premiums is EXACTLY equal to the number of individual Mainland land owners plus the number of group Mainland land owners.  That is flawed logic.

My land group currently contains a total of 4 premium accounts and I know people that have land groups with many, many more Premium alts in order to bring the total tier costs down.  At one time, when my land holdings were larger, I also had more premium alts, specifically to help offset costs.   Only one Premium in each land group is being counted by Tyche.

Addtionally, I know a few folks that are Premium for reasons other than owning mainland.  They rent on private estates and then donate their tier to their favorite group or rent the tier to a tier company.

Then there are the batch of Premiums that are between homes and thus currently don't own land, though they did in the past and might in the future.

 

Edited by LittleMe Jewell
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16 hours ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

Iti's impossible to determine the total number of premium members from the data Hamlet is using; Tyche didn't even try.

It is and you can't compare the number of active users to the number of premium accounts either. The active users figure is the number of accounts, not people, who have logged on at last ocne during the last 30 days. 25-30% of these are one-timers, newcomers who never log on a second time. Obviously they are not likely to become premium members. Then there are bots and alts etc. I once posted a formula for calculating the number of people who log on and use Second Life regularly but of course, without reliable data to fill in to the formula, we can't get anything close to a reliable answer. All we can be sure of, is that the number is considerably lower than 600,000. I doubt it is as many than 300,000 and we can't rule out the possibility that there are less than 100,000 of us. However, we can also be sure that there are a lot of premium members who are not active. It's quite likely - probable even - that they make up the majority of premiums. So those two numbers don't really relate to each other in any meaningful way.

To add to the picture:

  • LL's comissions from Marketplace sales are the equivalent of a little bit over 1,000,000 USD a year. I'm not sure if that counts though, since it's in Linden dollars and it may be accounted for somewhere else in the system. Maybe somebody with a better understanding of accounting can answer that?
  • LL's provisions from Lindex should be the equivalent of slightly less than 500,000 US dollars a year but again, that's Linden dollars so it may not count.
  • LL's transaction fee for withdrawing US dollars is probably about 1,500,000 USD a year, or probably a little bit less. According to Ebbe Linden, that is only enough to cover their expenses for the service though, so no net profit for them there but still a considerable part of their gross income.
  • As both Theresa and LittleMe already have said, we can't know exactly how many premium members there are but 50,000 annual subcriptions would add up to 360,000 USD a year, 100,000 subscription would mean 720,000 USD. I think we can be fairly sure the actual figure is somewhere between those two.
  • I have no idea how much they make from search listings, ads (in search and on MP), upload fees and such. It may be a lot or it may be trivial.
  • The best estimate I can come up with for income from private estates is 10,000,000-15,000,000 and even that may be off the mark.

The SLUniverse site seems to be down at the time I write this so I don't know exactly what resultsTyche Shepherd has come up with yet, all I know is what the NWM article refers to. I'm really wondering what that "4 million to 6.8 million" estimate of LL' income from SL means. Neither the gross nor the net revenue can possibly be that low but it seems to be far too high to be the net income.

Edited by ChinRey
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19 hours ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

Iti's impossible to determine the total number of premium members from the data Hamlet is using; Tyche didn't even try. Tyche uses bots to visit regions and determine the owners of the parcels thereupon; that can only provide a list of individual landowners. All of my "family's land is currently held by a group which includes three premium accounts. Those three accounts are invisible as landowners and only count as one instead of three if you add the number of groups to the number of individual landowners. That's the same as with any of your tenants who have premium accounts who are donating their tier to you instead of holding land in their own name. It's very possible that Prokofy Neva isn't even counted in this "list of premium members" if you have all your land owned by your group.

Some people's game on the forums is always to be contrarian and always to approach every issue with 0/1 thinking, "all or nothing". Either it's correct in a computer data sort of way as 100%, or the margin of error pollutes it utterly and makes it "invalid". This is silly, as in the world of public opinion polls, margins of errors are accepted, and in real, ordinary life, people eyeball things and make estimates with common sense and this is good enough. Tyche has done more than this, so it should satisfy the tech-obsessed.

