From; "Second Life users spending more time in world, but are they paying?
Cyndy Aleo-Carreira 07.01.2008"; Wagner James Au found some interesting Second Life data points buried in Linden Lab's economic statistics for the virtual world, where users find information from the financial state of the company to exchange rates for in-world currency. In the numbers, the average price for land shares in Second Life dropped from 3.23 Linden dollars (L$) to 2.86 L$ per acre. But an even greater concern for Linden Lab is the ratio of user hours to premium subscribers. Paid subscribers (those who pay a monthly fee for the privilege of spending more money on land rights) have been on a steady decline since December 2007, while the total number of hours users spend in-world has been on a steady upswing over the same period. It doesn't take Alan Greenspan to know that a larger user base spending more hours in-world without paying for the privilege isn't a trend Linden Lab wants to see, which might be why there has been no announcement on their blog of the latest figures. Linden Lab can always hope that some of those non-paying users convert to premium subscribers, but with the U.S. (Second Life's largest user base, with almost 37% of total accounts) economy sagging, spending money on a virtual life may take a back seat to the real one."
Bottom Line: Linden Lab is not monetizing the international non-credit card-using markets with alternative payment methods like online banking, prepaid cards, telco billing and sms. If Linden moved beyond credit cards the SL Resident L$ buyng % would rise and there would be more premium subscribers who would opt for premium accounts rather than the occasional and infrequent L$ purchases (from 3rd party Lindex vendors who do provide alternative payment methods). http://www.thestandard.com/news/2008/07/01/second-life-users-spending-more-time-world