PostHeaderIcon Regarding Camping and Traffic Bot Bans...

2009Jul14--MontclairTableThis is a reply to Ciaran Leval's article at Your 2nd Place about the Linden Lab policy on "traffic gaming" - specifically the use of bots and camping systems and how apparently action is, in fact, being taken.

Ciaran's full article is a good read. Please do go there and read-up, then read my full reply here.

In that article, Ciaran writes:
I've never bought the argument that traffic bots were only used by people who make poor content, that may be what we'd like to believe but in reality some big names with good products have employed these tactics to keep up with the opposition. That's what caused the traffic wars. People aren't stupid, great traffic and crap produce will not bring major sales to a content creator, they may catch a few sales but they won't flourish, the content needs to be decent to keep the business going.

And my open-letter response follows:


I've been saying all along since that "traffic-gaming" policy was first announced: it will take time to implement. When Abuse Reported, Lindens will send the alleged offender to the wiki to be made aware of the policy.

Once the grace has expired the alleged if "found guilty" will be dealt with as the policy dictates.

Ciaran - I love reading your stuff. I never become offended or frustrated on any of it, but I am often struck with your impatience (your expressed frustration). For example, what I just said above about the time it will take is the same thing I said on the LL Blog of this subject and, if I remember correctly even on this blog here previously.

So, I do feel a bit of "vindication" - but I don't mean it in any 'snooty' or sarcastic way. But rather, I am happy to see you see that the Lindens (most, any way) really do try to do their jobs as stated.

I do have that faith and more often than not, I am never disappointed as long as I throw-in a hefty dash of patience to go with it.

As for the advertising aspect and the portion of your story I have quoted above: as with all "wars" the real losers are the innocent bystanders. In this case that would be the very targets these participants are trying to attract: customers.

Bots in the skyI have proclaimed often that when I shop in-world, if I land in a sim that contains more than, say two 'bots' or any camping systems whatsoever - I leave before the place even finishes rezzing. Thus: lost sale. I'll go to the competitor's location and see what they have (the next place listed in the search widget.)

I know in real estate (I've done that before, too) your product is more or less identical to every single one of your competitors so you do need to have snazzy marketing and it's a very difficult thing to distinguish yourself from the others (land search is seriously hopeless as well.) In that case (land sales and rentals) - use "low traffic" to your advantage by making that a feature (privacy, low-lag, etc.) and reason to buy/lease from you, rather than those laggy "high-traffic" locations. After all, it is other agents on the sim that create more lag faster for everyone.

As for "product creations" - you are so correct that it comes down to the quality. I mean seriously, that can't be a secret from anyone. Having a creative way with words helps a lot too.

I suppose I am fortunate that I focus a lot on thrones. Sure, I make a lot of other furniture, too. But in my parcel description and my dinky L$50 advert, I focus on my thrones. In fact, searching for the word "Throne" in places and "all" - I consistently come-up as the first listing. It's about being smart in your getting the "word" out, rather than relying on one methong (traffic) which may back-fire (such as annoyed people leaving as I have described above.)

And even though my traffic is "dismal" as traffic "rankings" go, I do a lot of business. After all, it only takes five or ten minutes to place with my floor models, decide to buy and then make a purchase - then poof-out. I pride myself on my quality and I try to do business old-fashioned style: be anal about the quality of your creations, thank your customer, always ask for word-of-mouth.

Traffic rankings as an informational source are only useful if you are actually looking for social interaction, whether it's a role-playing location, club, or other social event. The whole purpose of "traffic" is to state how socially active a place is supposed to be. Traffic doesn't mean a hoot as far as selling things go.

So, if "traffic" counts are supposed to indicate how socially active a place is, is it not a balld-faced lie when bots are used to boost that "traffic" number? Hence the utter annoyance a lot of people feel about the use of them. Two or three "models" to display prim attachments, okay. But 20 "models" to do that? Bullshit. It's traffic gaming. I own a bot system, too and know full well they can automatically change whatever they are wearing on a predetermined time-frame and show-off multiple "outfits". So, having one bot for each "outfit" you sell is still gaming traffic the way I see it.

Using traffic rankings for any kind of information in deciding where to go would mean you either are looking for crowds or the lack of them. (When I shop, I look for the lack, so vendors and malls will rez faster.) And if you are looking for the crowds and land in a sim where 39 of the 40 green dots are bots... how do you feel about it then?

Art: Janred; Vlad Bjornson
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