Archive for the ‘Price increase’ Tag

Linden Policy Change on OpenSpace Price Hike

Those who have been around the Grid since last October will remember the uproar generated when Linden Lab announced with no fanfare that they planned to raise the purchase price on so-called “Openspace” sims.  The price would increase from $250 to $375 — an raise of 1.5 times — and nearly double the monthly maintenance cost, from $75 to $125.  The rationale given at the Big Blog was that these new land areas, which were meant as light-traffic green zones, were being far overused in terms of both traffic and prims.  Protest erupted quickly, and I commented on it in several articles on 10/28, 10/30, 10/31, 10/31 (second article), 11/3, 11/4, 11/4 (second article), 11/5 and 11/8.  (You will find links in these articles to many more.)

When Linden announced it was changing the decision, many were pleased that the Lab seemed to be listening, at least in part, to the affected Residents’ fears and anger.  The planned compromise price restructuring, however, still chased away many who saw themselves as unable to afford the planned increases even on a stepping-stone basis.  Most analysts of the Grid map noted a large falloff in the number of islands.  Linden Lab denied that there was a massive selloff, as reported by New World Notes.

Still, in an announcement on Tuesday in the Big Blog, the Lab has stated that they will lock down the price increase scheduled for July 1 on owners of their new Homestead sims, as long as the land was purchased prior to July 1.  Landowners who abandoned their Openspace regions may have the land reactivated for no charge.  The grandfathering will last for one year, until July 2010.  Anyone purchasing a Homestead on July 1 or later will pay the full price as stated in the November 5, 2008 Big Blog announcement.

Ari Blackthorne in Common¦Sensible suggests that this is a potential move to avoid another land abandonment or selloff, although he also sees it as a potential olive branch.  The comments on the SL Discussions is the usual mixed reaction, a combination of appreciation and sour grapes for various reasons, with a leavening of unrelated posts.  Generally, though, judging by the lack of traffic on the matter, reaction is muted.  It could be early days in the debate, but very little, either of palms or screeds, has been published.  (If I’m wrong, please leave links in the comments below.)  I do wonder if any great notice has been taken of the announcement.

For those interested in owning land in Second Life, the move seems to me a generous one as far as it goes.  Those who stayed in world and were bracing themselves for an economic shock in a month will get at least a year’s relief on the matter, and in their bill.  Former Residents who left for OpenSpaces have the opportunity to rebuild their areas in Second Life at little penalty, other than paying the $20/month boost from what they started out with.  What would be nicer would be a continued freeze on prices if company revenues allow next year.  Hopefully Jack and Mark will consider this as the next year rolls around.

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Running Over Openspace News….

I’ve been busy in the Real World for the past few days, unable to keep up with the in-world news (blame it on Election Day!).  Now I’m trying to catch up on things in the Openspaces flap.

And my chief thought is that I left off, or left obscure, something from my analysis of the Linden policy reevaluation in my previous article.  It’s that I’m willing to trust Linden Lab’s explanation of what was going on in the guts of the void sims that triggered the whole kerfluffle in the first place.  What reason, after all, would the Lab have for jacking rates like this when there are alternatives out there for people to hare off to — as some have done or are threatening to do?  As I’ve pointed out, along with Hypatia Callisto, their original announcement can be explained more simply, and much more satisfactorily, by Hanlon’s Razor than by proposing Machiavellian hypotheses for soaking Residents of money.  In other words, whatever mysterious Linden assigned to write policy announcements has blown it again.  To borrow from Goethe (and the Wikipedia article):  “…misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent.”


On the other side of the spectrum, Crap Mariner has put up a photo on his Flickr stream, which I discovered when I was stopping by New World Notes.  It’s a rather nice commentary….


Unless something fresh comes along, I’m planning to shelve Openspace coverage for the time.  I’m just worn out by this one, and I need to write about some fluff for a bit.  I’m headin’ down to the Blarney Stone for a drink….

Linden Lab Revises Planned Openspace Price Change

As promised, Mark Kingdon released an article for the Big Blog today, announcing changes to the planned price increase on the Openspace sims. As you may recall from our last exciting episode, it was originally planned to do a blanket increase on setup and maintenance (“tier”) in January 2009, with the tier rising from $75 USD to $125. The result was quick (if not instantaneous) and substantially explosive. In addition to blog reactions, a substantial Forum thread was started by the Lindens that grew to at least 250 pages, filled with gripes — but also with calmer, thoughtful commentary and suggestions.

