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11/01/2008

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Elanthius Flagstaff

I didn't read your chat log. Usually my eyes glaze over when faced with those tedious things but I wanted to comment on this crappy grandfathering of sim prices.

LL had originally promised the grandfathered prices would just last until 2007 and then maybe just a few months longer and now here we are a freaking year later and still a bunch of FICy oldbies are paying ridiculously low prices for their sims that no-one else can possibly compete with. It's an absolute outrage and massively unfair. I'm glad LL are cancelling the grandfathered prices on OS sims and I hope they hurry up and do the same on the full sims too.

If LL grandfather the old OS pricing I'll be absolutely livid. Sure it will benefit me directly since I'll suddenly be part of the secret elite able to undercut everyone who comes after me but the whole thing is distasteful and frustrating and should be avoided at all costs.

Prokofy Neva

Of course they grandfathered it,
Elanthius!!! Haven't you been hearing other people in Concierge talk about $50 sims??? These were class 4 sims that ACS got ages ago before they were popular, right before the private island price hike, and they were indeed grandfathered in their batches of 4, which is how they bought them then.

People like me who only wanted to buy just one then got to buy just one, back before that became possible, see. And they were never upgraded, and stayed the same $195, which is why I *am* livid because instead of charging $65-75, they've charged $85-95.

Why am I only livid now? Because for a long time, I didn't realize it was still a class 4. I thought all the islands were upgraded -- I had a class 4 island grandfathered at $195 that was turned to a class 5 about a year after the grandfathering -- they were slowly doing this with all sims.

I then come to find out that the ACS sims were NOT upgraded to 5. They really did perform worse. I also didn't realize, until I began hearing everybody in Concierge, that it was in fact possible to sell the sims and turn over estate rights -- I just hadn't somehow put two and two together -- and I also didn't realize that OTHER people with the $50 sims were only charging a normal mark-up.

I realized that ACS had been bilking us all this time, enjoying the grandfathered tier, but not passing along the savings as everyone else did, nor giving us EM rights, as everyone else, i.e. the Fairchangs, Azure, and every single tropical paradise pancake out there.

I asked repeatedly why they didn't upgrade to 5, because it was my understanding they could merely by asking. I asked repeatedly why they couldn't add the EMs to those of us who had bought full sims (not divided) but they refused to deal.

So yes, Anshe, and likely Adam and some others, have had a great ride all this time.

So what you're saying is they should grandfather them *still*? Why?

Or are you saying they should grandfather the $75 tier and not charge $125 for those who have them now?

As for "undercutting," the fact is, it makes little difference. It is hard to keep islands full, whether you have high or low prices, simply because there is a huge glut on the market now.

Gigs Taggart

A few points:

1. There are many Class 5 grandfathered openspaces that are $50/month. I own several of them.

2. I am going to have to raise my prices to $160/month after this price increase. It's not gouging. It's actually less of a percentage price increase than Linden's, since I charge $100/month now.

3. Linden Lab considers an estate manager to have full permission to do anything, including amend the covenant, change the "allow sell land" flag, and such. There is no way to give someone part of the estate mangement options and not all of them.

I don't "sell" my estate land. I only rent it with no up-front cost. One time I did give someone estate manager on a sim. 2 months later when they wanted to move out, they changed the covenant to lie about the monthly price, then they enabled land resale and "sold" the sim for $1000 that they had paid nothing but rent for.

Linden Lab wouldn't do anything about it, because they said that estate managers have the right to do whatever they want, including change the covenant.

So, no, I really doubt ACS is going to give anyone estate manager as long as there is no way to limit it.

Gigs Taggart

I should point out, I only do rental. I don't "sell" my land. People don't pay me anything up front but the first month rent.

Khamon

So, how much is Guni going to charge for the newly upgraded void sims on Dreamland?

Prokofy Neva

Gigs, are you retarded and unable to read?

The sims in ACS are both class 4 and class 5. They are $50 for ACS, but we are charged $85 for the class 4 sims. That *is* gouging.

Read the transcript. The way to give them perms is to have a different name for the estate, that's all. Not to put them all to the same name.

I don't know, Khamon, I got booted from the meeting before I could learn this, and it isn't posted anywhere.

Prokofy Neva

Barb Carson has a bunch of these grandfathered $50 sims too. And this blogger puts numbers in that I haven't seen -- and also says there are now 32,000 islands.

http://gridexpectations.wordpress.com/

Elanthius Flagstaff

Just wanted to clarify that my post (I thought pretty clearly) said that I am against grandfathering of anything for this round of price increases and hope LL also stop grandfathering full sims ASAP.

Khamon

Robin made the classic statement in her last office hour that they wouldn't be grandfathering existing openspaces because it would create a class system.

Gigs Taggart

How is charging $85 for a $50 one "gouging"?

I mean I know you pay an up-front fee with ACS that I don't charge, but still, I'm charging $100/month for openspaces right now, and a lot of mine are $50 currently.

I've decided to raise my prices to $165/month after January 1, if linden keeps their word. I do expect a lot of people to leave.

Prokofy Neva

Of course it's gouging! People are charging $85 or $95 for the $295 class 5 sims in this market, Gigs, don't be a dick.

If you are charging $100 for a sim that costs you $50, you are gouging too.

In this market, you can even find them for tier cost or not much above cost for those that sell them.

Gigs Taggart

Maybe if they were "selling" the land.

No one is going to pay $250, then charge $10 over tier. It would take 25 months to recoup your investment, assuming you have to put absolutely zero labor into managing the estate. That isn't going to happen.

Anyway, my utilization stays around 90% even with the "gouging" you claim I'm doing.

Elanthius Flagstaff

I have to agree with Gigs on the gouging issue. If you're trading land in SL you absolutely need a 6 month horizon for profitability. Maybe even less. LL are notorious for this sort of cockamamie move and anyone not taking the risk of this kind of thing into account is pretty much begging to make huge losses.

Prokofy Neva

Yes, Gigs, you goddamn piece of shit, they ARE SELLING THE FUCKING LAND, DUH. That is the FUCKING POINT. They charged $200 or more per sim upfront to "sell you land," i.e. deed it to your group, without even handing over estate perms, THEN overcharged for 3 years on the sim itself, marking up $50 sims to $85.

I fail to see why you assholes are justifying a gouging practice. It's wrong. If you are diong this too, you're highway robbers yourself. Renting for $10 above cost is in fact what some people have been doing it, without charging upfront purchase costs. But there are mainy who charge near cost of tier or $10 above after selling for $250 or more, yes, but then *they give you estate perms*.

Guni is IMing me links to Gorean rentals 4 on a sim charging $10,000 per quarter sim in rent. So what? That's doesn't mitigate what he has been doing, which is chargine $85 on a $50 sim after collecting $200 or more as the purchase price and not giving perms.

Guni also tells me they are "eating most of the cost" of the upgrade. But since their $50 sims now have increased 150 percent, their customers are still going to see a whopping increase anyway, even if they do some serious eating, which is exactly what they should be doing after that gouge for years.

Elanthius Flagstaff

Couple of clarifications.

If they're charging $200 up front then I agree a smaller tier fee would be appropriate.

Everyone charging $10 over tier and no upfront fee is in fact the "goddamn piece of shit" and I'm glad those idiots are going bankrupt in 2 months because they make it harder for the rest of us to run respectable businesses that appropriately price in the risks involved.

Prokofy Neva

Elanthius, hellow, where have you been?! That's exactly the problem. That's why these girls are all so angry. To compete, they've been charging little above cost, in the current OS glutted market. Now they are stuck with huge bags. They have absolutely ruined the private island rentals business, gutting it out with their huge cheap surplus, and dentet mainland, too, by imagining they could take 10-12-18 months to pay themselves back, as people often think they can in SL. They forgot about the purchase price and greedily focus on their huge revenue stream which they can "manage" like Lilli Yifu bragged she could "manage". They brag that unlike greedy land barons, they will not charge very much because they aren't in anything so tacky as "the land business" they are, as Lilli bragged, in the "revenue stream management business".

It has always been the case in rentals, as surely you must know, that there are always no shortage of people ready to rent way under cost to friends or even the general public.

Sean Williams

Um, Prok? A bit of a wake up cal for you: Selling 'Land' of any size = Paying Linden Lab directly. If you pay anyone other than Linden Lab your tier ... You didn't 'buy' a god damn thing.

Personally? While I see both sides of the Open Space debate ... I am still laughing my ass off when I see people trying to claim that they have been using them as intended or trying to make the claim that Linden Lab not only intended to make this sort of price increase from the get go, but that they took steps to ensure that they sold a shit load of them before hand.

Why do I laugh?

These people will come up with any reason to shove the responsibility off of their shoulders and onto the Lab.

Both parties fucked up: End of Story.

Princess Ivory

[Please don't flame me. Please don't flame me.]

Price gouging? Maybe. But where does it say that someone is not allowed to make a profit from their business in SL? And why are they evil if they do? If you don't like what someone is charging for a product or land, look elsewhere. Second Life is a big place.

