Op/Ed: Holiday Drama – As Usual?

by Pixeleen Mistral on 06/04/07 at 2:10 pm

by Inigo Chamerberlin

Inigo_portraitAs if it’s not bad enough that LL has to keep ‘updating’ or ‘maintaining’ SL on Wednesdays, thus guaranteeing that the consequent chaos continues over the weekend – because LL insists on running San Francisco office hours only, with apparently no cover outside those hours except a couple of unfortunate Grid Monkeys and someone from Concierge – we now have them breaking THE most important feature of SL during ‘maintenance’ on the Wednesday immediately before the Easter weekend.

In case anyone hadn’t noticed, the entire Billing/Lindex/Land transaction/L$ transaction became non-functional immediately after Wednesday’s ‘maintenance’.

At the time of writing it’s been bodged — luckily they had plenty of pink and green tank tape and a carton of watermelon flavoured gum to hand — to the point where they reckoned they could all run away for Easter.

You might like to know that, that point includes the following:

- Inability to trade on Lindex currency exchange
- Many resident’s payment method details lost making it necessary to re-submit them, IF you can get the system to accept them
- Reports from all over of failed transactions, land sales, vendor sales, straightforward gifts/transfers
- Apparent corruption of ‘history’ causing people to have their accounts disabled for ‘non-payment’
- Reported double billing of land maintenance fees – up to and including Island fee level

Oh, and, if it really matters, the secondlife.com front page is thoroughly broken too!

Needless to say there has been no addressing of these issues in the useless blog (nothing new there then), indeed the only real changes there past ‘We are currently experiencing issues with billing processing’ — no shit Sherlock? — is that some nearly incoherent items, so much so that they appeared to have been posted by a non-English speaker, attributed to Jesse Linden, have now been removed.

However, when ‘comments’ (i.e. complaints) in that post rose past 150, who pops up with a new post but that famous ‘timely’ poster, but everyone’s favorite: Robin Linden – with a new post dryly titled ‘Advertising Policy Changes’. Yes folks, it’s what we all really wanted to hear about. LL is, so Robin says – but then remember her announcement of the ‘contingency plan’? – LL is clamping down on advertising that ‘appear(s) to relate to simulated casino activity’.

Yeah, right, you broke what is arguably the most important component of Second Life and knocked off for Easter! And do you apologize? Do you tell us what you intend doing to FIX it? Not to mention what safeguards you are putting in place to prevent this happening again?

Nope. Instead you wheel out Robin to issue a controversial statement that will get a lot of people running round like their hair’s on fire and deflect notice from the ‘Billing Processing’ issue. Again. And why do I suspect this ‘Advertising Policy Change’ is going to have precisely as much effect as the previous ‘Contingency Plan’? I really can’t imagine – still, it might be interesting to see just what it did, if it were to be enforced in any meaningful fashion.

Right off the top of my head I can see a bit of a hiccup in the land markets as all those Casinos folded, not to mention something of a blip on the Lindex as all those owners unloaded and cashed out. Still, after the Easter debacle I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few people cashing out anyway. WHEN they fix what they broke of course – right now no one can cash out as far as I can see.

It has to be said that it seems to me unlikely that LL can survive very much longer if things continue like this. The level of unprofessional behaviour permeating every level of LL is now so evident, both in the antics of the management, and the day to day operation of Second Life that it’s actually affecting signups and concurrent logins. Don’t take my word for it, go check the figures.

LL are about to find that the ‘well, it’s free, what have they got to moan about?’ model only works so far. And the level of problems in SL is now so high that even the freeloaders are leaving. Or is it the paying customers? We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

11 Responses to “Op/Ed: Holiday Drama – As Usual?”

  1. Dave Kobolowski

    Apr 6th, 2007

    Well the following article on Casinos/Gambling isn’t displaying properly should I start writing a short essay on the subject? I think we get the point you are mostly just regurgitating the same old issues we know (and love?) about Second Life. Yeah it sucks, especially the part where they close SL most Wednesdays the one day of the week I get back early from work! But that’s (Second) Life. Yes Second Life can get infuriating at times but so is Real Life, the proxy server where I work had been playing up for about 2 or 3 weeks with constant outages before it was resolved and we got about 1 e-mail to properly explain the situation the whole time. That’s is a real world paid for example of how shit happens and you have to deal with it. After a while I have found myself getting more and more used to the quirks of Second Life, like the glitch where if I switch out to another app while I teleport my clothes adopt the texture of the window. Most people I know there feel the same we get pissed off sometimes but we enjoy SL and get on with it. If you don’t like SL then leave, if you really enjoy it then embrace it faults and all.

    Now this could just be the POV from where I stand a general user who doesn’t try and run a business or venture in SL I spend enough time working in RL but still a lot of what you are saying San Fran hours, etc. I’ve heard before.

