Selkies' Skins

Selkies' Skins
Current book in series Temple and Skinquest. Enjoy Castle and Well from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords while waiting for that and the prequel's audiobook "Pearls of Sea and Stone: Book of Seals".

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Musing about Second Life's Premium account and Basic account changes

I do not normally write about Second Life prices here. However we do utilize Second Life at times to obtain digital photography and videography for our projects, to network, for my involvement with the Trotsdale Library, various writing contests, and even some of our books (not all as the porting was an experiment to test the market in SL books) being available inside Second Life.

I am somewhat disappointed in Second Life right now.

I (Teresa Garcia as Amehana Ishtari/Arashi) have 42 groups current. Over the years there have been times I have had to pare out groups that I would have preferred to keep in order to make room for groups that I needed for administration duties for communities or for storefronts in sims that require vendor groups instead of renting out parcels that can be set to one's store group. Between Meditation/Shrine groups, the Library group, various Pony/Furry communities, storefronts, and artist/book/networking communities, my store group for Arashiryuu Productions / THG StarDragon Publishing, and a couple family/friend groups I only have space for a few shopping groups that I use to get discounts on set pieces from manufacturers I like to follow. Now the basic accounts are dropping the number of group slots available and increasing the amount it costs to go premium.

I use a basic account due to my income. Although the premium account has 70 slots I did not see a need to pay monthly for something that I wasn't certain I could always cover out of my personal expenses plus that I pay monthly for inworld rent for the store and covering the library's rent (that is my responsibility now as Zepdek has had personal issues to attend, meaning his financial contribution had to drop).

I heard about the changes first through CrimMip, a fellow admin for Nisa/Dreaming Twilight (the group whose land I normally use when obtaining Second Life originating visuals for projects). I heard about it next from Bixyl Shuftan through their blog article. There is a bit of a conversation ongoing now in the SL Newer's discord chat. Some that I have talked to see no problems with the amount of group slots, feeling they are coming no where near their cap. Others, like myself, are frustrated because they are and do not wish to switch to premium to increase their groups slots, already putting quite a bit of money into the platform through virtual land rent, market purchases, and tipping performers.

I can understand increasing prices for premium accounts. They did decrease (temporarily) land prices for those that buy land. However they lowered the amount of group slots and ofline IMs for basic accounts, a feature that theoretically costs no money. They do have to pay their developers and admins. It does put people like me in a strange spot though. Porting my clothing goods and furniture items over to an alt account is not possible due to licensing agreements of used components. Transferring stores to another account would not work due to still having to keep the same groups to rez the vendors from my main account (and then I'd end up missing payments due to notices going to another email). Asking admin duties to transfer to an alt would not work as well either due to my main account already being an established and known name, the other account not being as well known since my main alt is a prize dispersal for library based contests, who started out as an "I'm overwhelmed and want to enjoy and explore inworld but want to focus on a handful of people right now" account.

So, now I weigh and decide. Basic has dropped seven slots. If I need to jiggle groups for any other needs that arise admin group wise for communities and networking I will have to drop seven, which would include those I currently need. I also wonder how well this move will work for them. Honestly I am glad I do not work for SL or have to figure out good financial moves for their company. They have such a large user base and not many are going to be happy with price increases, especially with the fluctuation of the $L and if the monthly stipend for inworld spending that goes with a premium does not increase.

How will this impact THG StarDragon Publishing's sponsoring of the Trotsdale and Intersim Library Network? At this time I do not know. I continue paying the library's rent. I need to set aside some funds for a prize for the next contest. I need to decide whether it will be writing, art, or if I should shake things up and ask people to make reading videos or tracks. Tonight at 5 PM Pacific Illya Leonov has his music hour followed by his story hour. This week he plays chapter 10 of Past Sins, an MLP fanfic. Sundays I normally (unless ill or too inundated) read or stream, now at 5 PM Pacific and sometimes followed by other readers. How will it impact the Library, or my own store group and meditation group? With a decrease in group slots for the basic account I can guess that fewer peoplewill be getting notices of the inworld events, and overall the world will get smaller for Second Life users as they will have fewer options available to them. The work around of a Subscribomatic to send messages has the pitfall of it's owner only being able to use it to send announcements for one group, meaning that if they have to have work arounds for several groups they may end up with several of the free alternate accounts and have to switch between them for what should be a simple thing... advertising.

SL Blogpost: Land Price Reductions, New Premium Perks, and Pricing Changes
Bixyl Shuftan's article:
Second Life Forum Discussion Thread:

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