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Join the Second Life Advertising Beta!

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Nelson Linden

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As  part of our continued efforts to provide Residents with new ways to  promote and discover products, services, and inworld businesses, we have  recently launched the SL Advertising Beta at advertise.secondlife.com and we invite you to join the program.

Second  Life Advertising is a self-service advertising system allowing advertisers to purchase targeted display ads on multiple Linden Lab web  properties such as the SL Marketplace and SL Land Auction sites. If this test is successful, then we hope to extend advertising  offerings to additional Second Life web properties. To learn more, check  out Torley’s video tutorial on the wiki, where there’s also more information about the program.

Among other things, SL Advertising features include the following:

  • Display banner ads evenly over the time period you select
  • Target ads to specific SL Marketplace product categories

To join the program, just go to the SL Advertising Beta site and click on the “Get Started Now” button. Please send us all of your feedback, requests, or suggestions to sladsbeta@lindenlab.com. And if you're on Twitter, please use the #slmarketplace hashtag.

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My first or second blog post (cant remember lol) I will try to be impartial. Might be a long post, hence read at your own risk.

I was reading an online article, in which a quote by Warren Buffett was stated which goes like,

"Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it's not going to get the business."

As much as my knowledge of common sense (highly uncommon though) economics and finance helps me, there is no second thought that SL economy is in decline. However, it is still one of the most productive economy compared to other Virtual Worlds in my opinion.

SL was not supposed to be open for public, but Linden Lab opened it for public. For people to enjoy, and develop it and if you are lucky and have skills, make money from it. It started as a platform for people to enjoy and develop.

For sure some of the products Linden Labs have launched have failed to deliver, the management decisions backfired and as a result highly glitched unstable SL.

Linden Lab is not supposed to provide any new supporting service/product, and they can continue to develop the existing product, i.e. Second Life.

But they are providing the extra services and products to its residents no matter how much they are charging for that particular product or service.

I would like to take up few services/products provided by Linden Lab to try to explain my point of view.

Premium Membership: I have seen many people whine (yes I mean it) over the premium membership costs and how that should be reduced, while they either completely ignore the benefit provided of the following:

  • The weekly stipened (and if my information source is correct, some older accounts receive L$400-L$500 )
  • The free 512sqm (for which of course you need to pay initial cost of purchase) or the free Linden Lab home (no purchasing cost, and the homes are actually decent)
  • The extended support in terms of Live Chat
  • The number of tickets which can be submitted compared to basic account.

They are not forcing you to pay for the premium membership. The SL platform is still free. There are sandboxes to build and develop.

You are paying it because you want to avail the extra benefits provided in lieu of Premium Membership.

If we deduct the real money value of the benefits from fee we are paying, the actual amount we are paying for membership is meagre.

But defenitely, they need to improve the response time to the complaints.

Question: Can we do without Premium Membership?

Answer: No

 

XStreetSL: Though LL purchased it, there was no need of it. They purchased it and provided the residents the psychological satisfaction that yes, it is a product/service by Linden Lab and not a third party service/product.

Question: Could we have done without XStreetSL?

Answer: This answer is undecided. Not sure of how many residents were aware of Xstreet before it was officially brought under the Linden Lab management, but it definitely is one of reason for success of many merchants.

 

Marketplace: LL launched the marketplace closing XstreetSL. There was again no need. But as far as I can understand, it was a good intention, and one must agree that new marketplace looks more classy and chic than XstreetSL (it need to improve its categories of products and also the land listings procedure though). I would like to assume that marketplace has been a strategy by Linden Labs to attract the new client.

I am sure once Marketplace issues are fixed, all will be in praise for the marketplace.

Question: Can we do without Marketplace?

Answer: A Big No. With XstreetSL closed, marketplace is the only official non third party medium to render the merchan services and products. No service or product is perfect. The catch is in making the imperfect things perfectly and improving the short-comings rather than blasting them and being a mere spectator.

 

Mainland: Not sure how to go about it but, mainland is cheaper than the private estate. No need of adding the new mainland regions and Linden Lab could have left its resident to pay high costs to Private Landowners or nice tier fees in the form of private regions (worse if you have to pay VAT) and could have had last laugh by collecting money from residents.

However, one can not rule out the fact that mainland are poorly maintained with terrible lag and possibly 100 meters high structures in paltry 512sqm of land.

Question: Can we do without Mainlands?

Answer: No. For the people who can not afford to pay high tier fees to private land owners or VAT included tier fees to Linden labs, a mainland at cheaper price is anyone's dream. And if mainland maintainence is improved, many people would shift to mainland. And no one can rule out free 512sqm land/ linden home.

