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04/27/2008

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Justin Clark-Casey

Prokofy, a small correction if I may. Adam doesn't run OpenSim - rather he is one of the core developers (albeit one of the oldest and highest contributors) in a fairly large group of developers.

Also, OpenSim itself isn't a grid but is rather the platform for running a grid. There is a list of grids using OpenSim at

http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Grid_List

which includes grids such as OpenLife, OSGrid and DeepGrid (which I believe Adam's company runs).

Justin Clark-Casey

Just to clarify, I mean that Adam's company runs DeepGrid, not OSGrid or OpenLife.

Justin Clark-Casey

To clarify even further, OpenSim is a platform which is capable of running a grid but this is far from its exclusive purpose. It can also be run as a standalone 3D environment platform.

Prokofy Neva

Justin, I appreciate your clarification, but I don't see anything wrong in this statement of mine:

"Azure Islands, owned by Adam Zaius (Adam Frisby), probably doesn't hold Adam's interest terribly these days. He's busy running OpenSim, where he can get real venture capital and deal with customers like IBM instead of Cocoanut."

He is busy running OpenSim. If there are other people running it (and I have always realized there are) they aren't as visible now, are they? They aren't on the conference panels as much or something?

Running OpenSim is running OpenSim. Whether it is software, a website, a place, or cream cheese, it's a thing he runs. Summarizing the truth of a matter isn't being "incorrect" -- it's just not spelling everything out in all its geeky glory as you wish to do.

I've studied this site extensively, written about it a lot, and quite realize that using this program/platform/cream cheese, people are making other worlds/grids/slices of bread.

If it can be used standalone, or with others, what has that to do with the price of fish in China?

The point is that Adam is more interested in reverse engineering Second Life and running his thingie, which has more important customers and more important fish to fry, and not from China. than in tending to his gardens in AzureIslands.

By the way if there is a "fairly large core of developers" you might wish to list their names. If you go to those links, only one name, Darren Guard, is mentioned.

BTW, you'd have to be in SL and on the circuit to come up with as much as I've come up with, in part from talking to Adam himself.

If you read this Reuters article:
http://secondlife.reuters.com/stories/2007/09/06/rival-grids-threaten-lindens-monopoly-on-sl-technology/

You see no mention of any other developer. You also see the avatar's name is Adam Alpha, suggesting he is the first, original, most important.

I don't notice you sending in corrections to Reuters : )

Here's more coverage mentioning only Adam:

http://gigaom.com/2008/04/08/here-comes-the-open-source-metaverse/

Then there's this page you don't find navigating the site, but only from Google:

http://opensimulator.org/wiki/History

Adam is famous for chasing after journalists and telling them they just got the interview of him all wrong.

And I see even Hamlet, who is in the in-crowd, has to cross out like 3 things trying to cover opensim on Giga Om.

Um, let me suggest why this is. You folks have to get together, straighten *your own* story out about who should get credit for what, who runs what, who deserves what titles, and put it on your website under "about".

BTW, finally, after googling about 45 minutes, I got this:

http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Development_Team

It looks like wiki-speak and IRC channel talk. Why not write a normal paragraph? easily accessible right on the "about page".

While we're all here discussing this, let me note that your name in Second Life, "Lulworth" sounds like a griefer's name.

Prokofy Neva

In the course of talking to people in groups about this article, I was steered to an interesting content said to be some 150 islands run by the Japanese, with the rather odd sounding name Tokyo Pig Sight. Complete with giant pigs. There's something I'm not getting about this culturally. I think if Americans named their rentals landing spot "The Pig Run" they might not get business. So waiting for some cultural education on that one!

It has neatly terraformed pancakes, red ban lines, and nice builds. Apparently Fantasy Island is the name its known by, and they bought another group? Anyway, they have yellow Dutch Elm disease too, but by their already-hapless residents who want to sell.

Croquet Hax

"The Pig Run"? It might work for Americans if they were southerners and the region had a BBQ theme....

Maybe http://tokyomango.blogspot.com/2006/10/pigs-make-me-happy.html gives some clue as to the Japanese relation to pigs.

Prokofy Neva

Slexchange.com chatter is that there were two resignations, and two firings of staff in Dreamland.

President of Adam Zaius' Fan Club

Don't make assumptions about Adam or Azure Islands. Azure isn't doing as bad as you think...there are VERY capable admins in Azure and Adam is NOT the only owner either. And yes, the other owner of DeepThink Labs IS around handling things. Prof, I had a friend rent from you once, and ya screwed him quite well. Worry about yourself and your residents before spewing BS about others...ok?

Prokofy Neva

If Azure is so wonderful, why don't you sign your name to your post, big guy? You cannot post further here as my rule here is that you must use a first and second recognizable SL name.

Sure, Adam isn't the only owner, but he is the main owner and main driving force. Nexus is like 20 or something, right? in college? Or did he graduate?

If there is another owner to "DeepThink" he's so deep in the think we never see his name.

