Interesting thought hit me recently:
- Linden Lab frequently reports that Second Life users cash out about $60 million yearly from sales of virtual content.
- In 2011, Linden Lab reported making $75 million yearly from Second Life
- As private sim ownership in Second Life declines, so has Linden Lab's revenue -- conservatively estimated, a loss of about $1 million in annual revenue since 2011.
So flash forward to 2017 and make some quick-and-dirty math, that means Second Life users are earning $60 million from Second Life content, while Linden Lab is earning about $65-70 million from Second Life content. In other words: Second Life users are making nearly as much revenue from Second Life as Second Life's actual corporate owner.
Maybe it's just me, but that's amazing and rare near-equity for an Internet-based content creation platform. By contrast, for example, YouTube earned an estimated $9 billion in revenue in 2015, but only paid out $5 billion to content creators/rights-holders.
We could even go further and estimate that Second Life users are probably making more money than Linden Lab's actual staff: