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Rumor: Bonus payment premium incentive not being paid to upgrading Second Life users? [updated]

Tateru Nino

There's a been talk going around among users that a Linden Dollar bonus made to users that sign up for Second Life premium accounts is not paid to users who are upgrading an account from basic to premium. That is, it was said that only users creating a new premium account got the bonus and users who upgraded did not, despite Linden Lab's advertising material apparently promoting it for both.

A number of you wrote in asking us about that yesterday, and we contacted Linden Lab for you to get an answer one way or another. That line of questioning bore some definitive fruit.

There's a new Linden name involved – one we've not heard of before: Dough Linden, Business Lead for Premium Subscriptions. Via Linden Lab's Marketing and Communications department, Dough assured us that the reports that upgrading accounts did not get paid the L$1,000 bonus were erroneous.

"Linden Lab pays a $L1000 bonus to all new [users] who sign up for premium membership and to existing [users] who upgrade from basic to premium membership. To alleviate concerns over gaming of the bonus, it is paid 45 days after the [user] becomes a premium member." [Our (Massively's) emphasis. We've also replaced the term 'Resident' with 'user' for clarity]

"While new [users] have always been eligible for the bonus, we recently changed our policy so that existing basic [accounts] are also eligible," explained Dough. That would have been around the time that the advertising materials were updated and the mailouts were done. "Unfortunately, there are two places in our knowledge base that were not updated with the new information, which resulted in inaccurate information given out re: bonus eligibility."

Linden Lab appears to have amended the documentation now to reflect the correct state of affairs.

How long the rumor keeps going around is a good question. Old rumors and misinformation can circle a user community potentially infinitely. As such, we'll be responding to reader questions in The Virtual Whirl this coming Saturday, so if you've got something you'd like us to explain or get to the bottom of, drop us a line in the comments, or via email (tateru at massively dot com) and we'll try to get through as many as we can.

We've been sent this shot from the account signup page where you are asked to choose the type of account:

"Join today and receive a L$1000 sign-up bonus. Use your bonus to start shopping right away!"

Color us old-fashioned, but "up to 45 days" does not (in our minds) constitute 'right away'. Additionally, we've had two users write in to tell us that they received their sign-up bonuses 60 days after.

60 days does not constitute 45 days either, we're thinking.

We've contacted the Lab again, and we're waiting for their response.

UPDATE (Thursday, 4 February):
Dough Linden has responded to our followup query:

This page was already slated to be updated in today's release, and the new text will clearly state that the bonus will be paid in 45 days.

In my research on the issue, it looks like most Premiums are getting the bonus 45 days after sign-up. However, there are some who did not get the bonus, and we're investigating that now.

Seems that quality assurance could do with a couple extra warm bodies, but it is nice that they're getting it right eventually.

UPDATE: One more time...
Linden Lab says that the Web-site update did not go as scheduled, and that the Second Life Web-site will continue to provide new users misleading information about premium accounts until 17 February.

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