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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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Rene: "I can't  see how in future one can maintain a whole sim (for a Main  store)....when people are shifting away from inworld shopping towards  Marketplace. In the long run, I cna't see how LL comes out ahead on the  income curve.....i would have thought Tier income from shops & SL  businesses would be more in value than Marketplace commissions."

Words of truth.  What I have to wonder:  how can everyone clearly see this... except Linden Lab?  I posted the same thing earlier in this blog-- that with SL Marketplace Linden Lab is competing with and destroying their primary income source:  in-world land.  How do they not understand that?  Mind you, that's fine with me.  I don't own now and never intend to own their ridiculous $295, 15,000-prim, crippled-building-tools properties.  My group does... in order for the group itself to function, but hanged if I'm going to spend Porche prices for poor and crippled performance.  So bring on the Marketplace!  LOL

 

Darren: "Hi wayfinder just a small idea that may push sales have you actually designed your own website"

Thanks for the feedback Darren.  Here's how I view it though:

In order for a website to be of benefit, people have to actually visit that website.   And as I indicated above, only 27 people clicked out of 8,000 impressions.  That's not exactly generating killer web traffic.

I have an in-world store-- a large one in a well-trafficed area.  I have several high-level products on SL Marketplace.   I am running a 100,000 impression banner ad.  If that't not enough to generate SL sales... then I seriously doubt adding a website to the mix is going to make any difference... especially since that website can't generate actual sales (all it can do is present a catalog, which they can purchase from yes... either my in-world store or SL Marketplace... where they've already been).

What I have to consider here is that I have many merchant friends-- experienced merchants-- who are telling me that sales are way down.  They've told me, repeatedly and consistently, that 2010 is one of the worst years they've ever had in SL sales.  That is my experience... which is something considering I've introduced several high-level products over the last year or so.

So my conclusion: despite the Linden Lab self-back-patting PR, inflated "transaction" claims (you just gave your friend 1,000 L$... HOOOOO....  "transaction"!)... SL isn't doing all that well.  We know for a fact they lost 500+ sims from June to August of this year (no telling how many since then). They're doing so poorly they decided to remove their usage stats from the splash page.  They've kicked EDU in the slats, foisted a truly lousy viewer on the grid, and basically thumbed their noses at experienced users (the ones paying the bills).  They discard customer feedback and narcissistically do whatever they want to do... while disgruntled customers begrudgingly fund their egos.  No wonder sales are down.

That may sound a bit blunt and frank, but that's what I (and obviously many other people) see happening here.  SL economy is tanking.  This should be our busiest time of the year... and sales are no better than they were in July.  I have to believe that there will be many, many merchants closing shop over this "sales" season... when they realize they can't even sell enough to pay rent any more... much less cash out.

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I mentioned this earlier, but thought it bears expansion in current context.  It goes in a lot with what you posted.

 

Linden Lab every year delights in posting how wonderful / terrific / fantasic L$ "transactions" are.   Hooboy, SL must be growing because "L$ exchanged" is growing hubba hubba hubba.

 

 

Are they?  What is more important than the figures LL PRopaganda gurus provide... is what is missing.  They vaunt and hail and present their Marketplaces sales... but where is the in-world sales figure?

 

Several years ago, a number of merchants asked Linden Lab to produce a regular track of object-originated sales (ie, L$ that were paid to objects in return for merchandise).  This of course is quite possible to do code-wise.  But LL refused, claiming it was "too hard to track" the difference between sales devices and tip jars and donation boxes and L$ given from one avatar to another.  Which of course is pure tripe.

 

It would be quite possible (dare I say easy) to track "vendor" sales-- money paid to vendors in exchange for merchandise.   The fact that Linden Lab outright refused to do so didn't set well with me; my almost 3 decades of corporate consulting caused me to ask, "Why would LL not wish to present such valuable demographics to the very customers paying their bills?"

 

 

So consider this scenario:

 

Two friends go to a dance event.  At that event one of them wins say, L$1,000.   But that friend has plenty of L$ because s/he is a merchant or land baron or just bought a couple zillion... so decides to give that 1,000 to the less-rich friend.  (This scenario happens all the time, on a regular basis.  Just ask people how often they give close friends gifts of L$).  So that friend, greatful and happy, goes out and buys that L$1,000 widget s/he has been wanting like forever. 

 

 

Know what Linden Lab counts as L$ "transfer"?  Not L$1,000 from the actual sale.  No... from what I understand they count L$3,000... actually triple the amount of actual market transactions.  They count the initial win (which does not impact the economy), then they count the gift (which does not impact the economy), then they count the end sale (which does impact the economy, and is the only figure they should have tracked in the first place).

