Linden Lab Vendor Exploitation

Eventually, a creator & vendor in Second Life starts receiving messages from Linden Lab probing for documentation like photo ID, real life residence and so on. They claim to be doing it because they are a “Money Service Business”, “banking and financial institution”, Patriot Act, banking and secrecy act, and all that. I already know the excuses they posted. This is the experience of a privacy advocate who did not know this was going to happen and would have preferred a common sense option of just not using their “money service business”. Instead, Linden Lab attempted to force me to use their “money service business”. This gets dirtier than expected, and that’s why this article is here.

As Linden Lab demands your photo ID along with several specifications, they threaten the account with being placed on hold indefinitely. If you don’t cower to their threats, they don’t only freeze your Lindex and Paypal transfers, they freeze everything. You can’t log in, you can’t access the beta grid, you can’t transfer L$ to someone else, you can’t edit your profile inworld, you can’t get your real life picture off of your profile, you can’t edit your profile from the web site, you can’t access your inventory which holds all of your creator work, you can’t edit or delete your marketplace listings.

Linden Lab threatens accounts and demands private information while signing correspondence with fake names! These are the names they replied to me while demanding my private info: Jagix Linden, Felix Linden, Kristin Linden, Vix Linden, and Solo Linden. They replied to my Better Business Bureau complaint as Tommy Linden. Fake names demanding private information and claiming to be a “money services business” or “banking and financial institution” sounds like classic Internet scamming anyone would be eager to sign up with, right? I found out from the toll free customer service staff that these¬† fake-named people hide from phone calls too.

Many creators might just go along with it due to not caring about their privacy, having too much to lose or whatever. I decided that the best thing I could do is to resist it relentlessly and discover as much as I could. Since I went down that rabbit hole, I have factual experience which I can use to expose Linden Lab for their mistreatment of creators / vendors and for their scam of turning us into L$ dead ends. Turning vendors’s accounts into L$ dead ends results in¬†money that Linden Lab keeps to themselves for our creations.

The grand scam seems to be that Linden Lab seeks to turn (as much as possible) of the Second Life Marketplace into a collection of products that only they get paid for. How would that happen? A resident buys L$ with USD. That resident buys marketplace items with L$ thinking they are paying the creator/vendor. The marketplace vendor is completely blocked because Linden Lab turned the vendor’s account into a L$ dead end that no one has access to. This way, Linden Lab never has to pay anyone for those spent L$ ever again. This is exactly what they did to my account and all of my marketplace listings. This is exactly how it works on deceased creators’ listings already, and that might be how they got the idea.

What if I don’t want their “money service business”? What if I just want to return to being a regular resident who never did any work in Second Life? If I don’t do Paypal transactions, nothing about my private life matters, and there are no tax issues to bother with, right? Linden Lab will not respect that logic. I put it to the test, and I can reveal more about that than you might expect:

After Linden Lab had ceased doing Paypal transactions to me, I still had the usual access to everything else in Second Life. I had accepted they were not going to do Paypal transactions to me anymore, and I was not going to send them anything they were demanding. So that was that. I started donating my L$ to a charity inworld called “Feed a Smile”. One of my donations was over $19,000L and the next one was $3,443L. Linden Lab was furious about it because that’s money they will definitely have to cash out to Paypal for that charity. They fully froze my account shortly after I made these donations.

This privacy probing and account threatening never happens to a non-creator, non-vendor who never did any work in Second Life. If your Second Life is all play, no work, you can lie about your real name, never enter a Paypal email address or credit/debit card, and remain an absolute First Class Citizen without any worries. A regular resident never even knows this is happening to creator/vendors. A regular resident buys things at the Second Life marketplace thinking they are paying the creator while Linden Lab has blocked the creator from even being able to donate the L$ to charities.

As more and more L$ falls into dead ends, that is less L$ in circulation. Less L$ in circulation means Linden Lab sells more L$. That’s more L$ to find its way into more dead ends. It is a scam.

I was a Second Life resident from 2009 to 2016. I had no terms of service violations and no account compromises. I used my real name when I signed up. I had the same Paypal email address the entire time. I was a creator and vendor from 2010 to 2016. All of my customers were very satisfied and treated well. I had a small selection of products which can be described as drag racing equipment. I was doing low-dollar Paypal transactions a few times a year. For an example of how low, my 2016 was up to $160 USD by April. That’s a projected $480 year.

I got my marketplace listings removed as a result of contacting the Better Business Bureau. Linden Lab ignored several of my plain and simple messages to remove my marketplace listings before I reported them.

To whoever is seeking the former creator and vendor in Second Life named Davoda Zarco, that was me. You now know how to contact me again.