An Open Letter to Linden Lab

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Sara Elise
Sara Elise signed this petition

Dear Mr. Altberg and the Linden Lab Team,

This letter is written on behalf of a population of residents within Second Life consisting primarily of creators and other earners, with the support of other residents who understand the implications of the changes you have recently made.

We would like to start by thanking you for your retraction of the decrease in groups for residents who do not hold a Premium Membership. This is beneficial not only to those residents, but to creators and other business owners within Second Life that rely on groups for their marketing purposes. We are confident that you understand how important it is that businesses should thrive within Second Life.

We are, however, disheartened by the other changes that you have announced that are scheduled to be implemented this month, specifically the doubling of the processing fee from 2.5% to 5%. While we understand that Linden Lab is a business that needs to profit in order to thrive, we feel it is necessary to remind you that we are running businesses, too. As you know, many of us are more than just hobbyists, we rely on the money we earn in Second Life to pay our bills, feed our children, and survive. Rather than simply protest the changes you have made, we come to you hoping for an open dialogue to both understand your needs to implement such a drastic and high percentage and possibly come up with alternative solutions for Linden Lab to generate profits without punishing those you depend on the most to keep Second Life going.

Linden Lab has a symbiotic relationship with residents, especially with content creators. Without content, Second Life would have nothing to offer. And, in reverse, we would not have a platform on which to sell our content or provide our services. We need each other. We understand that ultimately Second Life is your product and you have every right to make decisions regarding the platform without seeking consultation or permission from its residents. You are the ones who take the most risk, have the most overhead, and shoulder the most responsibility. However, if your creators and other earners in Second Life are not kept happy and confident in your decisions, you risk a great loss that would eventually render Second Life obsolete. We believe that the decisions you make should not be done in a vacuum. The voices of residents have given you guidance in some of the best choices you've made in the last several years. Bento, Linden Homes, new default avatars, animesh... all of this was achieved with input from resident creators. We feel there is a place for resident consultations beyond content creation. Second Life residents understand this platform on a level that Linden Lab employees cannot achieve without becoming immersive residents who shop, live, and love. We are the ones immersed. We are the community. We are the culture. We have a keen insight into our own needs and many of us are competent, intelligent, and capable enough to advocate skillfully on behalf of the residents.

We seek open and honest discourse with Linden Lab to better understand each other's needs. Utilize us as the asset we are, which is so much more than people who make pixel things. Utilize our intellect, our experience, our vision... and grant us the respect of acknowledging that we are necessary and important pieces of Second Life who deserve to be heard and with whom should be amply informed, if not consulted, regarding major changes that will affect our businesses and income in Second Life. Because Linden Lab currently hires expert creators to create content,  we would like to ask you to consider hiring expert residents as consultants for both the Second Life experience and Second Life policy updates and changes. Not just residents of yours or our choosing that seem particularly well-recognized or popular, but residents who can demonstrate competence and expertise in various Second Life areas (roleplay, music, events, adult entertainment, etc.) and real life practical areas (business, economics, marketing, psychology, etc). Apple wouldn't hire anyone who wasn't an active user and fan of Apple products, neither should Linden Lab only employ people who aren't active users and fans of Second Life. We believe you have been missing out on your greatest asset. Us. We propose that you rectify that oversight and let us help from within to make Second Life thrive and be everything we all want it to be.

We would also like to discuss the possibility of negotiating the 5% processing fee. We understand that Linden Lab does have a final say, but we have a long list of innovative and insightful ideas of how Linden Lab might increase profits without relying on land and without creators having to bear such a severe financial burden. The primary areas that we feel we could address to improve profits in the long- and short-term related to retention, marketing, and platform stability, as well as Premium member benefits. We would love to share our ideas and insights with you regarding these subjects and more if you are willing to give us the opportunity to do so.

We would like to ask to also be more informed about the plans that Linden Lab has to improve Second Life, especially when the recent fee increases are significant enough to require many of us to rebudget our personal finances and make budget cuts in our real lives. It may be easier to accept these changes if we know what is being done to improve retention rates, enhance the new user experience, and increase processing times. We’d also love to have some insight into what the marketing platforms you plan on utilizing to promote Second Life, what you are doing to protect intellectual property, what other projects are currently being worked on, and anything else that would explain the need for the increase.

Ultimately, our main goal here is open dialogue. We know we can’t always get our way and that things are done behind the scenes that we simply don’t understand. Our hope is that you will address our letter to lift the curtain a little bit, help us to better understand, and engage us to develop solutions together. We have not named specific leaders for our cause at this time. However, should you agree to have a direct conversation with representatives for those who have signed this petition, we will work with you to choose those delegates.

We look forward to a response from you and we do thank you for the wonderful platform on which we work and play. We are on your side and wish to be involved in doing all we can to help you achieve all the goals of Second Life to the benefit of us all.


Sincerely,

Your Residents