And...It doesn't matter. It's a close enough proximation. I send Tyche a list of my groups, and since they're almost all open to the public, she can see who is holding the tier if she wishes to correct her data. She's pointed out how many land groups there are -- 9,000 something. Since she's saying the number of landowners with Premiums is 50,000 plus, she could only be off as much as 9,000 if every one of those groups fit the situation you described -- but they don't. All my land is grouped and I don't show up as an individual land owner. But I'll show up at least once with this name, it's not that far off.

Tyche has never said "I've not counted all my list of groups with group land in the premium account" -- why wouldn't she? They'd all require premium accounts. If she missed a few dozen people contributing to my groups -- because contributing tier is confusing to people and scary ever since certain oldbies lobbied against this idea as "evil" years ago (of course it isn't) -- so what? It doesn't alter her basic findings.

 

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4 hours ago, ChinRey said:

It is and you can't compare the number of active users to the number of premium accounts either. The active users figure is the number of accounts, not people, who have logged on at last ocne during the last 30 days. 25-30% of these are one-timers, newcomers who never log on a second time. Obviously they are not likely to become premium members. Then there are bots and alts etc. I once posted a formula for calculating the number of people who log on and use Second Life regularly but of course, without reliable data to fill in to the formula, we can't get anything close to a reliable answer. All we can be sure of, is that the number is considerably lower than 600,000. I doubt it is as many than 300,000 and we can't rule out the possibility that there are less than 100,000 of us. However, we can also be sure that there are a lot of premium members who are not active. It's quite likely - probable even - that they make up the majority of premiums. So those two numbers don't really relate to each other in any meaningful way.

To add to the picture:

  • LL's comissions from Marketplace sales are the equivalent of a little bit over 1,000,000 USD a year. I'm not sure if that counts though, since it's in Linden dollars and it may be accounted for somewhere else in the system. Maybe somebody with a better understanding of accounting can answer that?
  • LL's provisions from Lindex should be the equivalent of slightly less than 500,000 US dollars a year but again, that's Linden dollars so it may not count.
  • LL's transaction fee for withdrawing US dollars is probably about 1,500,000 USD a year, or probably a little bit less. According to Ebbe Linden, that is only enough to cover their expenses for the service though, so no net profit for them there but still a considerable part of their gross income.
  • As both Theresa and LittleMe already have said, we can't know exactly how many premium members there are but 50,000 annual subcriptions would add up to 360,000 USD a year, 100,000 subscription would mean 720,000 USD. I think we can be fairly sure the actual figure is somewhere between those two.
  • I have no idea how much they make from search listings, ads (in search and on MP), upload fees and such. It may be a lot or it may be trivial.
  • The best estimate I can come up with for income from private estates is 10,000,000-15,000,000 and even that may be off the mark.

The SLUniverse site seems to be down at the time I write this so I don't know exactly what resultsTyche Shepherd has come up with yet, all I know is what the NWM article refers to. I'm really wondering what that "4 million to 6.8 million" estimate of LL' income from SL means. Neither the gross nor the net revenue can possibly be that low but it seems to be far too high to be the net income.

Tyche hasn't claimed that all those who logged on are Premiums, though.

Bots and alts, if they hold tier, still need Premium accounts, so why discount them? 

What we can never understand about the Lindens' system is whether things that are sinks, and were always described as sinks, are in fact no longer sinks. Texture upload fees, classifieds, group registration fees -- these were always described as sinks, i.e. methods of removing money from the system to make the money quantity "tighter" and make the Linden of more value.

In theory, the entire Marketplace, unless someone used a credit card to pay in dollars, would be a sink. But I bet it is not. I bet the Lindens convert it to dollars in their system because it's an important source of revenue. But we don't know this, as they have never pronounced on it.

Indeed transaction fees for the LindEx do not cover staff salaries needed to police fraud. I've discussed this at length with Lindens over the years. The LindEx is a complicated an expensive device for them.

