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Nika Talaj

Belli impacts: Private Estates and Mainland

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I recently visited a few community rental estates that I had rented from in the past, and many of them have had to close regions and many of their homes now sit empty.. I don't know if this is an impact of Bellisseria or just a dwindling SL population, but it's incredibly sad to see.

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3 hours ago, s2Pandora said:

I recently visited a few community rental estates that I had rented from in the past, and many of them have had to close regions and many of their homes now sit empty.. I don't know if this is an impact of Bellisseria or just a dwindling SL population, but it's incredibly sad to see.

More likely the latter than the former. Bellisseria requires Premium subscription.

Though it has given reason for many to get their first Premium upgrades, it is unlikely that it is enough to cause that kind of result: sinking rental estates. Either those estates are not doing a very good job satisfying existing renters and word-of mouth proliferates, not very good at marketing for new renters, or just plain unsuccessful at the competition, it is highly unlikely the new LL homes have caused their demise.  The "Bellisseria Effect" may have made a dent or so, but hardly the cause, because "rental business estates" are not sustainable unless you do it right and are in the right location (hence: why those in Blake Sea area are the new "Anshe Chungs" of SL.

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6 hours ago, s2Pandora said:

I recently visited a few community rental estates that I had rented from in the past, and many of them have had to close regions and many of their homes now sit empty.. I don't know if this is an impact of Bellisseria or just a dwindling SL population, but it's incredibly sad to see.

 

2 hours ago, Alyona Su said:

More likely the latter than the former. Bellisseria requires Premium subscription.

Though it has given reason for many to get their first Premium upgrades, it is unlikely that it is enough to cause that kind of result: sinking rental estates. Either those estates are not doing a very good job satisfying existing renters and word-of mouth proliferates, not very good at marketing for new renters, or just plain unsuccessful at the competition, it is highly unlikely the new LL homes have caused their demise.  The "Bellisseria Effect" may have made a dent or so, but hardly the cause, because "rental business estates" are not sustainable unless you do it right and are in the right location (hence: why those in Blake Sea area are the new "Anshe Chungs" of SL.

I heard many talking in group chats saying they had never been premium before, having always rented either mainland or privately owned estate lands, but had decided to go premium with the first release of the new Linden Homes. I would not be surprised if this has continued.  The curiosity alone would be enough for some to at least try out the new homes. I also know some having tried it for a short time decided that it wasn't for them and have returned to mainland or rentals. And then there is the case of those loving it so much that they have created alts and made them premium so they could own more than one home. 

Personally, I think it's just way too early to speculate how this will all wash out.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Blush Bravin said:

Personally, I think it's just way too early to speculate how this will all wash out.

I completely concur. Which is why I try to recognize there has, at least. been a "dent", but it's too early to say it's anything more than that right now. Only time will tell, especially once the other themes are released; some of those who tried and didn't't like may look again once there are more genre selections.

Edited by Alyona Su
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On 8/2/2019 at 3:28 PM, Nika Talaj said:

I remember when LHs first came out, to much fanfare.  The private estate owners I knew were very unhappy about it; they saw LHs as siphoning off all new residents from estates.  And, even tho the LH sims were less than spectacular, I think that happened.   Use of the Community  Gateways that many estate owners had created to welcome newbies fell off dramatically.  Without a steady stream of newbies, and with land pricing becoming less advantageous, private estates have not been growing.

What do you think Belli will do to occupancy of mainland and private estates?

Many of the oldbies I see here in the forums, and inworld even, are keeping their other land holdings for the moment.  And there are a LOT of oldbies in Belli.  So much so that I really wonder how many newbies are here!  Only LL knows.  Surely the fervor around Belli will die down once it's built out and we're no longer partying with Moles in Belli chat.  But, will it still be a fun and exciting community then?  If so, we may see many oldbies downsizing other holdings.

Belli may turn out to actually help SL retention overall.  With its prettiness, safety, plentiful rez zones, interestingly interconnected waterways, extensive riding/walking paths, and 'easter eggs' here and there ... it's a sort of tourist destination.  I think that mainlanders and estate-dwellers who like where they currently dwell may still visit Belli to sail and wander. 

Your thoughts?

I don't know. I found it odd that I could not find a single tenant or friend to take the boathouse for a month. Maybe people just want their own property, but it's not all that (I have boathouses for rent with more room around them and more flexibility). The houses still seem awfully dinky to me. Are there really community events that aren't contrived? I don't know. I don't think they have that much affect on rentals because I think it's a different category of people. I'm not aware of tenants leaving for Belli. But maybe they have and I don't know. It's funny that it is mainly oldbies in it, apparently. And that means these oldbies may have land elsewhere on other accounts.

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11 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

I don't know. I found it odd that I could not find a single tenant or friend to take the boathouse for a month. Maybe people just want their own property, but it's not all that (I have boathouses for rent with more room around them and more flexibility). The houses still seem awfully dinky to me. Are there really community events that aren't contrived? I don't know. I don't think they have that much affect on rentals because I think it's a different category of people. I'm not aware of tenants leaving for Belli. But maybe they have and I don't know. It's funny that it is mainly oldbies in it, apparently. And that means these oldbies may have land elsewhere on other accounts.

This - you reaffirm my own hypothesis on the matter. Olbies have been around long enough to become annoyed and disillusioned with the states of the grid as it pertains to "get off my lawn or I'll shoot" mentality (that feels more prevalent than it really is.) Renters are people who prefer the flexibility of mobility or simply uninterested in the prerequisites of owning land or LL home.

This is why I say there may be a small dent in the rental business (from those upgrading to premium for the first time,) though generally overall will be status quo.

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12 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

I don't know. I found it odd that I could not find a single tenant or friend to take the boathouse for a month. Maybe people just want their own property, but it's not all that (I have boathouses for rent with more room around them and more flexibility). The houses still seem awfully dinky to me. Are there really community events that aren't contrived? I don't know. I don't think they have that much affect on rentals because I think it's a different category of people. I'm not aware of tenants leaving for Belli. But maybe they have and I don't know. It's funny that it is mainly oldbies in it, apparently. And that means these oldbies may have land elsewhere on other accounts.

I can only speak for myself, but as an oldbie I like Bellisseria because it isn't a ghost town. After I moved in, I let my other rentals go because I enjoyed Bellisseria so much, and I still do several months later. I did rent a tiny little parcel a couple of weeks ago to put a quiet skybox in just for those times when Bellisseria is too busy for me, but I don't see myself getting another large empty plot in a vast wasteland of other large empty plots and siphon the money I pay LL through a land baron. I quite like paying it directly to the Lindens and I think they are learning some really fabulous lessons from the success of Bellisseria.

With @Ebbe Linden's dedication to diversifying revenue streams and hopefully making LL less dependent on the land barons, I'm looking forward to seeing more variety in the Linden Home environment. Larger parcels with higher Li, but with the same quality landscaping, attention to detail, and homes, and all owned directly by LL. Diverse themes to appeal to a wider variety of people and creatures. An adult continent. Two adult continents, actually. One for people who want more adult themes, but not necessarily sexual (where child avatars could still be allowed) and one for people who do want a sexually open environment (where child avatars are absolutely forbidden, please). I have a big wish list of things I'd love see see LL implement and profit off of rather than land barons who don't really do much for the greater community of SL other than buy and sell land. 

I know SL was born on the concept of user-created content, and I love the amazingly talented people who make the things I buy, but LL has some wonderfully talented employees and contractors as well and I'm pretty cool with buying directly from them when possible. It might make creators up their own games a bit, and some of them who've gotten lazy because everyone buys whatever they release need that kick in the pants. Before Bellisseria, I never once considered the thought of having more than one premium account. Now, with the trailers and upcoming new themes, I know I'll be upgrading at least one alt, and possibly more. 

It would be awesome, though, to not have to use alts. Give me a premium level that would allow me to rent multiple LHs once they're all built out and I'd be happy as a clam and utterly delighted to have my landlords be Lindens instead of someone I don't know or trust. I also think it would help with new user retention and increasing premium memberships, and I would make certain to feature them in the new user experience that we all know needs some serious work. 

I also think Bellisseria residents are also absolutely loving having more interaction with Moles and Lindens. Even though the interaction has quieted down a bit with the angst strewn upon them for not building cookie-cutter homes, they are still around and it's fabulous. Hopefully once the fussy people get homes (or get homes they're satisfied with) @Patch Linden and the gang will start coming out to play again and that sort of fun with the much loved Lindens and Moles can't be offered by anyone other than LL. 

TL:DR version - If LL starts pulling in more money from individuals, and some land barons start losing money and bail... shrugs.

 

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14 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

. It's funny that it is mainly oldbies in it, apparently

I think that’s a misconception because only oldbies stand around saying “Look at all these oldbies! I’ve been here 13 years how bout you! Remember prims??” There are TONS of Residents in Bellieseria.

How do you recognize an oldbie in Second Life?

Wait five minutes, they’ll tell you 😛

 

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True oldbies are quite a bit older than 13 though, after all I am not far off that myself and I am definitely not an oldbie.  I liked your take on it though, very funny!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Gabriele Graves said:

True oldbies are quite a bit older than 13 though, after all I am not far off that myself and I am definitely not an oldbie.

Yeah, those of us who came here 12 or 13 years ago arrived in the big expansion wave of 2006-2007.  We were the new kids on the block, after the pioneers had started to settle in and get stodgy.  :)   It's only by comparison with the "Resident" newbies that we seem like oldbies.  I still bow and grovel before my elders.  Sometimes.

Edited by Rolig Loon
typos. as always.
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I have done everything... rented on estate, owned both old style and Belli homes, and now own regular mainland. As well as that I've also spent years as a homeless hobo with only an infohub to log in at. All of these options have their pros and cons and different people will prefer different things. 

For me, I liked them all in different ways for different reasons, but I think regular mainland is where I will stay. I like the freedom it has over other options.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Rolig Loon said:

Yeah, those of us who came here 12 or 13 years ago arrived in the big expansion wave of 2006-2007.  We were the new kids on the block, after the pioneers had started to settle in and get stodgy.  :)   It's only by comparison with the "Resident" newbies that we seem like oldbies.  I still bow and grovel before my elders.  Sometimes.

I thought oldbies were anyone who survived and stuck around longer than 30 days... Am I mistaken?

Edited by Alyona Su
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Posted (edited)
On 8/30/2019 at 11:40 AM, Beth Macbain said:

I can only speak for myself, but as an oldbie I like Bellisseria because it isn't a ghost town. After I moved in, I let my other rentals go because I enjoyed Bellisseria so much, and I still do several months later. I did rent a tiny little parcel a couple of weeks ago to put a quiet skybox in just for those times when Bellisseria is too busy for me, but I don't see myself getting another large empty plot in a vast wasteland of other large empty plots and siphon the money I pay LL through a land baron. I quite like paying it directly to the Lindens and I think they are learning some really fabulous lessons from the success of Bellisseria.

With @Ebbe Linden's dedication to diversifying revenue streams and hopefully making LL less dependent on the land barons, I'm looking forward to seeing more variety in the Linden Home environment. Larger parcels with higher Li, but with the same quality landscaping, attention to detail, and homes, and all owned directly by LL. Diverse themes to appeal to a wider variety of people and creatures. An adult continent. Two adult continents, actually. One for people who want more adult themes, but not necessarily sexual (where child avatars could still be allowed) and one for people who do want a sexually open environment (where child avatars are absolutely forbidden, please). I have a big wish list of things I'd love see see LL implement and profit off of rather than land barons who don't really do much for the greater community of SL other than buy and sell land. 

