Private estates in Second Life like these two beautiful classics keep going away at an alarmingly fast rate, but in the fascinating comments to last week's post, Shockwave Yareach links this loss to the rise of the SL Marketplace e-commerce site, then proposes a pretty brilliant (in my opinion) solution:
"[Private sim owners' revenue model] worked fine until Linden Lab cut their funding by implementing the Marketplace in the way they did. Linden Lab's making land irrelevant for shoppers means businesses aren't keeping stores in-world anymore. Thus the funds to keep the sims up is going away, and the sims are going away too.
"So soon you'll be able to click and buy a new dress, and have no place to wear it.
"The solution is to put limits on the Marketplace. The number of square meters you own divided by 100 and added to 10 is the number of items you can have on the Marketplace. No land at all? You may have 10 items in Marketplace. 8192m^2 storefront? You can have 91 items in the Marketplace."
Emphasis mine. I think this is brilliant for many reasons, among them this: Linking land ownership to web-based item sales extends the virtual world metaphor into the e-commerce side of Second Life, and (as Mr. Yareach suggests), directly conveys how interdependent the world and the website are to each other:
"Both in-world stores and the Marketplace are necessary. Cut one out, and both die... [W]e are already over the precipice and the monthly losses are only going to grow and grow and grow as the world shrinks and land owners have less reason to keep their playground online."
The need for this change is dire, he goes on, arguing:
"The people who have lost so much money in SL will never come back and lose more with Linden Lab again. So if you want to keep the deep pockets paying, you can't lose them. And if you don't fix things so that land prices drop and land is necessary to sell again, you can count on all these sims and the interesting things built upon them to vanish entirely.
"And a SL with NO interesting sims or things to do will not attract so much as a single visitor, or make even one dollar.
"There is still time to correct this mess. But Linden Lab has to come to grips that it's running a virtual world, not a video game, a television station, or producing floor wax or dessert toppings. If Linden Lab can't grasp what they sell and what the customers want, then their doom is sealed. And right now, businesses aren't paying for in-world stores anymore, so sims aren't being paid for either. Linden Lab has to reduce the prices and limit how many things can be sold in the marketplace and do so immediately. The social issues and mismanagement can be addressed later."Tweet