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Grumpity Linden

A brief note on pricing changes, which ran long.

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My english is kinda weak

but I have one question about annual membership. I have an annual membership since January of this year. So it will end next year. Do I need to pay extra money now? Or I can do that next year when I have to renew it?

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Paying Premium annually gives a cash injection to the Lab for all these goodies.  

No one willingly wants to pay more for anything ever, but being realistic, if we want the infrastructure to continually improve, we have to pay our hosts to do it.

And to the basic account users who see themselves as paying their way from Market Place purchases,  yes this is still revenue you pay to the lab, but Premium accounts also make Market Place purchases too!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Grumpity Linden said:

We’re not lowering limits out of spite, groups really are quite a strain on our back end for a variety of painful historical reasons, including overloading group functionality instead of having other tools.  This subject alone is worth a novel liberally sprinkled with tears. So anyway, we don’t hate basic users, and in fact we work hard to retain our free-to-play offering as one of the most generous across many industries. But yes, no big surprise, we do want to nudge active residents to become subscribers, because we think it’s a great value, and - as many have noted - we’re also running a business. But no, we're not shutting our doors to non-premium residents. Rumors of our insanity and villainy have been slightly exaggerated.  

I can complain about everything else because while LL struggles so are users, and it impacts us. This I consider serious and a mistake, if infallibility were behind every decision perhaps this 16th would have been brighter for the users. I'm going with skepticism on this reduction. I do not believe this is going to mobilize new premium users out of thin air/unrealistically out of the existing userbase. This is going to alienate a lot of basic users and reduce their willingness to engage in SL, nevermind paying for it! Unless I saw numbers I even think eating the cost for this pays off compared to what reducing it will do. Other tools are probably worth getting in order because much of SL is relying on these groups right now. So I firmly believe there will be a negative effect once the crunch hits people. The group limits have increased and increased and groups have become more important along with this.

Edited by Desudesudesuka
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1 hour ago, Grumpity Linden said:

Rumors of our insanity and villainy have been slightly exaggerated.  

I celebrate your sense of humor!

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1 hour ago, Grumpity Linden said:

Premium prices are going up on June 24.  Starting June 3 and until June 24,  Premium accounts have 3 weeks to pre-pay an additional cycle of premium at the old rates.  Best deal is, of course, prepaying for annual regardless of your current level. We hope you can take advantage of it. If you’re paying quarterly today, you can continue as quarterly. We will no longer offer it to new premium signups.  With the new prices, VAT will be charged on monthly and quarterly but not annual (of course only in the countries where VAT applies).

Sorry, I was thinking of going premium and I would pay annually because like you it is the best deal. BUT VAT only then monthly because not annual and quaterly is not for new sign ups. For me VAT applies…. So I would pay annually my membership and VAT is only monthly possible - this process  I don't understand the reason for it because would be better to pay all in once.

 

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Perhaps someone here can help me understand about locking in another year at the original price? The blog stated that between June and July, a person could get one more year. My problem is that my premium is not due until December 31st. Does this mean I'm SOL for being able to do this?

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Grumpity Linden said:

So anyway, we don’t hate basic users, and in fact we work hard to retain our free-to-play offering as one of the most generous across many industries.

Is this really the right decision? Wouldn’t it bring more income for LL to quit the Basic Membership? Aren’t we all interested in a faster (and more reliable) development? Do we really need thousands of never used accounts or ever-noob avatars with empty profiles and no payment info? I know: Some people don’t have a lot of money, and also as a free member they are a nice and important part of the community. But when they are in SL for a long time, is SL really not worth a small fee? For example a fee of 1 US$ for each month you log in. If you don’t login in a month, no fee is charged. So no monthly plan, but a fee depending on your logins. Users could fill a „purse“ of their account in steps of 5 or 10 US$ and the first login in a month would reduce the purse credit by 1 US$. I think everyone could pay this and it would be a way to make land more affordable. Premium members with annual plan have to pay 37,5% more now, do we want this? These are the people who already pay for their SL. And all the designers who create the content we like have to pay a doubled fee now when they want to withdraw their earnings to real life. Do we want this? These are the people who mainly make SL and our avatars look like it is now. So should the people who already pay even pay more? Or better everyone (!) pays a bit? People who never pay need (and expect) that other people pay, so they are able use SL for free - often for years. Is this right? Should this be supported for ever? Shouldn’t LL find a way that the paying and creating people don’t need to pay more and more?

