C’mon, Put The User Numbers On My Login Screen

Hypergrid Business has posted its monthly survey of the activity on the various OpenSim grids. (link below)


Used to be, I would open my Second Life viewer and the splash page would appear. A nice photo with some text over here in the corner that would tell me how many SL users there were and a couple other stats. The one I was most interested in was the one that showed how many people were inworld right now.

It made no difference to me, I was going inworld anyway. I was just interested. It was my world and this number was one of many bits of information that gave me some understanding of it.

I didn’t care if the numbers went up or down. It was interesting but it wasn’t going to affect my life. It made no difference to me if SL became more popular or less popular. I wasn’t here because of its popularity. I was – and am – here because it’s fun.

There have been and still are things that are not popular but I think they’re fun, so I still do them. There are other things that were or are very popular but they don’t appeal to me. And there is nothing unusual about me, other people feel that way too. I feel like I should apologize for stating the obvious.

But the point is, SL’s declining numbers don’t turn me off. Just like their once increasing numbers didn’t get me all revved up. I’m here, having fun, either way.

But LL took the numbers down long ago because they were embarrassed about them. (I say that as fact even though I can’t prove it. Just seems obvious. I say the sky is blue but I don’t know how to prove that to you either.) Guess it doesn’t look good to have declining numbers. If you post declining numbers on your page, people will say you’re dying and more people will leave. Funny, turns out if you don’t post declining numbers on your page, people say you’re dying and more people leave.

So c’mon, put the numbers back on my login screen. I’m not going anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it says 60,000 or 30,000 or 15,000…I’m still coming in. Because it’s fun.

Heck, I’m logging in to worlds that have much lower numbers than that. And they’re not afraid to post their numbers where I can see them. 122 online. 43 online. 3 online.

Those places are fun too.

I find it funny that some SLers diss other worlds by saying, “It’s empty.” Heh, there is no grid with as many empty places as Second Life. Not even close. Wide swaths of emptiness everywhere. It’s still fun.

And I do get a big kick out of the people who complain that SL isn’t what it used to be and point to the declining numbers as proof…but when they go inworld, either they hangout with the same number of people they always have…or they like to be alone inworld. Why do they care whether the total number is going up or down?

Well anyway, it’s obvious LL doesn’t have the guts to put those “currently inworld” numbers back on my login screen. Most other grids do but some don’t. A note to them: Just because SL is afraid to do it anymore…to me, that’s a good enough reason for you to do it right there!

No OpenSim grid has anything to be afraid of. The fact that OpenSim numbers are not going to compare to SL’s is not the point. People who make that comparison and don’t ever leave SL, are not leaving SL whether your numbers are posted or not. And yes, users devoted to one OpenSim grid will compare that grid’s numbers to another…still not the point. They can already do that with Hypergrid Business’ monthly article.

Why did I like seeing those numbers on my SL login screen on a daily basis? Because they would tell me things about my world. The real benefit of on-screen numbers is to the regular users of a grid. To have an idea of whose on, where things are at, how things are growing, when’s the best time to go inworld, or hey! – there’s a spike in the numbers…ooo what’s going on?!  etc. etc.

It tells us something about our world. We’re interested. Tell us.

Yeah, maybe for a small grid there’s a little technical stuff involved. Listen to me, it’s worth it. Your core users like it. You should do whatever you can to make your core users happy. Especially the little things. They mean a lot.

Yeah, I know ya gotta spend your time on things to bring in new users. True. But you know what the best way is to bring more people to your grid? Make your core users happy. If you want growth in population numbers, your goal should be to make your core users happier this week than they were last week.

They will tell their friends. And that is the best advertising you can get.

Funny, it’s the cheapest too.

Show me the numbers!


Related Link

Grid outages hurt traffic, slow growth – (With monthly grid stats) on Hypergrid Business


About Danko Whitfield

writer, explorer of virtual worlds. semi-retired time traveler.
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3 Responses to C’mon, Put The User Numbers On My Login Screen

  1. mariakorolov says:

    Danko — Thank you for a very nice article!
    Here are a few other reasons why grids might consider posting numbers:
    * It gets your grid talked about. That’s inbound links. Sure, maybe you won’t like what people are saying, but if some group of people is obsessing over your numbers each month, speculating about what they mean — that’s attention. And for OpenSim grids, attention should be the number one goal right now.
    * People love horseraces. That’s the reason journalists cover things as if they were horseraces. Pick a random grid in your related area (another RP grid, another open social grid, whatever) and promote the horserace. Who’s pulling ahead? Why? It will promote *both* your grids, and, in a weird psychological quirk, make people who otherwise couldn’t care less pick one as “their” grid. The losers? Any grid that doesn’t get in on the horserace, taking the high ground, and sitting it out. Think of the Pepsi-Coke wars — what’s your prefrence? And quick, who’s number three? Gotcha — there is no number three. But there used to be lots of number threes. It’s a proven marketing strategy, as every town with a “pizza war” can testify to.
    * It makes people trust the grid more. If you post numbers even when they’re going down, then you come off as credible. Then the next time your servers go down, people are more likely to believe that you’re working hard to fix them, and not running off to the Caribbean with their tier. Okay, maybe not the Caribbean. Maybe the nearest Six Flags amusement park. Still.
    * It gives people a way to compare grids. With hundreds of grids out there, the difficulty of making a choice may make some folks too confused to try out OpenSim at all. Rankings simplify that choice. They can go to the largest grid. Or the most popular grid. Or the grid highest-rated in the surveys for customer support. Then, once they’ve been to one grid, it’s much, much easier to visit a second or third or fourth grid. They’ll try a large grid, then they’ll try a small grid. Then maybe a French grid. Or a roleplaying grid. (Which reminds me — make lists of top social grids, RP grids, foreign language grids, non-profit grids, sci-fi grids, etc…)


  2. Oshi Shikigami says:

    I could see venders and educational entities might not like to see lowering numbers. But, truthfully, LL does a good enough job estranging themselves to those types, without needing bad numbers to make it worse. As an individual, I like to see how many are on when I log. If I want solitude, I prefer lower numbers on this. If I want to be social, higher numbers are good.
    As for my grid, I would rather have lower numbers, and have them be avies really enjoying the grid, as opposed to lots of “hit and run” avies, who will likely not find it to their liking, and never see again.


  3. Beth Ghostraven says:

    The Firestorm viewer still shows inworld numbers when I start it up. I like seeing those too.


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