Note: I’m getting to this a little late as I was caught-up on in-world projects when the news broke – so please excuse my tardiness.
On May 29th, Linden Lab issued a blog post indicating some major restructuring of fees for Premium members, for credit processing Linden Dollar amounts to fiat money and out of Second Life, and alterations to Premium and Basic account Group and IM capabilities.
In case anyone missed it, the original blog announcement is here: Land Price Reductions, New Premium Perks, and Pricing Changes and my own summary / initial thoughts on the changes are here: Linden Lab announces significant SL fee changes.
In my initial response I noted that while the Premium fee changes incur an “ouch!” factor, they are nonetheless understandable if the Lab is to meet the demand for lower virtual land tier fees and maintain its revenue flow. Of the other announced changes, the increase to credit processing fees, whilst again part of the revenue pivot, is nevertheless a hard bite to take for those generating their own income via SL, given it is the latest in a line of such increases over the last few years. However, and for many of us – Basic or Premium – the major injustice outlined in the Lab’s announcement was the cut to Basic account capabilities – namely the group allowance and the reduction in off-line IMs.
Again, as I noted in my initial blog post on the subject, and expanded upon in “Dear Ebbe II” (on the subject of Basic account changes, reducing Basic account capabilities in the manner proposed smacked of being a punitive act towards Basic account holders. This view wasn’t particularly helped by an official forum post indicating the Basic account reductions were an (ill-considered) attempt to encourage people to take out Premium subscriptions and – in the case of group allowances – an exercise in load-balancing to compensate for some of the group increase being given to Premium subscribers.
Such has been the upset that late on Friday, May 31st, the Lab openly conceded they’d made a mistake, and that the group allowance for Basic members will remain unchanged at the current limit of 42 – see: Group Limits Update: No Changes for Basic Members. However, the reduction in off-line IMs will still come into force from June 24th. So, as per the Lab’s update, From June 24th, 2019, Basic and Premium accounts group and off-line IM caps will be as follows:
This does leave off-line IMs for Basic members reduced – although it has been suggested that planned changes to the events system might reduce the need for group messages to promote events, in which case this might help reduce part of the reliance on off-line IMs for at least some basic users (as well as possibly decreasing the reliance on groups overall in some cases). Time will tell on that; for the moment there is still understandable hurt over this reduction.
However, the fact that Linden Lab is prepared to listen and accept that they have erred on an issue should be acknowledged – and take steps to reverse that part of the decision that has caused the clearest feedback about the optics it presents – does deserve acknowledgement and a word of thanks for taking the time to listen, consider and respond.