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Premium, Premium Plus - are we on the way to premium accounts for all?


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Flickr is another example.   I have been "Pro" for years.   This year however the increase in fees and move to monthly subscription (it used to be 24.95 a year back in the old days and crept up with each sale and now is 7.99 per month) just tipped it over the edge for me cost/benefit of "Pro" so I ended my subscription.  7K followers but now I am a "free" user.   Facebook  (page + group) and Instagram out perform it for my particular user case so we focus our time there.  Whereas other subscriptions e.g. Adobe for Substance Painter which is 19.99 USD a month is cracking good value, supports Indie designers and cost/benefit is amazing when combined with Substance Share etc.

The reason for my examples are - the subscription models have to be "good value".  LL have worked hard to provide this value but it's always a tricky balancing act when you try to blanket all users with "one" type of account option.  It limits you.  Premium Plus didn't pick up the opportunities it could have, and this blanket approach has  compounded the lost opportunities.  Adding to that making premium the only option when it's so limited already, I think would be a commercial disaster based on the economy model used in SL.

Edited by Charlotte Bartlett
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Subscriptions to games only work with a large player base and many multiplayer games have gone from a subscriber system to free-to-play. SL isn’t like most games. Free players can still create and con

Are the numerous posts I deliberately chose to ignore bitching about "free accounts" being freeloaders and a pain on the economy? 🤨

Point blank: They decided on June Sixth, 2006 to allow for wholly Free accounts to be created and used and not once have they ever floated the idea of reversing this. Fourteen years. That is how

2 minutes ago, steeljane42 said:

"f2p are a thorn" to LL (or any other company that offers a F2P product).

If that refers to my preply. I should perhaps clarify. I don't talk about free players in general. I'm a free player without Premium by myself. What I'm talking about are the people which spend none or not noteworthy own money in SL, but fully use all options and features that it offers. It doesn't matter, if they aren't willing or if they don't have money to spend. I imagine that Linden considers the residents as customers/buyers. And customers which don't buy something are for each commercial company a thorn in their eye. That's what I meant.

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16 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

If that refers to my preply. I should perhaps clarify. I don't talk about free players in general. I'm a free player without Premium by myself. What I'm talking about are the people which spend none or not noteworthy own money in SL, but fully use all options and features that it offers. It doesn't matter, if they aren't willing or if they don't have money to spend. I imagine that Linden considers the residents as customers/buyers. And customers which don't buy something are for each commercial company a thorn in their eye. That's what I meant.

What if those people who don't spend, instead are using it to share content externally (beautiful images they create) and to their vast social media followers.  Promoting SL in a way that is not a tangible "investment".    Ok that's one extreme, but determining "cost of user" is not a basic tangible connection to USD in all cases..  

I suspect the % is low, it may also be fluid (e.g. ok they didn't spend this month, but they did last month and will next month) or their value is not monetary e.g. they create tutorials, or are simply online talking to friends who value them and those friends "stick" as a result and are "spenders" or "consumers".    The final % who really are not contributing will likely be so small.  Combined with lower costs with the Cloud project for Sims for example, they would likely not even create a line item on the balance sheet.
 

Edited by Charlotte Bartlett
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6 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

If that refers to my preply. I should perhaps clarify. I don't talk about free players in general. I'm a free player without Premium by myself. What I'm talking about are the people which spend none or not noteworthy own money in SL, but fully use all options and features that it offers. It doesn't matter, if they aren't willing or if they don't have money to spend. I imagine that Linden considers the residents as customers/buyers. And customers which don't buy something are for each commercial company a thorn in their eye. That's what I meant.

Please explain how it's possible to use "all options and features" without spending money (or providing a service that requires others to spend money.)

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Also I have no idea why I am posting so much on this (well I am drinking a Pina Colada right now, so go figure at sunset).  At this rate I may have to report myself! 🤣

But - something in addition to why I am so pro free account access is we have to remember SL is an economy with a virtual world (and I use the terms in that order as that's what LL has focused on making it with rebalancing income from generated fees over land costs).   When you block access to an economy and enforce payment before you can participate even in simple tasks like buying a dress or renting a small piece of land to watch your virtual sunsets from, economies tend to fail and quickly....

