Linden Lab has been quietly contacting a select number of non-profit and educational institutions who've abandoned their Second Life sims over the last few years, company spokesman Peter Gray confirmed with me last night, offering them 50% tier discounts. I learned this earlier yesterday when an educator told me about receiving an e-mail to that effect, offering his organization a full private island for $1,770 per year, or $3,540 for two years. This move partially reverses the company's 2010 decision to end the 50% discount on educational/non-profit sims, which is generally credited for the loss of hundreds (if not thousands) of sims whose organizations couldn't afford to pay standard tier.
"I'm not able to share numbers," Gray e-mailed me, "but can confirm that we've extended this special offer to a targeted number of educational and non-profit institutions that have recently left Second Life." The next question is how many institutions they're offering this to, but there, he is mum. Furthermore, there's no way for former sim owners of this variety to request this discount:
"There isn't currently a way to apply for this; it's a special offer we're extending directly to some nonprofit and educational institutions as part of our customer win-back efforts," as Gray puts it.
If you received this offer yourself, please let us know in Comments. In any case, this news is surprising to me, because I predicted such a discount would never happen. For a select number of organizations, at least, that turns out to be wrong. However, I'm still skeptical that many institutions will take them up on the offer: $1,770 is still a pretty steep yearly fee to pay, especially when you account for all the management that goes into owning a sim. (There's also a lot of bitterness between these groups and Linden Lab, largely due to the company's decision to end the discount in the first place.) However, I think this is exciting news, because it opens up the possibility that great sims like IDIA Laboratories, home to some work by metaverse artist AM Radio, may return.
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