Managing business projects in Second Life
The following guidelines help businesses and developers succeed and minimize problems when contracting work in Second Life. Besides issues you might expect dealing with a remote contractor in the real world, Second Life can have some nasty surprises if details like permissions and transfer of content aren't clearly defined.
- Linden Lab does not provide corporate accounts at this time.
- We strongly recommend you create one account for your organization that is not someone's personal account, and use this account to create groups, buy and manage land, and otherwise transact business on behalf of your company. Be aware that, as with any account that accesses money, you need to employ adequate safeguards for proper use of this account; it's like handing out corporate credit cards. If someone who has been using this account leaves the company, change the password immediately to prevent unexpected use of the account. Keep the password secure and restricted to trusted individuals within your organization. If this account is misused, you are responsible for the misuse, and Linden Lab may close the account. Linden Lab's Terms of Service apply, but were primarily written for consumer users where sharing a password can be a serious problem. Section 2.3 states:
- "You need to use an account name in Second Life which is not misleading, offensive or infringing. You must select and keep secure your account password."
Ownership of groups
- Make sure you (your company) creates all groups from an account that you/your company controls.
- You can assign your contractor as an officer in the group and give them permissions to manage the group and also to deal with land and permissions.
- For more information about groups, see the Second Life Knowledge Base.
- To properly manage permissions in Second Life, you have two alternatives. Your developer may prefer or propose either of these:
- Create a company-owned account and provide the account name and password for the developer to use. When they're done, you'll need to reset the password to prevent their further access to the account.
- Arrange for the developer to transfer object permissions to an account you specify (preferably your corporate account) at completion of the project. Make sure you discuss object transfer details during setting up the contract; the process must be clear for all contract partners. Also confirm permissions: will you be able to fully copy, modify, and transfer the objects afterwards?
- See also:
Ownership of land
- We recommend that any land purchased for your company is group-owned.
- You can set your company as payer of account and land, which enables someone from the company to call Concierge to deactivate the account (or at least change the password) if a person using the account leaves your company.
- Create separate accounts for your employees' business use (or have them create separate accounts) so all content and payment goes through these instead of their personal accounts.
- You can use the Registration API to simplify creating business accounts.
- Create a custom surname for employee accounts (more info).
- Never let an employee buy land (parcels and Private Regions aka "islands" or "sims") in Second Life on their credit card under a personal avatar (account). If they stop paying, your company's land will be removed when they default. Furthermore, billing notices go to them, so you won't know until your land and all its contents disappear.
- Creating employee accounts makes it easier for Linden Lab to deactivate the account or change the password to block access when necessary.
- Again, if an employee leaves, make sure to immediately change passwords of any accounts to which they've had access. And ensure their account is removed from all appropriate groups and land access, so they have no access to your business' content and accounts in Second Life.
- Protect your assets, communicate clearly. Even for small projects, if it's important to you, insist on a contract. Specify exactly what is to be delivered and when, and how content permissions will be transferred when work is done. Define project completion exactly and state how it will be recognized. Opinion is hard to quantify.
- For larger projects, you may want to do the real-world practice of specifying completion performance bonuses/penalties related to delivery dates and content.
- For large projects, consider setting up an escrow account to manage the transfer of money and assets at the completion of the project.
- For any work large enough to be contracted, expect to pay up to 50% upfront. Reserve at least 20% for payment at delivery of content.
- For projects too small to warrant a contract, you may want to have a terms sheet or at least documented deliverables and timelines.
- Ask for and check references. You wouldn't hire someone in the real world without doing this; you're spending real money even if it's a virtual project. Specifically, ask if the reference got what they expected, if deliverables were on time, and if changes were adequately communicated.