Lab announces Marketplace search beta | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com
Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

I’m already seeing lots of chatter over this news.

I think pretty much everyone agrees that Marketplace has been in need of a makeover for some time.

However, it seems that many think the focus is in the wrong place.  Keyword spamming is a continual source of frustration.  In addition to keyword spam, being able to weed out things like stores or creators who happen to have a name like your search (ie – a search for ‘veil’ will bring up not only items with that keyword, but also stores and creators with ‘veil’ somewhere in their name).

Personally, something I’d love to see happen is that merchants who haven’t logged into SL and/or Marketplace in some time (like over a year) should have their products removed.  Alternatively, I’d love there to be a field somewhere with the creation/listing date of an item, so I know whether I’m purchasing something that was created in 2007 or 2015.

What’s your Marketplace pet peeve?

Source: Lab announces Marketplace search beta | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Is Anyone Listening?

Black HoleIn previous posts, I’ve asked for information about feeds and readers.

I’ve talked about stats before and how I try not to look at them too often.

However, after reading a post by Nalates Urriah today, I’m wondering how much longer I will be able to view my stats.

Everyone knows that stats are important when it comes to the internet.

As a blogger, you have stats that tell you many things – the number of followers, how many times a post was viewed, how many times someone visited your site, the country of origin for your readers, etc.

If people find your blog via a search engine, there is a place for you to see what search terms brought them to your blog.

Lately, when I look at that stat for my blog, it says ‘unknown search terms.’

WordPress tells you ‘some search engines don’t reveal search terms for privacy reasons.  That’s why we don’t always know which search terms were used by visitors who arrived at your site from a search engine.  When we don’t know the search terms, we show them as “Unknown search terms”.’

Since Google is now encrypting more and more searches, it’s that much harder for WP to tell me how people are finding my blog.

According to Nalates’ post, there is a possibility of finding out more information using Google’s Webmaster tools.

However, using these tools is confusing (at least to me), if you are not a techy person (which I am not).

So I rely on WP to provide my stats (because they employ very techy people).

I also came across another issue that concerns bloggers when it comes to feeds/readers.

I set up a Feedly account so that I could keep up with all the blogs I follow.

In doing research on different readers, I saw a question about views.

It seems that if you view a blog post in a reader, it does not count as a view for that blog – unless you actually click through to that website (to ‘like’ or perhaps post a comment).

That’s frustrating, since views and followers are essential for successful blogging.

Often blogging can feel like you are screaming into a giant black hole.

You wonder if anyone is listening.

MarketPlace Needs an Overhaul

Image Source:  marketplace.secondlife.com
Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

Yesterday I came across an article on New World Notes ranting about the failure that is MarketPlace Showcase.

Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a Showcase.  I’m so used to everything being broken that I ignore a lot.  Including the ‘featured’ items that always appear at the top of my search.

I know someone probably paid a lot of extra L$ to get their item ‘featured’ – I wonder if they actually see any return from it.  I have never once (NEVER) purchased an item from the ‘featured’ bar.

I’ve heard rumors here and there that there might be some changes to MarketPlace, but I don’t know if anything but a complete overhaul will make any sort of significant difference.  I have a small MP shop where I sell things that I’ve created for myself.  Every little L$ counts when you’re on a budget!  And I make every effort to tag my items correctly.  Oh, sure, I could add a bunch of tags that have nothing to do with the actual item in the hopes that 1) it will increase sales and 2) LL won’t notice and remove my item (because their rules clearly state doing so is not permitted).  But I don’t.

I am often a frustrated MP consumer myself.  For instance, I spent several months looking off and on for some mesh hands that I wanted to use in a routine (as props, not to wear).  I never did find what I was looking for.  Later, I saw exactly what I needed used by someone else.  When I inquired where they found them, they said MP.  What??? So I headed back to MP and searched again for ‘mesh hands’.  Still nothing.  The person was kind enough to send me a direct link.  The name of the product?  Mesh hands.  -.-

It’s sooo frustrating.

The comments on the NWN article were also an interesting read.  Lots of people with some really good ideas about how to improve MP.  Which would, in turn, increase sales.  Which would, in turn, increase the amount LL makes off said sales.  Win-win, right?  So why aren’t they working on it?

One of the commenters asked for a feature I would LOVE to have.  Often while searching for an item, I’ll come across something that is almost what I want.  I don’t buy it, but would love to revisit the store, or somehow stay updated on their new items.  There’s no way to do this.  Oh sure, I make a list and tell myself I’ll go back and look ‘when I have time.’  It never happens.

Someone else listed ideas for a new system (a much better system than what is currently in place).  In this new system, once the new version went ‘live,’ anyone who didn’t make the necessary updates would get dumped into an ‘other’ category.  This would help to identify ‘old’ items that are still active listings, even though the creator is not.  I wondered why there isn’t a system already in place for that, but any sale means $ in LL’s pocket, so perhaps that’s why.

In any event, I will continue to use MP.  Why?  Because I can browse through items (even with all the items that don’t relate to my search) much more quickly than I can tp around in-world, wait for everything to rezz, and then shop.  But I will continue to hope that at some point, LL realizes that updating MP would be beneficial to them as well as everyone else.  Only time will tell. 🙂

 

 

Second Life, Facebook, and Search

Photo source: joeseeber.com
Photo source: joeseeber.com

In my quest to explore Second Life, I’ve been using the Search function to try and find new places to go.  However, I wasn’t really having much luck finding anyplace to which I wanted to return.  I began asking around and trying to figure if search was broken and/or not really worth using (like the events listing).  It led to conversations about traffic, how traffic is figured, and what ‘search’ uses to rank places.

I use the Firestorm viewer and I know there are differences between different viewers.  However, even though I have attended many classes to figure out how to best use the viewer, there are still things I’m discovering.  For instance, FS has a little button on the left side of the screen that brings up the Destination Guide.  I’ve used it several times for exploring.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that if you access the Destination Guide from that button, it does not display all of the listings that are actually in the Destination Guide.  To discover more destinations, you access the Guide from within the ‘search’ window of the viewer.

How did I discover this? Serendipity.  While I was having a conversation about traffic, how it’s figured, and how search works (or if it does work), I got a notice about an impromptu class on Search Ranking from one of my groups.  Hurrah!  Perfect timing!  I quickly tp’d to the class and started taking notes.  I wanted to know what things can affect your search ranking – good or bad.

I learned a few surprising things.  Now, for those of you who have been around for some time, this may be all old news to you.  However, much of it was new to me.  I have been in SL off and on since 2009 and I remember things that have come and gone – vote boxes and campers, just to name a few.  Vote boxes and campers were around to help businesses improve traffic (and thusly, search rankings).  So, of course, LL changed the way search was figured and vote boxes and camping disappeared.

Traffic, while still used in figuring search rankings, is apparently not as important as it used to be.  Other things that can affect your search rankings (according to the class I took):

  • Classified ads – paying for a classified ad can help boost your rank in search. (I don’t think anyone would be surprised that paying money could improve search rankings.)
  • Text from your profile and picks – text from your profile and picks can show up in search (if you choose that option).  So if you have a business and you put information about that business in your profile and/or picks, it may help your search rankings.  Just be sure not to use any crazy ASCII text, because someone searching for ‘dance’ might find you, but they won’t find you if you use ‘ðαηçε.’
  • Picks – having people add your business/venue to their picks will help boost your search rank. (I’ve had people/businesses ask that, but it never occurred to me it was to help with search rank – I figured it was more like ‘word-of-mouth’ free advertising.  I guess it’s both!)
  • Parcel name – parcel names can be quite long, because keywords that are in your parcel name can help boost your search rank as well.  Just don’t go crazy, because too many keywords can negatively affect your rank.  (How many is too many?  No one really seems to know.)
  • Objects – it used to be (in the era of vote boxes and camping), that objects on your parcel which contained keywords in the name and/or description would affect your search ranking. (So, for example, you might have objects on your parcel with words like dance, burlesque, etc., in the name.)  People began to abuse this (doing things like burying objects laced with keywords underground on their parcels), so LL changed the search algorithm again.  You can still do this, but again, no one seems to know how many objects like this is too many.
  • This last one is the one I don’t understand.  Apparently Facebook ‘likes’ can affect your ranking in search as well.  Given Facebook’s record of deleting avatar accounts as ‘not real’ and the growing upswing in people looking for alternatives to Facebook, ‘likes’ affecting your ranking seems odd.  Facebook Pages (which many businesses have) are (presumably) safe from deletion, so perhaps it’s not that odd.  But I wonder then if other social networks are included as well (and if not, why not?).  What about Twitter? Plurk? Google+?

It leaves me with the feeling that all of this (searching for events, searching for places) is made much more difficult than it needs to be.  But, now that I am better informed, perhaps my searching will produce better results. 🙂

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the following links:

Guidelines for creating search listings

Search FAQ – Second Life

In the meantime, I’ll be experimenting and exploring.  Wish me luck!

Events in SL?

Viewer SearchI’ve been talking a lot lately with a friend about what there is (and isn’t) to do in SL.  As I mentioned before, I’ve been stuck in a rut.  I used to go exploring on a regular basis.  For the last couple of years, my jaunts around SL have been focused on dance.  So now that I’ve decided to go exploring, I’ve come across a bit of a conundrum.

I tend to hang around with the same group of people, so I tend to be at the same places.  In my quest for new places, I headed to *drumroll* . . . the events listing.

Why?  Sadly, I find myself asking that same question.  What happened to the events listing?  Does no one really use it any more?  Yesterday I searched for ‘dance’ events.  What did I find?

Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Oh, there’s the listings for clubs – the ‘Win $500L in Best of Latex’ type-listings (not really the kind of dance I’m looking for).  Everything else was strip clubs, escorts, hiring escorts, etc.  That’s it.  And the search took me all the way to October 3.  *Sighs*

So, I’m left with three thoughts – 1) People are listing their dance shows as something other than ‘dance,’ 2) the search function in events is equal to/worse than the search on Marketplace, and/or 3) no one bothers to list their events in the event listing anymore.

Which leaves me with a question for venue owners.  Assuming that #2 is a given (told you I was cynical), is #1 true?  Or is it #3?  And if #3 is true, how in the heck are new people supposed to find you?  Luck?  Random tps?  They could use the websearch, but it doesn’t work much better than event search, unless they happen to know the name of your venue.  And if they know that, aren’t they probably already aware of your events?

A friend was looking for a comedy club to visit and was dismayed to find no listings for one.  (Side note – this blog post appeared on my reader this morning – The Joke Jar.  Coincidence?)

So if you’re looking to explore, discover new things, try out something you’ve never done before, is it all just dependent on ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising anymore?

I’m interested in lots of different things.  However, since groups are limited in SL, I can’t join every group I’m interested in to stay up-to-date with events.  Lots of places have subscribos to get around the group limit, but not everyone.  I use my blog to follow lots of other bloggers and find much (most) of my information that way.  Unfortunately, many groups don’t update their blogs on a regular basis either.

How do you get the word out about your venue/events/happenings?  What do you do to get new people in the door?

*EDIT NOTE:  Since writing this, I have discovered that the events listing search from within the viewer seems to be different than the external events listing (Community:Events).

WebSearch

However, this event listing has no search function, other than choosing from the designated categories.

So I have to open an external window to search for events that I want to go to within SL, when I am already in-world?

That seems stupid.

 

 

In Search of Something New

ILove DanceI love going to dance shows.  A lot.  I love watching other people’s creations.  But lately (even after being gone for several months), it doesn’t seem like there is much ‘new’ happening in the dance scene in SL.  (It could just be me, but . . .)

Six months to a year ago, it seemed like there was a new dance troupe or venue opening every other day.  Now – not so much.  And even places that are still around don’t seem very active sometimes.

It’s the way of SL, I guess.  Flavor of the month, and all that.  People move on, the time commitment of running a venue or troupe is too much, or they just lose interest.

I’m hoping that soon there will be a renewed ‘energy’ in the dance community.  There have already been some things developed that I thought for sure we’d never see – like the ability to ‘layer’ animations.

But more ‘new’ is wanted!  I went dance animation shopping yesterday (well, really, I went to all the shops to update my blog list – don’t forget to check out the ‘Dance Animations’ page!), but there really weren’t that many ‘new’ animations out there.  Plenty of ones I don’t have, of course, but something ‘new’ is always better, right?

So – if you know of a dance/animation maker I don’t have listed on the blog, that makes/sells some terrific animations, let me know.  I’m ready for a shopping spree!!