Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jack responds - and shifts the blame!

In the post Jack Linden tells us that he is listening and reading all the feedback - which is good news, but then he goes on to explain something we all apparently missed (including the Lindens themselves):

Update regarding the Openspaces announcement:
I wanted to clarify one issue. As mentioned in the post, Openspaces were intended for space, empty areas of ocean or forest. Take a look at the Knowledgebase article description here. By that criteria, the large majority of Openspaces have more going on than was the original intent. We are not suggesting this is a bad thing, and of course we’re delighted that people have found them to be so useful. And we’re not saying that everyone is abusing resources. We are saying that the use has changed, and continues to do so as people find more creative ways to use them. So the revised pricing is about recognising that change of use and the additional costs and value associated with it.

I would like to ask Jack if he has visited the Nautilus sims? or some of the other well know openspaces owned by Linden Lab as showcases of what they can look like and what use they can be put to. Residents look to Linden Lab for guidelines and examples - Look to yourselves Jack and we will follow - set us Limits we will (in general; there are always some that will push) keep within them - give us prims and land to use as we wish and we will do exactly that.
Why raise the prim limit if you don't want people to live or build on these openspaces?

In this post Jack has basically said the price rise is due to the 'change of use' although in the previous post it was put down to more technical issues - either way Residents are hurt, angry and disillusioned and those not already packing up are planning on selling what land they do have before the price rises take effect, many will lose hundreds of USD with no way to recoup their losses. Already the demonstrations far outstrip the ones that happened due to the gambling ban as this hurts even the little people.
In an already failing SL economy - can it survive this latest blow? Only time will tell.
One thing that has been made obvious is that sign up rates for Openlife Grid are up to a phenomenal rate - residents are looking for alternatives. Without a quick reasonable solution to this issue we could be looking at the death of Secondlife as we know it. After all who wants to be in a world of newbies when everyone else has gone elsewhere to live their dream.
but then he goes on to explain something we all apparently missed (including the Lindens themselves):

Dana Vanmoer

Protests heat up the grid

Several places today crashed on the grid as protests continue against the tyranny of Linden Lab.
Office hours were quickly over run with protesters, but also with those looking to help solve the problems without hitting those that have supported LL throughout all the previous changes like the recent land price drop.
Unless Linden Lab finds a solution that does NOT involve a price rise then I am very much afraid for the future of Secondlife.
Lots of Residents - not just the big land barons - but the little people who saved for months, some for years to be able to afford their own paradise are being engulfed in this mess. How would you feel if you bought a house and a month later your mortgage company told you 'sorry but its now going to cost you 66.6666% more a month'?
Linden Lab listen to your Residents - just for once - in this there are alternatives many solutions have been presented at office hours and on the JIRA - open your ears and listen to your Residents the people that have made this secondlife what it is today. The amazing content creators, designers and builders, the sim designers, landscapers and dreamers that have made the grid (minus the mainland) a beautiful place to be, a place that you show off to the world, a place you are proud of - now you want to rip it all away! YOU made a mistake - YOU messed up - YOU mismanaged the openspaces - WHY do we have to pay for your mistakes?
Find a way Linden Lab - Find a way!

A very sad
Dana Vanmoer

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How do you spell incompetence? (2)

The small controversy surrounding Openspace sims makes me think of an easy comparison in the telecommunications industry at home, in Canada.

By selling a product, not limiting its use and cracking down on its customers, the giant company called Bell Canada alienated many people. Bell offered unlimited Internet access to its mobile phone users but put arbitrary restriction clauses in the contracts. In fact, this made people pay for unlimited use without granting them actual limitless service. Once some mobile phone customers started to use their wireless connection as an unlimited one, they were told that they were not expected to do so.

In a way, Linden Labs' decision to unilaterally upgrade Openspace sims to Class 5 by telling people that they were overusing them is comparable. It offered something that was too good to be true. It made estate ownership easy but did not put limits that would prevent people from adding textures, scripts and objects once there was enough to eat up the sim's performance.

It would have made sense to cap the use of a sim's resources instead of slapping everyone with a forced upgrade. This is yet again an example of lack of foresight from the Lindens.

Here is some of that foresight they badly need: Bell Canada is one of the most despised brands in Canada because it has historically treated its customers in such a way. As soon as competition started offering a credible alternative for home phone services, customers left in droves. On a national level. They took their Internet and television services to the competition's attractive bundles and are now enjoying better customer service.

I ask this for a second time: How do you spell incompetence?

