Lab presents spring Premium membership offer – with a slight twist

We’re all familiar with the Lab’s periodic Premium membership offers: every once in a while one will pop-up offering a discount for those who up their membership from Basic or who are signing-up to SL for the first time.

I’d actually been expecting such an offer to pop-up around mid-March. However, it was announced on Friday, April 3rd, with a blog announcement,  and runs through until the Monday, April 13th, when it expires at 08:00 SLT.

As the blog post notes, there is no Premium gift offer this time around, instead the lab point to their recent announcement of  a Premium perk:

Being a Premium Second Life subscriber carries many benefits – from weekly L$ stipends, to your own Linden Home, expanded live customer support options, exclusive gifts, and more. Just last week, we added a new perk for Premium subscribers, and we’ll be adding even more benefits and features for Premium members throughout the year.

premium spring-15
This time the 50% discount applies to the first month’s payment on the Monthly plan

None of this is what makes the offer particularly interesting. As I’ve noted, they do pop-up periodically. What is interesting however, is hinted-at in the body text of the post:

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade to a Premium account, now is a great time, because today we’re kicking off a great new sale: from today until April 13, 2015, you can upgrade to Premium subscription for less than $5 for your first month! That’s a 50% discount off the regular rate, and this offer won’t last long. Upgrade today and start enjoying Premium benefits at our lowest-ever monthly rate.

Up until now, these offers have applied to the Quarterly billing plan, where the 50% discount is applied to the first quarter’s billing, reducing it from $22.50 to $11.25 (excluding VAT, where applicable). However, this time the discount applies to the Monthly billing scheme, as the notes at the end of the blog post further confirm.

Quite why the switch has been made is unclear; while I’ve never myself been convinced as to how well-received these offers are (that’s purely supposition, without any basis on fact), I’d say that the Quarterly plan discount represents a more appealing offer than just cutting the first month’s fee. Perhaps the Lab were finding that even with the first quarter’s bill cut by half, people weren’t overly enamoured with the offer, and are trying to mix things up a little. If so, I’d venture to suggest perhaps offering two months on the reduced rate might be a tad more appealing.

But really, the problem with Premium membership is not so much how much it costs – but what it brings. For the majority of people who can otherwise enjoy and contribute to SL free of charge (emphasis intentional, as “free” doesn’t equate to “feeloading”, as  is sometimes made out to be the case), Premium membership really isn’t that attractive. Hence why the Lab have in the past tried to spice it up with gifts. The problem here is, as I’ve recently explored, actually coming up with a Premium package that does offer the kind of incentives that are likely to have really broad-based appeal among users actually isn’t that easy.

In the meantime, if you are a Basic member and are considering upgrading, might I offer some thoughts (as long in the tooth as they might be) as someone who has bounced from Premium to Basic and back again?

9 thoughts on “Lab presents spring Premium membership offer – with a slight twist

  1. I’m in my second year now as a Premium member and …. meh. Really, the perks aren’t anything to brag about. I get a house. Big deal. The houses are crap, crowded together and not secure. I’ve had neighbours or landers mess with my avi when I’ve left her sitting on a poseball on the furniture. You get free gifts. Again, basically crap. Remember, just because you get free gifts doesn’t mean they are good gifts. Now to the reason I signed up for membership in the first place: better support. Really. I have had to contact them twice, both times for missing inventory. Both times, the rep (A) said I needed to be on the official (crap) SL viewer before they could help me – the last time, he terminated the chat because I refused and (B) insinuated it was a problem at my end … even though I had a new laptop, new modem and new router and was actively measuring their strength before contacting them. What really infuriated me was they were aware all along that there were issues with inventory going missing AT THE LABS’ end, yet this is how they treated a “Premium Member” over their issue. So why did I sign for a second year? I couldn’t find a way to stop them from resigning me without taking my card right off the account. If there’s an option NOT to renew automatically, I haven’t found it. I’m going back to looking now. Even with the new laughable IM cap, it’s not worth the money.

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    1. Premium is a mixed bag, and certainly not for everyone, which is why I tend to point people towards my article offering food for thought for those considering upping from Basic. It really is a case of YMMV as to the benefit. I’m not overly impressed with the benefits on offer, and even less so with the way Premium is often marketed (“more land”, “more privacy”), but I confess I remain Premium, even though the benefits are negligible for me now that I’ve moved back to leasing a private island for my home.

      However, I would – if I may – refer back to the explanation I gave to the request by LL that you use the official viewer, it really does help the support team avoid mistakes and ensure the potential of post hoc, ergo propter hoc occurring – that is, because we have issue X and can see Y, Y must therefore be the cause of X – when in fact it is possible something else might be responsible, and the Lab need to be able to satisfy themselves that risk has been eliminated as far as possible.

      In terms of downgrading your Premium status:

      1. Log-in to your SL dashboard ta http://secondlife.com.
      2. On to left side of the page, click on Account
      3. In the list of options which opens, click on Premium Membership
      4. Scroll to the bottom of the page – you will see an option to downgrade to Basic membership, complete with a warning
      5. Click on the radio button to select Basic membership, and then click on the Change Membership button

      Premium downgrade

      The change will come into effect at your next billing date.

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    2. When I contacted Support for help with missing inventory, way back when Emerald was still legal and popular, I complained about being asked to switch to the official viewer.

      The guy at the other end explained it thus. He was trained, he said, to help me recover my inventory with the official viewer. He wasn’t trained on Emerald, had never used it, and didn’t know the steps I’d need to follow.

      If I followed his instructions on the official viewer and my inventory reappeared, then I could try relogging with Emerald and see what happened. If it was there in Emerald, too, then great. If not, I could contact Emerald and ask for their help, since we’d have established it was a viewer problem.

      If, however, I followed his instructions with the official viewer and it didn’t retrieve my inventory, then we knew it was a problem at LL’s end, and he could escalate the case to the correct department.

      That all sounded very reasonable to me.

      As it happened, we could retrieve my inventory with the official viewer, so I was able to go to Emerald with that information and they were then able to advise me how to get things back with their viewer.

      Really, the mild inconvenience of having to download the latest LL viewer and log in with it for a few minutes isn’t worth getting upset over.

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  2. I’ve been a member since 2007 and premium suits me fine, I like having a little nest to call my own, and i like the support I get. For building etc. I can rent space else where I can do so much, yet I always have my nest, no prim worries, no finding a house, its basic, and meets my needs a place to call my own, I’ve tried basic, but always come back to premium. life is just easier. I support LL, I have tried other worlds, and there is nowhere else that compares to LL .. nothing in life is perferct, but LL seems to have to put up with a lot of complaints, yet there are many of us who have lived here for years, and we love it. so they must be doing some things right.

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    1. ” I support LL”

      I think this is perhaps the biggest single reason for retaining Premium, leaving aside all the gripes we may have about perks; and it is the one I rather regretfully neglected to comment upon when offering thoughts on the problems of providing such perks. Certainly, in this, I’m totally with you, and it is the major reason why I retain my Premium membership.

      I’m also with you on the Linden Home front; this are often slighted as being “poor” or “bad” or “cramped” – and some of the estates are rather unfortunate in their presentation, which gives them a packed, projects-type feel. But, the flip side is, with time and a little effort it actually is possible to find a Linden home which does sit is a nice area and which can be turned into a very nice, cosy little home.

      I did just this, and managed a year living in it in comfort and with the things I wanted, with little overall seat or bother; certainly no more than one encounters in trying to find any other place to call home in SL. Truth be told, if it hadn’t been with my ever-deepening twin interest in sailing and flying in SL, and wanting a place I could call home and have my ‘plane and boats rezzed at hand, rather than keeping them in inventory or located elsewhere, then I’d most likely still be occupying my Linden Home without any complaint.

      “nothing in life is perfect, but LL seems to have to put up with a lot of complaints, yet there are many of us who have lived here for years, and we love it. so they must be doing some things right.”

      Indeed! And even those who seem to spend more time complaining about anything and everything the Lab ever does or ties to do are still here – so again, the Lab must be getting something right! 🙂 .

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  3. I’m moved to premium just 15 days after i 1st tried SL, i was the 3th to get a official LL home and i did used it for a bit, but the main reason at the time was live support.
    Till now i can not complain about Live support, even when i refused to use LL viewer (for over 4 years) i still manage to get their help and my issues solved.
    Now that i do have it installed i do advise all to do so, as in fact many issues can be solved just by login in with it, then return to your fav tpv.
    Still my soul mate only changed to premium after a few years and the reason was to cobine efforts and start acquiring land in mainland continents, be by auctions or by getting abandoned land.
    None of us regret that, we don’t have our LL homes but to leave them and change for m2 on mainland, deed it to our group and get 10 pct more m2 was just what we wanted.
    Now we are proud owners of several spots, in most mainland continents (Bay city at Sansara, in Satori, in Nautilus, 2 spots with direct access to LL waters, in Corsica and on Zindra) just by getting land in auctions (Satori and Corsica) or by getting abandoned land before bots found it (Zindra and Bay city, for sure the best deals we made:)) or by cheer luck (Nautilus spots with direct access to ll water, that allow us to explore and go form there to another 4 diff continents and the Blake sea).
    So we still believe that the 2 main reasons for being premium are valid.
    Live support,
    Mainland.
    As for the rest, i do wish, as said so many times, that LL could increase the M2 per tier level on the middle range tiers and i never got any of their gifts, as they are really poor ones and much better exist for free, from some well known builders.
    To end, the exclusive access to sand boxes reserved to premium members is some one should not forget as well.

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