Key Economic Metrics through January 2008

Hi Everyone!

I have published our monthly key metrics in excel, open document, and google doc formats. Links to these current versions are updated on our Economy page.

Concurrency, usage hours, and total resident-owned land continue to grow at a steady pace, while our count of Premium users dropped slightly again in January as we work on designing a better Premium offering.

You can come and discuss these or any other metrics analysis questions with me at my office hours in Beaumont, now on Thursday mornings at 8 AM (better for European customers) and Fridays at 10 AM.

I’ll put a reminder here to please keep comments on-topic and civil – we are open to constructive feedback but please keep it specific and on-topic, thanks.

About Meta Linden

Data Warehousing and Metrics Analysis for the world of Second Life. A Linden Lab employee in California.
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110 Responses to Key Economic Metrics through January 2008

  1. Eric says:

    A better Premium offering sounds great. What might the changes be?

  2. Bobo Decosta says:

    Get freedom back to second life and you will see a rise in premiums.

  3. Dante Tucker says:

    @ #2 What exactly do you mean? Honestly comments like yours are a waist of space. You said absolutely nothing. If you want LL to listen to you you have to be a lot less vague then that.
    I swear half this blogs comments sound like a crazy guy rambling on the side of the street.

  4. Sindy Tsure says:

    TY, Mata!!

    /me votes svc-835 for how to make owning mainland (aka going premium) better.

    Also, any thoughts on getting stats on how many users use windows/mac/linux?

  5. Phil Priestman says:

    Its pretty much pointless to offer any perks to Premium if the game is pretty much unusable due to all the show stopping bugs that go ignored for months in favor of flashy novelties. I was a premium customer but dropped it after I see I was throwing good money after bad.

    Start listening to the customers finally, stop adding alot of junk and concentrate 100% on stabilizing the grid and people may pay to play.

  6. Buster McNutt says:

    you can own land on mainland with no payment info on file when you buy for group and rent ‘tier’ donations at much less then rates LL charges. why would anyone want to be premium?

  7. Meta Linden says:

    @Eric – the community team, specifically Everett and Robin, have been meeting with residents to discuss this very topic for a while now. Many suggestions have been discussed and I’m sure they would welcome your input as well. Certainly there are additional features, such as @Sindy mentions SVC-835 that should be promoted and discussed in those meetings, and definitely if we feel they are pertinent to improving premiums they should get associated with MISC-763 which is the metaissue on improving Premiums. Please help vote and discuss these options, thanks for your help. 🙂

  8. Well, if there was something worth paying for, like proper instead of worsening performance, maybe not so many would stop paying lol.

    Honestly, premiums have been dropping for ages. When you take off the numbers from the referral bonuses you give out, you are losing 10-15% of premiums EVERY single month, ie rotating your whole membership in 8 months lol.

    You think that might indicate you’ve got things wrong, and what people want is stability, better performance, less scams and IP theft, and not more endless shinies that just make things worse?

    I mean, active user count isn’t going up is it? oh, it’s just recovered from the drop in October :-O

  9. Blinders Off says:

    @ 5 Phil: Right on the button dude.

    @ 3 Dante: It’s unfortunate you don’t understand what Bobo was talking about, but that doesn’t mean he’s rambling, and it doesn’t give you the right to flame him. Anyone acquainted with the last few months decisions from LL know exactly what he’s talking about.

    Now mind you, I don’t agree with him. I think the decisions to stop gambling and shut down the banks are sensible. They’re not restrictions of “freedom”… they are reasonable user protections. TRUE freedom means protection from abuse and likely harm… not the ability to do whatever we durn well please (regardless of harm to others).

    Not sure I agree with the way LL carried out the ban, but that’s typical LL for ya. Great ideas, poor implimentation. Still, there are some other things going on in SL that I wish LL would have the guts to step up and shut down. I don’t think Second Life was ever intended as a focus gathering for the worst perverts on the planet, and IMO it degrades the environment for LL to tolerate things that are obvious offenses to humanity. (They shut down the Nazi hate groups. So there are limits). I’m no book-burner, but there is a definite line between being tolerant and being stupidly so.

    “Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out.”

    How does this all effect key metrics? Because all of these are rock-core, foundation issues that determine how people will use SL, whether they continue to use it, etc. One thing the key metrics never seem to point out is that SL has lost something like 90% or more of the users that have ever tried the system. That’s a pretty solid metric.

    Something else not indicated by the metrics: People who have long ago “quit” Second Life are still listed as residents on SL. How do I know? Because I completely shut down an avatar more than a year ago. I mean completely. Removed payment information. Told the system to wipe the av out. The system responded, telling me the avatar would be kept online for 60 days in case I changed my mind, after which it would be deleted. And guess what? The avatar is still online, still receiving email from groups more than a year later.

    So I guess that explains how LL retains a large number of their 12 million + “residents”. Interesting how the key metrics don’t reflect such facts. Myself, I’m greatful for that. Because what that shows us very effectively is how many “residents” no longer use SL, for whatever worth that may be.

    Myself, I don’t think the key metrics really reflect the heart of what is going on with Second Life. As one person put it, “A 10% growth in food production with a 40% growth in population isn’t healthy growth”. Sure, the food production increases, but the population is going to starve.

    Myself, I’d rather see key metrics produced by a 3rd party source, one that isn’t biased toward LL and SL, that shows the TRUE growth/failure/health of the system.

  10. Blinders Off says:

    Scuse the double post, but I just noticed something in key metrics, a real eye-opener.

    “Jan-08 2,210,107,914 $8,231,372 24,420 261,269 197,700,000 $744,564”

    Now, the last two figures are titled, “LL L$ sales” and “LL US$ sales”

    Now if I understand correctly… is this indicating that LL is actually selling L$ on the open market? (Something LL swore they would never do. Yet another broken promise).

    If I’m misunderstanding, LL, please set the record straight. Because the titles of your key metrics make it appear that Linden Lab is competing against its customers by selling their own L$ on the open market.

    Now, if that’s not the case, if that refers to LindeX sales (which is doubtful) that falls far short of the acclaimed “$75,000” a day in such transactions (or is it more by now?).

    Bottom line point: the key metrics really aren’t as informative as they need to be.

  11. Metric Gnome says:

    To Paraphase Benjamin Disreali “there’s lies, damned lies and SL Metrics”

  12. U M says:

    Love these numbers. HEY ! your getting better in doing funny numbers. Bt still its not belieable……….Nice try……….You still believe people are that dum to believe them? Just say it they are as real as the possiblity of phyically walling with your rl body within sl…..WOnderts when the rah rah kiddies wil come in and do their best kissy kissy with here…………

  13. This has nothing to do with the metrics, or maybe it does in some ways-I am using the windlight viewer, it is almost the same as the regular as far as lag goes and it is much more beautiful thatn the regular but, my friends list does not show up a lot of times-I would like to file a bug report but it takes a technical degree, I have called support to tell them and they tell me to file a bug report-it is simple;
    MY FRIENDS LIST DOES NOT SHOW UP WHEN I USE WINDLIGHT!
    will this get seen? it is the closest I can manage to the reporting process, (things could work simpler in SL)thanks!

  14. Kitty Tandino says:

    @ 13 Atrhena Whizenhunt
    hey hun it isnt very hard at all to file a bug report
    Torley Linden has also made a wonderful video that would help you learn step by step here:
    http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/01/17/tip-of-the-week-18-how-to-report-a-bug/
    and the follow up to this one is one:
    QUICK-Searching the Issue Tracker

    or you can check the Jira site for known issues related to your problem and if it is there or your file the report pass it to others who are having same issue and have them report on it aswel. (“IT” being the URL linking to your report)

    If there is anything i can help with your welcome to contact me in world. maybe we can find the FIX together cause i had same issue with the friends list on windlight but i am now using the dazzle client. 🙂

    Hope this helps in some way.
    ~kitten

  15. Kitty Tandino says:

    “ADDED NOTE”
    Addi to Jira site is:
    http://Jira.SecondLife.com 😉

  16. i don’t have a ‘solution’ but i do have obervations:

    1. The stats DO include “Active Users”, for example, 544,000 active users in January 2008. So that helps avoid the issue of being confused by 12 million registered users, of which many are inactive or gone.

    2. The stats show “Premium Users” as 92,000 in January 2008 and yes that IS a low percent. It’s held at that level since October 2007 and was growing rapidly before in last 2006 through early 2007 with a weird drop in July

    3. As far as incentive for Premium User, for me it was always the stipend and the land allowance. And beyond that the right to buy an island. Unless something drastic was removed from free accounts (like the Build menu ? ability to upload images ? ) not sure what incentive there would be.

  17. Pingback: Massively

  18. U M says:

    16 said…………3. As far as incentive for Premium User, for me it was always the stipend and the land allowance. And beyond that the right to buy an island. Unless something drastic was removed from free accounts (like the Build menu ? ability to upload images ? ) not sure what incentive there would be.

    Well is they took away from building the freebie accounts. Can you imagen what SL would look like? Even more free objects for those that at that point can`t build to start with. Might not make that much differeance but I say just limit the amount of play time they can use while in game. That will
    do it.

  19. U M says:

    A comment about Jira, well if people just add add add add add add so called bugs its nowonder the poor people doing those reports don`t get half of them done right or on time. We need a better faster more reliable system. This one just is not working as it did at the start.

  20. SL Player™ says:

    When you got a “do-drop-in” game where a BA is able to sit on their butt, open a store with BIAB and make money and buy land from estate owner, pay a small monthly tier fee, why pay for a PA? And not to mention the multiple alt. BAs that keep pouring in the door like a bunch of Army ants simply to game the system.
    The incentive for BA is a lot sweeter.

    The incentive to go to a PA right out of the gate would have to be extraordinary! People lust for money and land. That $300 a week could be raised to $500 a week. You got some old charter accounts that are getting $1000 a week. Pretty sure their one time incentive is all used up. Usually the more money you have the more your going to spend or save.

    First land incentive didn’t go over well. Even the LL newbie continents turned into a ghost town sims. I think that failed because no one wanted to live in a structured environment. So offering any type of land deal wouldn’t work. Someone would find a way to beat the system, tag on a extortionate $95,000 price and call it rare.

    I think the bottom line incentive is money. $2000 to start $500 a week. If they should decide to cancel within the first month billing period, then their account goes on hold for 30 days with NO stipend!

  21. Kitty Tandino says:

    @ 19
    If people try and think for afew abou t anything NEW it isnt always going to work like what we are used to… and in understanding that POINT we can then see why NEW takes a while to work right.. if no one reports then nothing can be done to FIX the issues at hand…
    right?
    Report and VOTE the issues with most votes will get delt with in it’s own time..
    🙂
    andwe in time will get it moving along faster and better then the old way. 🙂 it’s a matter of everyone doing their part to help.
    we can waist our time “going on and on” about the bad in things.. or we can suck it up and become a part of those who help FIX IT! 🙂
    I myself want it fixed so i will report and VOTE 🙂
    just my thoughts…. 😉

  22. U M says:

    I am not new to jira. I used but frankly speaking there should be a better system. Just like the older one that it replaced it became over run with reports that had little to do with real problems that caused be solved if they took alittle time to figure out the problem. Slowly this system is becoming just like that one. How many bug reports are showing daily on jira? How many are really be dealt with reight? Love to see the stats on that. Meaning real numbers…….

  23. Sedary Raymaker says:

    @16: “with a weird drop in July”

    When gambling was banned and the real estate market collapsed.

  24. Ashira Legien says:

    I’m a premium account holder because I support SL. I just wish SL supported me. I own land and have a business .. which is hard to run when I can’t build .. and people can’t tp to visit .. or buy because SL is borked again. Right now the asset server is down .. and of course there is no mention in the blog of all the problems. The metrics are spin control. The reality is that the real supporters of SL the premium accounts are leaving SL because LL refuses to FIX it!!!. They would rather spend time adding new flash to attract new customers that don’t contribute anything .. than fix the system so the people that do contribute will stay.

  25. kenny Stringer says:

    Land is to hight & Sl need to flood market again im About to leave sl Because of price Gaging land owners !!!

  26. Baja Boa says:

    #20 – you’re on the right track – think cash or some facsimile is the best incentive –

    your math won’t work out though – 500/week=2000/month

    unless someone’s paying their premium account by the week, SL would end up paying their PAs to be PAs, rather than making money off of them . . . i can’t see them doing that 🙂

    change land tax structure, maybe . . .

  27. Ciaran Laval says:

    There’s not much value in premium membership unless you want to own land, I’m glad this is being discussed and have been at meetings where Robin has raised the issue and asked for feedback.

    The 8am meetings aren’t great for Europeans who work full time :p to be honest I think Europeans get the better deal out of office hours already. Are European premiums falling faster than other parts of the world?

  28. Iskar Ariantho says:

    What i love to see is the average (perhaps min, max) land price per sqm on Mainland sales. Definitly not including the skewed saleprices on private sims, where sim owner get their money by different tier pricing. Just measuring apples where aples are eaten.

    All in all, it will give a good indicator how land sales fare in SL, ofcourse there will always be differences, beachland is more valuable than a steep mountainrif, but those should be fairly constant against the average sqm price.

  29. Shirley Wrigglesworth says:

    “Are European premiums falling faster than other parts of the world?” Probably, because premium accounts are only beneficial for mainland which attracts VAT to EU residents.

  30. Cappy Frantisek says:

    The only numbers that mean anything are the total numbr of residents and the total hours. More free accounts, more time online. Makes sense untill you try and talk to these “residents”. I can point many areas that have “residents” dancing, sitting, etc to get their mealsy camping revenue. And hey, if that’s the way you want to use your sim resources, more power to ya. But, I bet my boots, if these places would cease to exist, the inworld hours would drop.

    Good luck trying to make anything out of these numbers. All fluff to clam the masses.

  31. Dark Princess says:

    The best thing to add to “Premium” accounts would be the ability to have SL store a copy of all your inventory on a seperate database server so if you happen to loose your items during a sim rollback / database error / other crash.. you could fill out a request and your backup items would be re-synched with your online / inworld inventory. That would probably be the best reason ever to have a premium account.

  32. Darren Oates says:

    This probem may be because their are just too many bots in sl this is having a real effect on the markets because sl is becoming far to automated in my opinion. Example new users carnt earn money even camping was a good way to introduce users to earning money but now camping bots have taken that away from users, Also automated landbots are starting to affect the land market in a big way this affects the land stats because they buy everything below market value. Users now relise they dont even have to look at their pc they just run bots and go to work or get on with reallife so they are not interacting with the world like normal Avs. Basicly we need more players and less bots. But its still a impessive Platform 🙂

  33. Blinders Off says:

    @ 16 & 18 and all the others…. What are you trying to do, give LL ideas of how to further degrade the system? You people have got to be kidding.

    Do you know what would happen if LL further limited what Freebie accounts can do? We’d see SL become an un-peopled wasteland. People would get fed up and go find something else to do. Already apparently 90%+ of those who have tried Second Life have found it not worth their time. Now you’re proposing further limitations so that even more people make the same decision? How is LL’s view toward premium vs freebie accounts even any of your concern?

    I may not be pro-LL… but at least I don’t stand around trying to think of ways to get LL to slice their own throats. Lordy, some folks just don’t think. LOL

  34. buckybarkley says:

    The key thing that will improve metrics is an overall feeling of confidence on the part of individual residents, and of third parties with time, money, and energy to invest in the second life platform.

    A barrier to that feeling of confidence, in my view, is the perception that a few key members of the Linden management are not up to task (or in Cory’s case, gone).

    Robin and Philp are well suited to roles within Linden Labs, but the scale of present day Second Life calls for more experienced, seasoned pros. Philip would make an excellent chief evangelist. The Tao of Linden ‘choose your own work’ philosophy, however, is not suited to the service and what needs to be accomplished. Robin makes too many missteps in setting and explaining policy – this is not her strong suit.

    Cory was a great technical contributor, but there has not yet been a Linden tech lead yet who has dictated priorities internally, shown the leadership needed, and who has proactively communicated with the residents on a frequent basis.

    In short, there need to be world class pros in the roles of CTO, VP of Community, and CEO. These are the three key roles that need the most leadership right now. Doing this will build confidence. It will inspire renewed investment in SL. That, in turn, is going to have a huge impact on metrics.

    One hopes for the Board of Directors to step in and do the right thing.

  35. Vivienne says:

    Statistics are like a drunk with a lampost: used more for support than illumination.

    Sir Winston Churchill

  36. Max Desoto says:

    @10 Blinders,
    LL has been selling L$ on the open market since August 2006. And yes, they have been selling on the open market. And no, they never promised not to sell on the open market, I’m not sure where you got that idea from. If they don’t sell L$ on the open market, where else would they sell them? Look at Page 4 of the latest metrics for the history of LL L$ sales.
    Now, maybe what you mean is that LL is not using Market Sell orders, their sales are all Limit Sell orders, that is how they stabilize the L$ exchange rate. As far as I can tell, that process has not changed.

    http://blog.secondlife.com/2006/08/31/linden-dollar-economy-update-1/#more-253

    http://blog.secondlife.com/2006/10/03/linden-dollar-economy-update-2/

  37. Sean Heying says:

    @31 I like that idea, alot.

  38. Vivienne says:

    What does LL expect? Let us see what they done: Framerates drop with every new shiny upgrade while system requirements rise accordingly, Making extremely buggy alpha versions of the client software available for public download and praise them as the “future of SL” is nothing but foolish (as if the official client were not buggy and sloooooow enough). The forced introduction of voice obviously is not a worthy enough “improvement” to attract new customers or keep the old ones, same for the winded light (see above). The ban of gambling left the international audience speechless. The abandoning of the first land program last summer shows it´s results by dropping new premium numbers. VAT is all but an attraction to european customers, who certainly were not amused by the ridiculous way LL introduced it.

