Lab asks what would you like for Christmas?

In the run-up to the festive season, the Lab are using social media (though not, it seems their own forum) to ask residents a question.

In the Tell Us What You Want campaign, the Lab is enquiring:

We’re working on a holiday gift item for everyone and want to know: What item would be on your Second Life wishlist?

The question is being asked via Facebook and Twitter,  Second Life enjoying a high level of visibility on both (although I’ve little doubt the use of Facebook will draw some humbugging grumbles!).

In terms of the responses so far, I’m actually not sure people are perhaps giving the kind of response the Lab has in mind. Requests range from from a couple of thousand Linden dollars a head through 24-hour day cycles on regions, volumetric Linden water, functional search, to lower tier (inevitably, even though not currently possible) and the return of gambling to the grid (not possible) – as well as a whole lot more in between, including, in so cases, what appear to be entire wish lists!

At the time of writing, only one person appears to have entered into the spirit of the direction the Lab would probably like the conversation to take:

Responses to the call can be made via the Second Life Official Twitter feed or via Facebook.

 

25 thoughts on “Lab asks what would you like for Christmas?

  1. he he, i saw it and thought ‘aww you guys are asking for for it with that question’ so many things i could write, most about tier cost. So i decided to wait and see what others put :-p

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  2. I’ll go for something tangible, too. No sense to ask for miracles.

    That reminds me of the old Calvin & Hobbes cartoon:

    Calvin: ‘If you could have anything in the world right now, what would it be?’
    Hobbes (thinking): ‘Hmm…’
    Calvin: ‘Anything at all! Whatever you want!’
    Hobbes: ‘A sandwich.’
    Calvin (exasperated): ‘A sandwich?!? What kind of stupid wish is that?!’
    Calvin (furious): ‘Talk about a failure of imagination! I’d ask for a trillion billion dollars, my own space shuttle, and a private continent!’
    Hobbes (last panel, eating sandwich, while Calvin fumes): ‘I got my wish.’

    http://img.fark.net/images/cache/850/k/kz/fark_kz2IEdsOBHNB0yd7WVF7FY_LWmo.gif?t=0qaAK4vLtr7-EsHsEkzyCQ&f=1416805200

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  3. WHat i want, well lets start with that Linden Lab stops ignoring people that dont use facebopok or twitter or dont want it. Another company thats complete blind for that #@% facebook. and thinks internet = facebook.

    Next, cheap payable sims in the 20$ rangew.

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    1. I’m not a fan of Facebook either, although I have a page there. However I can see why Linden Lab use social media, there’s a lot of reach there and Facebook appears to offer them greater reach than other outlets. I am not a fan of Linden Lab holding competitions where people need a Facebook account to participate but in terms of promotional material, there is some sense in using the platform.

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    2. Sorry, $20 a month regions won’t happen in SL. Not without Linden Lab rapidly going out of business. Unless you’re offering to lease dozens of such regions every month to help make up for the shortfall in the Lab’s revenue?

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  4. Perhaps they are winning a few or even a lot with facebook aproach, for sure they will loose me.
    But a gift for Christmas, more land available in mainland for same tier level.

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  5. Yeah $20 tier costs seem a bit of a reach but a small and realistic reduction would be nice. I would like to see them rebuild the SL home sims to places we all might actually like to hang in and perhaps in updated mesh!

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    1. The problem with even a “small” reduction in tier is that it can have a disproportionate impact on monthly revenue with no guarantee of actually leading to any form of sustained growth in land use.

      For example, 10% off of tier immediately wipes approximately US$385,700 from the Lab’s monthly revenue, which is considerably more than the monthly loss being experienced by falling region numbers.

      And is just US$12.50 a month off the tier for a Homestead really sufficient to overcome such a dramatic fall in tier revenue? Will it even been seen as “worthwhile” by users, or just a piffling amount that’s not worth the bother? Are there even enough users in SL wanting an entire region of their own to offer a sustained demand to compensate for such a reduction in monthly tier?

      And if 10% isn’t seen an enough of an incentive, then how much would be? 15%? But that increases the immediate loss of revenue resulting from the cut, leaving still bigger question marks over the potential to make up for it through volume leasing of regions…

      These are some of the questions that Lab has to consider in regards to tier – and none of them have a definitively positive answer, making it very hard for the Lab to take the risk. After all, once tier is cut, it’s almost impossible to raise it again. Which leaves them caught between the same rock and hard place as all those feeling tier is too high.

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      1. You have a valid point but there has to be some way that they could make SL more affordable thus attracting more dedicated players? Why not make Homesteads available to all not just sim owners (and yes I know you can rent them but I for one would rather own)? Reduce the initial cost to buy a sim? Or how about an increase in L’s to premium members? And again I really wish they would re-build the home sims, it is way over do. Often it seems, at least to me, there is no give on LL’s side to retain and attract users. After all if SL shut down tomorrow what would any of us have? A whole lot of nothing.

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  6. Linden Lab has a 200% profit marging or higher on their regions. Why do you think they just keep doing what they are doing while losing dozens of regions each week? Because they still have a big lump of suckers they can extract huge tier fees from.

    In Alberg his recent interview he states that

    Quote:

    Second Life is my investor.

    /Quote

    That is what the function of Second Life has been for these previous CEOs the investor for their personal projects. And if they fail they kicked out and a new one comes, yet again with his personal pet projects and he can use Second Life again to finance it. And this goes each time on the backs of the residents and creators of Second Life.

    When Linden keeps this up at a loss of 25 regions average per week they can keep going for the next 4 years laughing and will still have 13000 private islands to extract money from.

    Altberg can mess up, get fired and Linden will still be in business.

    The only positive prospect in this is that time is on the hands of the creators and the residents of Second Life with the Oculus Rift and VR wave that is coming. It is likely that at least a couple of projects from the many dozens, if not hundreds that are being made will bring a postive development for virtual worlds.

    What I find really interesting now is to see how all the large companies that want to get into VR such as Honda motors, The Who and many of the other applications that are now surfacing have all the tools and software they need to build their VR apps. No need for them to subscribe to a platform or depend on a third party provider. Everything they need is there, cheap and they have a wide range of trustworthy hardware providers in a competitive market to supply them with what they need. These are the signals of a mature and stable market in the making.

    Linden Lab with all their abuse will be avoided like the plague.

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    1. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Could you please cite the source for your assertion that “Linden Lab has a 200% profit marging or higher on their regions”? I’m most intrigued to know, as this is a “fact” that seems to have passed by the majority of us watching the Lab.

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  7. Yes the claim comes from a glassdoor post by an employee and it really is very credible to believe this as well. I will explain in a moment why

    link: http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Linden-Lab-Reviews-E100549.htm

    picture : http://oi60.tinypic.com/24p9pvb.jpg

    Why is a profit margin of 200% or more very reasonable to believe.

    1. Educators pay 150 USD for a simulator why regular customers pay 300 USD for a simulator.

    This is the famous 50% discount but do you really believe that Linden Lab pays educators to have a simulator on their grid? Linden Lab is still making money even on these massive tier reductions. This alone tells you that Linden Lab does take an enormous profit margin on their product.

    2. Many customers receive 33% tier discounts or more because of “friend” related reasons or because of “volume discounts” reason. Do you really believe that Linden Lab does not make money on them?

    3. When you know you can put up an opensim region for 9 US$ per month that will perform just as fast if not faster compared to a full sim in Second Life that should also give you a hint. So yes the 9 US$ opensim region will have the same reasons as the 295 US$ Second Life region.

    But but what about the huge costs for programmers, system admins and so on that Linden Lab has? At the moment CEO Alberg did put Second Life on low maintenance with only a small staff to support to platform, You know this as well. So when you take all these salaries and combine this with the costs of the “office building” and all the other expenses Linden Lab has you can be sure that the actual realistic cost for Linden Lab for a sim will be way below 100 US$ per month. I would even dare to estimate between 45 and 65 US$ per month.

