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  Linden Lab Addresses ‘Second Life’ Social Stratification  
Posted 2006-12-15 by Tony Walsh
In its latest newsletter, Second Life-maker Linden Lab acknowledged friction between the "Verified" and "Unverified" social classes it constructed earlier this year. Verified residents are those who have made a payment to Linden Lab for such things as virtual-land rental or "premium" accounts. Unverified residents, who only have "basic" accounts, have provided no payment information to the company. Some Verified residents feel that valuable system resources are being unfairly consumed or compromised by a massive influx of needy, Unverified immigrants.

Last June, Linden Lab VP of Community Development wrote that the social classes were engineered "so that other Residents will be able to see what degree of commitment you've made to the Second Life community," but today, the company assured its residents that "Not everyone is a landowner or a creator, and not every basic account holder is a griefer or a freeloader. Many people with unverified basic accounts are international Residents without access to the payment systems we currently offer." Linden Lab pointed out that more people upgrade from Unverified basic accounts to Verified premium accounts than downgrade from premium accounts, stating that "many basic account holders are finding their place within Second Life and settling in."
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