Improving & expanding Partnering

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I’m the eternal old spinster, I don’t need no family, but lots of people in SL do.
They love getting married or just partnering with their best friend.
People start families, clans, clubs, gangs, etc.

But although at least we can partner someone of the same gender and animals, furries, ghosts, dragons, etc, one part of the partnering system is still stuck in the past; you can only partner to one person at a time.

There is no real reason for this, partnering someone doesn’t do anything, all it means is that their name is added to your profile.

I would like to see partnering improved and expanded, perhaps as a premium membership perk…

For starters of course allow us to partner more than one person.
Even in the classic sense of partnering there are some romantic relationships that include more than two people.
Get with the times Lindens!

You should be able to partner more than one person, not just because of unconventional relationships but also, as I just mentioned, because people use the partnering option for other relationships as well.
If you have a family, wouldn’t it be nice to have your kids connected to you in your profile as well?
And your parents?
What if you’re a member of a gang or a vampire clan or someone’s slave in ancient Rome?
Would you not like to have those people shown in your profile as well?
Yes you can prove you were made a vampire by Lestrade, look he is in your profile, something that can only be done if he accepted your proposal!

Having more than one partner might clutter up your profile, even if the section is replaced with a drop down menu.
So it would be a good idea to make this a separate tab, the ‘Relations’ tab.

It could look a bit like the picks page in your profile.
Anyone you’d partner with would appear there, like a pick, with their profile pick, their name and below it a window where you can write some stuff.
There is space for 10 picks in your profile, adding 10 possible partners might be enough or at least a good start.
Of course again here is an option for LL to tempt people into becoming premium members by for instance allowing regular users only one partner or none and informing regular users that the relations tab is only available to premium members with a link to the sign up page.

Try and imagine what this could look like.
In your window you have one tab that says relations.
Here you see several people, all these people are there because you “proposed” to them or formally asked to partner them.
One of them is the man of your dreams, two of them are your kids, but you’ve also added your best friends and that lovely chap who was the first person you met in SL and who showed you around but sadly died years ago.
This tab will be a collection of memories, friendship, love or just a display of all the really bad dudes that are in the same gang as you are.
Yeah don’t mess with me, “Skullcrusher” Henderson is in my gang, yeah check out my profile, see!

Personally I think this would be a fun perk for many of us and it would make being a premium member even more tempting.

On top of that all the divorces that will ultimately follow all these relationships will put more money in LL’s coffers!

What do you think?
Good idea, silly?
How many partners do you need?
Let me know in the comments section below.

Premium accounts and how to make them (even) more appealing

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I upgraded my account because as someone who ran an active community I regularly needed assistance urgently and premium accounts promised 24/7 live chat support.
Filing a ticket when some griever was running around your city making life miserable for everyone just didn’t cut it.
Back then asking for help through chat support regularly resulted in an actual Linden coming over to see what the problem was.
Ah those were the days kids, you youngsters don’t remember.

I’ve been premium ever since because you sort of have to if you own land.
Without a premium account you can’t own land on the Mainland but even when you buy a private region you still kind of need some of the premium account perks such as the chat support.

Over the last decade I’ve seen LL try all sorts of things to try and get more people to join the premium program.
It makes sense, there are at least 60.000 premium accounts in Second Life (source), which means right now Linden Lab made over 4 million Dollars a year from premium accounts ON THE MAINLAND alone and that is when everyone pays annually.
With the new price, again assuming they will have still 60.000 premium account members left and they all choose to pay annually, they’ll be making almost 6 million Dollars just with Mainland regions.
So that is not counting premium account holders who don’t own land or who private land.
In short, premium accounts are quite important to Linden Lab.
Disclaimer; I’m terrible with numbers.

Right now, when you become a premium member you get the following benefits;

  • Weekly L$300 stipend*
  • L$1000 sign-up bonus** for first-time Premium Account subscribers
  • Priority entry when regions are full of avatars
  • Linden Home or 1024m² tier allotment for use towards a parcel on the Mainland
  • Expanded live-chat customer support
  • Premium virtual gifts
  • Exclusive access to Premium areas and experiences
  • Increased cap on missed IMs
  • Increased group membership limits
  • Voice Morphing
  • Premium-only sandboxes
  • The right to own mainland parcels in popular areas
  • Immediate access to adult-only areas
  • utilizing increased region capacity
  • L$ transaction history increased from 32 days to 90 days

Some of these benefits don’t have much value to many of us, especially if you are a landowner.

