All's fair - but not in SL

Friday, September 28, 2007 / by

This is the first time I'm so disappointed with Linden Lab and Second Life. I just recieved this email:
Hello, Ayumi Cassini.

We have identified that you reside in a European country. Accordingly, your next bill will reflect Value Added Tax (VAT) charged at the rate specified by your country. Please note that VAT applies to all payments to Linden Lab such as land sales, monthly maintenance fees and Premium subscription fees.
If you are eligible for a VAT exemption, you may submit proof of your exemption status, such as your VAT number, here:

If you have other questions, please read the VAT FAQ:

You can also contact us via the support portal:

Best regards, and thank you for your continuing support.

Linden Lab
Creators of Second Life
So far I respected Second Life for giving equal chances to everyone, just same ground for every person. But that's not the case anymore. With the tax introduced, European users won't be as competitive as other residents. Shall we raise the prices? Then it will affect the income (higher price = less customers = lower income). So then shall we leave the prices as they are? Oh, wait... It will affect the income too (tax means lower income).

But the worst is Linden Lab's attitude. Usually when a big change is coming, it's first announced on the official blog. In most cases there's some time given to the residents to get used to the new situation before it all goes live. But Linden Lab didn't say a thing on the blog. I got an e-mail, logged into my account and saw the tier is higher now. Everything in less than 15 minutes. This is ugly, Linden Lab. Are European users so unimportant to you that it's not worth to bother with announcing? That's just not OK.

Anyway, I believe VAT was introduced in SL to give some incentive to businesses, since this means less tax for them actually. They can use their spendings in SL to lower the revenue tax and use the VAT charged in SL to lower the VAT they're supposed to pay. So the change hits only regular users. I don't think people will suddenly start leaving SL. But the bitter taste persists.

You May Also Like


  1. I think the main problem with this -and was with the Gambling ban too- is that LL apparently just jumped into creating SL and the world and only realized 4 years too late there were laws to abide. It's suddenly "Oh, we can't allow online gambling!" and "Oh, Europeans must pay taxes!" These things didn't just fall out the sky, it was there four years ago already. It wouldn't have been a problem now if they had done their homework 4 years ago.

  2. I guess you're right. And I just don't understand why they did it so suddenly.I think they could have done it a little more smoothly by giving people some time to prepare and they'd avoid at least some of the negative publicity. VAT rate is very high in some countries, so a sudden costs increase by 25% can be a very bad surprise. I see many Europeans downgrading their accounts and selling land. And not only it is sad, but might have a bad influence on the economy as well.