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11/17/2008

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Ann Otoole

Traffic is going to go bye bye except as a parcel metric Prok.
Linden Lab no longer needs the inflated participation metrics.

You need to get over it.

The stigma of bots is a problem. There is no way to know if that avatar is program controlled or human controlled. The only way to get rid of the problem of grid resource sapping bots is to disconnect traffic from search period. It is going to happen.

BTW hardly anyone uses the old search anymore. The new search is clearly superior. However Linden Lab is going to have to give up on trying to influence search results with profile picks too as that is criminally gamed as well.

My recommendation is and will be to simply identify the accounts engaged in falsification of metrics and just delete the accounts without warning even if it is "someone big".

Only by making it death to engage in unethical behavior will unethical behavior end. In SL or RL.

Sadly Linden Lab will not do what is necessary to clean the scum from Secondlife.

Ann Otoole

BTW you need to get some sort of help for this thing about trying to make everything into some political system conspiracy theory.

Democratic? What the fuck and who gives a fuck prok? Get a clue. This is not a country.

You need to sell all your shit and quit SL. You seriously have issues with thinking this stuff needs a government. It is entertainment and has zero to do with politics.

Sorry prok but over the last few days you have gone off the deep end and appear to be deranged and dropping into some weird state of delusional behavior. Go see a shrink. I'm pretty sure the shrink will tell you to sell all your shit and get out of SL too if you are incapable of keeping it separate from reality.

Ciaran Laval

Considering Linden Lab are prime beneficiaries of artificially inflated traffic I'll be surprised if it goes away anytime soon.

I have umpteen objections to traffic as a measure of popularity. From the use of bots and models to the whole setup of a sim being important. However traffic is something that we ourselves can read and then make use of based on our own knowledge. If I see a mall with thousands of traffic I want to know where it's coming from, the figure alone doesn't cut the mustard for me. Are they using campers, bots, is the tp point any good. Traffic can be used as a guide and it has uses but it needs to be taken in context.

Context is important because it's something the rabidly anti traffic lobby never want to acknowledge when they talk of rightful positions and such malarkey.

People have this strange utopian idea that if a product is decent it will sell. RL doesn't work that way so I don't see why people think SL works that way. Search all relies on optimising keywords, it's just shifting the way people benefit from the tools put in front of them.

Desmond Shang

Prok I want to pose a question to you, openly.

As it is, for a brief while traffic was not part of search criteria - or at least, for some of the avatars online. As I understand it, there are a few flavours of search active at any given time. Something to do with A/B testing I think. When traffic was off, people who really did make great products started to 'win' - and when traffic was turned back on, things went right back to normal.

Traffic factors dearly hurt some of the merchants in Caledon, because certain outside merchants would load up on bots and use search terms that barely described themselves. You can even find the keyword "Caledon" used in ways to draw people AWAY from our areas, and TO theirs - which only works when artificially inflated traffic via bots or campers is applied.

Second - I'm getting just absolutely slammed on tier - I have 21 openspaces - and the purported reason why? Cost of grid resources. IF that's the case, then why are bots still free? Sure it's hard to tell who is a bot or not sometimes, but... come on, these are edge cases. Anyone standing with 90 of their closest identical friends in a box unblinking, for eight months 24/7... eh, if you aren't a bot, well, you should be counted among them.

I'm not an enemy of traffic stats, other than the fact that getting rid of it seems to help residents in those two specific cases: ripped-off shop revenue and insanely high tier. We aren't the guys stuffing 90 bots in an openspace - but we *are* asked to pay because the people that do, spoil it for everybody.

At what price, traffic? If its removal is the painful cure of incredibly expensive ills, at what point should traffic stop being a sacred cow, involiate and beyond reproach at any cost?

I'm not against traffic per se, and I think even its removal won't get rid of many crowds of campers or bots. The map function still shows crowds in any case. But where would you, Prok, draw the line?

There are people who I know who have made an *honest* go of shop keeping, have great products, did *everything* right - except they won't unethically game the system. People who are losing revenue and selling off land *now* because of it - this is not an abstract problem.

What do you tell such people?

Blaccard Burks

"Geeks making gadgets who either could care less about sales or who have customers from Xstreet.com or word of mouth simply don't get traffic, either...."

