Last week's survey asking SLers what they would need to convert to a Premium account attracted this smart diatribe from reader William Burns, who analyzed the core of the problem, as he sees it. I hope Linden Lab staffers are reading this (as they often do), because it's a smart analysis:
The problem with Premium Accounts is that there is little incentive to actually buy into them. Most of the "perks" are merely duplications of things a non-premium member can attain as a regular citizen, or are superficial "upgrades" that aren't really a big deal.
1. 300L Stipend. Essentially you'd get this if you spent the same amount normally to buy the L$ as you needed. Most "jobs" in SL alone can net you far more than this per week without paying into the system.
2. Exclusive Access to Premium Only areas. The citizens of Second Life create a massive amount of open regions which are pretty amazing. Putting content behind a premium account doesn't seem like a compelling reason.
3. Premium Virtual Gifts. Every virtual item I've seen Linden Lab offer as a premium gift has been matched or bested by independent designers on Marketplace openly. You remember the "Hoverboard" pack right? VETOX had a far superior hoverboard system for free on MP. Dune Buggy? Same deal. There are better alternatives without the Premium Account, or at least comparable.
4. Customer Support. I'm not entirely sure this is worthwhile on its own, but I'll throw it in there as a possible positive for people who aren't as tech savvy.
The rest is pretty much inconsequential to me.
So what would compel Mr. Burns (Mr. Burns, excellent!) to convert to Premium? Here you go, Linden Lab: