Someone thinks we’re stupid

Or else they are. And I don’t know which is worse.

This morning I, and other estate owners in Second Life, received a marketing email from Linden Research Inc. I have reproduced it below (click for a full-size version), and it is currently available online. (A similar message is linked to directly from the home page of Second Life at the moment as well.)

I’m really just apoplectic.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad for the people who are renting homesteads, either directly from Linden Research or from a landlord. It’s very nice that they have an unexpected additional year at this rate.

And it’s oh so generous of Linden Research to be offering to reinstate sims that were abandoned—even back to October 28! My, my, such corporate generosity. And such flexibility, to extend the recovery period back to their initial announcement!

But what about the complex communities that were totally upended by the initial changes last year? What about the businesses that made rational planning decisions based on the time frame outlined by Linden Research? What about the Linden staff who steadfastly rejected calls for any kind of grandfathering? And what about the people who sold their sims for a fraction of the cost, rather than abandon completely? Too bad, so sad, sucker! (Disclosure: My community was upended; I made irrational planning decisions, but they were based on the times and prices outlined by Linden Research; and I bought some of those sims sold at bargain-basement prices in order to make an unwanted conversion of my estate to full sims.)

On a much more basic level, what about the line they fed us about why they had to completely rework the open space sims because of their bad business model and their inadequate technical infrastructure? What about those still-unidentified script limits that are supposed to be part of the homestead sims in order to make it possible for the grid to sustain them?

There’s a new Homestead FAQ to clear up some questions people have. (None of the questions I have posed above are answered there.) But a few fascinating tidbits:

* Since we had to forego some revenue, we have to make it up somewhere, and charging full price to new Homestead owners is part of the way we pay for that. The rest, we believe, will come through additional features we think our customers will be willing to pay for, such as the AvaLine product released last week.

Right, right. Good luck with that AvaLine product. (My extension, by the way, is 472837 if anyone wants to leave me a voicemail. I rarely use voice in Second Life, so don’t expect me to actually answer the phone. And of course, I would never dream of paying for it.)

* We forecasted a revenue plan that included abandonment of Homesteads at the current rate, and based on that forecast, we think we’d have done better financially in the short term if we raised Homestead pricing for everyone. But we’re building a business to last, and we don’t want to think in the short term when it comes to you, our customers. We don’t succeed unless you do. So we took the step of doing what was right for you, placing a bet with ourselves that we could deliver more value and performance to you within the next year. We think you’ll be happy with what’s in the pipeline — and in the meantime, you won’t pay more for what you have today.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

“We don’t want to think in the short term when it comes to you, our customers.” Mmhmm. Right. Let’s see now, when did you make your initial announcement about the change in open space sims? Ah, yes, that would be all of seven months ago, almost to the day.

They are “placing a bet with ourselves that we could deliver more value and performance to you within the next year.” Good luck with that one, too. You’ll need it based on prior experience. Estate controls for windlight, anyone? You don’t really want me to link to the unresolved JIRA issues that are over a year old, do you?

“We think you’ll be happy with what’s in the pipeline.” Let’s see now, that would include the forced relocation of businesses because of their content, right?

I’ve been meaning to write about the “Future of Virtual Worlds” theme for Second Life’s sixth birthday, but really, I’ll just boil it down here: Unless Linden Research gets its act together, both as a business and as programmers, I cannot imagine the future of virtual worlds having much to do with Second Life, except as a fond (or not) memory.

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