Monday, February 07, 2005


Continued from last week. After speaking with Jenna Fairplay a couple weeks ago, when she made dire predictions on how recent policy changes would harm the world, I checked in with her last Wednesday, to see how things had been going for her, since then.

Hamlet Linden: So how's life been this past week?

Jenna Fairplay: Difficult... with all the changes, as you know, clubs are suffering. Those who are doing good are supported by outside sources, it seems, and those who aren’t are feeling the pinch. Many new clubs that were to open didn’t, and those that tried didn’t last.

JF (continued): Right now, I pay all staff hosting fees and events out of pocket and/or donations. I got a lot of support so that has been helping… [We’re] doing rather well, actually, because I had made plans and prepared [before the policy changes when into effect.]. I had [Edge-associated] vendors donating and my own income from my vendors, as well as my other venues in SL. I was pulling those to support The Edge. I have telehub vendors; I had invested in land by some telehubs, so this helps with sales and such… clothes, hair, etc.

I had also gotten my staff ready, too. I had them learn skills so they could sell things from my telehub locations and in at the club, and make enough to sustain their own events. Some are doing so well they give back now and then to The Edge... I [also] lost some who were just frustrated with the changes.

Before, when I made Linden Dollars, I saved it and re-invested it into Second Life, and gave it back to staff and players. Now it all goes to events and paying staff. Not much investing as before and such. If my vendor makes a L$500 sale, instead of using that to help a new player start up a project, it goes to paying for an event.

I see people trying to quit each day. Others who are new and don’t know what to do [get] lost in the game… I see vendors now suffering. The list goes on. Less players, less people to turn up for events. I’m top five [most popular club] but it's because I’ve been preparing like how you prepare for a storm. Still waiting for the storm to pass though. Each day I have to find ways to support the club. Each day I meet new players who leave so fast. Each day I am told by other players who they are leaving. Was never like this... So many I can’t count. Many of my friends I knew from Anarchy [Online] and other online games went back to them. They keep their account open cause it's Basic [i.e. one-time flat fee] and ask me to tell them if there are any changes.

[Laughs] Lordy, hmmm. Over a hundred that I can say left for good, and that’s just of people who bother to IM me and say such, and [the] ones I couldn’t convince to stay. I'm being told by others who have lost friends. One was my brother, [who] has a neighbor who was building a huge castle. It was wonderful. He was upset 'cause all his friends who got him to join this game left. And he was alone and didn't see a need in playing a game... I had talked to him; he seemed to have improved.

Then I go to my brother's land and notice the castle was gone. And the land was for sale.

Look at the map. All the land for sale. It's insane. All the white. Some longtime players who inspired me left. [And indeed, clicking on the "Land for Sale" tab reveals large swathes of white across the continent, signifying land put up for sale. - HL]

HL: Well, if Philip Linden was to ask you, how would you advise to staunch this flow?

JF: Well, I always was in favor of a scaled event support. As I posted on Forums, pay more support for educational and PG events [but still support other events, as well].

I have [met] so many who come here-- as I said, the Edge is a stepping stone. I know people will come and go here. Some find this is where they do best. Some go on to new things. But without places like this, they can get lost or bored... Right now without support, there is no balance with places such as this. The new clubs or venues will struggle to get a foot hold, as many won't even [compete] so those who are [already] up will stay up. I see new places open that I like that close so fast. A shame they didn’t get the chance old establishments did. This place is doing fine, largely 'cause its liked by many.

Many tell me how I can't give in. How The Edge was the first place they went to. [laughs] The first job they had.

HL: So you're keeping it running on principle now?

JF: Yes.

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Every word Jenna says is true and its getting worse.I go into the Second Life Forums and sit back in amazement because they bear NO relation to the game I'm playing,the people who post there I've NEVER seen in Second Life, and you have to understand that I run the biggest group in the game so thats pretty amazing.

These changes were suicidal and I'm not just saying that because I'm a club owner,I built up Lestats on everything Jenna taught me and like the Edge its a stepping stone for players new to the game and also it's a place for friends to come together,yet we are told we dont contribute,I personally pay over $200 a month to keep Lestats open and we help scores of new players find their feet in SL - saying we dont contribute is utter rubbish.

Go into the game and look at the facts - at the time of writing EVERY single place in the top ten is a club,the biggest groups are CLUB groups,certainly the social aspect of SL isnt for everyone but without doubt its the mainstay of this game.

