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When I looked at the announcement of the elimination of the discount for educators and non-profit organisations yesterday, the only explanation that seemed to make sense was some kind of profit crisis at Linden Lab. A need to pull an ill-informed short-term increase in cash from groups that are poorly-positioned to be able to pay more.

I invited the Lab to offer a better explanation than mine, and I have received a response from a Lab spokesperson.

Firstly, profit-crisis:

No, there is not a profit crisis at Linden Lab.

Now, the reason for slashing the discounts:

Ultimately, we made the business decision that as we focus on improving Second Life for all users, we will no longer provide the level of special treatment previously offered to educators and nonprofits, which includes ending the 50% discount these organizations have received.

I... err... wait... what? If that had come from SecondLie, that would actually be quite funny. Instead, I wound up with an unsightly smear across my glasses from an unplanned facepalm.

The implication just doesn’t seem to connect. It implies that cutting the discount constitutes an improvement to Second Life for all users. I’m just not seeing that connection. So, there’s no apparent financial reason, it just makes things better for everyone. Right.

Also of note is the bit that goes “which includes…”, implying that terminating the discount isn’t the only reduction in support that the Lab has planned for educators and nonprofits.

Quite what else might be in the wings, I can’t imagine. Dunce caps and chicken suits?

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