LL Premium promo and some thoughts for the tempted

Friday 24th August marked the start of another of the regular pushes by LL to encourage people to sign-up to Premium accounts, with the usual banner headline “Save 50% on your membership when you sign-up”. This time the offer runs through until Friday 31st August.

As per usual, the discount comes with strings: it only applies the Quarterly plan and only to the first quarter’s payment. This tends to make a bit of a mockery of the “Save 50%” headline (which should more correctly read, “Save 50% on your first payment” – but that doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?).

The promotional page again features the same list of benefits and the same glitzy video, and still carries the same overall question marks around it.

While I’m Premium myself, I admit that there is much about these ads I find objectionable and misleading, particularly the “more” statements, something I touched on when reporting the last Premium offer. But that’s the major problem with Premium; when all is said and done, it actually offers little in the way of tangible benefits outside of Mainland ownership and Customer Services support. Even stipend, it might be argued, is little more than a refund of money already paid to LL.

A Personal Opinion

I re-upped to Premium at the start of November 2011, and went through getting a Linden Home and trying-out the Premium Sandboxes. If you’re considering Premium, you might want to give those articles the once-over. However, before you do so, consider your options carefully.

If you need a decent amount of space in-world (anything over 2048 sq metres and allowing for the 512sq m free tier option), you’re probably not going to get much out of upping to Premium. Similarly, if you’re a builder and have your own space in which to build, you’ll need to weigh-up how often you need to use a public building space and whether or not non-Premium sandboxes are really that bad when you do.

However, if you are downsizing in SL, the Premium may well offer benefits: the Linden Home may not be a state-of-the-art build, but it comes with an available prim allocation / land capacity of 117. This is enough to provide reasonably comfortable living space, particularly if you’re not downsizing with a view to leaving, but simply don’t want the expense of land rental. Even at $22.50 a quarter ($7.50 a month before your refund … er, stipend …), Premium does offer value-for-money if you want to maintain a modest home without the hassle of weekly tier (and $7.50 is an amount you can easily pay out per week elsewhere for a small parcel of land). Just make sure that, as per my item on getting a Linden Home, you have a good look around – and don’t forget that if the first place you get doesn’t suit, it’s easy to abandon and try again.

The end of October marks my first full year since re-upping to Premium. I’ll be offering more thoughts and feedback then.

8 thoughts on “LL Premium promo and some thoughts for the tempted

  1. I’ve been a premium subscriber since day one, and I do sometimes take advantage of the premium services. I was not made aware of premium sandboxes until the beginning of my second year, but they do offer a very quiet griefer-free place to build or experiment. Sadly, none of my non-premium friends can even teleport there as observers, so eventually I have to move my build elsewhere to share it.

    Premium support is not much more. You can get live help, but keep in mind the staff on the other end of the chat are the same ones who monitor and respond to support cases, so the level of support is exactly the same. And if you have not logged in AND out before contacting support, you will facce an additional hurdle of having to justify the complaint while using a third party viewer. Premium membership doesn’t buy you a pass from this.

    The premium gifts are infrequent, often prim-heavy and (I can’t report on the latest) do not make heavy use of sculpts or mesh.

    The Linden Home is nice, there are floorplans for all sorts of tastes, but keep in mind these days, the number of available styles dwindles. For example, my first home was in a tree trunk. Nice, not a right andgle in sight, not squared on the parcel, an OCD’s nightmare. So I moved to one of the Meadowbrook houses. It was OK, nice modernesque style, but still didn’t satisfy me. I abandoned it and looked again, that tree trunk house was no longer available. In fact, nothing in Elderglen was available. But I did manage a nice little Japanese house that appeals to me. So decide quickly if your home doesn’t appeal to you. You can shop before selecting by locating any of the info hubs (Elgerglen, Meadowbrook, Tahoe and Shareta Osumai). Surrounding them are all the home styles.

    The prim allowance does not include the house. LL have anchored it in some fashion that it doesn’t count against my parcel at all. Which is nice, those houses average 92 prims. I use the property mostly as a landing spot, some place I can go when I need a bit of privacy. Like most Japanese homes, it is sparsely decorated, leaving me a few prims to do small builds or to experiment. Most often I’m trying to reproduce a problem that a Firestorm user has, and having a bit of land that has no tier payment due each month makes for a nice place to do that testing. My neighbors are hardly ever home.

    As an annual subscriber, receiving L$15,600 as a stipend is a bit nice, it roughly equates to USD62.00, so considering everything else I get for USD10.00 per year, I think my premium membership is worth its cost.

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  2. Well my experience of Premium membership is a little different to Mister Acacia’s. I find the Premium Support far more flexible than the apallingly limited support offerend to free accounts. Granted you still have a lottery as to the type of Support you receive dependant on which operator you contact…some are very good and will “go the extra mile”, some are barely capable of reading their crib notes. The Third Party Viewer issue always grates, but I find again that the level at which the operator “switches off” on noticing that also is very variable.
    There are many ways in which LL’s marketing operation appears to be run by folk who couldn’t find employment elsewhere. Their offers as you rightly mention skirt the borders of what is legal…but then I forget…I live in a “nanny State” where, as a member of the “entitlement generation” I’ve become accustomed to watchdogs to protect me from Snake Oil sellers.
    Mister’s point about the stipend as a rebate on the Annual subscription is a good point, and something that cannot be discounted.

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    1. I agree on the support – like any first-line support, it’s down to the person trying to help you, and first line support is always going to have limits as to how far they can go.

      Stipend, like everything else in the Premium package has pros and cons. It really comes down to how well you use the other elements of the package. If you make exclusive / extensive use of the Linden Home / 512 free tier parcel, for example, then stipend is an undoubted benefit, and certainly not anything I’m pooh-poohing.

      If, however, you are an established Basic account user who has put down roots in SL, has a home and land you’re more than happy with, living in a good, friendly community and you’re unlikely to ever make use of your Linden Home (or free 512 sm of Mainland), then there is an argument to make that you’ll be paying out a minimum of $72.00 a year in order to recoup $62.40. So in fact there are circumstances where the stipend can be discounted, and it is fair to say many Basic members feel that way.

      This is why I point out that Premium is perhaps a far more attractive option for those new to SL – as Mister Acacia demonstrates – than it is for those who are already established, and that for the latter, making Premium a more attractive proposition is a tough nut to crack.

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  3. I too have always been premium and a mainland land owner. It has always been a mystery to me why LL does not in some way adjust the premium land allowance to make mainland costs competitive with private sims. If anything mainland should be cheaper given the minimal service we get (Guy Linden seems to do most of the mainland support stuff, he does a good job but is way overworked in comparison to most private estate managers). As a result of the limited manpower invested in mainland support, what you get is limited, no terraforming along the roads to match your land, and no moving trees and bushes that may be in the way as 2 examples.
    Even so, mainland is more interesting than private estates. I would get bored pretty quickly on a tropical island 🙂

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    1. I broadly agree, vis-a-vis Mainland & pricing. Nevertheless, I still prefer living on a Private island, simply because I do – subject to the estate covenant – get terraforming rights and can thus landscape to suit my needs. Many private estate owner work hard to develop a continue theme across their islands, and these are worth their weight in gold.

      As to being on an island – it has pluses and minuses, and not all are tropical, although that is possibly by far the most popular :).

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      1. Just so readers do not misunderstand — I can terraform *my* land, it is where my land meets others that there can be an issue. That is seldom a problem with resident neighbors, it is LL that is reticent to make modifications, especially along the roads. Like I said, they have limited manpower and do not want to make modifications that they will just have to revert when someone moves on.

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        1. Yup. Mainland has limited terraforming, I should have clarified that private regions have far greater freedom in terraforming: +/- 100m (allowing for sea bed in the case of -100m), as compared to +/-4m.

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