First, they are going to disband the Second Life Mentor Volunteer Program. Taking the long view on the move would seem it's not too bad as it won't affect the ability to create and run volunteer groups in-world, but from a PR standpoint it's a spit in the face to the volunteer community, no matter how much the announcement is sugar-coated.
But the really big Linden blunder announced today finally exposes the real reason behind the merchant survey Pink Linden recently sent out: They want to further tax residents for use of XStreet and pander to only high-volume merchants.
Don't let the "it's just to manage freebies" lie fool you. All listings will be charged a monthly tax(and it is a tax). This will effectively kill, not "manage" freebies on XStreet and lock out residents who previously used XStreet as a way to sell inexpensive products or give away creations as a gift to the Second Life community. It may also wind up screwing over shoppers too, as merchants who choose to live with the listing taxes may simply bump up prices to cover it.
For me, this means that I would wind up paying XStreet L$490/month for all my non-freebies and $L198/month for my two freebies. That comes out to $L688/month + the already existing 5% commissions. And let's factor in that my most expensive listing is only L$175 but rarely sells and I find out that a pretty big chunk of sales gets gobbled up by XStreetSL "listing taxes". So what will I do?
The Silver Lining
First, I will remove every single listing I have on XStreet, as doing business on it has now become untenable. Only the big business merchants can play on XStreet, I get that now.
After I remove my listings, I'll save my products in an inventory folder, trash my magic box and XStreet merchant vendor signs, and only list my products on meta-LIFE.They don't charge for listing freebies, and have a great vendor branding system to promote your business with(also free). I may look into others like SLapt.me and Apez(even though the site design of it is beyond ugly).
From the discussion thread, it seems that a majority of other merchants will follow suit, and hopefully shoppers as well.
Goodbye XStreetSL, it was a great run: