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Ginette Pinazzo

ARTICLE: Attracting and Retaining Adults in Second Life

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The KEY to customer retention is RELEVANCY.

The iPhone has become wildly popular and fundamentally changed the smartphone landscape – not because it neccesarily were technically superior to other smartphones at the time. The massive success is because of the forest of apps that sprung up increasingly and acceleratingly making the phones more and more relevant to their owners througout their days. It has become an integral part of their lives where they check their bank account, do their messaging, take their photos, create lists for grocery shopping, check when the next bus leaves, where the car is parked, search for bargains, do their gaming, listen to music, check for weather and news, and update their facebook. The iPhone has, to it's owners, become relevant more or less every few minutes  of the day. 

Facebook has also become wildly popular because it is a place where people share their life stories with people that matters to them – doing so in a manner that makes Facebook valuable to the surroundings and connections that are most relevant to them. In this manner Facebook has become relevant to their users to the extent many of them can't go through a single waking hour without checking it.

Twitter is more of a niche, but has made itself highly relevant in getting out live news feed of events transpiring and thus helped changed the political landscape in some locations.

So what has this got to do with adult content and retention?

Well, the key to retention for visitors to SecondLife looking for adult content is making SecondLife relevant to their needs. The hiding of such content into adult regions has made SecondLife less relevant – perhaps even significantly less relevant for these first time visitors, or signups as they are called in Linden Lab's statistics. 

Two factors that immediately could make SecondLife more relevant again are:

 

  1. The provisioning of anatomically correct avatars to signups who find it a real hassle of finding, comparing, purchasing and learning to set up and operate their avatar when all they want is a romantic adventure. Compounding this is these users don't really know if they want to take the plunge of what seems to be a relatively large monetary investment in getting the avatar set up in-world, when in reality we are talking about micro payments. (more on later.) 
     
  2. A permanent Adult tab in the viewer profile that only is visible to if your preferences are set to display adult content. 

Clearly a large section of new signups are looking for adult content and activities, and the dumbing down of the profiles to (for many) PG and thus boring profiles, will mean they are looking at individuals who, for them are most likely not relevant, so they move on having branded SecondLife as boring. 

By providing an Adult section of the profiles, one would both easier justify a clean, respectable profile that anyone on the grid could look at without being offended, while at the same time making the profiles highly relevant for those who also want to access the adult section of a profile. It would also allow for much greater self expression in the profiles – like we know many people want. In addition it is easy, from a technical standpoint to exclude this section of the profile from any outside indexing and perusal thus providing the privacy many SecondLife residents clearly desire. 

Another aspect that perhaps is making SecondLife, and this does not apply only to adult content, less relevant is the internal currency. First of all people will automatically be sceptical to buy into a new currency because they clearly have no reference to it. This is often seen even between seasoned residents who engage in major squabbles over L$200, which in real terms is a pittance they would not lift an eyebrow over in their real lives. 

An outfit, or a HUD running at L$5000 seems very expensive simply because of the number, when in reality we are talking about a minor dollar amount. It may therefore be much easier to convince a new signup to invest in an "adult ready" avatar on signup – for what many well see as a nominal dollar amount, that later pursuade them to invest in a an outfit that, because of the L$ price tag presented, at the surface looks expensive. 

This has also been one of the keys to the success of the iPhone and the App Store – most applications runs at what people consider a pittance. Exactly the same happened in iTunes where a song originally was $0.99 – a price that made it not worthwhile to pirat download music from obscrure sites and "services" any more. Compare this to Microsofts "Zune Points" where you had to pre-pay tokens for purchasing music. A scheme that is very simmilar to purchasing L$, and that flopped completely in the market place, and made Zune irrelevant to any but a few customers (the service and hardware is now discontinued.)

 

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Gavin, that comment you made was filled with at least 3 great new threads but Id say was oh-so off-topic for THIS thread. I understand your thinking and you'd likely make greater impact with each point as a new thread.

They are good topics, each one, though they don't really comment on my article as much as start new topics. Just saying!

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I'm sorry, Ginette, but, if anything, Gavin's post seems far more relevant to this forum than does your article.