    LL is tallking of a “bonus” for premiums now. I would applaud if they reintroduce the first land program.

    I cannot agree with any restictions on free accounts, Logically free accounts turn to premium accounts when the people using them are attracted enough. Obviously they are not, and obviously the premiums are no longer. The conclusion is that both fractions seem to suffer equally – and this is the core problem.

    SL never was a classic “gamers” paradise and probably will never become one. It´s hard to fly a spaceship on 12 frames per second (for five minutes until the spaceship crashes on region crosing – PC included) on a computer which serves perfectly for this in any average shooter game. The average age of SL users is not comparable to the age of the average “gamer”, too. SL is a metaverse, a social network. LL should fix on this and give residents and newcomers a rock solid, user friendly and attractive platform. Not shiny features no one needs and wants this way. And LL should start talking to the people. Inworld.

  39. Dekka Raymaker says:

    Allowing Premium Accounts only to have the right to upload textures, sounds etc, like that’s a great suggestion, pay to be able to pay to upload, it’s not really an incentive, it’s more of a reason to leave.

    Land is the problem and how much it costs. Land presently is used as a asset by some to buy and sell for a profit, it’s like LL is offering a two tier land system, you can buy Mainland through auctions from LL or buy a Island direct, or if your so unlucky not to be able to buy a SIM from auction for whatever reason you can buy from residents at an inflated price, this locks people out from interacting with the game.

    It should be that you have an EQUAL privilege (I know its not a right) to own your first space in LL at a set rate and it doesn’t have to be anything at all like First Land was set up.

    Also if you want to rent land whether it be on the mainland or on private islands you should be a premium member.

  40. Torian says:

    @16 and @23 Weird drop in July 2007.. that was also when voice was introduced and grid stability went to hell for whole month. (And has never fully recovered.)

  41. uh-oh says:

    I agree we need to offer either more incentives for premium accounts. I am a premium account holder because I feel if I am using a service I should help support it.
    A person having a basic account can own land on a private sim and other than not getting a small stipend every week, there is nothing differant betwen them and I.
    Something has to be done about all these free accounts flooding SL.
    I do not mean the ones who are legimate people who are out here creating things and helping make SL a nice place through their interactions in world, but the ohter basic accounts that are created for one purpose and that is to stalk, harass and grief people.
    These are the people who just feel SL is nothing but a game.
    SL is more than a game. it is a platform from which businesses are made, social contacts are built and even attend a RL college.
    People who think SL is nothing but a game need to go back to Xbox or what ever else the kids are playing these days. People who do not pay for something have a tend to not care because it is free.

    “I don’t think Second Life was ever intended as a focus gathering for the worst perverts on the planet, and IMO it degrades the environment for LL to tolerate things that are obvious offenses to humanity. (They shut down the Nazi hate groups. So there are limits). I’m no book-burner, but there is a definite line between being tolerant and being stupidly so”

    What people do not understand is by allowing the above you are ta;lking about will end up with the the big companies leaving SL and they pump a lot of money into this game and through their advertising bring more residents into this world.
    Allowing illegal content like rape and other violent acts towards people can end up in SL being shut down for all of us. The IDV coming up soon is not to take your rights away but to protect both the residents out here as well as LL themselves. If it was not illegal, then why are the Law Enforcement agencies out here investigating these sims that promote this type of behavior? Like one of the people I used to socialize with from one of these places told me ” if they have a basic acount on this sim, you can bet they are underage.” very disturbing and shows the obvious need for IDV.
    The old saying “if you do not like what is going on in these sims, do not go there” does not fly. One they do not stay on these sims. They bring their demaning attitudes towards women and other groups of people outside their sim and harass people. When I see people acting up like this I read their profiles and a large portion of them are from these sims.
    Why would a person pay for a service full of people who act this way? Could it be a lot of people are fed up with the underage residents that are out here ruining the SL experiance for others? Think about it.
    The older premium players are leaving and being replaced by basic griefer accounts created easily by these underage kids who do not belong out here.
    In my opinion give premium residents a higher stipend and put strict limits on basic accounts. maybe even a trial period to see if this is something you would like to pay for later like a lot of other services do. When the new viewer comes out with IDV make it across the board to both protect these young children as well has put some kind of control over the griefing and harassment that is going on. People who have thier confirmed RL name attached to the account might think a little more before acting up and if they do and are removed from SL, they cannot just turn around and create a new basic account and pick up where they left off.
    My two cents.

  42. Argent Stonecutter says:

    I suggested this before: pick some of the new features that have got a lot of votes, but aren’t otherwise getting any traction inside LL, and that make sense as a limited new feature, and make them a premium bonus.

  43. Awaken Yoshikawa says:

    Stability is always the key. Nobody is going to buy anything if they can move easily for two minutes and then feel like they are stuck in jello for another 15 minutes. The concentration on the ads was a great first step in cleaning up sl of garbage.

    Don’t make new land with so many empty spaces. Reclaim land from people who leave the game and resell that before making new islands and new land. There are too many fantastically beautiful places with nobody in them, sl ghostowns and attraction owners kill themselves trying to get the few available people to their attraction.

    That would be the premium features I would be interested in.

  44. Greta Umarov says:

    How bout you clear out the inactive or totally abandoned accounts from your oh so proud “Look at how many users we have” list? I think that at least half your active accounts are actually alt accounts, and therefor should NOT be included in your figures, since there is only one person behind two, or more accounts.

    Are you brave enough to do this? Nah.

    Greta

  45. Razrcut Brooks says:

    Enhance Premium memberships AND eliminate griefers at the same time by deleting the content tab from the build menu for free accounts. Think about it.

  46. Meg says:

    Just watch it… ^.^

  47. It just occured to me that the Age Band section mentions an “Unknown” Age Bucket.

    Wasn’t a birth date always required to sign up? Does that number reflect charter accounts and/or pre-launch beta period accounts? Just curious.

  48. Roman McCullough says:

    I am a basic account holder and last saw my minority in the 1970’s. So this stuff about BA’s being a bunch of kids is just easy cant with no quantitative evidence to back it up. I would further offer that since most crime is committed by adults in society, that you get SL users over 18 who act like morons isn’t all that surprising. Half the population, after all, has an IQ in double figures. All you can do is demand that sim managers and LL keep a tight reign on miscreants.

    As for the sexual stuff, they have already eliminated age play (a move I support) and I personally have yet to see anyone engaging in it. In addition, the rape stuff mentioned above is consensual even if that is hard for some to comprehend. The sims that feature practices I personally find distasteful, such as scat, etc, I don’t go to. So stop attempting to be a self appointed morals weasel and leave adults who wish to engage in some vicarious sex play alone. Sex is a part of life in the real world and that it shows up in SL (mostly as just dumb fun) should not shock anyone with a brain. Really, some people need lessons in minding their own business. Besides, if sex was washed out of SL, it really would become a ghost town.

    For example, I have been seeing more Japanese turning up in the english speaking sex sims. If SL does away with those sims, those users will just chuck SL when Meet Me comes online in April. Meet Me will be devoid of sexual content but will be oriented toward that country’s users linguistically and culturally, which SL is not, though it has kind of tried. So the sex is actually an incentive for many Japanese to keep returning to SL, like it or not.

    As for why advertisers are leaving SL, I’m not sure they should have gotten involved in it in the first place in terms of opening offices or dealerships, etc on it. SL shoots itself in the foot because its traffic figures for each sim are so screwy as to be laughable. A better thing to do would be to list how many people are on a particular sim at any given moment (with a metric for how many of those are camping) rather than the bogus numbers they presently print in the search engine. I have gone to sims that supposedly have had over 50,000 visitors over the last whatever (what, two months?) and it is deserted. I go back again, there are two people. Conversely, I have been to sims that supposedly haven’t had anyone tread them and suddenly there are half a dozen folks there. This leads to a lot of frustration by users and people churning the teleports seeking sims that are actually populated. I can’t help but feel this adds strain to the system. So this must be corrected and the sooner, the better.

    Furthermore, SL should be telling us how many different IP addresses are using it in a month as a truer measure of its actual user base. Counting avatar utilization is well, useless. The virtue of touting the IP number should be obvious since it takes into account one user owning several avatars but still recognizes him as only one entity.

    And since Windlight was updated AGAIN, bloating my computer even further with these never ending full new versions that are mandatory downloads (or so it says on my computer), This has to stop. Either offer bite sized patches that fill in problem areas or have a longer lead time for the whole enchilada so that we don’t have to uninstall Windlight every now and again to reclaim what has become wasted hard drive space. If Firefox can do it, so can LL.

    I love SL, so don’t get me wrong. It really is fun. But this can still be done better. LL has some real smart people, though I feel that perhaps they take on too much with all the competing versions (I’m pretty ignorant abut computers, but are Havok and Dazzle really that necessary?) of clients and thus stretch their resources thinner than necessary. Or so at least it seems to me, fwiw.

  49. Leyla Firefly says:

    How many of those 500.000 users are camp bots?
    Wish someone with too many time on his/her hands would actually count that for us.
    I bet it is an interesting figure!

  50. When I signed onto Second Life just over 2 years ago it was a rising star, the only virtual world worth considering spending your time to make things, socialize, and explore in. Here are some factors that made SL a place that held value and made it grow.

    1. There were no free accounts. You could sign up for a trial account but in the end you would have to submit your bank info and pay to be a member of the SL community. Membership had value to it’s users.

    2. Land prices were rising steadily, as they did so, the SL economy over all was much more vital, growing as well. Land flooding by LL hadn’t started yet, and so realestate investors had the confidence to buy and sell. In turn players in SL typically had money in their wallets.

    3. Performance wasn’t perfect, but the vast number of changes hadn’t been forced upon users in the frequent, unthinking fashion that would occur later on

    4. Faith in the permissions system was still intact. Opensource experiments hadn’t introduced copy bot or other methods into widespread distribution yet. The perception was that your hours of work in SL were safe.

    5. Live help still existed, and a perception of LL’s commitment to functionality was more prevalent.

    6. People were actually optimistic about new shiny things being introduced.

    SL still touts itself as the only virtual world of it’s kind available, but by the end 2008 that claim will be very hollow indeed. New worlds employing higher performance graphics engines are already growing and taking away the element in SL that was willing to pay to be here.
    Eve Online isn’t even as broad based as SL but has grown steadily alongside it, now sporting over 200k PAYING members, subscribers, and this in a sci fi world, where there is business but no content creation. What gives? Better graphics, better stability, better communication between players.

    Blue Mars promises an advanced 3d model of Mars after it has been terraformed, allowing not only business, land ownership, but also content creation. Their Mesh based graphics system will allow literally millions of polys in any given frame of view, SL currently displays polys well below that, in fact the graphics quality of SL is still basically stuck in the 1990s. Reality is the key to creating an immersive, addictive environment.

    Active Worlds, which oddly looks a bit like SL but is much more lame was the preeminent virtual world of the 1990s, now they boast 5000 premium members and dropping. What is happening to them, clearly is a fate that awaits SL if they don’t change their policies and work out the issues causing customer disatisfaction.

    I see my entry is getting too huge, so I will cut the list short, but there are more MMOVWs (Massive Multiplayer Online Virtual Worlds) waiting in the wings to steal us all away from SL. And I’m not even mentioning WOW, or EQ as stats.

    All of these games lack the broad based scope of SL but pose a major threat of dragging away premium members of this world because they have invested themselves in creating value for their members. Not creating a “free” world for pseudo members.

    If SL cannot redirect the economy, land values, etc. into a steadily upward trend like it had 2 years ago, loss of members, even free members will be exponential.

    End free accounts except for alt accounts of premium members. It will hurt badly in the short tem, and increase stability in the long term.

    Stop restraining market growth by flooding new land into the game every time the price goes up. Let land work as an investment.

    Don’t stop the new shinies, but get a handle on when to introduce them. Stability, and functionality should come first, then careful introduction of cool new things.

    SL doesn’t have much time left to keep it’s preeminent standing as the best VW in the RW. All of the interesting activities in SL depend on SL remaining financially viable for it’s members. It really is about money.

    That’s my personal view, with all flaws and inadequacies of reason that are part of my character. I really believe radical action is required to keep SL from fading away.

  51. Tegg B says:

    Are Island owners counted as Premiums? They probably should be. Personally stipend is a waste of time I would be just as happy with paying whatever it works out to be less to recieve no stipend. And it would take one more task from LL servers to calculate.
    Land, islands should never be worth more than $1695US unless they have content. LL need to be able to supply islands near instantly.
    Free accounts are primarly used for free bots, the actual residents are a minority nowdays.

  52. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Greta: They do clear out abandoned accounts. Look at the Linden dollar parcel auctions … most of those are parcels owned by abandoned accounts.

    Inky:
    * Rising land prices were choking the economy. They made a few speculators rich, but other people quit expanding because they just plain couldn’t afford it.
    * There were major performance problems 2 years ago. Sim limits were 40 but practically a sim with 20-30 people in it was likely to crash. With more than 10 people you sometimes had to remove all your attachments before you could cross a sim boundary or teleport.
    * People were already copying products from SL before copybot or the open source client – copybot just demonstrated that people were demanding perfection of something that was inherently imperfect. The biggest cost of copybot? People are STILL buying those useless “copybot detectors” that spam everyone in the sim.

    And I don’t see *anyone* pushing a product that’s even in the same category than SL other than the far less sophisticated “ActiveWorlds” and “There”. I’ve looked, too. Everything I’ve found more recent than SL is fundamentally locked in to a single game or to a single theme. If you can show me something that’s even in the same ball park, please do. Eve Online and Blue Mars aren’t it. What do you see that’s actually coming online this year?

  53. Blinders Off says:

    Argent, one thing I see that could be very well to functional stages by the end of this year is Open Sim. That is likely to be SL’s biggest direct competitor. From what I’ve seen, the people associated with that project are very serious about what they’re doing. Yes, they’re not even close to functional yet. But neither was SL the first 3 or 4 years. Open Sim has made an incredible amount of progressin the few months they’ve been in operation. I think it’s quite possible they will eat LL’s lunch.

    Reagarding Key Metrics and LL’s honesty in presenting the facts, here’s one’ key metric I would like to see:

    How many UNIQUE, non-alt users have visited the board in the last 7 to 30 days.

    We find these stats absolute: Visitors over the last 60 days seem significant. But if we look back 30 days instead, that number drops like a rock. And if we look at the last week, that number drops through the floor.

    I figure a person who doesn’t use SL once in 7 days is probably an alt account. So likely that 7-day figure more closely reflects the actual, active membership of SL.

    Again LL, we’re not dummies. No one believes the stats presented thus far. So how about presenting information that is valid. That’s why people complain about these metrics, because they don’t believe they’re “key” and they don’t believe they accurately reflect the actual health and membership of Second Life.

  54. Blinders Off says:

    Oh, one other key metric I’d like to see….

    L$ sales divided by BASIC (free) and Premium (paid) members. In other words… who buys the most merchandise?

    That might give us some real data to put behind this free vs premium argument. So far, the solutions I’ve seen above are pretty lame and will only serve to harm SL.

    You don’t encourage people to become Premium members by restricting Free members. That will just make people angry and leave SL. You encourage people to be Premium members by offering them BONUSES. And it better not be “bonuses” that free members are already enjoying or again, you’re going to tick off a lot of people.

    Just because a person is a “free” member doesn’t mean they never spend money on SL. It just means they don’t give that money to Linden Lab.

  55. Argent Stonecutter says:

    OpenSim is using the same client as SL. So at the most it’s going to remain a poor cousin of SL, especially the way it’s tied to a virtual machine environment on the server.

    Show me something significantly better, something with those “higher performance graphics engines” you’re talking about. I’d love to see it.

  56. Vee Gee says:

    Stability stability stability
    Take some time off from doing anything else and stabilize the grid. When a sim goes down, give an in game warning at least for scheduled outages. Say a green grid looking symbol=a-ok, yellow countdown=30 minutes, red= 2 minutes. Maybe PAs could get TPed to a safe grid- like meet new people and don’t loose yer stuff, wile us BAs just get the warning.
    I third post 31.
    Limit BAs to transferring 5000 L$ per month if I’m not running a business 20 USDs is plenty to spend on stuff and if I’m running a business then I should have a PA.

  57. I think Entropia Universe for all it’s faults has a chance to pull away paying SL users. It offers a more stable platform in terms of performance. It is good not only for content creation and marketing, but also touted as high performance enough for action gaming. This is something many people wish SL could do. But I also understand Entropia does not have near the population yet, and has an incredibly huge, slow download in order to get started. Avatars are of superior quality, with more options for individualizing, graphics speed is faster too. I hear they don’t have flying or mappable teleporting. I haven’t taken time to try them out either, I am too fully invested here which is why I am so concerned. But Argent, you asked for a name. The real drain will be multiple names, as disinterest in what SL has to offer grows.

    In referrence to permissions issues and things getting copied, I used a key word in that paragraph that I should probably emphasize, PERCEPTION, that creations were safe from theft. That perception is fully gone now in SL.

    Yes processors were slower and so sims had less population capacity, and two years ago they could get away with that. What do they use now for a class 5 sim a dual processor? Do they use Quads? Doesn’t seem like it, but it would be a good idea. We also saw far less asset server issues and inventory loss at that time, search was more or less reliable until about a year ago, actually it seems to have improved recently, though others tell me they don’t think so.

    you said, “* Rising land prices were choking the economy. They made a few speculators rich, but other people quit expanding because they just plain couldn’t afford it.”

    More than a few speculators were making money instead of losing money on land transactions. And though things looked pretty cluttered even then, Ad farms today are no longer ignorable. The economic growth is on the record, not even close to matched a year later.

