Making a profit from charity Linden Research style

Linden Lab are once again asking the content creators in second life to give their time and creativity to support their Public Relations marketing and bottom line.  The majority of which have just been told they’re to pay more for the same substandard marketing/sales service offered by XstreetSL.

https://blogs.secondlife.com/community/commerce/blog/2009/11/17/a-helpful-hand-makes-a-world-of-difference#cf


Kiva is a very worthwhile cause.  Microfinance in the developing world has been proven time and time again to be an extremely positive benefit to those who use it.  Here’s a bit of reading to give you an idea of how it works and the benefits.

However:

Are Linden Lab going to match the money raised from the efforts of their creators?  No

Are Linden Lab going to waive the fee they’ll charge to transfer the money raised out of Second Life and into the real world where it will be used?  No.

So, Kiva won’t get the full amount donated and Linden Research gets lots of good publicity and makes some money.  Clever huh?

You can support the work of Kiva directly – right down to chosing the type of microbusiness you wish to invest in. 

Do that instead.

Thanks to eloheliot for this.

 

Update: The latest data security breach in Second Life

orignal post here: https://theriseofthesurreal.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/you-think-your-real-life-data-is-kept-safe-by-linden-lab-think-again/

In a nutshell:  No substantial action from LL and they claim that someone being able to log in as someone else isn’t a security breach.

The two people who were involved in it talk about it here: http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/37048-new-linden-lab-account-security.html

Two things of interest.

1. Linden Research are not treating it as a security breach (they closed the bug report that was lodged in the security section).  

2. Linden Research have a reputation for a lack of attention to detail and sloppy processing of customer issues with no reason given for their actions and no recourse.  So much so that people are reluctant to ever give names of someone if they are only peripherally involved as a spectator- simply because LL is likely to take punutive action against the name by cancelling the account.

This second element is remarkable.  Despite the quite amazing sums of money people pay to Linden Research for the use of their services there is no guarantee of fair dealing by the company.  They have a ToS that effectively states they can do what they want, when they want and you have no recourse.  If they decide to close your account they feel they have no obligation to telly you why they have cancelled it, refund you any moneys in the account (they say it’s not real, despite it having been procured with real money) or allow you access to the account to remove any intellectual property you may own.

Apparently they used to have a habit of double billing people and not refunding the account when notified.  If you had the temerity to ask your credit card to reverse the second payment Linden Research would suspend or cancel your account until you withdrew the request from the card company.

These days as I understand it they still double bill on occassions and may or may not refund.  Unsurprisingly most people don’t go to their credit card providers and complain anymore – despite these double billings sometimes being anything up to 295USD.

Now of course those companies that choose to deal with Linden Research with their new standalone system will possibly not have these problems.  I would hope Linden Research are at least smart enough to behave as a professional company does rather than the way they show their distain for their entertainment platform userbase.  Sadly companies rarely make their reasons for their dissatisfaction with a company known. I suppose we’ll find out when Linden Lab stop providing statistics to support their claims of success.  Which, coincidentaly, they’ve just done with the entertainment platform statistics feed, which can be found here: http://secondlife.com/statistics/economy-data.php  note the date on the web page.  I must say I found it amusing on many levels..

Where are they now?: Second Life

Even the BBC can’t muster any enthusiasm for Second Life anymore: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8367957.stm

Some of the comments explain the lack of retention rate…

Second Life is boring! You can’t do anything without spending money, so for the person casually checking it out, there’s absolutely nothing to attract them. And despite the comment in the article about “talking to weirdos”, it’s actually quite difficult to find anyone in there to talk to at all.

~~~~~

I joined SL but it was absolutely impossible to navigate. I could barely get out of the intro area and once you did, there was no help or guidance left. I wandered round and round in circles for a couple of days and then gave up. It was a great idea but just didn’t work in practice. Shame, really.

~~~~~

Updates; that was what killed it for me. Every time you revisited you were compelled to upload more and more updates, which seemed really cool at first, until you realised that you were inflating the spec. Eventually, the technological improvements outstripped the natural upgrading budget of the average PC owner – there were a lot of stay-at-home moms, kids and freelancers online when I was there – and the experience became like wading through buggy sludge until it crashed on you. Not pleasant.

 

Linden Research have always been too busy to do any of this so far..  A couple of days ago they announced they’re getting rid of their volunteers they use to help those who are new and pushing it out to community groups to self manage and they also announced they were going to start charging people for using their shopping website to give away things free to the community.

Apparently though things are ok..  they’ve had a 23% increase in repeat visitors in the last year.  Which still means no real growth just people coming back.  It’s an interesting thought that they have accepted that there’s only 1.3 million people (approximately) who can be bothered to log at least twice every couple of months out of the 17+ million who have set up accounts.

This is the second of these “where are they now?” stories  I’ve seen on Second Life in the last few months.  This is despite them recently managing to get an article in both the Wall Street Journal and in the New York Times. 

Interesting times ahead. 

 

You Think Your Real Life Data is Kept Safe by Linden Lab? Think Again

https://blogs.secondlife.com/message/38377#38377

and because the likelihood is that Linden Research will delete this thread to hide the evidence, I’ll repost the salient post here:

 

1. 19-Nov-2009 19:13 in response to: xxx

Re: Office Hours and Policy Making

 

This assumes they’re actually interested in what the population in-general wants instead of them being interested in having the decisions they already made get validated.

edit:

/me blinks. Wow!! I logged in as me, XYZ, and it says that I’m posting as ABC, who I’m absolutely not an alt of. I also see “Welcome, ABC” at the top of my screen. Holy crap.

Go LL!! New and improved, baby!!!!! Tell us to trust you again. That just never gets old.

