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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


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The TOS change is not affecting the average user in the short term, only the content creators. At least 2 of my friends gave up their complete sims, because of the TOS change and one of those even left SL completely for Avination.
So, since in the short term only the content creators are affected, the content that they take out of SL and the content that they do not create in SL anymore, does affect the overall concurrency in the long run.
Besides, the concurrency always goes up in fall, because people spend less time outside.

Keith Selmes

Is it a leg pull ?
I see a continuation of a long decline in usage.
Each July /August it bottoms out, each September it starts up again, and peaks probably in February. And each year the numbers are lower.
This last summer looks especially low, but perhaps it was exceptinally good weather outdoors ? And September looks to be following the trend of more usage in winter months, but less than previous years. If there's any effect from the TOS change, it's probably not possible to isolate it, and the graph doesn't really tell us anything about it.

I don't see why the TOS would affect the majority of users, and clearly the decline has a few years to go before it hits bottom, even if it continues as is. However it's also very clear that both the TOS change and the long term decline have some creators thinking about their exit strategy, with some already leaving.

Scarp Godenot

From closely examining your graph. It looks to me that EVERY year from the low in July it goes up for a few months.

So I don't think any argument about why is much of a change from that simple cycle.

Estelle Pienaar

Eric has it right. It is the same procedure as every year. Traffic starts rising in September and falls again from March onwards. It's pure coincidence that the TOS change correlates with the usual turning point. I hope that your guess about LL's thinking is wrong.

I am amongst those hundreds of thousands that have not voiced concerns so far. And yes, there is no measurable impact so far. However there are many creators who wait and see while exploring options. LL should not underestimate the situation because for now it's just general billowing discontent. If a substantial number of major creators agree on an alternative platform that they will promote together and offer new subscribers to that platform welcome deals, the sitution could get faster out of control than we all can imagine.

Just saying...

Ciaran Laval

It's tempting to pull out the graph demonstrating that a decrease in pirates has caused global warming.

I have to agree with the others regarding the summer slump and then rise during the autumn, this is traditional behaviour.

I don't think the TOS changes will make much of a difference to concurrency over time, but LL would be foolish to ignore the controversy.




Although correlation does not prove causation, a lack of correlation does seem to be fairly strong evidence for a lack of causation. It's hard to argue that something is causing a decline when there's no decline.

That said, this graph here is looking in the wrong place. Most users aren't content creators, so you wouldn't expect to see a correlation in overall usage numbers, at least not in the short term.

The real question is, how are new product releases being affected? Are fewer new assets being uploaded? Are fewer new products showing up in stores or on SL Marketplace? That would be real and relevant data.


I believe Iris's post with quotes from creators answers that question.

moggs oceanlane

the terms really impact creator. Many people who join sl consume and don't create so one would only expect a percentage of users to be vocal - ie thosevwho ut most affects. also a lot of people see copyright, intelectual property and licensing to be too much hard workbto understand (until they need to understand it to protect their own work) so again i think the lack of a majority vocalising and be activist does not indicate the issue should not be addressed. social media sites recieve regular bollockings over such terms... and some siyes such as pinterest (for example) were forced to change their terms based on copyright. someone might want to raise this with the artists bill of rights site...

Desmond Shang

Well then, they clearly don't need us grumpy oldbies too much, do they?

Good observation, Hamlet; the graph obviously isn't plummeting down or anything like that.

They can do *even worse* things and get away with it!

* * * * *

It's probably useless (technically) as a protest, but I deleted *all* of the original user content I used to sell, for years. Even the Victorian house that made it into Newsweek in October 2005. I was a really successful merchant once; people ask me for that stuff even nowadays. Now: all gone, trash emptied.

Not a stick of it left, and honestly? Thought I would have felt sad or something. No, just couldn't care less about it at this point.

Remington Aries

learn to read graphs. Your pointer is on the last of nine upswings in an unmistakable downward trend.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Des, NO! Delete is a Dirty Word!

Since I was one of those who isn't pessimistic and didn't believe the worst of LL because Ibelieved the TOS change wasn't a content grab... I didn't do anything. I figured they would clarify...eventually.

As I've said, they really don't want to have to talk to us anymore because it's so much hassle because of the negativity thats out of proportion to the situations.

That said, I don't like that lack of communication and I thought they'd clarify last month.

If some sort of issue like this happens again...what people need to do is enlist the "masses". SL is a bottom up economy, the most important people...are the ones at the bottom who's L$ filters up through merchants, ebil land barons, venues and so forth. Make them happy and keep them willing to spend L$, the ebil land barons, merchants and venues are happy.

If you can get the masses on your side, and stay calm and respectful... then LL might be more likely to listen and respond faster.