    Holding it’s own, or losing members is a bad sign for any business, SL included. Growth is the only indicator of future survival and properity, are we really seeing growth in SL and it’s virtual economy?

  58. Jade Vandyke says:

    Well, these metrics are for us to use and look at. Maybe we can’t figure them out, but they are helpful in a way.

    I keep on checking posts here and there and become confused, on a post on metric we started commenting about lag or I don’t what.

    We all know there is instability, sometimes we tp and get stuck in lalaland or the whole sim just collapse… But come on these guys are still trying and things are becoming better. And whatever we say, it is easy to know that we have new citizens, I keep on bumping to atleast 10 on daily basis even when trying to avoid popular places…

    LL thanks and keep up what your doing, yes we need faster upgrades and better performance, and as a premium I would like to get better perks as well.

    As for the metrics, well keep them coming 🙂

  59. uh-oh says:

    “the real world and that it shows up in SL (mostly as just dumb fun) should not shock anyone with a brain. Really, some people need lessons in minding their own business.”

    Read below and see why it is all of our business in SL what happens on these sims, It sounds as if you need a lesson or two on both the law and the terms of service.

    “In the UK, it was announced on 30 August 2006 that possession of depictions of rape would become a criminal offence [1], including those involving consenting adults, and images which are faked.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_pornography

    “The diversity of things to see and do within Second Life is almost unimaginable, but our community has made it clear to us that certain types of content and activity are simply not acceptable in any form. Real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depiction of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors; real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual violence including rape, real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of extreme or graphic violence, and other broadly offensive content are never allowed or tolerated within Second Life.

    Please help us to keep Second Life a safe and welcoming space by continuing to notify Linden Lab about locations in-world that are violating our Community Standards regarding broadly offensive and potentially illegal content. Our team monitors such notification 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. Individuals and groups promoting or providing such content and activities will be swiftly met with a variety of sanctions, including termination of accounts, closure of groups, removal of content, and loss of land. It’s up to all of us to make sure Second Life remains a safe and welcoming haven of creativity and social vision.”

    So yes it is not only illegal, it is putting the rest of the people in Second Life at risk by losing everything to Law Enforcement closing down Second Life due to the small percentage of people that think this is fun.
    I recall all these people saying Second Life was going to fold when gambling was banned. It appears to me there are a lot more people online now than there was when gambling was legal.
    I read a study that said that out of the people surveyed in Second Life only 2% were there to gamble and only 13% were there for sex.
    I do not see Second Life crumbling and going out of business because people cannot do harmful things that are both against the law and the terms of service.

  60. Pepper Haas says:

    I would become a premium member tomorrow if they brought back live ingame help and gave the entire jira system a swift kick, to be replaced with real Lindens chewing some real asses because of all the angry IM’s they are getting from CUSTOMERS not getting what they paid for.

  61. Mimi says:

    how about offering nolag and theft protection for premiums?

  62. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Insky:

    The change in sim crossing behavior was not caused by improved hardware, it was caused by improved software. I’m talking about the SAME sims on the SAME class servers.

    Entropia universe is no different from any other MMORPG. You are restricted to their theme, and building content is barely a step above fish mining. It’s got nothing to do with Second Life.

    Land speculators making money during an economic bubble are irrelevant. A bubble is a zero sum game, and when it burst (as it inevitably did) everyone who made money during the bubble was matched by someone who lost money when it burst. I have friends who bought land near the peak, despite my pointing out that the land prices were unsustainable, and they got burned when it burst.

    And, no, the bubble didn’t “grow the economy”. It didn’t create anything of long term value, the way people like June Dion or Hyasynth Tiramisu or Whinge Languish do. Their businesses have grown steadily in SL, they have been conservative with their expenses, and they’re continuing to flourish. THAT is what drives real economic growth… not short term virtual land bubbles.

    The music industry have a perception that their “product” should be safe from copying too. That’s been proven wrong, and they’re ever so slowly moving away from the idea that they have to have unbreakable copy protection… as Steve Jobs argued back when he opened the iTMS with its ‘honor system’ quality DRM. EMI’s made the plunge, the rest will follow. The perception that copy protection is “impossible” is not restricted to Second Life, and what’s been happening in SL is just a reflection of what’s happening in the world.

    The only way to have a hope of restricting copying is to build a world where real content creation is impossible, where all you’re allowed to do is pretend to be creating things, like in Warcraft, like in Extropia. There’s no room for a June Dion or a Hyasinth Tiramisu in that kind of fake world, so no matter how cool the graphics are they have nothing to do with Second Life.

  63. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Oh man, Entropia is even more messed up than I thought!

    Let’s compare it with Second Life, where anyone can do something like this…
    //A simple rocket script. Launches object up when touched.
    //Sit on it for an interesting ride!
    default {
    touch_start(integer i) {
    llSetForce(, 0); //FLY!
    }
    }

    Here’s how you get special powers in Entropia:

    MIND ESSENCE is a refined energy substance needed to use the different MindForce abilities. MIND ESSENCE is made by combining VIBRANT SWEAT and FORCE NEXUS using the ENMATTER REFINER. You must have MIND ESSENCE in your INVENTORY in order to use MindForce abilities.

    When standing near a creature, the sweat gatherer may activate this MindForce and literally gather sweat (VIBRANT SWEAT) from the animal. This is DONE by activating the GATHER SWEAT action from the ACTION LIBRARY.

    Hands up everyone who wants to go around “sweat mining” before they can run canned scripts blessed by Linden Labs.

  64. Ricky Zamboni says:

    @36 Max Desoto:
    “LL has been selling L$ on the open market since August 2006. And yes, they have been selling on the open market. And no, they never promised not to sell on the open market, I’m not sure where you got that idea from.”

    False. Until they decided to start selling L$ they create, Philip swore up and down that they would *never* sell L$. From the economic town hall held August 30, 2005:

    http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=59668

    Philip Linden: A: Explained the payment-to-sellers options already. LL will always just facilitate a transaction between buyer and seller. We will not ‘hold’ the currency, set pricing, or create new L$ to sell.

    Philip Linden: Hannibal Lektor: My question is from so far back you always said LL will not be involved in the sell or trade of $L. How do you defend yourself from your own history and how long til you aren’t the middle man ?
    Philip Linden: A: There is a difference between serving as a market between users and minting L$ currency to sell for our own profit.
    Philip Linden: The latter is what we have always explained does not make sense for us to do, because it would make the economy unstable and provide no revenues for currency sellers.

    And, from another thread around the same time, Philip said:

    http://forums.secondlife.com/showpost.php?p=214370&postcount=55

    “We think it is important that L$ be bought from other users, not from us. Beyond being a fair way to establish a market, this means that incremental money spent buying things in SL goes into the pockets of those who created the content, not LL. This is a critical component of organic growth.”

  65. aSwede says:

    As one of those underaged bots, i mean free account holders, it is in no way fun to read suggestions that I should either lose the ability to script or build or both. To also limit the amount of L$ I should be able to transfer in-game would just be another nail in an already shut coffin.

    I came to SL to script and build and ended up meeting quite a few nice people. I’ve created things that made it possible for others to have more fun and along the way I learned a few things. I’d say thats win-win for everyone involved.

    Limiting my ability to create things and getting money for it would turn what I’d like to call a very good thing into something almost completely uninteresting for me. Now I spend a few hours per day creating and being social while adding to the diversity of SL and I would think three of four times before getting an upgrade to a premium account since that would take much of the fun out of this. Forcing anyone interested in creating content into paying for that ability would at least snub my interest.

    The problem with griefers is always there when something like a community forms online and, as far as I know, technical solutions are often more clear cut than social ones. The same thing goes for copy-bots. Griefers can be dealt with more easily if creating alts is more expensive and if IP-bans are used, for example. Since I focus on scripting, copy-bots don’t bother me too much but there will always be this kind of problem when content has to be sent to a client to be rendered.

    Either change SL into a static content environment or handle theft and griefers via the support channels. The latter is the only viable way, as I see it.

    One might play with the idea about moving more of the social power to the residents. One suggestion is to add a voting system where residents can put down a vote for the banning of another griefing resident. If enough residents agree, an IP-ban is created for somethings like an hour. For every time the resident misbehaves and gets voted out of the system, the ban gets longer.

    This can then be tweaked in a number of ways. Lindens are immune and perhaps the vote of a premium account holder counts as two votes or more and the vote of a Linden counts as ten votes or something along those lines.

    Yet again a technical solution adds a clear cut way to handle some of the problems.

  66. U M says:

    Increase again the weekly pay and maybe people might return to being paying members.

  67. ActionJackson says:

    The blog entry contains some interesting, and unrealistically upbeat, claims. The trends graphs that we can drill down to show more of the story, and it’s consistent across all metrics.

    SL had dramatic growth at the end of 2006 and possibly into Q1 2007. Thereafter growth across all metrics appears to have peaked and stalled. We also see some declines and then modest recoveries in some metrics.

