Friday, 28 September 2012


I'm a land baron and I don't need anyone's sympathy. What I need is lower tier so I can strengthen and grow my business and so that Secondlife can become stronger and more viable.

Secondlife does not exist for Desmond Shang's 'wealthy Rip Van Winkle' residents who log in 3 times a year and do not take part in the economy, community or social scene of Secondlife.

With an average of 100 sims being lost per week, if tier isn't lowered, there will be no land barons, no Rip Van Winkles, no Secondlife, no nothing.

Monday, 24 September 2012


High tier costs are poisoning Secondlife. What we are seeing now is a slow death, a stagnant ecosystem drained of life by excessive tier costs. There is a clear link between high tier costs, low concurrency, low user hours, lack of interest in Secondlife and a deep fatigue and depression amongst core users who want to use Secondlife for more than just chat.


High tier costs cause low concurrency and low user hours, which in turn depresses the SL economy and that in turn causes abandoned sims which in turn causes low concurrency and so on in a negative loop.

There are dozens of applications that Secondlife can NOT be used for at this time because of the high tier costs, people just can not afford it. Projects are NOT being started, projects are being abandoned.

There's no doubt about the link between super high land costs and the destruction of the Secondlife ecosystem. New sim types and new sim prices are needed yesterday.

The table above shows some possible new sim types and prices to help restore and re-energise Secondlife. There needs to be a more granular approach to SL land products to make the Secondlife product more accessible to all. 

Clearly the decline is not slowing up and we'll see greater land slides over the coming months. Linden Lab really needs to take action, these weekly sim lossess will soon represent millions of USD lost. The current 'Do Nothing' strategy is not working, it's not just risky, it's losing Linden Lab money week by week, it's positively Un American ! Don't they want to make more money ? Don't they want Secondlife to be a success ?  

Until tier costs come down  and new land products introduced, the ecosystem will continue to be poisoned and fatigued. How can Secondlife possibly survive under these conditions ? 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Following on from Hamlet Au's New World Notes Blog post - Don't Expect Linden Lab To Lower Tier Anytime Soon - Here's why we SHOULD expect Linden Lab to lower tier soon :
1. Because LL are losing money. Current tier costs are depressing customers and driving them away
2. Because lower tier would make happy, loyal customers, which equals even more money for LL
3. Because linden Lab WILL make truck loads of money by restructuring the land price model

Customer satisfying sim prices and products
Please Click Graphic Above To See Larger Image 

The above price model is based on 3 sim types :
1. Residential Sims
Appropriately priced, the future bulk of LL's revenue will come from residential sims.
Residential sims should really have new estate tools that includes a plot rental system. We need a built in rental system so all other commercial activity can be blocked with code. People can still give each other money on residential sims but they can not set up shops,vendors or set items for sale. This is viable and would dramatically energise the SL ecosystem

* It's very important to make a distinction between residential sims and commercial sims. Why should residential users pay for facilities they do not need

2. Commercial Sims
Commercial sims are specifically for creators and Secondlife merchants and allow full commercial activity - shops, vendors, events, games etc. the price reflecting this commercial aspect. The Lab could keep charging the current prices for these types of sims. Creators and merchants can monetise so they should pay a premium.

3. Special Sims
New mega sims - We really do need new mega type sims. There are all kinds of games e.g. racing games etc that need to be on mega sims with no glitchy border crossings. This kind of sim could be a dramatic and positive boost to attracting game developers and gamers. Also the role play communities would benefit from these larger sim types. the idea being, larger areas with reduced prim counts, so they can not compete with residential rental sims.

Event Sims
This is a special sim type that could be upgraded to when needed. Any important event, party, wedding, funeral, live music gig, fashion show, charity do, business meeting etc, that needs the best most reliable sims with the best performance possible, should have the option to PURCHASE/UPGRADE TO A SUPER SERVER FOR 24 HOURS. The fact that we do not have this option makes Secondlife unreliable and unprofessional. I've lost count of the events I've been to that have been disrupted by poor sim performance and sim crashes. It shouldn't be this way. In fact, it should be possible to upgrade any of the above sim types to an event sim. Event sims would be fully commercial and support 100 agents - everybody would rez and nobody would be grey.

Anybody can buy any sim type, no blockers to purchasing. The idea that the land market is being protected by forcing people to buy a full sim before you can buy a Homestead is incredibly idiotic. That time is past. The sim losses over the last couple years and months demonstrate the stupidity of this price model and structure

Blocking 99% of your customer in favour of protecting the profits of the 1% land baron class of user beggar's belief.

The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many ? Really ? Isn't it supposed to be the other way around ?  The needs of the many should outweigh the needs of the few.

The Atlas program can be restructured and kept in place but the big land barons are going to have to work harder and actually do real estate development, and provide community features and services that make it worthwhile renting from them. Gone are the days of the cookie cutter slum sims delivered by some of the largest estates who get the best benefits for the least effort. These stale offerings are literally virtual slums and Secondlife would be 100 times better off without them.

If Linden Lab wants to keep the slum lord land barons in place, they should prepare for the end of Secondlife in the next 24 months, if they want to make more money and make Secondlife thrive they need to FREE THE LAND MARKET

The current land price structure is completely friggin borked. It's THE WAY TO KILL SECONDLIFE, doing nothing, keeping things as they are, it's actually the way to destroy the revenue stream and Linden Lab itself.

The new sims and pricing model above would positively transform LL's bank balance and restore the health of the system. The only reason LL can not project the numbers and see where the money is, is that they've lost confidence in Secondlife, their own product. They do not understand what they are selling. The executive team and investors do not use the product. They can not understand why anyone would bother using Secondlife because it's not interesting to them. So they don't believe there are any more customers than the existing userbase and foolishly believe that if they cut costs, they'll cut revenue because in their minds there are no more customers.

There are literally millions of potential customers, if we glance at the success of social games, for example, Yoville, Farmville, Minecraft, we're talking millions of players. 41 million (and counting) have registered for Minecraft and approx. 7.5 million have bought the game. The only reason Secondlife doesn't have a massive number of concurrent users and 100's of 1000's sims online is the price. Secondlife land is too expensive. Farmville at it's peak had something like 80million registered users and only recently has The Sims Social taken over from Farmville, with daily active users of approx. 9.3 million.

That's not a typo, The Sims Social has 9.3million active users per day and Secondlife can hardly push 60k peak concurrency per day.

The idea that Secondlife has had it's day is short sighted as it's still way ahead of any other social game on the planet. Secondlife has never been tested as a mass market product because it's never been priced correctly. Yes you can play for free but that not the product. Playing Secondlife for free without owning land is like playing Farmville without the farm.

Not enough choice. The car company BMW offer nearly 500 different versions of their product range. The 1 series alone has 100 different products - 25 different versions of the 3 door, 5 door, coupe and convertable and so on through their whole range. And these are actual physical products. Surely Linden Lab can offer more than 3 sim types and more than 3 price points for their customers.

Everybody should be able to afford their own sim, that's the real virtual world product. The sooner Linden Lab realise that's what their customers want and that's what they should be selling, maybe they can stop the rot. If they don't realise it and don't offer a more granular approach to their sim products Secondlife will die and Linden Lab will go out of business. By granular I don't mean renting tiny plots or skyboxes from land lords - that's yesterday, that's the problem, that's the slumification of Secondlife, IT'S A BIG TURNOFF.

Secondlife desperately needs affordable residential sims to compete. Otherwise Cloudparty, Open Sim, alternative grids and MMO's are going to wipe them out, it happening right now, it's time for change. Linden Lab can not, as a company, keep crouching in the corner of their ivory tower, rocking back and forward repeating the holy mantra -

'You can not buy a Homestead without a full sim'
'You can not buy a Homestead without a full sim'
'You can not buy a Homestead without a full sim'

Secondlife can thrive. Linden Lab can change. There's a great desire for virtual land, it's all about ownership and control. Human beings are territorial and expressive creatures and that's where the gold is for Linden Lab : Giving people sims they can afford, a place where they have full control, a place where they can express themselves - Their own sim !


Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Sad to report more than 1000 private sims lost in the last 11 weeks. The losses seem to be slowing up a little but what's more alarming is the lack of interest and the low number of new sims coming online since July 2012. See graph below
There does seem to be a deep lack of energy and interest in Secondlife, even within the core community. Obviously the situation is that we have all been worn down by excessively high tier costs.
Current tier costs are a crime against an emerging technology. If it cost 300USD per month for a web site, there would be no Internet as we know it. In reality Secondlife has not properly been tried or tested as a mass market product as it has never been priced for real growth and success. It's only a niche product because of the high price.
Linden Lab are losing more and more money by not lowering tier costs and not believing in their outstanding product.
The fact that Linden Lab has not changed their land offerings (sim types) or lowered their prices in several years is the reason why we are seeing such losses and such poor concurrency.
We all hope that Secondlife on Steam will have a positive effect on concurrency and sim ownership but it really is a lost opportunity. Without lowering tier costs and offering new sim products, marketing Secondlife to Steam users is kind of crazy, a massive business error and probably a potential loss of millions of dollars and thousands of new sim owners.
Even in this gloomy atmosphere there is still a very passionate user base, still putting on events, creating new content, supporting the grid and community in a thousand different ways. Just a little back up from Linden Lab in the form of new cheaper land products could easily provoke new growth, new money for LL and a much needed boost to the SL community and economy.
Come on Linden Lab , Help us to help you !
Drop set up fees
Let anybody buy any land product without a full sim
Introduce some new sim types
Reduce tier costs

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Secondlife will soon be available on steam and this will be one of Linden Lab's greatest fails.


Making Secondlife available on Steam is a great idea. But unfortunately, inviting Steam users to try Secondlife while tier costs are impossibly high makes no sense. Why invite millions of users who can't afford the Secondlife product - Land -  to come play.

What we're about to see is the most awesome churn over ever experienced by an MMO or virtual world. Apparently Secondlife already fails to retain 16 thousand users who try it per day. Why try to attract more customers to a platform that is so expensive and the current user base is so frustrated and alienated by the pricing that they are leaving in droves.

If Linden Lab thinks their current user base has been and is overbearing and critical, wait until the Steam community makes their feeling felt. Their used to gold standard games at discount prices.

Secondlife takes the power away from the user. Secondlife tier costs make the user feel powerless and poor. Tier costs are so high educators have left, role players are choosing alternative grids because they need lots of land, music venues are closing, inworld shops are empty and closing. Projects are closing, projects are not being started. All around we are seeing the decay of a unique platform.

It's really quite incredible to see an amazing technology like Secondlife, a trail blazing company like Linden Lab, fossilise in front of our very eyes. Their inability to change the one thing that would improve their bottom line, make their customers happy and invigorate their product, is the one thing they refuse to do - DROP SET-UP FEES and LOWER TIER COSTS

The build up of negative energy because of high tier costs is so great it's quite possible we'll see a mass abandonment of the platform. Right now customers are dropping private sims at a rate of approx. 100 sims per week

The sad truth is that even if Linden Lab convert some Steam users in to Secondlife TRY-OUT TOURISTS, as soon as the Steam users realise how much it costs to own land and really do the cool stuff, they'll walk too.

Recently Rod Humble said they had no problem getting people to try Secondlife for a while, it was getting people to stay that was the problem.

Well Rod, why do you think that is dude ?

Do ya think that maybe, just maybe, you might be pricing your product beyond the pockets of your user base ?

Why do you think you are not retaining customers ?
Why do you think nearly 100 sims are being abandoned every week ?
Why do you think converted, passionate users are abandoning the platform ?

Secondlife is dying. the price of land is killing it. churning over thousands of Steam users a day is not going to improve Linden Lab's bottom line. The Lab will keep losing sims and money until they lower tier costs.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Watching Secondlife right now is like watching a train wreck. It's awful but one can hardly look away.

I'm sad to report the loss of 849 private Secondlife sims in the last 8 weeks. That's an average loss of 106 sims per week. This is very serious decay. The SL economy is experiencing it's most dramatic summer slump ever. Sales are seriously down, inworld shop traffic is extremely poor, sims are closing and concurrency is stagnant and slipping.

How many lost sims will it take before Linden Lab realise the only way to save Secondlife, and yes SL does need saving, is to reduce tier costs and drop set-up fees and release the grid from the tyranny of the land barons and let anyone buy a Homestead or openspace sim without having to own a full sim.

Secondlife's land pricing model is antiquated and destructive. Price is everything. Current land prices in Secondlife are literally driving converted passionate users away. What a brilliant business plan - Drive away, alienate and depress the people who actually want to use your product

Secondlife is a dream making tool. Current tier costs are dream killers
The attrition rate of 106 sims a week is approx. 5 thousand sims per year. That's millions of dollars lost revenue and 5000 places less to visit in Secondlife and thousands of people of who will have a negative experience of Secondlife - losing their virtual home, their store, their art installation, their club, their forest retreat, their beach house, their dream. 
These sim losses represents projects not being completed or started because it's just too expensive. It's a question of value for money and current tier costs are not good value for money.
Even if Secondlife were PERFECT, people would still NOT pay these ongoing monthly prices for their virtual presence. Secondlife is outstanding technology priced beyond the reach of it's real, actual user base. The decay will continue until tier costs come down.

Friday, 17 August 2012


Here's just one example of a passionate, established Secondlife creator sharing their story of frustration.
It's the typical story of over-priced island rental costs destroying the diversity and viability of Secondlife.
It's the story of the contracting Secondlife grid and economy.

Linden Lab's executive team should take note of this example of what it's actually like at ground level.

No amount of shilly shallying around with normal maps, specular maps, pathfinding etc, (all marvellous things) is going to compensate for the loss of diversity and stop the avalanche of abandoned sims.

As exciting as Secondlife's availability on STEAM is, without lower tier costs LL are not going to be able to convert 'Steam Tourists' in to sim owning paying customers.

The original discussion can be found at  .....

Amiryu Hosoi's post at
Well, I am strolling the web today because today is the second time LL decided to charge my paypal account to pay for tier. I wanted to know if there would be a way to temporary pause a few of my sims. I own 4 sims that are open to the public and lots and lots of people are using them for free. The regions are Japan Edo time based and host several roleplay groups and a lot of residents. My market Hosoi Ichiba is paying for all 4 sims + advertisements + occasional gifts to new residents. I am also using SL as a toolbox to design and proof my RL Japanese themed designs.

Since the start of the world wide economic crysis we seem to be in I, like many others, noticed a decline in sales. However my Ichiba was still going strong up to the start of this holiday season. Seems people are finally running out of “playmoney”. Maybe after the summer my sales will start growing again but I have the odd feeling it won’t;-(
If my sales doesn’t recover I will need to close down my sims and SL will loose again 4 wonderful free landmarks. I know I am not alone in this. Already a lot of great places closed down to never return and a lot will follow. The idea I have to let down all those people that depend on the scenery that I created over the years will make me so super sad;-( For what I know there is no way I can preserve complete sims to reerect them on the LL grid or elsewhere later.
I think LL needs to rethink their business strategy. Like some people here said, LL has a great tool and nowadays their servers and viewers are very stable. If LL should decide to lower tier and startup fees I am sure new people will start using SL and people that moved away to, for instance Open Sim like environments, will come back to SL. I am afraid though that will never happen.

For example; a few months agoo I contacted LL to talk about pricing and possible discount on 24 private sims because I was in the race for a very big RL contract rebuilding a complete town and zoo in the Netherlands. (my client didn’t want to use Open Sim) The kind of project that could put SL on the map again as a serious tool and virtual environment. The answer however was NO! LL didnt even want to think about it!
I am simply not able to fund the 4 sims (1200 USD a month) from my RL income at the moment. Saying that makes me think about how much I payed to SL in tier and commision, etc. over the last 6 years… it must be in the region of USD 150.000+

So that leaves me with one option only. Praying sales will recover after the summer so my friends, residents and visitors can keep enjoying our little corner in SL.

For all people riding the same boat I would like to say; keep up the faith!
Kind regards,
Amiryu Hosoi

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


It's quite bemusing that Rodvick Linden has reached out to SL Universe forum users and asked for feedback and thoughts on what would be necessary to convert casual signups in to long term users

Rod Humble, Secondlife CEO says :
'Right now after performance our biggest issue is not getting new signups or even people to experience SL for a bit, it's turning them into long term users. Any thoughts on what you would do? We have some ideas but before pulling the trigger I would be curious what folks thoughts are here. The more varied the better.'

The responses are the usual mix -
Fix the viewer
Fix the bugs
Fight the lag
Better first user experience
Better this, that the other
Kill the Marketplace because it takes people away from the product, which is land (unfortunately true)

We've all heard the above a thousand times. Fix the bugs and fight the lag etc, etc, blah, blah, blah, that's Linden Lab's job. That's every company's remit. To make their product better. I'm kind of fed up of of people saying fix this that and the other.

Linden Lab can fix the viewer, fix the bugs, kill the lag, create an awesome first user experience, better everything. Cake and flying ponies for everybody ! None of the above will make any difference to the bottom line or conversion rates. Concurrency will continue to sink, sims will continue to be abandoned (see previous blog).


We can not have a grown up discussion about converting signups in to long term customers without addressing the incredibly painful and onerous tier costs - THE SECONDLIFE PRODUCT, LAND, IS TOO EXPENSIVE. Right now, core, passionate, true believing users are leaving Secondlife life, abandoning their land because they can't take it any more. It's TOO EXPENSIVE.

$1000 USD set up fee. $300USD per month, EVERY month, for a full sim. That's a destructive outdated pricing model.
And not being able to buy a Homestead without first buying a full sim is utter nonsense. Way to go Linden Lab, block your passionate users from getting the product they want.

Secondlife is on the cliff edge, a precipice, we are a stones throw away from a massive landslide of abandoned sims.
497 sims lost in the last 4 weeks. Forget converting new users, how about retaining the already converted. And if you really do want growth you have to CUT TIER IN HALF.

There is no clever solution to this problem. The problem is, LAND IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE and without the removal of setup fees and a substantial reduction in tier we're going to see an avalanche of sims abandoned

The decline will continue until Linden Lab understands that to FULLY experience Secondlife it's essential to own your own sim. If Linden Lab wants to make more money, the solution is simple, believe in your product, lower tier and you'll get more customers. 30 million people have tried to sign up - Good grief, that shows there are a ton of people out there interested in virtual worlds ?

So in answer to Rod Humble's question - Any thoughts on what you would do to create and retain long term users ?
LOWER TIER. There is no trigger to pull other than lowering tier. All the other triggers will shoot blanks.

Linden Lab appear to have so little faith in their own technology, they think if they lower the price they will make less money. WOW how short sighted that is. This is a sad story of lost visions and lost dreams

Monday, 9 July 2012


The astounding virtual world Secondlife is in decline. The world itself, the islands of Secondlife are slowly disappearing

The current high tier costs are obviously too much to bare for the user base. Nearly 400 private sims lost in the last 2 weeks. That is a very large loss for such a short period of time. And we're going to see bigger and greater dips unless Linden lab addresses the over pricing of it's main product - virtual land.

Cloudparty a new virtual world on the horizon has made an interesting play with its low cost entry point for an island of your own at $14.99 USD and has the potential to gut Linden Lab's residential users/players from Secondlife. We could see massive losses of land and mass migration if good content creators set up in Cloudparty.

Within 12 months SL content creators could fill the Cloudparty Marketplace with an vast array of quality content to entice away Secondlife residential players and socialisers.

Right now Secondlife life is more reliant on the constant flow of content created by the virtual fashion industry and creators than they would like to admit. If these creators turn their attention to Cloudparty there will be nothing to stop a sudden and dramatic migration away from Secondlife.

I'm talking about the migration of content creators to Cloudparty. If creators go to Cloudparty, everyone will follow. It's not what Linden Lab are doing that keeps people in Secondlife, it's the content that the creator community develops that is maintaining interest in Secondlife.

Linden Lab are utterly and completely reliant on the creator community to keep creating and keep interest up, since they themselves appear to be doing nothing. Infact they are working on other projects and of course fighting the war on lag which they've been losing for 9 years.

The Lag is NOT the problem with Secondlife. It's the oppressive and onerous monthly tier costs that are driving customers away.

It's the failure to make Secondlife islands affordable that will be the death of Secondlife

Thursday, 7 June 2012



Reality check - The Secondlife grid is slowing dying, having it's life force drained by land barons and excessively high tier costs.

Secondlife estates at their best provide community, support, themed environments and good real estate development. But unfortunately some of the biggest estates are nothing more than middlemen, land flippers, parasites sucking the system dry and being rewarded for destroying an emerging and important human technology aided by Linden Lab's  antiquated, frigid, pricing model.

Atlas, the Greek Titan  was supposed to hold the Heavens up to stop the sky from falling. But it's not the sky that's falling in Secondlife, it's the land that's disappearing. As the grid shrinks, the virtual economy shrinks, concurrency slips, user hours contracts, less to do, less to see, less people to meet, LESS, LESS, LESS. This LESSENING is the death spiral of any social network.

The virtual world Secondlife is in a downward spiral because Linden Lab are giving the wrong people large discounts on land.
Linden Lab gives discounts to the few (Atlas program members) at the expense of the MANY -  their real customers. The REAL customers who actually pay the tier costs. Land Barons are not LL's customers, they are resellers, middlemen, it's the residents that pay the high monthly tier.

Gather too much tier now and you will not be able to gather appropriate tier later, it's like over-fishing the sea.

It's time to drop the set up fees, reduce tier and let anyone buy a Homestead, Be Radical, Be Bold

Secondlife has never recovered from the October 2008 price rise and Linden Lab's current relationship with large estate owners is dysfunctional and bad for Linden Lab's bottom line and the survival and success of Secondlife.

As we can clearly see from the decay in the graph below, the Atlas program and current pricing model do nothing to support the world or encourage growth

Consider the above the 'Confessions of a Vampire' as I make good money from estate rentals. But I am also a content creator, so I see the world through two sets of eyes.

What other estate owner would say lower tier ? Most estate owners 'Want It Now'.
But it's not working, it's a failing business model. I can't grow my estate with these current tier costs. Nobody can. I'm not just interested in making it work today, holding on in a declining market. What of tomorrow ?

You can hold a few more renters, get a minecraft server - which takes people away from the SL product btw, you can chop up your sims in to even smaller plots - go 'Slum Lord'. Get the money now while you can. But come on, this is not the dream of virtual worlds. Tiny plots, expensive land, broken dreams, no wonder it's failing. We really are near tipping point. 10%  of the grid lost this year, will it be 20% /30% next year ?

New World Notes Post - SL Forecast to Lose 10% of World's Private Sims This Year

It's a great and terrible shame that an important human technology like shared multi-user spaces, Virtual Worlds, is being cannibalised, eaten alive, by the only company that actually runs a real one.

Shame on you for losing vision and not believing in your own technology enough to make it affordable and accessible to all.

To Linden Lab :
As an estate owner, I would rather earn less money now and more money later, from my land holdings and see land ownership and the SL economy powered up by a reduction in tier rather than this slow, sad pathetic decline of an awesome technology destroyed by the wrong, pricing model.

An evolved business plan for Linden Lab would be to react to the current situation, drop set up fees, reduce tier for ALL and DELAY GRATIFICATION. It's an adult practise. Grow up Linden Lab. Take less now so you can earn more later, rather than acting like a spoilt toddler -  ' I want it now, gimme now !!'  What kind of business plan is that ???
Let's all stop pretending that everything's ok with Secondlife because it's not.

 Linden Lab - Delay gratification - STOP eating the marshmallow now, you will make far more money later.

TED Lecture about marshmallows and the benefits of delayed gratification for future success

Due to it's content, this blog should not be read by anyone, now or ever. It is for entertainment purposes only and you use any information at your own risk

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Gridology - The study and observation of virtual worlds

Opening Statement :
Virtual worlds can and will change the human condition. In less than 25 years, one half of all human interaction will be virtual.
William Thomas Finley