Why The New Signup Site Is Not Helping SL

by Pixeleen Mistral on 24/04/11 at 10:04 pm

Hubris and sensipoo Iinden follow the path of the SL noob to displayname nirvana

Hoping to counter a worrying trend of declining interest in Second Life, the Lab unveiled a new signup/orientation and dumbed-down "basic" viewer a week ago. Is mass acceptance of the walled garden of cyber delights just around the corner? Perhaps not.

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the
inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in
the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of
darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost
children..." - Ezekiel 25:17

While I am sure that the Lab would like to shepherd the noobies through the valley of darkness, it is hard to imagine SL retaining many new players based on the less than glorious experience for noobies during signup and when visiting destinations prominently featured in the viewer's destination guide. But none of this is mentioned by ex-Linden staffer Hamlet Au who likes to blame players for the Lab's problems, and gave the signup update a glowing review, saying:

Sleek and engaging, selecting your starting avatar look is now more interactive and animated, and unsurprisingly, it's reminiscent of The Sims, the Electronic Arts franchise Linden Lab's new CEO Rod Humble helped turn into a mass market phenomenon

Hamlet then pounced on an uptick in completed daily registrations as evidence that Second Life's salvation may be at hand. Hamlet's partisan, positive review was rewarded with a number of comments from Hamlet's new bff: game god Rodvik Linden.

Unfortunately, while it appears that signups have increased, the number of concurrent players continue to fall. Are the players joining SL, only to flee? Did Hamlet or Rodvik get further than looking at the signup web page? Tateru Nino's SL statistics suggests something is still very wrong with falling numbers of concurrent online players despite increased sigups.

signupsperday400 1
completed signups go up
median conc by day400
median concurrency continues to fall

The ongoing fall in online players is unsurprising. Fundamental shortcomings of the troubled game platform are still very much in evidence, with sim crashes, avatars that never rez, and the sea of gray textures all too common in Second Life and immediately inflicted on new players.

For example, consider the path of two noobies who came to be known as Hubris and sensipoo Iinden - thanks to the wonders of SL displaynames.

the avatar merry-go-round suggests that furs, tinies, and elves are not needed for mass market acceptance

After selecting a pre-fab goth girl avatar, you'll need an account name.

your preferred name has probably already been taken

The good names have all been taken. Previously, players selected from a list of last names which limited the competition for a reasonable first name because you could always pick a different last name if your favorite firstname had been taken, so AOL-style names such as pixie04201996 were rare. Now that all new players are limited to a single account name, competition for a reasonable name is fierce. 


Try plan B - but bad luck for you - someone else is pixiepixie.


Spin again, pixiepixiepixie has also been taken.


Welcome to Second Life pixiepixiepixiepixie.

free or fee? pixiepixiepixiepixie is feeling immersed in the web page already

Credit card now, or credit card later? Keep in mind your account may be terminated at any time without compensation, and you are - at best - renting access to whatever you "buy" in Second Life.

the glories of basic viewer 2.0 await - but pixiepixiepixiepixie looks pensive

Getting into the spirit of SL, after working her way through the orientation, pixiepixiepixiepixie chooses a store advertising free clothes that will give her look a "sexy edge" according to the featured destination guide. Keep in mind that the first 30 minutes experience is crucial for new players.

pixiepixiepixiepixie arrives at Sexy Freebies Paradise

No irony here. Sexy Freebies Paradise continually spams players the announcement: "Please Observe Rules: No Vamp Bites! No Nude! No Spam!"

more players begin to appear as clouds, distant textures load slowly
a few players' hair appears
5 minutes later, the closest textures have still not loaded - nor have most avatar clothes

I cannot imagine why anyone would want to wait 5 minutes and still not see the textures closest to your viewpoint, although longtime SL players seem to have agreed that this is a problem which will seldom be mentioned. This misguided rendering strategy is part of what makes mainstream gamers roll their eyes and head for the exits when confronted with the Second Life experience. Who can blame them - and when will Rodvik's coding elves address this issue?

game over! the sim has crashed

Pixiepixiepixiepixie experiences her first sim crash after 15 minutes in-world. This may have been just as well, since there did not seem to be any freebies at the Sexy Freebies Paradise store.

now homeless, pixiepixiepixiepixie relogs and is dropped into a welcome area

If pixiepixiepixiepixie can't have a freebie sexy edge for her avatar's look, maybe a sexy name will spice up her virtual life. In the past, the Second Life community was assured by the Lab that it wanted displaynames even if those names conflicted with existing player's names, so it seemed reasonable for pixiepixiepixiepixie to take advantage of this feature.

There are some that suspect the Lab will soon be pushing for players to use their real names as displaynames, a logical next step down the path toward Facebooking Second Life on which the Lab has embarked. The prominently displayed options for linking Facebook accounts to Second Life avatars in the new viewer lends some credence to this idea.

But what of those who's last name in real life is "Linden"? In Second Life the name "Linden" is reserved for the game gods - even in displaynames. Are real life Lindens doomed to forever wander the metaverse incognito? Apparently not if they are willing to misspell their name and treat a sans-serif upper case I  as a roleplay upper case L - and so sensipoo Iinden was born.

the newest Iinden
sensipoo is ready to meet the world

Sensipoo was going to need a friend, so the next day Hubris Iinden selected a goth guy avatar and tried to joined her - but not without some difficulty.

Hubris arrives in the orientation as a cloud surrounded by clouds
5 minutes later one of the other player's avatar appears
minutes pass and a second player's avatar appears - but not Hubris
johnny0207 has fallen asleep in front of the destinations - Hubris remains cloudy
Hurbis is still a cloud - but is greeted warmly at the Remembering Friends funeral dance
sl41 1
still cloudy and in despair, Hubris logs out
on his return, Hubris is asked if he is male or female

It is possible that it was pure chance that last weekend the signup process seemed actively hostile to new players, but many of the issues I saw are the same problems SL players have been begging the Lab to fix for years.

Based on these experiences, I am beginning to understand why the Lab does not indulge in the sort of extensive ad campaigns used by competing platforms with robust player growth such as IMVU. William Bernbach probably said it best:

"A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it's bad." -- William Bernbach

40 Responses to “Why The New Signup Site Is Not Helping SL”

  1. Charity Stohr

    Apr 24th, 2011

    Fake bible verse is fake.

  2. That annoying bitch

    Apr 24th, 2011

    Locations that don’t rez are the fault of whoever put the place together. If you design a store correctly then it rezzes fast even on crappy computers. As for avatars not rezzing? Could be a number of things. Including use of wireless connections. LL could benefit from running some tests in that regard since so many people use wireless. And it could be use of a computer not up to what SL requires.

    As for me? I rez in in seconds. My inventory loads fast. When I teleport I arrive in a second and am rezzed. When I cross a sim border it is just a bump. I don’t use wireless and have no intention of using wireless until forced to.

    The real problem is a lack of places to go that people want to hang around at. Maybe LL needs to provide an incentive to venue operators to run places people want to be at that rez fast, have entertainment people are interested in, and are well managed.

  3. Senban Babii

    Apr 24th, 2011

    Don’t worry. Now that There is probably returning, we’ll have somewhere to hold the Post-SL Party.


    And of course TSO is somewhere in the pipeline.

    There’s little doubt there’s still a market for virtual worlds and SL is about to have another competitor in the field. A competitor that’s talking to potential customers, getting feedback.

    And oh look, EVE has volunteer mentors. Remember when SL had those?


    “The Interstellar Services Department (ISD) is a group of volunteers who graciously share their free time in order to assist in a variety of tasks that all go towards supporting and enriching the players experiences in the world of EVE. They answer questions from players, help hunt down and resolve problems, provide news and fiction as well as acting as good-will ambassadors throughout the community. ”

    Imagine if SL had this. What a difference it would make to those new resident retention figures.

    LL is doing absolutely nothing effective to entice and retain residents and doing everything they can to alienate the existing residents and I for one will party hard at the Post-SL Party. Tickets soon available from your local internet.

  4. lol

    Apr 25th, 2011


    thats what I say after a prayer

  5. Pappy Enoch

    Apr 25th, 2011

    I gots to check to see if’n Whoisyourdaddy Linden am taken.

    Whee hoo! ALT time!

  6. Axel Oakleaf

    Apr 25th, 2011

    A Few things that would help SL are to bring back the SL Mentors group,they were actually helping newbies,redirect everyone from Waterhead or other welcome area to The Shelter. The welcome areas are full of people who make trouble for newbies,first impressions count,either close the welcome areas or redirect newbies to places that help them like Help People Island,New Citizen’s Incorporated,or The Shelter. Those places have classes for newbies.

  7. Nelson Jenkins

    Apr 25th, 2011

    Yeah, first-hour experience sucks.

    Cool story, bro.

  8. Senban Babii

    Apr 25th, 2011

    Look, I know the Herald doesn’t get delivered to addresses on Ivory Tower Lane but just in case one of the Lindens happens to wander past whilst trying to work out how to wear their pants the right way round by the third attempt.

    New people coming in and being dumped in some welcome area after rudimentary orientation and left to their own devices.

    New people being given an adequate orientation and then a series of tasks to complete on the main grid that will teach them basic skills and give them some actual experience whilst getting them engaged in a series of tasks that require some thought and problem-solving skills that will keep their interest.

    One of these models is used by SL.
    One of these models is used by EVE.

    Solve for a given value of durr.

    This really isn’t cynosural field theory and LL isn’t stupid despite the evidence. That tells me they have to be making these decisions and choosing these paths deliberately and that is why I hold them in contempt.

  9. Yep

    Apr 25th, 2011

    Go getem Tiger :P

  10. MetaMan

    Apr 25th, 2011

    It’s not the players fault,It is LL fault after all for how long LL and Second Life been a round i thought LL would have got all the problems out of Second Life by now and made it more affordable for players.

    and here is some of the main reason why Second Life is in truble

    main land price planing is to unrealistic

    Island need to be more afforable and let players control the amount of prims on your island then LL would have a market

    LL should get ride of Linden homes so the Real Estate market can recouver and can acouliy compet againts one nother not trying to compet againts LL

    Thier is no stock market so econmay and bussines can grow and wealth and jobs can be made

  11. Yep

    Apr 25th, 2011

    Not only is the service less than desirable, but I found this morning when I was about to buy 10K lindens for a land rental, that the cost for buying linden dollars has gone up two more USD per 10K.
    So now the Lindens want us to pay even more for less of a service. I ended up closing the buy lindens page seeing this. If I do not have something now, I can just do without it.

  12. maiee soiux

    Apr 25th, 2011

    Have you seen this guys you tube video. He doesn’t even get this far in his new user experience and is a little more colorful in his choice of language.


  13. Goth

    Apr 25th, 2011

    Linden Lab is stupid if they want moar people to sign up then they need to do the following its quite simple.

    1. Allow users to create their own Last Names.

    2. Removal of CDS spyware system.

    3. Make Viewer 2 moar friendly, and allow it to revert back to the old viewer the way people are used to like the UI.

    4. Stop advertising Second Life to Copybotters on pirate bay lulz I know LL might not have placed it there but I laugh because of that.

    5. Display names suck and just result in maor griefing.

  14. Axel Oakleaf

    Apr 25th, 2011

    @ Senben Babii


    At welcome areas people play that horrible cRap music.

    Seriously you can’t spell Rap without crap.

    This stuff is better.


  15. Axel Oakleaf

    Apr 25th, 2011

  16. Nelson Jenkins

    Apr 25th, 2011

    @ Axel Oakleaf

    Hate to break it to ya, but you were an idiot to sign up for a Premium Account in the first place.

    Just thought I’d let you know.

  17. Axel Oakleaf

    Apr 26th, 2011

    @ Nelson Jenkins

    Nigga you best be joking

  18. Little Lost Linden

    Apr 26th, 2011


    Axel just said “Nigga”.

  19. Dubdubs

    Apr 26th, 2011

    As a former member of IMVU let me just say that IMVU sucks complete and total ass, even when compared to SL. The last thing SL needs is to become IMVU.