    The message from the data is pretty clear – in order to grow the service and be a sustainable business, Linden Labs needs to come up with new strategies. And unless they’re sitting on a pile of cash and/or want to raise another round of funding, it’d best be done soon.

    P.S.

    I love the service, when it’s available.

  68. Deltango Vale says:

    2007 was a difficult year for Second Life. 2008’s not looking much better.

    The establishment of anonymous accounts in June 2006 opened the doors to underage players. This resulted in international legal scrutiny, increased exposure to legal liability and damaging media coverage. Linden Lab responded by intruding into residents’ sexual relationships and expelling two consenting adults for underage roleplay – even though no underage players were involved. Refusal to close the anonymous accounts and dogged insistence on an ineffective and unsound ID-based age verification system cost Linden Lab considerable political capital with no benefit. ID-based age verification is no better at screening underage players than credit-card verification, nor is it more ‘fair’. It rarely works for residents outside their home jurisdictions and, in many countries, it may not even be legal.

    While anonymous accounts may have launched Second Life’s dramatic growth phase (October 2006 to June 2007), failure to formulate a land management strategy resulted in a speculative bubble as Linden Lab first starved and then flooded the mainland market. Islands ceased to be an attractive alternative when LL raised tier charges from $195 to $295 early in the cycle. Worst affected were the very residents who comprised the growth phase. The unexpected policy reversal on gambling in July further undermined Linden Lab’s credibility. Growth stopped. Premium accounts and total hours remained flat throughout the second half of 2007.

    The overnight imposition of VAT (15-25% sales tax) on European residents (40% of SL’s population) in September not only trashed European landowners, but it caused considerable friction between European and North American residents as Linden Lab, a supposedly global company, began charging based on regional factor prices. It also led to the crazy situation whereby European landowners (some owning dozens of islands) who shifted their tier to North American business partners lost access to Live Chat support.

    Longstanding problems of asset management, grid instability and poor customer service have undermined residents’ confidence in Second Life’s entire technological and managerial infrastructure. While organic development was the correct approach to building Second Life, expectations of success amplified perceptions of failure. The year ended with the resignation of CTO Cory Ondrejka due to “irreconcilable differences” with CEO Philip Rosedale.

    Just days into 2008, without consultation or discrimination, Linden Lab banned all banks, regardless of their history, reputation, structure or business practices. In a matter of minutes, SL’s evolving financial system was demolished as sound and responsible banks closed their doors in the ensuing panic. More residents lost money because of LL’s clumsy intervention than from all bank frauds combined. Good businesses were crippled and good people hurt – not so much by scammers as by Linden Lab itself!

    So, what went wrong?

    Philip Rosedale and the Board of Directors are highly skilled engineers with little or no knowledge of economics, economic history, strategic planning or customer relations. As Second Life grows from a technological startup to a mature business, they are out of their depth. They are making serious mistakes. They are destroying the wealth and confidence of the entrepreneurial class who risked enormous time and money to build Second Life in the first place. More importantly, they have lost sight of their original vision.

    Second Life was about user-generated content, remember? It was about “your world, your imagination”. That was the business plan and founding principle: to create a world that was VIRTUAL, VOLUNTARY and ADULT – framed by the philosophy of individual liberty and responsibility. Second Life was NOT intended to be a pale imitation of real life. It was NOT meant to be a playground for Republicans and Democrats to ‘govern’. It was NOT about majority rule through public opinion. Yet this is what has leaked into Second Life since 2007, drip, drip, drip. The sad irony is that now, out of ignorance and a naive desire to ‘do good’, Linden Lab is poisoning the very world they created and seek to protect.

    How do we fix it?

    Linden Lab is a private company, so they can do with Second Life what they wish. We ‘residents’ have the choice of being here or not. At the moment, there is no viable alternative to SL as a comprehensive virtual world. Therefore, Linden Lab still has time to prevent Second Life from becoming the ‘Lotus 123’ or ‘WordPerfect’ of the virtual universe.

    1) Regain integrity of the system. Announce the closure of all anonymous accounts on 1 March 2008. ‘Anonymous’ accounts may now be described as accounts without payment information on file or have not been age verified through the ID scheme. Keep the ID scheme during the transition process, but consider phasing it out by the end of the year and returning to credit card verification.

    2) Stabilize the financial system. Lift the ban on banks. Present the following message on the login screen: “Rate of return (interest or profit) on any investment is proportional to the amount invested, the length of time invested and the RISK OF NONPAYMENT.” Give residents information, not regulation, and the system will evolve in a healthy and productive way. Reputable businesses providing good customer service will always prevail against fly-by-night operations.

    3) Reassert the founding principles of individual liberty and individual responsibility. Resist the temptation to sanitize Second Life. The road to hell is paved with good intentions; the desire to protect residents from themselves will only lead to a downward spiral of regulations to offset the harmful effects of other regulations. Also, Second Life is NOT real life. It is NOT a nation-state. Second Life is virtual, voluntary and adult. We are here by choice precisely to escape the restrictions of real life – and there is no Berlin Wall to prevent us from leaving. As for those who want SL to become more like Disneyland, well, Disneyland already exists. We don’t need another one.

  69. DirkMeriman says:

    @48 – “The virtue of touting the IP number should be obvious since it takes into account one user owning several avatars but still recognizes him as only one entity.”

    I know of 9 couples on my friends list alone that play online together. My wife and I are usually online together. Not to mention roommates. Using IP addresses as a measure will give you false numbers.

  70. Ciaran, 8am and 10am hours aren’t convenient for most Americans who work, either. It’s great if you live in Afghanistan or India, though.

    “Concurrency, usage hours, and total resident-owned land continue to grow at a steady pace, while our count of Premium users dropped slightly again in January as we work on designing a better Premium offering.”

    I’m sorry but with regard to concurrency and usage hours, this a big “duh” that is answered in one word: BOTS.

    As to resident-owned land – nice euphemism for islands. I notice mainland ownership shrunk again, in keeping with the decline in premium membership. It’s about time that the number of downgrades is finally showing up, since the growth rate of new premiums took a significant downturn.

    Saw it in November, but LL pooh-poohed it. And with island growth being what it is, it is no wonder you pooh-pooh’d it. But what that should tell you is that a large number of people are living on land that requires no commitment, that if they wanted to drop SL tomorrow, they could, without any significant financial ramifications. But what does that matter so long as the island money keeps coming in?

    Wait until it stops coming in, with OpenSim and its progeny looming.

  71. Cappy Frantisek says:

    @70

    Then use MAC addresses, those are unique!

  72. Cappy Frantisek says:

    @59

    “I recall all these people saying Second Life was going to fold when gambling was banned. It appears to me there are a lot more people online now than there was when gambling was legal.”

    Sure, now you have to make 15 alts and have them camp 24/7 to make the same amount you would have made gambling in half a day! I understand the legality of the situation but that’s where the TOS had the all encompassing “You are responsible for your own actions according to jurisdiction”. You think you can ever get the bureaucrats not to have a hand in everything you do? You think you are ever actually “free”? Wake up and smell fascism, there is no democracy anymore.

    Sorry to all for the rant, I got up on the wrong side of the virtual world!

    back on topic, if you do some quick math, the current number of premimum members is a quarter of one percent! I’d say some changes are in order.

    You humble servent,
    An ex-premimum member

  73. Ciaran Laval says:

    Aye Cristal I know. I did say that Europeans get a better deal with office hours, Americans get a poor deal so I thought it was odd to point out that the office hour was user friendly for Europeans.

    As for those moaning about VAT, LL are complying with laws. I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall arguing with politicians and taxmen for months now, if some of you did the same rather than blamed LL, then maybe we’d get through the thick skulls of politicians and tax collectors how unjust VAT on land tier is.

    The fact that the law was designed to avoid the situation its created is the starting point you should be arguing from. However take your complaints to the people who make these laws, LL aren’t at fault over this issue.

  74. Simeon bereford says:

    like 31 back up of inventory idea a lot but as always the hmmm have to of course put in safeguard to avoid people using it to duplicate noncopiable items.

    rather than stoping stoping basic account holders from uplaoding why not stop charging Premium account owners for up loading.

    This money sink is a tax on creativity. something that LL would be better of encouraging encouraging.

  75. Thanks, Cappy, for underlining my point about bots.

    Ciaran, I understand, but I had to make the point anyway. 🙂 Unfortunately most Linden office hours are at times convenient for the unemployed, who probably are not putting much money into the game anyway.

    I agree, Simeon, eliminating upload charges would be nice and is a more rational idea.

  76. Well Argent I really do agree with most of your points, and there is no way I am defending Entropia, Blue Mars, Eve Online as single greatest competitors to SL, they are all vastly limited in scope and creative freedom by comparison. I have heard Opensim mentioned a few times, I love Opensim it’s a total pioneer, but it has a long way to go, and will unlikely be something you can compare to SL, it won’t eclipse SL, no single game around right now will do that yet.

    All of them together however, like the Vandals, Goths, Huns and other barbarian hordes tearing away at the edges of the Roman Empire can collectively reduce SL to a collection of abandoned ruins.
    There will always be content creators in SL, but will there be anyone else to enjoy them?