There, you write, 

"If one considers 'adults' to be those identified by their actual age (and presumably maturity level), one has chosen a large very influential market that can comfortably be addressed in mainstream fashion. By opening the definition to include all adults (regardless of hobbies or predilections) the possibilities of marketing are as numerous as they are for any other product or service aimed at the non-children's or non-family market."

That's all very true.  And very relevant if you're talking about marketing SL to Adults in general (as opposed to Teens), but perhaps not so relevant to a forum that's concerned with promoting what LL defines as "Adult Content" to those adults who are particularly interested in it (as opposed to being primarily interested in Steampunk, vampires, live music or whatever).

I'm probably missing the point, but I didn't really see why you posted here a link to an article which, if I properly understood your drift, argues that LL should be doing more to attract content creators in general.   Wouldn't it be more appropriate to the General General Discussion forum, if you see what I mean?

What's it got to do with Adult Content particularly?

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It may help to have more concrete examples of content in this broader class of "adult" that's "beyond sex."

There are lots of things that might be "adult" in this sense.  In-world performances of Mamet, maybe, although if that's a good example, I'm not sure if it would be because of the language (which very well may require an Adult maturity rating on the performance sim), or merely the subject matter (which a different playwright might address with all G-rated language).

If I be honest about what I might expect should appeal to "adults" rather than teens, it's less about what the content includes, and more about what it excludes.  For example, one might suppose that adults appreciate venues where it's guaranteed that no Justin Bieber will be heard, no "paranormal romance" of vampire and werewolf RP, no plush toys come to life.  Yet plenty of adults keep coming back to their furry avatars or their Bloodlines HUDs--Bieber maybe not so much--so I'm finding this kind of "adult" content hard to delineate.

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One way to think about this can be in terms of 'programming'....(regarding other media like television or film)...

Media created specifically for children (children's programming) exists.

There is also 'family programming' intended for all-ages.

Then there is 'adult progtamming' intended for adults.

These 3 levels can coorespond to SL's G,M and A ratings.

Note that the adult programming may include, but is not limited to sex. We are talking about the adult 'audience' here. This is a potentially mainstream market to which I am referring.

PS to Innula - this is VERY on topic in this forum.

And Gavin's comments are great but are certainly not 'more relevant' than the thread I started. There is room for all here.

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Ginette Pinazzo wrote:

Yes Innula. You are missing the point.

 

Could you please explain how, though?  

As far as I can see, you're saying "Adult Content isn't the only way to attract adults to SL, and to keep them here once they get here".   If that's what you're saying (maybe you're not, and I've misunderstood), then sure, I wholly agree.  

But I don't quite see why you're posting about it here.   Why not post in the Vampire forum, "Vampire RP isn't the only way to attact people to SL" as well?  

All I'm saying is that your comments don't seem to me particularly germane to "Adult Content"  which, as you must know, doesn't just mean, in SL "content likely to appeal to adults".    It means "content which LL restricts to certain types of sim, and the visibility of which is restricted in search".   I thought that's what we were supposed to be discussing here.

 

 

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Ginette Pinazzo wrote:

Note that the adult programming may include, but is not limited to sex. We are talking about the adult 'audience' here. This is a potentially mainstream market to which I am referring.

Right, and what would be examples of that?  

I mean, would Mamet qualify (give or take "mainstream"), and if so, would that be because the language needs an Adult maturity rating (assuming it does), or just because its subject matter is of interest mainly to adults?

And if it's the latter, then I think Innula's post is on point: it may be a fine topic to discuss, and I certainly don't care what forum in which it's discussed, but it would over-narrow the audience to discuss it only here -- just as hosting such content on Adult-rated land would over-narrow its audience, too.

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I think Ginette misses a couple points there.

The first being that there is not really a lack of people arriving at the gates of SecondLife looking for adult content, but what these people increasingly found after the adult content was farmed out to separate regions was that SecondLife had significantly become less relevant for these new signups as it became overly difficult to reach the content they were looking for. They therefore turn at the gate never to return.

