Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fill 'er up...and make it Premium


Ah! A full bright gas station! The perfect place to ponder Premium memberships. Right now, in my humble opinion, Premium is not Premium. It is more like Mid-grade. Free accounts would be Regular for this comparison.

You see, Alicia Chenaux's blog post a few days ago made me think. She posted some suggestions for improving the SL experience. One of these was increasing the benefits for Premium memberships.

I have had a Premium membership since I started SL. Why did I do this when I knew nearly nothing about it? Well, when I do something I like to do it all the way. I am a total sucker at the automatic car wash (The Extra Super Scrubby Plus with Undercarriage Wash, please.). I only paid it monthly at first, so the cost was small in my eyes. I liked the idea of extra support. And I saw the stipend as a refund of some of my money. Oh also, I had the mistaken notion that Premium members would be exempt from the Linden buying limits imposed on new accounts.

I have my own ideas about how to make Premium a higher octane product. I especially love two that Alicia suggested, so I will list them here also in the faint hope that LL might see this post.

Here are some ideas:
  • free or half-price uploads (Or heck, what about giving Premiums the first 25 uploads per month for free?)
  • free inventory back up or some sort of storage mechanism
  • discount on the fee for buying Lindens
  • ability to change capitalization and remove numbers from your name once. (Right now it is never.)
  • more group slots (as Alicia mentioned)
  • more profile pick slots (as Alicia mentioned)
  • priority for log-ins when the grid is super full
  • increased number of IMs before they cap (i.e., 100 vs 50) 
  • no fee for creating a new group (currently $100)
  • 512 tier donation matching (As long as you were not one of the group's owners, LL would make your donation of tier to a group worth 1024 m.)

One thing I hear a lot is that people see no benefit in becoming Premium. I always advocate for it and enthusiastically share how much I like the increased support. But most people are more technically savvy than I am and use support infrequently. (I do own mainland, so that is a benefit for me also.)

What other game out there costs so little? It is $9.95 per month if you pay monthly. I am fortunate in that I can buy the $72USD annual membership. So, that is $6USD per month. Since I get a $300L (roughly $1.15USD) each week, it costs me about one dollar per month for the membership. If you pay monthly, the cost is under $5USD.

And to tell the truth? I would not even mind a small increase in the cost to buy a Premium membership if it included some of the benefits listed above. Or maybe LL could offer different levels of Premium accounts.

Premium members are among some of the community's most engaged customers and provide a revenue stream. I believe that it makes sense for LL and for the community to increase their numbers.  So, LL? Fill 'er up!

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