Linden Lab zones out.

Mainland sim

Jack Linden has made a heads-up post about new policies to be implemented concerning zoning and advertising on the Mainland sims in Second Life. There is no word yet on when these policies will be enforced, just a brief message intended to reduce panic and confusion when further announcements are made in the future. Unfortunately, the post itself brings with it much confusion, as there is very little in the way of detail concerning what the policies will actually entail, or how enforcement is to be brought about.

In the Zone – or out of it?

Jack’s post implies that zoning will be applied only to new Mainland sims. Considering that the goal of zoning is to improve conditions for Residents using this land, what does this imply for existing Mainland sims, which will presumably remain unzoned?  It would seem that if there is no retrofitting of zoning, existing sims will become marginalized – poor cousins to the more attractive zoned regions. However, picture the uproar that would be caused by retrofitting covenants into previously unzoned sims – imagine the governance required to go through with such a scheme.

Advertising – stronger measures required?

We only have vague hints as to what measures might be taken regarding advertising at this point. The new ad farming policies, having little to do with actual advertising and more to do with littering and extortion, are the only general policies previously instituted with regards to advertising, and give little idea as to what might be coming. Jack states that “we need to professionalize all aspects of advertising inworld”. In fact, Linden Lab has had almost no contact with advertisers beyond that created by Abuse Reports. There is no relationship to foster or improve. I wonder though, why “it has to” change, and why now?  Must advertising policy change now, when it is already too late? Or must it change now, as a herald to something we are as yet unaware of?

Resources, resources! You must obtain more resources!

All these necessary and wonderful changes – not only must there be policy put in place, but governance too. Where will the resources come from to enforce these policies? To date, Linden Lab has been either unwilling or unable to provide adequate resources to police existing policies – a poor performance considering their “hands-off” approach. The Abuse Reporting system has an average of 30 seconds allocated to each case – obviously the people in this team are horribly overworked. Despite the gambling ban being put into place almost a year ago, gambling dens continue to pop up here and there – this system is also failing. I can only hope that Linden Lab has some plan for greatly increasing their manpower, and that they are not under the mistaken impression that their current teams can take on the new load, or that another mere eight or nine people will significantly beef up their governance load.


  1. Salazar Jack says:

    A thought has just occurred to me regarding the Lindens and advertising. Perhaps they are paving the way for Linden-controlled advertising that will be Grid wide? Now that the OpenSim competitors are maturing, folks will soon have more and lower cost options for land ownership. That is one of the reasons the Lindens are focusing on the Mainland again, to make it more attractive and to retain residents. They would also be looking for new ways to generate revenue as their land-based model begins to weaken. When they saw the potential for profit in buying/selling Linden dollars for Earth-based currencies they created the Lindex, which I imagine is the most convenient method for trading inworld dollars for out-of-this-world dollars. They already have folks used to buying inworld classified ads for L$. Perhaps their focus on advertising now means not only regulating how residents will advertise, but how they might expand their own ad network beyond the inworld Search Classifeds to a Grid-wide ad network accessible to out-of-world advertisers as well? That could represent a new source of income for them.

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