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Chic Aeon

What would YOU do if you were Linden Lab?

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1 hour ago, Chic Aeon said:

From what I have read lately regions are no longer on a slide so you might want to research that a bit more OR show us your source of info.  

I'm not prepared to take a 6 month plateau in a 10 year downward trend to mean the slide has ended. That would require growth.

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2 minutes ago, Nextio said:

it's early userbase has already moved on.

Some of us are still here. It's been a long 15 years. Holay crap I'm old. lol

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Just as long as the moles get a raise.....

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1 hour ago, steeljane42 said:

Why even bother to speculate about what would be a better plan if we, users, don't see almost any stats that LL have?

Yes. That's a key point.

LL claims a huge number of signups per day, but they don't disclose what happens to them. The onboarding funnel is

Website signup -> First login to world -> Complete avatar setup -> Get through initial user training -> Reach new user area -> Go someplace beyond new user area -> Stay 1 hour -> Stay 1 day -> Stay 1 week ->Buy premium membership -> Buy land.

At each stage, SL loses some users. Where is the big leak in onboarding? That's a marketing problem. Someone needs to be calling up users who dropped out and chatting with them. No, not sending them a link to SurveyMonkey, calling them up and chatting with them to find out what went wrong.

It's really important that the number of SL users go up, not down. That totally changes the perspective of investors. The current growth rate is maybe -2%/year. Turn that to +2%, and it starts looking much better. Get it to 10%, and Ebbe gets to give keynote speeches at conferences.

Slow performance is a big issue for new users. Read some of those new users "this game sucks" comments. SL is very sluggish to someone who has played GTA V Online or Fortnite. This is a hard technical problem, but not an unsolveable one. LL needs to own that problem and start working hard on it. As users, we should neither make excuses for LL nor accept excuses from LL.

Fortnite has a social aspect. SL needs to figure out how to tap into that desire to socialize in a 3D world and start picking up users who want to socialize more and shoot less.

The Sansar money drain needs to stop. High Fidelity gave up ("pivoted to enterprise" - yeah, right). Sinespace is less than 100 concurrent users and not going anywhere. Sansar has about 11 concurrent users on Steam. More non-Steam users, but under 100 concurrent users. Sansar has 30 people working on it, one for every  3 concurrent users. SL has 70 for 45,000 concurrent users. The Sansar market segment, which I call "VR game level loaders", is a flop, along with VR headsets. Even VRChat is only a few thousand users. So it's safe for Ebbe to admit failure now that everybody else has failed too.

That's a starting point.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, animats said:

At each stage, SL loses some users. Where is the big leak in onboarding? That's a marketing problem. Someone needs to be calling up users who dropped out and chatting with them. No, not sending them a link to SurveyMonkey, calling them up and chatting with them to find out what went wrong.

Retention has always been a headache, everything that has been tried over the years, the end percentage stayed the same. They tried everything and nothing made any difference.

Seems that whatever LL did to impact one person and help them stay, they inadvertently cause someone else to be turned away.

Could drop the newbies from the sky into a volcano and the percentage who stay wouldn't change, although I wonder if they would be more interesting or creative people than the ones who stayed on help island for 3 days bumping into walls.

 

Edited by CoffeeDujour
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17 minutes ago, animats said:

Yes. That's a key point.

LL claims a huge number of signups per day, but they don't disclose what happens to them. The onboarding funnel is

Website signup -> First login to world -> Complete avatar setup -> Get through initial user training -> Reach new user area -> Go someplace beyond new user area -> Stay 1 hour -> Stay 1 day -> Stay 1 week ->Buy premium membership -> Buy land.

At each stage, SL loses some users. Where is the big leak in onboarding? That's a marketing problem. Someone needs to be calling up users who dropped out and chatting with them. No, not sending them a link to SurveyMonkey, calling them up and chatting with them to find out what went wrong.

It's really important that the number of SL users go up, not down. That totally changes the perspective of investors. The current growth rate is maybe -2%/year. Turn that to +2%, and it starts looking much better. Get it to 10%, and Ebbe gets to give keynote speeches at conferences.