(Yes, I know. SL needs new users and new users never wanna pay without testing. So give them a free month.)

Payment isn’t the problem of SL for getting (keeping!) new users. The reason they don’t return is that SL is too complicate for new users. 1000 settings of the viewer. LL viewer or Firestorm? Default avatar? Or wearing (!) a mesh body and a separated mesh head? Oh, then the default avatar is hidden. So also your skin is hidden. Hopefully you find the same skin applier for body and head or you manage how to edit the tone. Understanding alpha layers. Even different when using the mesh body HUD. Oh forgot: Hands and feet are separate mesh parts too. So buy correct shoes or they won’t match. Yes, there are different mesh generations - rigged, unrigged. No, forget sculpties, they are outdated like so many things here. Different textures for mesh. No, you can’t create mesh with the viewer tools. Yes, you can create system clothes with the viewer. But don’t do it, yes smartass, it’s outdated. Wearing system clothes, mesh clothes or use an applier HUD for textures? Wear or add objects or need applier? Different mesh systems for hair (don’t use system hair, silly. Just wear a base. Well, that’s a bald of ... ok, sorry, of the system hair.) and especially for apparel. Found a cheap mesh body? Cool! Oh, didn’t find clothes for it? Haha, yes. Omega (Kit? Applier? Relay HUD? Huh?) may work. But you need to buy the right one. “Soon” (tm) we will have Bakes on Mesh, again changing a lot. Open a box? Well, just click it. Oh, or you need to drag (“rezz”, wut?) it to the ground. Not allowed? You need permission for this. Why? Where? How? Why I am shaking my arms like a bird while I am standing? Haha, silly noob AO. Oh, what’s an AO? - And all this is only the start. Still not learned about inventory, outfits and other UI parts, object permissions, maturity ratings, land allowance (buy and/or monthly fee, mainland and private is different), complicated group functions (deed?), gestures, scripts, building, music/media, offline restrictions and much more. How can I find people with the same interests? The search mainly leads me to “sex”-places or “clubs”, no matter what I am looking for, because keyword-spamming rules. And btw: Inworld help you get at user driven support regions or in user groups (Firestorm for example), not driven my LL. So maybe somewhere there the problem is “hidden”, why most of new users never return or give up soon? Because SL grew in steps as it did and never was simplified, the whole concept of SL is grumpy now. Rebuild it, simplify it, courageously kick old content and structures.

Edited by Milena Coy
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14 minutes ago, Digit Gears said:

I do wonder though, did premium REALLY need 10 more group slots at expense of basic? Was 60 really not enough?

Selfish Premium users! 

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1 minute ago, Digit Gears said:

I do wonder though, did premium REALLY need 10 more group slots at expense of basic? Was 60 really not enough?

I very much agree with this. The adverse affects on basics for the reduced group slots and IM capping will be much greater than the benefits for premium accounts. In some ways I'd love more group slots, but I already complain about the numbers of advertising notices I log in to, so I really wouldn't. 60 is enough for a rounded collection.

That 35 will be much harder though, especially when some go in and out of periods of activity.

And 15 offline IMs? It's really about the social contacts, but that's hard to quantify so I'll use groups. 15 notices means slightly more than half your groups sending out a single notice a day.

(Currently premium after years of basic)

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5 minutes ago, November Velde said:

Perhaps someone here can help me understand about locking in another year at the original price? The blog stated that between June and July, a person could get one more year. My problem is that my premium is not due until December 31st. Does this mean I'm SOL for being able to do this?

I think it means if you can pay now, you'll essentially get an extra year and a half (remainder of your current sub plus a year) at the lower price.

Very good for those who are near the beginning of their current sub, a bit frustrating for those like me who are due for renewal anyway. At least it's another year for me to figure out if the increased fee is financially viable. I'm very grateful annual doesn't bring on VAT. VAT + the increase would be more than I can justify.

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5 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

I think it means if you can pay now, you'll essentially get an extra year and a half (remainder of your current sub plus a year) at the lower price.

I thought that was the case as well. I can see it being complicated, though. Lets say I pay today. There are 215 days left in this year. So if paid, that would leave me with 580 days of membership. My concern is what happens on December 31st? Do I get zinged again, at the new rate or will it skip and not bill me until December 31st, 2020?

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8 minutes ago, November Velde said:

I thought that was the case as well. I can see it being complicated, though. Lets say I pay today. There are 215 days left in this year. So if paid, that would leave me with 580 days of membership. My concern is what happens on December 31st? Do I get zinged again, at the new rate or will it skip and not bill me until December 31st, 2020?

i see it as grandfathering the subscription for one more period after the current one expires. Raises in the time this "grandfathering""  is active won't be billed, but as soon you have to renew again the price of that moment will be billed. And that might be higher than the newly announced ones.

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1 hour ago, Grumpity Linden said:
  • Premium prices are going up on June 24.  Starting June 3 and until June 24,  Premium accounts have 3 weeks to pre-pay an additional cycle of premium at the old rates.  Best deal is, of course, prepaying for annual regardless of your current level. We hope you can take advantage of it. If you’re paying quarterly today, you can continue as quarterly. We will no longer offer it to new premium signups. 

 

@Grumpity Linden Not sure I understand this, can it be clarified please?

My renewal comes up in the autumn. Let's say it's Sept. Does this mean I can renew early at the old premium rate, i.e. if I do it between 3-24 June, I have this current cycle left which will run out in Sept., then when the Sept. renewal date comes round it will already be paid, but at the old rate. Then next year Sept. (2020) the new rate will apply. Is this correct?

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2 minutes ago, November Velde said:

I thought that was the case as well. I can see it being complicated, though. Lets say I pay today. There are 215 days left in this year. So if paid, that would leave me with 580 days of membership. My concern is what happens on December 31st? Do I get zinged again, at the new rate or will it skip and not bill me until December 31st, 2020?

Hopefully they'll have sorted that all out in the accounts software, otherwise everyone who pays ahead will get zinged and they'll have to refund it to all of us and that will be a right pain. This is LL though, so I suppose we can't count on it ;)

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, November Velde said:

Perhaps someone here can help me understand about locking in another year at the original price? The blog stated that between June and July, a person could get one more year. My problem is that my premium is not due until December 31st. Does this mean I'm SOL for being able to do this?

Its like a placeholder 'event' meaning you hold your current rate for a further year plus what you have now. Between the 3rd and 24th you can select the option to do so.  

On the 3rd of June that is when you can take up the offer it will be on your account page on that day until the 24th. 

Edited by ananoelle

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I suppose an option will be to call them, record what is being said AND have a text chat at the same time. it will be somewhat of a record for down the road if the wheels fall off the wagon. Another way would be to calculate the time left on one's current subscription and issue a refund. once that happens, a person pays for one more year and their new renewal date would become that day. Personally, I'd love for my membership to NOT be due on New Years Eve (PSA: recreational alcohol use can have lasting consequences! :D lol )

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1 hour ago, Grumpity Linden said:

Land prices:  Full estates get ~$20/mo reduction in price. For the first time we are also reducing GF/BD region pricing.  This is not a frivolous gift to the 1%. This has real and proven effects on the rents many more pay. 

You going to gurantee for that...how exactly?

How do you know the estate holders aren't just going to enjoy the passive profit increase? With other prices rising at the same time, I can easily see how a landlord might argue that they are going to use that money to cover for additional costs for membership and exchange.

