Second Life L$ Authorised Reseller programme to close

secondlifeOn Monday, June 15th, Linden Lab announced the forthcoming closure of the Linden Dollar (L$) Authorised Reseller programme, which has been in operation for just over two years.

The programme was originally introduced in May 2013, after Linden Lab had, earlier that month, made changes to their Terms of Service (ToS) which meant that only the official LindeX was the only place where trading in Linden dollars would be allowed.

At the time of the change, the Lab stated their reason for the change was to better protect users from the risk of fraud. However, there was considerable speculation on whether the move was linked to a set of interpretive guidelines (PDF) issued by the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement network (FinCEN). As I reported at the time the guidelines were issued, the suggestion was that insofar as the federal government was concerned, the Linden Dollar could be regarded as a virtual currency  a virtual currency (the Lab had “downgraded” it to a game token in 2010 within their ToS), and therefore potentially subject for more rigorous controls to prevent issues of fraud and money laundering.

However, whether or not FinCen’s guidelines were a trigger point for the Lab’s changes to the Terms of Service in 2013, the changes themselves did cause assorted problems for may users outside of the United States who wished to but L$, but who could not, again for assorted reasons, easily use the LindeX.

The Linden Dollar Authorised Reseller logo, introduced with the programme in 2013

The Linden Dollar Authorised Reseller programme was a direct response to the problems users affected by the ToS changes were encountering. It allowed approved bodies to buy Linden dollars through the LindeX and then resell those L$ to users in a variety of international currencies and via numerous payment methods. However, in keeping with the May 2013 ToS changes, these Authorised Resellers were not allowed to buy back L$ from users or cash users out – such transactions would still have to go via the LindeX.

When it was introduced, the Authorised Reseller programme was supported by a wiki page, and was regarded by the Lab as a pilot programme – and its status as such has never changed over the last two years. Nevertheless, it proved to be popular; by early June 2013, just three weeks after it had been launched, some 29 resellers had been approved by the Lab as a part of the programme.

In announcing the closure of the programme, which will take place on August 1st, 2015, the Lab states:

Since then [the introduction of the programme in 2013], we have expanded the payment options for Second Life users, and today, you can easily purchase L$ in more countries than ever before, using a credit card, PayPal, or Skrill, which supports a wide range of payment methods. We’ve found that these options support the vast majority of Second Life users, and we have therefore made the business decision to close the Authorized Linden Dollar Reseller pilot program.

We are contacting program participants directly to detail the next steps for them, and they will have approximately six weeks to sell off their L$ inventory.

As of August 1, 2015, the Authorized L$ Reseller pilot program will be closed, and the LindeX will be the only authorized place to purchase L$.

While the announcement will probably lead to speculation and theories as to why the Lab is taking this step, the stated reason actually seems to be fair enough: when the changes were made to the Terms of Service in 2013, the loss of third-party exchanges for L$ purchases did impact users – but the Lab has, over the last two years, genuinely sought to offer more options by which users can make L$ purchases, all of which enjoy widespread use among Second Life users.

For full details on the closure and on how to buy L$ beyond August 1st, 2015 if you have relied upon a third-party authorised Reseller, please refer to the official blog post.

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2015 viewer release summaries: week 24

Updates for the week ending: Sunday, June 14th, 2015

This summary is published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version: 3.7.30.302599, June 12 – hotfix update with MSVCP100.DLL and MSVCR100.DLL files missing form recent Windows releases of the viewer (download page, release notes)
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847 dated May 8 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes and will not be promoted to release status (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-style

  • Black Dragon updated to version 2.4.3.1 on June 14th – core updates: bug fixes for microphone issue and potential crash on start issue (release notes)
  • UKanDo updated to 3.7.29.34273 Beta on June 10th – core updates: latest changes to VMM (release notes)

V1-style

  • Cool VL Viewer Stable branch updated to version 1.26.12.46, and the Experimental branch to version 1.26.13.15, both on June 13th (release notes).

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Finding fool’s gold in Second Life

Alpha.Tribe
Alpha.Tribe

Artist and avatar creator Alpha Auer has re-opened her region, Alpha.Tribe, after a period of redesign. “This new build revolves around the theme of ‘fool’s gold’,” she says of the new design, which extends on, under and over the region.  In respect of this, the majority of the builds and objects in the region have been given a black and gold finish, with even the sandy seabed carrying the motif, graduated as it is into alternating lines of light and shadow.

The result is an environment which brings together a rich mix of influences and structures which, although very disparate in design and form, are nevertheless unified through the contrasting richness of the gold and ebony of the region’s look.

Alpha.Tribe
Alpha.Tribe

“I have tried to build a sim that is conceptually a bit like my old sim Syncretia,” Alpha continues. “a continuous ecology that tells a story of sorts, rather than a place in which discrete things are presented independently of one another, which is what I had tried to do with the previous build.”

Among the things on offer for explorers to discover lie an oriental pavilion offering an exotic environment in which to relax, or visit a shipyard where a golden ship is under construction. Elsewhere there are gardens, ruins, and high tech designs. Meanwhile, seahorses in rich black and gold, escort Nemo’s Nautilus under water and overhead a huge and ornate airship rises slowly into the sky.

Alpha.Tribe
Alpha.Tribe

Not all of the region is new; the Blueprint City and Pastoral sphere have been preserved, Alpha informs visitors. Careful exploration is encouraged on foot and / or by flying, and there are things to see within the builds as well as around them, and to help visitors reach key points, a teleport system has been provided. Do make sure you use the region windlight settings when visiting; they add considerable depth to the various locales.

Alpha also notes that the region pays homage to creator Arcadia Asylum, also known as Aley. “Many of the prims that you will see on the sim are Aley’s creations which I have modified, and re-textured,” alpha says. “Aley’s ingenuity as a builder has allowed me to create a sim that (although it is only a homestead with limited prims) will hopefully appear as densely built as a full sim and hopefully tell a secret tale that needs lots of prim-detail in order to be properly heard.”

Alpha.Tribe
Alpha.Tribe

To mark the reopening and redesign, Alpha has released two new avatar designs which are in keeping with the theme of “fool’s gold”. These together with the rest of her designs can be found in the region’s gift store, which can be reached via the teleport system.

Alpha.Tribe is well worth a visit, offering a unique and very intriguing environment and design. Recommended.

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