November 2021 Web User Group summary

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021.

These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar. A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!), and the following is a summary of key topics / discussions.

Web Properties

  • Search: The front-end of search has been given a facelift which among other things, is designed to make web search returns easier to read. This should be deployed in the next couple of weeks.
    • Note that the actual search algorithm has not been altered at this point – so search results, relevancy, etc., should not change.
    • A further overhaul of search which does include tightening the algorithm and improving results / relevancy and general performance will be initiated in the New Year, and will apparently utilise third-party expertise external to LL in an attempt to get a “first class” search implementation.
  • Marketplace has continued to see bugs being fixed – although no specific details on which bugs.

SL Mobile

  • It was reiterated (as per Mojo Linden’s comments at the end of October TPVD meeting) that while development work has paused, LL are not “giving up” on a Mobile solution.
  • The pause is liable to last “a number of weeks”.
  • There is a “lot going in” and the Lab is “excited” about what will hopefully be forthcoming, and is very aware there has been a degree of disappointment that nothing has been publicly released thus far.

In Brief

  • Some MP store owners are stating they have seen between a 30% and 50% drop in sales in the latter half of October, LL start they have not seen anything to indicate an across-the board decline in MP sales volumes – in fact, they have seen the reverse.
  • The next batch of new Premium Last Names will be made available at Christmas.
  • Bug Questions – it was asked why the following were allowed to persist for “two weeks”:
    • BUG-231218 “Boolean search terms in Marketplace result in error page” – LL’s view is that the fix was available within a few days of the report being filed, and deployed shortly thereafter.
    • BUG-231307 “[Marketplace] – Favourite stores layout change now shows listings that are not active.” – again, a fix was developed relatively quickly, and is currently awaiting deployment.
  • A bug that results in 0 traffic reports for regions that have received visitors is not the result of any changes to the traffic count algorithm, but likely the result of the database that handles traffic having had some issues recently.
  • There have been complaints about MP listings / pages getting blocked by ad blockers. This is not something LL can control; those services providing ad blockers can change their own algorithms as they please, and LL cannot test for everything – a certain about of action on the users’ side will always be required.
  • New Starter Avatars: although outside the scope the Web Team, it was reiterated that this is something under discussion, but not something liable to be surfaced in the immediate future.

LL / Zenescope / Epik / NFT Sweepstake

Also not the responsibility of the Web Team but Brett Linden, VP of Marketing was present at the meeting an commented on the recent NFT sweepstake, run in conjunction with Zenescope and Epik (see:  Zenescope x Second Life NFT Sweepstakes Official Rules).

  • LL are very aware of the response,
  • The company had and is looking at the whole NFT situation “guardedly”,
    • They are aware NFTs are polarising.
    • LL has received multiple requests to partner with others to offer NFTs, but outside of the sweepstake have thus far “avoided every single one”.
    • As a whole, LL have “no plans” to get into the “NFT business” itself; the sweepstake was purely a cross-platform / partnership promotion, apparently in part to try to call attention to SL / LL given the general “metaverse” hype that is going on.
  • In terms of Zenescope itself:
    • It was re-iterated that this is a licensed deal, of which the NFTs offered through the sweepstake do not form a central part.
    • However, Epik (outside of their EpikPrime marketplace) is the agency handling the IP for Zenescope to market virtual goods, etc., thought their presence in SL.
    • In terms of the Zenescope Metaverse, further roll-outs of content, etc., to enhance the experience will be made in due course.
  • The end of the meeting includes a brief discussion on the Facebook / Meta name change and what it might mean for Second Life / LL (particularly the concern – also raised at the TPVD meeting on October 29th – that Facebook might buy Linden Lab, something to which my personal view is simply, “no, they won’t”; something I may elaborate on in a future post) and “metaverse” hype in general.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, December 1st, 14:00 SLT, with a core subject of Place Pages.

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