 

So... Linden Lab goes on their website and announces they have transacted three bigagillion L$... when in fact they have done no such thing.  The truthful figures are far below their claims.

 

In like manner... they keep constant track of Marketplace sales (INCREASE!  INCREASE!  HOOOOO!!!!)... but they refuse to keep track of in-world sales.  It stands to reason that when they integrated that Marketplace directly into SL so it could draw directly from our in-world accounts that sales on Marketplace would boom.   Duh.   The real question though... is what that is doing to in-world sales... to in-world merchants... and how is that impacting land sales and rentals?

 

Second Life lost more than 500 sims from June to August of 2010.  That is 1.67% of their total sim count... in two months.  I haven't seen the figures since then, but I would guess an equal or even greater decline.  I don't have the data, so I don't know.  What I do know however, is that Linden Lab has removed their "resident" figures from the front page.  Anyone see sim count figures anywhere there?  Inworldz has their resident and sim count figures right on their splash page.... good or bad.  So I have to ask:  What is Linden Lab trying to hide?

 

And equally important:  do they think we are total idiots who cannot connect the dots?

 

LL economy?  Tanking.  SL sim count?  Tanking.  SL residency?  Tanking.  SL Viewer 2.x... tanked from the beginning.   SL Marketplace?  LL shooting themselves in both feet and the gonads to boot.

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Rene: "I can't  see how in future one can maintain a whole sim (for a Main  store)....when people are shifting away from inworld shopping towards  Marketplace. In the long run, I cna't see how LL comes out ahead on the  income curve.....i would have thought Tier income from shops & SL  businesses would be more in value than Marketplace commissions."

Words of truth.  What I have to wonder:  how can everyone clearly see this... except Linden Lab?  I posted the same thing earlier in this blog-- that with SL Marketplace Linden Lab is competing with and destroying their primary income source:  in-world land.  How do they not understand that?  Mind you, that's fine with me.  I don't own now and never intend to own their ridiculous $295, 15,000-prim, crippled-building-tools properties.  My group does... in order for the group itself to function, but hanged if I'm going to spend Porche prices for poor and crippled performance.  So bring on the Marketplace!  LOL

 

The impact of Marketplace finally dawned on me last night! ( I know, I was slow to realise!)

I have this residential SIM that I've recently filled out with new Residents. I provided a Christmas theme as per their request. They were also interested in decorating their own plots with Winter Houses, Ice Rinks, Christmas trees..and all kinds of festive stuff. Instead of searching & visiting shops in-world....all of them to a man decided to go via Marketplace (and yes, there were the usual delivery problems too) to purchase these items. It's at that point ...i said "sh!t" to my myself and realised the impact it's going to have on in-world shopping.

These new breed of SL residents want it quick and want it now!....whereas i've always enjoyed the experience of visting new sims, new shops and discover new types of products.....quite often getting side-tracked with nearby elements and go off exploring the neighbourhood. This concept seems dead in the water.(or maybe I'm odd!)

IMO the in-world economy is no longer sustainable....I can foresee Commercial sims and commercial regions eventually falling off the table......and being left with mostly Residential sims...few for Clubs, Art Galleries, public areas and RP sims.

Another thing i noticed with these Winter Prefabs...normally they would have sold for a few thousand Lindens of which I'd be happy to pay that sort of money.....instead they're selling a few measly hundreds. A lot of work for little return.!!! (eeeek )

The SL economy is skewed...its geared towards selling at ultra cheap prices and from Marketplace at high volume (if you can be found in the first instance using another borked LL Search facility!)......but the problem is that you can't really obtain these high volumes because concurrencies are still appalling!. The game hasn't grown in 2 years!

The future doesn't look bright....it's hard to see how any of this can be reversed or corrected once you go down this slippery slope!.

If you're a Merchant selling houses for a few hundred Lindens, I can't see how this Advertising beta program will yield an adequate return. Wade mentions its useful for brand recognition......I say with this new breed of consumer...brand recognition goes out of the window (it would have held true during SL earlier days when a Brand name meant something, maybe for Avatar related items like Skins & Hair it still holds true!).

Consumers want their desired products quickly and they want it now, doesn't matter who made it...that's the impression i got last night when my Residents went about decorating their Lands!

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Hello Bushido,

Not sure what you are getting at sorry... I wrote:

*Deleted* (Double Post)

because I accidentally posted the same comment twice...

My double post has now been deleted.