The Lindens read, and listened, and considered. Now they’ve answered:

1. We are going to retain the Openspaces product at its original price point and its original intended use (forest, water, etc.). We will have technical limitations to help regulate their use, initially avatar and prim limit restrictions, eventually event, classified and script limits. Those of you who chose to use the Openspaces as intended may stay at the US$75 rate, but will need to contact the concierge team to do so.

2. If you want more than an Openspace, we will offer you the choice of moving to a new product called Homesteads that is intended for light use such as low density rentals. For existing Openspace owners we will phase in the price increase for this new product over the next 6 months. Homesteads will also have technical limits for avatars and prims, and eventually script limits as well.

* January 5, 2009 – non-compliant Openspaces will transition to Homesteads and the maintenance fees will go from $75 to $95 per month. We will offer an educational discount to qualified educators on the new Homestead product. The discount amount will be the same as Private Regions, roughly 30%.

* July 2009 — the maintenance fees for Homesteads will go from $95 to $125 per month.

There is more detail in the FAQ posted at the Knowledge Base, and a new Forum thread for comment.

This has to be looked at carefully, but I’m not sure that it’s a better deal for the ones who will get burned most — the Residents who were obeying the rules. If I follow correctly, the original void sim had an 1875 prim allowance; now they’re planning to drop it to 750 prims, and with script restrictions in the future that may wash out some recreational vehicle use (this is uncertain as of writing). The people staying in the new Homestead sims will eventually still pay the $125; it’s just deferred until July 2009, instead of January. I won’t say this is a bait-and-switch routine, as some posters in the Forums are accusing the Lindens of doing; I’m not a network or other form of technical hardware specialist, and I’m willing to accept their explanations for now. What I do say is that the proposal is imperfect, and needs more consideration by Linden Lab. It sounds as if they are still willing to listen to calm and reasoned debate — the best kind — and something better could be thrashed out yet.


Other reactions:

  • Hypatia Callisto suggests that the solution is for Linden Lab to allow large communities to rent their own server and divvy up resources within that area.
  • New World Notes is running a poll on the question. At writing, the “dissatisfied and worried” camp is leading, with about 38% of the total; but those satisfied are second at just under 30%. James also writes about the question for GigaOM, noting that a lot of the “contentment” is seasoned with a good bit of grumbling as well.
  • In the category of “contented”: Common Sensible; Crap Mariner; Harper Beresford; Nexeus Fatale.  Not thrilled:  Hotspur Otoole.  Okay but critical:  Raul Crimson.

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New Openspace Statement from Linden Tomorrow

The Big Blog has word from Jack Linden that Mark Kingdon will put up a piece tomorrow on the Openspace flap.

The post will be our response to all of the great feedback you have provided and will include details about how we intend to proceed regarding Openspaces.

I don’t know if this is promising, but it shows that Linden Lab does at least seem to listen to their customers.  Be there, and here, tomorrow!  (However, I’ll probably be posting late on the matter, as I have morning shift RL.)

SL Openspace Controversy — Hamlet Au Interviews Mark Kingdon

Wagner James (Hamlet) Au of New World Notes got an opportunity to sit down with Mark Kingdon, a.k.a. M Linden, the CEO of Linden Lab, and questioned him about the Openspace controversy set off by last week’s announcement.  Read his article here!

The best comment I’ve seen on his article (to this point of writing) is by Hypatia Callisto, who headed her comment with one of the best “scientific laws” ever created, Hanlon’s Razor:  “Never ascribe to conspiracy what you can ascribe to mere stupidity.”  The comment is for those who are certain that Linden Lab is jacking rates to make money preparatory to an IPO, or just to fill company coffers.

Second Life Openspace Crisis — Nothing Fresh to Date

…which is still a little early; at this point, it’s still 8:25 a.m. in California, and I doubt anybody but the system engineers and techs are at work yet at Linden Lab.  So, until then, here’s what fresh blog writing I’ve found.  (I shall attempt to summarize the pieces faithfully, but my own interpretational viewpoint may sneak in.  My apologies in advance, and I’m welcome to comments to clean things up.)