My joy in Second Life came from bringing people from all walks of life,from all over the world,together and if I cannot do that anymore then I'll go back to StarWars Galaxies and have done with this.The volume of people that have left speaks volumes,the changes were a disaster and something needs to be done to reverse them - and soon.

Posted by: Sox Rampal at Feb 8, 2005 7:36:44 AM

So basically old players are pissed off because they receive less cash than they used to. Big deal.

Money will simply be worth more and eventually everything will settle back into place.

Posted by: ha ha at Feb 8, 2005 8:42:33 AM

the edge was where i got my first jobs and was a big stepping stone but o well i make money here there,im a drifter i dont mind

Posted by: mike czukor at Feb 8, 2005 11:46:14 AM

SL deserves more than to have its future membership pinned on the success/decline of clubs. Seriously. Its like worrying about Broadcast Television failing if no more infomercials are produced. It misses the core purpose in its entirety.

SL is more than a club, its more than you, or me put together. I can become much more. I don't see how minor shifts in member makeup and policy is going to take away from how innovative SL is, period.

Posted by: Maxx Monde at Feb 9, 2005 10:21:19 AM

"the people who post there I've NEVER seen in Second Life, and you have to understand that I run the biggest group in the game so thats pretty amazing."

Do you realize that if you hang out at all of the most popular clubs in New York, there are some prominent citizens that you will never see there? The mayor, the district attorney, the chief of police, financiers. How can these people claim to be important in New York if they don't go clubbing?

Oh, wait. I'm pretty sure there's a flaw in that logic somewhere.

Posted by: anon at Feb 10, 2005 6:59:43 AM

Basically SL is my stress free zone, and when clubs are falling apart it begins to become stressful. I am not saying that the Lindens are wrong but now it seems not only do you have to work in RL to pay for your needs but you now have to work harder in SL to pay for your fun. I love to socialize and clubs offer a vast range of people to meet and get to know. I have spent alot of time at The Edge and at Sox's club. I run a club myself and help a friend with her club and yes i put in alot of money into SL to provide a place for people to get together for great conversation and laughter. It was easier to provide this service to the SL community when they helped with the expense. my 2 cents.

Posted by: Della Street at Feb 10, 2005 1:54:26 PM

An issue has come up from the Linden Sponsorship changes that I find particularly interesting. People talk about profits like they're the end all and be all of SL. For some people they are; my friend Cubey Terra currently uses SL as his main source of irl income. However this is not how it was before.

I've been on SL for more than year and a half. I know who Bob Bunderfield is. I know who Lance LeFay is. I know who Garth Fairlight and Pituca Chang are. These are special people who have an important part in SL's history, yet if one of them were to speak up on the SL boards, these new club owners would dismiss them as people who they never see in world and thus are unimportant or foolish.

Slate never needed Linden Support. The Olive Crew never needed Linden Support.

When was the last time there was an event at Dore Stage 4? It's still the best place to host an event IMO but if you host an event in your club, you make money.

I can remember that people used to host events for fun, and not profit. Linden Labs would give away a thousand lindens for an event prize and a thousand lindens to the person hosting the event, and the people hosting would regularly add thier own 1000 to the prize pot.

Things have changed in SL's society, but SL is still the great virtual world is always has been. It doesn't need huge, for-profit clubs to survive. SL will survive because people want it to.

As a final note, while so many of you talk about your friends leaving SL, and newbies leaving right away, all of the people I've invited to SL have stuck around, and I've had several new players join recently.

Posted by: Relee Baysklef at Feb 10, 2005 6:19:59 PM

The only ones to complain about the ratings (Before the 25 dollar rating disaster) and the bonuses were the Money Exchangers and now only the Money Exchangers are the ones who are benefiting from the disasterous changes. And now Linden Labs announces another round of hasty and disasterous changes by saying everything beyond 6 months does not matter at all on ratings.

I think the Lindens need to put things back the way they were before the 25 dollar rating. And then when the Money Exchangers scream, tell them to shove it.

Posted by: Magnum Serpentine at Feb 11, 2005 1:09:33 AM

It pleases me to see clubs choking because in the end I will see less of them. Now, this might be selfish of me, but I will say this. I would never go out of my way to see Clubs crash and burn... But if they happen to? Excellent.

And this is why all these people with the largest groups and clubs don't see any of us forum or IRC folk(the guys who are even COOLER then the forum people. We have THREE clowns. And a magician). Content builders tend not to bother with parties... Save the furries, for whatever reason.

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