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Thursday, August 13, 2009


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Mo Hax

I don't think this stat is as alarming as it might seem at first. I have found the older I get in SL, the less hours I spend there. I have largely setup my avatar and only come in-world for specific events or development rather than (as much) casual entertainment. This stat might actually demonstrate that SL is becoming used more directly and specifically for collaboration, learning, and focused entertainment rather than random surfing and playing, which is still fun.

Maggie Darwin

There's just a lot of people who after three hours haven't been able to figure the place out. Giving them brownie points or a frequent-buyer card isn't going to change that.

A certain large percentage of the general population is still going to have trouble moving and speaking after three hours. They're never going to be able to build or script, or understand why they're not allowed to buy things yet.

So the 80-20 rule still applies....even if the actual numbers are 87-18. Pretty darned close.


CyFishy Traveler

If you add in the people in the 5-50 hour per month range (keeping in mind that 50 hours a month adds up to over ninety minutes a day and, frankly, not everybody's got that kind of time lying around) then you have a user base of 348,000 taking up 98% of the user hours. Not a huge number, but clearly enough of an audience base to sustain Linden Lab profitably.

By your own admission, you yourself don't have much time to wander inworld these days with other obligations. Why be surprised that other avies are the same way?

Doug Randall

The reason I log in less now is because a simulator glitch caused two years worth of accumulated inventory to disappear. Talking to Linden Labs about it was useless and aggravating.

Besides that kind of issue, I don't think Linden Labs needs to "do" anything. Second Life has always been a "make your own fun" kind of place.

Bettina Tizzy

Like you, Hamlet, days can go by that I don't log in world. However, I'm devoting several hours each day to SL-related activities.

Hamlet Au

"you have a user base of 348,000 taking up 98% of the user hours. Not a huge number, but clearly enough of an audience base to sustain Linden Lab profitably"

Sustain it, maybe, but the relatively small hardcore user base also means LL is very vulnerable to a viable competitor, i.e. Blue Mars. Even more important to me, however, it's probably not a large enough user base to grow the in-world economy, give more content creators who want to make an income from their SL work a reliable revenue stream, provide a mass market audience and patronage base to all the brilliant SL artists, prove to enterprise users' bosses that SL is a worthwhile investment, etc. etc.

Maggie Darwin

Given the amazingly tight control that Blue Mars evidently plans to exercise over content creators, I have trouble seeing them as "a viable competitor". I think they're in a very different market. They may be able to attract a big enough cadre of Licensed Content Builders to sustain a business on their shiny new platform...if they can find people to buy their wares.

Back last October, Gwyneth Llewelyn presented a very interesting analysis that reached the conclusion that the SL economy is actually driven by about 100k users who not only produce most of the content but also consume most of it. Will a competitor be able to seduce them away? Maybe. Will an "achievments" system replace them, of keep them in-world? I have trouble seeing that.


Caliburn Susanto

I am in-world an average of 45 hours per week, and this has been so for the last 2-1/2 years. The hours I'm around are posted on the front page of my Ning community, Chateau de Tuite (which is a venue on my private region for SL-Tweetups and mentoring for newbies; mostly teachers and librarians [because there is a large influx of them to Second Life lately], but all are welcome.).

Now, that is not to say that I log in and sit at the keyboard only to doggedly rack up in-world time. On the contrary, I'm reading blogs, Twittering, doing PC housekeeping, editing photos for posting on Flickr, answering e-mails, etc. while my digital self sits on my property "listening" for IM's, announcements, and chat requests in the background. Also, when I come across a Tweet or blog post that directs me to some location in Second Life, I'm already logged in and can just "wake up" and whoosh off to whatever destination interests me.

Now, I've heard before (especially amongst those who are eager to send Tweets from in-world which is something I never bother with) that it's too hard to do anything else while logged into Second Life and besides, "my avatar falls asleep and gets logged off if I change windows." This is true, of course, and it's quite amusing to watch someone pass out, snap awake, pass out, snap awake, over and over while they switch from one window to another -- a sequence I call "windowlepsy." ;-D However, it's totally unnecessary. All one has to do is use a multi-desktop applet and open each program in a separate desktop. I personally use AltDesk, but I'm sure there are plenty of good ones out there. When you switch to another desktop the original one remains active, so your avatar does not slump over and take a nap, and if you use an anti-away utility it never passes out and gets logged off either.

