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Tuesday, May 15, 2012


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Tonya Souther

Your methodology is sorely lacking. In particular, you're looking at the numbers from the parts of the Phoenix website that have Google AdSense in them - which includes the blog and the wiki, but does *not* include the login page.

The numbers we get directly from the Linden Lab stats system (which we are not allowed to disclose directly) tell a far different story. Oz Linden has repeatedly said in public, according to those numbers, that Phoenix is the most used viewer in Second Life.

Adeon Writer

Since I'm not bound to silence, I'll just come out and say what those who know aren't allowed to say: Pheonix is used by over half of active SL users. Sources? I could see viewer tags up until a few weeks ago.

Hamlet Au

"you're looking at the numbers from the parts of the Phoenix website that have Google AdSense in them"

I don't believe that's how Google Ad Planner tracks these numbers, it reports traffic data whether there's AdSense on the site or not.

"Oz Linden has repeatedly said in public, according to those numbers, that Phoenix is the most used viewer in Second Life."

If you have a reputable source, I'll be happy to update.

Tonya Souther

Check out the interview Jessica Lyon and Oz Linden did at http://treet.tv/shows/specials/episodes/firestorm-07mar12 ...starting at 33:19, Oz Linden says:

"We understand that lots of people have decided that they like the additional features and functionality that are made available through the interfaces provided by Third Party Viewers. And at this point, our own viewer users are a minority. A significant minority -- we're the number three viewer behind, behind the two… I don't think it's useful right now to throw percentages around, but Phoenix is far and away the number one viewer, although it's quite steadily losing market share these days, has been for some months now. And Firestorm is the newer technology viewer from your project, is the number two, and it's gaining market share. Those two are, you know, pretty similar looking curves, opposite slopes. And our viewer is number three behind Firestorm, and then there's another good sized gap before there's Singularity, right now is number four and has been gaining market share, and then there's a whole bunch below that."

Tonya Souther

Also, if you look at Google Ad Planner's help information on methodology, it uses a combination of cookies and Google Analytics data - and neither apply to the login page, since it has no Google Analytics code in it and uses and sets no cookies. It also cannot be crawled by Google, since nothing links to it.

Hamlet Au

Thanks much, Tonya, I've updated and corrected this post.

val kendal

hmmmm, one wonders if Phoenix might go the way of XStreet/SLExchange.... (yes, I'm still a Phoenix user too)

Pussycat Catnap

The video of the bottomless (seems to be nude) avatar you linked looks like it comes from Firestorm, not Phoenix.

Same organization, different viewer in their project.

I'm basing that on the buttons on the side - a viewer 3 FUI layout.

But its graphics are not impressive - just normal. If I wanted to show off a viewer its not what I would choose. It just shows that someone who is not a griefer has a video (that's how it describes itself).

The only thing in that video not normal to the official viewer as well is the pink UI. Which is something very important to some people - UI color. But your description leads one to think that its the rendering that makes this unique - and that is not the case.

There -ARE- many other things about Firestorm (and Phoenix) that are special to them - but none of those are showcased in this video.

Tonya Souther

That's the current production release of Firestorm, version 4.0.1.

Pussycat Catnap

"hmmmm, one wonders if Phoenix might go the way of XStreet/SLExchange.... (yes, I'm still a Phoenix user too)"

If such a move ever happened, it would be with Firestorm and not Phoenix. Phoenix is a technology that is essentially phasing out - sooner or later its just going to be darn inconvenient to keep using as the server technology gets further and further from the V1 way of things.

Firestorm has a future for as long as its devs don't make any Emerald style moves. Its not as current as V3 itself, but its close, and it can come in pink. :)

More logical would be what we have seen - various elements taken and remade in the Linden Viewer in a way LLs prefers.

Hamlet Au

Ugh, sorry, I embedded the wrong video; switched now.


I'm partially surprised by that number because most folks I know use Phoenix but they all have complaints ... "I can't see mesh" or "My Inventory is always loading" or something that I haven't seen with the Official Viewer. No, I don't have fancy radars or other "advanced" features, but I can pretty reliably run amuck in Second Life and haven't missed any feature I don't have.

Alexandra Rucker

I'll echo Uccello's comment - I've heard a lot of complaints regarding both phoenix and firestorm, though I usually hear more relating to viewer lag.

I've also heard the mesh implementation is a bit spotty in Phoenix, though I haven't seen it for myself - only overheard mesh creators talking about complaints from phoenix users about mesh rendering issues that don't match what I see.

Which viewer am I using? Cool-VL, made by Henri Beauchamp, an SL long-timer, and one of the earliest ones I know of to start doing TPV development.

http://sldev.free.fr/ if you want to know more. :)


Phoenix is the easiest, most reliable viewer for me. I have no problems with mesh or inventory, but shadows are an illusive feature. Usually a quick shot and die!

Tateru Nino

Google, quite simply, DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS to the traffic between a user and most Web-sites. If you, for example, go and browse Bob's Sock Blog, Google knows nothing about this.

Even if he's got Google tracking kit on his site, a blocker or a privacy extension may make you appear to (to Google) to never have visited, or to be dozens of unique people visiting.

Google's numbers are educated guesses based on the assumption that busiest parts of your site are the ones monetised with Google ads. Which data we already know can be highly inaccurate. That's then combined with a little pixie dust for a final figure.

Also - I would have thought that you yourself would have already known better than to compare Web-site hits to users of a viewer. Haven't you taken the mainstream media to task over making similar assumptions before and explained why they were wildly inaccurate? I seem to recall that you have.

Ferd Frederix

Welcome to the New World, Hamlet! My guess is you finally fixed the Alienware and now noticed the Estate Windlight setting which came out July 26, 2011 with viewer 2.8.0. It was available much earlier than that if you used Phoenix, but the Lindens never finished their long-ago plans for Estate Windlight until then.

@Tateru, it takes only a single image ad or invisible tracker script at 'stinky socks' and a lot of people know a great deal about you. How accurate the Firestorm and Phoenix site stats are is fair game for a debate, but IMHO the Second Life site has very accurate user stats available here due to a tracker bug they placed on their own login page.

I believe that the 920K unique 'users per month' that Google quotes for people using a web-based SL property is very accurate. It is not 'guesses'. They really can track people very closely.

As a small example, it's already too late for all of you, because just looking at this one page at NWN means that the following companies can easily know what page you clicked on to get to this page, every hyperlink you clicked on while you were here, the motion and timing of your mouse, anything you typed in any form field, plus whatever they can gather from each other by cross checking against other databases:

Crowd Science
Evidon Notice
Federated Media
GDN notice
Google Adsense
Google Analytics
Google custom search
Microsoft Atlas
Scorecard Research Bureau
Typad Stats

Oh, wait, that does not include Openmind.com, which is broken at the moment. Aliens musta got'm.

This number of trackers is not unusual: I just noticed and counted 31 trackers over at a page I Stumbledupon at Christian Science Monitor, which means they are are very good at doing scientific monitoring.

Putting privacy aside (you have none, so get over it), the Google Doubleclick site is very useful for relative measurements, such as comparing id.secondlife.com with other gaming sites.

You can also be sure that the numbers of unique users is pretty durn accurate for whatever domain you look at. Extraploating that to actual accounts is a stretch for most sites ,but not for Second Life.

id.secondlife.com is used for all log-ins for web properties at the Lab, such as Marketplace. It has no home page to pollute the statistics from non-user 'drop ins' (join.secondlife.com is for new users), and it does use Google Analytics.

I have been meaning to slog thru id.secondlife.com for some time now, to get the country of origin for SL'ers, as that kind of geographical information is easily gleaned from IP addresses and is both accurate and precise. How about posting something like that, Hamlet? I want to know how many Brazilians hit on our girls!

Google (they bought doubleclick) can easily track an individual PC and user by the unique trail left behind by combining the IP address, browser agent-type and cookies. People who use a proxy service are very rare!

Google knows every Gmail you ever sent or received, every web page you ever searched for, and since you probably were on a Google-bugged page when you clicked on that link to "Bob's sock Blog", they know how you got there. If not, they know where you came from by Bob's dirty sock trackers, anyway.

That is not counting anything that has a +1 button or an heavy duty tracker on it, such as Facebook with their millions and millions of thumb-up-your-*** buttons.