Search ads are not trivial. The way you find that out is to, um, search. Every single thing you see in search under search/places has a 30L ad -- that's why it there. Search doesn't pick up random parcels or interesting places WITHOUT that -- it can't. It picks up People with another method, or Groups -- but not Places. This is in the hundreds of thousands. The Lindens know this figure, as it is the figure debiting from accounts every week, individual or group, *automatically*. There are not so many automatic debits (Marketplace, recurring Classifieds) that this is somehow not possible to "see". 

And I agree that if it only shows a value of 500,000, and Classifieds shows billions, then they would be happy to deprecate -- and maybe that bug the other day was their test run to see how much people would howl if they deprecated (yes, I do not believe they are beyond a practice like that; others think they wouldn't do this).

The real question to ask is why SLHamlet's figure has such a wide spread. Why? He can't tell? They can't tell? They say their revenue is more, so he is calculating profits after expenses possibly from some inside knowledge of their budget and cost centers. 

The inworld economy supposedly makes $450 million US for creators and landlords. Of course, that generous figure doesn't tell you how many of them have to use those millions to pay their tier, like me. That would reduce that number significantly. It's not profit for creators, although LL can book it that way in their PR (it wouldn't show up in their books except as a means to generate their LindEx fees); it's revenue from which considerable costs must be taken, everything from tier to staff to upload fees.

I actually don't think $4 million for net income is so far-fetched, because I'm going to assume they have: a) tier, their biggest revenue generator b) premium subscriptions, which are not so much, but something and recurring; c) LindEx transaction fees and fees for withdrawal to PayPal; d) the Marketplace sales tax and ad fees IF they are not sinks, and I don't think they are; possibly some other kinds of revenue involved with interest on investments, the float they earn off keeping your US dollars in their hands for 5-11 days (although years ago a Linden told me they don't invest the float but I can't believe they don't); consulting fees from various other companies, speakers fees. Back in the day, LL used to sell jewelry and swag! No more!

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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17 hours ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

SL Hamlet's article is assuming that the total number of Premiums is EXACTLY equal to the number of individual Mainland land owners plus the number of group Mainland land owners.  That is flawed logic.

My land group currently contains a total of 4 premium accounts and I know people that have land groups with many, many more Premium alts in order to bring the total tier costs down.  At one time, when my land holdings were larger, I also had more premium alts, specifically to help offset costs.   Only one Premium in each land group is being counted by Tyche.

Addtionally, I know a few folks that are Premium for reasons other than owning mainland.  They rent on private estates and then donate their tier to their favorite group or rent the tier to a tier company.

Then there are the batch of Premiums that are between homes and thus currently don't own land, though they did in the past and might in the future.

 

He crossed out some of his figures and corrected them but it's not just flawed logic, it's incorrectly reporting Tyche's survey as she didn't say that.

Everything you are describing anecdotally is not so widespread as to throw off her numbers. You can always say "I know a guy who knows a guy," but there's 3 of you, not 30,000, and you can't show there are very many. Why? Because there are only 9000+ groups, and you're only a fraction of that number, as are my alts.

Again, that's because she's showing 50,000 individual land owners and 9000 groups -- so only if she does NOT count her groups in the count of premium could she be wrong. But she does, as far as I can see, because obviously every group needs an account with tier told it, and thus has at least one showing in her figures. If there are 3 alts in that group, and 24 tier contributors in that group, sure, they are invisible, from what I can tell of her survey.

But it doesn't matter because 9000 is a fraction of 50000, and the situation of the individual/tier contributor "invisible ghost" is a fraction of 9000, so it doesn't throw the numbers off that much.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Some people's game on the forums is always to be contrarian and always to approach every issue with 0/1 thinking, "all or nothing". Either it's correct in a computer data sort of way as 100%, or the margin of error pollutes it utterly and makes it "invalid".

 

And some people have a lot of convictions about things and spend a lot of time flying around to things and feel they have valid insights.

But they aren't seeing real facts....

I never criticized Tyche because she wasn't trying to do something she couldn't do with the tools at her disposal. I was criticizing Hamlet for making an unsupportable conclusion from flawed data (flawed for his purposes, that is - not for the purposes it was meant for) and you for reporting that unsupportable conclusion as fact.

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Baloney. As much as I dislike him, Hamlet did the proper journalistic thing and simplified complex data and said only 9% of the population are Premiums and nearly 25% is abandoned. 

These are true statements. If they are off by 2% or even 5% it doesn't matter, because the point of what he is saying is still true. If he rounded them up, so what, that's what newspapers do and that's ok because they don't carry out equations to the 10th decimal point like you do.

The 0/1 tech thinking has got to go in a case like this as it cripples reason and sanity.

There isn't "flawed" this or that here in the sense you are complaining about, because he hasn't misrepresented the case.

There's only the literalism that maybe his numbers aren't exact -- and he corrected them at least once.

In the closed society of SL, you can't know how many premiums there are because YOUR LINDENS DON"T TELL US, HELLO.

You don't know this any more than I do, so don't be silly.

Therefore you must make educated guesses, use available data, and make a call on it. Tyche did this in detail with caveats; Hamlet simplified it. This is real life where most of the world lives, that is, outside a computer.

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3 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Tyche hasn't claimed that all those who logged on are Premiums, though.

Usually she doesn't claim anything. She collects and organizes all the facts she can find and leave it to others to interpret.

 

3 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Bots and alts, if they hold tier, still need Premium accounts, so why discount them?

Oh yes, I know that, I have several premium accounts myself. But there will always be much less incitement for somebody to open multiple premiums than a single one.

In any case, I think the number of inactive premium members is enough to make the comparasion between premiums and actives irrelevant. There is another NWM post that is interesting there, a five year old guest article by Desmond Shang: http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2012/09/second-life-land-barons.html.

It would have been very interesting to monitor a few Linden Home and mainland sims for a month and see how many of the landowners actually logged on to their homes. That would be a big project though and it might well violate the ToS so we better not.

 

3 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

The real question to ask is why SLHamlet's figure has such a wide spread. Why? He can't tell? They can't tell?

You can stipulate a lot from the data that Tyche Shepherd and others collects and from the sinppets Linden Lab lets slip but there will always be a significant margin of error and LL is careful not to reveal too much.

 

3 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

he inworld economy supposedly makes $450 million US for creators and landlords. Of course, that generous figure doesn't tell you how many of them have to use those millions to pay their tier, like me. That would reduce that number significantly. It's not profit for creators, although LL can book it that way in their PR (it wouldn't show up in their books except as a means to generate their LindEx fees); it's revenue from which considerable costs must be taken, everything from tier to staff to upload fees.

It's what the Greeks jokingly calls Greek economy and a G rated version of it goes something like this: You buy a shirt on the Marketplace for 100 L$, the seller uses the Lindens to tip a DJ, the DJ then pays for his music stream, the music stream provider buys some jewelry on the Marketplace and the jewelry merchant uses the Lindens to pay you the rent. That's 500 Lindens worth of inworld economy.

Ebbe has occasionally mentioned how much SL entrepeneurs take out of SL and those numbers aren't anywhere near 450 millions.

Edited by ChinRey
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4 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Baloney. As much as I dislike him, Hamlet did the proper journalistic thing and simplified complex data and said only 9% of the population are Premiums and nearly 25% is abandoned. 

These are true statements. If they are off by 2% or even 5% it doesn't matter, because the point of what he is saying is still true. If he rounded them up, so what, that's what newspapers do and that's ok because they don't carry out equations to the 10th decimal point like you do.

The 0/1 tech thinking has got to go in a case like this as it cripples reason and sanity.

There isn't "flawed" this or that here in the sense you are complaining about, because he hasn't misrepresented the case.

There's only the literalism that maybe his numbers aren't exact -- and he corrected them at least once.

In the closed society of SL, you can't know how many premiums there are because YOUR LINDENS DON"T TELL US, HELLO.

You don't know this any more than I do, so don't be silly.

Therefore you must make educated guesses, use available data, and make a call on it. Tyche did this in detail with caveats; Hamlet simplified it. This is real life where most of the world lives, that is, outside a computer.

I live in an apartment building with 20 units.

I counted the cars in the parking lot just now - there were 26.

Two of those cars were red.

Looking at those numbers you can come up with a lot of statistics and percentages - these are easy and fairly logical, for instance:

1) The average unit in my apartment building owns 1.3 cars. But that ignores both the fact -

a) Not all of the cars in the lot may be owned by those units - I know there was one truck that the property developer owns, and there may have been other cars owned by guests.

b) Not all of the cars owned by the units might be in the lot - people might have been out shopping or at work when I counted.

You might also say:

2) 7.6% of the cars owned by my apartment building units are red. But, even without the caveats under point 1 above, you have the issue that 2 of the cars were what I felt anyone would consider red, but another one was in the burgundy/maroon range. I didn't count that one, but someone else tasked with counting red cars might, and they'd come up with a percentage of 11.5% red using the exact same data set.

Now let's go out onto even thinner ice:

3) You can say that the average household (in my town, country, planet) has 1.3 cars, or that 7.6% of all cars are red. Even if we ignore the problems with the data sets above we're getting problems with the size and quality of our data sets for what we're using them for. The data might not be representative

And finally:

3) One of those red cars is mine. This could lead you to make ridiculous conclusions like "Theresa owns half of the red cars (in the town, country, planet) or "Theresa owns 3.8% of all cars." Not even in Second Life do I own that many cars, but that's what working out percentages from a data set can get you if you aren't using an appropriate data set for what you're trying to determine.

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On 1/20/2018 at 5:28 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

56,797 or so subscribers is a small amount -- about 9% of the roughly 600,000 active users. Linden Lab has been trying to drive more users into becoming Premium subscribers, but sad to say, that's not happening. 

There's another way to look at this for those of us who have historical memory of the last decade. At their heyday, the Premiums were at nearly 100,000 users. We knew that because the Lindens used to publish their economic statistics which was a very important thing for business people to understand the market, to understand what was worth in investing in, and so on -- like any liberal democratic society promoting rather than punishing free enterprise. I could find my old blogs discussing this but the links won't work because LL retired all that economic data sadly -- years ago.

I recall Premiums fell to 90,000 after some big pushes like that CIS detective show from the major TV network, but still, 90,000 seemed like a great number. Now it is about HALF that. In a decade, it has fallen by 50%.

 

I just discovered something interesting. Tyche's first Mainland census was in November of 2009. This was just before the Linden Homes program began.

http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/virtual-business/37331-mainland-census-completed.html

Do you know what the number of unique Mainland landowning entities (individual owners plus groups - the figure Hamlet and you are using for "number of Premium members") was at that time?

37,909 -- 25160 individuals and 12,749 groups.

So - if this number is an accurate count of premium members then the number of Premium members dropped by over half between when your 90,000 number was taken and November 2009, and the number has increased almost 50% since then --

OR....

That number isn't an accurate count of premium members.

 

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I was premium but I only got it for the live support. Other than that I find it pretty useless. Private land is much better, less laggy and normally better looking than mainland. The weekly stipend is also not very appealing. The game itself has gone stale. LL has not done much to change that. This is a shame because there are many things most players still have yet to explore in the SL Universe. I kind of wish the market place would be demo's only. This at least would make people leave their confines and explore more and maybe find new interests in the game. Otherwise only boredom will come from sitting in your box for too long.

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On 20 January 2018 at 10:28 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

Why can't newbies land and see big ad boards that they can click to that takes them to those Victorian or Sci-Fi villages I imagine -- but to resident-run businesses who then earn a living that way. Then LL doesn't have to manage and police it.

Oh look!

Yet another self-important, self-entitled "Madlander Slumlords Uber Alles" thread...