I know SL was born on the concept of user-created content, and I love the amazingly talented people who make the things I buy, but LL has some wonderfully talented employees and contractors as well and I'm pretty cool with buying directly from them when possible. It might make creators up their own games a bit, and some of them who've gotten lazy because everyone buys whatever they release need that kick in the pants. Before Bellisseria, I never once considered the thought of having more than one premium account. Now, with the trailers and upcoming new themes, I know I'll be upgrading at least one alt, and possibly more. 

It would be awesome, though, to not have to use alts. Give me a premium level that would allow me to rent multiple LHs once they're all built out and I'd be happy as a clam and utterly delighted to have my landlords be Lindens instead of someone I don't know or trust. I also think it would help with new user retention and increasing premium memberships, and I would make certain to feature them in the new user experience that we all know needs some serious work. 

I also think Bellisseria residents are also absolutely loving having more interaction with Moles and Lindens. Even though the interaction has quieted down a bit with the angst strewn upon them for not building cookie-cutter homes, they are still around and it's fabulous. Hopefully once the fussy people get homes (or get homes they're satisfied with) @Patch Linden and the gang will start coming out to play again and that sort of fun with the much loved Lindens and Moles can't be offered by anyone other than LL. 

TL:DR version - If LL starts pulling in more money from individuals, and some land barons start losing money and bail... shrugs.

 

This is a good post to bookmark as a very good example of the wild prejudice against "land barons" in Second Life, who make it possible for Second Life to exist beyond a VC's whim. 

Since it follows my comment, it is directed at me, but I have to chuckle, as my land holdings are tiny compared to actual "land barons" and I am not a land baron, running a small Mainland rentals business and supporting the SL Public Land Preserve. 

Look at Tyche Shepherd's reports which are instructive about a lot of things. I believe there are about 25,000 islands; of these, about 5,000 are Mainland, and a good chunk of those are owned by the Lindens directly i.e. not sublet, if you will, to those "direct" owners that you glorify in your post and imagine are helping the Lindens become "weaned" from land barons. We don't know how many premium accounts there are -- at their hey-day in 2007-2008, when the Lindens still helpfully posted economic information, there were about 100,000. There might be that may or more today but given how many islands have been lost and Mainland abandoned since then, more than 10 years ago, it's just very hard to say. I would think it's likely, if not for the fact of so many alts. 

Ebbe Linden is no different than his predecessors in wanting "diversity" of revenue streams. I think it's safe to say that today, with the expenses of pets, mesh avatars, fashion, gatchas, etc. that spending on these consumer goods outpaces rent or tier for many avatars and that means likely the economy inworld for residents is no longer made up of mainland land sales and rentals as it did in the first decade of SL's life or island rentals inworld as it has in the early part of the second decade. Think about what you spend on your premium account (let's use the figure of $11.99 or about 3200 Lindens although this cost varies) or a rental (let's say a 4096, which might be $4,300 Lindens a month)  , then think of your purchases of furniture, fashion, pets and their food, vehicles, etc. and I think you'll agree that more is spent on mesh body parts, clothing and accessories, pets, etc. than housing. It's hard to tell what the average "consumer basket" is in SL because we just don't have economic figures. But going by what I see hundreds of my tenants buying (and most of their rentals are more like $150-$350 range per week), housing is not their chief SL expense.

But for the Lindens, there is no way they can "wean themselves from land barons" simply because it's the core of their revenue. So your allergy to what you imagine is the land baron "aesthetic" and your stereotype of Monoply-style moneybags characters, they are what make LL possible to exist. The Lindens can only tax a sale of currency or a purchase on the Marketplace -- they may have ambitions to tax more, but it won't reach a figure higher than the sale of even cheaper sims over the years. The premium accounts, whether 100,000 or even double that by now cannot hope to make up the core of their revenue even added to their "taxes". Sims generate from $175 for a grandfathered private island to $229 for the newer islands and $109 for the homesteads, which require island ownership.

That means even if you take just the lower figure of $175 -- which you wouldn't, because grandfathered are in a minority -- you'd see revenue of $3.5 million from tier *per month* or $42 million *per year* -- and that's what Crunchbase says their revenue is currently -- while once it was $75 million, they've been losing a million a year in the last ten years, according to NWN, who put their revenue at $50 million in 2017 (read that article, based on Tyche Shepherd's reports of declining island ownership and increased abandoned land, to see how this figure was generated -- from tier). They couldn't get much more than a million from premiums even if everyone paid the full rate of $11.99 and didn't annualize them. It's doubtful they get more than a million from Marketplace sales although this is a hugely unknown figure (I'd be interested in guesses, but going by "items last purchased" which you can see as a ticker on the MP, I'm not seeing it. Right now, for example, I see "what customers are buying" is a dress for $250, hair for $350, dance system for $765, a skin for $1299 (BTW more evidence that those customers are likely paying for skins and clothes more than rent, because they don't just make one purchase of such items per year).

So the Lindens need to re-rent servers to exist, and that's what makes up their world. Whether they get it "directly" from end-users like yourself in the Linden homes, taken as an aggregate (a smaller percentage of their income) or "directly" from "land barons" (the bulk of their income), they need this to make and maintain a virtual world. Maybe some day the costs of the Lindens' vast server farm may be shifted to consumers, but not any time soon.

Now let's think of the actual human beings behind the title of "land baron". I'm a single parent of two living in low-income housing who has worked multiple jobs at the same time my whole life to support my family. My SL business is more in the category of "hobby" than anything else.

