Lab opts to temporarily continue Quarterly Premium plan for new sign-ups

via and © and ™Linden Lab

On May 29th, 2019, Linden Lab issued a blog post outlining a number of changes to fees charged in connection with Second Life (see Land Price Reductions, New  Premium Perks and Pricing Changes). In particular, for the purposes of this article, the Lab’s post indicated the Premium subscriptions would be increasing after June 24hth 2019 as follows:

  • Monthly subscriptions will be increasing from US $9.50 per month to US $11.99.
  • Annual subscriptions will be increasing from US $72.00 per year to US $99.00.
  • Quarterly subscriptions will be increased from US $22.50 to US $32.97.

In that blog post, it was also indicated that from both Monthly and Quarterly subscriptions would be applicable to user in EU countries, while Quarterly subscriptions would be discontinued as an option from June 24th for those upgrading to Premium after that date, but would remain available for those already subscribed to that option.

These changes, and the others announced in the Lab’s blog post have generated considerable feedback. Some of this feedback, voiced through forum discussions and via assorted blog posts (see my own Dear Ebbe II” (on the subject of Basic account changes) resulted in the Lab reversing a decision to decrease the Basic account group allowance in favour of an increase in the same allowance for Premium members (see: LL reverse planned Basic account group limits reduction).

However, on Monday, June 10th, in responding to the comments left in the forum thread on the subject of the changes, Grumpity Linden indicated the Lab were making a temporary adjustment to the planned Premium fee changes, stating that the Quarterly subscription plan will now remain available to new premium sign-ups through until the “all-new membership level for those who want to get the absolute most out of their Second Life” is officially announced. The original blog post has been updated to reflect this.

Grumpity Linden’s forum comment on the short-term continuance of the Quarterly Premium subscription plan for users upgrading to Premium

This doesn’t offer much to those still feeling aggrieved by the fee changes as a whole (although – at the risk of earning a degree of ire – such changes are going to remain inevitable if the Lab is to maintain its ability to generate revenue whilst also meeting demands to lower virtual land tier), however, it does offer those wishing to upgrade to Premium but who are uncomfortable with playing the annual fee a further option to do so, albeit at the increased rate after June 24th, 2019.

Also, as can be seen in Grumpity’s reply, the Lab will try to address matters around the fee changes through their annual Meet the Lindens sessions that form a part of the Second Life Birthday events. As always, I will endeavour to provide a summary of these sessions, with audio extracts where relevant, as soon as possible after each session.

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13 thoughts on “Lab opts to temporarily continue Quarterly Premium plan for new sign-ups

  1. Everything else costs more, so this is not much of a surprise. It’ll be interesting to see whether the number of paying “Premium” members stays the same or declines. Linden is not immune to inflation, given. I just hope that the Premium account retains its luster…because usually this sort of increase in “fees” is accompanied in a little while by reduced benefits of Premium accounts (other subscription groups). Wait and see seems to be the only answer.

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  2. This is such a mess of a way to run a company. Grumpity cares, a lot. Not faulting her but who decided that

    a) here’s our new pricing menu

    b) have a multiple day storm in the Forums with the usual stuff that happens – flouncing, threats, “open sim better” SL runs like junk and all the other old saws

    c) Grumpity stays up all night(s) answering, her tone not always professional

    d) they back down a little Friday then a little more later with the qtrly membership.

    The Lab is a successful business, adjusting prices is part of it. They should not be running it like an Occupy Movement – who can scream loudest? Then back down .

    Isn’t there a mature business head in the place? Or is Grumpity in charge of how the Lab will present its corporate face?

    I have zero problem with premium increase, although timing was bad – not enough new houses- the cash out fee- having it in 2 stages with a 3 month warning would have been better

    BUT I have more serious concerns about the maturity and ability of the Lab to manage itself into the future if THIS cluster is the way they’ll go forward.

    They’ve been boneheaded before but this fiasco makes it look like the ship is rudderless.

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  3. You nailed this on the head “This doesn’t offer much to those still feeling aggrieved by the fee changes as a whole (although – at the risk of earning a degree of ire – such changes are going to remain inevitable if the Lab is to maintain its ability to generate revenue whilst also meeting demands to lower virtual land tier),”

    What is rubbing me raw is that it feels like Premium members are paying for others to own land. Take myself, for instance. I don’t own land. I have the Linden Houseboat and that’s all I need. They are bringing land costs down between $16 and $20, depending on what you have and increasing membership between $27 for annual. Literally, our premium increase is not only paying for others to have discounts on their land, but a tidy profit for LL.THAT is the real crux of the matter.

    I would not have balked at a slight rise, say to $80, but this? I just find it insulting to those like myself who went premium almost from the start of their SL life.

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    1. “What is rubbing me raw is that it feels like Premium members are paying for others to own land.”

      To be fair, this is a precise mirroring of how those “owning” or renting private regions or space on private regions have felt for years: that because “the tier is too damned high!”, they are effectively paying for a platform for everyone else to use.

      In fact, the proclamation that “the tier is too damned high!” goes back at least a decade, and is also perhaps the loudest complaint made since Ebbe Altberg took over as CEO, and the one that has draw continual airing since that time. The problem is, while tier may be “too damned high”, it is the major source of revenue – not profit – revenue the Lab needs to operate – and those operational costs go well beyond the cost of the simulator servers that generate it, and which are often seen as the “only” cost the Lab faces. In fact, SL is a mass of interconnected services of which the simulator servers are but a part; then there are the various third-party service required to deliver SL, none of which come free, the underpinning infrastructure costs and the costs in operating LL itself that all need to be factored in. (And yes, over and above this, the Lab is a private company that needs to also earn profits to keep its investors happy, profits it can opt to hold in reserve, pump back into SL or push into other projects, I’m not denying that; but – and while this might be an unpopular statement – how LL use their profits is actually their prerogative, the same as for any private company.)

      Thus, if LL is to accede to demands for lower land tier, they need to pivot their means of maintaining that flow of revenue from land tier to other sources – the problem is, those other sources are limited. Up until now, they have – so to speak – nibbled around the edges of things. The Premium increase is more of a direct bite.

      But again, this increase doesn’t stand in isolation – nor does it also stand just with the reductions in tier announced alongside of it. The Lab made a significant decrease in private region tier in 2018, and while this did follow increases in fees elsewhere, there is no guarantee those increases saw a rise in revenue to compensate for the private tier cut – practically given the tier reductions were only followed by a modest rise in interest in land ownership. Ergo, if the demand for lower land tier is to continue as a call the Lab is expected to heed, at some point compensating for it is going to require some larger bites into people’s wallets and purses.

      In saying this, please don’t assume I agree with the arguments over tier reduction. In fact, there are many claims around lower tier I strongly disagree with. Take, for example, the idea that lower land tier will increase users in SL. While holding land might be an outcome of involvement in SL, it’s not really a reason people come to SL. More particularly, we saw a practical demonstration that “cheaper land” doesn’t increase the active user count with the Enhanced OpenSpace / Homestead situation. In 6 months – from its introduction in mid-2008 through to the price restructuring later in that year, it resulted in almost a doubling in the number of regions on the grid, without any real increase in the number of active users.

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  4. If you rent a 1024 parcel you’ll be paying 700-950 L a week on a private estate. 700 times 52weeks div 260 L=1 or $140 USD. Cost per year. So how is premium a rip, plus the structure on a Linden home is LI free. And you get the stipend,sandbox, access boost etc

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    1. Personally, I’ve never said Premium is a “rip”. I’m Premium myself and while (as I’ve said elsewhere), I wasn’t sanguine about the increase but, I fully understand why they are being introduced, and accept them. There were (/are) ways the increase could have been practically sweetened (rather than initially smacking of hurting Basic account holders (now partially corrected), but that’s a different matter; as is the argument that Premium benefit could be improved to provide more of a feel they are a value-added proposition. However, if you’re questioning why “people” at times feel Premium is a “rip”, we’re pretty much in agreement.

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      1. Thanks Inara I was replying to “What is rubbing me raw is that it feels like Premium members are paying for others to own land.”- it is a deal money wise from my calculations above -if you want to have a nice 1024.

        . When I was in college being “rubbed raw” was a good thing ;p.

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        1. Ah! Mea Culpa – or a case of this WP theme not decently differentiating between the general comment button and the reply to comment button 🙂 .

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