UPDATED: I’m Taking A Break


Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

UPDATE Jan. 11th: After an extended conversation this evening with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg on the Sansar Facebook group, I want to make it very clear that I was *NOT* treated badly by LL in any of this. Both Kayla and Jenn treated me in a professional, friendly, proactive way. They are a credit to the team that Ebbe leads, and I do still have a lot of love and respect for Linden Lab. Ebbe has apologized to me personally and I do appreciate that.

However, I will wait for Linden Lab to issue new brand guidelines for Sansar before I start blogging again. I am really tired, and I need to take a break. I hope everybody understands! I won’t be gone forever, perhaps two or three weeks at most. The blog will be back, either as the Sansar Newsblog, or under a new name with a new focus.

I have had a rough 24 hours with the Sansar Newsblog. You can read Nalates’ blogpost to find out what happened. Isabelle Cheren mentioned it too. The blogpost in question is now back up with the original pictures I took Monday evening, after going through it with Kayla, Linden Lab’s Director of Marketing, and editing the text to remove the offending words “exclusive” and “early access”. I have also added a disclaimer to my blog’s subtitle in the upper left-hand corner, as requested by Kayla.

I have asked Linden Lab for clear, yes-or-no answers to two questions:

  1. Can I repost the pictures from Aech’s Garage? (The answer is “Yes”.)
  2. Can I keep the name Sansar Newsblog? Or do I have to change it?

I don’t want to lose that tight focus on Sansar, on which I have worked so long and hard on with the Sansar Newsblog these past five months. I’ve been getting up at 4:00 a.m. some mornings to get my blogging in before I go to my paying job. But if Linden Lab forces me to drop the name “Sansar” from my Sansar-focused blog (as LL had earlier forced bloggers in the past to drop the words “Second Life” from their blog names, a decision which forced the bloggers to scramble), then I see that as the company deliberately forcing me out of that niche, and forcing me to rebuild a brand from scratch.

I may not be a Warner-Brothers-size company, but my blog is important to me and, if I can believe the comments I have received in support, important to many others as well. Until I get clear, authoritative yes-or-no answers to BOTH of my two questions (Can I repost the pictures I took from Aech’s Garage? Can I keep the name Sansar Newsblog?), I’m not going to bother spending my time and money blogging for Sansar. Linden Lab can go find some other blogger to cover and promote their platform.

Right now, I have only a verbal okay from Ebbe Altberg at an in-world meetup months ago that the name Sansar Newsblog is acceptable to Linden Lab, but after this recent incident, now I want more. I want a clear “Yes” or “No” from someone official at Linden Lab that the company is not going to ask me to rename my blog.

Until I get clear “Yes” or “No” answers to BOTH these two questions, from someone at Linden Lab who is authorized to speak on behalf of the company, the Sansar Newsblog will remain on hiatus.

And if I am forced to remove the word “Sansar” from my blog name, then I will no longer be focusing near-exclusively on Sansar on my blog, either. Instead, I will rename my blog and give more coverage to High Fidelity, Sinespace, VRChat, AltspaceVR, Rec Room, and the other new VR-capable virtual worlds, plus Decentraland, Mark Space and the other new blockchain-based virtual worlds that are suddenly springing up.

And yes, if it is not clear, I am still very angry. I bent over backwards to accommodate Linden Lab’s requests, quickly, as soon as I received them. I feel like an idiot for letting myself get into this situation in the first place, getting all excited about some stupid movie-tie-in experience and taking photos and spending an entire evening pulling together a blogpost about it all, being excited to tell everybody about it. It got well over 1,000 views, including a sizeable number of click-throughs to the Sansar software download page.

And then to have the rug pulled out from under me yesterday was an experience I would rather not repeat. It has left a very unpleasant taste in my mouth, and I am no longer feeling quite as accommodating as I was before.

So, I will not be making new blogposts to the Sansar Newsblog until I get a clear yes-or-no answer from Linden Lab: can I keep the name Sansar Newsblog, or will I be forced to change that too? There’s no point in continuing to blog until I know whether or not I have to rebrand.