Anyway, I started thinking about how the premium accounts could be made more appealing.
If LL got a lot more premium members, they’d make a lot more money and they could then decide to lower tier or even our money transfer costs that have shot up recently.
I know the Lindens are working on an ultra-premium option, so maybe some of these options will be part of that or maybe these will give LL a few ideas;

Let’s get right to the most desired thing in SL; lower tier.
I understand that LL can’t give all premium account holders a tier discount, even though many of course are not land owners so they wouldn’t even be able to use this option.
However for me and other landowners it would be extremely appealing if the grandfather option would return as part of the premium membership.
Being able to grandfather my regions made a huge impact on improving my situation in SL and if this would return I would be more tempted to rent more regions, thus putting more tier in the Linden Lab safe.

Same goes for NO setup fees for new regions.
LL has already lowered the setup free dramatically which is great but you still have to pay an entire month tier and 100$ to start a sim, this has to come out of your own pocket because you won’t be getting an income from this new region through rent, access, tips or other ways for at least one or two months.
Starting a sim still costs you hundreds of dollars till you manage to break even or make a profit, if ever.
If you wouldn’t have to pay the setup fee premium membership would earn its annual fee back for everyone who buys a region.

Another option I’d like to see added is more group-roles.
Not only would this make running a group/sim/community a LOT easier, it would also mean many groups could be deleted as the lack of roles is the only reason they exist.
We’ve just learned that groups put quite a bit of pressure on the SL resources so this would be an added bonus to both users and LL.

I’d like to see the groups being improved in general, I’ve written about this before (here; https://joyardley.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/improving-groups/ ) but I understand that changing them can be quite a hassle and will take a lot of time and effort from LL.
However if they make ‘Deluxe Groups’ TM a Premium Account only thing, it would pay for itself.
Not only would quite a few shop owners, RP communities and other people gladly go or remain premium for a group that offers more options, this too, when done well, would mean a decrease in the amount of groups in SL, again something that would also be beneficent for LL.

Another idea I have is a bit of an ego related one.
How about we make it visible in people’s profile that they’re premium members!
Lots of people like this, perhaps as a bit of a status symbol.
“Hey why do you have a gold star that says Premium on your profile?”
“Ah well dear old fellow, I’m a member of an exclusive club…” the man answered as he polished his monocle.

It would be a wonderful perk if premium members could upload textures for free or got a discount.
Right now uploading each and every single texture costs you 10L$.
This adds up if you’re a creator and need to upload many textures while building something, often uploading the same one many times just because you changed a little detail.
Another texture related perk many people would love is the return of the temporary textures.
I am not sure if these ever were an official thing or just a Firestorm feature but a long time ago you could upload temporary textures, this would mean you could upload a texture for free but it was temporary so after a few days it would just vanish again from the servers.
This was a great feature and money saver for us creators.

I would love to be able to change my tier paying date.
I have two full regions and three homestead and I have to make sure to put some money into my account several times a month, it is a hassle.
I would love to change this and just pay for all my land on the same day of the month.

One thing that has annoyed me for ever is the fact that our transaction history only goes back a short while.
Recently they changed this from 32 days to 30 and that is already quite an improvement but I don’t understand why this can’t be even longer.
Surely just storing these records can’t take up that much precious computer memory at Linden Lab, especially not compared to all our inventories and this entire virtual world?
Why can’t we look up what we spend 8 years ago?
Anyway, I think adding even more days to the transaction history would make having a premium account even nicer.

Ok this idea is a bit more complicated but may not be as big a hassle to make work.
How about… we create SL families!
Right now you can connect your avatar with one other avatar by making him or her your partner.
All this really does is show someone in the partner space on your profile.
That’s all.
So what if premium members could add more than one person as a partner…
Again this has no real consequences but it is a nice way to show the world you’re part of a modern relationship with two other people, are happily married to just one person but have seven kids or that you’re a member of a vampire family because Lestrade bit you.
We know how much these families, clans, gangs, groups of friends mean to people but also the huge value they can have to roleplaying communities.
Being able to officially connect more than just one person to you is quite appealing and will make a few people decide to go premium.
And of course all those divorces that will eventually follow means more cash in the Linden coffers.
Read more about this idea by clicking here.

