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Buy Fee Change Discussion


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  • Lindens
15 hours ago, Scott1 Yedmore said:

I'm curious Reed... If LL was operating out of your own datacenter(s) then a move to AWS resulted in lower costs to you, already. (I work in this field.) But the blog announcement made this sound like a hardship to LL and, hence, the "reasoning" for fee increases. Help me understand this please.

Okay! Good morning!  I'm back at the keys, and I'm going to try to get through everything. Starting here.

 

As mentioned above, Oz has explained that our maintenance costs have actually gone UP in AWS, not down. Running our own datacenter was fairly efficient (because we owned the hardware, rather than renting it) so long as the machines were up to date and didn't need to be replaced. However, that does mean that every so often, there's a massive expenditure required to replace all the machines. In the AWS model, that expense is defrayed over time, rather than all at once (plus a surcharge of course for the privilege). The end result from a purely financial perspective is that moving to AWS is more expensive for us month-to-month, but does not require occasional massive one-time cost spikes like running the datacenter did. From an engineering and infrastructure perspective, running Second Life in AWS opens up huge opportunities (and creates additional challenges) that we're only just now beginning to explore.  We're very excited for the future.

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  • Lindens
13 hours ago, Jaylinbridges said:

I am waiting for the next shoe to drop:  The elimination of the Basic free account entirely, after the usual "one month free trial" offer. 

This will not happen. Keep that shoe on. :)

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11 hours ago, animats said:

At present we are:

  • Investing in our infrastructure to further improve speed and cadence of updates.
  • Overhauling the onboarding experience for the newest Residents.
  • UI cleanup.
  • Developing new marketing initiatives and entertainment partnerships to fuel growth.
  • Preparing for SL18B
  • Less glamorous but no less crucial is our ongoing and growing work to ensure compliance with multiple regulatory requirements.

Well, at least we're hearing some management goals from LL, for the first time in a long time. Let's all check back in 3 months to see how LL does on this.

Is that sarcasm?

The first five of those goals are just obfuscation for that last one. At least two of them are work the residents are going to do for them anyway, and one is like saying "Well, I plan to make a plan."

Not one of those "goals" is significant for the average resident, and certainly not for their land owning residents, which are still their biggest source of income.

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  • Lindens
12 hours ago, Skylar Littlepaws said:

Hi Reed.  I'm kind of curious....I understand that Second Life (Linden Labs) wants to improve on the infrastructure and make the virtual world great.  I want to see that happen because this world is a lot of fun and I enjoy it a lot and many others do, but do you think right now with what's going on is the right time to be changing the fee?  I mean there's still a lot of people who are unemployed due to the pandemic and we are still a crisis.  I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, but I think and believe the timing for it isn't the right time right now to be making these changes.

This is a very valid question, and one we struggled with, too. The most transparent way to say it is that we didn't feel like we had a choice. The revenue associated with this fee increase is tied directly to all of our plans for the future, and our ability to keep Second Life vibrant and engaging, including right now. If we had had the ability to hold off on this increase any longer, we would have. We appreciate how important Second Life is to our residents, especially now, and we feel the critical need to reinvest in that experience and bring in NEW residents as soon as possible.

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11 hours ago, animats said:

Well, at least we're hearing some management goals from LL, for the first time in a long time. Let's all check back in 3 months to see how LL does on this.

3 months is a tight timeline! :D We'll do our best!

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  • Lindens
10 hours ago, jyosonia said:

Burden on Small players like me, who use to buy Lindens worth of 10-15 US$....

Not a wise decision... Big players dont even care of these fees but it hurts a lot to small players like me. 😒

If you're spending less than about $20 at a time, you won't see any change at all. Residents like you are the heart and soul of Second Life, and we specifically calibrated the fee change to ensure that residents like you would not be affected. 

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  • Lindens
9 hours ago, Lucia Nightfire said:

Including LL recommending the top # popular brands by name with landmarks and/or marketplace store urls to new users searching for <insert product category here>?

What about offering youtube tutorials on buying/wearing mesh heads, mesh bodies, skins/makeup & clothing and all the pitfalls involved?

I like both of those ideas!

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I think it is important for us citizens to remember that we are STILL HERE -- that most things are working fairly well and the things that are not can be worked around  (I admit the inventory issues are a pain).  This is not AMAZON that bought into The Lab -- and that's likely a good thing. 

