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July 16, 2006


Prokofy Neva

Daniel, I have to say, it's hard to contain the amount of irritation I feel at this SL views meeting discussing the Mainland -- this group of tekkies, an island dealer, and some content creators getting together and discussing issues for which they have no knowledge or concern, and in fact activately despise-- related to the mainland where they don't run land-based businesses. Why is this session held with them? What is their stake? To kill the mainland? That's what it looks like.

It's also annoying that at the SLCC, the round table you have planned is for very specialized mainland guild-style groups, and not large rentals groups such as the kind I run, and in fact the kind that literally hundreds of people in SL run. So once again we will be forced-fed the wondrous tales of Taber-Boardman-Lusk-Slate, even those some of these communities have fallen apart or had difficulties, even though nobody is home in these communities, even though they represent specialized, highly-rare cliques of people with fierce loyalties that accomplished things like gamers in a quest -- not some kind of normal online neighbourhood we might build and SCALE.

I often marvel that you Linden aren't seeing the enormous number of rentals businesses there are on the mainland. Everybody and his brother is running a rental or sales business *on the mainland*. Please fly around the grid.

All of these businesses have had to face the stresses and strains of competing against islands and many have managed to stay in business, and more people enter this field daily. But once again, a huge whack is coming on them with yet another privileging of the islands.

The group tools are great (though complicated and not working in places) but they can't solve the inequities that you've once again coded right into the system: once the islands can sell parcels in pieces off their islands, and especially small ones, they may very well put all the mainland sales and rentals out of business. Indeed, first land provided by the Governor may lie fallow. And you don't seem to care about the economic implications of this.

Apparently your plan is to dump all the green dots off your billing system, on to large continent dealers who will take care of your billing and CS headaches. Just please come clean on that, please, rather than leaving people wondering whether the next big nasty jolt they will get from LL will be flat tier instead of discounts at higher levels, or an end to the 10 percent group tier bonus.

Mainland rentals have survived by offering the smaller parcels of 512-4096 -- most island dealers, either greedy for profit or scared about making back their investment, immediately carve up their islands into 16 and charge $25 per month per 15 of the 4096s -- ore more. Mainland rentals are considerably less. Given that we all pay .002960 per meter in US dollars, it's only fair to pass along that savings, and the one advantage a mainland rental offers is not gouging users into paying the exact same tier they'd pay to LL if they actually owned the land; this is because mainland rentals have third-class status after the first class status of mainland land owning and the second-class status of island renting.

With this new influx of parcels, prices will come down, the market will be more liquid. Prices are already coming down and the ad wars are really heating up (usually accomplished by sneering at the mainland as allegedly mired in griefing, lag, and blight, which is a gross oversight -- again, fly around the grid -- and in fact you'll have less red lines than on the islands)+.

Linden Lab had conceived of a promotional deal some months ago to offer five lucky barons the stream of newly-rezzing newbies right into their islands if they clicked on the website or orientation board to do so. I found this hugely outrageous. It was supposedly going to be done as yet another Lindexperiment to determine what makes accounts retain. So on top of having this very attractive feature that finally removes the one advantage the mainland had -- that people could buy or rent there and be able to sell or refund easily -- the islands would get streaming newbies.

I sure hope you aren't going to pursue that, but I realize you often cook up these projects like Shermerville to serve your own needs, not the world's.

When you or someone in this meeting says they need "group culture entry" that's silly. There's plenty of this already. Groups that provide rentals or orientation or induction already do this.

You must shed all the shrill admonitions of the tiny but hugely vocal sect of people trying to insist on the YOU DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN mantra. Let companies buy ad space on OI or HI or in WAs. This is the only thing that is fair. You handing a passle of newbies off to islands through special website based promotions isn't fair, and gives an even further unjustified windfall to the island barons. Letting the mentors go on handing out the mantra from the SL Wiki replicated in help cards that YOU DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN is also a terrible disservice even to your own business model! (See the debate about this on my blog, it's astounding how tenacious people are when it comes to moralizing about the ascetisism of not owning land.)

If you are going to "allow estates to project and recruit newbies to their lands" *you must do the exact same thing on the Mainland.*

Why do islands get to do this on your website and bypass your mentors' brigade? But I have to wait for mentors and greeters to first proseltyze newbies that THEY DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN and then hope for some scraps?

First, get rid of the messaging that is so negative coming out of all the mentors, filling up newbies with fears and apprehensions of scamming evil land barons. Information to protect yourself against coercive sales or good, but let's not let the tiny percentage of such cases completely colour the entire first impression of land as it is now being done.

Second, give people who buy sims off the auction some kind of incentive to provide first land on their sim. Currently, you're now putting first land in flat, full sim swamps which turn ugly and blighty and become unliveable. Before, you used to at least limit them as patches in parts of sims. Buyers from the auction could get tier relief for 15 or 30 days or a discounted tier if they allowed the Governor Linden first land to be put into their sim.

If this is too complicated, then whatever mechanism you are cooking up to stream newbies to the islands to buy first land parcels has to be duplicated for mainland sales and rentals too. Why on earth not? Why be sticking it to the already beleaguered and suffering mainland AGAIN?

Ane when you start to realize that this is problem of the business of hundreds of people of all sizes, and that you are skewing the market by helping some and not others, you will surely come to the conclusion that open advertising on the open market is the only solution, like the CLASSIFIEDS.

Put up some normal sized boards like you already have on OI and HI, either for free or for bids, let people put ads in them for rentals or sales of first land. Let all the old biddies and net nannies with all their clucking about people buying land stand aside. Land is supposed to be your business model. Act like it is, then.

Pym Sartre

It would be interesting if someone on the mainland could rate their immediate neighbors on a scale of -10 to 10 or something, perhaps based on how much border they shared. Someone with too much fo a negative score from all border neighbors might be tagged or notified or something. REALLY rough thought there, but thought I'd kick it out.

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