Allow premium account holders to rent a homestead without having to own a full region.

Premium account holders get a region they buy for one month with no or reduced tier.
Starting a sim is expensive, it takes weeks, even months to get things set up and all that time you’re not getting any money from tenants or shopkeepers.
The first month tier comes out of your own pocket while you have no income.
So knowing that you don’t have to pay (full) tier that first month would be nice.

Custom SL e-mail address.

Pay for your tier and premium fees with Lindens.
No need to go through the hassle of selling L$, LL just deducts costs from your L$ balance directly.

Ok this is a mean one… how about we add ‘Allow only premium members’ to region settings…
People could start clubs and sims that only premium members would have access to.
Lindens could create Premium member only sims!

Rezzday gift!
It doesn’t have to be much, maybe just a card from Ebbe, or a cake, a kiss-o-gram, a bigger stipend, etc.
Just a little something to thank premium account holders for being in SL for another year.

So anyway, these are just a few of my ideas that would make becoming a premium member even more appealing.
What do you think?
Got other ideas and suggestions?
Share them in the comments below.

Disclaimer; some of these ideas don’t come from me but from the SL forums or drunks rambling at my bar in 1920s Berlin.

Make big textures more expensive

Linden Lab wants to move away from making the bulk of their money through tier because of course expensive land is one of the things that needs changing in SL.
But that means they need to make their money in other ways, for instance by increasing our money transfers more expensive.

Personally I think making lots of little things a little bit more expensive is better than making a few things a lot more expensive.
That way we all carry the load in stead of just the land owners and content/experience creators.

One of the ways LL is already making everybody pay a little amount is by uploading textures.
We all do this, not just creators.
And every time we do, LL gets 10L$.

Big textures demand a lot from our computers, internet connections and LL’s servers.
If you go to a sim and everything is grey and it takes for ever to see anything, that’s because of big and/or too many textures all being squeezed through your internet cable.
Unfortunately SL is full of people who don’t know or don’t care about this and they fill our virtual world with huge textures.
Not just when it is justified, like when you’re making a big building that needs to look good up close, but also for no reason whatsoever, as part of things that really don’t need such a high resolution.
I’ve found 1024×1024 pixels textures on the bottom of shoes, the back of paintings or as minuscule parts of tiny earrings.
Situations where the creator could have easily used a lot smaller texture without anyone noticing it.
Of course we do all notice the lag these textures cause.

So if Linden Lab makes more money here and there they can make other things cheaper and it is in everybody’s best interest if we use fewer big textures in SL.
Put that all together and we come to a system where you pay more to upload bigger textures AND pay less when you upload smaller textures!

And I’m not talking about huge fees, but for example, uploading a 1024×1024 example could cost you 15L$, the basic 512×512 would still cost 10L$ but the 256×256 texture would only cost 5L$.
So if you use small textures you get rewarded and content creators who know that they can use smaller textures in many places will actually spend less money on uploading fees in many cases.

As I said before, everybody uploads textures in SL, not just builders.
We make snapshots, upload wallpaper for our home, RL photos to show friends, etc.
So this is something that will not only mean everybody gets to pay, it also, hopefully, encourage people to think more about the size o the textures they upload into SL.

Of course… Linden Lab could at the same time start offering people FREE uploads as a premium account perk…
I reckon that would be one of the most popular perks ever!
But even if the perk would be cheaper uploads or the the option to upload temporary textures for free, it would be very welcomed by many.

So what do you think?
Silly complicated idea or a brilliant one?
And can you think of other small fees LL could charge that would allow them to not charge so much when it comes to tier or money transfers?
Let me know in the comments.

SL machinima filmed in 1920s Berlin selected for prestigious film festival.

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Recently well known Second Life machinima maker Amelie Marcoud made a wonderful almost 17 minutes long video completely filmed in 1920s Berlin in the style of a silent movie.

The end result is very impressive, you can see it here;

Today Amelie announced that the video has been selected for a film festival;

It brings me so much joy to know that The Fiancée has been selected by an international film festival called Lift-Off. The film will be shown on Vimeo-On-Demand next month, amongst other magnificent filmmakers; some of which worked with Disney’s Pixar. I never thought any of my work could make a SL/RL crossover, it feels surreal. Once again thank you to everyone involved in the film and cheers to our first film laurels!