 

There are SO VERY MANY other scenarios that could have played out this last year so it might be good to take a breath and be thankful. We don't know what the future will bring, but again -- we are still here. 

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1 minute ago, Reed Linden said:

I like both of those ideas!

Strawberry Linden has Youtube videos about different heads/skins.   You should talk with her as those videos may be under a different name or no longer there.  I'm not sure.  Strawberry made lots of Youtube videos prior to becoming a Linden.

Edited by FairreLilette
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  • Lindens
8 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Hi, Reed,

Can you comment on how this new fee will impact the value of the Linden which has been artificially kept at about 240-241 for more than a year, and throughout SL's history has varied considerably. Will you continue to keep it at US $4.00/1,000 Linden dollars?

Everyone who buys or sells on the LindEx knows that it is not truly a "market" institution, despite some small fluctuations daily, as it is artificially kept at this rate by infusions of Lindens.

Also, Linden Lab used to supply information about the percentage of the concurrency (which is now 30,000-40,000 on average) which spent at certain levels. Can you say what percentage of the concurrency spends at the level of US $25 per month? $100? $500? 

What is the number of premium accounts?

Thanks.

 

 

Hi, Prokofy!

We remain committed to the stability of the Lindex exchange, and we will continue to monitor that rate closely with this change.

 

I don't have the concurrency:spend ratios available, but I can say that we're very proud to be at an all time high on premium accounts for the month of March, 2021. 

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2 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

..then why do it?

Reed outlined this in their above post but I work for a company that made the same migration a few years ago and I can tell you the benifits outweigh the cons heavily when you are looking at the long term. Amazon shoulders the cost of upgrades and outages, as well as the ever changing needs of server management. Long term the savings is minimal financially but enormous when it comes to time and workload required of the company involved. 

Moving to AWS is a clear signal of intending to reap those benifits for the long, long term which I can hazard a guess is part of the influence of the new long-view investment firm that acquired LL. 

I can't say I'm overall happy with the fee change but I understand why that is the most economical target for raising funds. 

@Reed Linden, are you able to speak to any projects you are excited for in more specifics? I'm especially curious about the onboarding changes as I'd love to bring in some friends to SL to explore but the high learning curve makes it very difficult. 

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14 minutes ago, Reed Linden said:
10 hours ago, Lucia Nightfire said:

What about offering youtube tutorials on buying/wearing mesh heads, mesh bodies, skins/makeup & clothing and all the pitfalls involved?

I like both of those ideas!

Here is Strawberry Linden's Youtube channel link.  She's had how to do videos for SL for years upon years.

https://www.youtube.com/user/strawberrysingh22

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14 minutes ago, Bitterthorn said:

 

@Reed Linden, are you able to speak to any projects you are excited for in more specifics? I'm especially curious about the onboarding changes as I'd love to bring in some friends to SL to explore but the high learning curve makes it very difficult. 

Hi, Bitterthorn

I'm the payments product manager, and I have my grubby hands in a lot of our backend stuff, but not much front end, so the new onboarding stuff is not on my desk, so to speak. I wish I could tell you more about it, but suffice to say that as a company, we're very excited about it and that means we're going to want to share it with you all as soon as we can and in big bold text. ;) Stay tuned, I guess!

For me personally, I'm super excited to be working on Two Factor Authentication this year, and some updates to our web account management to give you all more options to interact with your in-world avatar/region/etc from the web. 

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5 minutes ago, Reed Linden said:

For me personally, I'm super excited to be working on Two Factor Authentication this year

🤮 If I have to copy-paste a magic number from my email every time I log into SL I'm going to up and quit.

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43 minutes ago, Reed Linden said:

If you're spending less than about $20 at a time, you won't see any change at all. Residents like you are the heart and soul of Second Life, and we specifically calibrated the fee change to ensure that residents like you would not be affected. 

Probably should've did a $40 or $50 before hitting them with the extra fee. Some players will spend less, but probably business as usual for the other big spenders.

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14 minutes ago, Dancien Graves said:

How are you going to account for the lost revenue from people deciding this is too much?