Personally I don't care about your definition or Linden Labs definition of what traffic is. I'm one of those "geeks". I care about sales and I get sales. My rental communites are doing fine. Never paid for search, or used a bot. What I did do is create good products and grab good locations that have natural traffic. I use my own scripts to monitor MY TRAFFIC. If I get 50 to 100 REAL people visiting my store a day then this is good traffic especially if you have sales to back that up. Having a bunch of bots enclosed in a box 600m2 up in the sky doesn't work. I have had some sims get maxed out because of bots and was amused that people created so many bots the real users couldn't even enter the sim... not to smart.

What is great about SL is that I would hope it teaches people how to develop or play with business models. In RL I run a successful design company for 28 years. I apply a great deal of my RL marketing skills to SL and its working. I do have a website with our properties and we ask how people find out about our rentals and yes our in world signs work, and the website works...

The traffic point system from what I remember is 1 av for 1 minute equated to 1 traffic point. So an av for 30 minutes is 30 points or 30 avs for 1 min is 30 points.

Best to have your own visitor counters with a botched system such as this since one avatar bot can generate 1440 traffic points in a 24 hour period.

Blaccard Burks.
www.rentmainland.com

Prokofy Neva

So the geeks have weighed in, not surprisingly, and said what they always said.

Desmond, I don't believe any of this malarkey about A/B.

First of all, give me a search word, and/or a store name so I can monitor what you claim is true. I know that when *I* have shopped in Caledon in the last 6 months it is on search words in search/places, to find things like "fez" or "compass" or "telescope" or "Art Deco". I found, I teleported, I bought. Let all your customers take everything out of search/places, save on the $30, if you believe it to be true. Kill the search/places on Caledon on one week -- 2 weeks -- and I guarantee you, your customers' sales will drop all over, and they will demand it be put back.

If outside people steal your key word name Caledon, hey, welcome to my world, I have had several assholes doing that and still have one who is selling weapons, and not even in Ravenglass, it's stupid. There ought to be a law!

But if your people make good crafts, they will have traffic, and they will show up on key words. Sounds to me like what's really happening is that steampunk is no longer just Caledon, but a bunch of other places.

I think if you sell prefabs, and put the store in a 4 corners sim, you will sell prefabs and sell rentals to go with them, or visa versa. But try running a business bigger than yours that way. What, buy 16 4 corners? You're not making sense. You have 16 listings. I have like 40 or 50 open listings, all advertising either an individual plot or advertising themed communities and malls, and hundreds filled. There is no way in hell I could fill these with anything but search/places, combined of course with

And BTW, search/places will not turn me up on the first page or even the 3rd page, but it will sort the more trafficked lots within the key phrase "Ravenglass Rentals" or the name of a sim.

Again, Desmond, explain to me how the sorting of search/places by traffic harms your customers. If other people have bots and fill up the top slots, what of it? They are still on the first and second pages. They are in many specific key words searches, like "telescope". You might just as well complain that classifieds cost too much. Life is tough all over.

I simply don't believe you when you tell me that the presence of bots on a few steampunk lots are "killing" your business. I think the way to rephrase that is: the presence of a few steampunk sims *period* are killing your business.

I shop at Caledon by search/places. So do thousands of others. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

BTW Blaccard, I got a real hoot out of your website, where you boast your office gets "nice traffic every day" and where you sell your rentals by their "high-traffic" regions, including one that I help maintain -- Ross. Shame on you!

Prokofy Neva

You must make most of your money on prefabs and other things, because renting at $1.22 a prim is going to break you even -- or break you. I simply couldn't rent an 8192 for only $2300, it would be insane. That's $8 profit, which will be eaten by a vacancy in a heartbeat.

Sean Williams

Oh my! It's the classic Prokofy "I'm never wrong, you are!" approach to responding!

See, there's this thing you always forget Prokofy: Your experience is not the end all and be all of anything, anywhere.

Bravo! You can repeat the same tired things until you are blue in the face: It doesn't change the simple and base fact that what works for you and your tenants does not work for everyone.

New users cannot use word of Mouth advertising? Bullshit: I know quite a few new users who do exactly that ... and their sales are quite adequate for their needs.

So sorry, you're not always right.

Desmond Shang

Actually, I don't think it's the 'steampunk' keyword at all - there are a zillion venues using that keyword, and if they truly *are* in theme... it's raised all ships, best as I can tell. Check out Google Trends and put in 'steampunk' and 'secondlife' and such as that - even 'furry' and you'll see why that particular keyword used by legitimate competition doesn't worry me at all. If anything, it's educated the world, and at the rate it's going there will be second graders with 'steampunk' lunchboxes next year.

What bugs me, though, is egregious misuse. If the region has *nothing to do* with various keywords but still affected business when traffic was/wasn't used... that's a problem.

I'm not quite sure what to believe - I've not been a content creator for a while. I only know what the merchants tell me regarding search. As for who had particular keyword issues - out of respect for privacy I'll send you an IM about it, or they can tell you the specifics themselves - Prok they know who you are and seem to be 'neutral opinion' of you best I can tell. Apparently there *is* a huge difference between being on the first page and say, page eight: that difference being survival as a microbusiness.

* * * * *

There's another factor to all this, too. Land, or parcel size, or number of parcels - or something seems to be a factor in search somehow. I've got direct access to about... hmm. Somewhere between one and two million square meters of land that I could toss a keyword on, depending how diligent I was about it. Any keyword. There are also several hundred active users with open profile picks who, if I sank to the level, I could talk to - the way you said Anshe 'bussed in' voters on issues. I don't do any of this, though, because it's just not cool. There really *ought* to be a law, and even when things are done to *me* - the way I fight back matters.

I don't know, Prok. One of these days I might just get fed up, and target right back some of those people who targeted Caledon merchants. Meh, for that matter I could probably launch 100-200 bots with my idling work computers and bandwidth. But I don't.

I just don't want to be that kind of person.

Prokofy Neva

Desmond,

You couldn't be more wrong with all this.

I've checked out the two people you sent me -- two, on which you based your theory of "OMGODZORZ bots and traffic are killing Caledon".

First of all, they are two cranks well known to me, one of who is absolutely hysterical on the subject of traffic and can't see reason, and the other who is reasonable but misguided.

I took four key words from these people's businesses and looked them up in search/places.

I found one of their stores at the top of page 2. Yes, page 2, Desmond. For a common product. And what was beating this person out, on page one? Was it bots and campers? No. It was *other stores in Caledon*. Yes, Desmond. Your customers compete with *each other* and in some key word categories some push their fellows down. Well, maybe you could figure out how to "rotate" or something since you're all gentleman.

I took other key words and found them easily in either second, third or even first. I saw your competitor continent stores also beating them out -- and not bots. In a few categories, bots were at the very top, but by *no means* cluttering the first page of SEARCH/PLACES.

I could note that their ads were not well written, had several obvious problems in them and aren't rotated enough with special features of products, etc.

I could also note that you haven't researched this, obviously. You've taken their word for it, and you haven't LOOKED. They -- and you -- are likely using search ALL not search PLACES.

The word "steampunk" has a lot of competition. But you just said that's "ok". Go on your tenants' stores, pick out their 4-6-10 products, and *look them up* Desmond, and see the problem. The problem isn't bots. The problem is that they do not put enough of the right words, they have *other Caledonians* competing, they are still high up in results, but don't write compelling copy. You have to change these ads as often as twice a day sometimes -- I do, if I am not getting sales. I tweak the thing 8 million times. You can't just hang it there and leave it unchanged for 6 months or even 6 days.

The classifieds also have to be worked and worked.

If somebody grabbed your key word Caledon, boo-hoo. That's sad, I have that too. It doesn't really affect my business because I have so many ads. I suggest you either take an entire different look at this, test it with real searches and not fake generalities, and also hire some PR firm within SL to help optimalize it.

me

You folks are damned crazy. Within a year or two, it will all be peer to peer networking. Why all the fuss over the soon to be outdated ways of being a virtual merchant?

While you all bask in the soon to be grave yard of what is known as Second Life, many done moved on.

Peer to peer networking will always kill a monopoly. Always has, always will.

Right now if I were a person speculating on your so called "buzinuzez" you folks claim to have in virtual land and goods, I would tell you to SELL SELL SELL SELL.

And get out while you still can.

Elanthius Flagstaff

As mentioned Linden Lab will struggle to remove traffic as a metric because as soon as they do concurrency numbers will drop. Whether it's by (surely too low) 10% or (surely too high) 52% it will definitely drop and take months, maybe a year to recover. LL thrive on these fake stats, 15 million users, 70,000 concurrency, it's all nonsense but it sounds good in the press.

I have a couple of bots on my parcel, one handing out group invites and the other monitoring visitors. Hardly a traffic farm but I suppose it pushes my ratings up. Of course I'm not denying I have tons of bots used for a thousand other purposes but I never really saw the value in traffic generation. This is mainly because ever since the invention of Search All it has never occurred to me to search in Places for anything. I'm not a typical SL user and rarely buy things so perhaps I'm unique but I can't see the point in search Places anymore, the results are sorted essentially at random. The list is pointless.