  2. Morgan Northmead

    Apr 6th, 2007

    I agree with Dave Kobolowski. SL is still fun, glitches and all; I am getting used to some of the quirks. Of course, if a platform were to emerge that DIDN’T crash every 45 minutes, and that did not have repeated problems with no rezzing, messed-up teleporting, missing account records, and naked avatars…well, then I would probably switch. But until that time, lets hear it for SL!! And pray that LL can smooth things out. Happy Easter!

  3. Anonymous

    Apr 6th, 2007

    >Inability to trade on Lindex currency exchange

    Is it just me? Or did anyone else find out this break down awfully fortuitously, just when all those casino operators were given the word that they can no longer advertise and could face RL closures — and were heading to the exits to cash out, most likely.

  4. Tenshi Vielle

    Apr 6th, 2007

    If they keep allowing outside influence in-game like this, there’s going to be bigger issues for LL to worry about. They need to stop looking at those 5m users statistic and start asking how many people actually fucking LOG IN.

  5. Nicholaz Beresford

    Apr 6th, 2007

    I’m wondering what’s up with them. I for example would upgrade to Premium in no time (I have a couple of premium services on the web for things that are important to me) if there were ANY benefits in it (I’m not interested in land).

    But as it is, even if I wanted, I wouldn’t upgrade because as long as it’s free, things don’t infuriate me as much as if it would be a paid service. Things like a canceled account because THEY mess up, would drive me nuts.

    On the other hand, they’re probably not after the user’s money at all. Inflate user numbers, be bought out by some big corp and let them deal with the mess seems to be a much more likely goal for LL than building a solid business.

    Together with the apparent change in their total-freedom policy (ageplay, casinos and I’m sure this is just the start) they will end up with a technically messed up world which at the same time offer no more freedom than others, which will sure be technically superior and at least deliver what you pay for.

    So far, the freedom here outweights the quirks (and it’s still free despite the couple of bucks I converted to L$ to buy stuff) but if they try to dress up the bride for their prince to buy them, by taking away freedom and at the same time boosting user numbers beyond the capability to handle the load, they may end up with neither: No enthusiasts willing to pay, no free users who stay long after joining because it’s so unattractive and laggy and nobody wanting to buyout the whole mess.

  6. Nimrod

    Apr 6th, 2007

    [13:14] Char Linden: We are seeing calls with problems in teleporting, map issues, search issues. We are investigating the issues. Thank you and please watch blog for updates on current issues. http://blog.secondlife.com/

  7. Nacon

    Apr 6th, 2007

    *Plays on a piano*

    whine whine whine…

    whine whine whine….

    ohhhhhhh whiiiinnnnneee! pour me a glass of wine! ohhhhhhhh

    whine whine whine…

    whine whine whine…

    ohhhhh where are those bottle of sweet WINE?!

    (Just shut up and get used to it, let them work on something you all have been bugging about.)

  8. Iris Seale

    Apr 6th, 2007

    I own a clothing brand and was unfortunate enough to release a new design right before everything went to hell. I’ve had capped IM’s every time I logged on about people not being able to pay, paid-for items going unsent, and sometimes even only half the items showing up in their inventory. It’s enough to make me want to close my shops until it gets cleared up. Any other business owners encountering this? And Nicholaz, if upgrading to Premium would fix this stuff, I’d upgrade in a second. Maybe that’s what they’re going for?

  9. Peter Lokke

    Apr 6th, 2007

    Ya know I was sidetracked here to the Herald because some one mentioned an article in this publication I though I should come and read. After reading just a few articles I now know that this has been an unadulterated mistake. The reporting here, be it some what accurate could not be more bias. even Being an OP/ED article here I would still expect a higher level of decorum then demonstrated here. As some one who has come to the Herald for the first time I am leaving with a very bitter taste in my mouth and am very sure I will not be returning.

  10. Anonymous

    Apr 6th, 2007

    This is some pretty serious stuff. I would expect the Lindens to be right on top of this, and giving out information.

    Iread stories today on the SL Forums regarding these billing problems that would make your hair curl.

    I’m wondering if my billing info is even still in there, but someone else said, don’t even go LOOK for it, or that might make it disappear. On the other hand, what if my tier becomes due and it doesn’t take? Things like that.

    When money is involved, that’s when things always turn very serious. I’m surprised that when I went to the blog it didn’t talk about this more. It’s making me think they don’t take our money very seriously!

    The consensus seems to be that the Lindens have gone home for the holiday, and we can’t expect to know any more about these billing problems anytime soon. However, I expect they should and will say something more about them, and the sooner the better.


  11. Spankubux

    Apr 6th, 2007

    God, Inigo, do you ever stop your bitchin?

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