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8 minutes ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

Please explain how it's possible to use "all options and features" without spending money (or providing a service that requires others to spend money.)

Well, perhaps an incorrect wording. I change it to "which use SL without spending money".

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To the OP I could see it happening maybe if the sell goes through and the new owners decide they want more money out of SL then what they would currently be getting. But I can also see it not happening because it would drive away thousands of users that will not under any circumstance ever pay for premium; even with the stipend and the free house/land it doesnt make it worth paying for it.

plus if it became a subscription based system it would slow down new users joining by a large percentage. Not a lot of people are willing to pay for a subscription without first being able to test it out to see if its worth it.

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27 minutes ago, Charlotte Bartlett said:

What if those people who don't spend, instead are using it to share content externally (beautiful images they create) and to their vast social media followers.  Promoting SL in a way that is not a tangible "investment".    Ok that's one extreme, but determining "cost of user" is not a basic tangible connection to USD in all cases..  

I suspect the % is low, it may also be fluid (e.g. ok they didn't spend this month, but they did last month and will next month) or their value is not monetary e.g. they create tutorials, or are simply online talking to friends who value them and those friends "stick" as a result and are "spenders" or "consumers".    The final % who really are not contributing will likely be so small.  Combined with lower costs with the Cloud project for Sims for example, they would likely not even create a line item on the balance sheet.
 

Ok.  On the other hand such non-monetary contributions won't appear on balance sheets either. Because nobody can express their value in exact numbers. Undenialable those contributers exist. But how many and what's the value of their contributions that is basing on vague assumptions, isn't it?

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43 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

Ok.  On the other hand such non-monetary contributions won't appear on balance sheets either. Because nobody can express their value in exact numbers. Undenialable those contributers exist. But how many and what's the value of their contributions that is basing on vague assumptions, isn't it?

I would politely beg to differ on vague assumptions.  I see and have experienced over 14 years a significant level of contributions to the platform that comes from outside generic use.  Can I quantify - no, hence why I said extreme case in my example.   But what LL can quantify is the revenue attributed to non premium users within their metrics.   

So let me turn it back on your statement.... how do you quantify those who are NOT contributing ANY value to the platform where it is not measured in USD.  You (and I) cannot.... hence each time somebody says free accounts are "a thorn in the eye" it's only your assumption and hence why I am interested in the counter points and basis of your assumption.    I have presented alternative argument that would suggest there are other assessments in play.
 

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I've been here 13 years.   Premium plus was looking intersting from what I was hearing and I had planned on going for it.  but since it's on the shelf now. I'll wait and after 13 years and as much money as I've put into SL.   yeah,  dont kick me,  I help feed you. 

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1 hour ago, Charlotte Bartlett said:

I would politely beg to differ on vague assumptions.

I think we have a misunderstanding here. My statement wasn't adressed  to you. Yes,  one can't express in exact numbers what's the support or contributions of volunteering residents is worth in cash money.  Actually one can only guess the value. And as long one hasn't hard facts one guess is as good as the other in my opinion. If the term "thorn in their eyes" is disturbing your, replace it with "they are a financial loss."  And please, I'm talking about common business rules. People which don't buy ARE a financial loss for a profit oriented services selling company. That is a matter of fact and not my assumption. If you think I'm totally wrong, that's fully ok for me. But please don't take my reply as my personal opinion about free accounts. I'm willing to pay Premium, but the current offer it's not worth. That is my personal opinion.

Edited by Doc Carling
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12 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

I think we have a misunderstanding here. My statement wasn't adressed  to you. Yes,  one can't express in exact numbers what's the support or contributions of volunteering residents is worth in cash money.  Actually one can only guess the value. And as long one hasn't hard facts one guess is as good as the other in my opinion. If the term "thorn in their eyes" is disturbing your, replace it with "they are a financial loss."  And please, I'm talking about common business rules. People which don't buy ARE a financial loss for a profit oriented services selling company. That is a matter of fact and not my assumption. If you think I'm totally wrong, that's fully ok for me. But please don't take my reply as my personal opinion about free accounts.

Sorry you quoted me hence it appeared you were addressing my comments :)  If you didn’t mean to perhaps a fresh post would have worked without the quote.

As I think I said the assumption that people who aren’t premium don’t “buy” is the wrong assumption if that helps. 
 

The art of making profit across traditional channels combined with intrinsic value add behavior is a balancing act.  I don’t feel like I need to keep repeating this, but this is an economy with a virtual world attached.  Free accounts is a misnomer often misunderstood by those without an economics background / and who do not understand the specific fee structure and cash flow you would attribute to something like Second Life.  You think it’s a financial loss, but in reality it’s quite the opposite (again due to the fee based economy that exists).

I don’t think my explanations will help you, but where you think financial loss, I see growth opportunity and fee generating consumer bases.  

 

 

Edited by Charlotte Bartlett
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12 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

I think we have a misunderstanding here. My statement wasn't adressed  to you. Yes,  one can't express in exact numbers what's the support or contributions of volunteering residents is worth in cash money.  Actually one can only guess the value. And as long one hasn't hard facts one guess is as good as the other in my opinion. If the term "thorn in their eyes" is disturbing your, replace it with "they are a financial loss."  And please, I'm talking about common business rules. People which don't buy ARE a financial loss for a profit oriented services selling company. That is a matter of fact and not my assumption. If you think I'm totally wrong, that's fully ok for me. But please don't take my reply as my personal opinion about free accounts.

I am fully with  @Charlotte Bartlett on this.  In thirteen years I have only been premium for one year (the Bellisseria experience).  I have not purchased lindens, I camped and played trivia and ran the Realms and made clothing, decor, animations and eventually mesh.  Linden Lab HAS the numbers. We do not. If they truly believed it would be a better business model to ONLY have premium members --- they would have done that years ago.    The lab has made a ton of money "off of me" even though I am not premium. Currently they have a huge amount of lindens that I am NOT cashing out and never plan to (this by my choice so not a complaint). In JUST that way I am supporting Linden Lab by being a very large "sink".   

 

It is really kind of insulting to all the folks that work hard to make our world what it is that you seem to feel "premium" is the end all answer. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Charlotte Bartlett said:

As I think I said the assumption that people who aren’t premium don’t “buy” is the wrong assumption if that helps. 

Sorry, my fault. As for the sentence I quoted who would that know better than I? I don't have a premium account. I think I talked about "free players". That's not the same as "free accounts."  But I think that's a different story. The opinons about "free players" are diversified in SL.

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6 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

I am fully with  @Charlotte Bartlett on this.  In thirteen years I have only been premium for one year (the Bellisseria experience).  I have not purchased lindens, I camped and played trivia and ran the Realms and made clothing, decor, animations and eventually mesh.  Linden Lab HAS the numbers. We do not. If they truly believed it would be a better business model to ONLY have premium members --- they would have done that years ago.    The lab has made a ton of money "off of me" even though I am not premium. Currently they have a huge amount of lindens that I am NOT cashing out and never plan to (this by my choice so not a complaint). In JUST that way I am supporting Linden Lab by being a very large "sink".   

 

It is really kind of insulting to all the folks that work hard to make our world what it is that you seem to feel "premium" is the end all answer. 

 

I spend as much as you and everyone to make our world in the almost 14 years which I'm a resident, be assured. :)And if I think Premium for all is the answer? Anyway, I see that Linden has to face new wishes and expectations each day and from all sides, but when it comes to pay, they get to hear, oh, sorry, not me. lol

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9 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

I spend as much as you and everyone to make our world in the almost 14 years which I'm a resident, be assured. :)And if I think Premium for all is the answer? Anyway, I see that Linden has to face new wishes and expectations each day and from all sides, but when it comes to pay, they get to hear, oh, sorry, not me. lol

Yeah sorry you have lost me apologies.   These people whom you speak of I have never encountered so I have not had that same experience as you.

Also I spend little... just one sim payment.   But I generate fees that I pay to Linden Lab across my sales, cash outs, Lindex fees etc based on Tier 2 business level cash outs.  Again a revenue generator not a “spender”.... 

It has been fun to discuss this, all opinions are interesting and let’s hope LL continues to make the right decisions financially and that non premium accounts remain and contribute to the healthy economy that exists today.

