Update, 12:12pm: Evidently, this apparent lack of Traffic to CSI sites is not accurate, but a Linden-related search error-- see update after the break.
In late October, CSI: New York, one of television's most popular programs, featured an episode in Second Life, a cleverly-scripted and suspenseful search for a female assassin who used SL to seduce and kill her targets; ending on a to-be-continued cliffhanger, it was also linked with an ongoing virtual experience so fans could continue solving mysteries in-world. As many as a hundred thousand new accounts were created around the branded experience, SL demographer Tateru Nino estimates.
At the moment, however, the biggest mystery to me is what's happened to CSI in Second Life since then. Today, none of the official locations register any Traffic, when you search for them in SL's Places tabs-- instead, as I noted in November, grassroots businesses dominate that search, having stuck "CSI" as a term in their site description. (Currently the CSI search game is ruled by a fashion emporium with a topless model emblazoned on the listing.) Where did all CSI's investigators go?
"There is definitely activity," Forseti Svarog of the Electric Sheep Company, the metaverse developer producing the experience for CBS Television, assured me last week. "But there is also consolidation of islands going on." He put me in touch with an ESC producer for more details, but I haven't heard back from them yet; will update as I do. So far what is certain is that the CSI branded viewer, running on the Sheep's licensed Second Life browser OnRez, rocks.
Sleek and elegant, it's a significant improvement over the Lindens' official viewer-- as I mentioned before, the way its Search mechanism incorporates web searches with SL-based searches is impressive, and potentially revolutionary. The Lindens recently introduced a similar function in its search interface, but so far, the results are much more cumbersome and constrained. (You only get a web-based search hit if it's a term listed on the company's sites.)
Having used the official viewer so long, it's probably too late for me to switch, but I'll be very interested to see if the user retention rates for those using OnRez are significantly improved-- I suspect so. Still, after installing and submitting my account info into the OnRez viewer, all my inventory was displayed intact-- except, mysteriously, my right shoe, which was somehow lost in the transition process. Why? And what was it doing back in my inventory? Another CSI mystery.
Just heard from the Electric Sheep's Valtoid Pixie, who produces the CSI experience in SL: "I was just in world, typed in CSI in search and a whole slew of CSI:NY region traffic numbers came up." While she can't provide specific users numbers, "[W]e continue to see daily increases in sign ups and traffic. Daily visits are high four figures. I was just on the sims and they were packed."
So now the mystery becomes, why such a mismatch between the Map and Search indicator?