Is anyone complaining that certain "in demand" dressmakers are price gouging because they sell a dress for L$1500, which is higher than the store next door selling a dress for L$250? What about Eshi's Fishhook Dress? Did anyone accuse her of price gouging? No. Because she created a work of art and people recognized the value of what they were getting, and wanted to buy it at any price.

And so what if Ansche Chung was savvy enough to buy low and rent high? I'd call it a smart market move. It's not like your price was hiked on you after the fact. You knew what Dreamland cost BEFORE you rented/bought into it. What Dreamland paid for the sims is their business. They are not obligated to "show you their books" regarding their financial status. And given how large they are, they have probably paid a variety of prices, and have averaged them, and then based their profit markup on the average cost to them to acquire and maintain a sim.

It's called running a business. If they do it well, people will like Dreamland, and be willing to continue to pay higher prices to live there, instead of somewhere else that is ugly, crowded, not run well, etc., etc. And that money will help to keep Dreamland afloat; to pay all of the various costs associated with promoting and running it. If they don't run it well, people have the right to take their money and leave. Let money talk. It always does. If Dreamland loses money, they will most certainly sit up and take notice.

But as long as everyone is happy with the quality of what they are getting in land and customer service, and are willing to pay the stated rental rates, what real business is it of anyone's how much profit Dreamland earns? I suspect a lot of that profit goes toward paying back the initial land investment, and the costs of acquiring more land.

It looks to me like Ansche is willing to take on the risk of large-scale land ownership so that other people don't have to. They can just choose to live in her estate, and benefit from what she has created. All they have to do is pay the rent, sit back, and enjoy the view. Personally, I think that's a pretty good deal.

[Please don't flame me. Please don't flame me.]

Prokofy Neva

Princess Ivory, you are a total nit. Gouging is the hallmark of Anshe Chung. She has always gouged. Back when land cost $6/m, she would charge $12 for small squares of water that somebody liquidated just because she could -- because you'd be forced to buy it because it was in the view. If somebody chopped up land next to you into lots of 512 squares, she'd be right there marking them up as high as they could go to force you to buy buffer against the inevitable, she wouldn't link them up.

When there is price gouging, you have to expose it. If "nowhere is it written that you can't charge what you want" for land, then "nowhere is it written" that you can't expose highway robbery for said land. Especially at at a time when prices will go up AGAIN.

$85 on a $50 sim is a huge mark-up, and a huge profit for what it is -- class four, no estate perms. That has to be stated, again and again until people like you get it through your thick skulls. It's not about "doing business". It's about "doing gouging". It's not ethical -- and yes, you can ask for ethics in capitalism even more than you can in socialism!

There is no earthly reason to capture THAT much money in a setting where every 4096 already costs $25 just like the Lindens!. They do it because they can rely on people like me not to know it isn't class 4, or to believe that it was upgraded, mistakenly. They can rely on a herd of sheeple who will simply go along willingly without estate perms, and buy all this malarkey they are peddling about naming and regions -- when other agents, as we can see in this market, do not do that.

And that's just the point. *It's a free market*. And with the semi-free free press of a blog, we can expose a gouging price scheme, and say "Let's go elswhere".

I'm sure I'll find no shortage of willing agents to sell me an OS sim in January, when the prices go up, or merely rent it to me for re-rentals even. They won't be charging me a gouge. When ACS "eats the increase," it will still be a gouge. I'll be forced to let it go when it costs $150, because for $150, I can get estate perms elsewhere, which I will need.

Of course it's the business of the public what and how the profits are made. We used to have transparency on this at least with the inworld earnings as there was actually a leader board that showed everyone's earnings (I was like no. 5000 on that list lol). Anshe wasn't even always at the top because of hidden alts. Some of the people screeching the loudest socialist game on the forums in fact were the leaders in income from their land dealings.

The idea that we should let large entities just "take over things so we don't have to" is how you get totalitarianism. I fail to see why we need to go along with that like sheep. YOU may wish to be a docile sheep going to the sheering and even the slaughter; I don't.

It isn't a good deal to pay $85 on the $50 sim. Now that the sim will be $125, paying $135 even will not be a good deal without estate perms. People need to be aware of just how much ACS has bilked out of us all this time, and act accordingly.

Sean Williams

-yawn- You need to be aware of what a real price gouge is Prok: $50 sim? $500+ is a gouge.

Do I care for cut throat buying tactics? Nope.

Do I believe that someone has to RENT (no Prok, you are not 'buying' these Sims unless you're paying LL directly - end of story on that one) a Sim out for barely anything at all over their tier? Depends on how many other Sims they have as well as their finances.

Feel free to respond when you've woken up to the fact that the world doesn't always (nor should it have to) follow YOUR notions.

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