Oooooh. Really good post by Ciaran Leval over at Your2ndPlace about the whole rigamarole over the Linden Lab carrot-on-a-stick to get existing Second Life Basic Accounts to upgrade to Premium Accounts.

Quick recap: Linden Lab has allowed Premium accounts, which I refer to as "preemies" to languish in terms of "features" and "you're so shpethule extra stuff" that a lot of the preemies have been downgrading to the free Basic accounts over the last few years.

So, LL comes-up with the brilliant idea to not only allow all preemies to own 512 square meters of virtual land tier-free (though you still must acquire the land, often by purchasing) - but rather give the 512 M2 land complete with a stylish themed home already upon it.

Filtering through the obviously mixed reactions, most if not all preemies are actually looking forward to receiving one. The goal is also to add another perk to preemie status and entice a lot of those basics to step-up to preemie status. and it is apparently working.

However, amongst the LS (Linden Spam) all respectable residents (those who actually include their real email address in their SL accounts) receive is a fancy-shmancy pitch to take that step-up.

This is where the confusion ensues: in the advert and special bonus of L$1000 is mentioned. However, most experienced grid-citizens (as usual) over-read and try to decipher that which should always be taken at face value. So they panic and over react when that shiny new Linden coin is not thrown at them immediately upon stepping-up.

Read Ciaran's post (end-link) to get the full story. In part, Ciaran says...
The complaint is that someone has signed up for a premium membership after receiving this email, they then wondered where their L$1,000 bonus payment was. Now this in itself isn't an issue, it takes around forty five days after becoming premium to receive your bonus. However what is an issue is that support staff told the person the bonus is only paid to new accounts, not to those who upgrade from basic to premium.
Well, the thing is most people who comment on the blogs have a serious chemical imbalance upstairs, are way over-emotionally unstable or just plain stupid.

Oh wait - that's in reference to most of the idiotic replies to threads on the official blogs about things like "why bots and camping systems are all eeeviiil".
As to Ciaran's post, which is actually is a very damned good one, I see replies by...well... let us just move-on, shall we?

The confusion Ciaran speaks on makes a lot of sense (as to why it's confusing in the first place) - however, as I have said time and again it is absolutely best to read what Linden Lab says at face-value. Don't try to interpret, take it all in word-for-word.

Here is my reply to Ciaran:
Excellent post here.

As having been a preemie since first signing-up, I clearly recall that sign-up bonuses are for new accounts (hence, why it's called a "sign-up" bonus.)

Though you do have a point that the email, which went to all existing grid residents should have either not mentioned the sign-up bonus at all (it doesn't), or at least clarified that it (the mentioned bonus) is applied to shiny, new accounts only (it doesn't).

However, the devil is in the word-for-word details and I quote: "Become a premium member today and receive a special L$1000 bonus..."

Thus, I suspect it is a special bonus offered to entice people to do the upgrade, not the usual Sign-up bonus. Here is why: when I created my shiny, new SL account way back when and jumped onto preemie status from the get-go, my sign-up bonus was sitting in my in-world wallet waiting for me the instant I rezzed.

So, if it is taking 45-days for this bonus to arrive, it makes sense that it is a special bonus. The 45-days is to ensure you don't sign-up for preemie and then immediately downgrade back to basic. By making you wait at least 30 (in this case 45)-days, they ensure to get at least one-month's subscription fee from you.

Read: no "gaming" the system with alt after alt after alt to rake-in that money.

Do I *know all this for a fact? No. But if one simply steps back for a moment, puts themselves into Linden Lab's shoes and think: "how could I entice existing basics to upgrade: offer them the bonus. How can I prevent gaming which we know people will try? Make them wait at least a good full month before giving it."

It's genius. (Not really, it's more like plain old good business sense) - but it looks and feels genius like.
Okay, remember that statement I made above about how most people who comment of SL blogs are either mentally imbalanced, too emotionally overloaded or just plane stupid dullards?
Check-out this reply Ciaran's post by "Anonymous" which was made before my own reply:
Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 05:04.

It always blows me away how obvious and simple business practices are not within the grasp of LL. Any company worth it's salt should already understand advertising practices and consequences of swimming against them.

I have no idea how well "false advertising" is enforced in the US , I just know that in the UK they could be forced by the courts to meet the obligations laid out in their advertising.

Any advertising should be free of ambiguity and state clearly what it is offering, who is eligible for the offer and who is offering it. In the words of a infamous meerkat - "shimples"
/me points and laughs hysterically while holding his nose...