And speaking of the perspective of a premium member: I became premium so I don't have to rent from another resident. And I'm pretty sure many more have the same motivation, because only a premium member can own mainland. Those residents don't profit form that.

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This is the first I've heard of all this. First, how much are the fees increasing and second, please explain the groups issue. 

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1 hour ago, Grumpity Linden said:

P.S. we haven't given up on Last Names either. 

Since you're open to suggestions... Don't put it up together with premium when it's ready (some more news on it would also be appreciated), there's literally no reason to aside of "if you want it that much, then on top of the fee for that service (whatever it might/will be) we're also gonna make you pay for that 1 month of premium".

And yeah, I also disagree with that nudge method by taking 7 group from basic users and giving 10 to premiums. If anything it'll make quite a few people unhappy. Adding more value to premiums - sure, why not, maybe some people just needed that slight push to take the leap. But taking away the basics to make enough room for it... is still a bad move.

And It's no secret that a lot of people in SL have plenty of alts for all kinds of needs and I'm pretty sure that most of those people don't pay for premium on each of those accounts (some do, I know that). Lots don't even bother to add payment info on alts, since they can freely transfer L$ from their main account. But as long as those other accounts are "socially active" and not just testing/building ones, they ALL benefit from the basic functions, such as groups (and offline IMs to a lesser extent). The group gifts, discounts, sales, credits, notices, chats/support, RP groups etc. In this case, you're adding value to/making such resident's experience better and worse at the same time, depending on the amount of active "non premium alts" you might be taking away more value than you give, which will make the user behind all those accounts unhappy. Unhappy users are less likely to spend money, stick around and so on.

I do understand the back end's issue, I remember reading about it a few times. But again, taking from some residents to give others... is not the right move. There also should be moving to the AWS soon (tm), which should help with infrastructure and hopefully have positive effect on SL's general performance (Right? Or why even bother with it).

I'm not sure how possible it is from coding/development side of things (especially knowing how old some of the SL's code is), but maybe instead of just cutting the groups you should try to find a way to limit the number of active group chats? There's already a *Receive group instant messages* checkmark in group's options, now it works as the blacklist and just mutes the group if you uncheck it. Maybe make it server sided and make it so it can be checked only for a limited amount of groups at the same time? So a user have to disable chat for one of his/her groups if he/she wants to activate it for another. Alternatively make some new type of groups - "group lite" (and add an options for existing groups to convert to it), with chat permanently disabled and some kind of a notices per week cap (5-7 maybe). That way people can still take advantage of being informed on new releases within SL (not everyone checks blogs and flickr), of group discounts and gifts, but won't overload your group/chat servers with spam and other stuff that is usually goes in big groups. I think more people would be completely fine with it,  than there are with just plain group decrease. After all majority of shopping related groups already have chat rights disabled and used purely for notices/group perks. And many residends keep group chats closed at all times as well.

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I am aware that LL is trying to shift the economy away from a tier-based economy. I am aware that this is not easy. I agree that it is long overdue and vital to the long term survival of SL.

However, the last few rounds -- including this one -- have targeted creators disproportionately. Doubling the credit processing fee actually is a huge deal, and directly affects the livelihood of people who make a living or supplement their incomes here. It may seem like peanuts compared to "industry standards", but that's beside the point; people who depend on SL income are affected by SL fees, not what others might charge. (Reminder: most creators are not wealthy elites who wade in cash and sneer at the riff-raff.)

A few of the other changes will also indirectly affect creators. Reducing the group count will make it harder to reach customers. Reducing the number of offline IMs will make it harder to communicate with customers. (As a side note, taking away benefits is a very unfortunate way of treating customers/users -- google "loss aversion" to see why this is a psychological blunder even if it saves a few pennies.)

No, I have not forgotten about the $20 cut in full region tier. It is a step in the right direction, although it will clearly not lead to dramatic changes. And it does not come close to making up for the doubled credit processing fee.

