Another Fifteen-Minute Second Life Avatar Makeover: A Complete Head-to-Toe Mermaid Makeover for Only One Linden Dollar!

Photo by Annette Batista Day on Unsplash

Mermaid and merman role-play in Second Life is perennially popular (sometimes combined with pirate role-play). I have had a mermaid avatar in Second Life for as long as I can remember, although I must confess that I do not pull her out that often nowadays.

Here is what my mermaid avatar looked like before her makeover, a system-layers-and-flexiprims look cobbled together from various freebie mermaid outfits I picked up over the years (the lovely mesh tail was a recent free hunt gift from Solas NaGealai of BlueMoon Enterprise):

Mermaid: Before Look

Well, I decided to give my mermaid one of my patented fifteen-minute avatar makeovers today, to move from a classic, system avatar to 100% mesh!

Here is what she looks like now:

Mermaid: After Look

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: the Freya Bento mesh head from Catwa (free group gift; the Catwa group is free to join; more information here). TODAY IS THE LAST DAY YOU CAN PICK UP THIS FABULOUS FREEBIE!

Lipstick: HD Lipstick (part of the Freya package, this comes in a wide variety of colours).

Hair: this absolutely perfect mermaid hair is called Spring Briar Fae Hair, which I picked up for free at a Crazy Hair Hunt many years ago now. I combined it with a hairbase from the Catwa Master HUD, tinting both it and the eyebrows on the Freya head to match.

Mesh Body: Classic mesh body by Meshbody (L$1 group gift; The Shops! group is free to join; more information here).

Choker: This beautiful golden Nefert choker is a free group gift from Poison Rouge at the current round of the Très Chic shopping event (you can join the Très Chic group for free). It hides the slight mismatch between the skin tones on the Freya head and Classic body perfectly!

Mermaid Bra and Tail: This is a freebie, too! Just join the Arata Shouten group for free, and check the group notices for this lovely gift (which was my impetus for making this blogpost). You’ll need to alpha out your legs, of course, using the included Classic Meshbody HUD.

Mermaid Animation Override: I picked up this mermaid AO as part of a free hunt gift at FallnAngel Creations many years ago. (If you hunt around at the various mermaid role-play areas in SL, you might find a freebie mermaid/merman AO.)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR LOOK: ONLY L$1! (for the Classic mesh body from Meshbody). Everything else was free!

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Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg: Second Life Has Seen a 50% Increase in Regular Monthly Users Because of the Pandemic

Second Life’s new logo (more info)

Last year, I wrote:

In the December 2017 issue of The Atlantic magazine, Leslie Jamison wrote an article about Second Life. The webpage for that article has the original article title, Second Life Still Has 600,000 Regular Users (which you can check for yourself by doing a Google search):

However, it would seem that Leslie’s editor at The Atlantic wanted a somewhat punchier title, and so we have The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future, which shows up when you click on that link. (I’m pretty sure that Linden Lab is less than pleased with that particular editor.)

There’s a quote from that article which is, to my knowledge, the most up-to-date statistic we have about how many people still use Second Life: “Of the 36 million Second Life accounts that had been created by 2013—the most recent data Linden Lab will provide—only an estimated 600,000 people still regularly use the platform.”

“Only” 600,000? That still makes Second Life, far and away, the most popular metaverse platform, at almost 17 years old. Even popular newer platforms like VRChat don’t have that level of usage. (Note I am talking specifically about open-ended purpose social VR and virtual worlds here, not games like Fortnite which are slowly expanding into non-combat, social environments.)

And yet, somehow, the mainstream news media continues to portray Second Life as quaint, outdated, and “forgotten”. In case you doubt that 600,000 figure, it was supported by statistics released by Jessica Lyon, the founder, CEO, and project manager of the Firestorm viewer project:

Let’s get this out of the way first:  542,967 unique users across 9.9 million sessions spending 17.7 million hours logged into Second Life on Firestorm over the last 30-day period. 

If you assume that Firestorm has 90% of the SL viewer market (a reasonable assumption), that still works out to about 600,000 regular monthly users (that is, people who sign into Second Life at least once a month).


Well, in a May 22nd, 2020 VICE story about the boom in business in virtual worlds during the pandemic, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg (the makers of Second Life), had this to say:

“The Second Life community, which now has about 900,000 active users monthly, hosts hundreds of events daily,” Ebbe Altberg, the CEO of Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life, tells VICE. Altberg reveals that the most regularly attended virtual events include live music performances, shopping fairs, fan fiction conventions, book and poetry readings, academic lectures, fashion shows, and art exhibitions. “Events in Second Life can be held spontaneously or with careful planning,” says Altberg. “We have an events calendar and destination guide that helps the community discover what is happening at any given moment. Inside the Second Life Viewer, many communities also form chat groups that allow for like-minded people to stay informed about the latest events.”

Linden Lab does not often reveal usage statistics, so this is noteworthy. What is also noteworthy is that the number of people who log into Second Life at least once a month has jumped from about 600,000 to approximately 900,000—a 50% increase!

Even though Linden Lab has been trying mightily to promote their virtual world and increase the number of people using Second Life for well over a decade, the company has been caught flat footed by this significant increase in usage (be careful what you wish for!).

In fact, they recently announced that they were unable to respond to a surge in demand for Second Life regions (better known as sims, which is short for “simulators”):

Well, this is awkward…

Due to the ongoing public health crisis, we’ve experienced an unprecedented surge in demand for new Second Life regions. While we are thrilled by the heightened interest, the increased demand has consumed our available inventory of full regions and homesteads (there are still many parcels available on existing regions, both on the mainland and from private estates). 

We are committed to maintaining (and improving) the stability and performance of Second Life. So while we are very gratified that we can be of help to people in these trying times, unfortunately, our current server systems cannot accommodate unlimited growth without adversely impacting that stability and performance. This means that region inventory in Second Life will be extremely limited and may not be readily available until early fall.

As we’ve discussed previously, Second Life is in the process of migrating from our existing dedicated servers to a cloud hosting service. That migration has already moved a number of the most important services and databases, but we are not quite ready to host simulators in the cloud. We have a crack team working on that and are making lots of progress, but there are significant changes needed to make sure that we can provide the performance, stability, and security required. When that process is complete we will have a nearly unlimited region capacity, but until then we are constrained by the size of our existing server fleet.

While our migration project has been underway for some time, even our most optimistic business projections did not anticipate a surge of the magnitude we have seen in recent weeks for additional regions. While we planned for growth driven by improvements to Second Life and other factors, we didn’t expect demand to be created by a global pandemic.

As a result, we are in the unfortunate position of hitting the maximum capacity of our “old” servers until the “new” cloud servers are fully operational.


Of course, Second Life is not the only metaverse platform to see an increase in business because of the global public health crisis. Many other social VR and virtual worlds have seen an increase in use, and they have been receiving many inquiries from educational institutions, businesses, and convention organizers. For example, the Balticon science fiction and fantasy convention, taking place this weekend, set up a virtual convention meeting place in Second Life.

Sensing a business opportunity, the pandemic has led to a sharp increase in the number of companies offering platforms supporting remote team work, or (as I prefer to call them) YARTVRA. (This last link will take you to all the blogposts I have written about the remote teamwork marketplace to date.)

And this is not going to be a temporary situation, either. In a best-case scenario, we are going to have to wait 12 to 18 months for a vaccine, which means that social distancing policies, lockdowns, and quarantines are going to be implemented, off an on, for the foreseeable future by governments around the world. We could well see successive waves of coronavirus infection well into 2021, or even 2022!

The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented business opportunity for social VR platforms and virtual worlds. As the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines!

Photo by Luca Huter on Unsplash

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gifts from the Eighth Anniversary of the Cosmopolitan Shopping Event (Part II)

You might be interested to learn that I was one of the people who won a free Second Life avatar name change in their recent contest! (I did pay to upgrade another avatar to Premium to change her legacy name; I posted about that saga here, with detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to change your legacy Second Life avatar name.)

So please allow me to introduce you to Asako Kiyori (formerly stuck with the rather unfortunate moniker of Zelda Leeming):

Asako is wearing:

Mesh Head: This is a static (non-Bento) mesh head called Du by Altamura, which I picked up a couple of years ago as a free gift at a small shopping event whose name I have forgotten; I picked a skin tone on the included HUD that matched the Jenny body below).

Mesh Body: the Jenny Altamura mesh avatar head and body I picked up as a hunt prize from the 2017 Women’s Only Hunt; the Jenny mesh body is now available at the Freebie Megastore at London City (free; one skin tone; has Bento hands and head; more information here); but please note that you cannot remove the head if you pick up the freebie version in London City!

Hair: Nebula by Firelight Hair (a former Advent calendar gift; the Firelight group is free to join)

Blouse: Never Surrender blouse in midnight blue by Entice (a free Advent 2019 calendar gift which is no longer available, but you can pick up the same blouse in a purple colour as a free Stay at Home Club gift at the Entice store).

Pencil Skirt: Moon black pencil skirt by Virtue (if I remember correctly, this wardrobe staple was one of the free group gifts from their Advent calendar one year; the Virtue group is free to join, and there are almost 50 group gifts at their gift wall at this exact SLURL).

Pumps: Jai pumps by Rowne (free group gift; group is free to join; these shoes come with a HUD with 15 different colours to choose from, to match just about any outfit).

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: FREE! (As you can see, it pays to visit the Advent calendars at some of these stores every day in December!)


So, I decided to take my newly-renamed avatar over to the second round of the 8th anniversary of the Cosmopolitan shopping event to vacuum up some fabulous freebies to augment her wardrobe (here’s the SLURL; you will have to join the Cosmopolitan Club & Lounge group for free to pick up all the gifts).

Here are three dresses from the event that I quite liked!

First up is a sexy little red dress called Kiss – Red Star, from the AVALE booth—perfect for that (virtual) night out on the town!

Next is the 8th anniversary gift from Little Fox: this fun. curve-hugging, bubblegum pink Terry jersey dress! You can easily dress this versatile piece of clothing up or down as you desire with the right shoes, jewelry, and accessories:

Finally, we have the cozy brown knit Christie dress, the gift from Eternus, which comes with a separate gold-and-leather belt as shown here. You could easily wear this as a sweater over a pair of jeans!

This second round of the Cosmopolitan 8th anniversary shopping event ends on May 30th, 2020, so don’t delay, head down today!

Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: More Gifts from the Stay at Home Club

I thought it was time to give an update on the many new gifts that are available from The Stay at Home Club website. In almost two months, so many stores have decided to participate in the project that the website is simply groaning with high-quality freebies! I showed you some gifts already, but it’s high time to show you some more!

The website now breaks down all the dozens and dozens of free gifts into seven broad categories:

I think the spirit of this whole enterprise can best be summed up by Pink Pearl (SLURL), who placed the following heart-warming sign in her store:

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The gift from Pink Pearl is this cute pink workout set, which includes the top, matching shorts, and sneakers which you can wear with or without socks. The socks come in short and long lengths. On this Altamura Juliet avatar, I am wearing the Maitreya top and the Slink shorts, socks, and sneakers (Altamura bodies have Slink-compatible feet):

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You’re all set for your next virtual treadmill!

Some stores, such as Versaci (SLURL), have been extremely generous with their Stay at Home Club gifts!

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Here is the Beckie hair, a gift from Versaci (which comes in a fatpack of colours), paired with the Stay at Home gift from 7 Deadly S[k]ins, the beautiful Akyla skin, which comes in both Bakes on Mesh and as an Omega skin applier:

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Another store that is generous with Stay at Home gifts is AlaFolie (which has moved, here’s the new SLURL), which now has four different Stay at Home Club gifts in their store!

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Here’s the lovely Manon dress by AlaFolie, which comes in two patterns as shown, and even includes matching Omega applier panties!

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This fun yellow-and-aqua-blue Pineapple dress, another Stay at Home Club gift from AlaFolie, is also a keeper!

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There are quite a few gifts for male avatars, too! Here is the raglan V-neck T-shirt by ikr! (SLURL), which comes in a variety of sizes to fit most male mesh bodies (including the EX MAXCHINA Davide body shown here), in four different coffee-themed patterns:

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In fact, I am so impressed by all the freebies available via The Stay at Home Club website, that I have now added it to Ryan’s All-In-One Guide to Freebies in Second Life, where I condense all the freebie fashionista advice I dispense on this blog into a single handy blogpost with my top tips to style your Second Life avatar while spending as few Linden dollars as possible!

Happy freebie shopping!