Though it would be nice to see a graph of User Activity dating back to 2003...it would make a lot of people feel better I think. At a minimum SL is 10 times as active as it was when I joined in 2006.


Thinking about Second Life, over the years, the general population has shown an amazing ability to adapt to change. We know that these protests will pass as a flood of new and exciting content to use and blog about will be dangled in front of our faces. It's already happening.

The largest amount of complaining hasn't come from those who are the most successful. Their roots are strong.

We've weathered bigger changes in SL than this, just think about the viewer. This one just happened to affect some people who felt that they were too important to be asked to sacrifice.

The Tier Is Too Damn High Party

Dead cat bounce.

Naturaly complaints would come from a mere few thousand, that is not surprising since content creators are a minority of users, no?

Dartagan Shepherd

There are a few flaws here.

First, I don't think concurrency is based on the "several hundred thousand". Concurrency and hours is more likely based on those dreaded oldbies putting in a lot of hours. To be generous, that may be a hundred thousand or so putting in the bulk of the time.

Secondly, impact and concern can be better extrapolated from the 4 or 5 informal polls that were taken, than it can from concurrency.

One of the clues is that concern actually is fairly high, all things considered.

Thirdly, the "impact" that could be gleaned out from most of that feedback was that many creators have stopped creating, rather than leave quite yet, although a not insignificant number have left.

This says that some degree of impact is there, but that the impact is in a holding pattern pending further (or no) outcome.

Fourth, there was a slight uptick in region loss, which says that some of the creators who were vested in land found the issue important enough to get rid of some regions.

I don't have precise indicators that I can give you myself either, not that I'm looking for it. It's not the impact that matters at this point, it's that the ToS is overbearing and needs changing. Must keep focus there.

Basically your impact is already indicated though and that some of it is pending further outcome.

"Just a few thousand" statistically isn't just a few thousand. All the samplings point to something larger, not smaller, if you approach the data from polls and such the way a statistician would.

It's not done by a long shot, but much of it depends on whether LL is willing to reverse course or not on the ToS.

Metacam Oh

Global warming doesn't exist because it's snowing out today.

Shockwave yareach

Simple graph and simple conclusion is simple...

I know personally of three sims gone over this matter, their owners saying it was the last straw. That's over 10k income gone. And while I'm sure that's chicken feed to ll, I don't exactly know lots and lots of sim owners. So the total numbers will be much higher.

And me, I've stopped building. And my group and I are beginning to examine rebuilding fresh in inworldz, where we've just got our first sim. It costs much less and the company leaves us alone to enjoy our purchases. So when sl finally poofs from mismanagement, we will have our new home already built, if we are still around when it happens. You may want a new fiddle as the city burns...

Sl is a virtual world. Ll refuses to manage it like one. This is the heart of all LLs problems. We build and pay cash for our own benefits; not LLs.

Pussycat Catnap

@Chrono: "As I've said, they really don't want to have to talk to us anymore because it's so much hassle because of the negativity thats out of proportion to the situations."

The "negativity is out of proportion to the situation" precisely BECAUSE they don't talk to us anymore...

If you or I dislike each other - we have the luxury to ignore each other and not engage. But if one of us is the one in charge of a massive set of the other of us, managing that community - the luxury to ignore is no longer present.

Pussycat Catnap

@Dartagan: "I don't think concurrency is based on the "several hundred thousand". Concurrency and hours is more likely based on those dreaded oldbies putting in a lot of hours. To be generous, that may be a hundred thousand or so putting in the bulk of the time."

Concurrency is a very simple figure: number of people logged in at the same time.


This is what Wall Street would call a Bear Market correction.

Dartagan Shepherd

@Pussycat: Oh, I know. I was basically trying to give the reason why concurrency isn't an indicator.

There are actually formulas out there that say if your virtual world/MMO has X amount of concurrency that you have X amount of active users.

The dots Hamlet is connecting is that an increase of concurrency means little to no impact from the ToS.

He then connects that with "several hundreds of thousands of users", which isn't the case in a declining virtual world or MMO. The older and more declining the world, the more concurrency is made up of older users.

LL admits that new users are not at all "sticky", and in fact that they can't get them to engage much at all if they can even get them to log in after registering.

I could as easily say that the increase in concurrency is precisely because of the controversy surrounding the ToS and is an indicator of users that haven't logged in for a while, logging in to do whatever they're doing.

Or that more people are staying for more hours because they're engaged in this very topic.

It's just the wrong bit of math applied to the wrong problem, in my opinion.

Issa Heckroth

As others have said, concurrency ALWAYS goes up at this time of year. This article is total Derp, even for NWN.

Pussycat Catnap


Oh I see where you're coming from.

Yeah - there's not a direct correlation here.

I do feel that the ToS change has not had a major impact, but I don't think this chart is the evidence.

