Return of 50% discount to educational & non-profit groups

secondlifeOn Wednesday July 24th, Linden Lab announced the official return of the 50% discount on both private region set-up costs and tier for accredited educational and non-profit organisations. The announcement came via a blog post which reads in full:

We’re pleased to announce an update to Second Life pricing for educational and nonprofit institutions. Effective immediately, any accredited educational institution or any organization with a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit tax status (or equivalent) is eligible for a 50% discount on private region set-up costs and a 50% discount on private region maintenance costs.

As long-time Second Life users will note, the discount on maintenance costs is similar to a discount previously offered to these organizations. More recently, after reviewing our pricing, we have been offering this discount directly to individual organizations, but today we are happy to formalize this pricing, extend the discount to also include set-up costs, and open applications for all that are eligible.

For more details on the offer, including how to apply, please see the wiki page here

Organizations eligible for this discounted pricing are also eligible for invoicing of the private region costs. Invoices must include a minimum of six months of maintenance. Additional details can be found here.

Deep Think East - one of the regions operated by the UK's Open University, one of the educational organisations which still operates within Second Life
Deep Think East – one of the regions operated by the UK’s Open University, one of the educational organisations which still operates within Second Life and now eligible for the renewed educational / non-profit discount.

As noted in the announcement, this comes on top of a move in March 2013, where selected educational and non-profit organisations were offered a similar deal. While it is pure speculation, and despite doubts expressed at the time, it might be the renewal  / extension of the offer to all educational / non-profits might be as a result of the “private” offer being well-received.

Whether or not this is the case, the move is to be welcomed as a reversal of a decision which struck many as possibly unnecessary and damaging at the time it was taken in 2010. Leaving speculation aside, it will be interesting to see how many organisations do respond to the offer (assuming LL release any details) as time progresses and as the offer fits with various budget cycles.

There are inevitably some requirements for qualification for the deal. Not only do organisations applying have to be properly accredited (e.g. hold 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit tax status in the case of US-based organisations), but payments must be for a minimum of six months maintenance (tier), on top of the initial set-up fee, again as noted in the blog post. However, these are to be expected, and were a part of the original educational / non-profit discount offer.

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With thanks to Mona Eberhardt.

13 thoughts on “Return of 50% discount to educational & non-profit groups

  1. There is one question that I have regarding this: will the discount on the maintenance costs (which I think might be what we know as the “monthly tier”) be offered to non-profits and educational institutes that have stayed the course so far, even after the discounts were axed?

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    1. I can’t speak for other non profits, but I can say that our most recent tier bill in May was discounted to the non-profit rate without any explanation or other communication from LL (this did cause a little head scratching on our end over whether to query the amount).

      We were previously in receipt of the discount before its withdrawal, so my suspicion is that those who HAVE stayed the course have automatically been given the discount if they renewed since March.

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  2. I think the six month payment is only for those who want to be invoiced, although I’d imagine the vast majority would prefer this, otherwise an individual will get the bill.

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    1. The reading around this is a little nebulous; my own thinking was that in was for invoiced payments only, but the, “but do they…?” slipped into my thinking, given the March offer e-mail was equally nebulous.

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  3. I’m happy – maybe LL is finally looking to the past to learn lessons and undoing some of the damaging decisions their management has made.
    However, I note wryly, the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference is being hosted for the first time on Cloud Party July 24-27th. Previously it’s been hosted on SL (the last 6 years)…… coincidence?
    Either way there is many educational groups & non-profits that will benefit from this, and that helps us all 🙂

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    1. I’m so far behind in my blogging. I had a piece in prep to go out ahead of th start of VWBPE. Now going to have to play catch-up again tomorrow. If my ISP lets me.

      And yes, it is good news, and a help. Was actually working on a piece on tier and things (which, at my current rate of progress, could see the light of day around, oh, August 16th!), not sure this impacts that piece, but I’m pleased to see the Lab is taking a good look at things and making the effort to correct past actions.

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    2. Hey Jubjub, who knows if VWBPE @Cloud Party is enough to change LL Policy / Revenue Stream. But it does underline something that so many have been pushing for a long time now: diversification. I don’t see a problem with being an avid SL user and also participating (as so many have done) in OS Grid or Cloud Party or Blue Mars or any other MMO / MMORPG.

      You don’t have to storm off in a huff, you can just keep your options active. Like a toolbox with many tools. Lack of competition can be hard on users in terms of price, but really it’s hard on developers too. You kind of need that pressure. Probably the ideal for a developer would be to have someone aggressive, scrappy, and almost, but not quite, as good as you are! 🙂

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      1. I agree, I believe competition is essential to a thriving market. It’s a pity that linden Lab obviously doesn’t see it that way.

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    3. While we can say that LL have learned lessons, the educational users learned a rough lesson when LL, to use an English phrase, dropped them right in it, back in 2010.

      They’ll be looking, I think, for some guarantee, that deals don’t get changed at short notice. They can worry that LL don’t get the timetable that organising and paying for a course has to work to. And, as various shenanigans on the part of some notorious student groups have indicated, they want to be sure of how the LL Governance Team can work with whatever disciplinary procedures they have.

      Affairs such as Woodbury University will make potential customers wonder, even if that place did a poor job of controlling their students. At what point might a student fail a course because of abuse reports? Will the two sides be able to agree on just where the limits are, and on the administration of those limits?

      There’s a lot more to all this than just the Tier.

      And, while I have seen people saying that OpenSim is just noise in the market, how much education is happening in a private OpenSim instance that isn’t visible from outsite the Campus? I’ve seen Minecraft suggested as an alternative. What is the competition that LL didn’t have in the noughties?

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