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On 4/6/2020 at 5:36 AM, Aki Teriatzi said:

... one step from being shut off?

I am worried. 

Monetizing last names, raising fees (Justified, because "Google" and "Apple" does it (The best laugh I had in years, reading that.)), outsourcing money transactions (Tilia) and other things being taken away and put behind a paywall raised a lot of red flags for me.

Is Linden Labs having serious income issues? - Are there new chairmen at Linden Labs which just want to milk our beautiful world?

 

I'd like to know and discuss.

You wouldn't necessarily have to take Oz Linden's word for it simply because he's a Linden working for the company, and they might be reluctant to tell you the bad news and lose value at least on their internal shareholder's market. After all, they didn't tell you six months prior to Sansar's closing that it was closing.

Even so, the markers you're invoking aren't what I would look for. I never understood why they dumped last names, I thought originally it was because they got tired of thinking new ones up, but it's obviously something with data base tables; it creates two pieces of data instead of one...or something. And putting it back is expensive and time-consuming apparently so they will charge for it -- and they're right to charge for what people actually want, as they don't actually want land very much or there'd be people buying more of the abandoned land.

Raising fees is what every business does everywhere, always, since the beginning of time, so that's not a marker.

16 years ago when the Lindens blocked the open Linden markets like GOM (GOM'd even became a verb), we thought that was a very bad sign. In a way, it was, because the Linden never recovered the value it had on the open market, which was $4.00/1000, not $3.75 as it is today. Still, they have lasted a long time since then, longer than most Silicon Valley things including Google's own enthusiasms (see the Google graveyard, especially for really hyped things like G+).

I'm not sure what it means to "outsource" the transactions when they own the company Tilia, or what it means that it is separate, but I don't think that's a marker any more than it is for Google to have various company names under which it does business.

SL remains free, and is not behind a paywall if that's what you mean.

My sense is that there is less abandoned land than there was; that more of it is being bought; that the Lindens now move it faster. I think Tyche Shepherd who regularly monitors sim production can tell us that. SL is shrinking but it's not tanking and Mainland is actually improved.

Markers I would look for are really bad performance issues that the Lindens don't try to fix anymore because they are in a death spiral. Refusing to fix the ability to post easily to social media is one bad sign to me because virtually every web page in the universe has that ability, but a virtual world is obviously something more complicated than a web page. I realize it's a hassle but I think it cuts down their presence online. Firestorm did not remove this ability.

The Linden getting worse -- which has been a factor for some time. Yesterday I saw 260 behind a huge line of something like $19 million Lindens. Today, that's gone, so perhaps it means that Supply Linden has been joined by Buy Linden -- they are not likely to tell us. Or somebody got a huge packet of cheaper Lindens. But it has been stuck at 260 or 259 for a year now, and as I have records going back for years, I know this is not a good value. It has been 258 or less for years. This happened because with the huge influx of premium accounts, a lot of "printed money" (the stipends) entered the economy and the sinks were not enough to remove it (texture fees, group formation fees, etc.). There's a lot we don't know about the sinks and courses. Are the taxes on the MP sinks or sources? If a sink, it's not enough to keep the value of the Linden up higher. Is it really a source of revenue for the Lindens? If so, what rate do *they* cash it out as? Since the Lindens' dream is to escape land and servers as a revenue generator (folly, in my view) and taxation of purchases and fees on the currency market are envisioned as a core revenue generator, what exactly is this revenue, a sink or a source?

Anecdotally, I've seen people come back to SL that have been away from years, some have re-rented from me that I haven't seen in a decade because they are stuck at home now during the pandemic. Others have to downsize or end rentals as they need every dollar now for RL. SL has weathered a lot of storms internally and externally and I think it will last for awhile longer.

But I remember a company called "Zoom" with the tag line, "Free Photos for Life!". They were big in the 1990s. The business plan was to allow endlessly storage of free photos but then try to sell photo books and mugs with photos and such. It didn't live (one of many that didn't survive the original dot.com boom), and took my free photos with them if I didn't manage to copy them. That Zoom is long, long forgotten, so much forgotten that another company has the exact same name now since 2011, with a video conferencing service that is challenging Skype. 

The operative thing about SL that gives it staying power is that unlike any other platform of its type, it enables users to make money from the platform and continues to make a profit itself (and these two functions are connected). That is, there are platforms that enable you to make money, say, E-bay or Etsy or Shutterstock. That is their main purporse and they take a hefty percentage of your profits. SL ostensibly does not have making money as a mission, as most of the people in it use it for entertainment or socializing or education without making money from it; they only spend money. And part of the reason that companies like Facebook and Instagram won't let users make a profit with their platforms (unless they are app engineers in FB's case or arguably those placing ads on FB) is that they will not grant you intellectual property rights. LL does that more thoroughly than anything of its kind, game or virtual world. 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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On 4/6/2020 at 7:57 PM, LittleMe Jewell said:

Notice how the OP never came back to be part of the discussion?

Excuse me, not everyone is on lockdown like you are. Unfortunately some people have to be there to keep your things running. My sincere apologies. 