It is very exciting that this wonderful video filmed in our 1920s Berlin Project is now getting the attention it deserves.
Congratulations to cast and crew!

Linden Lab changes its mind on planned changes after public outcry.

I love being able to start an article with “public outcry”.
Makes me feel like a proper journalist.

Anyway, good news.
On May 29th LL announced the rather drastic and unpopular changes to premium and basic accounts which included increasing the number of groups for premium members while decreasing them or basic account members.
You won’t be surprised to know that the SL community was not too happy with this.

I myself wrote a blog about it that you can read by clicking here.

People discussed these changes both inworld and on rl social media and here an there Lindens got involved.
Especially here on the Second Life Forum thread started by Grumpity Linden;
https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/437799-a-brief-note-on-pricing-changes-which-ran-long/

Today Linden Lab announced that they have listened to the public and thus changed their mind, you can read the official announcement here;
https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2559-group-limits-update-no-changes-for-basic-members/

In short; Basic accounts will keep their 42 group limit.
Especially this line in the announcement is interesting;

Our goal is to increase Group performance for everyone – whether you are Basic or Premium. As a result, we will be prioritizing some development resources to address Group performance.

Up until quite recently it seemed like groups weren’t a big deal when it came to performance.
Maybe I didn’t pay attention and understood it all wrong but I always assumed that group sizes weren’t important in regards to SL’s resources and it really didn’t matter if you regularly removed members who had not been online for a long time.
I did it anyway because it irritated me to see people in my group who had not been online for over a year.
Now it seems that it all does matter and in stead of solving the issue by taking groups away from people LL is now “prioritizing some development resources to address group performance”.

Does that mean that, simply put, there are several big fires going on and in stead of putting one out a fireman is taken away from one fire to come keep this one under control?

I hope they will also keep looking at a solution though.
In the past I’ve written about two things that I think will help;

Give groups more options, such as more titles and sub-groups so people no longer need a few dozen groups just for one sim;
https://joyardley.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/improving-groups/

And clearing inactive accounts;
https://joyardley.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/what-about-clearing-inactive-accounts/

Unfortunately the other planned changes have not been changed, which means that the rather draconian increase in cashing out fees will remain.
This is still rather bad.
Remember that those of us who create the experiences, own shops, run bars, manage communities, rarely make a decent income out of it and even when we do make some money much of what we make is spend before it ends up in our pocket.
We pay LL tier, L$ cash out fees, we pay Paypal fees, credit card fees, taxes, etc.
All these have been going up as well.
When our income goes down we have to find a way to increase this and that means everyone else will have to pay more for rent, visiting sims, drinks, etc.
Which is fine when things go up a little now and then, but having a huge increase in costs is quite difficult to deal with and explain to those you have to squeeze even harder.

Tier will go down for some regions (not homesteads) but this will not always balance out with the increase of fees.
If you want to support the economy in SL and help those who create all the content in this virtual world, you should make things easier for them, not harder.

Because as I’ve mentioned elsewhere; if cashing out fees get too high, people may just go ahead and decide to let their inworld tenants, customers, clients pay them directly via paypal or bank transfer, bypassing Linden Lab completely.

Anyway, the good news is that Linden Lab has listened to us and changed their plans.
Let’s hope people keep sharing their opinions about other changes now and in the future.
You are being listened to even though it sometimes may not feel like it.

What about clearing inactive accounts?

Second Life is full of zombies.
Literal zombies who want to eat our brains but also zombie accounts; residents who have been among us even though they haven’t logged into Second Life for years.

This generally isn’t a big issue although it is slightly itch-inducing for those of us who like order or suffer a bit from OCD.
But after the recent announcement regarding the new costs in SL it seems that they are actually quite a strain on Linden Lab’s resources.

As Grumpity Linden said;

So how about we start clearing inactive accounts?

No no no, calm down, I don’t mean delete everyone who hasn’t been inworld for a few weeks.

I mean we start stripping those accounts that haven’t been inworld for over a year.
And with stripping I mean that the accounts aren’t deleted or cancelled but that they are set to inactive and they lose their land, prims get returned and they’re automatically removed from groups.

And not out of the blue of course!
LL should send them several e-mails weeks in advance asking them to log in or perhaps even just respond to the e-mail or click a re-activate my account link.
That way even those of us who want to return to SL but sadly no longer have a computer that can run it or who are for some reason unable to log in can still quite simply avoid being deactivated for another yea.

