Monday, January 18, 2010

turning tricks with absent guile, reeling in your crooked smile

Ciaran Laval asks, Do you want your first life linked to your Second Life? My answer, every time this question is asked? No.

It took me over a year to verify as my RL self to get Adult access, and that was back when I was considering returning to the trade.

Introducing the Peregrine Glove, the Splitfish, and the Razer gaming mouse. The future looks very, very bright indeed.

Stiv (Not really listening): oh god
Stiv (Not really listening): just went down stair slide
Stiv (Not really listening): of matressess
Stiv (Not really listening): and had combat along the way

More than two years ago, the Church of Stiv was formed on the grid. He was an inconstant and surreal god, but we followed his teachings as well as we could.

When we understood them.

Stiv (Not really listening): i am alive
Stiv (Not really listening): and the matress slide has blocked the only door to the outside
Stiv (Not really listening): and we ordered a pizza

I still hear from him, from time to time. (Obviously.) But on occasion, his adventures confuse me briefly. Is it live, or is it Memorex? Sometimes, in the beginning, I'm never sure.

emilly.orr: Game or dorm?
Stiv (Not really listening): aptment
Stiv (Not really listening): is 2 stories
Stiv (Not really listening): stairs
Stiv (Not really listening): i have burns all over now
Stiv (Not really listening): and people want a smoke break
Stiv (Not really listening): but the door to the outside is blocked

So apparently, this is what happened: for whatever reason, Stiv and his friends decided to line a staircase with mattresses. Then some fellows stood on the mattresses, beating people as they came down. The people sliding down could fight back, as well.


emilly.orr: Demand they clear the doorway. :p
Stiv (Not really listening): cant
Stiv (Not really listening): too much fun to destroy it
Stiv (Not really listening): its like a horrible fun god
emilly.orr: You should name it Stiv.

It just came to me. "Horrible fun god" pretty much equals Stiv in my book.

Sadly, I'm more of an agnostic now, I guess--I know where Stiv is, he's just not in SL anymore. So God has left the grid, but still wanders the world.


And go figure, Stiv would be the one to incur philosophical reflection on his religion...entirely by accident.

Social Bliss has a wonderful post on her blog about Second Life fashion, and blogging of same. I doubt it will change some behaviors, but we all could likely stand to be a bit more polite, and remember that designers with mad skills, at the end of the day, are just people. Tired overburdened people, usually.

Liana Linden starts the 2010 Linden idiocy sessions off quite admirably, all things considered, by saying that the Google search engine SL has been employing is working:

For some time, we have been using Google Search Appliances for parts of Search, such as the "All Tab" in the Viewer, and we've been monitoring its effectiveness. What we've found is that the All Tab is one of the most used search tools, and Resident feedback tells us that it gives them a largely successful search experience. That's great, and we will build on the system to do better.

Who is she talking with, that's what I want to know. Because everyone I've talked with, for more than a year? HATES THE NEW SEARCH PASSIONATELY. And deeply. And treats it with scathing condemnation and contempt.

Just to throw up a few examples, in case you don't know why:

* The plethora of 'payment for picks' offers that plagues everyone? Started because Google search ranks by mention, not traffic or popularity.
* Ditto, most places of employment now demanding you put their store in your picks if you work for them. Same reason.
* Ditto, the random hash of keywords at the bottom of all in-world advertising (and, until recently, all XStreet listings) got a lot worse once the new search was implemented.

See, and this is the big problem for everyone on the grid, not just merchants. Whereas before, to get their business noticed, a merchant had to buy a chunk of advertising, or be popular, or both, under the new search restrictions, a merchant can only be found if a certain number of profiles--which is part of what the Google application uses to search with--mention them. So to be in the top rankings, it's no longer buy an ad and have sales, and have an active in-world group (especially with the popularity of subscribe-o groups); no, now, they have to get X number of avatars to list them in their picks, and keep them listed in their picks, and they still have lowered numbers to deal with, because people still aren't finding them...

...AND THAT'S IF THEY'RE NOT ON ZINDRA. Because Zindra search, and Adult search in general? Is handled entirely differently. If anything, it's handled worse, if that can be believed. Most Zindra merchants are suffering from 30% clear up to 65% loss of sales, by what I'm hearing. Some, in point of fact, have thrown their hands up and moved back to the mainland, where they either change their stock radically...or sell the same exact thing that got them booted to the Adult ghetto lands, because the Lindens? Don't really seem to care now that the continent exists.

Lovely to know that the Google Search app that destroyed business as we know it on SL is something so many people have found "successful". Good for you.

For the rest of us struggling to make some sort of impact under the new doesn't work, it never worked, it won't get better, and the Lindens want it that way.

Still thinking, more than ever, that what the Lindens really want? Is a corporate playground, fully paid and funded, with no shady stuph anywhere, where people will just happily own land and buy things on sale--from the Lindens, natch--and never have another thought in their pretty little heads.

Sadly? They played the "Your World, Your Imagination" card one too many times in the beginning. Now the idealism is gone and the hard-edged corporate bureacracy is taking over, but the people still want what they want.

What they want--what we, living breathing people behind our avatars want--is profoundly not what M Linden wants.

But then, what M Linden wants? Is eventually going to be what M Linden gets. How long are we willing to fight for virtual autonomy? Because trust me--we don't have it now, what makes us think we'll have it later?


Fogwoman Gray said...

I am laughing heartily at the suggestion the "all" tab in search works for anything. I use search to find avatars these days, nothing else. Results I get on anything else is total crap. If I need to find something, I have more luck asking in a chat group. And forget finding anything unique or esoteric. I formerly used XStreet for my searches, but they have run so many merchants off from there it is fairly useless as well. Frustrating.

Emilly Orr said...

This is the odd thing. When Search was being explained to me, I generally used Classified only. Friend of mine used Places only, we talked, and from then on we used both. Neither of us used All, nor did anyone we know.

So who uses All search? Because I can't imagine, unless I deliberately have no clue what I'm searching for, and only have a partial name, or an avatar first name, or a description to go by--and even then, I don't expect accuracy.

Astolat Dufaux said...

The trick to the Search I've learned is trying to anticipate what keywords (and phrases) your potential customers will use. Then you tweak your parcel or classified listing to reflect that. I've been doing that since autumn and have seen traffic increase. I have no way of proving there's a correlation -- it's pretty well anecdotal.

However, I don't think this strategy works for designers and builders in "general" categories -- there's just way too much competition. You have a much better chance of making Search work for you if you are a specialty merchant. At least this has been my experience -- there are certain niche products I sell that are often the top ranked return, or at least on the first page of results.

I find it interesting that when I do an "all" search using a certain set of general keywords that apply to my business, it's my profile, not my parcel and/or classified listings, that get the top ranking.

So I'm not sure what to think of the insistence the Lindens have that the "all" tab is the most utilized search function. There are people who are conceivably finding my shops via my profile, but I have no way of tracking whether that's directly through the search function, or by checking out my profile via my avatar inworld and clicking through to my picks.

Unless I'm missing something, which is always a possibility...