I suggest this answer: an L, an I, an N, a D, an E and another N

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Protests start on nautilus sims

Many are angry upset and confused over the Linden turnabout on the open sims - it seems LL have grossly under-estimated the market for them and now are backtracking fast and those with openspaces are the ones who will have to pay for their mismanagement - click the image to join the protests.
There is also a JIRA - as yet unassigned where you can vote if you disagree with these proposed changes. You can also follow the argument in the FORUMSOne protested stated his reasons:

[13:36] ****: they do pay attention[13:37] dana Vanmoer: apart from raising publicity - which obviously all eyes are on this subject - what do you think this will achieve?
[13:37] ****: there are lindens watching us at this very moment I know this for a fact

Feeling of trust are almost completely gone in Linden Lab and many are whispering conspiracy this coming just a couple of weeks after Linden Lab open the new region for residents.
At the same time came the news that Infinity Lindens office hour was over run with protesters also and those estate owners looking for answers:
Some were actually forthcoming in that Infinity did admit LL is looking into grandfathering.
Simone Stern has the full transcript from Jacks emergency office hours this morning and rather than make another copy THIS LINK will take you there.
In both Jacks and Infinitys office hours there has been a lot of two way conversation going on - that LL are to blame for this mess is undeniable BUT I would like to point out that the price increases are a way off and there is time for LL to find a better solution.
Dana Vanmoer

Linden labs slams its paying customers again!

Yes linden labs have messed up and their paying customers will be the ones who have to PAY for it:

Openspace Pricing and Policy Changes
Openspace prices and fees change on the 1st January with no grandfathering.
Class 4 Openspaces will be upgraded to class 5 in January.
Educator discount is no longer available for Openspaces.
No Owner switching for Openspaces unless it’s a full transfer of Payor.
More proactive education by support staff to prevent unfair resource use by Openspace regions.

What happened?
According to Jack Linden usage of the openspace sims has surprised them and the load needed to support them is too much. They gave us 3750 prims to use on these beautiful private islands and apparently didn't expect us to use them!

So Openspaces have been incredibly popular as a perk for estate owners, but sadly there is a twist. Unfortunately most of the Openspaces are being used for much more than light use. Based on analysis performed in August and September, Openspaces are being used about twice as much as we expected, in other words being loaded with double the content/avatar load than we’d expect for a region that is supposed to be light use.

That there are unscrupulous users of the openspaces is not in doubt and now it seems, rather than deal with the offenders, everyone on openspaces will have to pay.
At an emergency office hours Jack showed a willingness to listen to idea's that residents presented suggesting a possibility these changes are not set in stone yet - but from past experience Resident suggestions are generally ignored. Linden Lab have showed yet again absolutely no knowledge of the inworld economy.
Jack Linden: okay so here is a question; do you think us pinning prim counts down to say 1500, and limiting script count to 250, would be acceptable if the price stayed as it now? I'm not suggesting this is possible, but I'm interested in your opinionsSome great ideas were forthcoming on ways to combat the problem but the point is that Linden Lab did not foresee this issue showing gross mismanagement and incompetence.
Jack was listening though and this can only be a good thing:
[5:37] Jack Linden: okay, so lets summarise a little: I hear you on OS limits, and I hear you on the other options like free conversions. I won't obviously be making any promises in this discussion which is an ad-hoc one because I wanted to get as much feedback as I could.. but I will take all of this away and discuss it within the Lab. *if* there are outcomes or changes, then we should make those clear sooner rather than later
[5:39] Jack Linden: Lets keep talking. I will reply more in the forums, and I will try to do more sessions like this over the next few days.

Beginning 1st January 2009We will increase the monthly maintenance fee from USD$75 to USD$125 per month. This price increase will apply to all owners of Openspaces on January 1st as well as new purchases after that date. There will be no grandfathering of Openspace maintenance pricing.
This shows a 50% increase in upfront fees and a 66% increase in tier fees!

I spoke with Intlibber Brautigan of BNT holdings and this is what he had to say;
IntLibber BnT: if anything is costing them money its the fact that they offer 195 tier on the mainland that we subsidize with our high sim tier
IntLibber BnT: I'm all for ending the grandfathered rates, puts everybody on a level playing field
IntLibber BnT: ending grandfathering and equalizing tier between mainland and estates will bring in enough revenue for LL that they can cover added expenses.

This is a situation that we will monitor closely. You can follow the discussions in the FORUM and we will try to keep you updated on anything pertinent.
Thank you to Gemma Cleanslate for the chat logs and Intlibber for taking the time to talk to me.

Dana Vanmoer
Source: Secondlife Blog

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why take Torley Linden off the blog?

There are some public relations decisions that sometimes leave us scratching our heads. When you have credible faces in your organization, you want them to be as visible as possible.

Yet, Linden Lab has just done the opposite. By putting recently an end to Torley Linden's video posts on its blog, it removed one of the personalities that brought Second Life a large, friendly contribution from the most natural places where someone can find it.

Currently, the video tutorials page, barely visible in various sections of, buries new videos in a single link. Its RSS feed is not even that visible. Anyone who has grown as a Second Life user by finding Torley's tutorials will remember that those casual blog visits were more worthwhile than they will be in the future.

Unless you do extensive research or commit much time to it, Second Life is an insider's world that is hard to grasp. Torley's videos make the learning curve easier to attack, vastly enhancing new user experience. It also added a much needed friendly and human touch to the LL blog.

Now, a complex virtual world that most new users do not understand requires facilitating methods instead of tightening methods. But hey, who am I to know?