March 30th, 2011

broken egg

Rod Humble @Rodvick and Second Life #SL

Sometimes I turn on my Tweetdeck and I don't say much, I simply read.

Two things came up this morning that I want to comment about. A topic called "ThisIsHowIWillHelpSL" and the fact that SL's concurrency is in sharp decline.

First off, I AM helping SL. Every Linden dollar I spend helps SL. Every currency buy helps SL. I recently reinstated my Premium membership so I could own Mainland. THAT helps SL.

I think I've done plenty to help SL, but I haven't done it for SL's sake. No, I've done it for the sake of my family and friends.

Now, I think it's time SL helps ME (and all the other "mes" out there who are likewise supporting SL through presence, content, and money).

You see, I reinstated my membership and purchased a plot because of my family. Two of them were having a very hard time hanging onto the land they had, and why? Because Linden Lab - despite record losses in both Mainland and Private Islands - stubbornly refuses to lower their prices. They are also slow on the uptake when it comes to beefing up the gutted Customer Service Department, despite Rod Humble's promise that it would be done.

The last time I took my Clydesdale for a ride down Route 8, I was shocked at the growing expanse of mainland that is abandoned. For every populated plot, there was, easily, about 3 of the same size (or greater) that were abandoned or "under maintenance". There are again as many for sale and I have some news for the sellers: You also are not going to get the prices you're asking for.

NEWSFLASH, PEOPLE: We're living in a depressed global economy. Unemployment in the USA alone is well over 10%. Just WHAT makes all of you think that there is a large enough audience out there willing to pay your prices, anymore?

You want concurrency? You want growing membership? How about offering a few things that users would jump at instead of stuff nobody really wants? I think you have plenty of proof by now that people don't like the new viewer and I wager that has something to do with the direction V2 is taking, now (basic and advanced modes). I think you have plenty of proof that it isn't helping your users to directly compete with them in the real estate market by offering Linden Homes that can't truly be outfitted, because 100 prims could be used up in a decent living room suite alone.

I think you have plenty of proof that if your customer base isn't happy, they will vote with their mouse, and that, in turn, means your venture capitalists don't get paid, either. Notice I'm not even mentioning the salaries of your hard working employees.

IMVU learned the hard way that a company has to listen to its customers if they hope to keep a good reputation, grow, and get ahead. When are you, Linden Lab, going to learn this very simple fact?

You're bleeding dollars out your heiny. Want to get that to stop? Consider a few ideas.

  1. Drop your prices. No sane individual is going to fork out $1000 USD plus $295 USD per month for a private region with a paltry 15,000 prims on it, prim size restricitons, link distance restricitons, and 10L per texture upload costs. Too many people have to scrape to feed and house their real life families these days.

    I am spending more for just under 1/4 sim than I spend for one full region on Inworldz, complete with 45,000 prims, no prim size restricitons, no link distance restrictions, and free uploads.

    If Inworldz can do it and still make a profit, so can you.

  2. Raise your prim limits. I think it's been more than proven that 15,000 prims per region is just not enough, and, at your current pricing, causes unreasonable restriction. If you want your customers to build, build, build, then give them prims to build WITH. You could double the amount on a region and still make plenty of money.

  3. Eliminate the restrictions. There is no earthly reason why prim sizes have to be restricted to between 0.01m and 10m. Try changing it to 0.001m to 128m. Again - keeping this restriction under your current pricing system is ridiculous and doesn't force people to purchase more land. They just go hunting for megaprims or by nano sculpts.

    The link distance limit is downright stupid and serves only to make things harder on your builders. If other grids don't need one, neither do you.

    Change just these two factors alone and you'll see a resurgence in business.

  4. Start to truly listen to your customer base. Wanna go the way of the dodo bird, keep ignoring us. Want to get somewhere, listen to us. We're paying your bills and you wouldn't have squat without us. You're having less "squat" by the day, because you don't listen to us.

  5. Fix those problems that have been there since the start. Again - if other grids, run by small startups, can do it, so can you, with all your money and manpower - and if you don't have the programmers who can do it, then by gods, hire some that can. One programmer on Inworldz has managed to fix most of the most annoying, persistent bugs which still plague SL, all by himself, while your entire, expensive team can't seem to do it. Obviously you're doing something wrong.

We don't want shinies. We don't want new bells and whistles. I am not repeating anything here that someone else hasn't already said - several someones, several times.

Rod, you're running the show. It's time to grab those venture capitalists by the jacket collars and give them a good shake. Get it through their skulls that they won't see ROI if you keep losing customers, and "new and shiny" ain't gonna cut it. It's time to go back and finally deal with the things that were left by the wayside during LL's explosive growth period. It's time to cut some slack to your customers and give them things they really want and can use. It's time to listen.