The second being that Ginette has been pushing for increased marketing of adult content under the guise of "sophisticated". The problem with this is that Linden Lab has no interest in being seen to be in the adult industry, and would rather shed the the somewhat tainted image they already have because of the large amount of adult content in SecondLife. Linden Lab will not engage in this – forget it!

So I think Ginette totally overshoots the target with a push like this. What we can work with Linden Lab on, is to better accommodate those who actually arrive (and the sheer number is large). Some of the changes we have seen after Blondin's depart is a first, good step in that direction. 

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It isn't up to LL to advertise adult offerings in SL. Band together, pool your funds, and take out your own google ad sense program.

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But is there a lack of people interested in Adult content showing up in SL -- in which case advertising would help -- or is it that they arrive and then can't or  don't find what they seek?

I guess it could be both... that if one effectively advertised the experiences that are actually on offer in SL, it would resonate with an audience highly motivated to get in-world and past any hurdles.

(Well, that's one question, anyway.  Then there's whether or not mainstream search advertising still has value in the markets being targeted here... but that question is a very different tangent.)

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I think there's room for some targeted marketing, certainly.   I've mentioned before, somewhere, that I've got some tenants who're refugees from IMVU, and who came to SL because they'd heard Adult Content was more open and of a higher quality than it is in IMVU (and also because they weren't happy with the amount of not particularly clandestine age-play that goes on there) and they're knocked out by what they've found here.   Not just the sex stuff -- they enjoy sailing and flying and exploring, like everyone else, but they do like the BDSM stuff, too, and are bringing over a steady stream of friends from IMVU to join them.

So yeah, I think if LL can do it, then there's certainly potential in telling a sector of IMVU, at least, about what's on offer here.

But when people do get here, if they don't already have friends like my tenants to show them round, then I agree it's much more a matter of helping people find what they're looking for once they get here (which includes groups of people with whom to get friendly -- I'm sure one of the reasons for the success of vampire RP, in particular, is that it's a ready made community with an established rp into which to fit, at least while you're getting started here, and so's BDSM, in a way).   

 

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Innula Zenovka wrote:


Ginette Pinazzo wrote:

Yes Innula. You are missing the point.

All I'm saying is that your comments don't seem to me particularly germane to "Adult Content"  which, as you must know, doesn't just mean, in SL "content likely to appeal to adults".    It means "content which LL restricts to certain types of sim, and the visibility of which is restricted in search".   I thought that's what we were supposed to be discussing here. 

I think She's arguing that 'Adult Content' should blend in anything that could appeal to adults.

So that say, if you wanted to have a location specific to the interests of the EU Financial Crisis as a discussion topic cafe... (hey, it could happen), it would be -IDEAL- and perfectly proper to put this next to a snuff-porn forced capture xxx-RP space-vampire club set inside the ruins of a drifting spaceship, rezzed at ground level. ;)

- Cause, all adults like -both- things equally, and at the same time... and there's no difference in them that would logically lead them to being in different places... o.O

Personally: No thanks.

Gavin's notions in here seem more reasonable to me.

'Adult Content' is -NOT- the same as an adult user.

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Qie Niangao wrote:

But is there a lack of people interested in Adult content showing up in SL -- in which case advertising would help -- or is it that they arrive and then can't or  don't find what they seek?

I suspect that there's -MORE- people interested in adult content than non, and by adult content I specifically means the XXX stuff. Not the violent, combat, or other things, but the blue and pink poseballs...

- But I have no data for this belief, only what I get from opening the map and looking at green dots. The green dots are almost always clustered on the A-rated sims, and specifically the Zindra ones over all others.

To me, if you're running a XXX-venue in mainland Zindra SL, you've got all the cards - the majority of users belong to you, and if you're not cashing in on that level of traffic, you need to re-examine your business model.

Most venues in SL would love to have even half the visitors of the average Zindra hangout...

 

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your 2nd paragraph specifically, only supports my thesis :

"The problem with this is that Linden Lab has no interest in being seen to be in the adult industry, and would rather shed the the somewhat tainted image they already have because of the large amount of adult content in SecondLife. Linden Lab will not engage in this – forget it!"