It is worth remembering that almost all of the content in SL is not made by LL. It's made by us -- some for free, some for profit. It is starting to feel as if LL is taking creators for granted (where else are they going to go, right?) and by extension, taking consumers for granted.

Because in the end, this affects consumers as well. If this trend continues, creators will be faced with some unpleasant choices: cut cost through outsourcing and more cookie-cutter products, raise prices, or close shop.

Dear Linden Lab: If you want to preserve the creative vitality and healthy economy of Second Life, it's time to rethink and rebalance your strategy. Continuing down this path is not good for creators, not good for customers, and ultimately not good for your business.

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2 hours ago, Grumpity Linden said:
  • Premium prices are going up on June 24.  Starting June 3 and until June 24,  Premium accounts have 3 weeks to pre-pay an additional cycle of premium at the old rates.  Best deal is, of course, prepaying for annual regardless of your current level. We hope you can take advantage of it. If you’re paying quarterly today, you can continue as quarterly. We will no longer offer it to new premium signups.  With the new prices, VAT will be charged on monthly and quarterly but not annual (of course only in the countries where VAT applies).
     
  • We looked. We hadn’t raised premium prices in the history of premium prices in SL. Crazy! A lot of value has been added to premium over the last few years (new Linden Homes, double tier, reduced mainland prices, premium access, more offline IMs, more transaction history, more groups, more animesh, experiences, and yet more to come) and we are raising prices to reflect that.   
  • We’re not lowering limits out of spite, groups really are quite a strain on our back end for a variety of painful historical reasons, including overloading group functionality instead of having other tools.  This subject alone is worth a novel liberally sprinkled with tears. So anyway, we don’t hate basic users, and in fact we work hard to retain our free-to-play offering as one of the most generous across many industries. But yes, no big surprise, we do want to nudge active residents to become subscribers, because we think it’s a great value, and - as many have noted - we’re also running a business. But no, we're not shutting our doors to non-premium residents. Rumors of our insanity and villainy have been slightly exaggerated.   

In order:

  • Why remove quarterly payment plans? They're a staple of almost every subscription-based game out there, I just can't understand why or what you gain from this. Perhaps there's a real reason somewhere... but without it, this looks like a pointless spite decision.
  • Have you considered raising the weekly stipend in line with the price increase? As it currently stands, the monthly fee pays can be split up into $5 of Lindens and $4.50 of other features. Under the new prices, that changes to $7 of other features - £2.50 per month for 10 more group slots. Such value. A relatively small increase to 350L per week comes out at $6 of Lindens and $6 of other features per month, which keeps the ratio roughly the same, and means we're getting something material for pretty large price hike.
  • Is fixing this on your medium-term roadmap? I imagine the problem is 95% untangling the current group system from the existing backend, since chat systems that can handle tens of thousands of concurrent users have been around for years and years.
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I agree with @Cain Maven. I understand needing to find avenues where you can increase your profits, SL is a business after all, I'm sure no one can fault LL for needing to increase costs in places. However, the process credit fee was already raised once not so long ago and all of a sudden it's not only increased once again, but it's DOUBLED. 5% is a substantial amount (especially when cashing out larger sums) for creators who already pay for land for their stores, upload costs, marketplace fees and a fee for selling lindens on the LindeX Exchange before this 5% is even accounted for.

It's content creators that make this platform what it is, it's what keeps people buying lindens to go shopping at monthly events, in our stores, on the marketplace, SL is a blank canvas without the creator community and it's the same community that I would bet keeps the economy of SL alive. So why does it feel like in recent times, creators are constantly being punished and given the short end of the stick for helping to make this world what it is? Going through with this could make many creators question the cost of their releases and make them put their prices up to account for these increased fees, or perhaps quit creating altogether with the way things are going lately, which would then disrupt SL's economy majorly and throw off this "balance" LL are trying to achieve.

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20 minutes ago, Linda Reddevil said:

This is the first I've heard of all this. First, how much are the fees increasing and second, please explain the groups issue. 

See: 

 

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