But having gotten to know some of the "land barons" over the years, whether the Chinese immigrant Anshe Chung (who might have been declared a "millionaire" on the cover of Business Week" a decade a go but who isn't in the "Fortune 500" by any stretch) or numerous other people, mainly from the US, Europe and Asia, who don't fit your imagined stereotype whatsoever. If you lifted the lid off SL and its anonymous avatars, you'd see more retired postal clerks in Columbus, Ohio shopping at Wal-marts or even working part-time there than you would see yacht owners on the Riveria -- there aren't any of those. Anshe incorporated in China years ago and invests in multiple worlds and I don't think she has a fraction of her one-time presence in SL despite the many people whose last name is "Chung" in SL now. From what I can tell, the honor of top landowners in SL belongs to completely other people, and has for a time, including at least one who left SL to start another world.

The average land baron has more of a chance of being a single black mother in Detroit, who has to spend more than 12 hours a day online waiting on her customers in person, than a middle-aged white geek in Silicon Valley who never logs in while his minions collect rent. The small business owners of SL -- that's what they are, small business owners, whether with popular content creations or land, are moms struggling with cancer or injured war veterans trying to stay ahead of the latest twist of policy on games. They are not Mark Zuckerberg. If you are a wealthy person, you wouldn't be spending your wealth on the curious niche of SL, where land businesses are risky, with potential for huge losses, very slim margins, and enormous amounts of sweat equity. It just isn't viable. If you have money to invest in something online, you would be wiser to invest in an app or a shopping site.

As for "LL has some wonderfully talented employees and contractors as well and I'm pretty cool with buying directly from them when possible" -- unless the Lindens have some secret businesses or alts I don't know about, the ONLY content you can "directly buy" from a Linden is a Linden home, although you could indirectly say you "bought the view" if you bought land on the Mainland beautified by a Mole-created road and some scenery. There isn't any content you can "buy from Lindens" except the Linden homes. And what I see is at least some business growing up around the Linden homes with furniture that fits their styles and sizes, add-ons, and so on.

So while I realize this is reality for you -- "I don't see myself getting another large empty plot in a vast wasteland of other large empty plots and siphon the money I pay LL through a land baron. I quite like paying it directly to the Lindens and I think they are learning some really fabulous lessons from the success of Bellisseria" -- it isn't for an enormous amount of other people in SL. The fact that the Linden Homes have oldbies in it who have NOT given up their island homes is hardly the only factor that lets us know that -- we are also able to open up the map and see where the green dots are. They continue to be on private islands, which are not the "vast wasteland" that you might see on some parts of Mainland. It would be interesting to know how many direct owners there are of islands versus land barons -- given that most of the large rental agencies seem to need at least 100 islands to generate even a modest income I should think "direct owners" of islands is still a smaller category of owners. And again, think of those rental agents -- there are hordes of people, some from third-world countries, some from the third-world like environments of the United States -- serving clients for long hours and minimal pay. And a certain percentage of people making the content purchased by this nation of island renters. The content creators of SL work incredibly hard at very labor-intensive businesses with little return and increasingly high costs to be viewed at events or in classifieds and aren't on the Fortune 500 list, either.

The Lindens do not view land barons as "siphoning off" their revenue -- what they pay IS their revenue.

There's always been this peculiar factor of Linden content (land next to Linden roads and builds or water being more valuable than other land) and now the Linden Homes (at least for some small percentage of users) being a draw, and along with that, the value of the Linden presence inworld for their fan base (which ranges from coders who come to their office meetings on the server to people who like to get into snowball fights with them). Hence, this statement: "Hopefully once the fussy people get homes (or get homes they're satisfied with) @Patch Linden and the gang will start coming out to play again and that sort of fun with the much loved Lindens and Moles can't be offered by anyone other than LL."

I'm trying to think of the last time I saw a Linden inworld. Maybe six months ago when a Linden actually teleported to a sim to try to get rid of this crazy prim that wouldn't delete? And before that...a year ago? More? It might actually be that my last substantive talk with a Linden was a few years ago at a tech show in NYC when Ebbe had a meet-up with residents. Let me suggest that the Lindens couldn't justify paying for full-time, benefited adults to come inworld and play with their customers, but maybe they can get some interns to do more of this?

If the "fabulous lessons" that the Lindens have learned from Bellisseria is that to reach their core user base -- mainly middle-aged low-income employed or retired women, and to a lesser extent, semi-employed young men in their 20s who often make up their partners -- that they need to provide the kind of intensive staff time that we associate with Club Med vacation line-dancing or assisted living complexes in Florida, they know they will be out of business. No online world platform wants to become a caretaker for residents. The Lindens may have ideological aversion to land ownership (that I know is a fact for many of them) or aesthetic aversion (which you share with many of them) but they know where their meal ticket is and who saves them time, talent, and treasure -- the land barons of SL.

 

 

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

The premium accounts, whether 100,000 or even double that by now cannot hope to make up the core of their revenue even added to their "taxes".

According to Ebbe in his video interview this Spring in NWN, there were about 60,000 Premium members then. This was before Belliseria and the alt making for "second homes" rush and of course those that became premium to GET their new home (surprise!).  Now we have had some exodus because of the Premium rate increase, and a little exiting over Tilia. Many of the folks that went Premium in order to move to Belliseria gave up their membership when they found out how difficult that would be == in no way guaranteed as they expected. 

 

As a guess I would say the number is still somewhere near that 60,000 mark. 

 

People often forget that an economy is much like a living organism --- it is all connected.  What would happen if one of the big land baron places closed up?  There would be a lot of homeless folks for sure.  They could rent from other land barons or mainland real estate places. They could buy their own sims (well "some" could I imagine). They could rent a house.   They would need to go premium if they wanted to try for Bellisseria but the folks renting larger parcels probably wouldn't be interested in that.  Then there is the mainland option.  I suspect that most of them would hate to lose their island homes.  

 

The increased need for land (any land and any rental) would raise the prices back up to 2007 or so when I had two oceanfront mainland 512s and sold them both quickly and easily for $20,000 each (there was a sailable lane in front of the plot but no real ocean).  

 

On the plus side LL would likely get a lot more mainland tier than it is getting now. On the downside it would lose the payments from the baron. 