So, what we have is an OP that basically consists of a wall of text of fallacious "facts" based on the unsupported conclusions of somebody using somebody elses questionable and inappropriate data, and another wall of text of questionable opinions, and sandwiched in the middle...

"LL should give my Slumlord business free advertising at the end of the Noob Training Assault Course on Welcome Island!"

Let's not and say we did...
 

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Most people want to get a house eventually, or find a community, and that's they they need those boards -- and they used to have them. It's not about me grubbing money out of poor new people, don't be silly.

And PS, when you get off the train at Grand Central Station, there are all these evil grubbing people doing things like "selling you a newspaper" and "selling you a sandwich" and "selling you a tour of Times Square" and "selling you a hotel room" and even "a rental apartment". My God, the horror, the evil. How do you live in real life without sales people and businesses? Are you on a granola collective farm? 

SL should work the same way, and most people want it to. I don't run "slums"  -- I have subsidized newbie areas that people appreciate  What a ridiculous notion that people who want to promote ordinary legal and necessary business you know like THE LINDENS THEMSELVES DO in the real world are viewed as exploitative ruthless capitalists and slumlords? Huh? I don't need FREE advertising -- the boards the Lindens used to have FOR FREE in the infohubs (did you realize that!!!) could be RENTED. You know, like the ads you PAY FOR on the classifieds? Do you find that evil, too? Or you just like to indulge in cliches you took out of Marxist college textbooks.

THE LINDENS THEMSELVES had free ad boards where you could advertise rentals, clubs, shops, events and they removed them when they removed the telehub system -- which they shouldn't have done. They turned them into infohubs -- but they could put the sign boards back there or at orientation. Good God, always, these horrible interventions from you.

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I used to have subsidized newbie housing as well, now I tend to give them to returning users or as transit accommodation for people queuing to rent. The issues coming from newbies going over LI limit or unwittingly rezzing badly scripted items is just too much trouble, but if LL does provide subsidy for housing newbies I will be more than happy to take them on board. 

Long story short, time is not free so I do agree with having both free and privatized newbie introductions, where communities can compete for new users with varying level of subsidy, but who can provide it should be vetted, when I joined the hub I landed in was loaded with ads with nauseating squiggly letters of which any decent human would not click on, got out there real quick, don't remember how, I was greener than the grass.

The next one was fine, it had a zen temple and was very well landscaped, which was the work of a private person. That part really made me stay and eventually brought land to try and create my own.

Well, I end up building skyscrapers instead.

Edited by iamyourneighbour
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On 02 February 2018 at 12:12 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

Most people want to get a house eventually, or find a community, and that's they they need those boards -- and they used to have them. It's not about me grubbing money out of poor new people, don't be silly.

Do they? A lot of people can't be bothered wasting money on a house they are rarely ever in... They are too busy being out shopping or socialising...

On 02 February 2018 at 12:12 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

And PS, when you get off the train at Grand Central Station, there are all these evil grubbing people doing things like "selling you a newspaper" and "selling you a sandwich" and "selling you a tour of Times Square" and "selling you a hotel room" and even "a rental apartment". My God, the horror, the evil. How do you live in real life without sales people and businesses? Are you on a granola collective farm?

And all of those vendors PAY MONEY for the right to be there. You are asking for FREE ad space because YOU think people arriving in SL should see YOUR ads within 10 mins of creating an account.

On 02 February 2018 at 12:12 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

It's not about me grubbing money out of poor new people, don't be silly.

Yes, it is, you are just not very good at it...

On 02 February 2018 at 12:12 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

and they removed them when they removed the telehub system

There is no need for a telehub system now that we can teleport anywhere, you just want to roll back to a 'Golden Age' that never actually existed because you think forcing people to teleport miles from their destination and walk along those worthless Madlands roads, past endless empty "for rent or sale" parcels filled with adboards would help with the money grubbing...

It NEVER occurs to you that the reason so much of the Madlands is empty is because most people do not want to live there.

