For a long time people have been discussing the subject of Tier, it keeps popping up and the general consensus is that it is just too high.

If you own a full region you may end up paying 295 dollars a month, yes real dollars, not Linden dollars.
Even if that is good value for money, it is a lot.

Many people have offered their ideas and opinions on the matter, I myself have brought up tier a couple of times and shared ideas with you on how LL should perhaps offer a wider choice of regions, create perhaps a smaller region, etc.

Another thing they might want to consider is simply letting people pay for the amount of land or prims they use, as the jump in rate for premium users is very high.
If you want to use just a few more prims, buy a little more land, you suddenly find yourself in a new category of tier.
Again, here some flexibility may make things easier for us.

Although it tier is a lot of money, it may be impossible for LL to lower it, at least at this moment.

Recently Mona Eberhardt explained why the Tier is not too high and it made me look at the situation a bit differently, the following discussion on her blog was also very interesting.
You can read it here.

And although this may not be a very popular view, I also feel that if a sim like mine, with such a niche theme as role-play in 1920s Berlin, can not only pay for itself but even make a profit, why can’t others?
But perhaps that is a subject for another blog.

Either way, Tier has not changed in years and although Linden Lab is not very good at communicating their motivation for keeping tier so high, they may actually have a good reason and will not change it no matter how brilliant our ideas and suggestions are.

So lets look at other ways to making Second Life a little cheaper for us users.

Monthly tier is a problem for many sim owners, but another issue they have are the setup fees.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 19.11.28

This screenshot from the Second Life website shows what it costs to not only own a region, but to buy one.
Quite a shock to potential sim owners I can say from my own experience.

Not only that, but transferring a region to someone else, moving it, etc, that all costs money too.

I started 1920s Berlin small, in a skybox on mainland.
I didn’t want to lose any money so the project only grew when the sim could afford it.
And when I was finally talked into moving to a full region, I knew I would not be able to pay for the setup fee so I started accepting donations, organizing events, had fundraisers and auctions till we finally got the big pile of cash together.
I was lucky to have found such a great group of people with so much passion for the project that they were willing to support it.
Nevertheless it took many months for us to actually manage to achieve this goal.

A while ago I started adding homesteads to my sim but even though those are a lot cheaper to buy, they still cost more than I can afford easily.
So I’ve been waiting for months for the right moment to add another one.

And of course there are dozens, hundreds or maybe even thousands of people in SL who might be tempted to buy a region but just can’t afford or don’t want to pay the setup fee.

Even if you buy a second hand region, you have to pay a $100 transfer fee on top of what you are paying the previous owner and as they usually would like to get some of that setup fee back, you could still end up paying a couple of hundred bucks for it.

And don’t forget that Value Added Tax (VAT) could also be added on top of that!

So if we can’t convince LL to lower their tier, perhaps we can get trough to them regarding the setup fees and other costs.

Maybe this too is something they won’t even consider but again, because they don’t explain to us in detail why something costs what it costs, we’ll keep poking them with complaints, ideas, suggestions, etc.
And some of us will continue to keep shouting ‘Lower the tier’ at any Linden they see.

Anyway, the setup fee is as big, if not a bigger barrier for people who are considering buying a region.
If this fee was lowered or even scrapped, as I would suggest, I think quite a few SL users would be tempted to buy a region.
Of course this will mean a loss of revenue to Linden Lab, something that they are probably not to keen on at the moment.
But I think that this loss will be overshadowed by the amount of money they’ll start making on monthly tier by those people who now want to buy a region.
A much more steady flow of income than the irregular payments from region sales.
For starters, if they would lower or scrap the fee on homesteads, I’d buy two tomorrow and it would be a lot sooner before I start working on my next full region project too.

I think that the boost this idea could give to the economy, would be worth it.
People are more willing to invest and risk tier than the full set up fee.
Who knows how many crazy dreams people have but can’t afford, will turn out to become the next big thing in SL that will get it a lot of RL positive publicity?
And imagine the buzz it will create amongst users if after years of decline, the amount of privately owned regions goes up again.

Maybe this idea (also) makes little sense, but that again comes down to the fact that there is a lack of transparency when it comes to the costs of running Second Life.

If Linden Lab told us exactly why costs are so high, why they charge what they charge, we may not only stop writing about our crazy ideas, but we might even stop complaining about the tier.

After all, we don’t know how much it costs to feed the hamsters who run in the Server treadmills!

What do you think?
Another daft idea or something that actually makes sense?

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