I am not sure how your question relates to anything I said above If you give more detail on what specific issue you are talking about perhaps I can comment.

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Oh i know the resident-to-resident transaction figures were a nonsense to begin with. I have 2 Premium Subs a/c that each individually own land.....i'm forever transferring money back and forth to pay tiers etc......so i knew they double or triple counted. The problem is that you're average resident is none the wiser.....and believes in those figures......and trust those figures.

Who is going to invest in SL, if they knew there was shrinkage in the key parameters & stats?  Would you continue buying Sims at the rate of knots if you knew the true picture ?

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If any of these adverts were to be placed on the Second Life Mainland grid (that connect to this advertising scheme), are we able to sue Linden Labs for any and all the land that we as Second Life resident's have paid for to rid of such misery? (Or will Linden Labs keep creating new Avatars to shield them from prosecution.?) Truth is; I want my money back.

I have spent many years with thieves, but none worse than what I have experienced here.

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My campaigns were supposed to begin 6 December. Several days late, my ad appeared briefly in the wrong slot. I got a response from customer services within four hours saying the problem was fixed, but my ad has never appeared since. I shall contact customer services again. So far, US$50 (two overlapping campaigns in the same slot) has bought me ZERO exposure.

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No offense Deltango, but I have to wonder why someone would invest $50 on a beta-test system.  I went with $10 and signed up for 100,000 impressions.  I'm sure you already realize, but investing much with LL on an untried project may not be the best course of action. ; )

Latest update on my campaign:

In 4 days there have supposedly been over 16,000 impressions.  I have received thus far "76" clicks... an average of one response per 210 impressions... about what I might expect from such a campaign.  So no objections there.  I have made some sales... but nothing more than normal sales I would make this time of year; I'm not seeing any sign of increase over standard "seasonal" sales.  In truth, my sales this year are considerably lower than last year.

So thus far my impression is neutral... neither good nor bad.  We'll see if I show any kind of increase in Marketplace sales over the next couple of weeks.  I think certainly $10 for 100k impressions isn't a bad deal at all.  The 76 clicks seems to indicate the impressions are actually happening... so we'll see how it pans out in the end.

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Second follow up:

Just to test on a second item, I went back to the ad area to set up a second small campaign.  Here was my experieince:

* I clicked on both the STEAMPUNK and FANTASY categories and received the following message:

At this time we have no active inventory for your selected search filters,       please broaden your search criteria. Alternatively, contact    Second Life Advertising for support.

Okay, so doesn't work.  No big hoopty surprise there.

* I then went to Home & Garden and found ONE option:  "Add to campaign"

I clicked the button... and got "added".  Added WHAT?  What just happened?

Try as I might, I could not find a way, anywhere on that website, to add a second campaign for another product.

So my impression is that this is typical amateurish knee-jerk presentation.  I will echo the thoughts of several posters above:  Doesn't Linden Lab have an actual planning department, use quality control, try to foresee needs and potential snafus, or testing prior to release to market?  I've known 12 year olds with private webpages that are more professional in appearance.  Seriously... not exaggerating at all.

My question: how do we run a second campaign for a different product?  Searched all over the place and can't figure out how.

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i would love to see the split in terms of percentages in "total sqm" between Commercial plots of Land  and others (Residential, Public areas, RP & Entertainment) .

I know on Mainland there are tons of shops & malls and the % percentage would be high...whereas Estates sims are more geared towards Residential & Others, ...however it still has a good amount of Commercial too.

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Nuther follow-up.

LOL I clicked the VIEW CAMPAIGN DETAILS button, and I got this:

This Connection is Untrusted

You have asked Firefox to connect
securely to advertise.secondlife.com., but we can't confirm that your connection is secure.

Normally, when you try to connect securely,sites will present trusted identification to prove that you are
going to the right place. However, this site's identity can't be verified.

 

What Should I Do?

GET ME OUT OF HERE

CONNECT ANYWAY

If you usually connect to
this site without problems, this error could mean that someone is
trying to impersonate the site, and you shouldn't continue.

 

TECHNICAL DETAILS:

advertise.secondlife.com. uses an invalid security certificate.

The certificate is only valid for advertise.secondlife.com

(Error code: ssl_error_bad_cert_domain)

          I Understand the Risks

If you understand what's going on, you
can tell Firefox to start trusting this site's identification.
Even if you trust the site, this error could mean that someone is
tampering with your connection.

Don't add an exception unless
you know there's a good reason why this site doesn't use trusted identification.

 

AT THIS POINT I was given the option to cancel... or list them as an exeption and allow them to do any flippin thing they want on my browser.  Naturally... I declined.