How would this improve our Second Life?

Inactive accounts would be removed from all groups and if they own groups, these groups will be disbanded or the group is transferred to the next owner or an admin.
Thus lowering the strain on groups but also letting people know that the group they were a member of was one that it’s owner had abandoned.
I know of a group that has been around for years, has quite a few members in it but its owner left SL and deleted her account.
The group chat is never used, messages are never send.
It’s just taking up resources.
I remove people who haven’t been online for over a year from my group regularly.
Imagine how nice it would be if these people were removed automatically.
The number of group members grid wide would go down dramatically.

The land owned by inactive accounts would be cleared, prims returned and the land put up for sale.
Mainland is littered with little plots owned by people who haven’t used them in years.
I know of several plots on the mainland that belong to people who I know will never return.
One of these plots if full of pets who are all very hungry as they haven’t been fed in years.
Poor neighbours.

Although I don’t think these people should also be removed from marketplace, their sale pages should have it mentioned that the creator/seller of the item is inactive.
Many times I’ve been more than frustrated after buying something only to find out that the person who I need to help me fix something or who I want to give me back my money has left SL.

It would also be nice to see this inactive status on someone’s profile.
Many times I’ve tried to get in touch with someone, waiting for their response only to finally find out they haven’t been online for years by joining a group they are also in.

Anyway, I think it is something we could consider.
Till it becomes a function perhaps considering removing inactive members from your group manyally.
Just in case you don’t know how;

Open your group window, select the ‘Members & Roles’ tab.
Click the ‘members’ button and then the ‘status column till you see your group members ordered by when they were last online.
Select the people you think have been offline too long and then click the ‘eject’ button.
If you click the person at the top of the list and then hold shift, you can scroll down to the last person you want to eject and click that one to select all the people in between at once.

Second Life’s birthday gift not universally appreciated.

Linden Lab announced another change in SL costs and perks!
As we users have been asking for tier to go down it is great to see them take another step in the right direction but part of making SL nicer for Premium users means it is also going to get a little less nice for basic users.

You can read the full blog here;
https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2557-land-price-reductions-new-premium-perks-and-pricing-changes/

In short;
The good news;

Land prices go down;

This really is a big deal because it’s even for those of us who own grandfathered regions.
Unlike the last time they lowered the prices, this time every landowner gets to enjoy the change.

Premium and basic accounts change;

We’re going to get more from being a premium account owner, which is great because to be brutally honest I’m only premium because you kind of have to when you own a sim, to buy land, get quick support, etc.
When we lost the 24 hours a day chat support I considered abandoning my premium account because that really was the main reason to be premium for me at the time.
LL has tried many times to add extra value to the premium account but most things they tried didn’t really impress me, regular gifts, premium areas, etc.
I had no need for any of those things and the only improvement I actually welcomed was when they gave premium account holders extra groups!
They are doing this again but frankly I’ve managed fine with the 60 group limit, are there really many people who want more than that?
As for the cap on offline IM’s…. I didn’t even realise there was one.
My IM’s all go to e-mail, I don’t think I miss anything.
More improvements are promised; more Linden Hom themes, more limit increases, etc.

But all this comes at a price, yes premium membership is going to get more expensive;

As you can see you’ll now pay about 12 bucks a month for premium membership, however if you pay annually it will actually be cheaper.
Which is nice… if you can afford to pay a hundred bucks in one go.
I can’t.

I’m not sure being a premium member is that interesting for most users and I doubt these changes make it become more appealing to become a premium user.
But that is just from my personal perspective, other premium users may be rather happy with all the extras they get.

The credit processing fee goes up;

In short processing credit fee doubles.
This is a bit of a shock because that can add up.
I’m not good enough at mathematics to calculate how much extra this is going to cost me each month but I reckon it will bite a big chunk out of the decrease in Tier we’ve just been given, perhaps even swallow it whole.
Either way I think that there not being a maximum fee is also a bad thing.
After all those who make the most money in SL are also in many cases the ones who make a biggest impact on most SL users by making stuff many of us want to buy or organising events and running sims most of us want to visit.

It is great that land is getting cheaper while other things are getting more expensive, but in the end the balance should be that SL in general is getting more affordable for us or at least not get more expensive.
Those of us who create all those experiences, run shops, own sims, etc., are already and still paying lots of money each month, seeing any kind of cost potentially doubled is a bitter pill to swallow.
This hurts the people who are the backbone of SL, the content creators.