Finally......

Beta Advertising: Like some of the posts earlier stated that Linden Labs could have easily minted the money by giving the ad space to other advertisers (which I am sure would have been a big hit) they are offering it to the residents.

But of course, we know as much as others. They might have tried it and it might have failed.

Nevertheless, they are offering this facility to YOU. You dont have to buy it, you are not being forced to.

You will buy it, only because you want to and because it is a medium to increase the reach of your product/service to the clients.

Linden Labs is just giving you another facility which is upto you to accept it or reject it.

Question: Can we do without Beta Advertising?

Answer: Time will tell. You might be spending 100s of real dollars in-world in terms of classifieds annually. And the money is going to LL only. So why offer Beta Advertising, and like a post stated, share the income with another company when they can easily keep all income through classifieds?

A point to think upon.

 

To conclude, I would like to apologize for a long post and some issues totally out of the line with main post.

But I think I will learn with time xD

And I can not resist to say that, no matter how much we bash the Second Life, in the end, we are still here and that too every day =)

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Dont be silly, just because they charge you for lindens doesnt mean they want them back in payment for services rendered - its not legal tender and they cant convert your lindens to cash (cuz they already did).

Yes it is - and I've been saying it since they bought xstreet and started messing with search. whats your point?

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Should you be giving them ideas?

*Visualizes Scenario*

(Dark gloomy throne room, Minion approaches Lord Phillip Mepockets, wringing hands and grovels)

 

"Master!  we have another revenue enhancement!! We will make them deposit 10L for each 10 minutes of game play!!"  "Then *evil laugh* We will use display names to show only question marks, they must pay to see name of an avatar!!!"  "If they complain, the department of obfuscations will divert their TP's to send them naked to a G rated ageplay sim!!"  "We could permaban them and notify authorities they are pervs and be rid of them!!!  Mwahahahahahah"

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Wow, i just looked at the 'beta site' for this. Complete joke.  Someone who has spent 3 days learning html and css could make a better page.

The punch line is that they had to farm it out to get this level of quality. lol! Any jr dev could make this whole system before lunch.

Unbelievable really.

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Joshe, actually, they do take them back for services already. You can cash out your lindens to pay your tier and Premium membership - I did that for two years. And cash out the rest to put in your bank account if you have enough. Those lindens came from my customers, I didn't buy them. Did you think LL was just giving away free money?

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hmmmm IMVU ... I did a little research on this place, and took a little trip over there. Now I see why LL has hidden their stats recently. IMVU has surpassed SL in usership, considerably, to say the least.

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What SHOULD be done is:  Marketplace is free for the first 12 items.  Let people create stuff and get businesses off the ground.  (Or tinker, in my case).  For stores bigger than 12 items, the commission goes away and a charge per number of items is used instead.  You make it a level playing field where there is no advantage between having land stores and having marketplace stores.  In fact, the two should go hand in hand -- inworld is better for browsing while marketplace is better for searching and buying in a hurry.

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Well, I can't blame LL for trying to make a buck, but the first thing I thought when seeing this advertising site was, "Wow, it sure is nice, why does the blog and forum still suck so bad?"  I think spending time on those instead of making a whole new ad site would have been time better spent. Banners could be sold in the existing marketplace.

Nothing else I can add that hasn't already been said. I just want in on this epic thread.

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Joshe, actually, they do take them back for services already. You can cash out your lindens to pay your tier and Premium membership - I did that for two years. And cash out the rest to put in your bank account if you have enough. Those lindens came from my customers, I didn't buy them. Did you think LL was just giving away free money?

You're both in agreement but seem to be coming at it from different angles, Linden dollars for show in search places and inworld classifieds have already been purchased, they get destroyed when you use them for those services.

Selling your Linden dollars to someone else, LL take a US dollar cut of commission, if it's Supply Linden selling the Linden dollars, that's direct US dollar income for the Lab.

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Hmm selling fake items for real money that you never own, the builder can follow you around after the sale and limit your use of the item, or the items can be deleted or lost by Linden Labs without compensation for your loss.If you are willing to buy from Second Life, then I have some  nice seaside property in Arizona to sell you.

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/me Laughs insanely and walks away "Thay must be F****** Crazy to think that people have that much extra money to spend on something that thay don't need ,and then act like there's nothing wrong with everything elce"         

 

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hmmmm IMVU ... I did a little research on this place, and took a little trip over there. Now I see why LL has hidden their stats recently. IMVU has surpassed SL in usership, considerably, to say the least.

 

Firstly IMVU cannot even begin to compare to Second Life....SL is far the superior product no questions about it, but their management seems to be more in tune with it's userbase. You should read an Interview with Will Harvey (IMVU founder) which was quite enlightening (he's far more open, even quotes the actual IMVU income for this year). They tried many (failed) strategies before managing to hit on something that worked.

 

If you dig deeper like i did last night (I joined IMVU for research purposes)...you'll see that the IMVU registration page with single word Username and selection of avatar......is almost identical to Second Life's. So now you can see where LL got this idea from.....they basically followed IMVU's lead and virtually copied it!!

Likewise...if you look at Second Life's Marketplace...and then compare it to IMVU's Catalog...you'll see a lot of design similarities.

I suggest LL are not being innovative at all....to me it appears they're copying someone else's format and hoping it works!

If LL want to copy IMVU, then they should develop & pay for Banner advertising campaign like IMVU....that is one of the main reasons IMVU has grown so much in the last year.

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Hi Rene:

Yes, I joined IMVU today, and have been poking around. I can verify your claims, and have been chuckling to myself for some time over it. It seems the creative juices in SL flow more so with the residents than with the managing Lindens. LOL!

I suppose a Hollywood movie producer would describe IMVU thus: "Where Facebook meets Second Life, but without any land." And I agree, SL is far superior to IMVU, and yet, through its marketing, IMVU is booming to such an extent, that its numbers have outpassed SL by a considerable margin. It is like Microsoft vs. Apple in the 80's - superior marketing is outdoing superior quality. It makes me wonder what SL's new VP of Marketing has been doing for the last 3 months - just lunching on our money?

Anyway, I will observe what IMVU's numbers are this coming Sunday afternoon - the traditional peek time of SL concurrency. It should be interesting.

Have a good weekend!

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Just to see how this works, I placed a $10 ad order for my alt.  It was a matter of sheer curiosity... to see how the system works.  So okay, they actually hooked Wayfinder Wishbringer for ten bucks.  It was worth it just to see what's what. LOL

What I found...

As expected, the whole website is clunky, non-intuitive and cumbersome.

The order process refused my PayPal credit cardNow that was a shocker.  Okay, so they don't have an option for PayPal... but to refuse a legitimate PayPal MasterCard credit card?  That seriously makes me wonder what is going on between Linden Lab and PayPal.

When it refused my PayPal card, I entered another card... upon which it made me enter the entire order process again, from scratch.  In other words, instead of saying, "okay, this credit card works" and processing the already-entered order... it said "okay, this credit card works, now please re-enter all the order information you just got through entering, all over again."

Typical LL process.

Not being snide at all, but I have to wonder:  is there a soul at Linden Lab who knows anything about flowcharts, system planning, and foreseeing possibilities?   The fact that this is "beta" is pretty much irrelevant.  The idea is for beta to find obscure bugs... not blatantly foreseeable bugs that obviously no one bothered to think about.  This seems a long-standing problem with LL methodology:  let's just throw out the first knee-jerk thing that comes to our mind and let the users work out the problems.

Major design flaw:   When someone enters an advertising order... it then forces them to go to their email (several minutes later because of course... it's slow) to get the link to upload their banner ad.   Better behavior:   upon ordering, send them immediately to the banner upload page.  Why have the customer jump through unnecessary hoops?

And again... there is no guarantee that LL will even follow through on the order.  I mean... who exactly is in charge of tracing whether they fulfill their obligation or not?  How do we know they displayed 25,000 impressions over a two week period?

I will make a prediction at this time:  these ads will have virtually no effect on overall sales.   That is something I can track... and will be tracking.

Overall, I'm not really impressed.  Honestly... it just seems like another "scheme" for them to earn some fast cash... instead of doing what they should be doing... namely... make the product itself worth using.

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Based on my experience with the banner ads which were already too high for the results, the pricing for this is waaay too high for the potential market response you get. Sorry.

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@Anisha:  I enjoyed your post Anisha.  I don't agree with everything (thus this post) but I thought it thoughtful, somewhat insightful and well-stated.   So figured I'd play the "other side" and perhaps the truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle... or at times on either side.

 

"I was reading an online article, in which a quote by Warren Buffett was stated which goes like,  Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it's not going to get the business."

Good point.  That's part of the problem with LL:  their "premium" product... isn't.  They charge new Porche prices for rusty Volkswagen service.  It does no good for them to try to attract "new users" if their core product will just drive people away as it's done in the past.  To date, Linden Lab has lost some 20 million "residents" and has a current retention of (supposedly) 750,000.  If their product had been stable and functional... if they had concentrated more on foundation performance rather than new toys, gimmicks and schemes... they might have retained a lot more of the customers they already had.