That is precisely why a proposal in shift of marketing Adult SL to 'adults' as opposed to 'sex-starved adults'  has been developing, and has been implemented already, so that LL can undertake a do-able marketing approach, so they CAN find a way overcome the stigma.   (the recent opening up of the DG is a direct result of this new approach). Who knows if LL can maintain this approach and stay on message. Only time will tell. So much may depend upon clever branding.

I dont see this as any type of overshooting. I ses this as positioning for very improved attraction AND retention as we move forward.

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I agree Ann. the best advertiising will likely always come from residents, and thats fine. LL is a platform......a space...how people use it (and advertize is, is up to them).

My article is more about LL's general marketing efforts and how they can relate to Adult SL, and how clever branding can really complement residents' efforts (rather than hinder them)

 

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Of course, as you say: 'Adult Content' is -NOT- the same as an adult user."

My premise is that there is simply no reason to limit the definition of 'adult'  for branding purposes.

There is everything to gain by expanding the defintion (in line with the programming analogy I used) and that everything includes effective marketing opportunities.

In fact, its adult users that we are trying to attract and retain........so Id say they are quite an important factor here. What you are considering 'adult content' is just part of the content that adult users may enjoy. We will likely have no shortage of that adult content. This is about attracting and retaining those users.

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I think what others are getting at, and thinking you're missing (whether or not you actually are), is that people -LIKE- a divide between their 'porn' and their 'adult time'.

We don't want a world that is divided between

time with the kids, time with the pesky teenagers, and sex.

We want more to being an adult than jumping each other's bones...

AND... (the part where I think others are not seeing it the same as you)

We want a clearer -divide- between 'sexy time' and 'mature time'.

I DO NOT want to be sitting there talking about the economy and the troubles in South Sudan while someone next to me is engaged in virtual-sex.

Its just not appropriate.

No more than I'd want to have that going on in the office - regardless of what some fun to read online erotica might have for a theme... When in the actual office rather than the RP-office... I expect and desire 'professionalism' which does not include some guys wanker in my face...

 

This is why there needs to be a brand that applies to the 'pron', to the bouncing on somebody's nice big, firm... trampoline... and a -different- brand for the 'mature' space.

Adult -users- does not mean people want the pron in their face all the time.

But at the same time... when I'm in that 'prony mood' - and my avatar's running around naked somewhere... I want to feel that sense of freedom from the constraints of normality... which in a sense means I don't want the 'office folks' and such around me.

Two different brand concepts are vital to keeping the sanity.

Otherwise we're just a pack of hairless Bonobos.

 

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Pussycat Catnap wrote:

I think what others are getting at, and thinking you're missing (whether or not you actually are), is that people -LIKE- a divide between their 'porn' and their 'adult time'.

We don't want a world that is divided between

time with the kids, time with the pesky teenagers, and sex.

We want more to being an adult than jumping each other's bones...

AND... (the part where I think others are not seeing it the same as you)

We want a clearer -divide- between 'sexy time' and 'mature time'.

I DO NOT want to be sitting there talking about the economy and the troubles in South Sudan while someone next to me is engaged in virtual-sex.

Its just not appropriate.

No more than I'd want to have that going on in the office - regardless of what some fun to read online erotica might have for a theme... When in the actual office rather than the RP-office... I expect and desire 'professionalism' which does not include some guys wanker in my face...

 

This is why there needs to be a brand that applies to the 'pron', to the bouncing on somebody's nice big, firm... trampoline... and a -different- brand for the 'mature' space.

Adult -users- does not mean people want the pron in their face all the time.

But at the same time... when I'm in that 'prony mood' - and my avatar's running around naked somewhere... I want to feel that sense of freedom from the constraints of normality... which in a sense means I don't want the 'office folks' and such around me.

Two different brand concepts are vital to keeping the sanity.

Otherwise we're just a pack of hairless Bonobos.

 

 

^^^^  THIS!!!! ^^^^

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Taking out an adsense program is not going to help retaining new signups. 