On the plus side prices would likely go up in some areas so people would likely buy more lindens to pay their bills (money for LL). On the downside some folks would leave.  

 

There really IS no "perfect" answer.  

 

 

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1 minute ago, Chic Aeon said:

According to Ebbe in his video interview this Spring in NWN, there were about 60,000 Premium members then. This was before Belliseria and the alt making for "second homes" rush and of course those that became premium to GET their new home (surprise!).  Now we have had some exodus because of the Premium rate increase, and a little exiting over Tilia. Many of the folks that went Premium in order to move to Belliseria gave up their membership when they found out how difficult that would be == in no way guaranteed as they expected. 

 

As a guess I would say the number is still somewhere near that 60,000 mark. 

 

People often forget that an economy is much like a living organism --- it is all connected.  What would happen if one of the big land baron places closed up?  There would be a lot of homeless folks for sure.  They could rent from other land barons or mainland real estate places. They could buy their own sims (well "some" could I imagine). They could rent a house.   They would need to go premium if they wanted to try for Bellisseria but the folks renting larger parcels probably wouldn't be interested in that.  Then there is the mainland option.  I suspect that most of them would hate to lose their island homes.  

 

The increased need for land (any land and any rental) would raise the prices back up to 2007 or so when I had two oceanfront mainland 512s and sold them both quickly and easily for $20,000 each (there was a sailable lane in front of the plot but no real ocean).  

 

On the plus side LL would likely get a lot more mainland tier than it is getting now. On the downside it would lose the payments from the baron. 

On the plus side prices would likely go up in some areas so people would likely buy more lindens to pay their bills (money for LL). On the downside some folks would leave.  

 

There really IS no "perfect" answer.  

 

 

Oh, I missed that -- then it means it is nearly half what it was in its heyday. That's sad, because I think the premium account is a really good buy in the world of online things, you get a virtual world perch, a house, some Lindens to spend, and regular gifts -- plus the sandbox alone is worth the price. I got to sandboxes several times a day to work on things and fix things. 

I had also forgotten that the price hike made people quit. I had a surge of tier donations when they created the 1024 versus the 512 account and also had land with more prims. Then some of these began to drop out with the price hike. Even so, I have more tier donations than ever in the history of SL so I think that's another not-advertised advantage of the premium account -- it isn't just for your own land or Linden Homes, but to donate to a group, as there are quite a few willing to take tier donations, whether projects and communities or rental agencies.

Still, I guess they're not going to reach that 100,000 just with the trailers.

I just sold a waterfront for like $5/m after months of waiting, and then only to a neighbour who wanted to grow her area. Waterfront prices remain high in really good areas, but I see them for $2 or $3 even nowadays.

Even if Lindens add hundreds of more sims with trailers, which has always been a beloved theme in SL, and more nice Belli homes, I don't think they are going to put a dent in the rentals market for the simple reason that I think a lot of them are alts of existing island owners/renters who want to "slum it" in a trailer or have a house to decorate, always a draw.

You're so right about the "living organism". Right now the London Sims, which have been in SL for 10 years with a variety of activities, traffic, things to do, as well as home and shop rentals, are closing. They might sell to another owner who might keep it as London but more likely will not -- so many of my "real life sim" landmarks resolve into sims unrelated to their one-time real country sims...

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I always get a laugh when landlords are referred to as "land barons" as if we exist in some Medieval world where the land owners are taking all the money as they whip the poor peasants in the field.
The reality is that income is very low for most landlords in SL, and there is not much appreciation for the amount of customer support provided by a landlord.
I was a landlord once and I gave it up just to keep whatever sanity I had left.

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On 8/30/2019 at 8:40 AM, Beth Macbain said:

 I like Bellisseria because it isn't a ghost town

Agreed.  Social occasions are indeed plentiful and originated by residents, and the liveliness of the community has attracted many a ... well, maybe not oldbie ... midbie?  resident.  Most of we midbies do indeed own property elsewhere.  Such folks may downsize their other holdings, but few will replace them with LHs.

On 8/30/2019 at 8:40 AM, Beth Macbain said:

land barons who don't really do much for the greater community of SL other than buy and sell land

? The major source of true themed & RP communities in SL has, for many many years, been private estates.  The many medieval lands (I have property in a lovely medieval estate, Rosehaven, now).  Caledon, the grandfather of Victorian/Steampunk estates.  Gor, of course.  Fruitlands/Eden, a very large estate dedicated to tropical & naturist lifestyles.  I'm forgetting the names of the many many mer & fantasy estates.  Several Star Trek estates, over the years.  Wasteland.  Tombstone.  Prokofy's own estate is not uniformly themed, but he has made nicely appointed themed areas within it for years and years.  Have you been?

On 8/30/2019 at 8:40 AM, Beth Macbain said:

I know SL was born on the concept of user-created content, and I love the amazingly talented people who make the things I buy, but LL has some wonderfully talented employees and contractors as well and I'm pretty cool with buying directly from them when possible.  . It might make creators up their own games a bit, and some of them who've gotten lazy because everyone buys whatever they release need that kick in the pants.

This puzzles me.  Please do not say out loud what creators you think have "gotten lazy", because they may BE moles.  I look at Belli and think I see content very similar to that of Heart Gardens, What Next, Barnesworth Anubis, and LIttle Branch.  Of course, there is no way of knowing for sure.  But inworld merchants have often joined the mole ranks: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Department_of_Public_Works

This is why you'll never be able to buy LL content directly, and why they are nowadays chary of giving it away.  (Unlike when, for example, Nautilus content was freely distributed).  Because it will compete with the stores of those who created it!

On 8/30/2019 at 8:40 AM, Beth Macbain said:

If LL starts pulling in more money from individuals, and some land barons start losing money and bail... shrugs.

