The Feted Inner Core (also known as the Fetid Inner Core) is a conspiracy theory that exists among certain residents Second Life. It is an argument that certain groups of players use their relationship with the staff of Linden Lab, the game providers, to obtain favours that advantage their in-game businesses at the disadvantage of others'. Since businesses within Second Life can be run for real-world money - the game's currency, Linden Dollars, has a maintained exchange rate with the US dollar - this is considered a significant danger.
The majority of residents of Second Life are unaware of the existence of the theory; many others believe that it is simply incorrect, and of those that believe it there are perhaps as many different interpretations of the criteria for inclusion of people as FIC as there are believers. Some believe that some players are favoured by Linden Lab but have earned this through hard work and providing good services; others acknowledge this but still considered it to be a bad thing on the grounds that favouring those who have worked hard in the past may discourage others from working hard in the future (since the favours are already gone). Others believe it to be literally correct. Some players are offended by it, and some satiricially embrace it; a "FIC" website has been created bearing a logo, and badges showing the logo have been worn by some players in-game and displayed at some invents.
- The most common allegation of FIC is to do with placement in Second Life's external publicity; this was the original meaning of the Feted part of Feted Inner Core. Detractors argue that this grants a publicity advantage to the placed person's business that is unbeatable by any in-game means. Linden Lab have begun to operate an application system allowing any player to apply to be included in external publicity, but controversy still exists over images shown on the game's website, for which no clear selection process has been given. Defenders argue that images on the website are not significant publicity since the website is rarely visited by actual participants of the game.
- The second most common allegation is to do with provision of services requested by external agents. The most infamous case was one in which a contract for a large US dollar fee for the construction of an in-world area for the Wells Fargo bank was awarded directly to an existing building group rather than being available for anyone else. Defenders argue that this was necessary since going through a tender process would have slowed down Linden Lab's ability to fulfill Wells Fargo's request.
- Further allegations are raised with respect to grid-wide services, such as the InfoNet information distribution system, which was bought by Linden Lab from a private business within the game.
- Some people believe the FIC to be composed of people to whose writings Linden Lab pays special attention, like Gwyneth Llewelyn or Prokofy Neva.
- Yet others simply group FIC as the set of arrogant or elitist people, or simply anyone they don't like.
A group called the Oldbie Conspiracy was founded by Siobhan Taylor with the charter "To make sure newbies never take over :p". It is 68 strong, as at May 2006, and paradoxically does not seem averse to the inclusion of new residents into it's ranks.
There are at least ten other groups, and possibly many more that provide satirical or sarcastic plays on the FIC name or notion.