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  Linden Lab Planning For IPO or Buyout  
Posted 2006-11-04 by Tony Walsh
Linden Lab, maker of the much-hyped virtual world Second Life is open to a buyout offer or an IPO, according to recently deposed VP of Marketing David Fleck. Kudos to the gang at for spotting Fleck's final soundbite in a Times Online article: "We're open to an IPO or a sale, whenever that occurs. But there's no rush." Fleck's wording indicates either of the two possibilities is inevitable.

Suddenly, some of Linden Lab's recent moves make complete sense. The company pushed extremely hard to surpass one-million signups this year. Once that milestone was reached, the company made policy changes to maximize its revenue potential from Second Life. And, Linden Lab recently hired a Chief Financial Officer--if I recall my dot-boom era these are all ways to position a company for sale or IPO. And, like the dot-boom era, I think we're looking at a product that has been blown out of proportion by outside businesspeople who don't have any real understanding of its capabilities, limitations, and nuances. In my view, Second Life is all about a potential that may never be fulfilled. A successful IPO or buyout could boost the platform's chances of long-term success, or the whole thing could go up in flames. Either way, it will be exciting to watch.
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Comment posted by csven
November 4, 2006 @ 5:23 pm
This really isn't a surprise. Quite a few people - some right here iirc - have speculated that SL would be a possible acquisition for some uber-corp.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 4, 2006 @ 5:33 pm
Agreed. My only surprise was that someone from LL confirmed what many of us have been thinking. I figure if Fleck's statement was incorrect, Linden Lab might have corrected it publicly by now. I recall from the late 1990s that just mentioning the possibility of an IPO or sell-off was enough to make investors salivate.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 4, 2006 @ 6:42 pm
Further commentary from Daniel Terdiman over at CNET in case anyone's interested:
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
November 4, 2006 @ 9:13 pm
Say, in the newspaper wars these days around SL, time and datestamps are important lol!

I think Terdiman was the first to spot the sound bite from the ex-VP, but at the time he spotted it, he didn't realize he was the *ex*-VP.
November 3, 2006 3:33 PM PST

At the Herald we had the ex-VP part of it already and the spotting of the sound bite:
November 04, 2006 at 12:05 AM (that's EST, i.e. Nov. 3 9:05 pm)

Taunt came on Nov. 3 but had no datestamp so it's hard to know if they beat Terdiman, but they didn't have the fact that Fleck was already ex either.

The real story is still to come when Fleck speaks! No doubt he signed an NDA tho. Should we watch for him to head up the next big SL metaversal consulting agency?
Comment posted by Gary Hayes
November 5, 2006 @ 3:31 am
Now who would be in the market for a virtual social space? Here are my odds

News Corp 5:1, Google 8:1, Yahoo! 12:1, Microsoft 3:1, Apple/Disney 20:1

Any more odds

Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 6, 2006 @ 12:35 pm
I favour Google, Yahoo!, MTV, or Microsoft.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 6, 2006 @ 12:42 pm
Prok, the issue of breaking news is an interesting one. I know it's customary among bloggers to recognize who broke a story, and I do think it's worth recognizing much of the time. I've given this practice of crediting a lot of thought this year in particular, and I feel that it's really only important to mention the source. In this case, the source is The Times Online. I saw it referred to at first, but I didn't write that they were the first to spot it. Terdiman also spotted the article, which I discovered after posting my entry. But I don't care so much who spotted it if the original source is available for all to see on the WWW. If either Terdiman or Taunt had posted exclusive information, then I would have listed the source appropriately. I think it's great to give props to other bloggers for spotting something, but I don't think it's necessary, nor even possible all the time.
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
November 6, 2006 @ 1:20 pm
Yes, I think it's customary to recognize who broke the story, absolutely, if they are breaking original news.

Yes, mentioning the source makes sense, absolutely, that's why mentioning The Times Online makes sense.

But you *did* write that Taunt was the first to spot it, which is why I began to object. You wrote:
"Kudos to the gang at for spotting Fleck's final soundbite in a Times Online article."

If, a site I was glad to discover via your link, had some original analysis or something, that might make sense, but they merely mentioned it.