I doubt LL would agree.  Let's do just a touch of arithmetic.  I haven't glanced at LL profit models for years, so people please feel free to correct the below if wrong.  Simplistically speaking:

If LL rents a full region to an estate owner, which generally will get parceled out & rented to residents, LL is paid:

$229 * 12 = $2,748 per year.  The estate owner takes care of all customer support of their renters.  If the region is not fully rented, the estate owner is on the hook; LL still gets paid full price.

If LL instead puts 25 Linden Homes on that region, they get:

$99 * 25 = $2475 per year.  LL provides all customer support of renters.  If the region does not fully sell, LL swallows the cost of maintaining it, which hits their profitability via increased overhead costs.

Of course, the picture gets foggier when you account for the (dwindling) grandfathered regions, Homestead rentals (most estate owners hate these, they make nothing on them), etc.  But you get the gist ... estate owners ("land barons" is a pretty antiquated term) are generally good for LL.

p.s. This also doesn't account for any discount really MAJOR estates may get for bulk purchases.  I believe LL used to do that for both Anshe Chung and Azure Islands.  I have no idea whether that is still policy.

Edited by Nika Talaj
added p.s.
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1 hour ago, Nika Talaj said:

? The major source of true themed & RP communities in SL has, for many many years, been private estates.  The many medieval lands (I have property in a lovely medieval estate, Rosehaven, now).  Caledon, the grandfather of Victorian/Steampunk estates.  Gor, of course.  Fruitlands/Eden, a very large estate dedicated to tropical & naturist lifestyles.  I'm forgetting the names of the many many mer & fantasy estates.  Several Star Trek estates, over the years.  Wasteland.  Tombstone.  Prokofy's own estate is not uniformly themed, but he has made nicely appointed themed areas within it for years and years.  Have you been?

Those aren't what I would consider land barons. Anshe Chung is what I would consider a land baron. I'm not going to give myself a headache trying to decipher Prok's wall of text... I rather imagine there was some spluttering involved... and I'm completely unaware of what he owns or what it looks like. Regardless, he and the others you mentioned aren't what I think of as land barons. They are running regions. I am strictly talking about the people who do nothing but buy hundreds of regions, parcel them out, and rent them. Those are the land barons. Someone who owns a few regions isn't a land baron, to my mind, at least. I'm talking about those who I would consider the 1% of SL. 

1 hour ago, Nika Talaj said:

This puzzles me.  Please do not say out loud what creators you think have "gotten lazy", because they may BE moles.  I look at Belli and think I see content very similar to that of Heart Gardens, What Next, Barnesworth Anubis, and LIttle Branch.  Of course, there is no way of knowing for sure.  But inworld merchants have often joined the mole ranks: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Department_of_Public_Works

This is why you'll never be able to buy LL content directly, and why they are nowadays chary of giving it away.  (Unlike when, for example, Nautilus content was freely distributed).  Because it will compete with the stores of those who created it!

I'm very aware that all Moles were and are residents and many of them run businesses...lol. Maybe I'm one. When I talk of buying things directly from LL, I'm not talking about items. I suppose I should have phrased that better since it seems to have confused you and Prok. I meant pay LL to live on their land, and when I talk about designers needing to step up their games I mean in the way the Moles have put so much fun and loving detail into every inch of Bellisseria. The Moles are being creative for the love of creativity and not to make money off of it. They get paid, yes, but I very much doubt that their hourly rate has increased as the regions have consistently gotten more beautiful with each release. There are some large designers in SL that could learn from the way the Moles are throwing their souls into the creativity rather than churning out tired items for the bazillion events they all have to participate in, or compete with by trying to drive traffic to their main stores. 

1 hour ago, Nika Talaj said:

I doubt LL would agree.  Let's do just a touch of arithmetic.  I haven't glanced at LL profit models for years, so people please feel free to correct the below if wrong.  Simplistically speaking:

If LL rents a full region to an estate owner, which generally will get parceled out & rented to residents, LL is paid:

$229 * 12 = $2,748 per year.  The estate owner takes care of all customer support of their renters.  If the region is not fully rented, the estate owner is on the hook; LL still gets paid full price.

If LL instead puts 25 Linden Homes on that region, they get:

$99 * 25 = $2475 per year.  LL provides all customer support of renters.  If the region does not fully sell, LL swallows the cost of maintaining it, which hits their profitability via increased overhead costs.

Of course, the picture gets foggier when you account for the (dwindling) grandfathered regions, Homestead rentals (most estate owners hate these, they make nothing on them), etc.  But you get the gist ... estate owners ("land barons" is a pretty antiquated term) are generally good for LL.

p.s. This also doesn't account for any discount really MAJOR estates may get for bulk purchases.  I believe LL used to do that for both Anshe Chung and Azure Islands.  I have no idea whether that is still policy.

That's the math as it stands now. I'd rather see LL get away from the dependency of land barons, and yes, I'll keep using the "antiquated" term, not that I've ever heard anyone until now complain about the use of it. They are what they are. 

I'd rather see more residents owning their own parcels or regions (that they're able to buy from LL instead of, yes, the land barons), or living in LHs and paying premium fees to LL. I'd love to see more variety in the levels of premium while continuing to bring down land prices, and to not have it be controlled by land barons inflating the prices. No business can survive doing the same thing and relying on the same few people to keep them afloat. Consumers are too fickle.

I'm looking at a complete change in the model, and I think that LL is looking at that, too, without vocalizing it because people absolutely lose their damn minds whenever LL even hints at changing anything. Ebbe has given us plenty of clues, though. The mention of the new premium level. His stated desire to lower land prices. His absolutely flippant and wonderful disregard of the goofy change.org petition about raising the cash-out fees. Bellisseria itself. I think Ebbe, and probably the board of directors, is sick and tired of being beholden to the big players and wants to take control back and level the playing field for all of us.

Of course, this is all complete speculation on my part but that's what everyone seems to do on these forums. I might as well throw my wild guesses into the mix, too. 