Slow performance is a big issue for new users. Read some of those new users "this game sucks" comments. SL is very sluggish to someone who has played GTA V Online or Fortnite. This is a hard technical problem, but not an unsolveable one. LL needs to own that problem and start working hard on it. As users, we should neither make excuses for LL nor accept excuses from LL.

Fortnite has a social aspect. SL needs to figure out how to tap into that desire to socialize in a 3D world and start picking up users who want to socialize more and shoot less.

The Sansar money drain needs to stop. High Fidelity gave up ("pivoted to enterprise" - yeah, right). Sinespace is less than 100 concurrent users and not going anywhere. Sansar has about 11 concurrent users on Steam. More non-Steam users, but under 100 concurrent users. Sansar has 30 people working on it, one for every  3 concurrent users. SL has 70 for 45,000 concurrent users. The Sansar market segment, which I call "VR game level loaders", is a flop, along with VR headsets. Even VRChat is only a few thousand users. So it's safe for Ebbe to admit failure now that everybody else has failed too.

That's a starting point.

I hope you are sitting down.

 

I agree with everything you've said here. 

:o xD

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I would build a new Governor's Mansion on a full size sim that would be built so grand that it would be the 9th Wonder of the World. A swimming pool to lounge around. And a English Garden to sit. A tennis court. Have the place landscaped to the hilt not using those old style two sided flat faced prims. Use it as an info hub. Maybe even have the Governor show up once in a while to meet and greet. 

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Good to read actual suggestions here so will only add : " Even more improvements to Premium Membership are coming later this year "

Actually having them ready to go and announced at the same time might have been a good idea (Yep the new homes are a start for those into that sort of thing so - what else is there?)

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Posted (edited)

My two cents would be to advertise more and in better places.I just found out about second life in February. I'm 35 and I was blown away. Not just because it's like something out of a sci-fi movie but mostly because I had never heard about it. I've spent most of my free time in front of my computer for most of my life and I never knew it existed. I just happened to see an ad for it while trying to find a way to hack an old laptop bios because it's old so who cares if I burn it up learning stuff and I figured a new mmo game could be fun. It's been amazing even though most of my experience felt like walking through some sort of post apocalyptic future society that had collapsed from some unknown catastrophe. I did end up finding some groups and made some really good friends already but I'm still feeling half amazed that it exists and still feeling completely mind blown that I never knew about it. Never even heard about it. I had absolutely no idea that anything like it existed. I would have been a steady user for the past 16 years but I didn't know it was there. Every time I log in it almost feels like I'm in the movie "Ready Player One" and I can't get over the fact that it's existed since 2003. Does Linden Labs even advertise? Other than that why only have one membership option? That doesn't make sense at all. That membership is the product. There should be as many options as possible to accommodate the variety of users. They should definitely have several options above the current premium but they should also add a couple cheaper options too for people who are willing to spend a little money  but don't care as much about the bells and whistles. The more products you have the wider your customer base will be. Of course your customer base will be zero if nobody knows about your product. I don't know if my personal experience is relevant but I just thought I would share. I want Second Life to stay around for a while. After all, I only just found out about it. :)

Edited by LeifSconde
left out a word
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First of all, you don't encourage people to go from free to premium accounts by taking away what they already had. You make premium accounts more attractive. I think they are really going to have some serious backlash over reducing the group count for basic. I remember when they raised that and a lot of people were very happy. Groups are a very relied on function in SL. I don't know if LL realizes the impact that will have. On the other side of that. Getting 10 more groups and a higher message cap means absolutely nothing to me as a premium member. If they'd increased the land allowance again, that would have mattered a lot more. 

I'm not really upset or surprised at the raising of premium prices. I'm more surprised they've stayed the same for as long as they have. I think their timing stinks though. They should have raised them at the same time they released the new Linden Homes. I'm sure some people are going to feel they were scammed to a certain degree. It's like "We just finally saw enough to want to be premium members. "Surprise, you got your taste and spent time and money decorating your shiney new Linden Home. Now we're jacking the prices up." Getting rid of quarterly accounts is probably to make the bookkeeping easier. I could have seen offering 6 month time periods, but they didn't do that.