There was an interesting article in the paper recently about Target using their vast store of shopping data and knowledge of buying habits to predict when a female was pregnant: they were able to get (as I recall) an 80%+ confidence level that someone was pregnant, and very often before the person knew of it.

Now that Hamlet and 15 or 16 other companies potentially have your SL Name, IP address and geolocation, what can you do about it? Does anyone really care?

Pussycat Catnap

"I'm partially surprised by that number because most folks I know use Phoenix but they all have complaints ... "I can't see mesh" or "My Inventory is always loading" or something that I haven't seen with the Official Viewer."

I think some people stay on the V1 line so they have something to complain about. :)

As long as you're on V1 - yeah, it looks like SL hasn't been updated in years and it seems laggy and crash prone...
- Giving you ammunition for whining.

Upgrade, and suddenly there's a whole 3, almost 4 years of new features, added stability, and lag improvements... and then you have to find other things to whine about (like say... lack of communication from the devs :D )...

Oh and I guess the wrong video explains what I saw last night. I was wondering about the bottomless lady in pink world... :D
- Her comment to the video seemed to imply it was made to show that 'SL runs just great for some of us' so I assumed it had some bearing somewhere (well, it was bare at least), just not the right one for the particular post. :)

Pussycat Catnap

"Google, quite simply, DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS to the traffic between a user and most Web-sites. If you, for example, go and browse Bob's Sock Blog, Google knows nothing about this."

Any sight with Google analytics can tell you page by page every last detail of your visit.

- And that's a lot of the internet that has that now.

The data will match server logs for how many times a given file was loaded - its that accurate, only it adds info about who caused that file to load.

Pussycat Catnap

Here is the key piece of magic for SL's website, that tells me they have the ability to know exactly how we use their stuff:

Lines from two different functions:
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-16553629-1']);

ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';

One if the analytics account, the other is triggering the tracking.

- With this info, they should be armed to do much better marketing than they do...

Since they know what parts of their site are successful, and what parts we like or dislike, and what things get us to buy, stay, or leave... and how long we stay on a given part of it...

- A good marketing team should be able to harness that info and make SL a lot more appealing, and give it a serious retention boost...

Or you can just pay to have a google analytics account, and fail to make good use of it...

Tateru Nino

"Any sight with Google analytics can tell you page by page every last detail of your visit."

Actually, no. I can turn that off with a click of the mouse in my browser. I've compared Google Analytics data for my sites with the *actual* data. I have access to the raw logs, and can see the disparities. Depending on the site, between ~30% and ~60% have privacy plugins that block analytics tracking (or, in some cases fool the analytics trackers into thinking one person is actually many dozens of people). That's all easy to spot when you have the raw first-party logs to analyse.

And that means, only the first-party logs give you real data.

However, all of that is a bit of a sideline to the core point: Third party estimates of use of a Web-site do not correlate to numerical or proportional usage of a given Second Life viewer.

shockwave yareach

Well, I use the LL's V3 viewer, both on my puny laptop and on my school-crushing main rigs. Works fantastic in both of them and hasn't crashed once.

Which I guess is the reason I complain about all the stuff that is wrong on the Linden side of the connection -- stuff on my side isn't busted. :)

Hamlet Au

Tateru, as I've said before, there's no reason to be uncivil or combative; is this how you talk at a party hosted by a friend? I corrected the post when it was made clear my original estimate was off. Far as Google Ad Planner, it actually doesn't only use Google Analytics to estimate user numbers:


"DoubleClick Ad Planner combines information from a variety of sources including anonymized, aggregated Google Toolbar data from users who have opted in to enhanced features, publisher opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in external consumer panel data, and other third-party market research. The data is aggregated over millions of users and powered by computer algorithms."

No traffic measuring service is perfect -- not even the internal tools seem to tell the whole story -- but so far, I find Google Ad Planner to be the best of the bunch (or the least worst, which is saying the same thing.)

foneco zuzu

No pun intended but LL v3 runs pretty well on OSgrid and there is already a specific open sim version of it!


I don't use Firestorm or Phoenix (though I use Exodus when I need a TPV), but I do access their Web pages to help friends with technical issues. Does that make me a user?

"Estimate" is a great word while "broad estimate" is surprisingly precise at times.

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