Formerly Known as Telehubs

We love to talk about Second Life as a place that’s always changing and evolving. However, change can be very upsetting. It disrupts the current way of things, and by challenging the status quo forces an uncomfortable need to rethink plans and processes.

In Second Life we need to be forward looking, balancing the desire to support what’s in place with making decisions about new features as we prepare for the coming growth.

In a world that’s getting ever larger and where it’s impossible to know everyone even slightly, the next phase is to enable better navigation to both people and places. This change is especially important for new residents, as Ben describes in his new blog.

One way to make things easier is to eliminate the confusing telehub system so people can get to places more directly and find things with less confusion. Many people see this decision as detrimental to the structure of Second Life. I see it as an opportunity to move away from an organizational system based on forcing people to stop somewhere other than their planned destination, and instead to create a new one, in the same places, where we really think about why someone might want to be there.

I do wish we had better tools for zoning and especially for search in place before implementing point to point. On the other hand, those tools are critical and will be implemented as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we’ll convert the telehub land to “infohubs”, and look for other ways – art fairs, group recruiting events, local ads, news and community message boards – to retain the sense of locality and neighborhood in the places formerly known as telehubs.

And hopefully the businesses around these telehubs will also look at ways to become real destinations and encourage the growth of vital neighborhoods.

About Robin Linden

Be the Change. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ---Mahatma Gandhi
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5 Responses to Formerly Known as Telehubs

  1. T. W. says:

    I’m really Happy the telehubs are gone. I LOVE Point to Point Tp’n. Not to mention, with the removal of telehubs, it gives more business a chance to grow instead of allowing the rich to get richer. We all have a chance now..

  2. Prokofy Neva says:

    It was a bad decision, unnecessarily harsh, and needlessly hasty. That is, everybody gets how p2p is a good thing — it is a kind of lifeblood for the arteries and we hope that it will mean the surface area of SL gets lots more visibility and people go lots more places and do lots more things.

    But you could have combined p2p with just leaving the existing telehubs in place while the phase took place, so as not to utterly shock the travel patterns. Currently, when you type in the name of a sim, you land in the water. Various things could have been done to get telehub mall owners to have “buy-in” to these infohub areas — letting *them* create the assocations and do the builds (instead of the usual pet contract winners), letting *them* have workable, meaningful, ad and info systems (they currently don’t work, and that’s just inexcusable when you’re vaunting the infohubs as a replacement for the thousands of real-life USD that people have experienced here.)

    As I’ve discussed on my blog, Infonet was a particularly bad choice, given its hatred of malls and land barons — it merely sharpens the class warfare in SL and gives a huge boon to the anti-commerce claque on the forums.

    OK Robin, you’ve shown us just how fast LL can move when they decide to do something like dismantle GOM and replace it with LindEX; when they decided to break the backs of telehub mall owners and replace them with insipid infohubs and destroy their businesses; now please use that same due speed and alacrity in removing the Lazarus Divine signs from the mainland.

    If you care about business as you say you do, invoke the “disturbance of the peace” and “spam” clauses of the TOS and remove these ridiculous signs that devalue land and make it impossible in many areas for people to enjoy their properties or have businesses of any kind depending on any sort of view or value of land.

    Your announcement about removing development awards right on top of these telehub borks was another bad move as far as trying to retain business investors.

    Would you rather be a non-profit educational group that merely supports RL-educational projects, game development for junior game devs, sandboxes for scripters and architectural 3-d prototypers? That is…a research lab, like your name says? OK. That’s ok, you know. You could do that. But then don’t talk to the media about people starting businesses and having RL income — they can’t do that with these constant upsets, losses, surprises, and miscalculations (which all come on top of poor sim performance, rocky game patches, crashing, etc.)

    T.W. you couldn’t be more wrong about “allowing the rich to get richer”. The barons long ago left a lot of the hubs. They sold them off to many small businessmen. Those people are the hard-working middle class that worked their way up. They are not wealthy barons spending thousands in tier, they are people no different than yourself most likely.

    All that’s happened is the traditionally rich in SL, the FIC boutiques of the early adapters’ businesses, now get a windfall on traffice they never used to get with p2p in place. If they can spend their Lindens on classifieds, which many can, they’ll get even more p2ps. They didn’t use to be at the hubs, so they hated them.