I haven't spewed any BS. I've pointed out the obvious. There are yellow squares. Adam isn't interested in Azure, he doesn't spend time flogging it anymore. He is not placing major ads in classifieds or expanding, from what I can tell. Correct me if I'm wrong. There's no sin in that -- it's just a report on the state of the grid.

The big land barons just don't make money from Second Life anymore; they don't wish to try to make money any more. They have gone elsewhere to make money. They are more interested in other things.

As for someone getting "screwed," I'm quite sure that is bullshit. I don't screw people. Perhaps your little friend didn't pay their rent? or violated the simple lease terms? I worry about my residents, and they are fine : )

Cerze Ophelia

I cannot speak for estate owners in general, but in my case (Surreal Estates) the problem began with the tier increase for private sims from $195 to $295, while mainland sim tier remained $195. While this didn't affect grandfathered sims, it gave me great pause to expanding further. This gave a business advantage for all the grandfathered sims, but put a halt to growth because in order to continue growing, it meant charging a higher tier which I have always felt was never proven stable. Surreal to this day is very stable but it's also been running for a couple years now without adding new land. On top of this, the knowledge of so many mainland sims being introduced into the market is a further deterrent.

The recent announced $1000 sims is now the second episode in feeling uneasy about further investment. It sends the message to everyone who has ever sunk more than a dime into SL land that whatever they spend today may be worth half or nothing tomorrow. I'm not sure what the motivation for this was, be it excess inventory, or feeling the need to stay competitive against newcomers into the virtual world business, but I felt it was too steep a move and will have negative long term consequences.

SL has had the advantage of having a larger, more mature world than the newcomers, and the perceived land values (even if only perceived) was glue that held a lot of people to paying tier. The potential loss of equity simply abandoning and moving elsewhere is now not as great. If LL pulls the plug on grandfathered prices, I think it will be the last straw for many private land businesses.

What is good for business owners in SL is not necessarily good for LL, but I think that in a healthy environment - it ought to be. What I would like to have seen happen (or still happen though I'm not holding my breath) is for LL to freeze the tier pricing for mainland at $195 and private sims at $195, as they stand today and give some assurance of at least X amount of time they can commit to those rates rather than leaving people wondering quarter to quarter, and going forward level the playing field so all new mainland sims tier comes out as $295 a month.

This won't upset people over existing land as nothing changes, will likely drive down the cost of new mainland sim land (something they say they want) and will promote private enterprise once again (or at least restore a more even playing field.) They might even make a bit more money in the long run rather than flooding the market with a ton of mainland sims and cheap $1000 sims -- which they should be using to make the sims better (ie: faster, more prims, more abilities, enhanced product) Granted, if they did increase new mainland sim tiers and did not use the money to give people more product for their money, this plan would certainly fall apart.

If they want to remain ahead of the competition, I think their main focus should be on maintaining a technological and population lead. A lead in the quality of the content will come from cutting private enterprise more slack to earn money, and land business in many ways is a foundation for growth of many sectors.

-Cerze Opehlia
Surreal Estates

Prokofy Neva

Mainland tier should not be made $195 a month. The anger and sense of entitlement of island owners feel about this is misplaced.

Mainland owners must not have their tier raised just to suit bitching island owners who are selectively crying "unfair".

Mainland is subject to far, far more griefing -- it's just the nature of mainland that it is attacked far more often and suffers more from self-replication, etc. because it is contiguous and because you cannot control your sim, your parcel, or what your neighbour is doing. That is both its charm or its vulnerability.

Somebody wonders what they pay for when they pay $100 extra a month for an island? I'll tell you: the ability to reset your sim when it is down or having problems at any time. You can't do that on the mainland, and have to constantly ask the Lindens to reset it.

But the place where island renters make much, much more money than their mainland counterparts is in rentals for two giant reasons:

o they can sell land, yet retain hold of it and keep a covenant/terms on it, so that they can control what happens to it in terms of preventing ad farms

o they can thereby enable a customer to set land to his own group which means he can control griefing and privacy better.

A mainland rental cannot "sell" obviously nor can they allow a customer to have his own group, obviously. And that limits his options.

Islands aren't doing well not because of higher tier but because of gadzillion more islands. The market is terribly overglutted. There aren't enough buyers chasing the sellers. The resellers markets among individual residents is very difficult too.

The Lindens definitely need to flood the market with mainland sims *from their perspective* because then they can fill a sim with multiple customers and make, say, $400 in tier per sim instead of just $195 or even $295 as they would from an island owner. They don't see any reason to let all the cash go to rental businesses. They DO have a conflict of interest with us.

Raising mainland tier would definitely put a dent in business, new sales, and cause old people to abandon or firesale land.

Of course the Lindens may do this at any time, cite egalitarian socialist concerns of being "fair" and kill both businesses off further, just because basically, land arbitrage and rentals do run against their interests, as they see them.

They don't seem to be persuaded that allow partners to make money and having a thriving economy is in the long term better for them as it increases more customers, currency sales and expansion of community managers' properties which gives them more tier, with less individual customers as headaches.