  • Prim Perfect is writing a series on how the hike will affect certain classes that are working within the rule.  They’ve already done pieces on the individual homeowner and a land cooperative group.  Today’s is on a small storeowner; the last will be on a nonprofit working in world.
  • Vint Falken posts a bit of a grinner with a “memo” that she (and I repeat, she, not he) put together in Photoshop.  (Make sure you check Vint’s earlier piece for a 51-blog list of early comments.)
  • Radar Masukami tried out OpenSim briefly some months back.  He’s since gone back in to examine the current state of the alternate art.  His multi-part series on his experience, titled “Moving to Canada,” starts here.  (The title is reminiscent of the threats of many United States residents who said they might bug across the border to Canada if George W. Bush was reelected in 2004.)
  • Caledon is liable to be one area hit severely by the hike, as 20 of their regions are apparently Openspace (according to Total Lunar Eclipse).  Eladrienne Laval writes in A Stroll Through Caledon on a protest ignited (“virtually literally) by the Duchess Primverness.
  • Steelhead, a cousin area to the Caledons, doesn’t have any void sims yet — though they were on the verge of opening one.  Total Lunar and Tensai wrote up their initial take on the situation back on Wednesday; while, returning to Caledon, the Vicereine Kamilah focuses on the current inability to trade your Openspaces back in, and encourages constructive forms of protest to Linden Lab.  (Thanks to Her Grace Eva Bellambi, Duchess of Caledon Loch Avie.)
  • A more personal take from Belmakor Pintens, focusing on the art world and how — if at all — a departure of avatars and Openspaces will affect it.
  • What happens if an Openspace disappears right from under your feet?  Well, this wasn’t quite it, but it’s still good.  (And the question got your attention (grin).)
  • Hypatia Callisto works up the history of Openspace as a series of “massive blunders.”
  • Hamlet Au suggests five vital articles you should read from suggestions and his own research.

More as I discover it. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment, or send them to me at harper.ganesvoort at, or pass them on to Vint Falken.  (Preferably both.)

Openspace Protests Growing

First came the shock; then the anger.  Now the rage.

It appears, based on this article from Vremya Mrigesh, that a login strike is being planned for today (Oct. 31) to protest Linden Lab’s planned price hike on Openspace regions.  Others, such as Petros Miklos, are taking it longer, through the weekend.  Running a quick test on how many are present — in other words, opening up the client — it doesn’t seem to be having much effect; at 8:15 SLT this morning, 53,695 are online.  That’s about right for this time of day lately; a low number would be well below 50,000, maybe close to 40,000.  This suggests that, even if a number of people are being affected by the price raise, either it doesn’t impress the majority of Residents (many of whom probably don’t own/rent an Openspace sim), or else the strike call isn’t taking hold.  (It could also mean that enough newcomers are logging in at the same time to compensate for outflow.)

Even if there is a noticeable outflow, though, will it work?  Residents staying logged out does not hurt the Lab at all; they don’t charge by the amount of time you’re connected.  That concept went out the window with the advent of broadband.  Drop in concurrency?  A three-day bloop in the statistics at the most, which can be explained away by the nature of the beast; they know what it’s about, and so they disregard the data.

The way to achieve change is to actually work with the Lab.  While it’s not certain that they will alter their approach, they do sound willing to at least listen to concerns.  Moderate, cooperative and proactive approaches are long shown to make more progress than boycotts and people burning themselves in effigy.  (And anyway, Second Life doesn’t have a region named Effigy, so you can’t burn yourself in there in the first place.)

Vint Falken — List of Blogs on Openspace Controversy

A quickie note here:  Vint Falken has a list of at least 40 articles on the Openspace flap on his original piece.  Vint is one of the more read and outspoken bloggers in Second Life, and his article is pretty good; go give it a look for his opinions, and those of many others.  I wish I’d found it before, but Vint has his own domain, and so he doesn’t show up on’s tag surfer.  (I don’t recall him in the Technorati list, either.)