... and the problem is not there are no signups. If we are to believe LL – and I think we shall in this case, about 16000 individuals pass the first gate every day. That is over 5.8 million per year, and yet the average participation is declining (slightly but slowly).  So there must be a total mismatch between image portrayed (or perceived) and what people experience once signed up. 

Seen from the adult perspective, take our fresh off noob Ronnie. Let's make a coupe scenarios and see what might happen to him.

1.  Ronnie is a half seaoned pron surfer so he follows a pattern he has learned from other sites (not 3D). 

 

  • He immediately looks for the online users menu in the viewer to see who is on – but he can't find it
  • So he goes looking for browsing profiles – but that is nowhere to be found
  • He hits up the search button, only to be met by this cludge - and still there is no Profiles or People tab.

Search kludge

 

By this time Ronnei has already started to loose interest, but he makes another honest attempt and punch in one of his favorite keywords in search, but only a fraction of the results returned are people. He clicks on something that might look like a profile, hits the Profile button only to be opened to a page where the main feature seems to be Share something...

Share something

 

All right, all right, he makes one last attempt and punch in one of those naughty words in search and wow did he get rewarded.

warning

Adult-verified account, huh? 

He takes the link and gets recycled to the page where they ask him to verify his birth date, but HEY, I ALREADY DID THAT ON SIGNUP 5 MINUTES AGO!

At this time out Ronnie boy is lost forever. Never to be seen in SecondLife again.

 

2. Ronnie goes Destination Guide

Ronnie has logged in for the first time and up pops the new and shiny destination floater. He finds a place that might be up his sleve and he thinks he looks pretty cool in his new noob avatar – everyone else around him looks more or less the same, so he hits the place he selected where he lands 30 seconds later.

Oh, man do I look like a cartoon figure now! – How did they get to look like THAT, and I...????!!

Ronnie has been in a chat before so he quickly finds out that what he is looking for is some blueball time, and charming as he is, he meets Babe who is willing to take him to one of those places where balls makes men. 

Wow, never has he seen so many options in a bed, but hey, the underwear does not come off – it is bolted on and those briefs looks like they came out of a NATO catalog. And Babe keeps going on about HUDs and attachment points and market place and...

His little adventure ends up in total humiliation, so Ronnie logs off never to set foot in SecondLife again. 

 

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You raise some very good points, Gavin.

I'd repressed that the profiles still open to the "Share" tab, even though the dev promised that it would go back to "About" after  people were fully aware of the (then-) new sharing feature.  Maybe they're still delusionally waiting for SL users to spend all their time scribbling on each others' "walls" like good little social networkers.

Returning to the main topic of the thread, I'm now thinking I was taking too literally the idea of expanding the actual meaning of "adult" content in SL, but that rather the plan is to gussy-up the smut, using language about "adult" educational, corporate, and cultural opportunities to lure in a market mature enough to also take the pr0n.

There's one thing I very much like about that, which is that it doesn't immediately squick the prospective user with the wrong kink.  This is a problem that the adult gateway folks have to face, too:

Almost all porn turns off almost all porn customers. 

(It's kinda like eyeglasses: most prescriptions are worse than nothing for most people who wear glasses.)

Anyway, the thing is that "targeting the market" for sexual content in SL needs either surgical precision or extreme abstraction, to make sure prospective customers aren't first presented with kinks that aren't theirs, sending them away in disgust.

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So just being a noob here, rezzed just 10 days ago, the experience is fresh in my memory. My experience was more like being dropped in a T S Eliot Wasteland.

I'd say LL should take the old first rule of porn movies to heart. That is to say, a porn movie had to show the real deal in the first minute or it went in the dust bin. So as soon as it can be determined that the noob wants adult content, a whirlwind taste of hidden pleasures should launch to implant in the noob a promise of what may be found. And then to be dropped in a desert island adult sandbox.

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Welcome to SL and to the forums, fester.

Where, if I may ask, was the TS Elliot Wasteland at which you arrived?   And have you had a chance to look at Adult Hub since then ? If it was the Adult Hub at which you arrived 10 days ago, it was still in the final stages of construction, I think.

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