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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Apr 24th 2010 2:30PM (Unverified) said

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Truth!

Posted: Apr 24th 2010 2:30PM MaggieL said

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Linden Research needs to get over the "these aren't the customers we're looking for" syndrome that Mark Kingdon brought with him and realize that these are the customers that are paying them.

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 10:19AM (Unverified) said

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If the attitude came from anyone, it came from Mitch Kapor; he was banging on about the need for "change" in SL before Mark Kingdon arrived.

Just after Kingdon's arrival, Kapor restated his position at his SL5B speech in which he essentially said - to paraphrase - early adopters of SL are pioneers, they've opened up the country; but like the pioneers who opened up new countries, they are ill-equipped to make the best use of it, and so need to stand aside and make way for the pragmatists (in this case pragmatists being genuine real-world businesses, corporations, NGOs, etc.), which pretty much came over as a "so long and thanks for all the fish" sentiment.

Mark Kingdon carries the can for a lot of ills - some of them potentially right, some of them wrong; but I'm not sure the blame is his alone. The culture of "not listening" really seemed to start taking root through 2007, long before his arrival; so he seems to have fallen into the mould (or pressed into it), rather than creating it (which is not to excuse the problem in any way).

What is a curiosity in the customer relations issues at LL is that Kingdon is no slouch. While a featured expert writer at clickz.com in the later half of 2006 (just 18 months prior to joining LL) he wrote very knowledgeably about the need for customer engagement and involvement in order for companies to grow and thrive. These weren't homilies about going out and finding new users over the horizon, but rather engaging with the existing user base *and* going out to find new customers as hand-in-glove exercises.

So what the heck happened between 2006 and 2008 that stopped Kingdon apparently believing in his own message - or what is it in LL as a whole that has stopped him from implementing very valid approaches to customer relations since he joined the company?

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Posted: Apr 24th 2010 2:49PM karnisov said

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I'm curious if the lack of service problem is caused by,
1: executives having a tech background instead of a customer service background
or
2: customer service is not cost effective to implement in a virtual world if you already have a monopoly.

Having dealt with customers in the past I understand they can be very high maintenance and perhaps LL has decided employee time is better invested elsewhere. I'm curious as to how the entry of VIE will effect this and if VIE will operate differently.

Posted: Apr 24th 2010 4:38PM (Unverified) said

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One obvious and insulting manifestation of this is LL's ongoing habit of requesting resident input on one change or another, then no matter what the response is, doing what they damned well intended in the first place! The examples of this are legion and legendary. It is deeply ingrained in the LL culture.

Posted: Apr 24th 2010 7:38PM (Unverified) said

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They did kinda do a bit better with the TPVp fiasco, though it might have been too little too late.
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Posted: Apr 24th 2010 11:29PM (Unverified) said

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The whole TPVP thing would make another good example. Three attempts, punctuated by defending the mistakes as being correct and blaming the user for having a problem with it, before finally settling (on the third try) on what most any user could have told them that they should have had on the first attempt.

It's really quite boggling how that can happen.
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Posted: Apr 25th 2010 4:51PM (Unverified) said

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At least the third time they finally got to something most resis would find acceptable, i know the process was slow, and thee might still be stuff that could have made things better, but compared the previous situations, this was an improvement IMO.
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Posted: Apr 24th 2010 7:02PM (Unverified) said

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Perhaps Linden Lab's attitude and culture is influenced by a "god syndrome" over creating and nuturing their own virtual world?

Seriously, everything I read about LL paints them as being the most dysfunctional company that I am aware of. I hope that perhaps, someday, someone like Scott Adams of "Dilbert" fame or Ricky Gervais of "The Office" (BBC) will emerge from that madness to bring us another masterpiece of crazy, chaotic work environments.

Posted: Apr 24th 2010 9:36PM (Unverified) said

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"Perhaps Linden Lab's attitude and culture is influenced by a "god syndrome" over creating and nurturing their own virtual world?"

It would seem like a good explanation, but I actually think it is, in some ways, quite the opposite. It seems to me that Mark Kingdon and his team has been doing their utmost to make SL "just another MMO", and specifically *get rid* of the "world building pioneers".
LL seem to *not* believe in what they have, instead doing their darnedest to turn SL into a competitor to what it seems something like Blue Mars will become (and Facebook is); a marketplace for good, little consumers to spend their money on content created by a comparatively small handful of professionals, rather than a nurtured world.
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Posted: Apr 25th 2010 11:40PM (Unverified) said

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What a terrible analogy and what a whiney entitlement-happy freak you are, Tateru.

Hotels do not supply you tools and a matrix to create art and start your own business. They are just places where you sleep and have a meal temporarily. It's not only apples and oranges; it's oranges and toothbrushes.

There.com closed because it costs too much to keep demanding people like you online, entertained and functional without wrecking the place. The customer service state is not endless. It's expensive, just like international justice, and not a tenth as effective, and that's like saying it's like in the minuses.

Virtual worlds are interactive media. They attempt the impossible, to make it possible for you to create and share media on their platform and to enable both you and them to make money.

I think it would be likely possible to grab an opensim and make your own grid and own TOS. I'd be fascinated to see what you came up with when you would be forced to move from the extreme leftist opposition to practical work. Talk about recreating the wheel!

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 10:53PM (Unverified) said

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Well, there are plenty of hotels that got things like convention centers, swimming pools and all sorts of entertainment and busyness related activities.
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Posted: Apr 24th 2010 11:30PM (Unverified) said

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I'm particularly happy that none of you so far seem to have made a fatuous misreading of the analogy and thought that I meant that Second Life (or virtual worlds generally) should be more hotel-like.

Posted: Apr 25th 2010 12:05AM (Unverified) said

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LOL, spending too much time in Zindra Tateru?
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Posted: Apr 25th 2010 12:08AM (Unverified) said

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Hardly :) I haven't actually had occasion to visit Zindra since it first opened to the public, before people started moving in.
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Posted: Apr 25th 2010 11:41PM (Unverified) said

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Scratch that. Seems we have one person who isn't really bothering to read.
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 4:54AM (Unverified) said

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Great analogy and analysis, Spot on

Posted: Apr 25th 2010 7:21AM (Unverified) said

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Hotels apart,
what online service is a good example of short and easy-to-understand terms of service?

I thought that long and complicated LL's ToS were an industry standard.

Posted: Apr 25th 2010 7:56AM (Unverified) said

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Among my favorites are CNN's RSS feed terms ( http://edition.cnn.com/services/rss/ - down the bottom) and the ones at freewebsites.com ( http://www.freewebsites.com/terms.phtml )
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Posted: Apr 25th 2010 1:01PM (Unverified) said

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Oh, and being an industry standard doesn't make a contract conscionable, effective or even legal - just commonplace.

When it comes to T&C's, NDAs and contracts, everyone more or less plagiarizes the matching documents from everyone else in the same or similar industries. That's industry standard too.
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