This post was originally posted by Konner McDonnell at the now defunct Your2ndplace and is reproduced here with permission from Konner McDonnell:
As first reported by famed blogger and SL icon Prokofy Neva and confirmed here by Nobody Fugazi, Linden Lab has acquired popular commerce websites XStreet SL (formerly SL Exchange) and Onrez. By way of reminder, LL’s announcement stated that the company intends to ‘build upon’ XStreet SL’s platform, but will discontinue Onrez after February 11, 2008.
For many (myself included), the looming question isn’t “what will this mean for my business” or “will this reduce instances of IP theft,” but instead “what will become of XStreet SL’s currency exchange?” A fair question, really. XStreet’s currency exchange rates are typically better, the fees more reasonable, and those who sell their ‘limited license right’ can immediately have their funds transferred to Paypal.
This looming question remains largely unanswered. In a crude Q&A session taking place on the SL forums following T Linden’s announcement, T and Colossus fielded every question except those concerning the currency exchange. Many people asked, with one poster noting that the Linden Duo had sidestepped the question time and again – which probably means the XStreet SL currency exchange will go the way of the
This suspicion is based on an observation that LL is not adept at damage control or misdirection. They avoided the ‘ad farm’ issue for quite a long time. They undercut their Land Baron middlemen good and proper. So when they start talking about “new features,” I check for my wallet, so to speak. Further, I know that LL makes their money from land sales, tier, and the Lindex. Given the Machiavellian zeal displayed through their handling of the land issue, reigning in the currency trading competition was predictable – not to say I predicted it. I’m just as complacent as everyone else.
Beyond my own cynicism, there’s Colossus Linden’s answer to one user’s inquiry about commission: “[Linden Lab] will be keeping [sales commissions] and most other features of Xstreet.”
So what features are being removed – perhaps one of them is that which you’ve carefully avoided discussing? Keeping in mind that ‘most other features’ implies that 51-99% of current features will be retained,and therefore that as little as 1% would be removed – and could be as little as removing the ‘forum topics ticker’ on Xstreet’s main page-, I must confess that I perceived that 1% as being that which was being presently avoided AND was the thing I was worried about losing.
I sure do it hate being left to my own devices and flawed judgment, but it’s actually quite brilliant: If you keep people wondering, they’ll do your advertising for you, they’ll keep coming back for those answers, and you can hook them on ‘new features’ and other such things. On the other side of the coin is confirming people’s suspicions right away and risk turning them off. Besides, there’s no point in making people angry when you can avoid the question entirely – it’s not as if people will stop buying Lindens.
For all my conjecture, at the time of writing this, there is no confirmation as to whether LL will remove Xstreet’s currency exchange. Should they? My personal opinion is no. At a glance, it seems like they have much more to gain from leaving it alone. There will always be competition. The key in benefiting from competition is to be your own biggest competitor. Whether this is ethical or even remotely possible in this context is, well, subject to debate.