As you can imagine there was quite a bit of chatter on the forums so Grumpity Linden responded in this thread;

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

A few points he made;

Land prices:  Full estates get ~$20/mo reduction in price. For the first time we are also reducing GF/BD region pricing.  This is not a frivolous gift to the 1%. This has real and proven effects on the rents many more pay. 
 
Premium prices are going up on June 24.  Starting June 3 and until June 24,  Premium accounts have 3 weeks to pre-pay an additional cycle of premium at the old rates.  Best deal is, of course, prepaying for annual regardless of your current level. We hope you can take advantage of it. If you’re paying quarterly today, you can continue as quarterly. We will no longer offer it to new premium signups.  With the new prices, VAT will be charged on monthly and quarterly but not annual (of course only in the countries where VAT applies).
 
We looked. We hadn’t raised premium prices in the history of premium prices in SL. Crazy! A lot of value has been added to premium over the last few years (new Linden Homes, double tier, reduced mainland prices, premium access, more offline IMs, more transaction history, more groups, more animesh, experiences, and yet more to come) and we are raising prices to reflect that.   
We’re not lowering limits out of spite, groups really are quite a strain on our back end for a variety of painful historical reasons, including overloading group functionality instead of having other tools.  This subject alone is worth a novel liberally sprinkled with tears. So anyway, we don’t hate basic users, and in fact we work hard to retain our free-to-play offering as one of the most generous across many industries. But yes, no big surprise, we do want to nudge active residents to become subscribers, because we think it’s a great value, and – as many have noted – we’re also running a business. But no, we’re not shutting our doors to non-premium residents. Rumors of our insanity and villainy have been slightly exaggerated.  
Fees to process credit are going up, effective June 24.  L$ buy fees are not. Yes, this is another step in rebalancing the economy.  It’s also the right step, because the regulatory climate has evolved dramatically since SL first started out, and in order to continue to offer a platform for creators to actually make money, we have a lot of ongoing work to keep up with those regulations. Compliance is generally no fun (shh don’t tell our compliance people I said so – they’re wonderful and actually think it’s fun!) but it keeps all of us in business and the bad guys out. If we weren’t doing this work, we would literally have to stop offering the ability to process credit. 
We’re making lasting investments into SL in infrastructure, features, and content.  While we set aside some special morsels only for premium members, the work we are doing benefits everyone – region crossings, attachment reliability, marketplace improvements, inventory stability, land auctions – are just a few examples.  No one project will please all of our residents, but we make an effort to address the needs of all communities in turn. We can’t get everything done immediately, but we’re focused and determined to keep SL successful and evolving. It’s a unique and thriving world we work hard to support. 
Look, this is obviously a bitter pill.  We can’t keep slashing land prices at the rate we did last year.  We can’t raise other prices and yet keep everyone happy.  But we sincerely believe this is the best path forward – and hope you will come around too. 

It is interesting to read, for the first time (in my case anyway), that groups really are quite a strain on SL
I guess this is common knowledge but I’ve never heard a Linden confirm this.
I can think of a few solutions that will cut down the amount of groups in SL drastically while making them actually better for users.
Few ideas are to delete groups owned by people who haven’t been online for years, create subgroup options, let groups have more roles, etc.
For my 1920s Berlin sim there are dozens of groups!
We are am active roleplaying community that has been around for literally a decade, we need all these groups but often only because we run out of roles, permissions or need a way to communicate privately as a group.
We would need just one group if we could have some of the things mentioned above.
Another option would be to move some of the group functionalities to the SL website.
If that website had some of the options Facebook has we could have pages for each group with a forum, chat option, etc.
Perhaps even some functionalities that are integrated with inworld options.
More about how groups could be improved here in this old blog I wrote in 2012;

https://joyardley.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/improving-groups/

And yes, the buy fees are nog going up, that is great but I don’t even remember the last time I actually bought Linden Dollars.
Even when I just started in SL I would try and make money inworld in stead of buying it.
It was quite rewarding to make my first Linden Dollars.
Increasing sell fees damages the profit (if any) people make who work in SL, the content creators, the sim owners, the event organisers.
I understand that this price has to go up but the increase is rather extreme and I am not sure the tier discount carries this extra cost.
Not to mention that countless shop owners, creators, event organisers etc. don’t even own land so they don’t at least get a tier discount to outweigh the extra costs.
Unless the owner of the land where their shop is located decides to lower their rent because tier has gone done 20 bucks, this change is quite damaging to many of the most important people in SL.