 Edit by the REAL ABC

I’m waiting for Torley’s next video about how logging in as other people is an awesome way to meet new people and make money.

Seriously Linden Lab.. What the hell?

 

There’s nothing like possibly having your real life details compromised is there?  Data protection, what data protection? Welcome to Second Life..  Not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last.
I assume this is the same website that government and corporate clients are also expected to log into.  As you can see Linden Lab’s commitment to quality and security is as poor as it was in 2006.
There is nothing you can do to protect your data in this circumstance.  This has nothing to do with your password being compromised, this is an error in the authentication process used. 
You will never know if anyone has accessed your details either.  We’re all exposed here and there is absolutely nothing we can do.

I assume the access was only to the details held in the blog area of the site.  The original poster didn’t investigate the full access they had to that person’s details.  However as I understand it, it is the same authentication process used for all parts of the site so if a defect is found on one area the likelihood is that it will also be in the others.
I don’t really need to say anymore.  

Second Life Viewer 2.0. How to reduce that first hour problem

LL have come up with the perfect solution to the first hour problem.  They’ve reduced the window to 10 minutes, well if I were a newbie and was confronted with this when I came inworld I would think 10 minutes would be about all I’d stand before going for the x and looking for something less user unfriendly.

I wouldn’t believe this report if it wasn’t Linden Research and Second Life we’re talking about here. Their behavour does seem to be one of trying to drive people away.  I know that people have been conditioned over the last 5 years to accept poor quality design for software (where is Jakob Nielsen when you need him?) but I’ve got to say that as a business plan it’s not one I’ve ever seen recommended but people do seem to be hanging in there so perhaps appealing to the masochists is a good business model.

Second Life: So Near And Yet So Far

Near is preparing to release a 3D shopping area called Near London.  When I came inworld in 2006 , this kind of marketing and selling struck me as being the most optimal use of the platform for retailers. In 2006/7 there were a few token efforts at catalogue selling but the idea was never developed to anywhere near its potential.

Three years later Near have created their own version of this shopping experience

Perhaps in the end all Second Life has been is an incubator, generating the ideas that people take away and use elsewhere.  Certainly the platform has never been conducive to ease of use for product developers or consumers and Linden Research have demonstrated a committment to the key requirements of infrastructure, quality software and ease of use that are necessary for business to consider investing in another channel.

Another avenue for diversity in Second Life is now effectively replaced by something better elsewhere.  Opportunities missed seems to be the constant story of this platform.  Certainly it looks like the next 6 – 12 months are going to be critical if Second Life is to do anything more than move from stagnation to irrecoverable decline. There are interesting times ahead.

 

Diluting the morass – why the Facebook crowd will be good for SL

Second Life has around 750,000 hard-core users with around 500,000 who come in at least once every couple of months.  It’s around 7% of the total number of registered accounts. These numbers have been pretty constant now for the last 12 months. Kudos to Linden Research for managing to stem the decline.

The current LL business plan is to move to a 2D web-based social networking front end and it’s not a bad idea.  SL is not suitable for anyone but the hardcore or the desperate.  The system requirements to run it are beyond what most average users have and the learning curve for the user interface is off-putting to say the least.  Add the poor quality platform and the amount of time it takes to do anything and the chances of improving the retention rate is not good.

LL do claim they have a new viewer in the pipeline. Apparently it’s completely different to the current viewer.  Whether that is good or bad is yet to be determined but early reports indicate that those who are already familiar with the current viewer will struggle to quickly adapt to the new release. 

But then it’s not aimed at improving the lives of people using SL at the moment.  This is about making life easier for the missing millions of people who signed up and never came back because their initial experiences were so off-putting.  Pity this is 3 years too late.

Second Life is in decline.  A lot of long-term customers are seriously considering leaving and a large proportion of them have begun the downsizing in preparation.  Declining incomes, lack of LL committment to fixing the defects in the product, content theft, capricious application of hastily thought out policies and a myriad of other reasons has created serious dissatisfaction with the product.

A large proportion of those long-term customers are content creators.  As they leave they remove their goods from sale and whilst there are always those who want to take their place, the quality isn’t there.  Bit by bit SL is moving from a platform where businesses can behave as a business, to an evironment where everyone is a hobbyist playing shopkeeper while creating on the whole lower quality items to be sold cheaply to people who don’t know any better.  

Perhaps that’s no bad thing.  LL has no intention of improving the underlying platform and at 7 years old it’s moved into legacy system status now.  The structural issues facing the technology probably mean that it might support anything up to a 50% increase in users but it will never be able to service the numbers that facebook, myspace, youtube et al manage.

So moving into 2D as the primary entertainment provider is probably a good end strategy.  I have no idea what the projections of people moving from the 2D to inworld would be but I suggest that it will be a fraction and those who do won’t stay long.  The makeup of those using the social networking sites is different to SL users.  They want quick communication whereas sl is cumbersome.  

A percentage of those who do come in will stay.  So the initial benefits of an increased userbase will be felt in the avatar augmentation sector – skins, hair, clothes, shoes etc.  Cheap and disposable will become the keywords, they’ll want to look good but won’t be staying around.

For those who do stay and establish a presence here they will be looking for better quality and will be searching for other content; land, housing, furniture etc.  Yet despite the claims of the NYT that people can live the lifestyles of the rich and famous they’re not going to spend anything more than they have to. Certainly the current perspective of younger online users is that they shouldn’t have to pay for content.  The concept of financially rewarding creators is being diminished

Ultimately though I’m looking forward to a more socially adept group of people coming inworld but from a content perspective perhaps the future really is amateur hour.  

We should know in around 6 months at a guess.  That’s if we can hold on inworld that long.