Also, truth be told, if I'm at home and not logged into Second Life I feel like I'm probably missing something, or that something is missing. It has become another aspect of my consciousness that I don't want to stifle or deprive myself of if at all possible. (DING DING - gotta go, somebody's paging me ...) ;-)


Surely this is just the natural divide we should expect to see with SL users? Some of us are performers and some are audience - the performers spend time and effort getting things done behind the scenes and the audience turns up only for the show. We should expect to see this kind of a differential - it simply reflects the content-creators and builders work-time versus the virtual socialite's fun-time.

The next step is for LL to acknowledge these differences and form policy and direction around them. Make a simple 'socia-light' client for the casual visitor and (keep) a heavyweight full-spec creative app for the builders. LL need to lose this naïve belief that everyone that logs into SL wants to build the damn thing and give those people easy and fun access to the crazy and fun things the rest of us are making for them to play with!

CyFishy Traveler

Make a simple 'socia-light' client for the casual visitor and (keep) a heavyweight full-spec creative app for the builders. LL need to lose this naïve belief that everyone that logs into SL wants to build the damn thing and give those people easy and fun access to the crazy and fun things the rest of us are making for them to play with!

This sounds like a nifty idea in principle, but falls apart a bit in practice. Which abilities would you remove from the client to 'lighten' it? Even if you don't build anything, the "Edit" functions come in handy for everything from rearranging your furniture to adjusting the prim hair you bought. And how would getting rid of those functions improve the experience anyway?


@ CyFishy - One plan could be to keep the functions that allow you to interact with existing content but not significantly change it- So the Edit panel might allow you to move and arrange objects but it might not allow you to change the textures for example. Creators can offer scripted texture-changing or re-scaling objects so you still have those choices where relevant.

But even if we keep all the basic build functions and simply hide them in a more heuristic interface it would be better than now. It could improve the new-user (or seasoned casual-user) experience by presenting a less intimidating and geek-driven interface. The current clients give every new user the impression the only worthwhile thing to do in SL is to build it. We just need to shift the centre of gravity in a 'socia-light' client to all things social and exploratory, it doesn't necessarily have to be stripped of all (or even any) build functions.

Ann Otoole

I'm not going to pay any attention to LL "statistics" until they begin enforcing the bot policy on Charter Members. Until then all the same traffic falsification bot farms are still there. Nothing changed. Except "certain people" (I am avoiding certain accusatory verbiage) got busted. Such a small number of bots got removed overall it is irrelevant. The bot tool makers updated their tools and you can even run them from the internet. Some service named like pikkubot or something. All that happened was instead of a number of blatant bot farms they morphed into spread out looking like real avatars doing scripted things. Oh and "Models" too. You can find "Model Employment Ads" (camping ads) in the events listings mess that LL never moderates. But the people LL has made exempt from the TOS still have their armies of gas clouds in place. LL will never do anything about that. No point in discussing it.

The only numbers that count are dollars. That is what reflects the health of SL. They can toss all the other numbers out the door. And even the dollars are questionable because land is not separated and LL keeps doing things that result in high priced land surges. Separate out land. Report only object/scripted pays. Then we have a measure of worth.

Tymmerie Thorne

NO ACHIEVEMENT SYSTEMS! The stats do not point to the need for one. They might point toward a million other things though -- like an EXTREME need to reduce the terribly challenging learning curve that a new user has to get past in order to enjoy SL.


raises my hand... yep that's me, the spike on the right, I take total responsibility.

soror nishi

What percentage of their income does LL use on advertising in RL?
I would like to know, I have invested heavily in SL, as many have, assuming that LL will seek to 'grow' SL.
If they are in fact just creaming off the profits into nice houses and cars for their shareholders...well...its gonna just fade away... obvious, I guess.

Nexus Burbclave

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Blue Mars didn't take a lesson from any of the takeaways regarding the demise of Google Lively. Blue Mars is replicating every mistake that was made by Google lively. Blue Mars is not a viable SL competitor, but they might be viable at doing their own thing if people stop trying to turn them into one.

Arcadia Codesmith

I support an achievement system, but I'd have to agree that the priority should be to get the new user experience up to par. I like the approach that many of the MMORPGs take, of having a short offline tutorial that acquaints you with the interface and game conventions before you're plopped into the actual virtual world (among other things, teach them how to report griefers before their first login).

And as long as there's an offline tutorial mode, might as well include an offline sandbox as well.

Charlotte Bartlett

I would support achievement. I would like to see, Linden Lab, increasing their understanding on the community that has organically grown over the years.

It's hard to describe, but in all meetings I have had with people who work at Linden Lab, they are professional and seem to want to support the platform they created. There are some really amazing people working there.

However, in reality it doesn't translate for me into something I see evolving, growing and taking the community forward.

I feel there is such a disconnect with the residents who use the platform (and that therefore includes new users they are trying to attract) it must be like trying to plan roadmaps with blindfolds on.