The reduction in tier costs for full sims is great for those whom it affects, but unlike what they are doing with basic accounts, it's not going to be a make or break change. If they want more people to buy sims, they need to drop or significantly lower the initial cost. I could see paying the equivalent of an additional month tier to transfer ownership and change the name. That's literally a 30 second change on the back end. There's no reason it should cost $600+. That fee can't be a significant income stream either. They want more long term land owners, that would do it. I'm pretty sure the group that I'm in that owns a collective area for our homes and such would jump at a grandfathered estate sim if it were just $179 to set up. we're paying pretty close to that as it is in mainland tier, but the setup fee is prohibitive.

As for balancing the books? Charge a percentage on every L$ transfer of any kind. Make it say 2L or 2% whichever is higher. Also, stop funneling money make in SL to Sansar development. They need to separate that project and pay for it with it's own revenue stream. It's been a lamprey sucking the blood of SL long enough for very little to show for it.

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Posted (edited)

If I were Linden Lab, I'd facilitate native gift/redelivery for in-world purchases to eliminate the need of a third-party vendor script in every damn vendor object.

Edited by Arduenn Schwartzman
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1. Revisit the new user workflow. It is far too hard to learn how to use second life. Posting signs and videos on orientation island is not adequate onboarding: users should experience a live, interactive tutorial that is interesting and fun, like one experiences when starting a new game.

2. Borrow technologies from Sansar. You've already paid to develop great improvements on what we have here on sl: UI-visual wardrobe changes, VR controller gestures, a far better land solution that works based on memory usage rather than physical size on a grid. These would be huge value-adds for sl, alleviating some of sl's greatest problems: new user difficulty in learning to unbox and wear out of inventory, and prohibitive pricing structure of regions.

3. You're moving in the right direction by trying to transition to a subscription model instead of a land sale model. As others have suggested, add more tiers of subscription with different benefits, including a-la carte options.

4. Create business infrastructure. Right now, you cannot use a single creator account to answer questions with multiple CSRs except by either using an outside service or by entrusting another user with access to your cash flow. Create built-in support for the growing multi-partner business model by having branching, ticket style business accounts that can be managed and accessed at different permissions levels and can safely coordinate money and message distribution among several users. Allow these business profiles to be listed as their own marketplace accounts and object creators, irrespective of actual admin usernames. (This is a perfect high level premium option.)

5. Add sl to steam. Steam has been cemented for many years as the main place to go to discover new games. Use it!

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1 hour ago, Crim Mip said:

First of all, you don't encourage people to go from free to premium accounts by taking away what they already had. You make premium accounts more attractive. I think they are really going to have some serious backlash over reducing the group count for basic. I remember when they raised that and a lot of people were very happy. Groups are a very relied on function in SL. I don't know if LL realizes the impact that will have. On the other side of that. Getting 10 more groups and a higher message cap means absolutely nothing to me as a premium member. If they'd increased the land allowance again, that would have mattered a lot more. 

I'm not really upset or surprised at the raising of premium prices. I'm more surprised they've stayed the same for as long as they have. I think their timing stinks though. They should have raised them at the same time they released the new Linden Homes. I'm sure some people are going to feel they were scammed to a certain degree. It's like "We just finally saw enough to want to be premium members. "Surprise, you got your taste and spent time and money decorating your shiney new Linden Home. Now we're jacking the prices up." Getting rid of quarterly accounts is probably to make the bookkeeping easier. I could have seen offering 6 month time periods, but they didn't do that.

The reduction in tier costs for full sims is great for those whom it affects, but unlike what they are doing with basic accounts, it's not going to be a make or break change. If they want more people to buy sims, they need to drop or significantly lower the initial cost. I could see paying the equivalent of an additional month tier to transfer ownership and change the name. That's literally a 30 second change on the back end. There's no reason it should cost $600+. That fee can't be a significant income stream either. They want more long term land owners, that would do it. I'm pretty sure the group that I'm in that owns a collective area for our homes and such would jump at a grandfathered estate sim if it were just $179 to set up. we're paying pretty close to that as it is in mainland tier, but the setup fee is prohibitive.