While they say they are working on the core foundation now, any company that totally ignores 88% of their residents saying "We hate your new viewer interface"... still is offering unappetizing food on dirty dishes.  After 7+ years online, they still think they know how to run SL... when it's pretty obvious they do not.  They haven't changed their business plan and methodology in the 6+ years I've been a member here. "Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome is the very definition of insanity."

 

"As much as my knowledge of common sense (highly uncommon though) economics and finance helps me, there is no second thought that SL economy is in decline. However, it is still one of the most productive economy compared to other Virtual Worlds in my opinion."

Well, that's not saying much really.   But I question the statement.  It's already been indicated that IMVU is more successful than SL.  From what I've heard, systems like World of Warcraft has a far stronger economy than SL.  Are we comparing SL to OpenSim... Reaction Grid... Inworldz?  Some of those companies have been in business less than a year; of course their economy isn't going to be as strong.  But their customers are far more satisfied... and far more loyal.  Give them another year, and then let's see where their economy stands in comparison with SL.  LL has had 6 years head start on them.  Let's give other companies at least a little time to pace... and then we can see how both are faring by comparison.

But right now, as a merchant with years of experience, I can say this:  SL economy is tanking.  I don't care what propaganda and PR claims LL puts out... the SL economy is hurting.

 

"For sure some of the products Linden Labs have launched have failed to deliver, the management decisions backfired and as a result highly glitched unstable SL."

I thnk what is more realistically the case... is that Linden Lab management decisions backfired and caused their products to fail to deliver.   How many times have we heard customers scream "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"  I think one of the major problems (no... THE major problem) with Second Life... is the Linden Lab Management team.  They simply can't leave well enough alone... and they seem to always be plotting and scheming (those are the only accurate words I can find to express my observations with this company).

"* The weekly stipened (and if my information source is correct, some older accounts receive L$400-L$500 )"

Yes, some older accounts do.  Newer accounts receive about half of that... and from what I've heard (I don't know personally) those are special, "non cashable" L$ that can only be spent in-world.  If that's the case, not at all the same.

 

"If we deduct the real money value of the benefits from fee we are paying, the actual amount we are paying for membership is meagre."

What real money value?  I'd have to see that listed out. ; )

 

"But defenitely, they need to improve the response time to the complaints."

What... you mean more than the three months it just took a friend of mine to even receive a response from Support?  Yeah, I'd have to agree with you.

 

Question: Can we do without Premium Membership?  Answer: No

I would have to differ.  I cancelled my Premium membership years ago.  I run a large group with over 2,000 members, on a full sim, run three virtual businesses, host events, and have over 90,000 items in my inventory.   Sure we can do without premium membership... as about 700,000 people prove every month.

 

Question: Could we have done without XStreetSL?  Answer: This answer is undecided.

Question: Can we do without Marketplace?  Answer: A Big No.

I again disagree.  Of course we could do without the Marketplace.  In truth, I am one of the people that feels Xstreet / SL Marketplace has done more harm to the grid than good.  People shop there instead of coming to sims and supporting in-world markets.  As a result, merchants close down their in-world shops and display on SL Marketplace instead.

Again I will say this:  doesn't LL have a clue that they are shooting themselves in the foot and competing with their own product?  Not only that, but the web Markets encourage people to stay by themselves, shopping on a website, rather than enjoying the community of SL.   I earnestly believe the entire grid would have been far better off if Linden Lab had never allowed access to L$ accounts outside of Second LIfe and had forced all commerce in-world.  It would have created a stronger community, a more interesting shopping experience, and would have supported sim ownes and landholders... which is LL's bread and butter.   Imho... Linden Lab management was sorely mistaken to ever allow external L$ access.

 

With XstreetSL closed, marketplace is the only official non third party medium to render the merchan services and products.

How about... in-world merchants?  What are they, chopped liver? ; D

 

Question: Can we do without Mainlands? Answer: No. For the people who can not afford to pay high tier fees to private land owners or VAT included tier fees to Linden labs, a mainland at cheaper price is anyone's dream.

Which is still $195 a month.  At one time private sims were $195 month (and some grandfathered sims still are so).  Some people like mainland.  Others hate it.   The ones who like it, the reason is always the same:  "Price and visibility".  Could we do without it?  I'd say if LL reduced all sims to $195, we could somehow manage to find a way.   Anyone noticed lately how sparcely mainland is populated? (At least that's the word I've heard... I avoid that laggy, griefer-ridden continent like the plague).

 

Question: Can we do without Beta Advertising? Answer: Time will tell.

I dunno... we did without it for 7 years without the economy totally collapsing.