The initial ideas are there (e.g.) improve first hour experience but so much gets lost along the route. Many of the ideas do not get fully implemented successfully. It sometimes feels as if there is no resident strategist leading the way, everything is a bit random and reactive.

My hope would be that Linden Lab realise they have a group of subject matter experts in world. The office hours are ok, but they need to be engaged broadly. Those 133K people are their ABC clients and that's where the engage will leverage the most reward for Linden. If focused on they can increase the 133K as the strategy if that is where the economy and landsales/profits to Linden sit.

One suggestion recently was a Linden Resident Strategist who are sufficiently senior to direct strategy and make decisions to work in world full time. The Linden Liaison team would be online full time supporting the Strategist and actively seek residents to workshops, roadmap planning, user requirements. Split across different areas such as stability, features, commercial content, social etc. One suggestion was the mole format and put the SMEs on Contract and pay for their time. These turn into tanagible commercial strategies that Linden evaluate for cost / benefit as part of it's roadmap planning.

It's disconnected at the moment. And I truly feel that we are getting close to a tipping point in world. Whether my feelings are correct or not, is another matter but I have never just thought - what is the point of Second Life.

Some trusted creators I know have started to comment the same mantra 'Linden Lab do not understand me or my community. Why I am here anymore.'

These are the ones who are in that figure above - the creators and consumers. % wise I wonder how many feel the same as the ones who are commenting - perhaps it is minor (at least I hope it is).

I have started to dev on Blue Mars and the number of SL Creators in the mix is high. It would be interesting to compare numbers - because creators perhaps will put the most effort in and time inworld to the platform that provides most for their needs be it financial, or social etc etc.

I love Second Life, I just am slowly coming to realise after 3 years, it probably doesn't much care about me. That's not a reflection on the Linden staffers who I have respect for.

It's a reflection on the strategy and why I feel the way has become lost.


Umm...what effect do alts have on these numbers? Seems to me they are likely to skew them toward the left (short terms users). For ex, I have an alt I use for business and another for recreation. I'm not saying which I use more, but there is a significant difference.

ting luminos

"Some trusted creators I know have started to comment the same mantra 'Linden Lab do not understand me or my community. Why I am here anymore."

Quite so.

There are several pressing issues that LL seems to have a very cavalier attitude towards and it makes honest content creators feel that LL do not care about them.

1. Search All is still spammed to death and is a lie
2. Search Places is still traffic botted to death and is a lie
3. Today’s Popular at XStreet is gamed beyond belief and is a lie
4. Copybot tools and theft abounds

The current climate in SL is creating an 'elite of the mediocre' who spend 20% of their time creating and 80% of their time gaming the system. This is so bad for SL because it makes SL look mediocre.

There is no level playing field. The current situation hobbles talented honest creators and favours the dishonest

These Lies and sharp practices degrade Secondlife, they degrade the experience of honest content developers and they can not help improve the current SL economy nor 'advance the human condition'


Usage time is not a very useful statistic without knowing what those hours were actually spent doing.

Many people log in to attend online meetings and then log back off. For instance the enterprise users account for a huge portion of revenue but a small number of hours inworld. Astrophysicists that come to do presentations for MICA or NASA only log in to give their presentation, and yet they are contributing something invaluable to SL and driving more traffic, which in turn requires more virtual land. You'd be surprised how few hours many Lindens are inworld yet they are certainly contributing to SL.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

I'm not shocked at all; this is exactly the number I had claimed last year. LOL! I got ONE prediction right, hooray for me :)

Paradox Olbers

Rather than say the 18% of users drive 87% of the hours, phrase it as "the 50-hour/month users are one-sixth of the users, driving five-sixths of the total hours."

-Paradox Olbers

brinda allen

Since the day I arrived in May 2007 I have logged 4 to 5 hours a day in-world actively doing something.
Today I'm retired real life, but that number remained pretty constant during the first year here when I was still employed. The number of days that haven't found me in-world must be less than 30. That includes a two week trip to India...(where I blogged from internet cafes), a couple days moving,family visiting, and a couple days after my graphics card went south.

Three hours isn't long enuff to learn much. But I'm so stubborn...(my gosh, it took me nearly 3 weeks to figure out my hat and my hair were one...Thankfully I had chosen the only default avie at that time with prim hair).

Looking at the hours in-world posted I must be incredibly fortunate...with around 20 residents renting from me, I see them on a regular basis.
Certainly having a financial investment would tend to provide a greater incentive to spend time here.
Hmmmmm.../me wondering if that's the plan with viewer 2.0 and encouraging nooblets to shop?

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