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Do You Put Your Land in Search?


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Posted (edited)

I believe search/places is used only by the following categories of people, they are in the minority or perceived to be irrelevant, and that's why search has remained broken for 9 months:

o old Mainland rentals and land sales businesses

o some large RP families or themed communities

o sex workers

o some clubs, mainly older

Why? 

Because many people use other methods to be found:

o groups -- the reason the Lindens could get people to sit still while they disabled the land search in Bellissaria is because people were already well trained in their RP and social and merchant groups to socialize and transact business through groups

o Marketplace -- they don't even have inworld stores

o Classifieds

o Picks

o Merchants' events

o Subscription lists

o Mailings to repeat customers

o Spam

Why? Because when the Lindens decided to tackle the "camping" and "bot" problem that was artificially jacking up traffic scores and putting some venues artificially on top, the Lindens battled this by making other algorithms that didn't favour only raw traffic. Even while camping was essentially banned, bots never really were, and the Lindens compensated for this by tinkering with the algorithms.

Most people read search by disregarding the top few artificially created leaders, and looking down the list to find the real ones. When the Lindens crippled search in Viewer 2 (although third-party viewers still have it in the 1.23 form which is one of the reasons why they are so popular), people began to resort to other means. Other factors contributed to stores moving to the MP or moving to big events and away from search, whether the cost of land, even as it has become cheaper, or the increase in lag caused by all the various features added over time from flexi hair to mesh to animesh.

I'm always surprised to find that a store doesn't put itself in search -- and many don't. They don't need to waste the 30L. Because they will have weekend sales, events, and groups to drive traffic to their store. Search is too cluttered. Search is too gamed, they reason -- and don't bother. Even though the Lindens worked like zealous monks for years to keep search from being "gamed".

The reason merchants force you to join their groups just to get the sales list is because search doesn't work. 

To some extent huge periodic merchant events evolved because search stopped working (i.e. working as it would on Google or Amazon), and then when gatchas began to take over the economy, weekend sales proliferated to try to drive shoppers to stores in between the bigger events. The price of gatchas then went up and various gimmicks like "player rewards" were added to keep people pulling gatchas, then the weekend sales became completely ridiculous, to the point that there are so many of them that you can't possibly go to them all even if you devote every minute of your weekend.

The galleries of these sales on sites like Seraphim sometimes don't show a store name at all; or if you can pick out a store name, you simply can't find it in search -- either they haven't bothered to put their store in search/places, or the thousands of returns coming in on broken search even with exact terms drives you then to the group -- where they have the notecard with landmarks and SLURLs (both, because landmarks often don't work from a notecard). The merchants must figure that once they have you hostage in the group, you won't bother to leave because more news and more sales may turn up.

It's hard to get search of a Google appliance nature to work properly in a small world with a small number of objects to find -- anyone who has run a web site knows how hard it is to get a good working search of a web site. The method used before GSA had tables of data in MYSQL or whatever it's called and that was considered archaic. So like a lot of things in SL, chasing the new, chasing the industry standard, chasing the technical solution led to dysfunction after dysfunction because customer requirements were not considered, or at least, not in their full diversity, but only technical solutions to solve the most urgent complaints, i.e. camping, traffic inflation and its unfairness. It's like the religious belief in random delivery of landmarks from Welcome Island to resident-run infohubs-- when the set of landmarks was quite small and finite. Random works best and produces diversity when there is a large number of items to randomize. When there are a few dozen, it can easily lead to jags where one landmark keeps repeating. 

I have literally sometimes spent an hour trying to find something I saw in a blog or even inworld because people don't put their land in search; they close off their profiles even when they are in business; they don't bother to create a pick with relevant information; their MP page is out of date for their inworld store which has moved; they have changed their name. None of these people care because they sell through friendship circles, events, groups, I guess. Not sure, which is why I ask. My hypothesis is that many people don't use search or care about it; the Lindens therefore don't care about it and fix it when it is broken; yet even if it turns out the tide has turned away from search to other "folksonomy" of groups, picks etc. I believe search/places and search/all are still very important, make up a significant part of the economy, and should be fixed.

I will point out the results of my poll on this inworld in Iris:

1,864 Votes Since 01.18.2010

How do you make purchases or sales?

Classified ads
485 votes
26%

Word of Mouth
131
7%

Search/places
163 votes
9%

Search/all
422 votes
28%

Shopping Sites
419 votes
22%

Profile picks
144 votes
8%

Over the years, I've seen this change, but the operative point here is that 9% still use search/places; when you add in search/all with 28%, you have the majority of people using search in the viewer to find things to buy. THAT is what must be understood. "Search/all" happens because people either are uninformed of the benefits of filters or lazy or in a hurry or like to see groups and people, too.

But they do use search, not classifieds, and not shopping sites only  -- not that search/all is still a higher percentage that shopping sites. 

