Recent Changes to Premium Membership by Linden Lab

I’ve been trying to edit a certain photo for a few days now, and every time I do my computer overheats or I get called away to do something. So I decided to go with a different photo and change topics. I was going to touch upon a few topics, but then I kinda got carried away on this one…so you only get one topic today ^^

Dress: toksik – Lacrimosa Dress (Maitreya) (Purple)
Hair: TRUTH Kaijah
Jewelry: Chop Zuey – Enfleurage Texture Change Set
Skin: [Glam Affair] Vivi Applier [ Catwa ] Basic Line (n/a)
Makeup: CAZIMI: Pixie Eyeshadow (Catwa)
[PF] CATWA LIPSTICK Applier – 90s Supermodel (previous Powder Pack)
Shoes: N-core SONIA “Fatpack” for Maitreya High Feet

 

You can read the following links for more information:

https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2557-land-price-reductions-new-premium-perks-and-pricing-changes/

https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/437799-a-brief-note-on-pricing-changes-which-ran-long

https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2559-group-limits-update-no-changes-for-basic-members/

Basically, changes were initially made where basic membership would have the number of groups and offline IMs received reduced, the processing fee to cash out Lindens increased from 2.5 to 5%, and Premium membership increased from $72 to $99, which was the first time LL raised the price of subscriptions. After people strongly disagreed with LL taking away group space from basic members (they cited the decrease of communication would have a significant change to being able to reach their customers), LL changed the number of groups back to 42.

How do I feel about it all? I’ll let Susan tell it (cited from New World Notes):

This shift clearly reflects a disconnect between how group memberships are actually used in Second Life, and Linden Lab’s assumption of how they’re used. As reader Susan Wilson put it:

I’ve done business in SL for 11 years now and have never had a premium account simply because it didn’t offer anything I needed or wanted. Now I feel I’m forced to have one to get enough offline messages to serve my customers – something that does not cost LL anything. 25 was already cutting it close but limiting it to 15 would have hurt my business which is very customer service intensive. I don’t feel I’m gaining anything because of this membership that I didn’t have before the change so it’s an added expense. 

Before LL took back the changes to the group limit for basic accounts, I quickly went and got a premium membership. Like Susan, I felt like I was not gaining anything, so my subscription felt like I was being punished. Do I regret not waiting to see what would happen? No, because I have been in SL for a while. I always knew that eventually I would get premium but I thought it would be at a time where I would needed extended tech support due to whatever new project I was working on. Most of my friends thought I was premium, anyway :/ One of my friends was like, oh don’t you want to go shopping now that you can get into full sims? Um…no?

So then the next question would be, what can LL offer us to make Premium membership worth it? At this stage it would be hard to do because so much has happened. In other games that I play, subscribing enhances your gameplay.

I used to play Runescape maybe like 10 years ago. As you can see, if you regularly play, getting a subscription is a great investment. Me and my then-boyfriend got subscriptions because we got tired of juggling inventory around, and it was harder to level up with a basic account. There were more things you could do (and I think easier too) to gain levels. Currently, I play Torn, and their donator pack you can either purchase with RL money or game money. Subscriber status gives you even more perks, but you can only use RL money. Then I play a number of games on my phone where I make small purchases here and there with (mostly) RL money and google money earned from doing surveys. I will have to cut back this month because those microtransactions add up lmao. But with all of them I never felt like I was being taken advantage of, or just paying “just to pay”.

There’s a new social group that I recently joined on FB and inworld…a group catered to women socializing and having fun together. I haven’t been to any events yet, but they regularly have movie night, and had a bike ride that I wished I could had attended.

The first thing Linden Lab needs to address is having a platform where people spend thousands of dollars yearly, and yet they do not feel the need to be Premium members. Survey them…find out how to get them to convert. They should NOT be treated like second class citizens, because in other places basic membership means you do not pay to play PERIOD. Because if all of them stopped spending money. the creators would leave. So now the economy would totally be fucked. So, while it may be true that the Lindens that people buy come from other residents, and all the spending they do inworld LL gets a very small percentage of it, it doesn’t change the fact that people are willing to spend money on what they feel is of value. When people try to compare the subscription price to some real life item (e.g. Starbucks coffee), it may be similarly priced but CLEARLY not the same meaningful value.

First of all, assuming that people drink Starbucks is offensive…one because Dunkin Donuts coffee is better, duh 😛 No…seriously it’s offensive because maybe not everyone can afford Starbucks, or when have the choice, they would rather use the money towards other means. Comparing the subscription fee to something vital like bills or gas…is just silly. It’s like I told someone on FB when she was like if we don’t like the changes in the group space, pay for premium or leave SL, but don’t complain…there are plenty of websites that give reviews and complaints about businesses and items…so she must hate those. How dare people question what are they getting for what they are paying?

The next thing they need to do is to give people more control over the mainland, and stop treating them like renters. If someone wants to sublet “their” land, let them…don’t require people to have to use their land group in order to be able to rez objects. Make it so that people can’t rez their rental skydomes from 100-4000m, totally obliterating the view for everyone around them or any old crap that you know does not belong. Update the terrain files so they don’t look so dated. They did a good thing with Bellisseria – now keep up the same momentum. Be a true estate manager.

If LL had some exclusive home & garden stores or clothing shops, they could have monthly items released that would be for premium members only…something that creates a buzz and everyone talks about it. I don’t think this would take away from the current content creators, just serve to enhance the experience. I remember the Amazon item they did back in I think 2013. It was a good effort, but a bit short sighted.

Second Life should have a gridwide way of communication ran by LL – maybe like the equivalent of cable television. LL controls the “network” news station, and then the “cable” portions are resident ran, but you need a premium account to own a station to broadcast shows. That money can be paid to LL, and residents can pay station owners to broadcast their TV program. LL can run a daily lottery where x Premium Residents win so many Lindens if they do a lottery ticket (everyone gets 1 ticket a day).  Why this when we have YouTube and social media? Because not every resident can run internet browsers and SL at the same time, or they may not even be logged in via a computer. And LL would be able to broadcast gridwide.

For SLB celebrations, LL could host an annual ball for premium members only, and have it at 4 – 2 hour time slots so that people all over the world could attend if they wanted. Allow entertainers to audition for the honor of participating in the biggest event of the year…maybe even bring in some RL artists streamed live. I am sure if certain artists gave an exclusive concert to SL, people would sign up just to be a part of the experience..because the subscription price would be cheaper than RL tickets. And if you aren’t able to go to the event, stream it on that gridwide tv station. This would create a demand for formal attire, which would give business to content creators. And perhaps this would spur more resident hosted formal events, so we can have a better balance in what creators make (at the moment fashion is heavily slanted towards sexy/clubwear clothing).

Last weekend, they had a launch party. I couldn’t go because I was busy with the Celebration Ball with Light It Up SL, but I did manage to snap a couple of pics the next day.

One issue that comes up often is when residents screw over other residents financially. I wish there was a way LL could look into it when the amount is in excess of X amount of Lindens. I think one reason why they don’t intervene is because no money was sent through their servers. It doesn’t have value until it’s converted in RL money. If you notice, in cases where people’s accounts were compromised and people use RL bank accounts to bring money in/out of SL, they do assist in such matters.

A great idea that they could have done is to have a basic account that limits groups to 10, and inventory space to 10,000. That should be enough for most alts and the casual Resident. If you want to do more, then you upgrade your account. They should have business accounts, and residential accounts. That way you know whether a business is established if they have the nice business account badge. This is not to say that you can’t do business on a residential account, it would just be more beneficial for you if you had the business. Basic accounts shouldn’t be allowed to cash out at all. Because if it’s a causal account, why are you trying to do business on it? Linden Lab couldn’t even enforce that now because of the way everything is set up.

If Second Life was built differently, we could have a more efficient way to customize avatars. When you start, you have the basic setup. Then, when you upgrade to the residential account, you can now shop at content creators’ stores. When you buy items, it automatically gets added to your visual inventory. If you need your alts to wear something you created or bought, then link your alt to your main account (for a fee), and they can share inventory.  I know with games like the ones showed in  the YouTube video, you have mods where you can make tweaks. And I am not sure how ownership of items would work…would LL take a % of all inworld as well as marketplace sales in that case? But I think since SL is celebrating 16 years this year…shouldn’t we be a bit further along with customization than where we are currently?

Regarding Sansar and VR…since SL created gaming regions, could they had not made a Second Life 2.0, and added VR regions to it? That way if not many people engaged in the VR aspect, it wouldn’t consist of an entire platform? Sure, people would be upset initially, but had they been able to fix the main issues they had with this version of SL (e.g. last names and groups have issues because of the way SL is coded and is supposedly not an easy fix), in 5 years new and old players would have mostly adjusted. You would still have the two platforms, but perhaps both would be able to thrive and shine together. So many people blame Sansar for the lack of SL progress and the price increase, it’s not even funny. Sure, we have Lindens that interact inworld, but I believe the ones making the decisions have the least user experience. I say this because I believe any issues would be quite obvious once they actually started engaging and not use theory or secondhand information. And if they understood why people can spend thousands of RL dollars in SL but not be premium, then they wouldn’t make comments such as:

“I’d like to point something out, because I understand that it’s really not obvious. There’s a lot of conversation about people with basic accounts spending just as much or more than the cost of premium. That’s awesome, and you can chose how to spend your money! However, not all the money you spend in SL is equal to LL. When you buy L$, you’re buying them on the LindeX, from another resident. Linden Lab takes $1.49 fee, regardless of how much you spend. When you spend L$5000 on the marketplace, Linden Lab takes 5% of that, not the full amount. The rest goes to the creator. When you spend it inworld, we take none of it (however, the store owner pays us for land – either directly or through a landlord). OF COURSE we want our creator community to thrive. We have been jumping through regulatory hoops year after year to make sure that Second Life continues to be a place where you can make money and not just spend money – and this has come at a cost, which, unfortunately, we are partially passing on to those who are making money in SL. “

This comment annoyed me a great deal because even though LL doesn’t directly get the money, it does make a significant contribution. It’s the same logic content creators have about gachas…want people to spend thousands of Lindens, but don’t want people to resell on MP or inworld. Where do you guys think the money comes from? And if you know, why cast negativity upon it – do you really want the cash flow to stop that badly?

Okay guys – rant over 🙂

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