       

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I did some extrapolation:

By the end of my campaign, I should have generated some 475 clicks.

If I sell 1 out of every 50 visitors, I will make less than 10 sales.

Will those 10 particular sales be worth $10?  Likely.  Sure.

Will they be worth my time messing with Linden Lab banner ad campaigns?  Barely.  Maybe.

Let's say each of those 10 sales averages L$1000.  That's a total of about $37

Subtract the $10 fee... $27.  Is it worth all that hassle for $27?  Not really.  I mean, it's not difficult to run a banner ad and $27 is something... but it's not what I'd call impressive.

It may be reasonably asked and with validity, "What do you expect for a $10 advertising investment?" and I'll grant that.  But the real point is we're not selling $100 software packages here.  We're selling low-cost virtual goods... and selling one out of 50 to 200 clickthroughs isn't anything to write home about.  I have to believe there are more effective advertising campains on SL... such as hunts, or word of mouth, or signs, or whatever, that cost little or nothing.

What I'm seeing thus far, is pretty much zero impact on my sales.  Even the 10 sales is extrapolated on maybes.  There's no way to tell of course, who actually buys on the click throughs because the system doesn't appear to track Marketplace sales resulting from an ad click.  So who knows?  If we don't see our overall sales increase, then general findings are:  ad campaign, no discernable results.

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If you want to know exactly how many TP's you got from Advertising campaign...just create a Landmark with a different landing point to your main ones......drop an invisible unique visitor counter underneath and see how many visitors you get. If you can get a Counter that records actual avatar names....even better as you can then match to your Sales records.

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That's an interesting concept Rene, but I can see a couple of inherent problems:

* The landmark would have to be outside my store traffic area or everyone who walked across it would trigger it

* There's not really any area around my store or in my store that is a non-traffic area.

* That's a bit of hassle for an ad campaign that is already certain to produce less than 500 clicks throughout... and which LL could easily do for us by simply telling us exactly what ad was clicked and if a teleport was performed (they CAN track the clickthrough TP traffic if they so desire).

* Since visitors to my store are highly variable, there's no real way to track clickthrough traffic accurately.

* My ad has two banners: one directs people to my store, the other directs people to my Marketplace product.  As pointed out above, there is no way to tell which ad appears when.  Logic would indicate both ads are clicked equally, but with LL... who knows?

Here's the odd thing:  the item I sell is quite unique (you don't see these every day), is high quality and low cost.  If people know enough about this type of thing to click it... they quite often buy.  Basically, it's perfect for this type of campaign.  So what I am looking for is an increase of sales of this item over my normal sales quantities.  Considering the time of year, that increase should be rather noteable.  So far, there is no such increase... which tells me one thing:  sales on Second Life are tanking.

I have asked my pro-merchant colleagues what their experieinces are... and they are confirming my findings.  No matter how experienced the merchant, how professional, how good their products, how long they have been on SL... every one said the same thing:  SL sales are tanking.

There is also something else I've discovered:  They are just about out of ad space. I tried placing a second ad (finally found out how to do that by just clicking every flipping button on the page), and in three ads I tried to run I was told "that many impressions is not available".  They were down to less than 4,000 available impressions.  Which means likely their sales force is thrilled... but it means that for most merchants, this method of advertising simply will not be available to them; it will likely be constantly sold out.  Which means of course, Linden Lab will almost certainly raise prices to meet demand (there is little doubt of that) until those ads are affordable only by the elite merchants-- which is likely exactly what LL intends.

So here's my conclusion: while the idea of a banner ad campaign seems viable... it simply doesn't seem to be working.  I don't know, only time will tell.  I am interested enough to likely place another ad when / if space becomes available... just to see the long term affects (curiosity is worth ten bucks)... but at this time I am not convinced this concept produces concrete results.  I guess we'll see over time.

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I have been a long standing resident of Second Life since 06. During this time I have seen many things, and most of you will probably know me as pretty Anti Linden Lab no matter the choice the make, however it is for good reason 90% of the time.

Here is unfortunately another prime example of bad decision making by LL's decision makers.

Why Advertising BETA is a bad idea:

More ways to pay: Sir would you like to pay for classified ads? how about front page feature? banner space? login screen area? would you like your stuff advertised in our newsletters? how about you pay us to IM residents about your products?

We have simply came to a point in which there is too much of everything. Too much product, to much advertisement, too much marketing, too much production, too much time invested, too much cost.

No matter how much more money you spend on visibility someone else will always be spending the same as you, for the same products as you... It is simply a cut throat game of bigger and better.

