Some of you may have noticed that your billing for Second Life is no longer being done out of the United Kingdom but is now being done from the USA. Since there was no announcement of a change, we asked Linden Lab about that, back in the first week of January -- especially as it seemed that some users were still being billed from the UK, and others from the USA (and a few users with multiple accounts, from both countries). There seemed to be little consistency.
Within a week, we had a basic answer. Linden Lab's John Zdanowksi (Zee Linden) responded, "There was shift in billing, though the change only happened for new customers or existing customers who re-entered their billing information, so that there would be no chance of disruption."
We went back to the users who had alerted us of the change (some of whom had been disrupted by it) and asked them what sorts of things they wanted to know. We quickly identified the basic questions: Who was the new billing provider; why the change; when was it done; and why it hadn't been announced. We boiled the queries down and sent them along to Linden Lab's PR agency.
Months went by without a response. Finally, in mid-March, we re-sent the query and were finally told, "This is not information that Linden Lab is currently making public."
Pardon? The name of the billing provider and the date that they started billing for Linden Lab are being kept confidential?
Why should these details be kept hidden? Without them, if you re-entered your billing details, your next billing could fail due to lack of authorization.
Well, gentle readers -- this one has strained even the awesome powers of the Massively Deductive Reasoning Collective -- help us out a little here.