By doing that, you create the kind of headache I indicated, finding the 3 secondary sources that spotted it quickly, sometimes from different time zones, within minutes of each other merely because they all have Google newstracker.

Yes, if you didn't care, you shouldn't be issuing kudos, that's my point, too, so you aren't making sense.

I just wouldn't single out one, but you did, which is why I'm puzzled.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 6, 2006 @ 6:47 pm
Prok, I did not write they were the first to spot it. I wrote that they spotted it. Read what I wrote carefully.

Evidently I singled Taunt out over all the other blogs, forums, chat-room inhabitants, mainstream media outlets, and Second Life residents who also spotted the story. Them's the breaks. I can't be expected to research who out of the entire spectrum of communicators might have reported on The Times Online piece. As it happens, I saw the Taunt post first. I doubt you'd complain if I acknowledged the Herald over other second-hand sources.

I don't feel responsible for any headache you may have endured as a result of the wording I used. I certainly didn't obfuscate any information.

Probably it would be better if I just didn't mention any second-hand sources in future posts. I'd rather annoy everyone than please one particular party.
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
November 6, 2006 @ 7:06 pm
Tony, you really seem to be trying to wriggle out of this one. Here's what you wrote again:

"Kudos to the gang at for spotting Fleck's final soundbite in a Times Online article."

You definitely appear here to be giving them kudos for being the first. Otherwise...judos for what? No analysis is then cited -- there isn't any from them.

Of course you can fete any site you damn well please -- and do! We all have a percentage chance of being feted now and then. And fete for spotting, and not being a source. But then don't turn around and lecture me about how you never fete for spotting, when you indeed did do that.

If you are feting because you happened to get the news from that source, then fete away.

So now I understand your policy:

1. Give kudos to whatever thing you happen to be reading at the time for giving you news that you didn't know.
2. Link to those that definitely appear to have broken actual hard news.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 6, 2006 @ 7:54 pm
Prok, I have nothing to wriggle out of. It's astounding how you are busting my balls on what appears to be a disagreement about wording. Again: If I'd given props the Herald in a similar situation, I doubt you'd take me to task.

When you read my post, is this what you see:
"Kudos to the gang at for being the first to spot Fleck's final soundbite in a Times Online article." If I had written that, I might understand your irritation. But I didn't, so I don't.

I generally choose my words carefully to prevent people from browbeating me over technicalities. That is why I didn't say Taunt was the first. My comment wasn't about who broke the news to the world. It was about who brought the story to my personal attention. See Taunt. See Taunt spot. Kudos, Taunt! I hadn't yet read Terdiman's second-hand news story or any other second-hand source. If I had, I might have written that Taunt was among several places to spot Fleck's soundbite. Like I was saying, this whole tooth-grinding debacle would have been avoided if I'd simply not mentioned any second-hand sources.

I don't expect you to be satisfied with this response, but the more you write about it, the less interested I am in indulging you. I am already at the forehead-slapping stage, which probably means no matter how much you bait me at this point, I'm not going to respond.
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
November 6, 2006 @ 8:41 pm
Tony, it's definitely not about 'giving props to the Herald' or to me personally. You've done that before on here enough times, and right in this self-same piece, you link to my piece in the Herald. So that is definitely not my issue here.

I just question what you're doing, that's all.

I don't understand what the kudos are ABOUT unless implicit in them is the bit about being FIRST. If you wanted to tout a smart and cool site -- which it seems to be -- just do that, without having to weave them in somewhere else.

So once again, let me reiterate your policy:

1. Link to those who broke the story first
2. Give kudos only to those who happened to personally reach your eyeballs first.

I just find 2) less compelling as a generic practice, and I then "browbeat" as you seem to feel it is about that as a generic practice. Because it's entirely accidental.

I'm grinding my teeth because you can't recognize a principle -- that just hat-tipping like that when you have such eyeballs seems odd. Either link to the source or don't.

I'm at the forehead slapping stage, too, because you seem to want to endorse a blogging cultural tic which involves such feting anybody who you happened to stumble on, rather than sources. That's all.
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