Openspace Fee Raise Continues to Burn — and Flame

Linden Lab’s decision to raise tier maintenance fees on all Openspace sims continues to provoke ire since my last article.  In approximately 48 hours, the Forum “discussion” has racked up 169 pages, with a high proportion of posts filled with bile.  This, frankly, is one reason why I don’t weigh in on important matters at the Forums; the level of vituperation gets out of hand.  I’m not sure if anybody is being listened to if there is an actual workable alternative to the raise, or if anyone at Linden Lab is still reading the messages.

The articles I’ve read so far are mostly confined to blogs, but they’re calmer for the most part.  Hamlet Au’s New World Notes summarized many of them Wednesday (including my own previous piece); much more has been written since.  While opinion still runs far against the mechanics of Linden Lab’s decision, the logic behind their choice to do something about Openspace sim abuse is more understood.  For instance, Bailey Longcloth offers, among other points:

…Openspace sims had their prims increased and the  prices lowered.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s gonna happen.  And look!  It happened!  For the most part, I imagine the majority of people have not abused them.  Some people have though.  Too many avs, too many scripts, too many textures etc etc.  I think the abusers should be paying more for their over use of the system resources….

…In the 2 years I’ve been in SL, I’ve seen residents up in arms over a number of topics.  SL5B, lowering of island prices, ad farms etc etc.  Never have I seen such an outcry against LL as I’ve seen the last 24 hours.  It’s good to see so many residents standing up for what they believe in.  Just remember, in order for a protest to work, you need your opponent to listen to you and agree with you.  This isn’t going to happen without rational ideas and suggestions.  As a professor of mine used to say, “Do not complain to me unless you have a suggestion for a solution.”    Simply complaining does nothing.  Give LL suggestions that make sense for everyone….

And Isadora writes:

…When I first found out of Jack Linden’s decision to increase Openspaces rates, I was livid like the rest. I find out Eshi won’t be able to afford to create her magnificent art in Desperado due to this move, and I also read of the rest who won’t be able to build anymore because of this. At the onset, doing this will be a big mistake.

However, this turn of events is like an onion, once sliced and diced, it brings tears to the one holding the knife, but as Nexeus Fatale and some few others have said, this change will bring good in the long run….

The displeasure is still there, though, even when the writer recognizes all the data in the matter.  Tan Tantalus:

…I feel sorry for the many people, like me who operate an Openspace sim in a responsible manner as we are the ones who will suffer because if the actions of the greedy club and mall owners who care only about getting traffic and subrental from stallholders because they operate their business from an Openspace sim when they should be using a full sim.

Linden Labs has seriously mismanaged this. They should have instead announced control measures with Second Life to reduce the load the sims were causing. This will not deter the abusers for they are making money from Openspace sims from rentals and sales – it will only deter those who have invested in Openspace sims to create lands for light usage as was originally intended…..

The good news is that Linden Lab, and especially Jack Linden, seem to be listening to the protests.  The latest from the Big Blog is that they are reading everything they can find in reaction to the decision, and that they are taking the facts into consideration.  Jack quaintly refers to the Forum discussion this way:

The first thing I would like to do, is to thank everyone for taking time to give feedback. We’ve read it all, including the forum posts, and almost all of you have made your points constructively and clearly. We are blessed with highly passionate and intelligent residents and that makes for good dialogue, which we really appreciate.

Jack must have read a hell of a lot more messages than I did.  My stomach started getting all “squeamious” (I don’t remember where I got that word) after less than 10 pages worth.  He’s surely right about “highly passionate” Residents….

My coverage shall continue as time allows.  If you wish to find more voices on the question, I’d suggest going to Technorati to check other articles.  My link should take you to the actual search; but if it doesn’t, just plug “Openspace” into the search box.  Comments are still welcome, of course!

Linden Lab Raising Tier on Openspace Property

I keep wanting to do another fashion article; when I get to the keyboard, a fresh piece of real news presents itself….

More (real) bucks for the bang

More (real) bucks for the bang

In an article on the Big Blog yesterday, Jack Linden announced that the policy and pricing structure on “Openspace” sims — mini-regions which are divided into four smaller regions, and intended for “light” use — is going to nearly double starting January 1.  The tier (maintenance) price will rise from US$75 to US$125 per month, and the up-front cost will go from US$250 to US$375.  That’s real, hard U. S. dollars, not lindens.  The reasons given by Jack, according to the announcement, are:

More after the break….

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