Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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SL Marketplace Traffic at 430K Uniques -- I.E. About the Size of SL's Total Economic Participant Base

SL Marketplace traffic

According to Google Ad Planner, which is now my go-to source for tracking web traffic, the SL Marketplace subdomain now gets about 430,000 unique monthly visitors (give or take). As you can see by the screencap above, the usage rate has been fluctuating at around the same levels since January 2011. This is interesting, because back in October 2011 (the last time Linden Lab reported user stats), the company reported that 475,000 SLers were economic participants. (I.E. spending Linden Dollars.) So I think it's likely that most monetized SLers are at least visiting the SL Marketplace, if not shopping there. In any case, 430K is a lot of uniques. (Last we heard, there's about 1 million total monthly uniques in SL, with most of those being extremely casual users.)

As for SL content creators, I think the takeaway for this data is pretty clear:

Your biggest potential market who are mostly to buy your stuff is not in-world, but on the web-based Marketplace. So it's probably a good idea to optimize your offerings there not just for existing customers, but for the hundreds of thousands of folks randomly browsing content online. For that matter, it's probably a better idea to spend more time improving your Marketplace presence, where you're way more likely to attract customers, than your in-world shop, which apart from the really big stores and brands, likely gets much less traffic. It's also another indication that SL as depicted on the web is at least as important as SL the 3D client-based experience itself (if not moreso).

 

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Iggy

"It's also another indication that SL as depicted on the web is at least as important as SL the 3D client-based experience itself"

Pity. As one using Marketplace as a search engine for in-world shopping, I see the decline in avatar-based shopping as indicating something else.

SL is less and less a "world" and ever more a nicely provisioned 3D chat room for playing dress up and pimping one's fake crib.

zig

in my book "SL content creators" doesn't equate necessarily with "SL content sellers"

Adeon Writer

What Zig said. I haven't really sold anything. I totally spend way too much on the marketplace all the same, though.

Corcosman Voom

When I signed up in 2007, one thing that struck me was that a lot of "SL" happens on the web. I found tutorials and a wide variety of blogs. When I first rezzed I could use my camera and knew how to build and, after a little practice walking and flying, I had a list of places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to see.

foneco zuzu

Well i don't even use Marketplace anymore, but i still spent per day, at least L500 (and i just go in world like 10 or 12 h week now)!
Perhaps due to what i buy being very specific (Nascar racing cars exclusive of one sim only, Clothes that i didn't build but are worth buying, those due to Sl fetish fashion blog, a true helper!).

Arcadia Codesmith

Marketplace provides a functionality missing in Second Life: the ability to quickly locate and obtain merchandise that fits a given criteria.

If that ability was integrated into the client, almost nobody would use Marketplace. After all, few of these items have any utility outside of Second Life.

Either way, it's another sign of the apocalypse for the obsolete real estate revenue model.

Anke Hatchuk

I really feel the same way Arcadia, if there were better and easier ways to not necessarily game, but categorise items in SL itself, and search that - I would be all for it. I really liked the 'old' search Phoenix had & the 'places' tab, as I feel it was less clunky and more intuitive. I found a lot more interesting places through that.

In a really niche environment as I usually build catering to, you pretty much HAVE to have huge presence in marketplaces inworld (50-800L$ week, but I never pay more than 100...) & on the Marketplace, or you're asking for certain death. People looking for a specific themed item? Marketplace. I honestly get less and less sales inworld it seems vs MP. And I don't blame them...

If I see an awesome object while out and about (less common in itself) and I want to quickly find it again later, I look it or the creator up on the MP rather than visit potentially laggy sims. This is especially true for buying hair or clothes (with demos provided)

shockwave yareach

Marketplace suits a need - the ability to QUICKLY get the stuff you want.

SL shopping also suits a need - the abilty to ENJOY shopping and to browse, possibly finding something you want that you didn't know existed.