Though I agree that it does show a lack of a sudden drop off.

But suddenly no longer logging into SL is not typically how people express frustration. People just don't "quit and give up" most of the time. They will first change how they use a service.

One strong advantage LLs has in any of these draconian changes is that the typical user only lasts 1 and a half years. So LLs can keep resetting expectations. This is not really an advantage of course: that the typical user only lasts a year and a half is actually a sign of some sort of deep problem in the platform... But one which dates back to the original inception of SL.

As for logging in after registering, I have my own theory on that:

I suspect most accounts were never made for the purpose of joining SL to begin with.


back when SL was 70-80k active users online, how many of those where active users, and how many alts of alts of alts , sitting on a camping chair, or at dance island sucking $1L - $2L every 30 minutes.


The statistical Moving Average is declining in this graph, and it's declining in Google Trends.

A Moving Average is commonly used with time series data to smooth out short-term fluctuations and highlight longer-term trends or cycles (see Wikipedia).

Google Trends for Second Life, Machinima, Virtual Worlds, Opensim http://ht.ly/jGZFu

Dartagan Shepherd

@Pussycat: Good point. Certainly something I'd never considered to be a large part of signups, but it does explain quite a bit.

Pussycat Catnap

@2013: Dance Island used to pay people to come to it?

Not doubting that, just think its funny. Sad thing is the place often has pretty good music now, and an eclectic audience (everybody's avatar looks pretty different. Its an unclaimed scene).

Though I don't go often, and usually on an alt when I do.

Camping always seemed like inverse logic to me... pay your customers to come to your venue and do something which is NOT shopping. In fact, you are largely paying them to AFK... and what do you get: a camper group puts out the call, and your venue fills up with... AFK people... who buy nothing, tip nothing, and say nothing. :)

I think I got here in my second tour of SL, right as it was dipping under 70k concurrency. That said the little 'how many people re online' thing I have on my land somewhere has said roughly the same thing for a very long time. It usually says 45k, though about 2 years ago if I remember right it usually said 55k.

But I do notice that the people I see now, are more likely to be real people, than they used to be. Its a rare moment where I go somewhere and start feeling like I'm surrounded by bots. I think I got that feeling once, maybe twice, in all of this year. In 2009, it happened a couple of times a week - but its also possible I was less savvy and more prone to joining the hype-suspicion train on that back then.

Toysoldier Thor

Yes as most have stated, the Graph / Stats have pretty much ZERO relevance to the TOS. I am surprised James would even report this story and post this unrelated statistic and imply that this stats shows the TOS has no impact.

So let me help you a bit James.... the TOS directly attacked a small yet critical population of SL the Content Creators. Even if 1/2 of these commercial / artistic creators left SL completely this past 2 months, it would not make a dent into the general population.

But... they are the ones that generate the content that keeps SL the fresh interesting place it is. SOoooooo, as the LL TOS continues to exist and many Content Creators maintain a NO UPLOAD policy, the content will slowly become more stale. Also, many creators will focus their efforts elsewhere.

This impact will take a much longer time to be felt by the SL population... which will slowly transform into a 3D Social Chat community working with aging stale content.

James, when you find a stat from LL that shows the Daily Content Uploads count, or the current Commercial/Artistic population count, this would be more interesting.

Finally James, I am one of many of these content creators. I have stopped all my uploaded of art and mesh since the TOS. BUT, I wouldn't show up on your stats since I haven't left SL... I just stopped creating from SL.

Generally, a posting with no real value and a deceptive message.

shirc desantis

Pussycat - I still do log in the odd alt and go to Dance Island for the escape and music :) and the walk is nowhere near as painful as it was even on the same old beaten up laptop i first went in on in early 07:) Ah nostalgia...

Hamlet Au

"and many Content Creators maintain"

Which ones? When I posted outreach on this blog, and on Twitter, and on Facebook, and on Plurk, with a networked reach of roughly 150,000 people, asking content creators to come forward if the ToS has directly impacted their economic activity, not a single one did. Either in an open forum, or via e-mail/private message to me.

Dartagan Shepherd

Sorry for the quoting Hamlet, but this one is contextual... you asked:

""and many Content Creators maintain"

Which ones? When I posted outreach on this blog, and on Twitter, and on Facebook, and on Plurk, with a networked reach of roughly 150,000 people, asking content creators to come forward if the ToS has directly impacted their economic activity, not a single one did. Either in an open forum, or via e-mail/private message to me."

Yet from your poll you said in another article:

"In last week's NWN reader survey, 45% of respondents say that Linden Lab's draconian new Terms of Service has caused them to "stop selling or creating content"."

And in the next breath you say:

"That was intentionally a broad question, but this week, I'm asking a more specific query: Can you name any Second Life merchant that has stopped selling content on the SL Marketplace or in-world as a direct result of the ToS? If so, please post their brand name and avatar name in Comments."

I mean, you got your response and then you ask for another one to name names. I can say that in the merchant forums we've talked to a few dozen perhaps personally. The UCCSL have heard from more.

But here we are 3 or 4 articles later that keep saying that it's having no impact.

I'm the last one to want less discussion but it does "seem" strange or like a bit of LL justification or damage control.

No one ever, anywhere claimed that it was going to be a mass exodus or major merchant kind of thing. And yet there were some big names involved in the protest. Qarl, the director of the LEA, etc.

It just makes no sense to me to keep spinning the no impact bit. We never claimed it was going to have the kind of impact you're denying. It might, it might not. I'm on your side because you agreed that it was overbearing.

The optimal thing is not exodus but that the ToS can be reverted. Those who lost trust are gone or exploring other paths. More will leave if it's not changed. How drastic it will be is anyones guess, but that's not our intent to predict the demise of SL over it.

Toysoldier Thor

"Which ones? When I posted outreach on this blog, and on Twitter, and on Facebook, and on Plurk, with a networked reach of roughly 150,000 people, asking content creators to come forward if the ToS has directly impacted their economic activity, not a single one did. Either in an open forum, or via e-mail/private message to me."

OK Hamlet, maybe because no one felt there was value validating to you for the umpteenth time that the TOS is draconian and it has impacted many of them/us. There has been evidence all over the place all over the forums, grid, blogs, twitter. You just don't seem to want to reach out or believe these other sources. The proof is out there Hamlet, and it doesn't need validation from you to know it exists all around you.

But if you want some proof that creators just didn't care to respond to your question... I am one of them Creators / Artists from SL. My name is Toysoldier Thor... and since the TOS I have STOPPED ALL UPLOADS TO SL. There... ONE person that responded to you that never did previously. :)

And if the 250+ and growing members of the UCCSL cared to answer you, you might get an entire load of similar "it has changed my operations as creator in SL" responses.

Stop maybe stop trying to validate the obvious and focus on trying to use your clout with LL to ask Rodvik and Peter when LL will fix the TOS. Ask Peter why he refuses to have open dialog with the UCCSL to come up with an acceptable TOS. Ask Peter why LL obscured the real truth behind the TOS changes (i.e. wanting our content in Desura) when someone from LL initially said it was only done to align product TOS's.

This would be some valuable Blog/Reporting we could like to see from NWN.

Lani Global

I'm an SL content creator, and I answered in the NWN blog comments and the survey, and responded to Hamlet Au's tweets.

Others did, too.

This blog is getting even more ridiculous and shrill as SL sinks.

Lani Global

Here is what that GRAPH really says about SL TOS changes causing decline in Second Life:


-Lani Global


Short and Not Sweet At All: The State Of the LL ToS Debate


I like toast with jam.


When LL screws over valued long term customers, no new customer is going to feel valued. It is no wonder that new ppl do not stick around a month later.


Dartagan Shepherd how about you ask in the SL forums where the creators are actually watching this issue closely. I am a content creator, I have not made anything new since this new tos. Only because i am not a **cking idiot.

Anya Ristow

SL concurrency follows a pattern that someone copy-pasted in 2007 or 2008. I wrote about it here:


but few understand what a graph is telling them, so I was unsuccessful making my point.


If you are serious about content creation / design (not hobby but a job) I recommend other platforms than second life (pick any platform that is secure and reliable with payments)..

Im a computer programmer in RL life.. First time I see second life Im impressed with combination of LSL and programming in a 3D platform.

I spend reasonable time and and effort to create content in SL at the start I earned like 100 - 200 USD monthly.. however more products I develop / Improve more I earn overtime In the about 1000 - 2000 USD monthly however they requested a w8 non US citizen document with my government photos and a bill that shows my address directly. I filled requested documents.. they keep paying me about 1-2 months more.. now every time I request payment they keep denying with no reason.

Getting strange responses like...

"In order to process credit out of the Second Life system, your account must be in compliance with the Terms of Service. Your account is currently in need of action or review. Please contact us so that we can assist you."

"Unfortunately we are unable to disclose or discuss the exact reason for the decline. You are welcome to resubmit your request in 2 weeks; time, at which point the transaction will be re-evaluated.
Repeated frequent requests will increase the chance of denial. Please do not submit another payout request until a full two weeks (14 full days) from the date of your last request."

"Please DO NOT contact us as we can NOT assist you."

If you are a designer who had real education and skilled with content creation I don't recommend second life as a design platform. You have to choose more secure and reliable platforms for this..

LL ToS gives them rights to publish / sell you content on your behalf.. By disabling pay out or banning your from system.


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