On 02 February 2018 at 12:12 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

Or you just like to indulge in cliches you took out of Marxist college textbooks

I never studied Marxism at College, and I'm not a Marxist... I AM however, somebody who has worked for large corporations, and dealt with major international exchanges, so I have a pretty good idea how business works, unlike you.

You constantly come up with insane schemes to try and force people to rent/buy something they simply do not want. Then you claim these schemes are "just common sense" and refuse to understand that most of SL disagrees with you

On 02 February 2018 at 12:12 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

but they could put the sign boards back there or at orientation

Why should they... New arrivals have FAR more important stuff to learn about than "renting your first prim hovel on the Madlands", so why do you feel sooooo entitled to disrupt that process with bloody great adboards? If they WANT to rent Madlands micro-parcels, they can search those classified ads you spoke of.
 

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On 2/7/2018 at 4:09 AM, Klytyna said:

Do they? A lot of people can't be bothered wasting money on a house they are rarely ever in... They are too busy being out shopping or socialising...

And all of those vendors PAY MONEY for the right to be there. You are asking for FREE ad space because YOU think people arriving in SL should see YOUR ads within 10 mins of creating an account.

Yes, it is, you are just not very good at it...

There is no need for a telehub system now that we can teleport anywhere, you just want to roll back to a 'Golden Age' that never actually existed because you think forcing people to teleport miles from their destination and walk along those worthless Madlands roads, past endless empty "for rent or sale" parcels filled with adboards would help with the money grubbing...

It NEVER occurs to you that the reason so much of the Madlands is empty is because most people do not want to live there.

I never studied Marxism at College, and I'm not a Marxist... I AM however, somebody who has worked for large corporations, and dealt with major international exchanges, so I have a pretty good idea how business works, unlike you.

You constantly come up with insane schemes to try and force people to rent/buy something they simply do not want. Then you claim these schemes are "just common sense" and refuse to understand that most of SL disagrees with you

Why should they... New arrivals have FAR more important stuff to learn about than "renting your first prim hovel on the Madlands", so why do you feel sooooo entitled to disrupt that process with bloody great adboards? If they WANT to rent Madlands micro-parcels, they can search those classified ads you spoke of.
 

You're extrapolating from your own experience living in a sandbox or tree or whatever; most of those logging on have houses of one kind or another. Look at where the green dots are. The end. This is a silly argument when there are green dots. Look at the Linden Homes area to start with.

I don't know how many times I have to write it again, as I've written it a zillion times ago: I have NOT NOT NOT asked for FREE ad space. You cannot cite me ever saying that as I have NOT NOT NOT said it.

I've poined out ANOTHER THING which you keep missing and keep refusing to accept. THE LINDENS THEMSELVES OFFERED FREE AD SPACE HELLO! IN THE FIRST TELEHUBS. Anyone could go and put an ad up and did. 

I suggested this system BE PAID. That way it would be impossible for just a few Linden friends to grab them (they used to expire after 2 weeks and the same people kept getting them who had time to hang around the hubs). They would be paid, like classified, and therefore a scarcer commodity. 

I realize it may come as a TERRIBLE shock to you but the Lindens don't have half as much squeamishness as you do about capitalism, they're capitalists themselves, whatever their techno-socialist dreams for the rest of humankind. They used to have newbie islands where they picked out their 10 friends to be on teleport boards -- and let the newbies go to those 10 friends for rentals, clubs, whatever.

We objected, and protested, and gradually they developed the resident hubs system where at least there was a landmark giver with a rotating chance of a landmark in it being hit by a newbie -- let's say they had 30 or whatever. So perhaps then a newbie might come to our infohub and then shop at our plaza. I assure you no one ever made a dime off this, as the volunteer help, building, etc. way more offset it. The costs of business are elusive to socialists (which in the SL context are technolibertarians who may not be Marxists but share the hatred of small business that large corporations do.)