    You are also right that SL was in an economic bubble. It’s too late now to manage that bubble properly, and perhaps the economic collapses led to more stable growth. If there really is any growth. Is there? Really? I don’t think all that growth a couple years ago was speculative, it was real, just as falling numbers are real now. Perhaps some of the difficult changes that killed that bubble were necessary though.

    Someone mentioned that SL’s advertising was a major factor fueling growth in SL and creating the boom town effect we saw. I think this may be a really good point. Now that the cutting edge fad of SL has worn off perhaps it’s just another online pursuit among many. Personally I still see it as the model for a new internet, but how many people using SL see it that way, how many who have never tried it are willing to think it might be?

    I have read through this blog and slex forums and totally changed my opinion on the matter of “free” accounts. I agree Premium Accounts should have some huge benefits outweighing Basic Accounts. I agree all accounts should not be anonymous. I agree incentives that have led to the employment of “bots” to boost traffic should be changed so that such bots have no real value other than perhaps serving as NPCs in role play sims. That way inflated concurrency figures won’t further distort our ability to read the health of SL.

    Finally my own business has managed to hold steady, and support me during all this time, though it has suffered from each SL setback. I have always believed the best way to face content theft is to keep creating and move on, and seek action if it will not hurt you too much do so. Argent you have chosen to be a pundit for SL, well I love SL too, and I will continue to suggest that SL repairs actions that have harmed it in the past so that it can become the center of ideas and commerce that many of us were promised when we first signed up.

  77. DirkMeriman says:

    @72

    Yes, MAC addresses are unique.. but it doesn’t help if you have two or more people on a LAN… they would all have the same MAC if they use the same modem and router.

  78. Midnight Shinja says:

    Heres a thought for premium accounts! bring back live inworld help! if you are paying for this service why should it be near impossible to recieve assistance when sl fails. All the extra bells and whistles that clog up the service are a waste of space if they dont work and even more so when u cant find help to sort them out. P.T Barnum was right a fool is born every minute. Bring back live customer service and see what your paying customers really want inworld not on the blogs

  79. Belos Seiling says:

    From my point of view, I could imagine ‘Better Premium offering’ consisting of (among other improvements) better land ownership rules, as in tier increaments of 512 sqm instead of steps doubling up land area all the way up to 65512.
    If I am at a maximum limit, but need only a few prims more, why should I pay for twice my owned land if I only want to purchase a 512?

  80. Captain Noarlunga says:

    @69….wholeheartedly agree!

    Maybe an incentive to PA’s would be to offer a discount on services e.g. based on monthly tier payments for Private Island owners, a percentage discount (instead of $295, maybe a few percent off for every Island owned) Also, a discount on Island purchase prices…e.g. first one at full price, second at 5% off, 3rd at 7.5% … ETC. This would stimulate growth and help to moderate prices land owners charge. Obviously there would have to be a max. discount percentage. |Its worth discussion and I am sure many will not agree….but thats freedom of expression……everyone is entitled to put forward their thoughts/

  81. Captain Noarlunga says:

    sorry to hog two spots…had a thought……further to my comment @81 ……….. anyone owning Islands could get a reduction in tier after say, 12 months, then again after further fixed periods. This would encourage ppl to stay on and give a real incentive to stay invested in SL.

  82. The stats indeed are reasons worry.
    New residents born in Febr. shows a negative crack in a formally
    trend upwards. Same for premium accounts. The latter has surprised
    me as it makes land ownership possible ( private estates is a lease
    construcion; trust highly depending on the estate owner from whom
    we have seen just too many scams ). On the other hand the mainland
    has become total shit. Taken the many technical problems of SL into
    account and the question is justified if SL is beyond it’s hype or still
    has a future for entrepeneurs wanting to earn a dollar or two.
    If you did it really smart in 2007 there had been raal opportunities
    to really gain a serious bucl ( yep ), but the recent development
    makes me less and less confident…
    I do hope that SL will find it’s path up again.

  83. TravelingMenagerie says:

    @53… I disagree with your assumption that someone who has not visited in 7 days is probably an alt. It is equally as likely that they’re just someone (with a premium account) who has a very busy RL too with work, college, and other RL pursuits, yet likes to visit SL when they can.

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  85. RC Paderborn says:

    @23″
    @16: “with a weird drop in July”

    When gambling was banned and the real estate market collapsed.”
    Yup, that’s when I had to liquidate most of my holdings. It just happened to be at a time when LL was suddenly flooding the land market and business closures, etc. were doing the same.

    That’s also when I dropped my alts from Premium to Basic accounts.

    Right now there are two “advantages” to being a PA.
    1. Buying land on the mainland (which a number of us on SL for voer a year do NOT consider to be an advantage.)
    2. Access to support. Not the real time support we had a year ago mind you but a pale imitation of it.

    For Support, I’m not talking the “How do I wear something I bought without having a box on my head” type of questions but the “There’s a 100m sphere over the mainland that’s got gravity and sucking people to it”

    The “Help, time dilation has dropped to 31 on sim XXX” (caused by two invisible colliding objects, found by Data Linden when I called for help.)

    The “Anyone who comes in the club tonight is kicked off SL” (AGain, Data Linden responded and found a distorted mesh in the sim terrain makeup. A glitch in SL that required a reboot”

    I.E. REAL Support problems that need real time answers, not file a support ticket and someone will look at it next week.

    At least with me spending most of my time on private sims, I no longer NEED the Lindens as the private sim owners seem to offer much better real time support and have almost all the same tools as LL.

    Hmm perhaps next month’s metrics will reflect this last PA going away too.

  86. RC Paderborn says:

    To show how useless the “Population” figure is as it counts people who haven’t been on SL for years…

    Go to the population tab and copy the figures from September 2003 on, then paste them in column F of “Total Hours”. Now in Column G, use the formula =E5/F5 and copy that down the column. (Hours per Resident = Hours Used/Population.

    2003 was about 38 hours per resident per month in world.
    By 2005 it averages about 30 hours
    After the free accounts were opened in June of 2006, it quickly plummeted to 10 and has fallen since to 2 hours per resident per month.

    Conversely, using only the premium numbers gives a distorted view as well, but at least it shows a moderate growth in average hours.

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  89. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Insky: the bubble in land prices has passed. If Linden Labs keeps the land supply proportional to the demand, it won’t come back. I personally think land prices are still a little high, but they’re not completely out of bounds for the pre-bubble period, and so long as they can keep auctioning land off below L$10/m we’ll see the real economy continue to grow at a steady rate.

    I’m not always defending SL. When I think LL is doing something dumb I’ll be happy to say so. Just look back through my blog comments.

    I just don’t think that the bloated land prices were in any way an indication of the health of the economy. After the first month or so, they weren’t even an indication of the demand or supply of land. They may have in fact been caused initially by a shortage in land, but the bubble itself was maintained by speculation and automated buying and selling… something that’s still going on, by the way.

    I would LOVE to see a competitor to SL, by the way. I used to be very active in the text-based virtual worlds out there, I even ran a couple, and still have an occasional presence there. I would have thought that as soon as the tools became available there would be 3d spaces like this all over the place, with a huge variety of bases, but it just hasn’t happened. I’ve been actively looking at alternatives as soon as I found the place… and there really isn’t anything even vaguely like it except ActiveWorlds and There, and both of them are too much like the pre-internet online services.

    I don’t know if you ever used Compuserve or anything like that, but the tight central control over content is very much like them. But even before the Internet there were dial-up alternatives to online services, both sequential multi-user (like bulletin board systems) and concurrent (multi-line dialup chat systems). They were expensive to run… even before the phone companies tried to trick them into switching to business class: if you ran a BBS in Houston in the ’80s you’d eventually get someone calling you from the phone company asking if you were “a business, or a non-profit”. The correct answer was “no, this is a hobby” but a lot of people got nailed with business rates because they answered “non-profit”.

    It should be possible to set up something in the same class as SL on an individual basis. OpenSim might do that, but I don’t think that trying to ape SL at a bug-for-bug level is necessarily the best way to do it. Leverage the SL client, sure, but there’s no reason to duplicate the 256x256x4096 region and Linden Scripting Language. There’s not really even a need to implement real 3d physics yet.

    You could have, for example, a 1024x1024x16 region with almost 2d avatar movement and non-physical prim movement, with subregions for interiors and multi-floor buildings, and pre-rendered portals between subregions. Crib a macro language for scripts, possibly using a MUD or MUCK as the scripting core. You could build a 3d environment good enough to support SL avatars and non-scripted content, and develop a better scripting environment… and without the overhead of physics you’d be able to support far more users on a server.

    All kinds of possibilities, but nobody but Linden Labs is doing it.

  90. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Let me clarify that it’s ActiveWorlds and There that I see as being like Compuserve. SL is more like Usenet and the online UNIX community back in the ’80s. It’s like someone came in to compete with Compuserve and added an option to log in to the shell and just write stuff… programs, books, whatever you wanted… back in the ’80s. There were a few (very few) systems like this in the ’90s, like Nether.net, but nobody was doing it on a large scale the way LL is.