  20. Dubdubs

    Apr 26th, 2011

    And signing up for a premium account is pretty dumb. Weekly rewards? Why pay monthy for that when you can just buy L when you need it? A home? You can get a better home by renting on a private estate, which you don’t need a premium account for.

  21. Dubdubs

    Apr 26th, 2011

    The problem isn’t display names, I’ve never seen them be used for griefing. The problem is quite obviously too much lag and bugs.

  22. Axel Oakleaf

    Apr 26th, 2011

  23. Yep

    Apr 26th, 2011

    Do you know who else is on TF2 at times?

    Nelson Jenkins.

  24. Nelson Jenkins

    Apr 26th, 2011

    @ Yep

    Not since the Mann Co. Hat Store.

  25. Dave Bell

    Apr 26th, 2011

    The problem with renting is that the landowners can vanish. On what I’ve seen on rental prices, a Premium Membership with that free 512 sq. m. isn’t so dreadful a deal, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a newcomer.

    I tried the character creation process: there are some obvious flaws.

    1: When you’re picking your name, there’s no explanation that Display Names are available. Something such as “pixie04201996″ isn’t so crazy when you know you can set a Display Name.

    2: No explanation of a lot of stuff, just the usual endless pages of legal stuff to read, which everyone ignores. In particular, nothing obvious about what you can change later, like converting between Free and Premium.

    3: Possibly because I had another Viewer on my system, the download, install, and run process gave me Viewer 2 in Advanced mode, and used my default browser settings: external rather than internal. This breaks in-world search and web profiles.

    No wonder people give up.

    It does look as though some aspects have been unusually unreliable this last weekend. That doesn’t help. Most of the character’s avatar never loaded without some messing around in the Inventory, which isn’t a Basic mode option. The Destinations Guide wouldn’t load either.

  26. hobo kelly

    Apr 26th, 2011

    question: if LL began to sanction the griefing of landlords that piss you off, would that get moar people to log on, and would they all go to rent at Ravenglass? hmmm…

  27. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Apr 26th, 2011

    The only thing that kept me in SL was the trolling.

  28. Yep

    Apr 26th, 2011

    “The only thing that kept me in SL was the trolling.”


  29. bubblesort

    Apr 26th, 2011

    The signup process was designed by a brilliant AI named GLADoS. She promised that there will be cake soon if we stop complaining, so I really don’t see what the problem is.

  30. Yep

    Apr 27th, 2011

    “She promised that there will be cake soon if we stop complaining,”


  31. bubblesort

    Apr 27th, 2011

    Youtube videos keep timing out for me constantly all week. It’s obnoxious. Good link though, Yep!

    Here’s another one, it’s a TED talk with some brainiac going on for 20 mins about being wrong. I think it sums up LL’s situation pretty well. LL is like the road runner who has run off a cliff but hasn’t looked down yet to realize he’s about to fall.


    The past few months has seen the beginnings of a major shift in online culture and technology. Game engines are getting more accessible, movers and shakers of the online counter culture are trying to be more safe for work and respectable. Things like the cypherpunk movement are exploding into things like wikileaks and the Egyptian revolution. ED sold out, I Can Haz Cheezburger bought RocketBoom, moot is recreating the image board to be more safe for work. VC funding is flowing freely in silicon valley. The remixers on canv.as are asking to be able to remix video games. What do you think all the /b/ tards are going to do when they realize that they can remix together on the cry3 engine? LL should be marketing SL as a remix portal, but they don’t realize what their product actually does. They’ll be left behind if they don’t do something drastic. Consumption in SL sucks. Making stuff in SL is still cool… for now.

  32. hobo kelly

    Apr 27th, 2011

    this one might have cats in it, or not…


  33. Jake

    Apr 30th, 2011

    If the drawdistance was set to 24 metres by default, I’m sure more people would stay in sl after the time playing.

  34. Smoothie Perl

    May 1st, 2011

    I made the same test with Viewer v. 2 (signed myself as new member).
    Those times you mentioned is totaly false for me!!!!
    After 40 minutes my avatar was still a cloud :(
    I let it down and trying with another viewer….after a logic time of waiting, I appear inWorld but……not in avatar I choose in the signup page LOL. I think was random…..a regular next door girl :)
    I tried to TP myself out of that laggy welcome island….
    (yayk! still laggy after all those years???)….and….
    If I was a new user I’m afraid I wouldnt return to this nonsense.
    If anyone doenst believe, I dare to make the test!

  35. Poe Zepp

    May 5th, 2011

    Maybe the stop playing because they see all of these other users with cooler first and last names. Who wants the last name of Resident? How utterly dorky is that?

    The old system allowed for more Bella’s, Pixie’s and whatever other first names people wanted. They should have kept the old naming system BUT still allowed one to change their display name. How uncomplicated is that?

    I HATE looking at my friends list now. I HATE that some of my “friends” seem to be unable to make up their mind on what name they go by. All these years they went by such and such and I log in one day to find they changed there name to something silly or entirely different. It’s jarring and upsetting.

    Call me an old fart I don’t care. First life it’s not so easy to change your name. It should be the same way in secondlife and it shouldn’t be free.

    I can understand wanting to change your display name to take on the last name of one’s current spouse of the month or to get rid of those very stupid numbers telling everyone the year you were born or graduated or change it to something more respectable since your avatar isn’t stripping anymore.

    Sadly, the way the name system is set up now seems to only fit the moronic whims of roleplayers. What you idiots can’t include your character’s name in that block of text telling everyone you smell like flowers or dirt or something ubber macho mainly?

    Sorry but someone can’t make a witty secondlife name then perhaps they are too stupid to play secondlife.

    Then there is trying to ban someone. Because of the new naming system it IS more complicated. The Linden’s lied…they seem to do that a lot. Before all you had to do was cut and paste the name into your add to ban list. Now you have to fuss with removing the period between their first and last account name and restoring the space. And that is only if some hapless noob was smart enough to get that instead of the display name.

    Rant out!

  36. GothGirl Demonia

    May 5th, 2011

    Going to make a post here about exactly why users dont want to sign up.

    1. The new user names suck, and need to allow us to create our own Second Life First & Last name, or revert back to the old system, as far as display names, IMO those could be fine however in some cases I have seen display names used to Troll against new residents who don’t know that it is a display name, and me myself I always use old names anyways.

    2. Viewer 2 is a piece of crap, Sure it could be good but I do not like the interface layout, and would like the option to modify and customize my own viewer 2 in world like any other game that I play on the internet, such as revert back to the old classic interface and still be using viewer 2.

    3. Spyware Systems such as, ZF Red Zone, which was banned from Second Life, and Client Detection System (CDS), no one wants to spend money in a game where one resident has control over a large portion of the grid, and can bring harm to many residents, every since my name got add to his data base I stop spending around 10-20K Every month in SL, so I no longer buy stuff much, and when I do it isn’t really much.

    Linden Lab needs to remove these from Second Life, and if the users refuse to comply then remove their accounts, I know that I talked to Zfire Xue about Red Zone, he admit to working against my account and manually adding my name, and he should have removed the system when Linden Lab asked, but instead he challenged people to hack his server on his own forums and someone did, and as he did not listen to LL they removed his account and his system.

    4. When there is so many ripped freebies going around the grid and newbs who freely collect them and use without knowing who needs to buy new content, and btw I did see the Gothicatz store on the internet for download every single item they have ever created, but I thought Skills Hak was suppose to protect them, Obviously not?

    Here is the links to a few things I have found.



    Also many popular places I once played at are gone from SL, such as NOR which was once 32+ Regions is only 12 regions now.

    DCS Island no one plays there anymore.

    No BNWCS combat sims without rules anymore.

    Very few GOR sims without Copybot content on them );

  37. Malus

    May 21st, 2011

    I’m more interested in what their revenue numbers look like. Are they in danger of folding anytime soon? If so – there are other options – up to and including building my own opensim grid and giving all my crazy SL friends the URL. I’m only here for the relationships I’ve developed – and that can be had anywhere if the logistics and coordination is right.

    The problem is virtual worlds are becoming more and more commoditized; the future is multilayered integrated public grids on small and large screens. LL could be seen as a response to the cyberpunk ethos in the minds of its early proponents (I admit I fell for it, hook, line and sinker) – which in the dystopian Tessier-Cesspool void that is the LL grid today, has no cultural context with the networked generation of practically cradle plugged in hyperactive dilettantes. In this ecosystem regurgitating the same old system and slathering on a thin veneer of ‘new’ features can only get you so far. Underneath it is still the same-old same-old – with the emphasis on old (although not as old as the oldest continuously running 3D sim currently in operation: Active Worlds circa 1995).

    If they want to remain relevant they will have to push the envelope significantly. I thought they were going to make interoperability a reality – but after tentatively dipping their toe into Open Grid Public Beta, they soon gave up and closed it down. Given the departure of Philip, and the control of LL firmly in the hands of suits, I don’t see it happening.

    That leaves a long slow decline. I predict 5 years from now we’ll look back on LL and wonder what happened – much as I do now when I think of Active Worlds. I won’t be crying though – it will be more like – to use an automobile analogy – wondering how we ever managed to get around on those old horse drawn wagons, compared to the sleek flying cars we all use now-a-days…

  38. MotoNeko

    May 26th, 2011

    Ell Oh Ell.

    I have never experienced this kind of issue in my year of continual, daily SLing. Either your computer is having issues, or your connection sucks. Other than that, problems with rez speed tend to be highly sensitive to how the builder of a sim chooses to organize, texture and script their objects. Also, avatar script load can have an effect on the sim’s ability to process data in a timely fashion, if said sim is already full of badly-written scripted objects and suchlike when you get there.

    All I can do is laugh at this article. I’m sorry. :-)

  39. EX Ana Lumet (SL Whore)

    Jun 1st, 2011

    this game used to be funny , one year without login and im VERY HAPPY
    SL used to be just fun, SEX, Wild, Perv, devilicius,

    this game is over to me, long time ago

  40. Jayden

    Jun 7th, 2011

    Keep in mind that I created an account before April 30th’s big TOS change, and before I ever created an account with Linden Lab keep in mind that they told me and did business with me with the statement that I own any Virtual Property I have in Second Life, and any asset data on my account, and now they seem like they can take all that away.

    Linden Lab has screwed with me a lot of times over stupid Griefers to closing my account Perm twice but yet I have actual proof saved to my hard drives of their old Terms OF Service, and many records of Linden Lab abuse including the fact that people can use Second Life service to illegally Launder Money, Gamble, and anyone can start a casino without even a license, and that is just the begining of some of the stuff I have.

    I even have proof of Linden Lab banning Innocent personal without any reason from SL other than Pranks made to Linden Lab, and many other things to go along with that.

    Linden Lab also can Terminate an account any time they please true they own the servers, but if you Spoof your hardware information using an illegal viewer, use a complete seperate gateway, and a VPN WTF is Linden Lab going to do about it I mean they Dont ask for.

    1. Credit Card Info, or Even your RL Name unless you buy Land or upgrade to premium, so SL is an as is Service.


    As for why SL is loosing its customers, it is simple, Linden Lab needs to Remove Spyware systems like Red Zone, Skills Hak’s CDS System that Violates peoples privacy, and the Community Standards under Defame Residents, and harassment, but Linden Lab wont do anything because Skills Hak has connections with a ton of Militaries, Content Creators, and Owns Gemini Industries yet every connection I have seen Skills Hak with has lead back to a Copybot supporter somewhere including the people who are hosting Copybot content for free download, Prove me wrong now will ya, oh wait I talk shit yet Skills Hak filed false DMCA on my videos and I counter filed Lulz.

    The name System sucks, and they need to allow residents to generate last names, and or create their own Last Name to get more customers.

    As for the Copy Bot it will always remain in Second Life & Out Side of Second Life, there is nothing you can do about it but abuse report, and DMCA report it, and or take legal actions over other people selling your work when you don’t even know who they are because LL doesn’t requrie any ID or anything, So good Luck with such LL will remove any and all CopyBot content they can but simply there is too much, and Don’t think about going to Avination, as I have seen Copy Bot used over there and it still functions if you are not a dumbass.

    So over all who just got Served a Cold Dish? Linden Lab lol.

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