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Old 08-30-2011, 01:19 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Wow. That is sad. Often times I feel like SL is a sinking ship and I should get out while I still can.
The Grendal's situation is anecdotal, and may or may not mirror a larger reality. The thing I don't like about articles like the one linked in the OP is that they are one-sided and probably don't reflect the complete truth of the situation.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:38 PM   #27 (permalink)
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The Grendal's situation is anecdotal, and may or may not mirror a larger reality. The thing I don't like about articles like the one linked in the OP is that they are one-sided and probably don't reflect the complete truth of the situation.
I agree that all such reports are anecdotal. They may be symptomatic of a larger issue, but I don't think that, generally, you can extrapolate the universal from the individual. You can, however, when the anecdote is one of many with the same message, come to believe that they are expressing a larger truth. Not the complete truth - I would be surprised at any journalist who caimed their story reflected the complete truth, from the BBC on down.

And the message I am getting, from many sources, is that Linden Lab have a real problem with customer service, which I hope my story reflected. I don't think that's huge news - but when it makes people decide to downsize, then I think it's important.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:24 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Grendel's are making solid money. Solid enough to carry four sims, with the store being based on just one of them - and the other three for play and development. They could continue to do that financially - but instead the lack of customer support means they've been bogged down with issues (like sims freezing, Viewer 3 crashing, Linden Lab ignoring requests to change the photo in the Destination Guide which they think is mis-leading, support tickets being closed with an 'everything is fine' message when it clearly isn't etc. etc) rather than focusing on development.

...

So - Grendel's are not going to close the store - it's still very profitable.

...
Thank you for providing this additional information. It's only my opinion of course, but I wish some of this detail had been in your original story. In particular, I think you could have better explained the line of reasoning between the bad service and the downsizing. As I noted above, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me after I read your story. I'm actually still not completely sure how downsizing addresses the service problems, but at least there is some line of reasoning - perhaps navigating two sims through the bad service will be less distracting than managing 4? Or, the service problems will still be distracting, but since they'll be able to keep more of their profits, they're willing to put up with it? at any rate, the original story just felt to me like the service was an easy scapegoat to draw attention away from whatever the real reason for the downsizing might have been. That's what made me raise an eyebrow.

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Old 08-30-2011, 02:25 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I assumed that those 2 regions were probably public spaces and if they're not actually part of the shop set up and they're wasting so much of the owner's time, it's sensible to just dump them and keep the income generators going. It's all very well to be giving back to the community but if the aggravation factor starts to outweigh the perceived benefit then something has to give. Particularly if their sales are mirroring the general downward inworld sales trend.

If your main purpose in keeping sims is to support RP and those sims are so broken as to make that an exercise in endurance rather than entertainment then there is little purpose in putting up with the annoyance.

Grendel's isnt just a shop. It's an RP sim.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:31 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I agree that all such reports are anecdotal. They may be symptomatic of a larger issue, but I don't think that, generally, you can extrapolate the universal from the individual. You can, however, when the anecdote is one of many with the same message, come to believe that they are expressing a larger truth. Not the complete truth - I would be surprised at any journalist who caimed their story reflected the complete truth, from the BBC on down.

And the message I am getting, from many sources, is that Linden Lab have a real problem with customer service, which I hope my story reflected. I don't think that's huge news - but when it makes people decide to downsize, then I think it's important.
Yes, and I said that what happened to Grendal's may or may not mirror the larger reality, but the article does not go into detail about what issues they've had with support. I own a few sims too, and my experience is that lately LL has been more responsive than they were in the past. That isn't to say that their support is perfect, nor is it to say that Grendel's have not had issues with the Lab. But it would be nice to know more about the details behind this story.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:56 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Yes, and I said that what happened to Grendal's may or may not mirror the larger reality, but the article does not go into detail about what issues they've had with support. I own a few sims too, and my experience is that lately LL has been more responsive than they were in the past. That isn't to say that their support is perfect, nor is it to say that Grendel's have not had issues with the Lab. But it would be nice to know more about the details behind this story.
It can be difficult to go into details when the details are small things in themselves, adding up to a cummulative effect.

Let's take one example - Grendel's were in the Destination Guide, dropped out, were put back in - but with a photo they felt didn't reflect what they are about. They asked for it to be changed back in April (and I think they've asked a couple of times subsequently, but am not sure). Nothing has happened.

Let's take another - which I do give in the article. They took one problem to Rodvik Linden, and it was fixed for three days - but then it broke again, and no-one seemed willing to fix it this time. Should they go to Rodvik again? As Toady says, contacting the CEO every time your sim freezes is not really an option.

It's been a lot of little things rather than a huge dealbreaker. But detailing one or two makes it sound trivial (which it isn't) and listing all of them would take rather a long time.

Why can't the Lindens give people named contact people, or a small team of named contact people? And, as many companies do, have them check up on the customers? An IM once a month saying, "Hi - how's it going? Any problems? Anything we can help with?" would make people feel special and valued - not hung out to dry. And, in a lot of cases, those friendly queries would get the response, "Thanks, everything's fine."

Good estate owners do it. Melody Regent, of Regent Estates, for example, pops into group chat pretty regularly to let people know that if they have any problems, she and her staff are aound t help. It's simple, it's friendly ... and it works.

Think what a difference it could have made to Grendel's if there had been a proactive Linden (or small group of Lindens).
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:28 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Saffia Widdershins View Post
It can be difficult to go into details when the details are small things in themselves, adding up to a cummulative effect.

Let's take one example - Grendel's were in the Destination Guide, dropped out, were put back in - but with a photo they felt didn't reflect what they are about. They asked for it to be changed back in April (and I think they've asked a couple of times subsequently, but am not sure). Nothing has happened.
Thank you for expanding on this.

The Destination Guide is an issue, and I have my own story about it which I won't go into here, suffice it to say I've had entries end up in there (which is fine on one level), but have no idea who put them there nor did I receive a notice about it. So yes, that can be a marketing problem when your brand isn't being portrayed in a manner consistent with your marketing plan.



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They took one problem to Rodvik Linden, and it was fixed for three days - but then it broke again, and no-one seemed willing to fix it this time. Should they go to Rodvik again? As Toady says, contacting the CEO every time your sim freezes is not really an option.
True, but the good thing is that this CEO is responsive. And if things are not being addressed, I believe we should be able to go directly to the CEO. During the previous management regime, going to the CEO never seemed to help, so at least there is some improvement under the new guy. What you're getting at though are that institutional changes need to come from all this, and I agree with you.


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Why can't the Lindens give people named contact people, or a small team of named contact people? And, as many companies do, have them check up on the customers? An IM once a month saying, "Hi - how's it going? Any problems? Anything we can help with?" would make people feel special and valued - not hung out to dry. And, in a lot of cases, those friendly queries would get the response, "Thanks, everything's fine."

Good estate owners do it. Melody Regent, of Regent Estates, for example, pops into group chat pretty regularly to let people know that if they have any problems, she and her staff are aound t help. It's simple, it's friendly ... and it works.

Think what a difference it could have made to Grendel's if there had been a proactive Linden (or small group of Lindens).
I like this idea. Hopefully Rodvik will read this thread and put something like this in place.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:04 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I'd just like to add that I've had contact with Flea and Toady, and been a fan of Grendel's for years. They do make money, but they only need one sim to do that. The other three (and the ground level of Tor) were used for a roleplay environment, and a host of games. The oldest one I know of was the Drakelet hunt, which was redone at least once, then two versions of the Avarian Expedition, which reminds me of a grittier version of Harvest Moon. Those haven't run in a long time, and without them there's not much point in having four full sims. I recall one of them saying that tons of people only using the sims (presumably without going to the shop) was annoying, so I'm not surprised they don't want to spend time and energy maintaining the games. Grendel's is extremely popular, and that kind of traffic is going to bring problems. If LL won't follow through on support tickets, then yeah I would shut down some sims too. Besides, they cost an arm and a leg now, and without dwell traffic has little meaning. Having a sprawling estate is only useful if you're renting land, which Grendel's never did. I imagine the only reason they're keeping both Avaria and Avaria Tor is so the various creators can have enough room to work on their large projects without using prims or script time from the store (which is massive and constantly growing, for those who have never been there.)

Also, I've never known Flea or Toady to engage in pointless LL bashing. Troll bashing though, I have seen that. I watched one hilarious interchange between Flea and a troll that swore he could sculpt better than Flea. Flea invited him to meet and have a sculpt-off. Flea created a humorous dog figure (Tankdawg, I have a copy of it!) in about five minutes, and the troll did nothing but complain and make excuses. Good times.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:21 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I'd just like to add that I've had contact with Flea and Toady, and been a fan of Grendel's for years. They do make money, but they only need one sim to do that. The other three (and the ground level of Tor) were used for a roleplay environment, and a host of games. The oldest one I know of was the Drakelet hunt, which was redone at least once, then two versions of the Avarian Expedition, which reminds me of a grittier version of Harvest Moon. Those haven't run in a long time, and without them there's not much point in having four full sims. I recall one of them saying that tons of people only using the sims (presumably without going to the shop) was annoying, so I'm not surprised they don't want to spend time and energy maintaining the games. Grendel's is extremely popular, and that kind of traffic is going to bring problems. If LL won't follow through on support tickets, then yeah I would shut down some sims too. Besides, they cost an arm and a leg now, and without dwell traffic has little meaning. Having a sprawling estate is only useful if you're renting land, which Grendel's never did. I imagine the only reason they're keeping both Avaria and Avaria Tor is so the various creators can have enough room to work on their large projects without using prims or script time from the store (which is massive and constantly growing, for those who have never been there.)

Also, I've never known Flea or Toady to engage in pointless LL bashing. Troll bashing though, I have seen that. I watched one hilarious interchange between Flea and a troll that swore he could sculpt better than Flea. Flea invited him to meet and have a sculpt-off. Flea created a humorous dog figure (Tankdawg, I have a copy of it!) in about five minutes, and the troll did nothing but complain and make excuses. Good times.
I have a couple of the drakelets, I love them! I never got them all. I'll buy them if they put them up for sale
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:57 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I can see where Grendel's is coming from. It sounds like the shop is doing well, but the RP sims aren't fun anymore because they just aren't working right, and the provider isn't fixing the problems that Grendels can not solve on their own.

I kind of see it like my ISP. The ISP I use is pretty much the only game in town because they own the phone and FIOS lines, and cable here isn't very good for internet. My ISP does offer great (though expensive) FIOS, godawful DSL (the phone lines that they own are old and they will not repair them), lousy phone. mediocre cable & cell services and truly awful customer support.

I do use their FIOS because it works well. If their cellular or cable services were decent, I would use them - but they aren't, so I don't. Their customer service sucks, but since the FIOS actually does work well, I don't need to call customer service about it. I use less of their product because their support sucks. But I have not left them because they do have one product I want - the FIOS.

Similar for Grendel's I imagine. I can't imagine the shop not doing well, but if the non-essential bits aren't working well, why bother? Cash out instead of spending money on something that has ceased to be fun.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:27 PM   #36 (permalink)
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The Grendal's situation is anecdotal, and may or may not mirror a larger reality. The thing I don't like about articles like the one linked in the OP is that they are one-sided and probably don't reflect the complete truth of the situation.
Grendel's may be anecdotal on its own, but it's one among many. The fact of the matter is SL is riddled with problems that there is simply no excuse for, and Linden Lab continues to push people away from SL rather than bringing more customers in. On top of that, their poor customer support is well known to be abysmal. All of these are issues for content creators.

I do agree the article could have provided more details. Still, even if it's a combination of dwindling sales and and frustrating support that resulted in the decision to lose the sims that would seem to mirror the larger problems facing the grid as a whole.

Things to seem to be improving. I'm getting responses to support tickets much faster than I did a year ago, tho the responses themselves are not always helpful. Some of them are infuriatingly unhelpful.

"Hello, yes, it seems the adult word filter is forcing an adult rating on one of my products due to a word with absolutely no adult connotations in its name."

"Change the name of your product."

"That's not really helpful."

"File a Jira that we can officially ignore you."

"Fuck you, LL."

LL has taken babysteps towards improving new user retention, with dubious results, but they've let so many astoundingly stupid problems pile up that it will be a long time before they've even begun to put a dent in them. Even worse, they've not yet shown any indication that they're serious about doing so. In the meantime they continue to lose potential new users and reinforce SL's poor reputation.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:08 PM   #37 (permalink)
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So, what was wrong with the sim. This story is so poorly reported. If there was some sort of issue that was persistently crashing sims, that took more than a knowledgeable land manager to hunt down the offending item and return it, i'd be curious to know what it is.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:48 PM   #38 (permalink)
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So, what was wrong with the sim. This story is so poorly reported. If there was some sort of issue that was persistently crashing sims, that took more than a knowledgeable land manager to hunt down the offending item and return it, i'd be curious to know what it is.
As I've said, it was a variety of issues that the very knowledgable land managers couldn't fix. Small incidents in themselves, but growing to a cummulative mass that led to the decision to sell off two of the role-playing sims, and to focus on the store and a single rp/development sim.

For example, the sims weren't crashing, they were freezing - but that was only one aspect of the problem. There were others - like the Destination Guide.

But Grendel's the store is still in healthy profit. This has nothing to do with their finances.

And if you find my piece poorly reported you might want to try:
So goes the grid
Grendel’s monster: SL Customer Support | Living in the Modem World
Linden Lab Once Again With Egg On Its Face | The Metaverse Tribune - News and Opinions From the Virtual World
Second Thoughts: Grendel Grumbles -- Is it Tier Fatigue or Loss of Linden Institutional Memory?
New World Notes: Sim Deathwatch: Second Life Loses 2 Grendel's Children Sims After Losing Linden Lab's Attention
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:55 PM   #39 (permalink)
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This is so sad to me. I loved Grendel's as a newbie. I bought many amazing avatars from them, and had so much fun doing their dragon egg hatching game. Now that was a creative way to do camping/traffic generation...anyone else remember it?
Remember it? I have all of their old drakelets, and all of the "new" ones besides. I freaking LOVE that dragon hunt.

