What a wake up call.
Like most academics, I will not be renewing any of my 3 islands as they come due at the higher (double) price in 2011. I may not even renew the islands that will come due later this year - what's the point if I'm going to be exiting anyway?
I am curious - who exactly does Linden Lab think they have lined up to take my place? Has anyone at Linden run the numbers or are they blindly shooting from the hip? By driving away paying educational and non-profit customers, Linden will be losing those who have consistently presented Second Life to the world in a positive way.
What is very annoying about all of this is education users' financial investment in content, developed by others, that will be held hostage in Second Life as nonprofits quit. As others have noted here, collaboratively developed content, or any full perm content that I myself did not create, can't be exported to OpenSim. So, like many other academics, I am stuck with a significant financial investment in development work that cannot be moved out of Second LIfe. Essentially, Linden Lab has demanded a 100% increase in rent from me, and will effectively seize my property if I don't pay it. There is a word for that, and it isn't pretty....
So, my plan is to finish up my projects as fast as possible, exit Second Life, find an alternative, and not throw any more good money after bad.
It's a real shame. Second Life had such promise. While the press ridiculed SL's decline as businesses ran away in 2007, non-profits and education institutions maintained their presence and support. Without major companies, universities, and non-profits, Second Life will become an increasingly uninteresting place to be.
Of course, there is always the hope that Linden Lab will read these posts and realize they have made a VERY BAD DECISION that can be still be corrected, if management is willing to admit their mistake and step up to the plate.