Thursday, September 23, 2010

Losing Friends and Influencing People

In a disturbing trend, more people I know are losing access to their SecondLife account due to what I consider clerical or bureaucratic error.

Three were pulled for what I'm now calling the "Age Verification Grief".  There was no mistaken identity here or anything of that sort, they were reported by people who knew there were of age, but were mad at them and knew that it's a pain in the behind to re-age verify your account and it takes forever.

There's no reason to pull these people off the grid when all you have to do is limit their access to mature and adult areas, or even just adult areas.  If the process of re-verification is gonna take weeks as it sometimes does now, people will be a lot less angry with Linden Labs if they can still access their account during the wait.

The other problem I see cropping up more and more is people who had premium accounts, but don't have land or anything think they can just let their premium account expire if they don't want to renew it.  That would be logical, but it's not the way things are set up at Linden Labs.

You must go into the website and change your account from premium to basic before your premium membership expires or Linden Labs will consider you in arrears if you do not pay  to re-up your premium account and restrict your access to your account.

This too is a bass-ackwards way to do things.  For people who don't owe tiers, all Linden Labs has to do is switch the account to basic when their paid premium time runs out.  How hard is that?

With the flow of new members still slow, Linden Labs needs to focus on the matter of retaining the customers they have, and the time to focus on keeping people, is before they start to leave.

From their perspective, I think the problem is two-fold.

One, they spend a lot of time putting in provisions and stops and checks to prevent people from abusing the system.  Even though less than one percent of the members abuse the system, those that do cause havoc so they get a lot of attention.  This story about one guy exploiting the password recovery system is a good example of what I mean.  If the password recovery system soon becomes a much bigger pain in the ass, that guy's responsible.  Thanks a lot, asshole. 

The Second is it seems the company's main focus is the cooler technical aspects of rendering stuff in 3-D and all the stuff that makes SecondLife work, and the relatively mundane work of basic customer service gets ignored.

Phillip announced that the company is "getting back to basics" and working to be Fast, Easy and Fun.  Well, basic customer service, although boring, is a huge part of fast, easy and fun and if it's true that most people never make it past the first hour in SL, then it would seem logical to treat those that do stick around like gold.

UPDATE: Another friend has lost their account.  This time from a false report of them copybotting.  I don't know how LL came to the conclusion that she was guilty, except that maybe she had copybotted items in her inventory.  What they fail to realize is that most people have copybotted items in their inventory because it's fairly impossible to tell if you have them.  You get a pack of free items as a noob, and many of the items are copied and there's little to no way you can tell.

One way to resolve this would be to look at the individual items and see if the person reported was the creator.  Otherwise, just blacklist the item and leave the person alone.

SecondLife is going to have a problem if they keep banning people who shouldn't be.  For a company who was so concerned about customer retention they spent millions developing viewer two, they sure aren't paying much attention to the out of control governance team decimating the population.


  1. I wonder when the premium account in arrears started...I had two accounts premium in 2007 to early 2008..let them lapse and have never heard a word.

    AR griering...its obvious nthat outsourcing stuff isnt the way to godd customwer relations.
    In a way, I have often wondered what would be the result of that happening to me.
    I'm 10 hours driving from SF battery street and retired...I should likely call SFPD to come and keep the peace before I walked in the door and demanded someone tell my fat assed, white haired 68 year old ass that im underage. (should hire a videographer and you tube it)

  2. I dunno, he didn't have land or anything to own tiers on, he just didn't renew it. They send him emails asking to renew but he figured if he ignored them it'd just switch to basic automatically.


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