Second Life University – Governance Tips with Keira and Tommy Linden

 

Full video and tips links from this livestream in this post.

 

Second Life University YouTube Thumbnail - Keira Tommy.png

Class is back in session! Second Life University returns today at 10am PT with Second Life’s Support Operations Manager Keira Linden and Support Operations Supervisor Tommy Linden. Keira and Tommy will share some Governance tips for staying safe and enjoying your Second Life, as well as keeping your account secure.

These are some of the topics they are planning to cover during the show: 

Watch it live today at 10am PT on the Second Life YouTube channel. We will be monitoring the YouTube chat and answering your questions.

Stay tuned for future updates about Second Life University. Happy learning!

Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands
 

Telltale Signs Your Identity Been Stolen

A missing wallet or purse sets off an instant alarm, but many victims of identity theft don’t realize it until months after the fact, when the damage has been done to their finances and credit. Nobody wants to be a victim of identity theft, but if you’re lucky (or you know the signs), you’ll quickly realize when your identity has been stolen. Here’s what to look for if you’re concerned about possible identity theft…

Do You Know the Signs of Identity Theft?

In some cases, the tip off comes when you start receiving bills for things you did not buy. Even if your credit cards are still safely in your pocket, the information on them may be used to buy things online. Phishing scams, in which hackers use emails to trick people into giving up the keys to the kingdom, are still common. Along those lines, does your social media profile reveal your home address, birthday, and your pet’s name? And it’s low-tech, but be careful when discarding financial records in the trash, where someone might find them and glean your account details.

Despite your best efforts, your personal information and credit card numbers can end up for sale on the dark web, as a result of a data breach. And given the right bits of personal information, identity thieves may open charge accounts, utility accounts, and unsecured loan accounts in your name. Often they use a billing address different from the victim’s, so the first notice the victim receives is a call from a collection agency. By then, you may be on the hook for thousands of dollars with dozens of creditors. And the scammer could be long gone.

Other signs of that may point to identity theft include a sudden drop in your credit score, mail pieces with your address but another person’s name, and (big red flag) a notice confirming that your annual taxes were filed, before you actually did so. If that happens, a scammer has your social security number, and is trying to steal your refund.

The first thing to do when you suspect that your identity has been stolen is to file fraud alerts with all of your financial partners and the major credit bureaus. Here are links and phone numbers for the credit bureaus. Equifax: 888-836-6351; Experian: 888-397-3742; TransUnion: 800-680-7289. You don’t need to contact all three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of them to notify the others of the alert.

Fraud alerts expire after 90 days, but you can renew them. A fraud alert doesn’t prevent you from opening a new credit account if needed. It does require creditors to do “due diligence” which means they have to contact you to make sure you really are the one trying to open an account.

Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze?

You can also request a “credit freeze” from each of the credit bureaus, which prevents anyone – including you – from obtaining new credit in your name. A credit freeze will prevent new accounts from being opened, because it blocks lenders from checking your credit. A credit freeze won’t stop you from opening a new account, you can lift the freeze temporarily.

Unlike fraud alerts, you must contact each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) to initiate a credit freeze. You’ll need to supply personal information including your name, address, birth date, and Social Security number. When the freeze is done, you’ll get a PIN or password from each of the credit bureaus, which you can use if you need to temporarily lift the freeze.

A credit bureau must lift a freeze within one hour, if you request it by phone or online. Requests made by mail can take several days. Ask which credit bureau the lender will be contacting, so you don’t have to unfreeze all three of your credit reports.

Get Your Free Credit Reports (and Your Credit Score)

The credit bureaus are also required to give victims of identity theft free copies of their credit reports. These reports can help you discover unauthorized applications for credit made in your name.

Even if you’re not concerned about possible identity theft, you can get FOUR credit reports every year for free. The link above will show you how it’s done, and how to avoid the potential pitfalls. And on a related note, do you know how a credit SCORE is different from a credit REPORT?

Minimizing the Damage of Identity Theft

If your credit card is lost or stolen, you must report it immediately. Once you have reported your credit cards stolen, you will not be liable for any additional charges that may be made with them. Use these phone numbers to contact the credit card companies:

  • American Express: 800-297-7672
  • Discover Card: 800-347-2683
  • MasterCard: 800-622-7747
  • VISA: 866-434-6854

Next step: File a police report. Although local police have little power to track down identity thieves across the country, a police report is generally required by other entities when you are trying to repair your credit record.

Contact your State’s department of motor vehicles to see if anyone has tried to obtain a driver’s license in your name. Do likewise with the Social Security Administration (800-772-1213). Request a copy of your Social Security earnings history to ensure that it is correct. It’s not uncommon to find that someone else is working under your name.

If you’re positive you have been a victim of identity theft, you should close all of your existing credit card accounts immediately. Replace them with new ones if you can. Ask your bank if closing your checking or savings account is a good idea as well.

Change all of your online passwords, even if they are not associated with financial accounts. Be sure to choose strong passwords with a mixture of upper and lower case letters, digits, and special characters.

A credit monitoring service may seem like a good idea right after you’ve been victimized by identity theft. Such services charge a monthly fee of $10 to $15 to monitor your credit records and alert you of any unusual activity. But they don’t prevent identity theft; they only alert you to a problem after you have one. Yes, they will file all of the alerts mentioned above with credit bureaus and card companies, but you can do that yourself.

And credit monitoring services won’t do the heavy lifting of defending you against fraudulent debts or rebuilding your credit. Most consumer advocates consider credit monitoring services to be a waste of money.

Have A Great Week From All Of Us At Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands

Open Now: LynchLand

A Whole Second Life Sim Devoted to the Art & Characters of David Lynch. Premiere Party This Weekend!

David Lynch SL tribute Lynchland
In heaven, everything is fine. You got yours and I got mine… Click here to visit.

That’s right: The David Lynch fan group in Second Life has gone ahead and opened up a whole dedicated sim devoted to Lynch’s imagination and tributes to scenes and characters from his most memorable works (with a decided Twin Peaks skew). It’s open now, and this weekend starting tomorrow at 4pm PT, there’s an official opening party. Dress code is “sensual black attire”, and an owl mask will be given out upon arrival.

Here’s some more glimpses of LynchLand courtesy of group leader Myrdin Sommer, who is financing the sim with a couple other founders: “Cate infinity, SurfSide66 and me, we pay the rent and we hope we get some Lindens in the Land-tip jars at events… the sim is there to have creative events and if people like to hang around in LynchLand that is perfectly fine, all terrain is accessible, so they can stay at the cabins etc. all they want, or just come and take pictures.”

So if you’re a Lynch fan too — or David Lynch himself, as he’s known to make the occasional metaverse visit — consider tipping! More images and event details below:


"A Grand Soiree" at Church of Black Lake @ LynchLand

 

Church of the black lakeOutside the Church of the Black Lake

Lynchland_cabins_police_1Cabins and police HQ, and note the Hollywood sign


At the Lynchland shrine

At the shrine of David Himself

Click to teleport to LynchLand before that gum you like goes back out of style.

Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands

Matthew Ball Full Interview

Matthew Ball Interview: The Metaverse Author on Mainstream Awareness, Negative Implications, NFTs & Blockchain — and an Exciting New Vision for Interoperability (Part 1 of 2)

Matthew Ball metaverse interview Wagner James Au

Matthew Ball’s The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything is now available in bookshelves and online. (Get it on Amazon hereon Apple Books here, or on Bookshop.org here, which contributes a cut to indy bookstores.)

I’ve been avidly reading my review copy of The Metaverse over the last couple weeks, and while I feel way too biased to write a full review, seeing as I’m now writing my own book on the topic, I will say this: It’s an essential and indispensable resource to understanding the concept, and the key business, technology, and policy facets we need to comprehend now, to create a Metaverse that’s truly worthy of the name. 