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8 hours ago, Beth Macbain said:

Those aren't what I would consider land barons. Anshe Chung is what I would consider a land baron. I'm not going to give myself a headache trying to decipher Prok's wall of text... I rather imagine there was some spluttering involved... and I'm completely unaware of what he owns or what it looks like. Regardless, he and the others you mentioned aren't what I think of as land barons. They are running regions. I am strictly talking about the people who do nothing but buy hundreds of regions, parcel them out, and rent them. Those are the land barons. Someone who owns a few regions isn't a land baron, to my mind, at least. I'm talking about those who I would consider the 1% of SL. 

I'm very aware that all Moles were and are residents and many of them run businesses...lol. Maybe I'm one. When I talk of buying things directly from LL, I'm not talking about items. I suppose I should have phrased that better since it seems to have confused you and Prok. I meant pay LL to live on their land, and when I talk about designers needing to step up their games I mean in the way the Moles have put so much fun and loving detail into every inch of Bellisseria. The Moles are being creative for the love of creativity and not to make money off of it. They get paid, yes, but I very much doubt that their hourly rate has increased as the regions have consistently gotten more beautiful with each release. There are some large designers in SL that could learn from the way the Moles are throwing their souls into the creativity rather than churning out tired items for the bazillion events they all have to participate in, or compete with by trying to drive traffic to their main stores. 

That's the math as it stands now. I'd rather see LL get away from the dependency of land barons, and yes, I'll keep using the "antiquated" term, not that I've ever heard anyone until now complain about the use of it. They are what they are. 

I'd rather see more residents owning their own parcels or regions (that they're able to buy from LL instead of, yes, the land barons), or living in LHs and paying premium fees to LL. I'd love to see more variety in the levels of premium while continuing to bring down land prices, and to not have it be controlled by land barons inflating the prices. No business can survive doing the same thing and relying on the same few people to keep them afloat. Consumers are too fickle.

I'm looking at a complete change in the model, and I think that LL is looking at that, too, without vocalizing it because people absolutely lose their damn minds whenever LL even hints at changing anything. Ebbe has given us plenty of clues, though. The mention of the new premium level. His stated desire to lower land prices. His absolutely flippant and wonderful disregard of the goofy change.org petition about raising the cash-out fees. Bellisseria itself. I think Ebbe, and probably the board of directors, is sick and tired of being beholden to the big players and wants to take control back and level the playing field for all of us.

Of course, this is all complete speculation on my part but that's what everyone seems to do on these forums. I might as well throw my wild guesses into the mix, too. 

Sputtering is what I would do over the evisceration of the State Department, not over some SL issue. Again, those you consider "the 1%" are nothing like that in real life, and your imagined activity of just "parceling out and renting" hundreds of regions shows you are simply unaware of what goes into the land business. Few "land barons" can have any customers unless they engage with them and provide good service, so the myth of the wealthy tycoons out playing World of Warcraft while their absentee avatars "kaching" has few actual realities.

It's true that some Moles are well-known creators on their main accounts, but I don't believe they are the majority. And I don't know why the Lindens stopped making their own content on full perms (which meant it could be re-sold to people who didn't realize it existed in free form). Possibly it had to do with the demands of their contractors or the kind of contracts they signed with Moles (or those who made avatars for the Library), but I'm not sure, as it may have been part of an overall effort to tighten up copyright in SL.

The hourly wages or contract wages that the Moles earn literally dwarf the wages that many designers can earn in SL, given their hours and "sweat equity". Moles are given adequate but not generous compensation because they are working "a real job" for "a real company" based in the outside world, not inworld, as real as the work is for inworld creators. Otherwise they could not do this job. With all due respect for the Moles, their trees and flowers, while better certainly than the original Linden Library trees and flowers )made by Eric or Ben Linden and others) are not the best in SL, and there are creators on the open market who far surpass them.

There are numerous creators in SL who are "creative for the love of creativity and not to make money off it". Yes, some creators are tied to a seemingly soulless wheel of events to make a dime these days and yet that has enabled the economy to grow and numerous more people to be creative about decorating their own homes -- which still make up the majority of SL by contrast with the Linden Homes, which are limited. As much as people badmouth the wildness of some parts of the Mainland or unimaginative island rentals, the Lindens will never be able to shake the feeling of Trumanville or the Stepford Wives from their Linden Homes. I am not alone in appreciating the good job the Moles and LL in general have done, the improvements over past communities, and understanding why some people want this conformity, but after an hour there, I'm done.

No creator should be apologizing for being in a market -- if their items are that "tired," they wouldn't sell -- yet they do. Free markets are normal and natural human activity and have been for thousands of years. What's strange is the desire of socialism and the following of an old man who wrote utopian blueprints in a library in Germany 150 years ago, mainly followed by tyrants ever since.

From reading your blog, I can see you had personal regions for seeking a PG region at the time you did, and the comforting experience of "the community" you believe is there, which I imagine will fray after awhile. You're a good story-teller and this is part of your narrative for yourself. Adult virtual fiction isn't my thing, but I totally appreciate it is for many people and that's a great part of SL. But why extrapolate an entire economic ideology out of it and inflict it on the economy?! If your genuinely like your socialist choice, why is it necessary to make *all of SL socialist* for you to go on living your utopian dream? It isn't. "Socialism on one sim" is possible in SL, given Linden control, and you shouldn't feel it is "threatened" by most other sims embracing capitalism. After all, how are you going to decorate your home? Not with broken Mole vases alone.

I sometimes find that people who are SL socialists are nothing like this in RL, where they don't vote for Sanders, but vote at least for Clinton, who  is not hostile to business, or Trump, who supposedly represents business. I'm a Hillary voter myself, not a Bernie Bro, some of whom are responsible for Trump.