What Linden Lab Could Do Right:

1. Cut tier rates - If you want to improve the resident experience, lower tier rates by 50%. If I can have a dedicated server host my sim for 10US$ a month on OS grid, there simply is no reason that tier cost should be at boom time prices.

2. Fix Search - When I type in the exact name of someone or something and can't the item, the place or person, it is a huge issue. If a feature doesn't work it basically doesn't exist in my eyes. With the current system I can type in keyword "wings" I find 40,000 versions of the same freebie leather suits and skins.

3. Stick to your Guns - If you do something, stick with it. simply it all out and stick with the features you have. Core features are important, working features are important, Second Life will never be a solid market place form without stability and a little calm.

I look forward to the upcoming mesh imports, but everything else such as name changes, etc etc on and on... are frivolous additions which often cause more error than improvement.

 


 


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Wayfinder thx yes I totally agree from where your coming from like you say a website wont really help much in todays scheme of things unless your buisness was geared towards web services SL is far to chopped and diced nowadays compared to a few years back. When users actually just walked around the place looking for inworld shops exploring passing trade is totally lost now along with the fun of not having much info to read and just learning things on your own thats what drew me into sl in the first place discovering new tricks and actually working out how people actually made cash from their shops sat on many a campbag watching lol then first land program drew me in further discounted land first 512 for 500LS (that I actually paid for via the money earned from camping) then plenty sat on my own shop ventures campbags and i could easy pay teir from inworld funds rest is history got enrolled very quick.  Like Rene says new users are given/expect everything on a plate offworld.  Anyways good luck we all know the score all the best for 2011 in RL

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why i should do advertising on a market that linden doesn't care at all!??!?

-----

You lindens ruined SL alot with this markeplace.. bc is full of ripped things, i'm a creator since 2007 i makes skins and i don't think i'll continue to release if then after 3 days all my (hard) work will be there at 100L or less .. and all the time i go in chat they says to make DMCA.. but makes 10 dmca every day IS NOT MY WORK!

Lindens ruined SL first releasing free the code with snowglobe .. letting people making own Hacked Viewer and now buying the xstreet and ruining all....

good luck i think me and many other creators will not make another things if this way will continue..

 

KaoZ Koba (LaVie Skins & Shapes)

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I am sure it is frustrating to you just as it is for people who buy things from the marketplace only to have the items deleted later because the items were copybotted without the buyer knowing this. Unless someone makes the item themselves, there is no way to know if the item is copybotted.

I do not know what is worse, the creater losing time or the buyer losing real money.

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I agree,i have 9 keywords i use with search bot to check where those keywords are in search,it has never found them in search and i have manually searched (50 pages each) of those keywords and never found my shop in search

I put a ticket in  but its sits there unopened,so much for support

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Are they still only accepting credit card payments for sl adds on this program through 3rd parties??

You would expect to pay with the money you have in lindens as it's supose to be an sl service.

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Over the course of your lifetime, your value to advertiser is near $500,000.  That means that advertisers have paid over a half million dollars to reach you with their message. If it was just a money grubbing attempt that these highly sophisticated companies fell for, don't you think that industry would have died like 40 years ago?

The truth is, advertising works. SL has very little available for advertising your goods and it needs more. I commend this effort as I want any tool available to promote my products, even if I choose not to use them.

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I am the owner of an Art GalleryLive music Venues (The Panorama Art Gallery) we have 12000 plus GENUINE people through our gallery and entertainment areas each month and yet we are not included in SEARCH, Why not? I understand it has to do with the number of Avi/day/hours. This is a total missuse of the system, one very highly regarded night club has 23 Bots permanently on site, which when counted places them at the top of the list. My partner and I are often the only "live" people there while the area is crowded with green dots! To prove this I often engage the "patrons, hosts and greeters" (green dots) in conversation some responces to my advances are quite comical and obvious replies are totally missunderstood. There is no human intelligence there. I happened to mention this out loud to some friends and I found myself banned from the venue! So come on LL sort this thing out, its a mess, and lets be fair and recognise venues that are genuinely trying to provide a service to the community honestly and without "bull". The old VOTE system, no longer in use, was an effort on your part but a damn nuisance trying to persuade people to slap it. At the same time one could only vote for one venue in a day if I remember correctly. As most of my patrons may go to 3 or more venues a day it made it impossible to "VOTE" in more than one box which resulted in peeps not voting in case the next venue they visited was better. Oh and wile you are about can you edit out those people advertising in events for such things an DJ and Hosts Wanted, or Models wanted in amongst genuine adds.

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