 

And I can not resist to say that, no matter how much we bash  the Second Life, in the end, we are still here and that too every day =)

Unforutnately, not everyone can say that.  Like I said, some 20 million people have left the grid.  A number of those took their business elswhere... and thus, they aren't still here everyday.  They threw up their hands in disgust and left.

 

To conclude, I would like to apologize for a long post and some issues totally out of the line with main post.

I rather enjoyed it... agree or disagree.   It was well-written and thoughfully stated, which is always enjoyable to see here.

 

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BTW follow-up if I may.  Someone back there said "You can't compare IMVU with Second Life."

Sure you can.  They may not be the same product nor offer the same services.  But they certainly compete for the same audience.  And from what I hear, simple, piddly IMVU is kicking SL under the carpet.

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I hate to even seem to support LL in anything (LOL)... but in my "test run" (just to see what is what) I spent $10 for 100k impressions.  That is actually quite reasonable.  Now... whether those impressions actually generate response or not... that has yet to be seen.  The only reason I even tried this is because it was a measly ten bucks and I am curious.  The question is, as it always is:  will people actually pay attention to banner advertising?  Will it actually generate extra business? 

Myself... I'd like to see some kind of statistic on clickthrough (number of people who actually click the ad).  Interesting I haven't seen a word from Linden Lab on being able to trace clickthrough.   Is there any method prvovided?  I see some kind of "statistics" area... but it totally devoid of data or even headers.  My guess would be-- based on company history -- that they will provide little or no confirmative statistical data.  If they do... we'll see what it shows.

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I did several banner ads on the old Marketplace and you did get the stats. They weren't bad, but...I didn't really notice an increase in sales that made the price worth it. I get good sales everyday and there was no difference when the ads ran.

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IMVU is terrible in every other regard, but "Simple" is the one key factor it has that Second Life has been lacking so far.

In the 21st century, simplicity alone is the "killer app" that often beats out a product with superior features.

Second Life needs a simple version for all the people who just want to relax, play, and not heavily engage their higher thought processes. Nearly everyone that is! Most people already did difficult stuff all day & just want to chill out, chat, share LOLs, etc...

The new web SL player looks promisingly like exactly this kind of thing, very stripped down and simplified in extreme, hopefully its the solution Second Life needs!

 

Correct, I've always maintained LL from the outset should have developed 2 types of viewers....a full version downloadable and a "Lite version" . I would bet retention rates would be somewhat better.

IMVU has a low retention rate too...2 million active accounts out of 50 million. Approx. 4%....about the same as SL (800k out of 20 mill)

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Ok so I signed up for it and all that, but it looks too complicated to me.

The old banner ads clearly displayed what we get for the money, I do not quite understand it in the new.

Spreading banner impressions over a certain time period is definately cool, but all the new interface and short cuts and then I need to load my credit card to buy it, well I gave up because usually my card is not loaded, and I could not determine what I would be getting for which amount of money.

Self service is all cool but the interface for buying should be as clear as the old. Maybe with an email after purchase where to login to upload the banner to and view statistics. And a notcard inworld that we should check the email for the link. Just an idea how I would like it best.

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IMVU is terrible in every other regard, but "Simple" is the one key factor it has that Second Life has been lacking so far.

In the 21st century, simplicity alone is the "killer app" that often beats out a product with superior features.

Second Life needs a simple version for all the people who just want to relax, play, and not heavily engage their higher thought processes. Nearly everyone that is! Most people already did difficult stuff all day & just want to chill out, chat, share LOLs, etc...

The new web SL player looks promisingly like exactly this kind of thing, very stripped down and simplified in extreme, hopefully its the solution Second Life needs!

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Is this company being run by a muppet?

You have lost over 60% of your staff, nearly all the major features of this platform are faulty and require work. So with a limited workforce and a major workload this is what you have been wasting your time and money on?

So I'll ask again...... Is this company being run by a felt puppet with a hand up it's arse? If not, then lets go and hire Kermit as I'm sure he could do a better job than you nob heads.

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I don't have to worry about wasting money on this.  I tried to go in to see what kind of costs might be involved, had to bypass Privoxy (which was blocking the site and recommending that I not go there), found a web page that had no layout and looked like a child had cobbled it together and absolutely nothing worked.  The fonts weren't even consistent.  Okay, I figured maybe I was using the wrong browser so I shut down Firefox (which I use to access LL sites on recommendation of an LL employee some years ago) and tried Safari.  Same thing.

Okay, I know it's Beta.  But I work in software development myself.  Have you folks ever heard of unit testing and quality assurance testing?  These usually come before Beta.

Bad as that was, no way am I going to try again.

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