Unlike Second Life's 2003 Tax Revolt, which (at the time) went unnoticed by the mainstream media, the current revolt over void/openspace simulator server pricing is drawing attention in places where a lot of potential customers are being exposed to it -- and it's early yet. More words are doubtless being drafted over the weekend to run on mainstream Web-sites and newspapers.
By mainstream (a word that has an awfully slippery definition), we mean widespread. There are at least three other effective and correct definitions of the word at least one of which conflicts with that, but let's just go with what we have and leave those other definitions for another time. You know what we mean.
The Virtual World Has Its Own Housing Crisis: Second Life Jacks Up Land Rental Fees, writes the Washington Post.
Real Estate Crashes In Second Life, Too: Linden Lab's Bailout Plan, announces Silicon Alley Insider's Eric Krangel.
Virtual Protest Threatens Linden Lab's Profitability, from Wagner James Au at GigaOm and reprinted in full by CNNMoney.
Canada's Globe and Mail reports, Second Life uproar over high "taxes".
A sign of the times: Second Life's property hike, from the UK's Guardian.
Is Second Life screwing its users? asks The Inquisitr.
All of these stories have two notable notable things in common. The first is that they're written largely from a point of knowledge. The writers have either done their research or have first-hand knowledge. That's quite refreshing, all things considered.
The second is that they make Linden Lab's void/openspace pricing policy announcement look like a desperation move to stave off financial disaster for the business.
We don't actually agree with that scenario, and indeed, this is normally the point in proceedings where Linden Lab CFO John Zdanowski would pop out of the woodwork to remind everyone that the Lab can barely hear the customers over the nigh-thunderous roar of money being printed.
Nevertheless, we don't expect this sort of coverage of the issue to decrease in the coming week. That's got to make an image-conscious Linden Lab rather edgy. It is almost certain that the Lab will do something in response to the press, but we're at something of a loss as to quite what might be in the offing, and whether it will tackle the media stories directly, or constitute a distracting announcement instead.
Linden Lab and Second Life might be the most successful venture in its industry niche to-date, but in order to remain in that coveted position requires not only significant attention to the platform itself, but to the general public's perception of it.
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