Following my piece on the general status of Second Life, some of the comments revolved around educational discounts for regions – or rather, the ending of them in 2010. Many credit the abolishment of the discounts with the loss of hundreds (I’m not entirely convinced on the “thousands” element) of regions from the grid since that time.
It now appears that the Lab is quietly trying to reverse matters by extending a 50% discount to selected educational and non-profit organisations.
The news comes via Hamlet Au, with a natty little scoop on the offer he gained after being e-mailed on the matter. The originator of the e-mail informed Hamlet that he’d been offered a full region for $1,770 USD for a year or $3,540 USD for two years, for use by his organisation. The new prompted Hamlet to drop Peter Gray, LL’s spokesman, an e-mail on the matter. Hamlet comments:
“I’m not able to share numbers,” Gray e-mailed me, “but can confirm that we’ve extended this special offer to a targeted number of educational and non-profit institutions that have recently left Second Life.” The next question is how many institutions they’re offering this to, but there, he is mum. Furthermore, there’s no way for former sim owners of this variety to request this discount:
“There isn’t currently a way to apply for this; it’s a special offer we’re extending directly to some nonprofit and educational institutions as part of our customer win-back efforts,” as Gray puts it.
While not privy to the exact arrangements specified in the offer, I assume that as one or two-year discounts are specified, the caveat to it is that the discount only applies to a full up-front payment of said fees.
Like Hamlet, I’m also a little dubious that the offer will be taken-up by everyone who has departed Second Life – although it is interesting to now that LL are apparently targeting organisations which have “recently left” SL, and therefore have yet to put down roots elsewhere. As Hamlet rightly points out, a lot of people got somewhat burnt when the Lab announced they were discontinuing discounts for educational bodies and non-profits, and there has been a good degree of bad feeling since. There’s also the fact that over the past couple of years OpenSim has become a more than credible – and potentially a lower-cost – solution for educational needs.
It is probable that the move might be seen is some quarters of one of “desperation” on LL’s part in order to reverse the decline in the number of privately-held regions. However, given the limited and closed nature of the offer, such views may not be entirely valid – Second Life isn’t anywhere close to balancing on the edge of disaster just yet – although it would be interesting to know what did prompt the move.
In the meantime Hamlet has requested the any organisations or individuals who have been in receipt of the offer drop an comment onto his post on the news.
With thanks to Hamlet Au.