The Lindens use A/B testing to research issues like this, and I personally wish they would get out of this Harvard Business School strait jacket and use polls and focus groups more. They don't believe in them. They take the techie 0/99 approach to them and imagine they are "gamed" or that "alts" are all busy voting up one category, or that a random or specific focus group "isn't representative" in a majoritarian way. So they keep using only A/B. And they keep having new user experiences where they lose most of the new sign-ups.

I don't make any claims for geographic balance or error calculation in this poll; I do think that most people are not going to bother to come back on an alt in order to vote on a poll of this nature while they stand in front of the Wonder Wheel or play chess or hang out. Therefore I think polls are valid. No, it's not a very large sample but it's a useful sample, and one taken over 11 years of Second Life, and therefore worth paying attention to.

The moral of this story is not that classifieds (which all but the deepest pockets are excluded from to be seen) or shopping sites like Seraphim now drive the economy. They don't. Search still does, even being broken, even with people not using it optimally.

The Lindens have the technical capacity to put a survey into the email of every single Premium account owner, factoring in unique IP addresses to weed out most of the alts, and ask this question of tends of thousands and find out relevant answers. They never do that in part because they believe in the sacred cult of the A/B test as the only valid source of knowledge. All the big stores like Walgreens have user surveys and offer you a chance to win a prize, and many tech sites will do user surveys in exchange for Amazon cards. The Lindens should do surveys and focus groups inworld to get feedback to shape their product decisions.

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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My stores are in search and I don't use classifieds due to the price barrier. On my alt I very occasionally participate in events but not the big weekend ones. No groups, no spam. Almost 50% of my sales come from my in world stores. Which also means that the marketplace is really worth using if you sell stuff and I don't understand why more stores don't use it (Too much hassle? Risk of bad reviews?)

I tend to use search / places to find stuff myself. It annoys me when stores aren't set to show in search, and you can only find the store group, then have to find the owner's profile and go there through their picks or whatever. And yes due to the proliferation of events there is now this whole outside of SL way of finding stuff, with Seraphim and event pages, then we have Flickr and Facebook groups too. I'm sure there are some people who rarely find things through the in world tools at all.

 

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I've never owned my own land, so I've never been able to search anything before. I wouldn't list spaces that I would hope to be private, like a home or skybox of mine, but I would list any location that I would want to be open to the general public. 

While I have been on SL for 7 or 8 months now, in many ways, I still consider myself to be new in Second Life. I enjoy finding new places and shops to visit. I prefer to use search when I'm in SL instead of going to to a web browser to keep everything in one place. For shops, I'll either try to type keywords into (Firestorm) search or rely on sales. For other kinds of locations - say, rental offices, RP communities, or sims I can explore, I pretty much exclusively rely on search. I wish though, that I could be finding places that are different than the ones who are always in weekend sales or always getting traffic from word-of-mouth. 

I especially wish I could come across more shops that sell clothing and hair that matches current Asian beauty trends!  Sometimes, I can find them in the weekend sales, but they generally do not pop up so much in these sales or in English-language fashion blogs (at least from what I have seen). I've not had much luck with in-world searches either. I'd be curious if the language barrier is also a reason why I'm unable to find these shops - say, with shops owned and operated by Japanese-speaking creators who don't interact with the English-speaking SL space as much. Kawaii fashion is a bit easier to find as it's a more unique search term and there are whole events for it, but other styles are harder to come across. Something like "Chinese street fashion" or 'Korean idol fashion" is harder to directly search for.

The woes of searching aren't just limited to retail locations, unfortunately. Even on mainland, it can be difficult for me to use search to try and find new locations to explore. One time, I was trying to find rez zones by roads on Zindra. I wasn't having much luck with the search or with the Wiki. I still don't know how to navigate simply by looking at the map, and I don't think I would be able to spot a rez zone that way (if it is even possible?) I ended up scrolling through many pages on the forum hoping to find an updated link to somewhere, anywhere where I could drive! Thankfully, I came across a post talking about a HUD that helps you find rez zones around mainland. I've stopped using search to try and find those rez zones and have just been relying on the HUD ever since.

Edited by simplemint
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Search is the cheapest and easiest way to advertise your in world presence.
So not showing your commercial or public interest parcel in search is a bad decision in my book.

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I used to put my store in search but I don't anymore. Roughly 73-74% of my sales come off Marketplace. The people that do visit the store usually come from Marketplace to view a demo and occasionally will buy in world but some will also view the demo and still buy off Marketplace. But if you are a big merchant that has a lot of traffic and sales they putting in search is a must. Agree with @Sid Nagy 100%

When I was more involved with GTFO (Get the Freight Out) I would use search just so people could find my place when searching for GTFO. Makes it easy for them to find a spot to rez out a boat and pick up goods to be delivered.

 

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My club is in Search but I do not run a Classified. I tried it once in the early days and it brought in literally zero extra traffic. I never use them, I don't think anyone else does either.

For me, the primary sources (as both a business owner and a consumer) are land search and Flickr.

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I think our public land has a few places in Search.  I would use it more if I could add some tags and if you could add a landing point.  As it is now if I include Artists Village in Search (I think it is) people land in the middle of the Region at ground level which means they will end up trapped under a mesh landform which is invisible from underneath.  When this happens to me, I try to look around for something to sit on to get out or open Map and enter an altitude of +50 m and Teleport to it.  Imagine being a noob looking for the Artists Village.  How can this possibly be of any use to us and our land as it is?  The Search brings people to participate in a frustrating experience.  Same for Events if there is no forced landing point they will end up stuck under that landform.  If we set a forced landing point for Artists Village, visitors will most likely never see the GlastonBelli Event Venue or the Record Barn, or the Ballroom or the airport or the cable car ride or the hang gliders or the Office where all the Info is displayed.  I have been in SL 6 years and have never looked at a Classified ad, unless I found one but have no idea what it even looks like and didn’t know it was a classified ad.  I’d gladly pay L$30 per Landing Point and per search tag to have those in Search if that was an option.

For my own shopping, I find new stores by their chance mention or by asking the owner of something I’m interested in, in local chat in person at a gathering or in a Group like Bellisseria Citizens, or on SeraphimSL, then I Search the Store name inworld or on MP depending how much time I have and whether I need to see the item first or try it on.  I have noticed a disturbing trend toward “branding” everything which is extremely frustrating.  For example many recognize the symbol the musician Prince “branded” himself with but how do you spell that to Search for it.  For any Store owners out there considering how to make reach their market… just spell it and use the letters of the common English alphabet because ..::sToRe::.. may look ever so unusual and stand out, but is hardly rememberable and I will never find your item to wear and advertise my great find in my messy inventory If my new shoes are named  ..::sToRe::.. woimuet ultrawobbly cumquatue fat pack (ADD to Unpack) 🌼

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, BJoyful said:

I think our public land has a few places in Search.  I would use it more if I could add some tags and if you could add a landing point.  As it is now if I include Artists Village in Search (I think it is) people land in the middle of the Region at ground level which means they will end up trapped under a mesh landform which is invisible from underneath.  When this happens to me, I try to look around for something to sit on to get out or open Map and enter an altitude of +50 m and Teleport to it.  Imagine being a noob looking for the Artists Village.  How can this possibly be of any use to us and our land as it is?  The Search brings people to participate in a frustrating experience.  Same for Events if there is no forced landing point they will end up stuck under that landform.  If we set a forced landing point for Artists Village, visitors will most likely never see the GlastonBelli Event Venue or the Record Barn, or the Ballroom or the airport or the cable car ride or the hang gliders or the Office where all the Info is displayed.  I have been in SL 6 years and have never looked at a Classified ad, unless I found one but have no idea what it even looks like and didn’t know it was a classified ad.  I’d gladly pay L$30 per Landing Point and per search tag to have those in Search if that was an option.

For my own shopping, I find new stores by their chance mention or by asking the owner of something I’m interested in, in local chat in person at a gathering or in a Group like Bellisseria Citizens, or on SeraphimSL, then I Search the Store name inworld or on MP depending how much time I have and whether I need to see the item first or try it on.  I have noticed a disturbing trend toward “branding” everything which is extremely frustrating.  For example many recognize the symbol the musician Prince “branded” himself with but how do you spell that to Search for it.  For any Store owners out there considering how to make reach their market… just spell it and use the letters of the common English alphabet because ..::sToRe::.. may look ever so unusual and stand out, but is hardly rememberable and I will never find your item to wear and advertise my great find in my messy inventory If my new shoes are named  ..::sToRe::.. woimuet ultrawobbly cumquatue fat pack (ADD to Unpack) 🌼

In order to have a landing point, you have to create a separate parcel and put that parcel in search/places for 30L per week. That is how it always worked; it still works to some extent although search is broken and exact terms lead to  returns in the thousands, meaning your parcel is impossible to find. But some still work -- and BTW this is only on the regular viewer; search is not broken, or less broken, on Firestorm.

If you use the World Map to search for a region, yes, you will land at 128/128, which could put you in the middle of the lake or under a build.

But I'm not understanding why you can't have a landing point on a parcel to be found from search/places versus the map. It's an option on the land menu to set. I think "anywhere" is useless because it does create that problem you mentioned, although people with builds on the ground and the sky want to have "anywhere" on the FS viewer. I always put an exact landing point at a place that makes sense, i.e. a plaza in front of buildings. Example: Tofalar is a sim where I have all kinds of things on the ground and levels going up in the sky. But I create a "start quest" parcel and put that in search/places checking off the box so that people land there. The parcel has to be a minimum 128 m in size.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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  • 2 weeks later...

When I had a land rental business, I used Show in Search, Classifieds, Marketplace, the Land for Rent forum, my profile, my blog, my forum signature, an ad board in Caledon, and anything else I could think of to get my place out there and seen.

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