Tag Archives: SL News

Can you help the East River Community in Second Life?

Located on the mainland continent of Sansara, the East River Community (ERC) will this year celebrate its ninth year of operations in Second Life – although it can trace its roots as far back as 2006 with the MBYC, one of the first sailing clubs in Second Life – and sailing remains very much a part of the ERC’s activities.

Comprising a federation of groups, the intent within East River has always been to create an open, collaborative and convivial space for residents and businesses, nurturing the growth of relationships, friendships, personal projects, and encouraging collaborative activities  with both members and non-members of the community.

ERC has always been particularly engaged in fostering cultural activities and in enhancing the Mainland experience by demonstrating an attractive residential and commercial environment can be created purely through resident action. Newcomers are always welcome to explore the community’s regions, which offer a wide variety of public spaces including art galleries, cafés horse riding tracks, entertainment venues, nautical events, a harbour and airport for boating / flying enthusiasts and, for those wanting to get their first taste of water-based activities, a variety of free-access zero-cost boating.

Arriving at one of East River Community's airfields

Arriving at one of East River Community’s airfields

One of the mainstays of ERC has been its founder, Indigo Mertel – who has also contributed immensely to the Second Life community as a whole through a wide range of user-focused activities from establishing and building East River through to her work in curating and disseminating Second Life news form a wide range of notable sources, to the benefit of all users.

Indigo Mertal by Paola Tauber

Indigo Mertal by Paola Tauber

Not only did Indigo found East River, and has been active within the community throughout its live and growth, she has been responsible for holding and managing six of the community’s regions, including meetings much of the financial cost in maintaining them. She recently contacted me with some sad news – and with her permission, I’m reprinting it here in the hope that one or more people might be able to step forward and help.

“I’ve been contributing to the East River Community with land for years,” Indigo revealed in a note she passed out to bloggers on Sunday, February 5th. “But many things have changed in my physical life these past months, and I am now in the sad position of no longer able to contribute to the community as I have done in the past.

“I’ve procrastinated this decision for a long time, because I was very uncomfortable with the idea of harming or breaking a community many have put so much effort into helping to build. But eventually, I had to come to a decision.

“We all want the East River Community to survive, and so I’m putting out a call to everyone, both within ERC and beyond, in the hope we can find donors willing to offer tier to the group so that East River can continue to be a vibrant part of Second Life. And with this in mind, I intend to continue covering the costs involved for a limited time, so that those with a desire to help ERC can contact me directly.”

If you are in a position to help ensure ERC continues as we know it today, regardless of whether you are active in the community or not, please contact Indigo in-world.

You can find out a lot more about ERC by visiting the ERC website, and by watching a Designing Worlds special on the community, which I’ve embedded below.

 

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Important: verifying your e-mail address with Second life

secondlifeLinden Lab and Second Life use e-mail in a wide variety of ways, from direct e-mail campaigns informing users of promotions, etc., through the users having a means to obtain IMs sent to them while they are not logged-in (and even reply to them within a certain time constraint).

However, many people sign-up to Second Life, either with new accounts or additional accounts, and offer e-mail addresses which are either made up, or unused. The former is a particular problem for the Lab, as it creates additional traffic passing through ISPs, which can mark the Lab as a purveyor of “spam”.

To try to reduce this problem, the Lab recently introduced e-mail verification. When you sign-up to Second Life, the e-mail account provided will receive a request to verify it (the usual click-on-the-link approach); if you change the e-mail address, you will receive a similar verification request.

In addition, there is also an option within the Change Email Settings of your Second Life dashboard where you can have your e-mail verified without having to change your e-mail address.

This is important because, starting in the very near future, the Lab will be making changes to their e-mail service which will eventually mean that outgoing e-mails will not be sent to any unverified e-mail addresses.

So, if you want to be sure you continue to receive SL-related e-mails – such as IMs to e-mail or Marketplace information sent to your e-mail as a Merchant, etc., – it is important you ensure the e-mail you use with Second Life is verified.

Here’s how:

  • Go to your dashboard at secondlife.com.
  • Click on Account at the top left of your dashboard to open the Account sub-menu.
  • Click on Change Email Address to open the Change Email Settings page (below).
  • Locate the Verify link next to your e-mail address and click on it.
The Verify link will allow you to have your current e-mail address verified

The Verify link will allow you to have the e-mail address associated with your SL account verified

  • A verification e-mail will be sent to your current e-mail address associated with Second Life, containing a link. Click the link to verify your e-mail address.
  • Wait a minute or so, then refresh the Change Email Settings page on your dashboard. It should be updated to show your e-mail address is verified (below).
A verified e-mail address

A verified e-mail address

There will be an official notification from the Lab when the work updating the e-mail service commences. However , this article can be treated as something as an advanced warning, courtesy of Oz Linden speaking at the January 27th TPV Developer meeting.

It’s not clear how long the changes will take to implement / propagate out, but it is important that if you rely on any e-mails sent to you by the Lab in relations to Second Life, you ensure your recorded e-mail address is verified, otherwise you will at some point no longer receive any e-mail notifications from the Lab until such time as you are using a verified address.

Places: a new gateway to your activities in Second Life

Second Life Places Beta Page

Second Life Places Beta Page

On Wednesday, November 11th, the Lab announced a new beta programme – Second Life Places.

In essence this allows region and parcel owners to create a web browsable page for their location(s) in-world where they can be shared through blogs, websites, etc. Included with each page are buttons to allow visitors to the page to launch their viewer and teleport directly to your location (assuming they are Second Life users – if not, they’ll have to sign-up  via the provided link to the main sign-up process).

In order for people to be able to use the Places pages to promote their own locations, certain criteria must be met:

  • You must own the parcel / region in question OR you must be assigned a the group ability to Toggle ‘Show Place in Search’ And Set Category within the group owning the land
  • About Land > Show Place in Search must be checked (recurring fee of L$30 a week).

The announcement itself was – frankly – vague. Whilst explaining the purpose of Places, and the fact it is beta, the blog post itself doesn’t actually provide information on where to find detailed information on the new pages – such as how to get started or even how to view the new pages. While there is a link to a forum post, it also isn’t that much more informative on where to find information for those unsure of how to proceed. This being the case, here are the key links:

A part of the Places page set-up by the Lab for the Innsmouth role-play community

A part of the Places page set-up by the Lab for the Innsmouth role-play community – click image to visit the page

As a quick run-down of the basics, providing you meet the criteria for establishing public Places page(s) for your parcel(s) / region(s) as defined above, you can get started by:

  • Visiting the Places home page – note you may have to log-in to it.
  • Hovering the mouse pointer over your name (top right of the page) and selecting My Places from the displayed drop down  – this will list all of your parcels and regions. You can then select those you wish to edit, and follow the instructions in the Knowledge Base article.
  • Note that A Places page for a parcel can also be “hidden” at any time by unchecking Show Place in Search in the About Land window, while all Places pages for a region, regardless of parcel settings, can be hidden by checking World > Region/Estate > Region >  Block Land Show in Search.

Within the pages are options to embed image slide shows, machinima videos and include social media buttons to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ for those wishing to use them, as well as basic information on the location itself. There is also the ability to include a 360-snaphot banner / hero image, and to include links to the Places pages for locations  / venues within the current location. For example, Loki Eliot’s Escapades Places page includes links to the Places pages for venues with his Escapades island, as shown below.

If you have a location with multiple venues / places to visit, you can create a Places page for it, and then link to the Places pages for each of the venues / places within it - as Loki Eliot has done with Escapades Island (click to go to the Escapades Place page)

If you have a location with multiple venues / places to visit, you can create a Places page for it, and then link to the Places pages for each of the venues / places within it – as Loki Eliot has done with Escapades Island (click to go to the Escapades Place page)

All of which make the pages somewhat flexible. And while they are fairly basic at present, they could evolve into exceptionally useful items and make the L$30 a week search listing fee more than worthwhile.

Note, however that as a beta, capabilities are both limited and subject to bugs. The Lab is welcoming ideas and feature requests, and asks that specific bugs (the linking to places described above is buggy, for example), are reported via JIRA. General feedback and observations should be given via the official forum thread,

I’m not sure how many actually have access to the beta programme, or whether this initial deployment is restricted to those who actually OWN regions. However, I’ve been unable to access those parcels / regions where I have the required group rights as an Estate Manager and the land is listed in Search. Others in a similar position to myself have also reported they cannot view the Places pages for  their regions.  This being the case, and in addition to the screen shots above, here are some Places pages links for those wanting a closer look at things:

Looking at the Second Life 2016 year-end Grid Survey report

The Prim Rig, ANWR Channel

The Prim Rig, ANWR Channel – blog post

On January 2nd, Tyche Shepherd issued her year-end summary on the general size and state of the Second Life main grid.

In all, 2016 has seen a slightly larger loss of private regions compared to 2015: 992 private regions (Full and Homestead) removed from the main grid in 2016 compared to 825 the previous year. This represents a reduction of some 5.6% over 4.4% for 2015. In terms of grid size, the loss of private regions was slightly mitigated by an increase in Linden owned regions, leaving the grid with a net shrinkage of 884 regions overall for 2016.

Taking the year-on-year figures from 2010 onwards (that being the last year the grid exhibited a growth in the number of regions), we get the following breakdown for private regions:

2010 2011 2012 2013
2014
2015 2016
24,483 23,857 20,994 19,273
 18,600
17,775 16,738
Increase
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
810 3% 626 2.56% 2863 12% 1719 8.2% 673 3.5% 825 4.4% 992 5.6%

While the loss is something of an acceleration over 2015 and 2014, it is still not as drastic as the declines in private regions seen in 2012 and 2013 . Nevertheless, it does indicate a further drop in approximate gross monthly revenues for the Lab. Working on the basis of Tyche Full Private Region surveys I have to hand, a breakdown of recent monthly revenue from private regions can be given as:

  • November 2013: US$3,857,000 (+/- US $52,000)
  • March 2016: $3,385,000 ( +/- US $43,000)
  • December 2016: US$3,162,000 (+/- US $39,000)

This represents around an 18% drop in monthly revenues over a three-year period. While uncomfortable, it’s not outright alarming at this point in time, representing an average loss of about US $19,305.55 per month, compared to the staggering US $63,500 (approx) per month loss the Lab experienced in  2012.

Of course, a loss is still a loss, and sooner or later, continuing revenue decline will have an a visible impact. But it is hard to determine when that might actually be. The surface evidence seems to be that at this point in time, while of concern, the decline isn’t adversely affecting the Lab’s ability to do business. They are still continuing to invest in both Second Life and Sansar, including recruiting for positions working on both. While it is hard to be precise, a reasonable estimation suggests that the company is generating around US $49 million in revenue through Second Life. While we don’t know how much of that is bankable as profit, it’s still a tidy sum in terms of operating revenue for a company of LL’s size.

Some have raised concerns over how much of an impact Sansar will have on SL’s landmass in 2017. I actually don’t think it will. While I anticipate the decline in land will continue (but hopefully at a slower rate than 2016), I simply don’t think Sansar will have any immediate impact on Second Life one way or the other. Not in its first year, at least.

To me, the more interesting question is what can LL do to further offset revenue drops incurred by region losses (and sadly, the answer isn’t simply to reduce tier: that could actually do far more harm than good, given the amounts involved). The Horizons initiative, for example, is one way of spawning additional revenue. We’re now around half-way through that process, and I estimate the Lab has generated around US $45,000 from it thus far. 2016 also saw the private region buy-down offer, which appeared to be enthusiastically received, although numbers are far harder to ascertain on that. Are we liable to see further initiatives in 2017? I’d actually be very surprised if we didn’t.

Private estate numbers ups-and-downs in 2016

Private estate numbers ups-and-downs in 2016

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