 

 

Edited by Charlotte Bartlett
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14 minutes ago, Charlotte Bartlett said:

Yeah sorry you have lost me apologies.  I personally just feel like using terms like a financial loss or thorn in the eye are uneducated and fail to recognize the economic landscape.  These people whom you speak of I have never encountered so I have not had that same experience as you.

Also I spend little... just one sim payment.   But I generate fees that I pay to Linden Lab across my sales, cash outs, Lindex fees etc based on Tier 2 business level cash outs.  Again a revenue generator not a “spender”.... 

It has been fun to discuss this, all opinions are interesting and let’s hope LL continues to make the right decisions financially and that non premium accounts remain and contribute to the healthy economy that exists today.

 

 

Charlotte, what you quoted was my reply to Chic. :)  Just in case you didn't notice. As for my language. Forgive me that I use a common language. I'm not an economist.

Edited by Doc Carling
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The business model that SL has been using with free and premium players seems to be working. SL has been free to play since around 2006. There is value in people who just visit SL without paying a thing. I enjoy talking to new people who have just entered SL. I enjoy the feeling of an active world with people doing things.

Anyways, here's an interesting article I dug up.

https://lindenlab.wordpress.com/2006/03/23/free-to-play-pay-for-stuff/

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4 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

Charlotte, what you quoted was my reply to Chic. :)  Well, I guess you know that. As for my language. Forgive me that I use a common language. I'm not an economist.

And mine was a reply to you so correctly quoted.  No forgiveness needed your opinions are always welcome and I enjoy the conversation on how we all see things differently.  Its one of the things that make SL great in my own humble opinion.   Have a lovely evening.

 

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Like Chic and quite a number of other people I know, I have never been a Premium member in my almost 14 years here.  I can't remember the last time I bought L$, but I'm guessing it was at least 10 years ago.  Still, I've owned a private estate since 2012 and have managed to pay for it with rental income, scripting commissions, and small but steady sales in Marketplace.  I've never taken money out of SL, so I typically have enough of a cash cushion to cover the next month's land fees if I need to.  Over the years, I figure I have contributed a fair amount of effort in SL and have made my corner of it a little nicer for myself and others.  I don't believe I am a freeloader or that LL is losing profit because I have a Basic membership.

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Point blank: They decided on June Sixth, 2006 to allow for wholly Free accounts to be created and used and not once have they ever floated the idea of reversing this.

Fourteen years. That is how long it has been since then. In fourteen years they have not so much as hinted at a regression being in the cards.

That says more than enough on the topic, on top of the countless accounts that signed up since then. Many I would guess that eventually go Premium because they see a benefit to doing so. I did and a few in this very thread did as well.

To put the above a bit less politely: Sit down and stop stirring the pot.

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LL isn't going to force everyone to buy premium in order to log in, non-premium members buying/selling L$, as well as non-premium MP purchases are a big portion of their in-come. Speaking from purely a business POV, free members is a good deal because it allows people to get into SL without the constraints of a trial, and even without premium, they bring in money.

I have a list of things considered for premium perks, but I am not sure if LL wants me to let the cat out of the bag on that, especially because they are not set in stone yet. I'll tell you this: Premium plus looks promising, and doesn't look like it will be taking anything away from non-premium members(LL learned this the hard way when there was forum riots regarding group limits), let alone make free members a thing of the past.

Edited by Chaser Zaks
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10 hours ago, Arielle Popstar said:

That would likely just pay for the MP servers and maybe money services.

Or...mad idea...or...all the money that LL makes supports the entire company and infrastructure equally and marketplace revenue probably goes more of a way than you think into support that.

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What I find the weirdest in this thread is the sole focus on money.

Some people have mentioned the barrier for entry, but even more so even users who don't spend a single cent on SL still contribute to the platform in other ways, such as simply interacting with other users which gives the platform more value in the eyes of those users and it can create a sense of community. That alone is worth having the free-to-play business model and it's easily the most popular business model for a lot of entertainment.

Low barrier to entry is important because once you gain a new user, all it takes is a little retention to keep them in to make the chances of them spending money or causing someone else to spend money to rise.

This does also extend to other things like Twitch (livestreams) or even non-social entertainment like Youtube or mobile games, etc.

Edited by Wulfie Reanimator
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