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Friday, December 18, 2009

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Jovin

Honour's observations are right on target - the Linden's Home scheme should be offered to new users that register, but it should NOT be limited only to new Premium account holders. Give it to every new user that verifies their account with payment info (making it harder to scam) and place a time limit on it - it's yours for 3 months for example - and after that time you either pay for a Premium account or go looking for a new landlord.

That way new-users would have a very welcome safe-haven to begin with, they would get the taste for land-ownership and would be more likely to buy or rent land in the long term - benefiting both existing landlords and LL themselves. Making it a Premium-only benefit misses the point - you've already made the commitment to SL if you're paying the sub'.

Stephan

When I joined SL in 2007, I got bored pretty fast. I was just logging in from time to time and randomly teleported around. I almost abandoned SL then because it was not working anymore when I got Vista, because of issues with ATI video cards. the day when I seriously got addicted to SL was when I got my first 512 sqm and added payment info. From that day on I logged in every single day, got within weeks more and more land and first spent a lot of money in SL, before finally making more than I spent. To be honest, just discovering and teleporting around is not much fun. Building and making money is (besides meeting people) the killer application of SL. But since most people are not willing to spend money when they join SL, it could be helpful to give newbies free land with some restrictions, e.g. only for 3 month or only when logging in frequently, to prevent abandoned parcels or junk yards. This could be an incentive for newbies when they add payment info, but they should not be forced paying anything like a premium fee. My experience is, once you add payment info, you start spending money, but no newbie has that intention before.

AnnOtooleInSL

My suggestion was to offer them for 14 to 30 days free on condition of entering valid payment information. At the end of the trial period they abandon or be automatically charged for the month to month premium subscription. They can opt for a more attractive price term if they choose.

CyFishy Traveler

My little 512 parcel helped get me hooked, so I suspect it will work for others. I know that Beginning's newbie experience was hampered by not having a place to hang her virtual hat. (Or unpack and try said virtual hats on.)

I also note that they're putting certain restrictions on it (such as inability to resell it, so we won't get a repeat of the First Land grabs of yore) so I'm not sure why landlords of various stripes are getting so het up about it. Maybe instead of complaining about the competition, they should focus on making their places more attractive to folks who get used to having a place but eventually start to chafe under those limitations.

Viajero Pugilist

I agree with Jovin that 3 months is a good time period for a free 512 for all new users, as long as it's perfectly clear that they need to log on every, say, 2 weeks within that 3 months or risk eviction.

It's not a free lunch, it is a way of anchoring a new user in a community, however temporary, and with a base that gives them some psychological "home" in the game.

Three months goes by fast, but that amount of time would be enough so that older newbies on the sim who have gotten the hang of the world would likely be able to pass on their new knowledge to newer newbies. 30 days is far too short a stay in a newbie sim.

I think such a scheme would go some distance towards creating the conditions for a more stable and clued-in resident population, and would be a good role for LL. I otherwise hate that LL is taking over so much else in SL, however. Isn't this supposed to be a user-created world, not a company town?

Simeon Beresford

nods a safe place is so important in the early days. newbs know so little. They think death is permanent that once turn them into a twisted contortion they will be that way for ever that every griefer attack is a catastrophe of global proportions and anyone can steal their life savings in an instant. just cast your mind back to your early days. Their only hope is a safe place to escape to. Instead they have those waterholes called hubs. and waterholes mean not safety but Predators.

Net Antwerp

Nonsense "incentives" like this will further devalue Second Life - you don't need to be confined in miniature pixel houses to stay for awhile.

Eventually they're going to get bored and leave, partially due to the lack of improvements, with customer-crushing policy/feature announcements included in the mix.

Hitomi Tiponi

Love this idea. Putting together some sort of package of free land, start-up tutorials, experts to turn to, and top places to visit would make the experience for first-timers so much nicer. It is fun when you first arrive to meet new people and see new things but quickly you realise just how little you know, and it's useful to have a bolt-hole to dive into.

Also it is not just ownership but empowerment that having land gives you - suddenly you will feel like you have some control over your environment, rather than you always being subject to it. While having this place you will also get a chance to figure out what you enjoy in sl and answer your own big 'why am I here?' question that so many newcomers have about sl.

To be honest this, and the better interface promised by v2.0, could be just what sl needs for it to convert more one-week stayers into permanent residents.

Corcosman Voom

I remember looking for a "safe" place when I was new. Just somewhere to rez in and use as a base, a familiar place to go back to after exploring and not feel like I was trespassing on someone else's turf.

If it is handled correctly, I think this could be a positive experience for new users. I don't think they will feel "confined" to the space but they could immediately have something that is theirs, even if it is time limited.

Tristin M

I kept looking thinking there was more then just a free house you can do anything with...

YES Linen Lab soo needs to keep doing stuff like this LOl
The other 3d worlds needs more of SL's customer base and we are getting it handed to us by the Lab no less. ;-)
Thanks Linden Lab you keep up the good work there!

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

It's low-cost for LL to try this. I know that many of the social users I've met over the years wanted their own little place. It would be a good idea, as Jovin and Viajero said, to offer all new accounts a trial period with their own 512. If they go premium after, they get to keep it. It would add something tangible to the premium account (I know, we already get 512 w/o tier).

Gary Hayes

Yes this is all about a thing that sustains many other 2d and 3d virtual social worlds, personalization. The power of creating something that is 'you' then inviting friends over to look around IS the key initial killer app of SL. If Linden lab start to run this freemium model then subs will indeed go up, due to reduced churn. I would also say a good orientation (not the walk around or use the interface one) but some simple step by step - written collaboratively by residents who still remember their first moments terraforming, building, shopping for pixel furniture, setting landing points, creating something original etc: a simple guide would be a good companion to a chunk of grassy lawn! Fingers crossed though that they market this well vs just on the front page of secondlife.com - time to reach out Lindens!

Tristin M

@ Gary
agrees ;-) hehe
PLEASE Linden Lab do this and FAST!!! ;-)

Jezebel Sweetwater

I can't completely agree that a "safe haven" is the answer for retention. I've been in SL for about a year and a half now, and if it hadn't been for me teleporting from place to place, I wouldn't have met the first friend I made in SL. If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't have stayed. I was clueless of everything SL had to offer, and while the tutorials are great in some of the orientation areas, that's just the mechanics.

Since then, I've done my best to help the newbies that I encounter along the way. And I think just having those willing to make a new friend and answer questions and lend a helping hand will make all the difference in our virtual world. If we let the newbies hole up in their own little houses when they first start, I don't know that they'll venture out to meet people. Seriously, if they stay locked up in their homes, how will they learn that SL death isn't permanent?

Arcadia Codesmith

Player retention is improved by investment in the virtual world, and "owning" a piece of real estate is instant investment.

I would agree that every player (free or paid) should get a small 'home room', preferably instanced off the grid, where they can at least unpack boxes, change clothes in private, and experiment with small-scale building. Premium accounts should get roomier apartments.

And I don't believe it should be time limited. Land ownership will still be an attractive option for people who want roomier digs, more prims or commercial space. It may be more attractive than ever, in fact, if every player is given a small taste of ownership from the beginning.

Free Realms just implemented something like this, and while there are huge flaws with the latest update (NGE revisted), the housing system is close to note-perfect.

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