I recently came across two things on the Web about Second Life that were a little sad, for completely different reasons.
First were not one, but two commentaries from a while back alleging that the Second Life economy is a Pyramid Scheme, also referred to as multi-level marketing, MLM, network marketing, or a “Ponzi Scheme.” I won’t link to them, because I don’t link to nonsense, but I thought I should post a rebuttal in case anyone out there is ever Googling “Second Life” and “Ponzi Scheme” and didn’t know enough of the facts not to be alarmed.
Here’s how a Ponzi scheme works: some very disturbed person comes up with a plan for a kind of club. Everyone that this person recruits to the club gives the top person money, and everyone they recruit gives *them* money (with some to the person at the top) and so on. This works great as long as new people keep coming along: everyone who recruits new members gets some money. But there are a finite number of suckers in the world, so eventually the whole thing comes crashing down like an elephant falling into a tiger pit, crushing whoever’s at the bottom. Hmm, I can’t decide whether that’s a mixed metaphor or not. So, around half the participants–the later ones–get the short end of the stick, if they get a stick at all.
So, is Second Life a Ponzi Scheme? Let me put it this way: uh, no. In a Ponzi Scheme, all the money flows one way (up). In Second Life, anyone could conceivably earn money from anyone else if they have something (that they can make pretty much for free) to offer them. And the more people join Second Life, the more stable and viable its economy becomes, which is the exact opposite of the Ponzi Scheme.
There are many other ways in which the Second Life economy is unlike a Ponzi Scheme, but there are also many ways my shoes are not like the arctic tundra, so I’ll just stop there.
Oh, but one more comment (I forgot to add this when I originally posted the entry): the author of the commentary I was reading also said, and this is a quote “nothing is free in Second Life.” To which I have to say: what???
Oh, and one more thing: that’s not to say that nobody’s trying to run Ponzi schemes in Second Life, but the economy of Second Life itself, well, pshaw.
Kate Linden. Red hair, green eyes, pale skin …
Hey, wait a minute! Oh, but no wings: never mind!
The other disappointing thing was that although she’s been with Linden Labs for six months now, it was only today that I discovered there is a Kate Linden. That really shouldn’t bother me, since I really wasn’t planning on applying for a job with Linden Labs, but I will admit that from time to time I’ve daydreamed about working full-time in that virtual world. 😉
Oh, and the subject of things that are not at all disappointing, but instead very exciting for me, my Supah-Seekrit Prajeck is going very nicely, and I’m only a little obsessed with it. Also, some wonderful people have gotten in touch to work with me on it, so no more jobs are available at the moment, although we’ll see what happens.
That’s all! Now back to our regularly-scheduled First Lives!
^^^\ Kate /^^^