Second Life restores education discount

Linden Lab has cut its land and setup prices in half for educators and non-profits, the company announced this morning.

“We’re pleased to announce an update to Second Life pricing for educational and nonprofit institutions,” the company said.

The offer is effective immediately, and applies to any accredited educational institution. Non-profits need to have a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit tax status or equivalent.

OpenSim-based FleepGrid is a popular hypergrid destination for educators looking for content.

OpenSim-based FleepGrid is a popular hypergrid destination for educators looking for content.

The discount lowers the setup price of a region from around $1,000 to around $500, and monthly region rentals from around $300 to around $150. More information is available on the wiki page for the special offer.

The 50 percent discount also applies to homestead regions and open spaces. Educators and non-profits can also request to get invoicing for their region costs.

Linden Lab has had a discount for educators in the past, but it was eliminated in the fall of 2010, a moved which helped contribute to a gradual move of educators from Second Life to OpenSim. As their contracts expired, educators and non-profits explored other grids, which typically offered much lower prices, more security, and more control than Second Life, in addition to full region and inventory backups.

Some educational institutions have received the discount more recently, on an individual bases.

“But  today we are happy to formalize this pricing, extend the discount to also include set-up costs, and open applications for all that are eligible,” Linden Lab said.

“This is a welcome step and sees the return of something that should never have been taken away in the first place,” said Second Life blogger Ciaran Laval in a post today.


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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

38 Responses

  1.' hack13 says:

    It is very exciting to see them restoring this to educators, however it still needs to come down for regular users as well. I mean I understand that they do need to charge more because of their massive back-end compaired to other grids. But just decrease the prices by 20% for regular users and they could still pay themselves very well, and keep everything running the way it is.

    •' Hannah says:

      Their core audience isn’t “regular users”, their core (as in “the audience where their profit comes from”) audience is large land barons. If they lowered region/estate prices across the board, they would actually end up losing much more than they gain.

      These articles by Tateru Nino and Inara Pey (respectively) are almost required reading on the subject of lowering tier and why it’s a bad idea:

      •' hack13 says:

        Why I do agree, and understand what you are saying. If you go and look at how the companies practices have been changing, they been treating employees like freelancers, the past couple years. They will hire someone new, come in and create something, then they will get rid of them, they have let go of many employees. These things are all documented, and lead me to feel they are chaning a lot of how they do the back end.

        I have also spoken with a lot of people who work injunction with Linden Labs, and they are paid on a per-job basis. As it seems Linden Labs even outsources fixes these days, and makes it much cheaper but paying people per-fix they contribute vs a salary. Now not all their employees are this way, but I do have a few people who will vouch on this.

      •' Gaga says:

        Yes, Han and folks should read the comments after the main articles. Tateru and Inara support each other’s posts in favor of Linden Lab but the many comments – particularly those directed at Tateru – clearly don’t agree and find serious fault in her article which poses a hypothetical tier reduction of 50% and bases her whole argument on it. No one would ever expect Linden Lab to drop tier by 50% so the argument is totally flawed which was clearly pointed out in the comments and she had a hard job defending her position. Made an interesting read though and I still think a gradual reduction is possible but not by 50%.

        •' hack13 says:

          I completely agree, I think if the drop was gradual. I mean if we think about it, I don’t think I would mind paying almost 300 a month, but I don’t want to pay the 1,000 setup fee. I think at least remove or reduce the setup fee would be a great start in the right direction.

          •' Gaga says:

            Here’s the problem I keep coming back to when I think about it, the Lab is just too wrapped up in deals with the Land Barons and now, once again, getting back into deals with educators and none-profits that they, themselves, must always be seen to charge the residents top tier if they want to own land (whatever ownership means in SL). The Barons get their secret discounts from the Lab just like LL was already giving secret discounts to educators to lure them back before making it official once again. The Barons must and will always be ahead of the game over the ordinary resident. They always have been and most of them have never paid the full setup fee anyway because they buy up sims that would otherwise be returned to LL at a loss when residents leave or can’t afford it any more. Thus, the Barons have built up large holdings and can offer a good deal – like, no setup fee and slightly less than a none Baron could do. Some Barons will even offer a week or so free rent or compensate you when things go wrong. The small landlord just can’t afford to do that or have empty property sitting around. Barons make money on the bulk of their trading and the Lab knows it and I would say is happy with that. Linden Lab is just not going to rock that boat – of that I feel sure.

      •' Ener Hax says:

        you are correct, as a former 19 sim estate owner, private estates and the BIG estates (like over 100) are big money to LL. that model is now flawed since there are many decent OpenSim options

        why should i pay some yahoo (me included) as a middle man for a service i can get for $35 a month for 20 regions in Kitely?

        yah.yah, yah, i am aware that there is soo much more content inSL and that there are 1,000 times more daily users but blah, blah, blah

        that and $295 a month will get you one lonely sim inSL (if you don’t believe me, fork out $1000 and then $295 and see how much activity you have after a year . . . )

        bitter? could be, but now i use VWs in a totally diff way and SL has it’s place (anonymous cyb3rs3x?)

        it ain’t 2006 anymore and SL continues to decline in private sim count . . .

  2.' Gaga says:

    A desperate move on the part of Linden Lab to try and halt the decline in their fortunes but why would any educator or none-profit trust them? A few years down the road they could just as readily pull the plug again. The Lab has shown they do whatever it takes to keep profits high, they change policy on a whim and will destroy businesses they once encouraged. Remember the Open spaces scandal?

    They know the majority feeling is they have to cut their excessive charges across the board and they are trying to stave off that day while they milk their customers.

    Educators and none-profits have had a taste of Opensim now and they like it. The cost is much much lower, they have more control and they are not subject to the changes of policy and direction of a corporate monopoly like Linden Lab.

    I wrote a blog post about Linden Lab pricing here…

    •' Ener Hax says:

      “Remember the Open spaces scandal?” that was THE event that caused me to pull out of SL – i really wanted to keep growing and, dummy me, i even had a 54 sim “phase I” plan!

      i was never looking to get rich but it would have been nice to clear a little profit each month, maybe on the order of a few lunches out a month!

      when i sold my sims, i sold each for $10 over the transfer costs – greed is not my middle name . . .

  3.' Guest says:

    “We’re pleased to announce an update to Second Life pricing for educational and nonprofit institutions,” the company said.”

    LOL, a desperate last ditch effort to reverse their screwup, and it’s a case of once burned twice shy, I doubt many edu’s are ever going to go back there now to a walled garden they couldn’t backup or save their builds from, especially after all this time of finding opensim alternatives.

  4. oh no here comes my 2 cents. $500 setup fee is STILL to high, especially for educational use and non-profit organizations. This is just another failed attempt to get back those they lost to OpenSim. However I personally think LL should wave the setup fee for educators and non profit if the buyer has legal documentation to show that they are a educator/non profit cuz the monthly fee is pretty good.

  5.' Sarge Misfit says:

    Having worked for non-profits, I can tell you that they are not going to go flocking back. It costs them time and money to move, and they are already short on those. Nope, they’ll stay where they have already settled. As for new ones, some will, but its a small community, word gets around. Especially word like “its cheaper to host an OpenSim than to get a SL discount”.

    •' Ener Hax says:

      100% agree and today there are decent alternatives for universities, museums, and school. and with many of those options not having a lower age limit, it opens them for a wider audience

      five years ago, SL was the only game in town, today you can run and awesome multi-region grid on your own institutional server for less than $100 a month. heck, even Kitely is appropriate for many institutional uses, especially with their Twitter/Facebook access control

  6.' Ener Hax says:

    ha ha ha, maybe they can eliminate it again after once a bunch of people spend countless hours creating incredible builds . . .

    btw, it was announced (right here, right now) that SoaS has also cut their prices by 50% for educators (and everyone else) =p

  7.' Ric Robinson says:

    While it’s not fair to hold the current SL management accountable for errors of the past, SL management of the past ignored and were indifferent to the avalanche of requests and pleadings by educational organizations for help in pricing and billing administration. Fundamentally, SL’s position was our way or the highway. Many organizations since then found their way to more supportive communities like OpenSim, so why does the current management think that simply reducing costs will change anything to a community that felt that they had the rug pulled out from under them. SL provides an incredible platform for virtual relationships, it’s too bad that SL staff and management can’t provide the same with their customers!

    •' MetaGirl says:

      You are so right Ric they are not same lindens as years ago …
      Also a price drop could come for all residents soon and no matter what
      linden labs did even if they offered free land they still will have the haters and those who could never be pleased with anything they do.

  8.' Joe Builder says:

    SL I think will do just fine, There here to stay. Not so sure the residents all flocked to opensims by just looking at the online stats at any given time. That again is land mass vs avatars.

    •' MetaGirl says:

      I agree as well with you joe I even got a mainland home again…

      Just got tired of being alone on a grid…

      With 99 people online and 1000’s of regions just to hard to find and connect with anyone.

      • This is what I mean when I say that educators and non-profits should be using Second Life for networking. That’s where the large mass of users are.

        But for classes, say, or internal meetings, where you don’t care about the total user base, just your own users, OpenSim is a much better fit.

        I think this is one reason why the land is growing on OpenSim and not in Second Life — people can attend events in Second Life without renting land. So their user numbers stay up, while the land area continues to fall.

        Meanwhile, classes and similar projects don’t even register as OpenSim users on the stats, because they’re typically held on private, behind-the-firewall grids, out of public view.

  9.' Richard Finkelstein says:

    The first abrupt abandonment of the Education and Cultural sectors was a total disaster for me as I was amidst research in SL via my University’s THREE sims. I had to then fund my project at the full price out of my own pocket which is tough for a teacher. Worse, the many cultural institutions I depended on in involvement of students dried up over night (Shakespeare Globe Theatre and Primtings and Dresden Art Museum for instance) leaving the field almost solely to strippers and pole dancers. With the discount my University has made a LIMITED foray back in BUT with the reminder that what Linden giveth can be taken away. The pricing agreement does not seem to have stability for the future. I still have a love for SL but the ecosystem is no longer thriving as it used to be and much harder to defend its use to education and professional peers.

  10.' Ada Radius says:

    Still too expensive. And still no OAR backups nor logging for private regions. So if anything goes wrong with LL policies or we lose funding for it, our builds disappear. And there are far cheaper alternatives elsewhere. Doesn’t seem like a responsible way to go for our nonprofit.

  11.' Joe Builder says:

    I will never understand why there is so many SL bashers in the few opensim blogs. In no way shape or form will opensims profit in any demise of SL. The way most see it, going backwards is not a option, So they bite the bullet and pay the increase in price. If its to much then its back to Real life and go on about there business. I completely understand the few who cant except that, And thrive in the blogs how SL lost regions its really to funny to read. SL is here for the long haul regardless of losing regions. And cutting prices for education in a Virtual World with massive functionality is always good

    •' Gaga says:

      I will never understand why a handful of people like you Joe make it your mission to hangout in Opensim grids bashing them and putting Opensim down at every chance you get. And of course your dis-information is quite a joke to read. You do love to call Opensim folks SL bashers when you know full well it is not SL they bash but Linden Lab and you know the reason why – because they have been ripping people off for years and you are happy with that because you sound like you have the same mentality. You call it business but we call it usury. Like Wonga dot com.

      Second Life is great but it cost way too much. Opensim is just as good and cost a whole lot less. You don’t agree so go back and to SL and count your profits if that is all you think of. Other people just want to be creative and enjoy their virtual experience.

      BTW, Joe. nag all you like but you wont convert anyone over here. More come from SL every day and discover they can have virtual worlds and freedom from usury.

    •' Yara Eilde says:

      The bad thing is, that these people also bash the SL community in the comments of their own SL blogs. Instead of showing the positive sides of OpenSim, they can only make the always same statements against LL and SL.

      As a user of both virtual worlds, sometimes I am ashamed for the hate of these people. And it keeps me more and more away of wanting to be part of the OpenSim community.

      •' Joe Builder says:

        Exactly what I been trying to say, These so called bloggers need to focus on positive things in Opensims and stop gloating over a few regions offline in SL. There jealousy is not attractive, its rather counterproductive

    •' Minethere says:

      I am going to comment on this now [since it is early in the day for me and I can watch how it goes over the day…lol] [and since I may, or, may not, comment further, depending on my mood as the day progresses…lol] [and since I am always hopeful that Joe is going to be on the positive side of his occasional manics….lol] [nah, your ok Joe, I just like ribbing you sometimes-))]

      I am not an old foggie who played these types of VR for years as some have here, so I try to never speak to old issues that seem to be dredged up from time to time. On a positive not I also do not have old problems with people who have been around, possibly, to long-))

      I also tend to think I am able to see things somewhat differently [not saying especially better, in any regard, of course] due to this than those so immersed in all this for so long, that I think some lose sight of the realities of it all….which is understandable, really, when people consider that.

      However, unfortunately, I -am- an old foggie to real life…sighs. I have seen, played, and moved on from, many software ideas and platforms.

      And I expect I will do so with all this, eventually, assuming it stays around longer than my interest of it does-))

      As to the fact that sl is losing regions, and the few things they are now trying to do to stem this tide, I actually think it is a good thing for the Metaverse. From my own observations of all this, there is little to none marketing to the outside world, except coming from SL.

      As well, ALL other grids and free opensim look to SL for new people to come check out their own flavor of the day.

      SL does, in fact, have the most tools, and people, in place to acclimate noobs to this software….much more than any other places can do, in many regards.

      Other grids may -wish- to try and get noobs to VR from outside ways, but I think they will fail…as Joe, and others, point out, they simply do not have what is needed, and, it is likely they never will. The vast size difference and Corporate Marketing that SL does compared to ALL others is seriously VAST.

      Since, so far, SL has not done all that much in regards to stopping other smaller grids from attempting to proselyte people to them, it seems to me, from having done marketing for many years in RL in my own things, that continuing to try and do this, as long as SL keeps a blind eye to it, is still, realistically, the “only game in town”.

      However, on that, Kitely is in fact getting many Educators, as it offers a solid platform for them [as well as for RPers] and the pricing is in line with current trending for lower regions and more features, as well as more freedom in their website tools [ex. OARs] that we all enjoy so easily in the free metaverse.

      As well, since it is a commercial grid, it is more in line with the commercial reality that is SL.

      The fact of the matter is that ONLY LL is making any kind of real money in all this. The rest, some make a little money, which may be acceptable depending upon their reality of what constitutes “good money” but most do not.

      Personally, I think the free metaverse is the way to go, simply due to the reality that the Internet is a conducive instrument for being free…entertainment is the key.

      I expect we will all see how things go over time, but if one watches trends, it is obvious the Metaverse has some growth issues….whether it is SL or everyone else.

      •' Minethere says:

        on the other hand, I am 99.419372 % sure we are all just a construct of some 2 year olds toy….in the REAL reality-))

        and I think this 2 year old is having a grand time…I love to think of her or him or it just giggling away, moving this pawn here, whispering to that other pawn, blocking with the Queen…as I love how small children giggle-))

      •' Joe Builder says:

        Nothing bad to say about Kitely you mention very often, But I do aspect to see it on top of all the grids this next count on regions and users online. With such great innovations with a marketplace, Educators and a solid platform should be just under SL in the stats. I’m just looking at all the hype and based assumption on that. not counting every other thread on this blog seems to wiggle a plug there somewhere 🙂

        •' Minethere says:

          hehe…I don’t know about others but I do try to “wiggle” a plug in on grids I like, which is something I much more prefer to do than espouse the negatives of those I do not like-))

          I also like to plug those I think are doing innovative things, like Kitely, and Metropolis.

          Kitely is really gathering steam nowadays tho, but the percentage activity to accounts is still rather low. I expect that will change over the next couple of months.

          •' Joe Builder says:

            Maybe, sadly highly unlikely unless it becomes 100% free with the majority hosting things on there own computers. I truly do understand the whole opensim idea its great. But when we close our eyes and think about it its just a sandbox at the end of the day. Which I applaud a full functioning grid (Sandbox) is a good thing for the creators and the tech side of it. I do look at the word communities a bit different being, its mostly small groups of friends that communicate. I make all kinds of silly things but sadly no one is interested other than what they do on there regions. I remember a time where many wanted vehicles a form of physics to Drive, Boating and even flight. That’s here already and working great, sadly no one is interested just to name a few.

          • There’s nothing wrong with personal sandboxes. You might be too young to remember this, but the WWW was originally a bunch of personal sandboxes. Lonely little websites full of weird political ramblings, academic research reports, pictures of people’s cats.

            And AOL had the big community and all the people. Individual websites had no traffic. And the Web certainly no business activity. AOL had both the traffic and the business.

            This Internet-bashing article from 1995 could totally be written about the hypergrid today:

            Today, there are plenty of websites that aggregate communities. Facebook is the big one. Google Plus is trying to become one. YouTube is one, kind of, as is Pinterest and Twitter.

            But the fact that those sites get a huge amount of traffic and a lot of people doesn’t dimish the value of individual websites.

            Company sites. Individual sites. Blogs such as this one.

            And its the total sum of all the little pieces that make the Web great.

            So it’s okay that the hypergrid is composed of a couple of hundred of small grids run by individuals, companies, and schools, with low traffic numbers. Because those grids are useful to those particular groups, and are helping create a rich mosaic of destinations that, at some point, will eclipse that available from any single provider, and hit an inflection point.

            Or something new and better will come along and we’ll all switch. Who knows.

          •' Joe Builder says:


  12.' Heavy Hitter says:

    Oh yea, step into the bite of a slim jim
    second life is turning around
    it is magic like a bird in the hand, oh yea

  13.' Padi Phillips says:

    For educational use OpenSim is the far better fit. It’s not that hard to learn the administration side of things, and having total control over access is, I would have thought, a crucial factor in an education environment. Closed anything is in my opinion a bad idea. Open standards make a lot of sense, and it amazes me that the gullible still fall for Apple and Microsoft products, and other products that run on those systems. By and large the Open Source equivalents are as good, and often better, and any gripes about the supposed deficiencies of Open Source software seem stuck in the past. It may be true that Libre Office dosen’t have all the bells and whistles of the latest, (and expensive) Microsoft Word, but it’s my guess that 99.999% of Word users wouldn’t be able to utilise all of Libre Offices capabilities so the argument that Word is ‘better’ is largely a moot point. The same can be said for many other pieces of software, and in a rather thought provoking article I read online somewhere someone did wonder whether the usual bleating crowd of SL creators who complain that OpenSim is a hot bed of copybotters actually used bought and paid for copies of PhotoShop to produce their SL creations… I would think that some actually do pay for their copies, but most people would be served equally well by Gimp