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Since my last post Second Life hasn't been really much better. Lindenlab is still good at producing what's their own speciality - lags over lags over lags and ah bad gaming experience.

Well, to top it even, all logins to Second Life are disabled because the ISP of Lindenlab is having problems with their infrastructure and handling all the traffic, so they tell. Well... might be even right, who knows, stuff like that happens, but good hosting providers have got backup lines just in case for that, redundant connections, they are running if big enough a system called BGP with an autonomous system which even adds more to the reliability of a system.

Well, because Lindenlab quite well knows what they got on their blog when an issue like that opens up again - thousands of angry comments - it became lately their policy to just disable comments for such postings.

On the last case, though, one comment from Second Aimee made it through, before they closed it. She encouraged the people to comment on her blog instead, which the people are now gladly doing.

So this is quite a good chance again to get an unfiltered picture about what are people thinking about Second Life, opinions, which aren't really showing up on the corporate blog anymore.

One asks for example:

Why is SL always screwed up on Weekends Grrrr

Simple - because weekends mean usage peeks and the most stress for the system, which it is unable to handle.

Another one just finds interesting prim objects in real life:


But most are just plainly annoyed right now and venting off some steam, like:

yeah UP YOURS Linden Labs!!! I have over 200,000 dollars(Lindens)
invested in my freakin inventory alone,and that isnt including what I
spent on my Avi, like are u freaking kiddin me? All I get back is a
bald head, a freakin boot up my ass that wont even come out even if i
click detach and now I cant log in to pull the boot out of my ass and
find my hair??? WHAT did I do to you besides spend real cash for this
crap?? Thanks!!

So... the typical collection of comments on such a matter. New CTO, anyone? /me sighs.

In case you wonder about a nice way to decrease your traffic once it's been to high? Well, I've got a suggestion for you: just move around your club to another sim every two to three weeks or so and traffic will go down, down, down... even if you got a black heart, it will go down!

Consider yourself living on a nice, new sim of the mainland. You're happy with your small parcel, nice seaview, perhaps, good neighbors and then happening this: a new club is opening its gates.

Worse, this club has many camping spots, to fake traffic and also quite some visitors with the result that its eating up all possible traffic alone for the whole sim.

The result? You're busted. You cannot use your property anymore, because teleporting and even logging into your home becomes a new kind of adventure. "Is the sim already full or is at least one slot left for me to enter?"

So what can you do about it? Of course, you could tell the club owner to leave. "I am soo sorry, but I want to stay here, I like it and beside, I just own 4096 sqms of land and don't have the money for a private sim." Bummer. So he's eating up the whole traffic of the sim and making it unusable with just his teeny, weeny piece of it.

The next logical thing for you? To abandon or sell your land - don't think you can sell it with profit, by the way, good buyers take a look at the sim before buying it - and move to a private living sim.

So what should Lindenlab do about this kind of behaviour? Simple: they should make the tier traffic based in such a case. Why should I for myself finance the sim when some kind of business maker is only paying also a small share, but makes it unusable for the rest of us?

The pilot is leaving.

Cory Ondrejka aka Cory Linden, one of the longest running employees of Lindenlab and its chief technician (CTO) is leaving. Why? The reasons remain mysterious. Some speculate that he had different visions for the future of SL than Philip Rosedale has. What does this mean for LL? Well, many think that the company is in for a tough ride now and it's going to be very hard to fill the gap Cory Ondrejka leaves, since he's one of the few people who can still understand the big picture as it seems. So - we're going to see.

The land prices have been going down, down, down over the last few months. Anyone who's got a free parcel, either it is free for rent or sale, has quite some problems to find a new owner for it.

Also big players like Dreamland have lowered their prices to get new tenants or sell it. In addition the in world sales of virtual goods are not as quite good at the moment as they used to be, many people in this field are complaining about the lack of sales.

So how does it come? Well, the big hype over SL is over in most countries at the moment, it's not so unusual anymore, now SL needs to show its value as a tool for whichever need. But end of the hype means also that the stream of newbies flowing into SL has ebbed down great scale.

So what's next? I guess many landlords are forced to either sell their land now under value and/or just give up many islands. That's what I expect at least. Not everyone has enough bucks in the background to overcome this time now.

I don't expect Lindenlab to lower their own prices, though.

The next copyright lawsuit about in world theft has started. Virtually Blind has an interesting article about it.

What really baffles me is this quote:

“We originally tried to go through [Second Life Provider] Linden Lab,” said Alderman. “Everybody filed DMCA [takedown] notices. We filed support tickets and abuse reports. We even sent a letter to Robin [Harper, Linden Lab’s Vice President of Marketing & Community Development] and copied Philip [Rosedale, Linden Lab’s CEO]. We got nothing.”

Doesn't sound like a good customer service, does it? And those are not your mommas designers from the backyard, but some of the leading in world designers and builders. Well, we're going to see where this lawsuit is going to end.

Phat Cat's has been closed for public last weekend for around two days. The reason why? Because the wanted to rebuild it from scratch. Not a bad idea at all if you're unhappy with your sim or want to improve it. Given the fact, that there's always traffic at any time there also the only way to do it if you want to be able to work quickly and undisturbed at all.

So, now since it's open again for around one week, what to say about the rebuild Phat Cat's? The good part is: it is for sure a visual improvement compared to the old spot, all the good things are still there, meaning dance floor, classy ambiente, also the big mall.

The bad thing about it? Well, Phat Cat's is now way too heavy graphics wise. Meaning: there's way too much on heavy graphics in it, it was always laggy of course, since it's almost always full, but the new arrangement of prims and stuff adds way much to an even more worse lag now, too.

Also gone is now the sea view; at the old place you had one, now you're looking at arcades and their columns. And somehow I now find white marble rather boring... Traffic is still high, so don't let that fool you, but visual wise there are better themed jazz clubs around like Carribean Breezes.

Well, take a look at the main dance floor. It's a big, wide, open space, for me the dance floor got smaller compared to the one before, there aren't many chairs around anymore, also less dance balls at the moment it seems.

For me as a long time standing visitor (ha, what a wording!) Phat Cat's has lost much of its appeal to me, it has somewhat lost its trademark feeling. Oh, and take a look at this picture of the main dance area, taken today around 02:00 am SLT, to get the picture on your own:

If you take a look at the recent ban of gambling, you may wonder what's coming up next to be banned or limited. If Lindenlab would be consistent with their intentions, one things really pops up mighty in my mind: prostitution.

Sex and, yes, prostitution, though most people prefer to call themself in an euphemistic kind of way escort and not prostitute, is one of the big driving motions behind Second Life at all. And, yes, like gambling it's prohibited in many countries Second Life is available.

So if Lindenlab is really consistent about establishing a somewhat "cleaner" Second Life this must be next on their agenda: the containment or even shutting down of most prostitution happening in Second Life.

Either that, or as another consequence building up a new strictly, clean, separate corporation grid without this kind of business at all, like the Teen Grid is today. But then again, this would hurt their land sales, since it would depend on how many residents of course would like to visit this clean grid and you got more possible visitors on the main grid than on an own corporation grid. But for strict in house usage such a grid would be a heavy, good asset for Lindenlab to have.

This would of course hurt the in world economy great lengths since most of it is built upon sex, sex, sex, and many people come into Second Life to get laid and many females are working as escorts or dancers at least.

But it's the next logical step in the development of Second Life at all. In my opinion the question is not if it is going to happen at all, but how and when it is going to happen. This is bound to happen sooner or later if Second Life should still appeal to big real world companies. A cleaner grid could mean better land sales to such companies and in the end it's all that counts for Lindenlab. Sales, more sales, more and better income and profit to be alive.

When you take a look at the recent development of Second Life, then there are some things different compared to earlier developments:

  • There are still no key metrics available for August 2007. Those tend to get published later and later over the months.
  • The exchange of Linden dollars has reached a peak in the 1st quarter of 2007; since then it has been slowly decreasing, so Q1 is its peak (take a look at the last graph here).
  • Premium residents have reached their peak in June, there have already been less again in July.
  • The number of new residents entering the game has slowed down.
  • Business people are complaining in world about a lack of sales, meaning those are going down at the moment. There is for example being rumored that 70% of the Plush sims are unused right now.
  • Many Europeans are pissed off that they now have to pay VAT in most cases. This is not LL's fault at all, but could lead to more in world payments again and/or higher prices on their products.
  • Many markets tend to be sated after a while, so it goes with many in world markets when the rush of newbies tends to be over.

So what does that mean? Well, for now the hype is over in most countries. If Second Life should prove its worth as a tool, it now needs to improve to appeal more for business usage and to be more stable to sustain the established in world economy and returning residents.

Premium residents are not enough in numbers to sustain SL at all, so most of the money Lindenlab makes has its origin in land sales and main land tier fees. The borders of growth have been reached for now, as it seems, so now it's time for a consolidation of Second Life at all.

Since all are dependent on Lindenlab, this means of course more stable sims and clients, which is on the way according to them, a better scalable grid, too, better customer service - face it, most think it's as bad as it can be and slow, slow, slow - and getting more in touch again with the community.

For many residents the relationship with Lindenlab is kind of love/hate. Love, that they made Second Life possible and hate, because of the high land prices, not stabilizing the client/server enough, being dependent on Lindenlab, slow customer service and many more of such things. Oh, and since you can't see the Lindens in world often anymore, they became something like the spooky people running all of the stuff in the background.

Also the main focus of Lindenlab shifted from promoting Second Life to promoting the technic behind it, the grid. This is perhaps a good move for them, but of course also means that they're now focusing more on the technic behind it than on the well established community in Second Life.

The statistical mark of 10 million residents in Second Life has been reached today. No big fanfare nor press message at all, this shows the shift from promoting Second Life to promoting the grid. Heck, the number of residents isn't even been shown on the first page of the website anymore for quite some weeks.