I spoke with Matt earlier this week, delving into many topics from the book, beginning with what’s been expanded on from his online Metaverse Primer (which I wrote about here last year):

“The first and last thirds of the book are entirely new,” he tells me. “The first third gets into the history of the Metaverse in science fiction and in virtual game worlds and platforms, why gaming seems to be at the forefront of this next generation of the Internet, defining the Metaverse as I see it, and why it is a successor of state to the Internet rather than just application for experiences on it… 

“There are a few sections that are dramatically different; the hardware section in the Primer is about 600 words; in the book it’s 12,000 or 13,000. It’s fundamentally deeper and richer, part of which is to explain why the future we hope for VR and AR remains far outside of our grasp, while also looking at the other input devices that we might use, such as holography. The section on payments was dramatically changed to talk about the importance of regulation in the space.”

Speaking which, Matt also wrote an entirely new section about how much — or how little — blockchain relates to the Metaverse.

“I don’t believe that the blockchain is the Metaverse,” he puts it to me bluntly, “I don’t believe that it’s a technical requirement. I think there are some interesting potential applications, but it is so relevant to the discourse that I wrote a chapter trying to explain why people think that, what the various perspectives are, and what may or may not need to change for those perspectives to clarify.”

Part 1 of our conversation below, including some of my reader questions about NFTs and negative effects of the Metaverse, and an intriguing new way of thinking about interoperability.



Matthew Ball metaverse book
Wagner James Au: As you know, developers have been working on creating a Metaverse for about 25 years. So why do you think your Primer and this book have suddenly gained so much mainstream interest? 

Matthew Ball: I’ve known about the Metaverse, played around in virtual worlds from World of Warcraft, Age of Empires, Starcraft, Second Life, and so on for decades. My focus on the metaverse began really in 2018 when I was spending a tremendous amount in Fortnite and on Roblox, and it was there that I started to get the sense that this long-considered fantastical opportunity was becoming a practical business opportunity…

That coincides with three or four years later; that formalizes with more companies are going after this opportunity, the pandemic fundamentally changes our perspective on virtual existence, and the technologies [which undergird it]. So I think the simple answer is a sense that it was time for this idea to go mainstream. And I think time has suggested that was right, and there weren’t many voices talking about it; it kind of connects with why I’m so excited about the future. I’m really excited for more and in particular more diverse voices to join a discourse that relatively few people have had a large share of historically.

WJA: Getting back to interoperability. I was really interested in this part: You mentioned how the broadly shared desire to tap down on abusive racist trolling and such might encourage different metaverse platforms to interoperate. 

MB. We talk about inter operation usually with the idea of, “I’m a giant banana in Fortnite, I want to use that skin in Call of Duty… It’s not clear how valuable [that] is. And devs constantly say, to the extent it has value, we’re skeptical that it’s worth the investment. 

So what you’re talking about is inter-operation of data and identity. This is much easier technically. And I think it’s a lot more powerful. 

The classic example is credit score systems. Banks used to believe that their credit information on customers was the single most important thing that they had. Because it allowed them to make the best judgments on who to lend to. The problem is no one benefits from default. And so there were customers who would have poor credit with Bank A and go to Bank B to get a loan. So they opened up their credit systems to the benefit of all. 

We are seeing with Epic, with Microsoft, with Sony, and myriad different startups, an effort to say, Let’s interoperate not just our communication suites, but to cross-reference, corroborate, and integrate our player information. So that someone who behaves poorly on Game A or platform A, can’t just shift to game B or platform B. Because no one, not players, not publishers, not platforms, benefit from toxic behavior. Airbnb and VRBO are doing the same thing, because bad hosts and bad renters hurt everyone, including the commissions that need to be paid by good users. 

So that’s a great way to think about inter-operation — not of 3D objects, but of identity and systems in the growing virtual world.  

WJA (asking a question from reader Iggy O): Smartphones lead to distracted driving, dumbing down of  content, and other unpredictable effects. What do you think the negative effects of the Metaverse might be? 

MB: If the Metaverse means a growing share of our existence goes online, than almost all societal problems online exacerbate: inequality of access and opportunity, income, data rights and privacy at large; toxicity, abuse and harassment, election engineering and radicalization, all of these things will get harder and worse. 