The SL economy is already enough like Russia's or China's without a free press or independent judiciary and currency printing and controls and all the rest. I don't see why Linden content production and controlled communities need to be glorified and set up an as example to follow for all creators who are free and profitable in a more or less free sales economy. They are not "tainted" by wishing to make a profit, but absolutely normal. What's *not* normal is the idea is that everybody has to sign up to work on a collective farm for the glory of the Motherland.

Some people want the management and "assisted living" that comes with Linden Homes. The high prevalence of orbs still operating in these areas let's us know that the desire for "community" is more of an ideal than a reality. Any community that relies on the Lindens to come out and organize Club Med-style line dancing or arts and crafts like senior housing is hardly for everybody and even those who might lean on this for a time won't want it forever if they have other choices.

I find it strange that this socialist ideal is attached to Linden Lab, which, in real life, has to behave like a cut-throat and craven Silicon Valley company like any other and make unpleasant choices of staff cuts or price hikes or it wouldn't survive. 

It isn't that people "lose their minds" at the "hint of change" but they simply look at the reality of not only human history but the real present. Virtual worlds, like all forms of entertainment and media, cannot live on subscriptions alone. They cannot hope to survive only from skimming fees from currency and content sales. They will always need investors, and these investors come in the form of land barons in SLs (and of course VCs in RL). 

Furthermore, the land model of the economy versus the content model will always be the more sound model even if some day it evolves to "hook up fees" for legions of sim owners who attach to the LL mothership from outside for a fee. In real life, land is vital for food, housing, recreation, health and more -- you need a place to grow the food and put the buildings. It will always be the substrate of content and activity even in a virtual world that doesn't need food or shelter from the elements. 

Another advantage to the land-based economy, other than its stark reality as a revenue producer not likely ever to be displaced, is that it enables many people to join the economy who could not do so otherwise if they are not talented creators and merchants. Societies need to have diversity and freedom. You can't have a nation of RenFaires in which all of us are reduced to fair-goers gawking at the creations of a tiny elite of craftsmen. At least with land, numerous people can buy and sell and rent it even at a low scale and have an activity and a source of potential profit or offset of costs (many people rent out sims to cover the cost of their own creativity, in fact, or simply give themselves a larger Second Life). 

"Leveling the playing field" is the uravnilovka (leveling) of the Soviets, who want to solve the problem of one person having two cows and another only one or none by confiscating all the cows and collectivizing them. Then they produce less milk for everyone.

Ebbe's flippant response to the "cash-out fees" is what any land baron's response would be to the serfs rebelling -- and make no mistake about it, Ebbe is obviously the largest land baron of all. Those crying about cash-out fees include a lot of those "little dress-makers" who have always been the scorn of SL ideologues since copy-bot days and more. There's nothing wrong with making a living in SL (which will never get anyone rich) or offsetting costs. I don't think there's anything to glorify here in contempt for people who want to get paid for what they do, as you no doubt wish in real life for yourself. Just as in RL, few want to eat only turnips on a collective farm, so in SL, even those glorifying the Linden Homes and living in them owe any individuality they do have to products made in the free economy, whether adult furniture or flower beds. So let's not be children here. 

Ebbe's model is the land model and remains so for the bulk of his revenue, and whatever socialist rhetoric he may spout about this he knows that to be true. Again, the future economy "not beholden to land barons" is not possible, as revenue cannot be placed by subscription and taxes, and only a future hook-up fee for server owners -- merely a different form of "dependency" could possibly reduce the Linden requirement to maintain a server farm.

Ultimately, the only people who can inflate land prices are your own beloved Lindens, by increasing fees for premiums and currency sales, even if they reduce tier. And the hated land barons who put waterfront prices beyond your budget are also there to buy your lousy inland flat land that you may be tempted to abandon -- they enable the land market to be fluid and for people to risk buying individual plots.

Hatred of land and those who work it was the hallmark of the Bolsheviks and the Maoists and many others. But land is here to stay as a basic human need, real or virtual. History shows that organizing collective farms or company towns do not solve the problems of human community.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Hatred of land and those who work it was the hallmark of the Bolsheviks and the Maoists and many others. But land is here to stay as a basic human need, real or virtual. History shows that organizing collective farms or company towns do not solve the problems of human community.

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9 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

bucket.jpg.a3c9c68c7aa95c4325a8b9f5c8bd7e30.jpg

Prokofy described a few interesting concepts pertaining to how communities could/should be organized. I'd find it a much more fruitful and interesting discussion if you could address those as opposed to making fun of him.

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24 minutes ago, Kiera Clutterbuck said:

Prokofy described a few interesting concepts pertaining to how communities could/should be organized. I'd find it a much more fruitful and interesting discussion if you could address those as opposed to making fun of him.

and if you don't agree get roasted on his privat blog as happened already again  .. how blind can you be to get in discussion with that.

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13 minutes ago, Alwin Alcott said:
38 minutes ago, Kiera Clutterbuck said:

Prokofy described a few interesting concepts pertaining to how communities could/should be organized. I'd find it a much more fruitful and interesting discussion if you could address those as opposed to making fun of him.

and if you don't agree get roasted on his privat blog as happened already again  .. how blind can you be to get in discussion with that.

I only care about the discussion of this topic. If somebody wants to have a fit should we disagree that's their problem.

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40 minutes ago, Alwin Alcott said:

and if you don't agree get roasted on his privat blog as happened already again  .. how blind can you be to get in discussion with that.

I've stated my opinions and don't see any reason to go through his post point-by-point and, again, voice my position. Not sure why anyone thinks I need to rehash it. He didn't get it the first time, or the second time, and he's not going to get it the third time, either.  

It's amusing to me, though, that he's hung up on this socialism thing when I'm literally advocating paying heaps of money to a large American corporation. I suppose he's suggesting that LL is the government when it comes to SL, but I'm talking about real cash and a real corporation. 

#thatsnotsocialism

shrugs

Edit - I've been blogged! OH MY!
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Edited by Beth Macbain
For giggles.
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