Monday, March 18, 2013

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Linden Lab's Discounts to Former SL Educators Need To Be Transparent (Comment of the Week)

Stone Semyorka SL educator

Last week's post about Linden Lab quietly offering 50% discounts to select non-profit and educational groups who've given up their Second Life sims has generated a lot of comments, some of which is tentatively receptive to the move, but much of it negative. SL educator Stone Semyorka is in the latter camp, citing his own experiences in-world, and the selectivity of the discount plan:

"I am director of the SL campus for my RL university. We have been in SL on the mainland for six years and have been, and continue to be, very active as a state university delivering courses and presenting workshops and conferences in-world...

"In 2012, I was forced to abandon 43,840 sqm of campus land on the mainland. The reduction was entirely due to the high cost of land owning in SL. As a result, my campus holdings dropped from 225,952 to 182,112 sqm. Even now, the high cost threatens even more cutbacks.

"I would not have made the decision to retract if Linden lab had offered me their 50% tier discount.

"Having made the move and suffered the hardships of it, it is particularly galling to hear they now are secretly extending their offer to selected non-profit and educational institutions. Who? Where? What institutions? How were they selected? We need complete transparency from Linden Lab. And some deeper cooperation with all of us continuing the educational effort."

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Ciaran Laval

Whereas I agree with the call for transparency, if they are on the mainland they should be paying the same as those who have been offered the discount, a mainland sim is USD$100 a month cheaper than a private region in terms of tier, indeed with the 10% group bonus you can get more bang for your buck in terms of land on mainland.

Arcadia Codesmith

For a targeted program, transparency can be counterproductive. I've seen this dynamic play out in other virtual worlds that are targeting incentives -- they announce the incentive, and then everybody who doesn't qualify gets their feelings hurt because the company is showing "favoritism". Well, duh. Companies favor customers who contribute to the world and bring in other customers. There's nothing wrong with extending incentives to those customers, AND there's nothing wrong with not publicizing those incentives.

Transparency? Let's try words that work better in context, like Proprietary Information. It makes no sense to announce to other customers that you're extending special discounting to a favored customer.

HALEY Salomon

After 6 years and holding all that mainland for classes ,, and bringing people IN from all over the world .Not only at his university ,, BUT others I think it is dreadful, that he should not get a discount ,, when so many university's, left he stayed ..

Amanda Dallin

I suspect the discount doesn't apply to Mainland which is already discounted compared to private sims.

Arcadia Codesmith

As I've posted before, I think the educational discount should be fully reinstated AND made contractually binding as a lifetime rate, or at the very least a long-term contract not subject to arbitrary rate hikes.

If they were really aggressive about attracting and keeping educators, they'd make that rate retroactive back to the time that they axed the discount, credit the accounts of those who stuck it out, and replace lost sims without setup fees, as well as offering other incentives.

All I'm saying is that if they want to cut side deals with individual institutions and keep the terms of those deals confidential, they've got the same right as any other business to negotiate contracts. I'm a fan of giving preferential treatment to residents and organizations that make exceptional contributions to the virtual world.

rjs

I think it's all bogus. Education in SL, and those educators bringing what they believe is education into Second Life is bar none, non-educational. What they have achieved is teaching the less educated nothing.

Out of all the simulators visited from 2005-2008 ish years, I found one United States organization that used the Linden Scripting language to pull in real data and have people in-world to teach visitors what that data meant. One. And only one out of hundreds.

Most on the other hand are not at all in Second Life to teach anything. And the reason is they don't have the knowledge to share. They are just excited to build and script their baron schools and halls.

--rjs

James OReilly

Anti-competition Practice: Virtual World Honeytrap + Platform Collusion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collusion

James OReilly

In 2010, Second Life was de-listed by the Immersive Education Initiative for the following reasons
http://immersiveeducation.org/go/iED_Article_Taking_The_Initiative_CGW.html

Virtual Clover

LOL educators packed up and went somewhere else, getting free regions or minimal costs regions ($10) with 10x the prim allowance, zero lag and full downloadable access to their content.

Kitely's full of educators abandoning (or having been dismissed by) LL.

For the same "whispered price drop" amount LL is pretending to offer, getting one laggy region with 15k prims and a full lockdown on content backup, the same educators can get 16 regions with 100k prims and full access to their content.

Too little, too late. There is zero way LL can compete with Kitely on any level. If you stay and pay $2-300 a month for one region and lag and minimal prims when you could spend $35 and get 20 regions, no lag, 100k prims, the only fool still wandering around SL ghost towns is you.

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