I’m hopeful that what the Metaverse does provide is not an obvious answer to that, but an opportunity for us to learn from the past 15 years and also to change who leads. I really like that the philosophy of game developers and social world platforms are different. I think [game devs are] more happiness and player-centric, versus algorithmic, like today’s social networks. And so I’m hopeful that that disposition, the cultural training, the objectives, positions us better in the future to address old problems or to change them… 

[At] the end of the day, the biggest challenge is the real threats tend to be the hardest to predict. We thought a lot about misinformation and disinformation in the early Internet and in the late 2000s, but the ways in which it would be weaponized for election interference was certainly not something that we’ve probably predicted. We’re still struggling to figure it out.

WJA (asking a question from reader Adeon Writer): Why do CEO’s trying to push NFT/Crypto as part of the Metaverse, even though there is so much resistance to it from the people who actually actively use VR / virtual worlds?

MB: I don’t have a good answer. One hypothesis could be that as everyone is rushing to the Metaverse in a talking track, that is one thing that you can actually deploy plausibly to earn some revenue quickly. So if you don’t have a metaverse strategy, you don’t have a virtual strategy, you can say, “Metaverse, web3, maybe they’re the same?” They’re not, but they might think that. Or at least they’re proximate enough that we can just ship it — “That’s good. We rally, we learn, we tell something to investors.” That’s a hypothesis. 

I think the bigger problem is: Are NFTs, are crypto, are blockchain an important part of gaming for the future or the Metaverse? I don’t know, I don’t think we can know. That’s not to say that I think it will or I think that would be good.

What I do know is that the statements from various unspecified publishers that lead with economic opportunity or the supposed logic, and don’t at all explain why players would want it, is kind of crazy to me.

And more importantly, there’s no reason to say anything at all. Even if you had a good argument that you did articulate to players as to why you’re deploying this technology. just deploy it. Prove that it’s fun, prove that people like it. No game has ever thrived because the logline of the mechanic was compelling. That boggles my mind.

The Metaverse Author On Government Regulation, Advice for Beginners Getting Started & Second Life’s Importance to Its Future (Part 2 Of 2)

Matthew Ball metaverse book

Update, July 22: Bumped up for weekend reading/conversation!

Read Part 1 of our Q&A here

In his book The Metaverse, Matthew Ball touches on Second Life and even speaks with the late, beloved CEO Ebbe Altberg about the dangers of breaking user-generated content through platform updates.

During our Q&A this week we had a chance to chat about what Second Life can teach new metaverse platforms.

“We’re discovering so many things about virtual societies and communities, there’s so many emergent behaviors, and many of them have been discovered or surfaced before,” Matt tells me. “Second Life is such a great example. I was telling you the other day when I was asked that question, Is Second Life over or underrated?

“I think it’s underrated, because we and I for a long time underappreciated how many behaviors evolved that actually can’t really happen elsewhere that teach us a lot about what to build, what not to do, and how to speak to users upon which you rely on for an economy and user-generated content. Learning that history is important.”

As to the future, much more of our conversation below: Advice for getting started in metaverse development, the important metaverse news announcements that have come out since his book was published — and what he’d say about government regulation of the Metaverse, if someone like Senator Elizabeth Warren asked:


Wagner James Au (asking for reader Zack Day): As someone just getting into software development, I am curious to know what kind of skills a person should develop if they wanted to make things or test ideas in the metaverse?  

Matthew Ball: Unity has several-fold the number of developers [than Unreal]. It’s easier, lighter, faster to build on, and deploys to more devices. It’s easier to hire other people and find people that you can work with, and that’s a compelling proposition. 

I’m really excited about Unreal, but I’m mostly excited about what Tim Sweeney has teased, which is Unreal Editor editing in Fortnite Creative. So you have that no code platform, but then you’ll have the ability to supplement it with code injections and customization’s. Just like when you go to WordPress, you can drag and drop, or in Square-space you can use a template, but if you want to do light customization’s that doesn’t require extraordinary sophistication and learning, you can. 

And that’s gonna mean that for someone trying to learn first, you’re accessing a major platform, you’re using one of the most powerful customization tool kits in the world, and you can onboard or learn in stages. 