I honestly don't think it will impact their revenue much at all -- maybe a tad a first, not not long term.  The vast majority of the transactions are small enough to not be impacted.  My guess is that many of the remaining folks will "initially" adjust their L$ buying tendencies to minimize their own fees as much as possible.  Over time, I think most people will simply accept the fees and go back to their usual L$ buying habits -- or close to it.  RL companies hit us with increased fees yearly -- at least in the US -- and overall we have a tendency to just "suck it up" on the things that we truly want to be part of our entertainment package.

Edited by LittleMe Jewell
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11 minutes ago, Quistessa said:

🤮 If I have to copy-paste a magic number from my email every time I log into SL I'm going to up and quit.

I won't say that but I "HOPE" it will not be mandatory. There are a ton of folks in SL that don't need that. They live alone, don't connect at Starbucks (or whatever) and don't have much money (we know that from all the comments :D) ---- so while it IS something SOME Folks want, it isn't  what everyone wants.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Reed Linden said:

For me personally, I'm super excited to be working on Two Factor Authentication this year, and some updates to our web account management to give you all more options to interact with your in-world avatar/region/etc from the web. 
 

Will the 2FA be an option for residents or a mandatory thing? Not everyone has a smart phone or deal with Google.

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20 hours ago, Reed Linden said:

The server improvements are ongoing. There is no specific date for any given change, but you should be seeing incremental improvement across all of our properties more or less continuously. As we shifted our "hardware" to the cloud, we saw marked upticks in region performance, historically low teleport failure rates, and faster, easier grid rolls. We're confident that we can provide even greater improvement there, and do so to a wider range of products, and these fee changes allow us to continue to tinker with and optimize our infrastructure within the new environment.

I dunno but I still experience server regressions in terms of performance from a lag and slow loading perspective. Almost 4 months after the Uplift has been completed, certain clubs and regions are still a laggy mess whereas 8 months ago when they were still on the server farm, they were no problem. Teleports are no longer crashing but TP transit times have significantly increased to a point where when jumping away from busy regions, it is faster to log out and back in to the destination. Maps are still not working in spite of several promises they were to be fixed soon. The Mobile viewers for IOS and Android are getting to be the usual long term project with no word on their progress. And we recently had word the TPV meetings are now being cut back to once every 2 weeks which does not sound positive for continued opensource side of S/L.

The only things the Lab seems to actually schedule with certainty is increased fees whereas system updates are on the order of indefinite. If the fee increases were to actually help with the Lab feature update schedules with the same certainty as fees, I would be quite fine with paying out more but at this point I see it being a case of paying more for less.

Quote

 

Regarding the new user experience, this is still in the design stage! We'll be attempting to move the needle in as many areas as we can, and running experiments and trying new things in world, in the viewer, on the web - across the board. There's nothing off the table! If you have any suggestions you'd like to make, I encourage you to submit a feature request! 

 

There is a boatload of feature requests that couldn't be implemented even if you doubled the workforce so what the use of submitting more? Just adds to the pile you will have to say "soon" to while working on features like EEP. Maybe LL could consider taking the extra money it will make from these fee increases and hire someone who can schedule dates for when features or bugs will be implemented rather than leaving it to the inscrutable future. I'd wager a lot more would be accomplished then putting the word Soon to every ETA.

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1 hour ago, Reed Linden said:

As mentioned above, Oz has explained that our maintenance costs have actually gone UP in AWS, not down.

Only ... 

It was explicitly sold to us as being more cost effective and offering all kinds of exciting opportunities for a faster experience. A literal win win.

At what point was this cost difference noticed? Was it before or after the datacenter went into the wood chipper ?

Why are SL's spending consumers being punished for this? This will directly impact content creators via reduced sales. 

1 hour ago, Reed Linden said:

For me personally, I'm super excited to be working on Two Factor Authentication this year, and some updates to our web account management to give you all more options to interact with your in-world avatar/region/etc from the web. 

But this is something LL should be providing as a base part of the service. Steam (as just one example) has had 2FA in place since 2011. 

Likewise, we shouldn't have to fund a UI cleanup! LL not releasing bad UI is a pretty fundamental expectation.

The onboarding experience has been a bottomless money pit for the last 18 years, LL's own public discussions make that abundantly clear. What will be different this time?

 SL18B ... We can't afford it. Everyone attending should come wearing a potato sack.

Edited by Coffee Pancake
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