As for balancing the books? Charge a percentage on every L$ transfer of any kind. Make it say 2L or 2% whichever is higher. Also, stop funneling money make in SL to Sansar development. They need to separate that project and pay for it with it's own revenue stream. It's been a lamprey sucking the blood of SL long enough for very little to show for it.

You are right on the taking away from the free users, Yes free users are basically the backbone of ANY mmorpg games, i can imagine a reduced free users will do to SL. Less free users, less visitors to land and sim, for real, there is no landowners or sim owner would pay for a ghost town monthly. They stop paying, and less sim available, less sim to visit will cause the remaining free users to exit and finally when no more free users, the premiums will leave too as there is only few faces available. Not to mention a dead Market Place where no one buys anything and this will cause the Linden purchases to fail too.. It is a vicious cycle that will eventually tear SL apart.

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7 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

I see a ton of folks b****ing and moaning over the new changes.  I am not thrilled either as I will be paying about $150 more each year. BUT personally I don't see a better plan.

So what EXACTLY would you do if you were The Lab to "balance the spreadsheet" so to speak?

Decisions that impact one set of people don't impact another. Is it fair for one group of people to take on the new burden and not the others?

If you have some stellar ideas --- let The Lab know. Maybe they will take that into consideration in the future. Remember Linden Lab is a BUSINESS. It needs to make a profit or it just disbands. So the "give me 500 lindens stipend now" and the "give alts a discount on costs" topics just aren't going to cut it.

 

Personally, while not excited about new plan I can see MANY other alternatives that would be worse.

So give it your best shot --- or maybe just be quiet.

 

Always choices. 

I don't actually have too much of a problem with the pricing changes. It's part of Linden Lab's medium-term vision to move some of the upkeep of Second Life from a small number of landowners and onto the wider population. Sure, that makes things more expensive for me, but I understand the reasons why so I'm fine with it.

Three things I have issues with though:

  • Removing the quarterly payment option, and drastically reducing the discount for the grandfathered quarterly accounts. I don't see why they would do this. Quarterly payment options are a pretty common staple of every subscription-based game out there, and they're not removing annual subscriptions... this one is just a head scratcher.
  • Reducing the offline IM/group membership cap because "our backend is bad and we haven't touched it in 15 years" is a garbage justification. They could have duct taped on a lazy IRC/Jabber setup when SL was in its infancy, let alone any of the superior options currently available. If groups are causing too much backend strain due to massively outdated tech, then LL should fix it. 
  • I'd also prefer that the stipend rises in line with the premium account fee increase. Right now I pay $5 for the stipend and $4.50 for the other premium features (less on longer term payment plans); that's rising to $7 for the "other features". $2.50 a month for 10 more group slots. Wow, such value. 350L per week comes out at ~$6, or half the premium fee, which keeps the premium account fee at roughly half-lindens and half-features.
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  1. Downsize Sansar - people who already use SL aren't likely to migrate over and lose all their inventories, friends, communitues etc so it was set to fail from the start
  2. Add "Tiers" of Premium - a cheap tier for those who want more groups and region access, medium for those who want groups, region access and a home, expensive for those who want it all
  3. Advertise better and more thoughtfully - show what SL can truly be and show all the communities of it
  4. Make it more user friendly - when I joined there was a HUGE learning curve which took me months to get over and I couldn't find any info, so providing tutorials, help groups, providing useful info for people who want their avatars to look like the ones on the adverts (which brings me to my next point...)
  5. Better starting avatars - people join and want to look good. When I joined I was comparing my avatar to people who had accounts 10+ years and felt bad when my avatar looked like a potato next to them. Consider paying established creators to provide outfits, accessories, hair, etc. Perhaps set up a network of stores who give discounts for newbies.
  6. Limit the number of alt accounts - I've come across people with 7+ alt accounts. I can't think of many other games that so freely accept alt accounts which take up space, resources, usernames, etc.
  7. I saw someone mention Steam and that would be a very good move - I find most of my new games by browsing on Steam and showing SL on there would definitely attract attention
  8. Remove the 5% process credit fee plans - this is going to seriously affect creators, land owners, etc. Suddenly losing 5% of your income is a big loss and having to lose that 5% on every withdrawal you make will add up dramatically over time. 2.5% was bad enough but increasing that by 100% is ridiculous.
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8 hours ago, Nextio said:

Linden Labs biggest mistake was not separating Adult accounts from everyone else.  There should have been a total separation.  Flagged adult accounts should have had their own servers and unable to communicate or see non-flagged adult accounts.  They could still do it, but it's going to cause a lot of backlash and technical problems now.

