The third-quarter 2011 economic report from Linden Lab will be the final one. In an article by Tateru Nino, she stated Lab spokesman Peter Gray told her they have stopped doing these reports, and have no plans to do any more, quarterly or yearly.
"We don’t plan to publish a Q4 2011 economic summary. We are discontinuing regular reporting of aggregate economy-level data, because landowners and merchants have told us that the information is of limited value to them. Moving forward, we will instead focus on improved reporting tools that help individuals better manage their businesses in SL."
Among Second Life bloggers, Tateru Nino is among those who has regularly kept up with Linden Lab's reports, the charts and statistics in her main links. Guessing as to why the Lab has stopped publishing, she noted they're not as detailed as they once were, "They’ve been cut down on something like five different occasions, and what is left can now only be properly interpreted by maybe a handful of people who know the ins and outs of the Second Life economic underpinnings well enough to translate them for others. ... Essentially, over the years, the figures have been progressively stripped of the supporting data that gave them meaning, and now hardly anyone can understand what’s left. That kind of makes it a waste of time to extract the data and generate the reports in the first place."
Another possible reason is the economy isn't looking good. Tateru felt there was no reason to believe there was a troubling drop in the fourth quarter as the Grid's economy was basically sound. Hamlet Au felt there was another reason: Second Life's long term prospects may not be good. He pointed to Botgirl Questi's article predicting as the Opensim worlds mature, their low land tier rates will start to attract sizeable numbers from Second Life and thus cause it's revenue to go on a long-term slide.
Second Life's demise has been predicted before, and so far none of the Opensim worlds have attracted substantial numbers of residents, the most populated have only a few hundred on at peak times compared to Second Life having 50-over 75,000. But Linden Lab's decision to halt it's economic reports is being seen as a bad sign. Tateru Nino concluded at best, this was a reminder that the days of the company trying to be open and transparent to the Grid's users were gone.
Sources: Tateru Nino, Botgirl Questi
45 minutes ago