  91. Wyald Woolley says:

    @59–

    Who wrote, ““In the UK, it was announced on 30 August 2006 that possession of depictions of rape would become a criminal offence [1], including those involving consenting adults, and images which are faked”

    And then proceeded to make a case for banning any kind of activity that is illegal somewhere in the world so SL wouldn’t get shut down.

    Huh? Does this person realize that it is already a crime to wear a skirt in public in parts of the world? Or that’s it’s a major offense for woman to be alone with a male she is not related to? If we are to meet the standard un-oh proposes female avatars would have to dress like bee-keepers and be isolated to specific sims to keep them “pure.”

    Back on topic: LL does need to sweeten the pot for PAs and I don’t know what that might be, but until the grid is stable and usable nothing will really do the trick.

  92. RC Paderborn says:

    I think everyone is focusing on how to make people upgrade to PA instead of how to limit those who don’t.

    Face it, until there is a compelling reason to pay LL $ every month, most won’t.

    So here’s my plan:

    PA- You get to run SL just like you do now.
    BA with payment info – Like PA, except can’t own land, no support, restricted to PG Sims. Even better, restricted to mainland sims.
    BA Anonymous – You can’t get off help island

  93. ZenWarrior Fuosing says:

    How about some metrics on residents’ satisfaction with SL vendors and purchases from those vendors? The complete lack of consumer protections is doing far greater harm to SL than LL seems to realize.

    And in fact, given no mention ever, LL is apparently clueless about this very real and very big problem. It might even be impacting those dropping numbers of premium memberships. Why go premium when the most expensive purchases, those for building, have no guarantees/warranties/return policies/etc? I certainly see that as reason to now consider dropping my long-time paying membership status.

    I no longer buy very much in SL b/c vendors do not stand behind their products. Many will not even contact a customer who writes about any problem.

    Also, LL should *require* clearly understood instructions be included with every purchase. LL should require a minimum level of satisfaction by residents with any given vendor As is, 90% of SL vendors would *NEVER* survive in RL with their policies and attitudes toward delivering any measure of customer service–after selling a shoddy product or service.

    And yes, this means more attention/involvement by LL. No one wants a Big Brother, but everyone wants to know there are protections from being ripped-off every single day in SL. At least one-third of what I’ve purchased is junk–and cannot be returned. Again, I now buy very little in SL for this very reason–as a SL consumer, I am not protected by LL, a BBB, or even Ralph Nader.

  94. ZenWarrior Fuosing says:

    @69 (Deltango Vale):

    “Philip Rosedale and the Board of Directors are highly skilled engineers with little or no knowledge of economics, economic history, strategic planning or customer relations. As Second Life grows from a technological startup to a mature business, they are out of their depth. They are making serious mistakes.”

    This is the *HUGE* factor clearly not visible to LL management–but is to this former business school (marketing) professor. Yes, that is the best and most accurate comment from all these postings.

  95. uh-oh says:

    This blog is not filling up very fast so I will make one more post.
    I chose the laws in the UK for a reason.
    Linden Labs has an office there as well as employees that work there.
    Why is this important? A couple of reasons I can think of.
    One the local Law Enforcement can claim jurist ion and demand that Linden Labs cease and desist, seize all files and close down Second Life. Now all the people who have investments can lose up to many thousands of dollars they have paid into Second Life.
    I wouldn’t expect these kids to care about that since they are out here illegally and do not have much invested. To them this is just a game.
    The Second Reason is how this can affect real lives of the Linden Lab employees who live and work in the UK.
    The agency that was out here investigating the Role play sims with this illegal and blatant disregard for the Terms Of Service was looking for Age play. This doesn’t mean that they were turning a blind eye to the raping and violent sex that these sims promote and encourage.
    This means should the local branch office in the UK be closed down over this activity, the employees that work there can either face charges or just lose their jobs over the actions of a small percentage who enjoy this type of behavior.
    Since something like this will of course make headlines, these people now looking for new jobs have to deal with the stigma of having worked for company that is listed as an illegal pornography site.
    I would not want to one of them have to explain myself to a prospective employer during an interview should they even make it to that level without their employment application being thrown into the waste basket as soon as they see where they last worked.
    Again I wouldn’t expect these people who engage in this type of activity to care about anyone except their own selves.
    What about the parent who discovers that their underage child is participating in this type of role play? Yes they should not be out here, we all agree on that. However Federal law states that Linden Labs has to ensure that these children do have access to this type of material. Once again this creates a liability on Linden Labs and threatens our investments.
    What about the big corporations that have invested in Second Life? It is their investments that allow free basic accounts to be able to be out here.
    Just like corporations that invest in commercials on television and the radio. These investments are the reason why a person can watch television or listen to the radio for free.
    Take the money from the big corporations out of the game and we may soon see the end of free accounts.
    I personally have no problem with free basic accounts as long as they have gone through the IDV process.
    Like some earlier blog posters have said, they help all of us out by being builders and scripter.
    The bottom line is this type of behavior doesn’t belong out here. Not only because it is immoral, but also illegal and against the Terms Of Service.
    It is time for people to wake up and think about other people besides themselves.

  96. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Something I suggested a while back was sponsorship: if you don’t provide valid payment info, someone who HAS provided it has to sponsor you and take some kind of responsibility for your behavior before you can get access to most of SL. That would probably cut down on griefer alts a bit.

  97. intari says:

    Argent provide completly valid point.
    May be if BA doesn’t have verified payment info on file (or there was no ticket in support saying ‘this is my alt’ from PA).And if parcel(not necessary entire sim) is marked as mature – force server not to allow person without payment info on file to enter it(currently this is _option_ for landowners, it should be made mandatory).

    p.s.I have 2 accounts. Intari Marjeta is BA,second one on is PA

  98. Argent Stonecutter says:

    By “sponsor” I don’t mean “this is my alt”, I mean “I know this person”. If you sponsor someone and they act up, and get banned, then everyone you sponsored gets banned too. If they get suspended by LL, then you lose the privilege of sponsorship and everyone you sponsored needs to get a new sponsor.

  99. digest says:

    why not let the PA-membership pay in lindens?

    its much better for us europeans . i get 33800l$ for a 100 Euros, that is actually 151 us$……

    and i didnt would need to pay tax for it.

    i as a BA bring in each month round about 100 euros.

    so if u people will have us out of the game, LL would need to find other to pay more .

    and only let us be at PG… lol … than i dont need money, will not tip DJ´s that much …..lol

    ur funny guys.

    let us pay things in Linden-dollar, and you will win PA´s

    greets

  100. U M says:

    “What about the parent who discovers that their underage child is participating in this type of role play? Yes they should not be out here, we all agree on that. However Federal law states that Linden Labs has to ensure that these children do have access to this type of material. Once again this creates a liability on Linden Labs and threatens our investments.”

    OMG You know the % of those role playing under age of 18 are? WAY WAY too many. With the noticable lack of concern from LL, and the fuzzy logic of thinking just ” saying” you have to put personal information on. Just shows how dissconnected LL is from the game.

  101. Curious says:

    Do you have any idea what the demographic is by native language? It would be really useful to know this from the perspective of designing your interactions.

  102. Curious says:

    Rank-HoursPerUser. Country (Rank–#Avatars, Rank–Total#HoursForCountry)
    1. Netherlands (8,6)
    2. Japan (4,3)
    3. Bermuda (87,71)
    4. Germany (2,2)
    5. Antigua and Barbuda (98,80)
    6. Armenia (89,73)
    7. Taiwan (51,43)
    8. Canada (9,8)
    9. France (6,5)
    10. Switzerland (16,14)

    HERE’S WHAT I FIND INTERESTING: Except for Canada, there are no English speaking countries among the top 10 hours-per-user… and it’s certainly possible that the Canadians in question are Francophone.

  103. space rockett says:

    Seems to me like i arrived in one of George A. Romano films “Night Of The Living Dead” people seem happy to let lindens do as they please regardless of the cost to their integrity, I Would like to congratulate Lindens for their amazing brainwashing exercise they call Second Life.I too was a zombie sleeping walking to the Linden tune.No longer !!!
    Wake up people !!!!!

    Space Wide Awake Rockett.

  104. METRICS REFLECT SOMETHING BAD

    Here it is APRIL, and no sign of the FEBRUARY metrics. I guess it’s not so desirable to be transparent anymore. Or there are other priorities than disclosing metric data to members and the world. Used be delivered fairly routinely.

    You can only massage the metric figures so much before you just have to hide them huh Zee?

    Ok that sounds confrontational. C’mon guys it isn’t fair to those of us doing business here to have you hiding the stats from us . . . WHERE ARE THOSE METRICS?

  105. Ener Hax says:

    thank you for publishing as Google docs. that is really helpful 🙂

    do good.

  106. Psyke Phaeton says:

    FEBRUARY metrics????

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