You asked what can be used to replace traffic. Well, if you want a simple answer then it's Picks. For a start it doesn't cost the rest of us in terms of resource usage if someone pays a thousand people (or creates a thousand alts) and puts his store in their picks. Pick camping can replace traffic camping for a way for newbies to make money and suddenly we save ourselves from the excessive lag, and just plain stupidity of filling small sky cubes with dozens of blank faced avatars. Dare I say it, this would be an even easier way for a new shop owner to get in search because it's just a matter of getting all his buddies to Pick him.

The real answer to search though is to use a mix of factors, including traffic and picks and unique visitors and L$ transfers made on the parcel and keyword matching and whatever else. I guess you don't like secret formulas but the fact is they work. Of course take Google as the original secret search formula and it's obvious that the same principles can be used in SL.

Lastly, as for labelling bots. It's semi pointless but fairly simple. Libsl (now openmv thank you trademark lawyers) has a field where you put in your name and your email address and a short name for your bot program (like RapeAndPillageBot) most normal people fill these fields in and don't give a crap if everyone knows their bots aren't normal people. It's probably even beneficial because it'll stop people from trying to have conversations with them. LL could very easily take that data and pass it through to the avatar and display it. Sure, it would be sort of optional. I suppose bot runners could get around it but why would they bother?

Yumi Murakami

The reason why you can't just ban bots is because as soon as bots go, back comes camping, in force.

I'm not sure where you get the idea that traffic helps new places get started. Indeed it does exactly the reverse, any new place is guaranteed to start from 0 traffic. The usual way to get noticed is to place a vendor in a site with high traffic anyway, but after that it's word of mouth.

Plus there's the issue that traffic tends to reward QUANTITY more than QUALITY of goods. If I make just one, brilliant scripted item, then anyone who visits my parcel clicks on my one vendor, buys it, and is gone. If I make 90% crap, then the visitors have to spend time searching - creating more traffic.

Blaccard Burks

"BTW Blaccard, I got a real hoot out of your website, where you boast your office gets "nice traffic every day" and where you sell your rentals by their "high-traffic" regions, including one that I help maintain -- Ross. Shame on you!"

Please remember I owned mostly the whole Samoa sim at one time. All the storefront locations that create the traffic on the street are directly related to how I marketed selling off the sim. The Ross infohub is a high traffic area. And Samoa is next to Ross. I actually sold off all the rental homes I had there over 6 months ago but do have one roadside lot there now..

Its true. I look for infohub areas for stores and ad space.

Blaccard Burks

Camping versus bots. I would rather see camping bots. Put those bots to work! Make them clean your store, make them man your taxi.... why not? Better than a bunch of them shoved in a box somewhere....

Prokofy Neva

Yumi, you are absolutely hopeless, and talking out of your ass as usual. Why do you persist?

I have helped literally thousands of people to get started in business in SL, in everything from little stalls for $25 to huge lots for $2500 a week. Traffic ALWAYS helps them, especially if they've thought of some unique item or better mousetrap or clever key word. I've seen this happen time and again. Even 200 traffic or 1000 traffic can help. That's because many people shop with search/places! Good Lord, I even found all those Caledon spots that Desmond is dithering about, went there, and BOUGHT STUFF. I mean, what does it take with you people???

This ideological hatred of traffic baffles me, in the end, because it is really just a marker for hatred of mass commerce competing with boutique commerce that gains by privileges. That's really what's always been about. The hatred of telehubs came from boutiques in the boonies who resented their grabbing of eyeballs and sales. The hatred of traffic comes from hatred of the stampede to venues that bypass the prim divas' boutiques. It has always, and everywhere, been about the oldbies and FIC of SL resenting that the world has other people in it, people who also stake a claim to the economy, too.

The traffic in Ross is real traffic. With the exception of a few bots stuck there now and then, the people coming are real newbies or older shoppers or explorers. And it's not some wildly huge traffic, but it's enough for sales.

Osprey Therian

I wonder what would happen if there were a top limit to Traffic - say, 10,000 (arbitrary number).

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Interesting idea, Osprey. If traffic can be trusted outside of some obviously bot-ridden outliers, then make search do for you what Prokofy claims people have to do for themselves now. Sites with traffic that appears to be the result of bots simply shouldn't appear in search results. Even if unethical vendors figure out where the limit is and plant just enough bots to skirt the edge of it, that cuts back on the waste of resources.

Osprey Therian

Exactly, Melissa.

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