Your notions of the telehub system merely conform to the long-held oldbie prejudices which are based on one thing, and one thing alone: THEIR boutiques, stores, clubs, venues were all on the earlier-built sims FAR AWAY from the telehubs. LOOK AT THE MAP. THEY HATED that people had to fly 1000 meters or more to their venues. When the Lindens built newer sims and put up these telehubs, Anshe Chung and Blue Burke, two huge landlords in SL (I'm a tiny one) bought all the land and re-rented the space at high cost. This started enormous arm-flapping from socialist oldbies with boutiques that were now not in the view. Newbies flocked to the hubs, not to oldbie boutiques -- they weren't part of the culture of the early adapters anyway and didn't think Gnu Licenses and weird primmy sci-fi or furry stuff was fun, they had different values.

The oldbies protesting their displacement in the new economy tried to add a lag/aesthetic component to their protest, but it was based on a few hubs in THEIR area that in fact were like that because THEIR OWN OLDBIES ran those terrible avatar fly-traps.

Anshe's malls were laid out with less lag, the newer hubs the Lindens built didn't have as elaborate lag buildings or head-bangers like the build at Waterhead, and they were popular. The Lindens even had grassy meadows with waterfalls and much smaller hubs or even beautiful builds like the Moth Temple that were natural gathering places even without malls (they had malls years ago; now they have our hub with tutorials and fun things to do)

Newer and smaller merchants (like me) were GLAD to pay high rental prices to get into the view and sell our products. The oldbies couldn't let us into their Ren-Faire economy of cliquish craftsmenship. They also scorned mass culture like suburban home sales or furniture, as they were all RP or Victorian or Vintage of whatever and felt themselves superior. It was always about culture, and not really economy.

The hubs came out of RL architectural concepts that ordinarily even socialists embrace, like mass transit with little stores and communities around them rather than giant malls outside the city. 

The telehubs were not on every sim so you could always opt to live away from them and put your store anywhere. Some teleport buses and systems were used even before p2p.

Philip Linden said most of the sales from the economy came from the hubs. Because most normal people liked them, shopped at them, and didn't have the freaky aesthetics about them or the socialist view of them -- they liked commerce, unlike some of the forums regs.

Under the clamor of oldbies who felt they were getting left out of the new economy, and because they had p2p themselves, the Lindens put it in.They also had their own self-interested reasons to destroy inworld hub commerce to force people on to the MP where they could then get taxes off the sales. That has always been their model for income to get away from land sales.

One stupid thing that happened with the pulling of telehubs is that the Lindens no longer had sensible landing points. Now if you look on the map and teleport by the map you land in water or in a building or somewhere else stupid even if you try to pinpoint, on those sims.

BTW there is nothing inherently evil about "telehubs". They are the exact same scripted object or routine that you can click on the panel to get on an island! It's just whether or not they have a build around them.

Actually, I've worked for large corporations and small busineses, non-profits and media, so I have actually a very good range of business and non-profit experience. PS, I've run a business in SL for years. Have you?

Lindens are the ones always trying to come up with schemes to sell their premiums and get retention and it doesn't work, in part due to their lifelong aversion to commerce that isn't their own. You're hardly in a position to pretend "most of SL" thinks anything -- they are not on the forums, and you have not accessed public opinion in any valid way. So stop that nonsense. 

New arrivals want homes more than you seem prepared to admit -- they go to the Linden Homes in droves. Green dot observation recommended here to get rid of ideological blinders. They buy islands -- look at how many of them there are, despite everything. They also *gasp* go in mainland rentals, which are a very small part of the overall rentals economy -- did you grasp it?

I never cease to be amazed at the amount of harassment and hatred I get from people ilke you for renting out small rentals on the Mainland for US $1.50 a month or $2.50 a month. Incredible. Meanwhile people spend hundreds of real life dollars on island rentals or 'purchases' and you are completely unfazed at the way they achieved their wealth -- despoiling the Mainland with ad boards for five years driving people off the Mainland into their rentals. Both they and the Lindens profited.

You and all your "Madlands" shtick really out to attend to that more.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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