    So yes Linden Lab does take a gigantic profit margin of 200% certainly at this moment they do.

    You should take a look at the glassdoor reviews they do mention a lot more than regular whining of angry previous staff members.

    Linden Lab is an extremely brutal little software company who annoyed a lot of people over the years.

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    1. Sorry, I’ll take that with a large handful of salt. There are clearly inaccuracies in part of the statement, vis:

      “Most developers haven’t even spent any time “inworld” and have no concept of who uses their product.” – the developer who put the hard work into the servers have always spent a fair amount of time in-world, and directly facing users.

      “They refuse to use any of that profit to actually update or improve their infrastructure”, is clearly inaccurate, coming as it does towards the end of a 30 month period when the Lab has done little else but work on infrastructure improvements alongside wide-range code improvements.

      I’d prefer the citing of a more objective source that one which may possibly have been driven in part by any number of sour grapes. As to taking a look at Glassdoor – I do; and I take much of what is written there with repeated pinches of salt, simply because many of the pieces are, by their nature liable to be subjective rather than entirely rooted in fact.

      “Do you really believe that Linden Lab does not make money on them?”

      Actually, my point all the way through our exchanges has been that Linden Lab is in the business of making money. That’s why they’re a – you know – a “business”. I’ve no problem with them making money out of SL – because if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have an SL. I just don’t believe they are the money-grabbing, profit-raking organisation you believe them to be. And on that score, until more concrete and objective data arrives to sway one of us the other way, we’ll have to agree to differ.

      As to your example of running and open sim region compared to an SL region, you’re comparing apples to oranges. Sure, you can put up open sim regions at $9.00 a pop – but can you use the revenue from those $9.00 a pop regions to pay the costs of running a company with 190 employees, offices on both sides of the USA, plus the bills associated with supporting all the underpinning infrastructure and third-party suppliers needed to support a virtual world which still has a median concurrency of around 41-42,000. The short answer is, “no”.

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      1. I said 200% profit margin and you did doubt that. I did explain the 200% profit margin and now you should be able to verify that claim.

        When I would compare the 9 US$ opensim cost versus the 295 US$ Second Life region cost we would not speaking about 200% profit margin but about a profit margin of 3000% and I did not make such a claim.

        I did also clearly mention I estimate that the cost of a region for Linden Lab is 45 to 65 US$ at the moment, not 9 US$ so I did calculate the actual expenses into everything. I do expect that 5 to 6 years back the actual cost for Linden Lab per simulator was around 100 US$ when more staff did work on the product and hosting costs were higher. This would be logical, then Linden Lab would make 100% profit per sim at the old rate of 195 US$ per region and still 50% profit at the reduction rate for the educators of 150 US$ per region.

        The glassdoor interviews (it is worth to sign up there to read all the reviews, Linden Lab has so much churn there is plenty to read) give you as a whole a good impression of what goes on in there. I did not say the single claim by this one employee is 100% correct, there is a lot more to look at, but yes you can be sure about the triple profit margin claim = 200% profit. That is really not hard to believe.

        Do I have a problem Linden takes 200% profit, not really other software businesses also do that. Microsoft isn’t so extremely rich because they have 25% profit margins. Ebay must have profit margins that would make you fall over so that is not the point. Ebay on the other hand did not exploit their power sellers or lied towards their customers or raised listing fees by huge amounts (they tried but backed down fast after complaints). Linden Lab can make profit all they like but they cannot abuse customers like they are doing now.

        Altberg and the Linden Lab investors are just gambling with the company at the moment. I do not agree that they do that.

        The point is that the profit is used to fund garbage while the actual product that generates the income is being wrongly used year after year and so is its customer base.

        Read the interview Altberg gave very closely, You will see again he mentions his intentions of creating a new virtual world platform that will make Second Life users jealous. While Altberg tries to hide his motives under his vague statements you know what Linden Lab is planning and hoping on.

        Linden Lab lost close to 600 simulators this year since Altberg got in charge. There is not a single incentive coming out to boost sales. Not a single marketing effort to stop the losses. Every single company would be screaming hell and trying to turn this unless they make such a rediculous amount of profit they still have plenty of stock to burn before they need to panic.

