by Pixeleen Mistral on 03/08/11 at 1:03 pm
Linden Lab doesn't fix exploits or provide customer service - it's business as usual, then?
A predictable scandal erupted over the last few days as Meeroos began abandoning their owners to wander the grid in search of food. Meeroos are a popular form of virtual pet that require continual petting and feeding with scripted food purchased with L$ spacebux. This may seem something like playing Farmville - an innocent pastime for those raising pretend crops or pets. But for the creators of the Meeroos this is a money spinning business which has attracted interest from scam artists attempting to cash in on the Meeroo craze.
Problems began when day-old accounts with names that appear similar to the legitimate Meeroo creators' account began placing faux food vendors over the top of the legitimate food vending machines in-world. Purchases made from the fake-food machines then credited the scammer's accounts - among them Meer00s Resident and Meero0s Resident. The Meeroo creator's account is named "Meeroos Resident".
This sort of scam should not be possible, since Second Life landowners can control who can create objects on their land. But as reported months ago here in the Herald, there is a long standing exploit that allows players to rez un-authorized objects on restricted land - the sort of thing one might expect a game company to fix quickly - unless the game company was named Linden Lab. Yet it is almost certain that the rez-on-no-rez-land exploit is being used in the Meeroos scam. At the Wonderful World Of Meeroos site, Catherine describes scammers hiding in the corner of the sim creating fake vendors on no-rez land.
Protip for Rodvik: un-patched exploits are killing your game.
To compound the problem, Linden Lab then banned the wrong player - Meeroos Resident - the master account for the food vendors. This effectively shut down the only legitimate food supply in-world. No wonder the Meeroos look worried.
While the naive might like to think this is an isolated incident, it has become clear that the Lab is more than happy to ban accounts wildly in hopes of catching the bad guys - so what if a few innocents are harmed by the Lab's rough justice? With no transparency about who has been banned or why, there is little accountability inside the Lab and a corporate culture that cultivates gross incompetence.
At this point any normal company would have apologized in public for what can only be described as a first class clusterfuck. But Linden Lab is not a normal company.