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Thursday, June 21, 2018
Linden Lab Cutting Land Prices And Setup Fees, Increasing Linden Dollar Purchase Fees, No New Openspace Sims After June
Some big news from Linden Lab, especially if you own a lot of land. Yesterday on Wednesday June 20, it was announced on the official blog , as well as by Ebbe Linden during his "Meet the Lindens" interview yesterday at the SL15B, that starting on July 2, the tier for private sims was being cut 15%. It was also announced that the fees to set up a private sim were being reduced "by as much as 41%." But, there's some "fine print." And to help offset these reduced land charges, the fee to buy Linden dollars is going up.
Effective July 2, monthly maintenance fees on Private Estates are dropping by up to 15%! In addition, one-time land set-up fees are also reduced by as much as 41%. And remember, the setup fee includes your first month’s payment. Discounts will vary based on the type of land ...
The catch? First, Skill Games areas are not eligible for the tier cut. Grandfathered sims, which the Lab also called "bought down," are not eligible either, "since those are still below the newly-reduced rates." And if you were thinking of getting an Openspace sim, you don't have much time. The Lab announced after June, no more new ones will be available. For those who need a reminder, Openspace sims, also known as "void sims," are "intended for very low-impact scenic use such as ocean, forest, or countryside," and have a capacity of 1000 prims and ten avatars. They cost $150 US to set up and have a $75 US tier each.
The other part of the catch will affect many more residents. The Lab announced that starting July 2, to "help us offset the revenues lost on land," the charge for buying Linden dollars is going up from $.99 US per transaction to $1.49, an increase of slightly fifty percent. This is the second increase in the purchase fee in less than a year, the previous increase in November being from 60 to 99 cents. So in several months, the fee to buy Linden dollars has been raised by almost 150% .
So what's going on? The general feeling is that Linden Lab is trying to transfer the money paid by the residents, so less is made by landowners, and more is made by shoppers, in order to bring a halt to the long slow decline over time in the number of privately owned sims, which while having slowed down in recent months hasn't really stopped.
While some landowners are no doubt looking forward to lower tiers, there has been one critic so far. MarkTwain White posted in the comments under the article in Modem World, "The newly announced 15% tier-rate reduction is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That reduction Does NOT apply to us that have paid incredibly higher fees (200% on average) to have our lands reduced to grandfather rates in the past (thus in one big Catch-22 causing us to pay fees only to be excluded from the new fee reduction. The subtle Second Life 'screw you' here is that we now have to pay 50% higher transaction fees' to cover the our (SL’s) increase in costs for reducing your tie.' ...Experienced land rental companies get none of these discounts that LL is offering to the new companies they hope to attract due to reduced fees designed to increase their income while at the same time building a new tax basis made up of future rental companies that will become the target of new usurious fee increases. LL had done it more than once. This is classic LL policy: squeeze blood from current content providers (developers of properties to sell or lease) but go after new blood to bring new fees (taxes) to LL...."
So will the Lab see more people buying sims? Or will the long slow decline continue while shoppers buy less Linden dollars and merchants end up making less money? Time will tell.
For more information, check the announcement by Linden Lab here.
Additional sources: SL Grid Survey, Modem World