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07/20/2008

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Ann Otoole

M Linden would indeed do well to study writings such as this one and then go do or have some research done by people not influenced by Linden Lab (or affiliates) to see what is really going on. Then M could compare reality to what he is being told. Then M can undergo the process of determining what the motivations are behind the limited information he is being provided. After all he is new so he only knows what he is being told. Once M has a feel for the politics and personal agendas involved he can then decide who will be part of the future of Linden Lab. I know I would not appreciate being given a restricted range of information intended to guide me in a direction that serves the personal motives and agendas of a select few people.

I would love to see LL undergo the process to get into IPO position. The SOX compliance alone will necessitate a complete makeover of the Lab culture and values since nobody could do anything without it having been first planned and approved and every configuration action anyone takes on the system(s) be logged and reviewed. Even direct (Non back end system or sl client, I.e.; SQL Query tool connections) database accesses would have to be logged and reviewed. Not too sure the Tao could survive the SOX Compliance transition without some major restructuring. I guess we are safe from IPO for a very long time. Not to say a non public, perhaps even foreign, company couldn't pop up and buy the entire deal. (My how the face of Secondlife would change if a Dubai interest bought it and brought Muslim ideology into play.)

Yes M needs to get involved and get a feel for how the wheels turn in SL so as to understand exactly where all that tier comes from. I think it would be interesting to see the metrics on where the money comes from. How much tier paid via selling L$, how much from CC charges, How much L$ is bought with CC charges, how much L$ is sold and shipped out of secondlife via paypal or checks. How much land is bought via selling L$ and then using the USD balance for Island or Mainland purchases. These would be interesting metrics. Exactly what butters Linden Lab's bread. If it turns out the overwhelming majority (90% or more) of tier comes from CC charges then I can understand how the Lab may not consider in world businesses relevant (even though there would be no secondlife without the in world businesses).

Prokofy Neva

Ann, if a year ago, Glenn Linden admitted that only 15 percent of private island sales were from the outworld corporations, I don't think we magically saw this double, or even remain the same or grow slightly!

They are touting education now because that's where there have been new purchases of islands that are non-end-user and non-inworld business.

If each and every account is tagged as follows, I have no doubt where the bread will be seen to be buttered:

o end-user
o inworld business
o enterprise
o education

This isn't an endless dbase chase through 12 million records.

As you noted, you start by checking CC purchases of currency and tier.

Take the positive monthly linden people, and calculate how much is being sold to pay for tier, and how much is being cashed out of LL.

Naturally the offsite PP payments for rentals are not factoring in and there's an awful lot of that, I bet the NMC educational empire is all offsite, and many island empires are all offshore banking.

I'm confident that today, and for some time to come, you will see that the people paying the most tier are:

o rentals businesses, mainland and island
o content businesses
o non-profits or break-evens helping newbies or engaged in inworld art, music, etc.

Let them calculate it and prove me wrong, that's fine, it will still come out as a big sector they can't afford to step on.

I agree that M is getting political information that is agenda-setting, of course, but perhaps he has his own outside backstops to get a different picture from the industry at large.

Clubside Granville

Lots of good stuff Prok. Lots of good stuff we've seen before. The regime changes, but do they listen.

Just a couple of things since otherwise I'd create a much less coherent post of equal size:

Education: are they insane? As someone who's career is developing educational platforms, Second Life makes no sense. The hardware requirements are too steep, developing relevant content is too time consuming, and after that you're left with in-world discussions/lectures. Yeah, sign me up for that. Education is a huge market in K-12, but SL don't hunt for that crowd. That leaves *cough* higher education. Big money. *cough*

Linen Lab is profitable? (An aside: doesn't it still irritate you every time someone writes "Linden Labs", especially supposedly Second Life-oriented or "professional" news sites?) Wow. Shocker! Actually, no... computer hardware costs continue to shrink, and LL was never on the cutting edge there to begin with. Do they pass the savings on to us? Nope. Sure, a drop in "setup" fees on islands, which equal about two times the cost of the associated hardware they claim actually runs four simulators. What a joke. This is also my problem with OpenSim: why develop against a Second Life codebase hopelessly lost in a sea of crapware, poor code, poor design, a with the most essential piece of the code (Havok) being a commercial product? They're riding tier-paying customer's backs to profitability while cutting them no breaks as you said.

Oh well, Im far too irritated to go on. Shouldn't our Second Lives be free of First Life's irritations?

Desmond Shang

I share a lot of these thoughts, Prok.

Lately though I've got some very good reasons to be hopeful, especially with regard to Company cooperation, inworld businesses and the economy.

In a month or two here I should be able to show you exactly what I'm talking about - right now I need to make sure I'm getting the right picture.

* * * * *

I'm not sure I agree with you on the traffic stat, however.

For a few weeks some merchants I know had some non-traffic-stat influenced sales - via the RC client if I recall correctly. Where keywords really did reflect what was sold in their shops and ranked places by content fairly accurately, regardless of the number of camp bots.

Long story short, it helped them dramatically. Perhaps we keep traffic as a number, but make it so camp bots don't drive up search relevance. There really are some people who lose big because of these bots.

Prokofy Neva

Desmond, that's pretty lame, hinting that you have some sort of inside dope or some trajectory you see that you can't talk about. What, the Lindens had you test Havoc? And? This inspires confidence?

Camp bots need to be paid for and regulated, then "traffic infusion" will die down. It isn't the big thing you imagine. Your friends' story is the one anecdote like everybody tells one anecdote.

If you don't want to hear this from me, you will hear it from the economy worsening substantially if traffic is removed. It is already hurting as the positive Linden flow numbers show dramatically, and that's a reflection of the Lindens already monkeying with search and killing it off for a lot of people outside the camped/bot circle.

economic mip

"Quite frankly, I have to say that if this educational boom was the real cultural upheaval that you imply, we'd see numerous students' blogs. We don't see any. We see educators and more to the point, people selling consulting and educational software to educators."

I do not know why this really stuck out at me, perhaps it is because of the line I have heard over and over again, "Our teachers are into this, and we are not". It just seems a bit strange to me that this is the case, and I imagine that with time it will change as the idea of a class in a virtual world becomes more commonplace. I really think that part of the problem is that the Lindens are only supporting four languages at the moment, and um not everyone in the world speaks these languages. A central Mexican professor I know recently lost about half a sim, because as I understand it his bosses could not find enough information on Second Life to justify the higher tier prices for the next school year. He abandoned the land because he needed to get rid of it fast, and did not understand his other options.

Rebecca Proudhon

LL putting corporate and "education" above "end-users," is just another attempt at delusion and a death wish.

The corporate world do not need avatars in business meetings and "education," already has enough problems. Serious people in either of these sectors will look at SL as a distraction for employees--little differnt from people wasting time online instead of working. Online conferencing or educatiuon can already be accomplished far easier then by using 3D avatars.

The real SL market is the individuals who want to just play, be social, be creative, possibly make an income and the area SL REALLY should be focusing on is the GAME market--the biggest potential of all.

SL as a place where creative people can create their own MMO's/RPG's within SL would have the most potential, were they to focus on eliminating lag, fixing concurrency problems and making it secure.

People like to play and be creative. Business and Education need avatar meetings, like they need a hole in the head. LL is hallucinating if they think these sector's presense in SL are anything more then temporary experiments, led by rogue employees who are trying to get other's intheir company to drink the kool-aid or to see if they have any markets in SL they can capitalize on.

Instead of focusing where they should, they are focusing on the idea that SL is a web replacment.

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