Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why Linden Lab Screwed Us: Three Possibilities

You sure?

Location: Linden Lab Blogs

Over at the Lab, the torrent of reactions continue. I replied at length to one poster, and I'll share it here:

Marielle asked,

Phil Linden repeatedly stated he's "interim" CEO. Now i was looking at LL's job offerings. . . .Is Phil planning to stay devoted to us :-) ? ...and if not, did LL miss to post the CEO position or has it already been decided behind the scenes ?

No. He's a businessman. His devotion is to the bottom line and perhaps the company he made. That's not evil; it's just the way the system works.

Rosedale buttered educators up at SLCC and let this increase move forward. I have lost faith in a man whose vision I respected. As "Interim" CEO, he's come back to either save the company or, it seems more and more likely, to arrange to sell it to someone else.

In the end, I've reached the conclusion that either:

1) Linden Lab does not want the good will and marketing power of having so many educational institutions and nonprofits associated with its product. This seems far-fetched, but that would make eliminating the discount actually a reasonable decision.


2) Linden Lab is so desperate for an income stream that they'll boost prices in hopes that educators have long-term investments in SL and will need to stay for a bit longer.


3) As others have said in this stream and elsewhere, Linden Lab has decided it needs to jettison colleges and universities as soon as their contracts end. That way, they'll avoid breach-of-contract cases by a host of well-funded and talented legal teams in US higher ed. My own school's amiable lawyers are a scary bunch when they go into action.

If it's #2 or #3, look out other users. Don't think for a second that LL won't sell you out the second they can get a buyer. And most of you won't be able to muster a legal challenge to what they do.

I don't know why another company would want the database or our user base, given the stigma of the adult content--a fact, not a value judgment by me because I don't care what you do with your avatars.

Will another company need us, except to exploit our information for marketing purposes? They might want some of the core technologies and staff from Linden Lab.

As for the fate of your virtual goods and invented "lives" in SL? Just read the TOS: it is not exactly "all your IP belong to us" but you've no recourse if they dump the database after a buy-out offer.

And there will be real suicides among those who call SL "home" and have complicated social relationships here. That saddens me.

Update 10/6: Tateru Nino shares Jack Linden's justification for the increase. it's contemptible, but then Jack can take it. He has been known for a while as "the most hated Linden." Tateru also shares her own thoughts about why LL may be selling the company.

I've also replied to Lalo's suggestion about the image I used (from the time when I was a LL mentor, before they gutted that gesture of goodwill, too).

Sic semper tyrannis


Anonymous said...

A woman was walking home one winter evening and came upon a snake that was freezing to death.

The snake begged her to take him into her home and let him warm up. She told the snake that she could not do this as he was a snake and would surely bite her. The snake promised to behave and convinced the woman to help him.

So she took the snake home, started a fire, and nursed him back to health, at which point the snake bit her.

With her dying breath, she said, “You promised to behave if I welcomed you into my home and made you well.”

To which the snake replied, “What did you expect? I’m a snake.”

Lalo Telling said...

That sign you're sitting in front of has one too many words on it. It should read "Exit Second Life".

Iggy O said...

Hat tip to you both.

Path, you should know better than any of us :)

iliveisl said...

nice one Iggy. Iggy is an expert when it comes to education and virtual worlds, his words are balanced and trusted

LL is a business and any perceptions we had (i was very starry eyed) were only our perceptions. LL can do anything they like and it is NOT a collaboration, despite that being their message in 2006 and 2007

too many wonderful options now exist to continue using SL despite what LL does. even if it was smooth sailing, you are foolish to trust your passion to a corporate third party, imo

with OpenSim you can be as autonomous as is possible with anything online (there will always be some TOS somewhere)

Iggy O said...

Ener, you are the first person to call me "balanced" since gym class in 12th grade.

But I thank you for your kind words. You and subQuark have inspired many of us to try another world than SL.

Now it's time to take the plunge!

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, by my previous comment I was not implying anyone was a "snake" in the derogatory way. That story is about understanding how different people have very different natures and motives. And to never assume someone else's motives are the same as your own.

Skylar Smythe said...

Any grid can be sold or disappear without notice. Look at some of the smaller virtual worlds that closed in 2010 alone.

And yes... it sucks to be a content creator in that event. Or someone who has invested thousands of dollars in establishing themselves on a server that they were never really a stake holder in.

I don't want to speculate. I want it all to go away and return to normal. It is virtually impossible (pun intended) to not dispair with each boneheaded move they make which seems to be one step closer to obliterating our community.

Except that community is FLUID. Asset servers can go but the community remains and we may be forced to "Boldly go..."

Shatner would be proud.


Emilly Orr said...

For what it’s worth, and the Interim CEO may use it for toilet paper, I hope to give him and “Smilin’ Jack” Linden a notecard with the names of colleges and universities that are scaling back or leaving. We’ll see how many sims LL loses.

That bit from Tateru's blog, but if/when you get around to making that notecard, could you slap me a copy? I'd adore a copy of the card. I think more than the Labs would benefit knowing exactly who's leaving their world.

Iggy O said...


I think a better strategy than the notecard would be to join Lindy Mac's wiki and note what your school's plans will be:

Anonymous said...

I think Second Life will be overtaken by OpenSim, just like AOL was by the Internet and IBM Big Iron by PCs. The trend is toward more individual and less institutional control.

That said, don't expect too much rationality from LL. They're in denial mode.