BOTH are crucial to SL. Both need to be hand and hand present in the world. (and no, browser windows in the SL viewer is not the answer). But as it stands right now, people who treat SL as their business are making the choice to eliminate their inworld shops and put everything into the marketplace. Why? Because a) people are using the marketplace and b) because it doesn't cost anything at all to sell 100,000 items in the marketplace, whereas having stores for 100,000 items inworld would be prohibitively expensive.

What we need is a way to tie the two together. Everyone should be allowed to sell up to 10 items in the Marketplace. Any more than that, and you are limited based on the number of m^2 of land you own or rent. Just divide the m^2 by 100 and that's how many extra items you can sell -- a homeless guy can get started out selling 10 things whereas a shopkeeper with a store on 8Km can sell 10 + 81 items in the marketplace.

Anything less will just see more shops close, and more land be returned to the growing pool of servers stacking up which are not making LL any money. I hope you aren't still paying for those servers.

Tateru Nino

Okay. My comments keep vanishing. A glitch, perhaps?

Summary: The two numbers you have don't have any relation to the conclusion you lay out - which does not necessarily mean that the conclusion is false, but it just isn't correct reasoning. That much should be obvious.

The marketplace data that was last available would, however, suggest that your conclusion is also incorrect.

Kala Bijoux

Given how many people are (probably) using marketplace, LL really needs to step up and make it the best that they can. Direct Delivery is a step in the right direction but now they need to think less about the back end and more about the front end.

For example, their new Mad Style promo - on the first page of the most popular listings I see a lot of sex poses and hooker boots, but only 1 set of makeup that is vaguely 60s. I have to go to the 3rd page before I see a listing for a hair style and one for a dress that fit the Mad Style look. Now if I search via "new items" - then I see a meero nest. Don was TOTALLY into meeros, right?

Marketplace needs a better way to do promos like this. A system like Etsy's treasury system would be great - consumer driven lists that LL could cherry pick from. Relying on people NOT gaming the system results is not working. Marketplace should be LL's best face forward, NOT an after thought.

Dartagan Shepherd

The flaw with counting web hits is that a good percentage of uniques have nothing to do with SL shoppers.

People looking for RL products also stumble on SL products in search engines. I've been hit by this myself with casual use.

When you add up the hits for over 2 million products stuffing search engine results you're going to get a lot of unique misfires.

SL products double as a free marketing tool for LL.

Whether a good percentage of those uniques actually convert or shop at all is the question.

Related to signups, many people sign up from "out there" and never log in or give it more than a cursory glance.

Hamlet Au

I used "likely" and "probably" as qualifiers precisely because the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from the data, though I do think it's a very plausible interpretation.

Hamlet Au

"People looking for RL products also stumble on SL products in search engines."

That's a good point, and there's likely a fair amount of misfires. However, all the "Sites also visited" listed by Google are SL-related, so I think it's probable that most uniques are SLers or potential SLers.

Dartagan Shepherd

@Hamlet Ah, that's good to know, thanks.

Orca Flotta

So what's the real conclusion here?
LL should drop all those useless empty sims and concentrate fully on the marketplace operation.

YAY, way to go!

This would also spare us from the hardship of having to log into world all the time. We can just shop the MP and then do some RL. Imagine how cool that would be ... No more need to talk to silly cartoon "friends", no more crashes, no more rezzing probs, no wondering "OMG, what to wear?", no more... oh ... no more need to use the marketplace neither.

LOL

Honestly, using the marketplace, same as using voice, same as external profiles, same as links to social networks, is in my not so humble opinion absolutely counter-effective to the initial idea of Second Life. It reduces SL to just another web app, something quick for the masses of unimginative consumers. For people who lack the ability to immerse, for lazy noobs with no idea about virtual reality.

Pussycat Catnap

@Iggy:
****************
"It's also another indication that SL as depicted on the web is at least as important as SL the 3D client-based experience itself"

Pity. As one using Marketplace as a search engine for in-world shopping, I see the decline in avatar-based shopping as indicating something else.

SL is less and less a "world" and ever more a nicely provisioned 3D chat room for playing dress up and pimping one's fake crib.
*******************

I hate quoting an entire post of someone, but there's no way around that here without missing something.

The above is spot on. SL has become a game.
Like it or not - that's where we are at. A chatting / dating game.