But yes, I can agree with most of the posts. One thing is still really odd to me.

It's the part (If I recall correctly). Where LL stated to raise MP fees, justified by "because Apple and Google does it". There was no mention of "Hey, we need to do that, because we are loosing money // want to make SL better and have more expensive hardware/devs".

 The reasoning alone is really weird to me.

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8 minutes ago, Aki Teriatzi said:

It's the part (If I recall correctly). Where LL stated to raise MP fees, justified by "because Apple and Google does it". There was no mention of "Hey, we need to do that, because we are loosing money // want to make SL better and have more expensive hardware/devs".

They stated other reasons in some of their Townhall sessions and some posts.  Part of it is to modify the balance of how they receive money, wanting less of it to come from land fees and more to come from other areas.

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On 4/7/2020 at 2:58 AM, Flea Yatsenko said:

LL is moving around income sources in order to make land cheaper. It's a good thing, and it's been in the works for a long time. All these empty sims are because there's too much supply and not enough demand at the current price. By lowering the cost of a sim, or land in general, it would, in theory, increase demand for land. Which would actually increase the SL economy and get more users in world.

To have land in SL, compared to other games, cost a lot more. LL is trying to fix that. And they could make a lot more money making microtransactions, i.e. marketplace sales, in a successful and more populated grid than relying on a lot of empty sims. But it's going to be a big change, and a lot of people are going to interpret it the wrong way.

SL can be ready for a golden age if they handle this right and open SL up to new markets.

It's not going to work if the estate owner beneficiaries don't lower rents accordingly and they are not. The Wild West continent has gone from 35 sims to 20 in the last 4 weeks. Sims have simply disappeared because the estate owner won't hold them if they can't rent them but -- they won't rent them because they keep their rental costs the same instead of adjusting them to the real world economic slowdown. It's happening everywhere including on the Marketplace. Some of the pricing will simply never produce sales.

Edited by RangiUtu
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9 minutes ago, RangiUtu said:

It's not going to work if the landowner beneficiaries don't lower rents accordingly and they are not. The Wild West continent has gone from 35 sims to 20 in the last 4 weeks. Sims have simply disappeared because the estate owner won't hold them if they can't rent them but -- they won't rent them because they keep their rental costs the same instead of adjusting them to the real world economic slowdown.

Land rental businesses are generally just on the edge of losing money. If dropping their prices means the landlord can't afford the maintenance fee then they'll dump the region. 

As for mainland, so much of mainland is a garbage heap that many people wouldn't want land even with a price drop. People are flocking to Bellisseria because it looks good. 

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2 hours ago, Parhelion Palou said:

Land rental businesses are generally just on the edge of losing money. If dropping their prices means the landlord can't afford the maintenance fee then they'll dump the region. 

As for mainland, so much of mainland is a garbage heap that many people wouldn't want land even with a price drop. People are flocking to Bellisseria because it looks good. 

Agreed on that point - They wouldn't take a lot of it even if it was free because it's such a rubbish dump. LOL.

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SL seems to be doing OK, though not growing much.

The coming problem for Second Life is competition. For a decade, there wasn't much. In the last year, new big 3D social worlds have come online: Sominium Space, Decentraland, Sandbox. So far, none of them are very good, and they're more about blockchain-based land speculation than world building. One or more of them might succeed. Epic keeps making noises about turning Fortnite into a social network. Minecraft is already a social network.

Or not. The threat from Improbable's Spatial OS seems to have receded. Most of the MMOs built on it flopped. None of the big game developers want to use it because Improbable and Google have too much control and it costs too much. The widely hyped Nostos turned out to be boring; gamers report finishing it in 3 hours. The technology worked. The worlds didn't get enough users. Kind of like the Sansar/High Fidelity/Sinespace family of flops.

The lesson for Linden Lab management is that the user base is their big asset. Trying to get an all-new user base who can build worlds is very, very tough. Far harder than fixing SL's engine. The technology is here to do the Metaverse, but so far nobody has come up with a compelling version of it. SL is still positioned well in that area. But SL needs to perform like a modern game to get out of its niche.

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I wanna log in to SL, get dressed to go out, walk, fly or teleport to <retailer>, look at products, maybe converse with somebody about them, place an order and have it delivered to my RL home soon enough.  Soon enough could be variable for "fast food", "proper meals", socks, car parts, that RTX 2080 Ti I have been wanting, etc.  Oh well.  It's probably not gonna happen. 

/me calls Italian diner and orders supper then browses Newegg.

Edited by Ardy Lay
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5 hours ago, RangiUtu said:

they won't rent them because they keep their rental costs the same instead of adjusting them to the real world economic slowdown. It's happening everywhere including on the Marketplace. Some of the pricing will simply never produce sales.

You have a point but if they reduce the rent enough to compete on price against the big estates and LL itself, they won't make enough to cover the tier anyway. So they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

I used to say that the only chance a relatiely small estate has to survive is to create something unique that has more appeal to some segment of the SL (un)real estate market. But judging by what you tell us about the Wild West continent and the problems Second Norway seems to have at the moment, that model may not work anymore either.

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