Matthew Ball in Breakroom metaverse platform

Matthew Ball speaking in the metaverse platform Breakroom in 2021

WJA: What have been the biggest Metaverse news announcements since you submitted your book that fits your thesis or challenges it most?

MB: I don’t believe that the crypto crash proves or disproves the relevance of blockchain as yet. But I do think that it shows how far and impractical and unscalable applications, the narrative and market value have become.

I mentioned earlier that it was about promise and hype, not proven experiences. And so having that context rather than speculating about it — I write in the book about how wide that difference is and that a crash is likely — that context helps to color what was speculative with practiced reality.

I talked about in the book how hard the XR hardware problem is, and we’ve seen further evidence of Microsoft’s struggles to get HoloLens into shippable, even enterprise devices. And Mark Zuckerberg said in 2015 that mixed reality headsets would replace the smartphone by the end of that decade, that time has come and gone. And we’ve seen that Facebook has pushed out the first consumer release of their AR devices until the back half of this decade. So that helps to provide more context as to the timeline. 

Beyond that, my goal was not to really encapsulate a specific time or moment or dependency, but how I thought the Metaverse would unfold in the coming years and technologies upon which it relied, and the theses around that. And so I think it holds up as a result. 

The only other thing that I would mention is Unity and Roblox have seen precipitous drops in their stock prices, not yet any [loss of users]. And so that provides additional context, at least to who is likely to be pioneers in the future and where the profits are.

For example, the sell-off in Unity and the acquisition of Iron Source seems based on the fear that the game engine itself is not a lucrative part of the value chain. And that’s not altogether dissimilar from Epic; Unreal’s not a profitable business, it’s not particularly large; almost all of their revenue and profits comes from content and distribution. And so I do think that taking a look at the last six months starts to provides more context.

WJA: You touched on government regulation in the book, I would love to get down to specifics — for example, what if Elizabeth Warren or another tech savvy politician asked you for some policy recommendations to implement as soon as possible. What would you suggest?

MB: If you look at what exists today, that’s the easiest starting point. The EU is obviously focusing a lot on the unbundling of hardware operating systems and payments and software distribution. That’s the Epic versus Apple lawsuit. I’m a firm believer that we need to unbundle app distribution from payments and both from an operating system. 

We’re seeing that Elizabeth Warren is, again like the EU, focused on port standardization to USB-C — let’s go to a common standard, not a proprietary one. 

If that’s important, then the portability of core user data, your social graph is even more important; your search history. The feedback loops to a digital ecosystem as more people join and more usage is accrued are only going to grow. And so I think that’s key. 

And the other one to take a look at is where we want to define rights to virtual investments or property in the quote unquote Metaverse, and I don’t mean crypto assets. What I mean is when a developer licenses Unreal or Unity, when they invest tens of millions of dollars in a system built on those engines, what rights do they have versus the tech vendor?

I write in the book about how Tim Sweeney has changed the Unreal Engine licensing agreements in two ways: Number one is they can never retroactively change the licensing terms for a build. They of course can come out with Unreal Editor 6 and it can be different from 5.2, but they can’t change 5.2. 

He’s also said that if they ever have a dispute with a license — [Third party UE developers] haven’t paid, or perhaps they’re arguing that the technology is being used out of Terms of Service — they need to go to the court and get an injunction to shut them down. And that’s a reflection of, you’re asking people to invest their livelihood, millions potentially and years, building in virtual space. Not online asking a [real life] tenant to move into a rental space to build a storefront; landlords don’t have the right to just lock you out, to take your things, to delete your stuff. 

And so I think it’s important for governments to take a look at and say what is to the right of the platform versus what is actually just a virtual version of a real world problem that we’ve already adjudicated. And so I admire Tim for voluntarily giving up rights that everyone thinks should be kept forever.

And in a sense saying, the best form of decentralization is democracy.

Matthew Ball’s The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything is now available in bookshelves and online. (Get it on Amazon hereon Apple Books here, or on Bookshop.org here, which contributes a cut to indy bookstores.)

Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands

The Melt and a story of H is Second Life

The Melt and a story of H is Second Life

Lovr&Love Factory Art Gallery: Selen Minotaur – H

Two immersive exhibitions are awaiting discovery at the Love&Love Factory Art Gallery that are well worth visiting by anyone who appreciates art with a message and a story in Second Life, produced as they are by two artists skilled in the art of narrative presentation.

Before getting into details, these are two installations that should be experienced with the following enabled in the viewer:

  • Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) – Preferences → Graphics → make sure Advanced Lighting Model enabled. Note that you do not need to have Shadows enabled (should ALM activate them) – while projectors are used, it is sufficient to just have ALM enabled to see them in action, so Shadows can be safely disabled via the drop-down to improve performance.
  • Shared Environment should be used for best viewing of both installations (World → Environment → make sure Use Shared Environment is checked.
Lovr&Love Factory Art Gallery: London Junkers – The Melt

The first of the pairing – and I use that term loosely, as these are very much individual installations is The Melt by London Junkers.

This is a single, magnificent sculpture, framed by a poem – also called The Melt – set within an environment suggestive of the sea and under a night sky, both of which evoke a sense of age. The centerpiece might be an iceberg or the face of a glacier; cold and blue, it seems timeless – but pieces have clearly broken away and are caught mid-fall, hinting at the actual state of things – the vast piece is in fact melting and breaking, caught in a continuous state of flux.

It is a state of flux mirrored by the poem itself. Outside of the skeleton of the long-dead great whale, details might not be immediately apparent – but look closely and you might start to make out features: the suggestion of a broken nose here, the outside of an eye, the drop of icy tears.

Lovr&Love Factory Art Gallery: London Junkers – The Melt

What do we make of this? To me, The Melt sits as a commentary on the existential threat of global warming; of all we stand to lose if the required actions needed to curb our own massive contribution to the increasing rate of climate change are not taken: that the loss of the glaciers and ice caps is but the precursor to the loss of all life itself, as symbolized by the whale skeleton and the bones of human at the foot of the sculpture.

Meanwhile, Selen Minotaur presents H, a multi-media immersive piece offering its own statement of life – both physical and virtual. Within it, we follow the story of “H”; a neutral character whose very initial suggests either male “H(im)” and female “H(er)”, and their travel through life, told in part through local chat and through our following the path through a “maze” which eventually leads to a series of rooms – or rather, boxes.

Once upon a time…H. Since H was born, H loved boxes. H started to build some as soon as H was able to. So H was sleeping in a box, H was eating in a box, H was working in a box, H was shopping in different boxes. When H wanted to have fun, H was visiting dedicated boxes: one to meet friends, one to dance, one to listen to music, one to watch a show, and so on. Even after death, H planned to be laid down and locked in a box. Isn’t this weird?…

Lovr&Love Factory Art Gallery: Selen Minotaur – H

Again, the core theme is clear; through the maze, we follow H as they try to make sense of life; then through the various rooms (be sure to accept the Experience when prompted at the end of the maze by walking into the sign, and then walk into the additional signs to be auto-TP’d between rooms).

Within these rooms we witness the places and activities H users to define their life – be sure to sit on objects, click walls to activate media, etc). However, this is not intended to be purely a means to put us on the strange journey of someone called “H”; rather it is a reflection how we all increasingly live our lives; reliant as we increasingly are on the role of “boxes” – devices, electronics, apps (including Second Life, where we spend all our time in “boxes” – regions), and so on for our sense of connection and engagement. That despite all the so-called promise of a “connected world” offered by the Internet, the web, and – as the hype would have it – “the metaverse”, we are perhaps becoming more an more insular in our search for “meaning” (or at least engagement) in life.

Lovr&Love Factory Art Gallery: Selen Minotaur – H

Both H and The Melt are marvellously expressive and deeply layered in the potential for interpretation and consideration.

SLurl Details

Incanto is rated Adult

  • Love&Love Factory Art Gallery main landing (use the teleport disk to reach installations)
  • The Melt direct SLurl
  • H direct Surl                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Have A Great Week From All Of Us At Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands

Linden Lab Should Offer Per Country Pricing?

For the Estimated 1 in 3 Users Not In Wealthy Nations (Comments of the Week)

SL developing nations virtual metaverse economy

Very good point from reader “Alelangel Verenova”, responding to my survey on interest in Second Life’s new Premium+ account offering, which will costs up to $25 USD a month:

Here in Latin America there will be a major NO answer, basically because the exchange to our local money. It’s an important amount per month, even per year to consider only for a “game”. Maybe it could be worth it if you are a creator and you earn good money on Second Life, but besides that, for this side of the world, it’s expensive and useless.

It’s a very valid point! Based on recent user data, roughly 1 in 3 visitors to SecondLife.com are from Latin America and countries across Asia and Europe (see the full below) outside the wealthy G7 nations, where $25 a month is pretty modest fee for many hours of online entertainment. Here in Los Angeles, for instance, 25 bucks will pretty much get you just two (2) movie tickets, i.e. 3 hours of entertainment. In most other parts of the world, however, $25 is enough to buy a week or two of groceries. 

To reader Luther Weymann, a retired tech exec who now enjoys Second Life in his free time, the solution is obvious:

 

One of the core problems with the marketing of Second Life is its USA-centric thinking and lack of global focus. For example, many international companies have successfully achieved enormous sales increases with “per country pricing.” In India, you get Netflix Standard 1080p with almost all the movies for $8.50 a month or about half the USA price. In Asia, GoDaddy pricing for hosting varies from one-fourth to a little more than one-half of USA pricing. The giant Unilever multinational consumer goods company sells its products all over Asia for slightly more than 60-70% of the USA and much lower than Euro pricing. And the result? A considerable increase in overall revenue and net profit for companies who understand the sales possibilities when pricing their products by what the market will bear in each country.

Very good advice. To emphasize it, here’s the Second Life website’s user demographics by country, shared with NWN by analytics service SimilarWeb in 2019:

  1. United States (30%)
  2. Brazil (15%)
  3. Turkey (5%)
  4. United Kingdom (5%)
  5. Germany (4%)
  6. Spain (3%)
  7. Canada (3%)
  8. France (2%)
  9. Netherlands (2%)
  10. Italy (2%)
  11. Russia (2%)
  12. India (2%)
  13. Mexico (1.5%)
  14. Argentina (1.5%)
  15. Australia (1%)
  16. Japan (1%)
  17. Poland (1%)
  18. Portugal (1%)
  19. Chile (1%))
  20. Columbia (1%)
  21. Indonesia (.5%)
  22. Ukraine (.5%)
  23. Belgium (.5%)
  24. Venezuela (.5%)
  25. Peru (.5%)

If I’m counting correctly, 35% of these visitors live in countries where a $25/monthly fee would be pretty drastic. So why not offer them a country-based price they can actually afford?

Linden Research can get lists of IPs and proxies that most VPN providers use. It’s not an endless list; updated lists are available for sale. Linden Research can know when a consumer uses a VPN to get a lower price from another country. Netflix and many others do this also. It’s not foolproof but very effective in per-country pricing marketing. Linden Research can buy domain names by country or geographic area and have IP redirect to, with sign up, and pay for SL websites with per country or per area pricing. It is not an impossible task to assemble these technological and marketing components and set in motion a global method to expand Linden Research’s revenue and the SL user base. But doing something like this depends on whether you own Linden Research as an investment or if you’re into it like a true entrepreneur would be.

Jules Catlyn

I live in a one of the wealthier countries but i am on a fixed low income because of a disability. I cannot afford to invest any real life money into SL. So i had to make the choice to make my money inside of SL. I have many friends who had to make the same choice, from all over the world. In discussions about SL i often miss that viewpoint. It is possible to earn an income in SL to afford things such as land and the premium subscription. You just have to be dedicated and creative.

Kurtin

Totally agree with the logic behind country-based pricing! LL, if your intention is to make money, (with a bonus order of equity), change to country-based pricing!! Totally, totally agree.

Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands