Asia Ristow has a good and thorough introduction to Second Life-based gacha machines, including related resources like the Seraphim HUD listing gacha events.
Official announcement here:
Place Pages are a new feature aimed at making the huge variety of awesome places in Second Life easier to find by creating web pages for each inworld location that opts to show in search. Today, we’re starting a beta for this feature. All regions and parcels that have elected to Show In Search now have an automatically generated Place Page that’s visible on the web, you can check them out and share them today!
I wrote "finally", because this project has existed for years -- a Linden Lab alum told me something like this was in the production queue roughly six years ago, but never got realized. Anyway, good to have it here. Daniel Voyager has a list of test pages ready to visit now.
It's definitely beta, because Pages need a lot of tweaking to really make this an effective way to surface great SL content. The first problem is right in the announcement itself: "Places rated General will be visible to anyone, and those rated Mature or Adult will be subject to the usual Maturity controls." Trouble is, most great Second Life locations are rated Mature or Adult. So in other words, hardly anyone including and especially non-users will be able to even see these web pages.
Seriously. Imagine you're a fan of HP Lovecraft who wants to show another Lovecraft fan the Page of Innsmouth, a great Second Life sim devoted to the horror author's work. If they're not already a user, here's what they get:
Set to close last month due to mounting financial losses, the official site to Insilico, Second Life's cyberpunk masterpiece, reportedly received some 11th hour funding to remain open:
SURPRISE and Merry Giftmas! INSILICO is here to stay (again)! It just took a while to get all these ducks lined up. Suffice to say though, it’s pretty much official. We live on.
No word on where those ducks came from, or who's paying for them, but good news all the same. Also interesting that the funding is enough that Insilico reportedly no longer needs typical revenue streams for paying monthly sim tier, and instead, can focus on its cyberpunk roleplaying community:
Did you know unboxing videos on YouTube are a huge thing? Yes, unboxing videos on YouTube are a huge thing:
Since 2010, the number of YouTube clips with "unboxing" in the headline has increased 871%. Last year alone, 2,370 days, or 6.5 years, worth of unboxing footage was uploaded to the site. The traffic is coming from all over the world, with an uptick in recent interest from such far-flung places as India, Brunei, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago. The people who post the videos are not just bragging about their latest purchases. They make money off ads displayed at the start of a clip or that pop up while they're playing. YouTube's payment system is complicated, but one unboxer said he can make $2 to $4 for every 1,000 views.
So it's interesting that we're starting to see videos like the one above from Harmony Sandalphon, or the one below from Strawberry Singh. They're sort of mesmerizing, especially when the YouTuber sounds as mellifluous as Harmony or Strawberry:
Here's an open forum for SLers for the holiday week/weekend: Post your favorite Second Life Marketplace listings, especially holiday shopping offers, and I'll promote the best ones in standalone posts for the remainder of the week. Yes, content creators, you can post links to your own listings, as long as they're lovely. Preference given to truly innovative items (please explain why), especially items which make use of the latest Bento/mesh technology.
Dane Zander was surprised to find out Dane Zander's Lost Gardens of Apollo had suddenly reappeared in Second Life after a five year absence, but fortunately Dane Zander (that's him above in SL and IRL) stopped by New World Notes to provide more context and clarification:
First of all, I have the very best relationship with Linden Labs, and always did. I always received exceptional service, be it for any matter, big or small. That is since 2004, since my first 512 square meter lot on the Mainland. I do not hold any grudges, nor do I feel badly treated in any way. On the contrary!
My reasons for shutting down the sim were personal, financial, but in no way whatsoever did it have anything to do with being treated poorly by Linden Lab. Please understand this.
He is saying this in response to some SLers suggesting otherwise -- and also said this, against criticisms that Linden Lab didn't seek his permission for restoring the Gardens:
Update, 5:35pm: Dane posted further thoughts and thanks to this news in Comments.
So everyone's talking about the reappearance of the Lost Gardens of Apollo, but someone significant didn't know about it until very recently: Dane Zander, the former creator and owner of the Lost Gardens of Apollo, which he reluctantly pulled from Second Life in 2011 for financial reasons.
"I did not sell to Linden Lab," Dane e-mailed me yesterday. "I had no clue they were putting it online again until this morning. I did, however, make inquiries quite some time ago as to whether it still existed (just in case), and it apparently did. But the prices are forbiddingly high for reopening and running a full estate these days so I was not in a position to do so after all. That hasn't changed, unfortunately."
But years after it disappeared from the grid, Linden Lab managed to restore it from a back-up. And so Dane, who hasn't been in Second Life very much (feeling "homeless", as he puts it), returned for quite a surprise:
Following a tip from from SL Newser, I'm now flying in a restored version of the soaring Lost Gardens of Apollo, a classic Second Life sim which went defunct around 2011, due in part to the real world housing crisis. It's now back under a new owner with a Linden Lab avatar name, and is listed as "The Lost Gardens of Apollo Historic Build". So if you haven't visited it before, or you have, and missed its absence, click here to see it in its new incarnation.
I've contacted Linden Lab and Apollo's original creator, Dane Zander, for details of this apparent acquisition. Dane did offer to sell it to the company five years ago, but reportedly got no offer then. (Linden Lab does occasionally buy great but defunct or soon-to-be-defunct sims, such as Svarga, the island ecosystem, so they can remain in-world.) And Apollo is definitely historic, created a full decade ago, years before mesh or fancy prims, its high towers and swooping lines showcasing Dane's great artistry building with basic primitives. (Below the break, what it looked like in 2006.)
Back in 2011, Dane described the labor (or maybe torture) of love he went through to keep it open as long as he did, without compromising its appearance -- a painful case study on the challenges of succeeding in a virtual economy driven by profit and consumerism:
New Perk! Prim Limit Increase: Premium members are entitled to a Linden Home and can own parcels on the Mainland. Now, we're raising the limit on the number of prims you can use in those spaces. This means you will have more prims and creative flexibility to decorate and customize your own space. Land impact (object) capacity on Mainland Regions will go from 15,000 to 22,500 - that’s a lot more building capacity! In addition to this, we will further carry the prim limit increases to the private estate regions shortly. Keep your eye on our blogs for more information!
Emphasis mine, because it looks like they're also pushing to make private estate ownership sweeter. Also, Premium users get a free robot avatar (as pictured) -- full list of bennies here. Taken together, I can kind of see the future of Second Life from a revenue standpoint: