While all of us are proud of our little chunks of real estate (I own close to a quarter sim of mainland), the "driving force" in SL has always been the big sims, the art installations, the romance spots that have been there for years and most of which are a part of SL's Destination Guide.
In virtually all cases, two things are cited: Weariness at trying to garner donations that keep dwindling, and SL's own tier structure. As one person put it, you can lease an expensive luxury car for the same price you'd pay for a Second Life sim. Quite frankly, my friends, that is entirely ridiculous.
Rod, wake up and smell the coffee. The economic boom ended in 2006 and it's not likely to be seen again for a decade or more, the way things are going. If you expect to keep places like AM Radio's installations, the Lost Gardens of Apollo, etc., then you truly have to re-think your tier structure.
That's why I love my 4 sims on Inworldz. Each one has 45,000 prims apiece and cost me $75/month. The new Phlox script engine makes programming a breeze and has reduced lag tenfold. I can set up a "Lost Gardens" that could rival what was made in SL on several sims, on one sim, because it has 3X as many prims and no restriction on prim size or linking.
All consumers and no builders equals a very dismal Second Life. If there aren't builders, what is there to consume? I think you've gone quite far enough marketing to consumers, Linden Lab. Now how about making things easier and more affordable for your builders?
We see it every performance at our club on SL. I am surprised and pleased at the occasional person who donates something significant to the DJ, host, or house tip jars. Most of the time, people show up to enjoy the music but fail to remember that the entire operation depends on how many tips everyone gets. It's either they fail to remember, or they can't afford anything except to BE there to enjoy the music. Either way, the tip jars go unsatisfied.
However I will say that if I see someone show up in the latest designer outfit, with a top-of-the-line skin, hair, et cetera - and they don't donate at least a pittance to the DJ, host, and house - then I'd go so far as to say they are being extremely selfish and forgetting that venues like ours wouldn't be there if someone didn't pay for them.
I just heard of another club closing because they can't afford to keep on going, even with a decent amount of talent there to entertain people. Now a club closing may seem run-of-the-mill to you, but for every one that closes, that means one less place you can go to enjoy music and mingle with like-minded people.
Don't get me started on the talented merchants who have left SL because they couldn't continue to sustain themselves...
It's TIME to lower tier. NOW.
UPDATE: And Yet Another Art Installation Bites The Dust