The Big Rollover

Well, I think this is it.

With a front-page mention on Yahoo! today–one which has the Lindens scrambling to keep up with the load on the Web site–Second Life is probably going to hit the big 1-million-signups mark, if not today, then within the next day or so. The new user signup rate has been increasing; Tateru’s automated prediction of when the threshold would be crossed has been moving steadily backwards for the last couple of weeks, and, when I last looked, stood at October 21. The extra burst from a Yahoo! feature article ought to put it over the top.
Bad news for me; I picked November 1 as the day of the milestone in Second Life Insider‘s contest. But is it good news for SL as a whole? Best answer I can come up with: Yes and no.

Certainly, the crossover will bring SL some additional respectability in the Internet world, and likely additional corporations will want to follow the path of Sun Microsystems and Reuters onto the Grid. (Some Residents decry this development, but think about it: Even if a corporation comes into SL to compete directly with existing SL businesses, those existing businesses have a huge head start. I don’t think Clairol or anyone else could match GuRL 6 at the business of selling hair, for instance.) At the same time, the sheer volume of transactions that is taking place in-world is starting to make Congress take notice…and they may decide to sic the IRS on us. And, if that happens, state governments won’t be far behind–never mind the question of jurisdiction. (Hell, that’s a muddled question even for the Feds…if a Brit sells something to an Aussie in SL, is it any of the U.S. government’s damn business?)

On an in-world level, expect the Orientation Islands, Help Islands, and Welcome Areas to be swamped with an influx of people. An open question is whether LL newbie-assistance groups, such as the Greeters and Mentors, will be able to cope with the influs; the same goes for important non-LL groups such as NCI and The Shelter. And, since these folks aren’t likely to have a single L$ to their name (since LL shut off the Basic stipends and signup bonuses), expect an increase in panhandling, increased runs at the money trees and other newbie giveaways, and increased demand for camping chairs/dance pads/what have you. And out of all those new users, some are likely to be the griefing type…and we may see a new round of attacks as they appropriate the griefing techniques of the past and build on them. However, we will get a lot more new interesting people to talk to. (And the Gin Rummy may get more job applicants; Lord knows we could use them….)

In summary, things will probably not change much in the near term; the immediate post-1M world will be pretty much the same as it was last week. The really significant changes as a result of the increased population are likely to happen gradually, over time, such that none of us will be able to point at a single moment and say, “That’s where everything changed.” Of course, LL can cause a “flag day” at any time with their next software update…but what else is new?

But congratulations to LL and the entire community for getting this far…the first million is the hardest. 🙂

UPDATE: Well, there it is…the seven figure mark has now been officially reached, as confirmed by The Head Linden Hisself. Philip also says 50,000 or so new signups will happen today alone…which is causing the signup mechanism to creak a little bit. And some of the other consequences I thought of above are also coming to pass…

UPDATE II: I ran into Akela last night at The Shelter, and he was of the opinion that it was the news story about Reuters that put SL over the top.  This would appear to be consistent with Pathfinder Linden’s report of exactly when we hit the 1-million mark (just after 8 AM SLT on the 18th), which means the Yahoo! article may not have made much of a difference when it came to hitting the mark.  Meanwhile, Tateru reports that more people signed up yesterday than were actually registered at the time she joined (woah!), and, with fully 1/5 of the user base having signed up within the last two weeks, it’s creating some new challenges.



Filed under Current Events, Philosophy

5 responses to “The Big Rollover

  1. Super entry, Erbo! (Your site feels smooth too, the comment box font appears much larger than your body’s tho?)

    I am inworld now just taking a break from the oncoming onslaught joy of new Resis being born. Many, I saw appear on the OIs, blooming like flowers. Some nekkid due to a bug, but are we not all born into the fleshworld in such a way? Hopefully they will don their clothes and enjoy their Second Lives.

    Oooo, more swampage, gtg.

  2. That must be an awesome sight, Torley. God, I wish I could be there with you to see it. Somehow, for some avatars to appear naked seems apropos–not just from the RL analogy, but, in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, it’s made explicit that that’s how avatars first enter the Metaverse. I do think the blue jeans, sandals, and white or purple shirts, depending on gender, are a nice touch, though…

    I’m not sure what’s up with the comment box font being so large. I think the only way I could really solve that problem, though, is to spend $15 for the ability to diddle the CSS on the blog template–or move to hosting a WordPress blog on another site, where I could tweak the templates to my liking. The latter is the way I may go eventually.

  3. Well Erbo. the millionth resident is big news. i am afraid that since i cant get inworld, i am so far behind with the goings on in SL. it has forced me to find other ways of amusing myself… that actually involve spending real dollars… not much good when i am contemplating a new laptop, and trying to decide between the macbook, or the toshiba…

    i am so not ready for this week. monday is full of forced niceness and i dont see why moi… got chose to lead the admiral around like a lost puppydog. im gonna go out and buy a leash… if i gotta drag him around, might as well have fun doing it.

    as for the tax issue. the servers are in san fransisco, therefore the only state that could tax income from SL is Ca. and the IRS would have jurisdiction over it because of the location of Linden Lab. however, through a difficult chain of events, the IRS could find your IP on the server, trace it to your computer, and tax your income from it directly… that is only if you cash out at some point. if you leave the lindens in your SL client, they cant count that as income. thus stopping people from making an actual living off of SL (bad deal for a lot of the resident business owners…) but the only way it is considered income is if you make real dollars from it. as long as the currency doesnt leave LL’s servers, it doesnt cont as income. and that really sucks for those of us that are aspiring or budding business avatars.

    and that is the reason LL will be hurt by the IRS coming. because then the money wont be pouring in at 300-400k a day anymore. people will be scrambling to get their money out before the deadline and LL will crumble. its another prime example of how corrupt the american government is. just remember, its the same government that has sent our troops(me included) to combat, to die for nothing more than oil, and greed. and they dontreally give a damn what happens to us, or the civilians on the home front, all they care about is making more money than they need… just because they can.

    *steps off her soapbox*

    Allie =)

  4. Well, Allie, the tax issue seems to have been shelved for now…see this story (on the Reuters Second Life site, yet!) for the statement of Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee that was looking at this issue. If it did happen, though, would things like premium fees, tier, upload fees, classified fees, and so forth be considered business deductions? I don’t think anyone wants to open that can of worms yet, LL least of all…

    And I take a different view of the reason why you and your fellow soldiers are fighting; I think you’re out doing important work to help keep those of us back here in the U.S. safe. In a paraphrase from the movie A Few Good Men, you’re standing on the wall and telling the rest of us, “Nothing’s gonna hurt you tonight.” It’s a reason why I consider you a hero, as well as your fellow soldiers.

  5. Pingback: More People…And More Issues « Evans Avenue Exit

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