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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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Iggy

I chuckled when I saw Boo-boo, Foo-foo, and Chip Bimbo on the side of the NWN site.

It's rather like a slightly better rendered version of the IMVU adverts, with the crappy vampiric avatars, that otherwise appear.

If LL really wants sex to sell their signature product, they need to do a better job. Sexually charged ads are subtle (consider how effectively print ads about travel destinations pull this off). The Linden campaign (IMH academic O) hits two demographics:

1) marketing to bored or insecure tweens who want to play at being adult.

2) marketing to the cheeto-hoarding fatso in the basement, scratching his neckbeard and hoping the pixel-babe in the thong will fill that gaping emptiness that has reduced him to a Beckett-style absurdity.

Ms. CC Creeggan (CronoCloud Creeggan)

I've been seeing those ads all over for weeks now, alongside the usual barrage of fashion-related ads I get. Which is a bit silly for me because I'm already IN SL, but they're giving these SL ads to others who get these kinds of fashion ads...that's a good thing. I think they're trying to market themselves to 25-45 year old women (one of SL's most loyal and most L$ spending of SL's demographics), but haven't quite figured out how to so very effectively yet, though they are trying. I'm surprised they haven't tried "50 shades" style ads yet.

Also, the ladies in the first ad look like what I think of as "generic fashionista beach look". And yes, a lot of people flirt and do "whatever" in SL, probably more people are doing that at one time that visiting Jo Yardley's Berlin, nothing wrong with that.

For every person that builds a 1920's Berlin or did educational work...there are many many more who use SL as Barbie Fashion Flirt House XTREME. That's not to say that the Barbie Girls might not visit Berlin or have other interests.... after all "Fashionistas go where they will, and Fashionistas have a LOT of Will. It's what keeps them shopping."

Botgirl Questi

Second Life didn't stop growing because it couldn't get new people to try it, but because 99% of new users didn't like it enough to stay. They reportedly sign up about 400,000 accounts per month, but user concurrency is actually lower than it was in 2009. So all they've been doing with their banner advertising is creating a revolving door.

The huge gap between the expectations created by those kinds of ads, the new user experience, and the still kludgy Second Life client is mostly to blame. IMVU, which actually is primarily a platform for 3D chat, continues to grow, with about twice the user concurrency of Second Life.

Pussycat Catnap

Its 2009 and you're a corporate user looking to use SL for business meetings and showcasing your real life business achievements.

Problem is... the place is full of furries and XXXers and RPers and educationals and commie-liberal-hippie-artist-scum.

So you call up your mate from school, M. Linden, and ask him to take an accounting of things and correct all this. You've got money to dump, and he just needs to clean up the place.

So he tries.

And we all know the result.


Now its 2014 and LLs is looking at marketing so they look at what people ACTUALLY USE SL FOR...

Hamlet Au posts this every month.

Top sims?

XXX-this and XXX-that, with a bit of Borat sexy time thrown in for good measure and a few furries and goreans.

The rest of us? We're those 2009 business users.

You all are trying to call up E Linden and ask him what for... Ask him t clean up the place so your respectable art and live music and charity work doesn't have to sit next to the gorean-furry-luvulongtime-escort-interracial-child-xxx operation...

But... well...

At the same time we've been demanding for years that they recognize who's using SL, and market to them.

Now they are.

And we don't like it.

Pick your poison folks.

Because its right here in Hamlet's own blog... look at who the top sims are.

If anything, LLs needs to get MORE explicit in these ads. It might chase us who read this blog away... but at least then they'd be appealing to their actual users for a change.

Those 'noobs' on the xxx sims...

Pussycat Catnap

"They reportedly sign up about 400,000 accounts per month, but user concurrency is actually lower than it was in 2009."
*********************************

Spambots. 90% of the accounts made for SL are not made by human beings, nor even using bots made by people who even know SL is a 3D world. They're just SEO spambots for the forums... That appear to have a fixation on Mumbai India...

I've blogged about this on my own blog.

If you run an online forum with decent SEO, but bad security - you get this. Hundreds of thousands of spambots will register monthly. I've seen on a forum I managed before, tens of thousands per day. I was brought in to fix their SEO, as soon as I got them into good rankings a forum they'd had shuttered away since 2000 went from about 4000 registered and... a dozen active... users... to coming in Monday morning to over 100,000. And hitting about a million before I figured out how to lock it down without killing any of the dozen real accounts or losing the SEO gains of the real ecommerce site it was bolted onto (the CEO thought it was the cornerstone of his business, so I could not take the 'shutter the dead thing' approach... but after I fixed it, they got it where they had about a hundred active users... so... win).

secondlife dot com has no verification process for making an account, and especially with Marketplace - has some very good SEO potential if you know how to inject the 'relevancy' of your clients... for which forums are ideal, and un-moderated forums are ripe for the picking.

TracyRedAngel

Sadly, I think the marketing is certainly intended for the statistical majority of SL users. If the ads prove effective for them, they'll keep using them. They are looking at IMVU's numbers, so they want to draw some of those users out of IMVU and into Second Life. It absolutely perpetuates the idea that Second Life is a place where lonely women can find love and romance, and men can find sex.
The ads offend the handful of long-time residents who've moved far past SL just being a place to find a virtual hook-up. The same people are likely to be the ones most offended by articles and documentaries that depict SL as a place full of adulterers, basement-dwelling loners, and freaks. When the MTV show 'Catfish' put out a casting call for Second Life users to be on upcoming episode, they weren't interested in finding out about the many artists, musicians, and educators in SL. They will not be even remotely interested in 1920's Berlin. They just want people (no older than 25) who want to find out if their virtual paramour has been lying to them about their weight, gender, job, marital status, etc.

Why should Linden Labs care WHAT their users do? They don't care if everyone spends all their time and lindens at virtual strip clubs, or creating a virtual university. It's a business, and they're going to advertise to the proven demographic.
It's a little sad and depressing, yes.

The ads aren't meant for user retention. Sex, debauchery, and romance can only be interesting for a short while before people get bored and move on. So if they stay they've found other things worthy of staying in SL for. That's the hopeful part.

Pep

As is evident from the real life photos and videos of "official" SL get togethers, the overwhelming majority of enthusiastic SL user is the overweight and homely (I'm being litotic) peri-menopausal female and their geek male equivalent. Are you surprised that LL is targeting these people - who want to be virtual Taylor Swifts or Vin Diesels? Real life attractive people don't need a fantasy glam.
Pep (the problem LL has is that there is no obvious place to advertise to losers on the 'net)
PS Except Facebook and Twitter . . .

Iggy

@Pussycat, the Gorean-child-furry-sexbots did not drive away most educational or business users, at least in my experience.

Educators were beginning to scale back after the 2008 Crash, and the Lindens' teeth-kicking of October 2010 accelerated the exodus when our costs for tier suddenly doubled. I suspect the bloom would be off the rose in any case, even with the Great Recession and higher tiers. There was not enough Return on Investment.

Running a sim is not trivial work, so many campuses had to designate a staff member to do this, or an educator took this on and got limited credit in annual evaluations for something the administration could not understand as integral to education (or saw as mostly the realm of Gorean-child-furry-sexbot users).

Unless one had a cadre of faculty with projects that justified a 3D immersive environment, it was not worthwhile having a sim at all. Many faculty shared land or rented a private plot, but these pet projects rarely got any institutional support.

As for business, it had a similar trajectory. I once gave a person in marketing an orientation to SL. She spent a few months interviewing SL merchants, focusing on the fashion industry as it existed in-world in 2007-8. She did research of RL brands such as American Apparel setting up shop then.

Her conclusion: what happens in SL will stay in SL. The ROI for RL brands was just not there in virtual worlds, she concluded. She also predicted the exodus we saw and even used the Gartner "Hype Cycle" to predict a crash ahead for SL.

So LL may be correct in marketing to the beach-blanket-bimbo, I mean bingo, crowd. As noted by you and others, there are better ways to do that sort of markeeting, but I don't give a rip. The utopian promise of this platform is LONG gone, unless one is a Gorean-child-furry-sexbot.

Maybe FB buying up Occulus will change that. Now I can look at the grandkids in 3D. Brave new world, that.

TracyRedAngel

Occulus Rift plus unattractive and unloved people who can't face reality...it's starting to sound like the plot from the movie 'The Surrogates' ai yay yay. It really wasn't a great movie, but the premise is interesting.

Pussycat Catnap

@Iggy: I was being over-the-top which I do a lot.

I didn't mean to imply that the XXX and 'fantasy self' crowd drove away business crowds.

Rather I was trying to show that we've already seen what happens when LLs tries to market not to the customers it has, but the ones it wishes it had.

Now... they are marketing to the actual people that show up at the door... and we don't like it, because most of the SL users are NOT from the same crowd that composes the SL commentators.

We want them to market to people who are here for something greater... But the very data we love to talk about and promote shows that we are not the viable audience for SL...

And that like it or not... maybe they actually are marketing to the right crowd now... at least from a 'capitalist bottom line' POV...

Ms. CC Creeggan (CronoCloud Creeggan)

Thanks for your common sense, Pussycat.

Look, I know a bunch of oldbie cranks are upset about these kinds of ads.

Jo would rather they pimp "artistic" places like her Berlin

Iggy would rather they pimp educational uses.

But as was said many many years ago here on NWN by Tateru Nino...oldbies aren't SL...the masses are.

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2006/10/new_world_numbe.html

You may not like those people on Bukkake Bliss Island, but there is one thing that has, that Berlin (or Caledon/Steelhead/Babbage) doesn't. LOTS of dots.

Lots of Dots matters.

@Tracy who said: Sex, debauchery, and romance can only be interesting for a short while before people get bored and move on.

Really? Head to some place like "The Chamber" and notice the oldbie names. Heck, there are people who have alts just for debauchery.

Arcadia Codesmith

There are a great many people who are not as attractive as they'd like to be, who are not their ideal weight, who are sometimes or always lonely. Thank you ever so much, everybody who feels it's perfectly all right and acceptable to marginalize, mock, and insult the "losers". Fret not, I'm sure they never read blogs or have feelings worth considering.

Sex and survival are the primary driving forces for nearly every form of multisexual life on this planet. A virtual world devoid of sexuality is not a world at all. The ascetic who scorns the base pleasures of the flesh suffers a peculiar pathology that mistakes its own disorder for virtue. It is the right of the individual to pursue such a path; it is nobody's right to force a society, virtual or real, into such a rigid and joyless state.

Pussycat Catnap

@Arcadia: I hope my comments were not seen as mocking said people - as that is not my intent.

Plenty of people seek acceptance online from a world that rejects them offline. I know for a fact this is why many minorities 'hide as white' in platforms like SL. I've always been a fighter so that notion never appealed to me.

I actually am mostly fit and healthy for my age, and still seem to have my looks - despite the scraps I've been through.

So given a choice between a kick in the face for speaking up, or having a group hug by playing nice... I've always chosen the kick... Which reminds me that I need to put my dentist appointment on my calendar because that is NOT an analogy for me.

I try to remember that about others too. That everyone needs a place to feel accepted and to explore - though I do fail at it sometimes because I tend to fight back and can end up misdirected.

Too often people are scorned merely for what they are, rather than who they are - I say that all the time about race, but it also very much applies to gender, physical ability, fitness, attractiveness, social class, and other ways people are unjustly biased against.

SL is a fantasy world that lets people find their own ways of skipping past that bias.

Its a bitter pill to swallow when the fantasy the majority here seek is not the one oneself is seeking - but its best to recognize that it still doing good for people in letting them find their fantasy.

People who do not like that LLs is now advertising to its actual users can consider the alternative... going the way of Blue Mars or Cloud Party - vanishing.

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