The rest of us are ancillary - added value and/or the providers of the tools players need in order to better 'cyber', 'erotic roleplay', or 'story roleplay' each other up.

Anybody's who ever gone to an SL 'live music' scene only to have random guyz start in with 'hey baby you're cute' knows that well, even the music scene is just a 'prop' for the dating-game.

*******
BUT
*******

There's another part of your comment equally important. Using web-search to find places to inworld shop.

Near as I can tell, Hamlet's statistics don't know how to separate this out from people using the web to buy.

I 'feel' that maybe 30-40% of web-searchers buy inworld... but I have no way to know how right or wrong my feeling is.

However this took yet again just props up the game.

MOST SLers are consumers. They buy toys to date, play, and chat with.

The people who hate this the most are the very ones to blame for it. All those merchants who have spent the past few years DEMANDING LLs play court in their castle over all others - have managed to shape the downfall of anything -BUT- consumerism in SL.

And now that all people have to do in SL is shop and chat/cyber... that's all they do.

This should not surprise anyone.

Pussycat Catnap

"For example, their new Mad Style promo - on the first page of the most popular listings I see a lot of sex poses and hooker boots, but only 1 set of makeup that is vaguely 60s."

If you don't want to see what is really popular in SL, don't sort by popular.

Popular is not 'sort by what I feel people should like' it is 'sort by what people are really into'.

A stint working with a major search engine company a few years back drove this home to me: what people really spend all their time searching for online basically is xxx and 'personal enhancement' (both male and female)... or pictures of Obama cropped over an ape (the reason I despise Tea Party types so much is I've seen the search engine queries mapped geographically and compared that to political parties in those regions).

XXX comes up first in SL popular because, that is what SL is really used for.

For those of us not in that scene, this sucks. But its life. Its one of those moments when I sit up and realize I'm glad I'm not 'hip' or with the 'in crowd'.

Pussycat Catnap

"Okay. My comments keep vanishing. A glitch, perhaps?"

I've found that the software of this blog simply 'fails' to post a comment beyond a certain length or if it contains certain words. Those words however, are not the usual swear words - in fact I can't find any pattern to them, and can only guess that the software cuts out 'strings' that have certain bits of text its code is also looking for...

I always 'copy' my post before hitting submit, and if it fails, cut it down and try again in 2 posts, and if a small one fails - there have been a few times where I've made a series of one sentence posts, trying to find the 'banned' word...

Tateru Nino

@Pussycat: They were there for quite some time. Then vanished. Typepad apparently has cows, it would seem.

@Hamlet: The Google figures for the site are a bit sloppy. You'll find they have an error factor of about one and a half orders of magnitude due to the realities of the Web. They're good enough for relative rankings (well, mostly), but can't be relied on for any sort of absolute metrics. The best you can say from the figure is that the number of actual Web uniques is between 30,000 or so and a couple of million. Which is close enough for advertising purposes.

Kala Bijoux

"If you don't want to see what is really popular in SL, don't sort by popular.

Popular is not 'sort by what I feel people should like' it is 'sort by what people are really into'."

Look, I don't have anything against hooker boots or skins - I own several pairs of said thigh high boots with heels in SL as well as numerous skins. Yes, I realize they are popular. What they are NOT is 60s style. The Madstyle tag should be used for thing that fit that style. I also sorted by new and found meero nests, which I don't see how anyone can argue those are Mad Men style.

My point is not to hate on popular stuff but to say that if you click on the MadStyle promo for actual Mad Men type style, you aren't going to find much. This doesn't really help consumers find what they want, it doesn't help merchants sell things, it doesn't help LL make money. They need a new system.

The problem isn't what is popular or not (since these items come up first in a search for say "boots" anyway) but that there are many things wrong with marketplace, including and not limited to their "marketing" and promos.

foneco zuzu

Orca, there is still hope, other commercial grids!

Melancholy Lemon

Remember, you can list free stuff on Marketplace. So not all Marketplace users are necessarily economically active. Still an interesting statistic, but difficult to interpret.

mel

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