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So goes the grid


According to Saffia Widdershins, in 2008, Philip Rosedale, at a meeting with significant Second Life content creators in San Francisco said: “As goes Grendel’s, so goes the Grid.”

He was referring to one of the more famous venues in Second Life, Grendel’s Children, a bazaar of high-quality, cheap avatars, ranging from spirits and sprites to anthropomorphs and dragons [Web-site]. In 2007, I wrote it up for Massively as one of Second Life’s “must see” sites, and I believe that it still is. GC’s owner/operator Flea Bussy put US$14,400 each year into the virtual land that supported the venue. Up until now.

Bussy has sold off two regions (half of GC’s land area) because, in his own words, “I don’t feel like giving them 600 us a month extra for telling me a sim is fine when it’s exploding in our faces.”

For months, GC’s management (Bussy and Toady Nakamura) have been trying to get effective responses to support tickets from Linden Lab (or whoever Second Life’s support is outsourced to at present). Tickets have gone unanswered, or simply closed with an “everything is fine”, support operators have promised to return calls, and not done so. It’s been a frustrating time for such a popular (and expensive) venue.

While US$14,400 seems like a lot of money for a slice of virtual property, Grendel’s Children turns a steady profit over and above that, and has done so for years. So, this isn’t about the money.

New Linden Lab CEO, Rod Humble, has three primary pillars in his overall strategy for Second Life, and one of those is support. “We took this problem all the way to the CEO,” says Nakamura (via Saffia Widdershin’s blog post, which you should read), “and it was fixed for 3 days. Then it broke again. We can’t keep going to the top for routine things like ‘we cannot move in our sim’.”

Certainly, the Lab’s CEO has his work cut out for him getting everything straight.

As for Grendel’s Children, while it has been slashed in half, Bussy and Nakamura are intending to stay the course, as long as is feasible, “We’re still here, still creating and planning for our 5th birthday in Second Life, sometime around 15th September. We got some great avatars in the pipeline and we probably work a lot smoother without the distractions of all that extra space and the extra money we had to pay out,” Nakamura told me.

“I feel sorry for Lindens.  Really I do. We have a lot of cheering for the new CEO. He’s with it. They have a hard job, but it’s really time for some of them to knuckle down and get to work.”

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