        Why do you think these CEOs make statements each time how “the company is comfortably profitable” with a big smile on their face?

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        1. As I said, I don’t believe the Lab is profiting anywhere near the 200% mark. I don’t think they’re profiting anywhere close too 100%, or even have been.

          Where Glassdoor is concerned, there are more than a few companies there which get bad press from ex-employees. Some of it is true, some of it isn’t. Some of it is grossly exaggerated with the aim of over-egging a point. Neither you nor I can discern what is verifiable and what is not in any given statement. In the case of the comment you cite, I’ve pointed to the fact that that it appears to be from someone who has no clear idea of what had been going on during their employment, given some of their comments run contrary to what we have actually seen to be the case; ergo, that’s enough for me to cast doubt on other assertions made.

          As to the rest, as I’ve said, you and I will have to agree to disagree.

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        2. 200% profit is really a bold claim… 190 employees, even taking into account that not all are developers, will probably cost them something like a million dollars per month. If all 30k regions were full regions (they are not) that would be 9 million dollars revenue. To host those 30k regions, at 1 CPU per region, with 16 CPUs per server, that would be some 2000 servers, costing at least US$1k/month just in bandwidth (LL used to buy all their own servers, not lease them). So to have 200% profit on the servers they would a) need to have all 30k regions as full regions; and b) have no further costs beyond employees and bandwidth. It seems rather far-fetched. In practice, a substantial amount of those regions are not full regions; but, then again, that also means they can run less servers, and that means less bandwidth costs; also, now that they are moving to CDN, they will reduce bandwidth costs drastically… but also have to pay for CDN costs. And, of course, they also get some income from Marketplace and LindeX fees. So… it´s not utterly impossible that they have a 200% profit, but it´s certainly stretching the believability of those claims; more likely, whoever proposed those numbers did the same kind of simplistic calculations that I did. Let´s say it´s an upper limit in the realms of possibility, but not plausibility; it would be great for LL if they managed to get a 100% profit on the regions, which would be more reasonable, even though still difficult to pull off.

          The comparison with OpenSimulator is completely illogical; it would be comparing apples and oranges. We would have to see a grid operator with 30k regions and 50k concurrency on them to see what kind of costs they would actually have. One thing, however, would be quite different: such a grid operator would have next-to-zero operating costs, since they won´t need to develop the server nor the viewer. That, in turn, would mean a reduced cost in terms of employees (almost no developers needed). The remaining costs would, however, be the same.

          The trouble with OpenSimulator is what will happen once LL discontinues Second Life: there won’t be any more TPVs after that. Except for a few mobile apps, the only SL-compatible viewer which does not rely on LL’s code is Radegast (and its lead programmer has recently announced that he wouldn’t continue the development). So, for the sake of all OpenSimulator grids out there, I surely hope that Second Life continues to have a long, healthy life ahead of it 🙂

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          1. Without wishing to re-open this debate, I would again point-out that the Lab doesn’t only run simulator hosting servers. They all run multiple back-end processing servers: e.g. the log-in services, the asset servers, the group chat servers, admin servers, the web services servers (e.g. marketplace, feeds, dashboards), the transaction handling servers, etc. All these cost money to manage and maintain, which must also come from tier / SLM revenue / L$ purchase & sale fees.

            However, when people blithely pull numbers from thin air regarding simulator host numbers, profit margins, etc., they seldom – if ever – consider the additional costs in operating the platform. All that’s thought about is the costs associated with running the simulators. Then, on top of that, as you point out (and indeed, I have repeatedly pointed out), there are the costs of ancillary services (the CDN being one). Hence why you are right, and as Carl Sagan so clearly stated: “extraordinary claims [the idea of a 200% profit margin] require extraordinary evidence”.

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  8. So yes the 9 US$ opensim region will have the same reasons as the 295 US$ Second Life region.

    This should be:

    So yes the 9 US$ opensim region will have the same resources as the 295 US$ Second Life region.

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