Editorial: Second Life Users Are Less Than Happy About Linden Lab Doubling Commission Rates on the SL Marketplace from 5% to 10%

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Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

On Nov. 21st, 2019, Linden Lab (the makers of Second Life) announced:

On December 2nd, 2019, commission rates on Marketplace sales will become 10% of the item price. This will be the first commission increase since the Marketplace debuted a decade ago. This new rate remains significantly lower than most digital content commissions across the industry. Apple and Google charge a 30% commission on sales in their app stores, as do many other popular virtual worlds, VR and gaming platforms, such as Oculus and Sinespace.  

Many SL users have grumbled that the 10% figure (which will be double the previous 5%) does not accurately reflect the complete picture of how Linden Lab makes its money. Some have pointed out that comparing the 10% figure against the 30% commission charged by Apple and Google is misleading, given all the other transaction fees LL has implemented.

One commentator stated on the official Second Life user forums:

I did this calculation:

If I buy 2500L$, it cost me $9.73, and with transaction fee of US1.49 the final cost is US$11.22

If I sell an item on the MP for L$2500, I now get L$2250 for it. (10% LL commission as of Dec 2nd 2019)

When I sell the L$2250, I get US$8.13. (3.5% transaction fee to LL)

When I withdraw the balance to my bank, I get US$7.72 (5% Transaction fee to LL)

So if a SL member buys L$2500 and the merchant cashes it in, we are seeing a transformation of US$11.22 to US$7.72, and LL are effectively taking 31.2% for themselves.

LL say in their blog post: ”This new rate remains significantly lower than most digital content commissions across the industry. Apple and Google charge a 30% commission on sales in their app stores, as do many other popular virtual worlds, VR and gaming platforms, such as Oculus and Sinespace.”

They refer just to the 10% MP commission, but we see that LL is actually creaming off over 30% if you follow the money from start to finish.

10% MP commission is one thing, but then all the other charges just add up to something that is somewhat unfair.

I found this explanation very instructive, so I wanted to share it with you. If you want to read the entire thread on the forums, here it is. You might also find this conversational thread interesting.

I think that this is yet another step in a long-term strategy. Linden Lab is continuing a multi-year, concerted effort to shift its main income generation away from charging for land, and more towards charging for services. Once LL successfully launches SL sims “on the cloud”, as opposed to running its own expensive servers, I do expect that the cost of buying (or more accurately, renting) virtual land in Second Life will decrease as a result. But obviously, we aren’t quite there yet.

So, what do you think? Is this a price gouge on the part of Linden Lab, or a necessary cost of doing business? Please feel free to leave a comment below, or even better, join us on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server and tell us what you think there! We’d love to have you.

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: META Basic Mesh Body for Male Avatars

Cat Pink, whose YouTube videos you should follow regularly if you are at all serious about tracking down Second Life deals and freebies, has found yet another inexpensive mesh body for male avatars. It comes from a store called META and it is available on the SL Marketplace for only L$1:

META 3 24 Jan 2019

The body is fully adjustable and includes Bento hands and a HUD with a complete set of alpha selections, which means you can get just about any clothing to fit it. Please note that it only comes in the one skin tone, a dark tan. This dollarbie version of the META body is not Omega compatible, but there is an Omega-compatible version for only L$699.

I paired this body with one of the free male Bento mesh heads I picked up from Akeruka, called Leon (remember my tip: join the Akeruka group for only L$150 and monitor the group notices for announcements of future free group gift heads!). The head comes with ten different skin tones, so I picked the closest match and hid the slight seam using a unisex choker from the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil. Here’s what he looks like:

Meta Leon 2 24 Jan 2019.png

I especially appreciate the detail on the hands; they are particularly well done! This body is a good choice if you don’t want an overly-muscled look for your male avatar.

META Leon 24 Jan 2019.png

This casual outfit is one of the four free male outfits (including shoes) available at the Steamworkz Bathhouse & Resort Gay Beach (here’s a SLURL to take you directly to the spot where you can pick them up). People often overlook LGBTQ spots in Second Life and I have found that they can sometimes be a great source of freebies (you can even pick up a free penis attachment if you’re looking for one, to avoid that “Ken doll” look 😉 ).

This is an excellent addition to my list of free and inexpensive male avatar heads and bodies. You do not need to spend a fortune to have a good-looking avatar in Second Life!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: How to Find Free and Inexpensive Items on the SL Marketplace

The SL Marketplace is a great place to look for bargains on avatar clothing and shoes. Here’s how to find freebies and cheapies on the SL Marketplace, in three easy steps:

Step 1: Open the SL Marketplace and click on Apparel in the upper left hand corner to limit your search to avatar apparel:

SL Marketplace 24 May 2018.png

Step 2: Enter “NOT demo” in the search box up top, and press the green Search button. This will remove almost all the demo versions from your search results:

SL Marketplace 2 24 May 2018.png

Step 3: Enter a price range (say, 0 to 5 Linden dollars) in the Price section to the left, then click on the Refine search button:

SL Marketplace 3 24 May 2018.png

And that’s all you need to know! At this point, you have done a search for all items of avatar apparel, that are not demo versions, that cost between L$0 and L$5.

SL marketplace 4 24 May 2018.png

Happy shopping!