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06/13/2008

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Ann Otoole

Most likely Mitch Kapor demoing the next equivalent of segway for SL. You know... the segway... the thing that was going to change human life as we know it. *yawn*

Somehow the idea of a "special announcement" from LL just breeds fear and loathing now. Maybe LL should examine that aspect of reality and determine why that is.

Prokofy Neva

"You see me roll on my Segway
I know in my heart they think I'm
White and nerdy"

Cherowolf Redgrave

My first thought when reading the LL blog was an IPO announcement. Doesn't Mark Kingdon's background include IPO experience? Or perhaps a partnership with Microsoft or Google. Haven't both those companies been trying to enter the virtual world industry?

Khamon Fate

You hit on a good point. Linden Lab announce an upcoming special guest announcing fabulous news and the general population instantly begin to speculate how anti-climatic and destructive to our experience the change will be.

The few adults at LL might do well to observe this perception we have of them and the way they do business. Based on what I've read and heard, the general public expect the news to be exciting to a few people, but useless to the bulk of us.

Prokofy Neva

Khamon, I think if we add together all the notes of speculation, like Flipper gloating that he knows what it is and it's a good thing; like Lucifer Barthomet saying it will make me shit my pants (i.e. in horror, fear, etc.), and like someone theorizing quite logically that they could be announcing the outsourcing or 'partnership with a company' for the mainland (and maybe islands that elect to stay with the SL grid), it all adds up to: flat tier.

Why would flat tier be a bad thing? Well, I never understood why it was a good thing, except for Linden Lab, in that it forced people to hold more tier for more land than they were prepared really to realistically buy. It was a way of forcing step-ups, and many of us have been burned on it many a time, especially before better group tools came along and better interfaces.

But flattening tier also makes the bulk discount go away, so that makes the point of rentals less fruitful, i.e. I can hold $195 for a whole sim, somebody else buying a premium and tier from 4096 from LL has to pay $25.

However, if the tiers stay higher at their flat levels than they do at the sim level, possibly the advantage may still be there for bulk tier purchase, maybe not.

There's still a reason to offer rentals: helping people avoid the purchase price with land. Even if land goes to one dollar a meter, it's still a purchase price that some may wish to avoid when starting out, or just have the flexibility of not being stuck by the month -- LL goes by monthly billing, inworld rentals can enable you to refund immediately with a small charge, or rent from week to week.

I have no doubt that having killed off the land arbitrage market, or at least seriously killed it for all but the most unscrupulous ad extortionist and spammers (thanks!), they will go after the rental business, and that's why the FIC are gloating, they hate other sectors of the economy they can't control, and if LL can help them kill off those sectors, intentionally or accidently, they'll only be happy.

Still, I can't help thinking that the announcement isn't related to tier/land because that wouldn't be something that "everybody" would appreciate because the number of tier-payers is only a percentage of the overall population.

Making it possible to buy land without a premium account? That might well be, LL may be getting ready to roll out what amounts to a "rental interface" to do that, enabling anyone to pay tier in Lindens. This could help kill off independent rental businesses that rely on scripted boxes and third-party sites to manage their business.

Each time LL changes something, it becomes harder to stay in an independent business that isn't wedded to them by some form of sucking up on a dev list or joining their trusted certified partners or signing away copyright etc. etc. And that's not surprising, because that's deliberate.

Ciaran Laval

Well if I could pay tier in Linden dollars VAT may well be circumvented.

Flat tier concerns me greatly, largely because the rental sector has filled that void and Linden Lab would do much damage to the rental business if they went for a flat tier per metre model. At some point, surely even Linden Lab have to take an interest in the business concerns of their residents.

However as this all speculation I'll wait and see what this special announcement is. I doubt it will please everyone, I can still recall Robin's comment that she thought we'd be pleased that they lowered prices after the estate price slash and that demonstrated all too well that Linden Lab don't consider the whole picture when making what they believe will be popular decisions.

However, time will tell, maybe they'll surprise me.

Prokofy Neva

Ciaran, they don't care about damage to businesses. Out of all owners of land, only some percent are rental landlords, even if they pay a lot of tier. It's in LL's interest to have more end users, more premium accounts, more people doing other things with sims rather than re-renting them, which doesn't benefit their own bottom line, but detracts from it.

Ben Linden once wrote on the Linden Answers that LL in fact encouraged renting -- that was 3 years ago -- and they did it at a time when there was such a rush of customers that they needed a subset of resident managers to take care of all those people.

Now they don't. THey have localizers, they have big companies that they hope will "manage communities" like ESC does for L-word, etc. etc. They don't need a class of independent landlords that criticize them.

Ann Otoole

As much as you might rate such individualized attention Prok...
I seriously doubt LL would use a special guest speaker to announce LL's evil plan to oust you from Secondlife. LL could do that anytime they like without an announcement by simply banning you under the existing TOS.

It has to be something juicier like bringing Darth Vader and the Emperor in and announcing a partnership with IBM and Microsoft.

Oh and that franchising thing... That solves a lot of legal problems out of the gate for additional grids.

Given LL's amazing prowess of thinking something is really important and wonderful when it is really not well analyzed and not thought through at all I am more willing to expect them to announce something anticlimactic. Perhaps more restrictions on the backbone of SL---basic accounts.

Skylark Thibedeau

If it is an IPO will the stock price trade in Dollars or Lindens?

Khamon Fate

Paying tier per meter doesn't necessarily imply a flat rate across the board. LL can still offer a lower rate per meter for bulk total tier held by an account.

.75L/sm for holding up to 1/4 sim
.60L/sm for holding up to 1/2 sim
.50L/sm for holding up to 1 sim
.40L/sm for holding up to 3 sims

I realize those prices are simplistic and inflated, but are only shown as an example of allowing us to pay for what we use and still enjoy a discount for using more.

I have to agree though that LL don't need a special guest or occasion to announce this. It's more the kind of thing they blog about randomly, revise several times before implementation, and miscode to the point that people are charged incorrectly for months.

So even if you're right Prokofy, it's still gonna be a fiasco that'll frustrate the users to no end and only seem a good idea on paper, at the lab, on Tuesdays.

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