I can imagine having four sims would be pretty costly, and the store just wouldn't do enough business to pay the tier on four sims with all the freebies available out there lately.

I'm not sure what kind of technical issues Grendels was/is having, but it does seem quite lagged there all the time now.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:09 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I can imagine having four sims would be pretty costly, and the store just wouldn't do enough business to pay the tier on four sims with all the freebies available out there lately.
If I think about it though, even if the business is earning enough to meet the cost, fourteen-thousand dollars a year is a lot to pay for a bit of virtual space running on software that's constantly under heavy development, linked to a set of databases in zeroth normal form, on a grid operated by people that don't care.

Being forced to script using a set of in house libraries that were literally developed over a weekend eight years ago is just a friendly bonus. The most I ever rolled back into the project was $195 a month and, even when the business was earning that much, it seemed like too much to pay for what Second Life was at the time. It's improved a little since then, but not a thousand dollars a month worth.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:13 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:37 PM   #42 (permalink)
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@MetaverseTV It appears the proceeds of the sale were distributed to group members. I just have to recover the L$ manually. Sigh.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:44 PM   #43 (permalink)
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I did that once. It really sucked. Cubey just became Santa Claus. And yes LL should respect error correction but they are still too incompetent to understand this is a defect in their system.

Ever try to explain mainland purchasing and management to a new resident? It is impossible. Like how do you ungroup that much land without bumping your tier up? Such a fun task. (hint: roles and privs but you are still damned if you granted owner to anyone but an alt in which case you are back to having to sell the land to yourself)
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:20 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Yeah, problems like this simply should not happen. There's no excuse for it whatsoever.

The fact that problems like this do happen, and with alarming regularity, should be the sort of thing that keeps Rodvik up at night until he can pinpoint why its happening and fix it one way or another.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:03 AM   #45 (permalink)
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I did that once. It really sucked. Cubey just became Santa Claus. And yes LL should respect error correction but they are still too incompetent to understand this is a defect in their system.
Someone in the Lab could become competent enough using SQL to roll the transaction back and shift the proceeds into Cubey's account. But that ain't gonna happen in a million gazillion years.

Then again, it's not a defect in the system. The policy is, if you give people lindens, it's a gift. We've been told that since 2003 and I don't know of any time that policy's been overridden.

This happened to me once as well and almost happened when I sold Slate to Jopsy. My sums were off and I ended up going over tier 32m anyway but a very nice Linden forgave the mistake and overrode the additional fee that month with a stern warning that it was a singular consideration.

I hope Cubes gets all his monies back.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:45 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Howdy, SLUniverse!

@Saffia - I work daily on the Destination Guide for Linden Lab and would be happy to help Grendel's with any aspect of their listing, including a new image. I've looked through my email archive and have no record of any contact to editor@lindenlab.com re: this listing -- so please contact me directly by email or inworld so we can help! It may be that your request was not routed to me, so I'd like to get to the bottom of it.

@Allison - Please contact me inworld (Brett Linden) or via email editor@lindenlab.com re: concerns over any of your entries so we can help.

@Everyone! - Also, for anyone reading who has customer service requests re: your Destination Guide presence, please feel free to either IM me inworld directly (Brett Linden) or to email editor@lindenlab.com so we can help you. We're here to help with any Destination Guide questions or concerns.

Back to my lurking...
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:56 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:07 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Someone in the Lab could become competent enough using SQL to roll the transaction back and shift the proceeds into Cubey's account. But that ain't gonna happen in a million gazillion years.

Then again, it's not a defect in the system.
The defect in the system is that groups ever failed to limit financial payments and disbursements to Owners by default. It was a completely bizarre decision, and one that has burned people over and over again, and should have been fixed years ago. Given how much Cubey has done for LL, they really should just gift him the L$.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:24 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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I'm sure this decision made perfect sense in the Tuesday morning meeting over doughnuts and sake.

I wholly agree with you Argent. What I mean is that Linden Lab doesn't. It's not a defect to them; this is how they think; this is what we were working with when trying to improve Second Life and build a world that would attract mainstream users. My defect was wasting so much time and effort not realizing that this is how they think. Thank Heaven I finally understood.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:46 AM   #50 (permalink)
I'm not Here!
 
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Flea= Obama
Linden Labs= Government

I see many similarities here....
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