Ciaran Laval

I think the point about mainland tier was regarding new sims and not increasing fees for existing sims. There would be no need for a firesale from existing owners but it sure would put a lot of people off from buying mainland if they increased tier fees.

I'm not quite sure that being able to reset my sim warrants the extra $100 a month, in some ways these extra features point to a trade off because the Lindens don't need to be called for issues like that and that means less workload for them. The extra powers and tools available do however give added value and that should be reflected in the price, mainland and estate shouldn't be treated the same.

However the point regarding the amount that can be made for a mainland sim in terms of potential tier income as opposed to the flat rate of an island does point to a reason for estate tier to be higher. Many mainland sims bring in more that $195, I see very few owned by just one person so it's unfair to look at just the base cost and of course very few mainland sims sell at auction for less than $1675 and they sure as hell don't generally sell for less than $1000, all factors need to be considered when looking at the total cost of ownership.

Maximilian Proto

Cerze, I don't think that your point of view is entirely justified.

As Prokofy already pointed out, islands give you more control and flexibility of the land and also allow for more options to recoup your initial investment and monetize the sim (i.e. Prokofy can't sell mainland to a resident and receive tier from that resident at the same time - on your island you can).

Hence, the difference in monthly costs between mainland and island is not only justified but actually essential to ensure that both business models ("buy" vs "rent") can be offered by landowners competitively to residents.

Also, your perception on the "loss of equity" reads slightly confusing.

The people who lost resell value on island land are the secondary owners (the people that bought your land), not the primary owners (you).

To keep a complex thing simple, from an island owner's perspective, you recouped the upfront costs ("you pay LL") when you sold the parcels on your sim to residents ("residents pay you").

The resell price of such an island is then determined by the value of the (discounted) monthly net cash flow that the sim is able to generate. This value depends on (a) the tier that residents pay you, (b) the tier that LL charges you, and (c) RL taxes (if applicable :)).

It does not depend on the price you paid for the island at the time, and also not on the price a empty new sim costs. Since LL didn't change the monthly tier costs, this value has essentially not changed.

Cocoanut Koala

Yeah, mainland isn't worth the same price as islands.

On my mainland property, I have a next-door neighbor who has erected a huge black tower with "Boycott the Olympics" signs on it. (Fortunately, the tower no longer spins.)

This has the effect of gradually turning me against the whole cause. By the time the Olympics rolls around, I will probably be in favor of China killing all the monks and burning any dissenters alive.

***

Regarding Azure Islands, whatever it is Adam is running or involved in on other grids, yes, I have thought about it.

I rather regularly consider whether I shouldn't cut my expenses, which would include, of course, my home on Azure Islands.

And this new OpenSim or DeepGrid, or whichever he is involved in, has given me pause to consider he (and Nexus, I presume) might lose interest in it altogether.

In which case, I would be holding the bag. But - it is just a bag on paper; that is, I purchased my land so long ago, that what I would be losing is the profit from it. (In other words, my original payment for it has long since been sort of way diluted by time.)

Needless to say, I hope that doesn't happen. Anyway, my guess is it won't. It is already up and running, and my guess is it gives them a nice profit.

They already had their fun designing the various regions; I don't know whether or not they plan to add any more.

Overall, I think you are right that the major landowners are moving out into other worlds, and have less interest in SL; and that it is hard to blame them for that.

coco

Ciaran Laval

That's not quite true Maximillian. First of all not all estates operate the upfront fee model, however that aside it is the estate owner who sells the island.

If an estate owner now chooses to sell, an honourable one is going to share the proceeds with the current owners on his island, that fee has now shrunk. This gives the estate owner a headache, how does he or she now value the investment from his or her investors? The value has been vastly reduced.

The knock on effect of LL's irresponsible move will start to be felt over the coming months and it's not just estate owners who will feel the pinch.

Kori Bradges

You're not doing enough coverage of that watermelon fiend Torley and her alien conspiracy to replace LLers with [SENSORED], you fcking basturd!

Linda Brynner

I sell specific selected mainland since January 2008, and certainly not for bottom prices. Doing very well actually.
The reason I don't advice positive about renting a parcel on an island since I entered the land business is verious.
Untill now I have never experienced much correlation between speed of sales and price.
Most important is: added value.
Added value is more than beauty.
People are much more critical these days about land in sl and they don't allways fall for the cheaper constructions as we see on the islands. Islands can have serious drawbacks from a tenant point of view.
And all rules differ per business owner; way too complex and hassling for new comers.
Mainland has its drawbacks too however, but much easier to resell.
Lately I have calculated difference business models about private estates and for me they still simply say: stay out and stay on the mainland.
During my study, I couldn't get a passioned feeling about the private estates either.

Linda Brynner

Sorry... Since Jan. 2007 I mean... typo.

rahul

excellent dude,just phenomenal post

Land Texas

Numerous strange and inconsistent and secret components that went into the Lindens' conclusion to devalue land in this rough and sudden latest tendency might have been a actually stark component for them: drop off in buys of Linden isles from all three of these behemoths of the land industry.

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