Why? What on earth? Why should I have to be segregated as if I'm something shameful? My lindens hold the same value as anyone else's. Adult accounts shouldn't be able to see or communicate with non-adult accounts? That's ridiculous. I have sex in the real world, too, yet I'm still able to converse with people who may not have sex. Children even! Priests! Nuns! Oh, the horror!

Yes, I engage in adult activities in SL. A lot of them. I also shop nearly every event, live on Bellisseria, go see live music, explore, pay tier on another property, spend thousands of lindens on the MP on everything from BDSM gear to a bowl of pink roses as well as a ton of in-world retail shopping... I do all the things PG accounts do, spend the same money, AND spend even more paying for memberships to exclusive adult sims, clubs, and resorts as well as the expensive X-rated furniture the PG accounts don't. 

Segregate me? Absolutely not. 

If people don't want to go to adult sims or view adult profiles, they have that option. Hiding adult accounts and pretending we don't exist is absolutely ludicrous and offensive. Without us, SL wouldn't have lasted as long as it has. 

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Thanks for all the comments.  I am heading to bed but look forward to seeing more in the days to come.

Who knows, some may be incorporated into the roadmap.  LIVING in a world gives citizens a very different outlook than hosting the world :D.

 

PS. Forgot to press send on this last night so extra thanks for more thoughtful comment.  Who know? Someone out there may be listening.

**************************

Morning notes

The feedback I am getting from my friends (mostly content creators) isn't too negative but they aren't happy with the increase (AGAIN) of cashing out.  Things have been pretty tough out there for quite a few folks and that extra cut along with additional costs for those that are premium does make them wonder why or if they should keep trying.  

I had personally already decided to cut back some. My only real move over these changes will be to drop my new premium payment on Lani, my building alt.  Again, my personal cost will go up about $150 a year. 

 

I have to say that while I enjoyed my time in Sansar and learned a bunch (mostly improving my Blender workflow) it has changed so much and seems very lost in its direction that I don't have many hopes for its success.  

 

Again, increasing premium fees and then giving that money BACK to those paying in the form of higher stipend pretty much negates the raise so I can't see that is any viable "solution".  Up front cash flow, but that's about it. 

 

We know from what Ebbe said in the NWN interview a couple of months ago that premium membership had been up. We know from the vast number of people that either became premium or made alts premium  -- or both -- that the number increased because of the new Linden Homes.  How much they drop over this -- I guess we'll see; although some of that won't be showing up for a year. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, sourapplepie said:

I saw someone mention Steam and that would be a very good move - I find most of my new games by browsing on Steam and showing SL on there would definitely attract attention.

LL looked at putting SL on Steam back in 2012.  The original announcement is here:

as it subsequently turned out it seems Linden and Valve couldn't reach agreement due to complications. What those complications were I dunno.  Just that this is what LL said at that time. Link here: https://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2013/09/why-second-life-isnt-on-steam.html

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1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

Segregate me? Absolutely not. 

Hence my suggestion of 

Quote

Give people a way to entirely opt out of everything A rated. Tick the box and poof! All M and A land vanishes. They only see other people who have opted out.

Everything and everyone they disapprove of would just vanish, no excuses, no more of this "sex kills sl" nonsense. It's been a trope since day one and while responsible for SL being still here after 16 years, it's also generated a ton of needlessly negative coverage and has hampered SL being taken seriously.

This kind of firewall option would make it impossible for someone to accidentally find anything or anyone adult, going well beyond the current 'adult access' check.

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2 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Hence my suggestion of 

Everything and everyone they disapprove of would just vanish, no excuses, no more of this "sex kills sl" nonsense. It's been a trope since day one and while responsible for SL being still here after 16 years, it's also generated a ton of needlessly negative coverage and has hampered SL being taken seriously.

