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.