VAT & GST on Lab products & services for Norway & Australia

In case you missed it, on Thursday, May 21st, Linden Lab announced that value added tax (VAT) and Goods and Services Tax (GST), as mandated by the governments of Norway and Australia, will be applied to to services and products sold by Linden Lab to residents of those countries, as from Monday, May 26th, 2020.

For further information on this change, please use the following links:

You can also read the Lab’s own post on these changes here.

Lab Gab 26 summary: Izzy and the Solution Provider Directory

via Linden Lab

The 26th edition of Lab Gab live streamed on Friday, May 22nd, featuring Izzy Linden, discussing, among other things, the re-launch of the Lab’s Solution Provider directory.

The official video of the segment is available via You Tube, and is embedded at the end of this article. The following is a summary of the key topics discussed and responses to questions asked.

Izzy Linden is a senior member of Linden Lab’s Land Operations team specialising in specializes in Custom Names, RegAPI. most recently, he has been handling the new business requests incoming from businesses and educational institutions due to the COVID pandemic. Along with the rest of the team, he also handles abandoned land tickets and liaises with the Moles concerning everything Linden Department of Public Works (such as provisioning regions for Linden Homes development).

Also, since May 2017, Izzy has run the Lab’s internal course teaching ALL Linden Lab employees (regardless of their pre-existing familiarity with the platform) about Second Life and how to use it – and how the Lab uses it (SL actually forms a core component of the Lab’s working tools, as it is used to host company / department / project meetings etc.).

The initial part of the discussion revolves around Izzy’s recent conversion to an all-mesh avatar, and I refer you to the video for that aspect of the session.

The all-mesh Izzy Linden with Lab Gab host Strawberry Linden

Solution Provider Directory

What is the Solution Provider directory?

  • A one stop shop resource location for people needing to find others in Second Life who can handle the things they need to get done: resign design / landscaping; making / proving buildings and objects; scripting; environment design; etc.
  • A place where any size of specialist providers from individuals with a specific focus (building, scripting, avatar looks creation, etc.), through to complete solution providers.

How can people apply to be a part of it?

  • At the bottom of the Solution provider directory page there is a link to a submission form.
  • Applications are reviewed by Linden Lab for suitability (e.g. the references provided in the form, checking the provider’s standing as a Second Life user, etc.).
  • The list of providers itself will be reviewed as well to ensure those who many have ceased offering a service / services for whatever reason are removed, etc.
  • An open rating system will not be provided, simply to avoid it being positively / negatively gamed.

What Happened to the “old” Solution Provider directory, and how is this different to that “old” directory?

  • It had been around a long time and was on a wiki page and had become stale.
    • (Side note: the original Solution Provider programme actually ran for around 2 years and utilised a web page supported by wiki pages – the directory itself didn’t become wiki-only until LL wound it down in 2012.
  • The goal is now to refresh it, and push it forward “more and more”.)
  • The current wiki page is purely an interim measure to get things started, and to address the needs voiced by incoming businesses / organisations to obtained skilled support.
  • Enhancements to the directory will be made over time and links to it will gradually appear “anywhere someone is liable to be looking”, e.g. the enterprise micro-site, the knowledge base, etc. Even the Marketplace may come to include a link.
  • The current directory has four categories: Full Service Companies; Software Solution Providers; Developer Tools and Specialists – these many be added to / refined / made more granular as a result of incoming submissions.

Business and Educational Use of SL Arising from the Pandemic

  • LL has had a “huge” level of interest from companies / organisations looking to shift to a virtual means of meeting their business or educational or social needs. These have included:
    • Wanting to run virtual meetings with staff.
    • Healthcare organisations wanting to provide psychiatric help to people virtually.
    • Schools not currently using SL to provide lessons.
    • Educational facilities wanting to offer their prom or graduation ceremony.
    • A virtual summer camp (which I’ll be covering shortly, having been in contact with the organisers for the last month).
  • Izzy was shifted to focus directly to trying to provide support / solutions for these organisations.
  • Organisations still wishing to contact LL about the potential of using Second Life should do so through the micro-site.

Miscellaneous Questions

  • How do people join the Moles?
    • Details on the Moles (the Linden Department of Public Works, or LDPW) can be found on the SL wiki.
    • Applications can be made via note card to Derrick and / or Patch Linden.
    • Applicants will have to go through an interview process.
  • Can suggestions be made for future LPDW work?
    • Yes, again via note card to Derrick or Patch.
    • However, not every suggestion will be acted upon; a lot depends on feasibility, current LDPW projects / workload, etc.
  • Why does abandoned land remain so for so long?
    • The Land Team tries to respond to abandon land as quickly as possible, either be setting it for auction or by selling it directly to a user, depending on the particular situation.
    • A lot of factors play into this, such as trying to keep the Mainland as fresh as possible, not harming / being detrimental to surrounding Mainland areas, etc.
    • Additionally, the team pro-actively check areas of the Mainland for abandoned land that has not been made available for auction and make it so whenever they can.
    • Users finding abandoned land that is not set for auction can file a support ticket requesting the Land team investigate – either for a direct sale or for it to go to auction.
    • Land available for auction can be found on the Second Life auctions page.
    • Could there be a automated means of getting abandoned land set for auction? – not easily.
  • Will Cape Ekim be preserved when LL starts to retire the old Linden Homes mini-continents? (See: Of forgotten explorers, dragons and mysteries, May 2013, for more on Cape Ekim.)
    • Any area of the old Linden Homes of value to residents may be considered for preservation.
  • How will the old Linden Home regions be retired?
    • Currently, many of the old Linden Homes regions are still in use by residents who have opted not to move to Bellisseria. Ergo, for the immediate future, there are no plans / options for retiring these regions that can be discussed.
  • Will the updated trees and other flora seen in Bellisseria be added to the inventory Library?
    • Will pass that question up the line.
  • Will prices on land be coming down at all or soon?
    • Mainland and private island prices have been adjusted in the last few years.
    • LL is always looking at land costs and opportunities to make adjustments.
    • When we might seen any further adjustment cannot be indicated at present.
  • What’s happening with the work to beautify areas of the the Mainland?
    • The Moles are constantly working to improve the landscaping, etc., of Mainland.
    • No specifics on areas being selected, etc.
    • There are also a number of resident groups who purchase areas of Mainland specifically to beautify them for people to appreciate.
  • Why have there been no visible environment changes on Mainland with the release of EEP?
    • Because estate-wide changes could have a significant impact on people’s expectations of what they expect to see with environment lighting.

Out with the green, in with the blue

via Linden Lab

On Friday, May 22nd, Linden Life formally introduced the new Second Life logo with a brief blog post – see A New Look for Second Life.

The new logo retains the familiar eye-in-hand design familiar to all, but sees the colour switch from green to blue, while the typeface used for “Second Life” has been updated to a crisper, cleaner black typeface.

Some may have noticed the new logo in the blog post Tilia Pay to Power USD Transactions in Second Life Beginning May 26, which included the new logo (I did myself, but avoided commenting to see if there would be an official announcement.

The blog post introducing the change explains the reason for its introduction thus:

Second Life has seen a surge of interest from people new to SL, long-standing residents, and groups and businesses seeking a uniquely interactive place for gatherings and special events. With this renewed attention we decided it was time to update a key part of how we tell the world what SL is all about. Second Life is still going strong, with a devoted and energetic resident community, and we want everyone to know that.

The post also notes that it will take time for the new logo to completely replace the old logo in every place where it appears, as the company doesn’t want to pull staff from other work just to make logo updates, particularly given the sheer volume of web pages where the logo is used.