This means that the general overhead for these people goes up, they need to somehow make this money back and they’ll do this by making their stuff more expensive.
Of course if you’re not a shop owner it may be harder to do this after all, if you raise the rent in your sim tenants may simply go elsewhere, if you start charging a fee for your club you may end up with an empty joint.

So in short, SL is getting better in some ways but worse in others.
Which isn’t good.
I think premium accounts can be made more attractive without having to take away from other members.
But even with all the new changes and bonuses, is having a premium account actually worth it?
Is what you’re being offered really worth the new costs?
For me it used to be 24 hour chat support for emergencies, but that’s gone.
The extra groups was a great bonus but 60 is enough groups.
I don’t mind having more but I don’t feel comfortable about those extra groups coming at the cost of basic users losing some of theirs.
My blog is full of ideas that can make the premium account more worth it and I’m sure most SL users could make some great suggestions as well.

In short; this change doesn’t make premium accounts more attractive, it has achieved the opposite effect.

As for things getting more expensive in any way for any SL users, I think that is always a bad thing.
Not just because I’m a cheapskate Dutch person but because SL is more than just a game for many of us, it is how we make a living or it at least helps us pay some of our bills.
I would make more money flipping hamburgers a few nights a week than I do working more than full time creating experiences in Second Life.
Credit processing fees have seen several increases without us seeing much happening to outweigh those extra costs.
When some things get more expensive others should get cheaper or parts of our virtual society are getting damaged.
Again, those of us who own land at least get a discount to counter these extra costs but creators, shop owners and others who don’t own land but do cash out are only going to see a decrease in their income.

What if cashing out keeps getting more expensive and people just start asking tenants, customers or clients to start paying them directly via paypal?

1920s Berlin celebrates its 10th anniversary!

The 1920s Berlin Project

Yes it has been A DECADE since the 1920s Berlin Project opened its doors to the public!

And not just has been our historical roleplaying neighbourhood survived all this time, it thrived!
After 10 years it is still an active, creative, vibrant, exciting, fun and very alive community.
We have daily events, our parties and shows still draw crowds and the city keeps evolving and improving.

There are people who have lived here for many years who won’t even consider leaving.
For some Berlin is the only reason they’re even (still) in Second Life.

In short, we’re celebrating more than having a sim that managed to pay its tier all these years.
We’re doing great.

So of course we’re going to celebrate again, there will be a week of celebrations and everybody is invited.
We’re going to kick it off with our annual dance at the foot of the Brandenburg…

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Second Life Destinations : A New Travelogue Video Series

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Today Linden Lab announced that their wonderful Destinations video series will now be a weekly thing.
We can now expect there to be a short (60-90 seconds) video that gives us a look at the creations and communications in Second Life.

I think this is a wonderful idea and something, I think, similar to some of what I’ve suggested in the past.
The Destination Guide is not mentioned in SL’s official announcement (you can read it by clicking HERE), but if I’m not mistaken all the videos so far have been or still are in the Destination Guide.

As I’ve said before, I love the Destination Guide and think it is one of the, if not the best tool Linden Lab has at their disposal to bring new people to SL and to keep them there.
It is a wonderful showcase of some of the best that SL has to offer.
I’d love to see it used more, for instance by loading the page for people when they first join SL or perhaps let people pick their first teleport from the destination guide inworld from the starter’s island.
Either way, I hope LL is going to make a video for every place in the destination guide and eventually will somehow embed these videos in the destination guide itself!

The destination guide deserves a little more love and attention I think.
There are a few places on there who perhaps shouldn’t be there, for instance sims that have vanished or completely changed their theme and no longer offer what they promise in the destination guide.
Of course a while ago LL started the ‘Places pages’ which started out quite promising but then went a bit quiet.
I’d love to see the destination guide expand a little by for instance a few more pictures per destination, a video and maybe just allow those sims that have been picked the option to maintain their page in the destination guide.

Anyway, back on topic!
This is a great little video series and I look forward to seeing lots of them being made and uploaded every week.

You can find all the videos so far by checking out the playlist on youtube by clicking HERE.