This kind of firewall option would make it impossible for someone to accidentally find anything or anyone adult, going well beyond the current 'adult access' check.

Can't they already do that by changing their ratings pretty much?

As far as the negative coverage, it's my recollection that that brouhaha was about age-play, something every single person I know finds utterly grotesque and has nothing to do with the adult side of SL. That has to do with the illegal side of SL and I think they are doing everything they can to combat it. That, perhaps, has hampered people's views of SL and I would love for them to address that directly. Sex does not equal age-play. Sex does not equal CP. There are billions and billions and billions of dollars being made in the adult industry. Look at PornHub's value. Is anyone *not* taking them seriously as a company?

One of the things I love about SL is that it does have so much to offer to all. No one is forced to visit an adult sim, no one is forced to view my naughty adult-rated profile. I think they should capitalize on that. What a G rated experience? We have that. PG? We have that, too. And, yes, we also have R and XXX rated experiences as well. People are free to explore all parts as they wish. 

I love that.

 

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1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

Can't they already do that by changing their ratings pretty much?

They can still see all the perverts.

This is for the people who want to see all the adults banished to their own grid, run by a different company and nothing to do with their precious Second Life.

I'm talking about a full on prude safe mode. Enable it and you only see G land and other people who have checked the safe mode box.

1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

As far as the negative coverage, it's my recollection that that brouhaha was about age-play, something every single person I know finds utterly grotesque and has nothing to do with the adult side of SL. That has to do with the illegal side of SL and I think they are doing everything they can to combat it. That, perhaps, has hampered people's views of SL and I would love for them to address that directly. Sex does not equal age-play. Sex does not equal CP. There are billions and billions and billions of dollars being made in the adult industry. Look at PornHub's value. Is anyone *not* taking them seriously as a company?

Hamlets latest video interview with Ebbe went off the deep end about all those freaky adults and the nasty things you can just be exposed to in SL. I challenged him on that on Reddit and he came out of the wood work to state, very plainly, that LL needs to just make all the adult content go very far away.

Full on segregation is the only thing that will stop that drum beat and I for one don't plan on going anywhere.

1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

One of the things I love about SL is that it does have so much to offer to all. No one is forced to visit an adult sim, no one is forced to view my naughty adult-rated profile. I think they should capitalize on that. What a G rated experience? We have that. PG? We have that, too. And, yes, we also have R and XXX rated experiences as well. People are free to explore all parts as they wish. 

I love that.

Same. But pointing out that you have to explicitly look for adult content doesn't carry any weight, the fact it exists at all is what causes the upset.

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1 minute ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Hamlets latest video interview with Ebbe went off the deep end about all those freaky adults and the nasty things you can just be exposed to in SL. I challenged him on that on Reddit and he came out of the wood work to state, very plainly, that LL needs to just make all the adult content go very far away.

Heh... you just outed yourself on Reddit to me. I remember that thread well. I lit into him as well, but I think I was late to the party. I absolutely despise that little moron and hate that LL gives him any platform and gives him any credibility. 

If Ebbe is going to grant him an interview, will he grant me one as well? I also have a blog. 🤷‍♀️

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My Mom and I were just discussing this - and some of the ideas/suggestions we bounced off each other included but were not limited to:

 

Purging old accounts that are taking up server space.  People that have not touched SL in ten years are probably not coming back. And even if they do, nothing in their inventories would be relevant - so you send an email to the email address on file and give them to the end of the year to log into their account if they want to keep it.  If not - purge.  Same goes for land/parcels that have not been touched.  Tons of "abandoned land" just sitting - taking up server space.  

 

Offer tiered Premium subscriptions.  Something like a $5/mo option where you only get the perks of getting into events easier - some people definitely have it ONLY for this.  It would include no parcel, no extra groups, and no stipend.  Then go from there.  Next step up gets more groups, small stipend, land/house.  Next up gets even more groups, bigger stipend, etc.  

 

ASK the community what they would like to see as options.  "We need to raise the prices for the first time in x amount of years - here are some options we came up with.  We can either take away THAT and give you THIS..or..."  INVOLVE the people that are playing!  WE are the ones this affects!

 

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