    SL is a balancing act between classes and interests and functions. It’s out of whack again, in the name of progress. Business will suffer for a long time, and take even longer to restore.

  3. katykiwi Moonflower says:

    I find the comment that “hopefully the businesses around these telehubs will also look at ways to become real destinations and encourage the growth of vital neighborhoods” to be surprisingly condescending and thoughtless. Taking the narrow view that businesses located at hubs exist and/or succeed only because of the hub is not really fair.

    Businesses located at telehub spots for a variety of reasons including:

    1) Increased foot traffic;
    2) Exposure via advertising at the hub and name recognition;
    3) Viable method for expansion of customer base;
    4) Increased exposure from commercial properties nearby; and
    5) Seemingly guaranteed maintenance of land desirability and resale.

    The higher cost of telehub land reflected the above additional benefits hub land owners received. Linden Lab enjoyed increased profit taking from the sale of hub land at auction, and in fact, prior to June 2005 hub land was set for a higher minimum cash bid at auction. For a representative of LL to now suggest that hub businesses were not “real destinations” is actually a pretty callous position.

    In the real world businesses compete for prime real estate locations in commercial areas, at interstate exit ramps, and other high traffic areas, and the hub land owners did the same. Its unfair to suggest that hub land owners who took advantage of the commercial opportunity at hub locations and were willing to pay the inflated price for that land were in some way neglecting to encourage the growth of vital neighborhoods. Linden Lab set the hub system in place. Linden Lab marketed hub land as neign a telehub property and set the minimum bids higher at auction. Linden Lab took no steps to enact zoning regulations to alleviate the lag and congestion problems that arose at hubs.

    Linden Lab continued to accept significantly higher cash profits for the sale of hub sims in the new continent AT THE SAME TIME the code was in the works for P2P and the elimination of hubs. This was misrepresantaion.

    After releasing all the sims in the new continent, and pocketing the extra cash received at auciton for the hub land and sims, Linden announced the elimiation of telehubs. I think the marketing of this land as hub land, and then setting the minimum bid higher, was an endorsement of the system Linden Lab set in place and teh members who bought the hub land relying upon that system were entitled to the expectations they would receive the additional commercial benefits they were paying to receive.

    There is no viable method set in place to achieve the goals of your comment. The classified system as it exists now is ineffective. It allows those with a lot of money to be on the top of the list while overlookign the smaller business owner who cannot afford to compete for a good spot for an ad which is ridiculous. Its the smaller business owner who needs the ad more to succeed. In addition, how can there be growth of vital neighborhoods when P2P has eliminated curtailed member interaction significantly. With the introduction of P2P and elimination of hubs, SL has become an insular world where we go to our destinaiton only then return home.

    Don’t get me wrong; I love P2P. It’s a feature that we asked for repeatedly and I dont know one person who is not happy to see it come to SL. However, P2P did not have to mean the elimination of hubs. When I teleport to a sim now using the name, I land in someones build, or in the water, and I should be landing in the telehub that serviced that region.

    For those who hated hubs P2P meant they could have avoided all that you indicated was undesirable about hubs such as being forced to go out of your way to get to your desitination, and the congestion and lag of hubs. But for those who invested thousands of dollars working with and relying upon the system set into place by Linden Lab, hubs should have also remained as commercial centers.

    I am not sure how the elimination of telehubs plays into the long term plans for growth, however I am certain that the members who paid Linden Lab, and later the resale market, those very inflated prices for hub land relied on the system as it was provided to them and to have the plug pulled after Linden took their profits was really not very nice.

  4. Oz Spade says:

    Great move and great ideas.

    Telehubs were never that good at distributing information and didn’t feel like very good social places. The new Infohubs look great and comfortable, hopefully residents will take into consideration these designs Ben has layed out.

    I think it’s great that you’re looking out for the new users and making changes based on that. I had a friend who was a new resident who couldn’t find shops or locations, she would teleport me to find them for her, I tried explaining the beacons and map functions and such, but for some reason she wasn’t getting it (not that she’s not intelligent), so I witnessed first hand how frustraiting it can be for people.

    Also I’m glad I no longer have to be slowed by the horrible structures that often litter the landscape around telehub locations. Going straight to my destination betters both parties, land owners and visitors.

    Can’t wait for llTeleportAgent, teleport tours will be awsome. 😀

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