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NEW: Share your love of Second Life with new tools

Explore - Landing Page Tablet Screenshot

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As part of our plans to create a better Second Life new user experience, the Firestorm Community Gateway Project is in full swing. Last week we created a new set of tools designed to help you spread the word (without having to share your avatar name – unless you want to).

Here’s a bit of background:

You may remember we ran a survey a few weeks ago asking how likely people would be to promote Second Life to their RL friends and colleagues. After analysing the results of this Second Life NPS survey, we have created six compelling website pages that explain Second Life from the perspective of how people really use it. We designed these pages to introduce potential new users to key use cases of Second Life so that they can understand the value that is on the other side of joining.

Please visit the pages below and share them on your RL social media.  This is a critical part of making this project work and we are counting on you for your support.

Please take 10 seconds to share one (or more) of these pages below with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and other RL social media:

Share the page(s) you feel your friends would most like

You can share links to these pages on social media, your personal blog, or by email. Just remember the target is people who are NOT using Second Life yet (to the best of your knowledge!)

If you’re spending time with people at the holidays, just load a page on your computer, phone or tablet and share them with the people you care about.

You sharing these pages is a critical part of making this project work and we are counting on you for your support

A new user who visits these pages gets a high level overview of what is possible in Second Life. If they like, they can then follow the calls to action (the big red buttons saying “Sign up free”) and get a free Second Life account through our API.

After downloading the Firestorm viewer, they will arrive at the Firestorm Community Gateway to begin their Second Life journey in a new orientation island. We hope this new sign-up journey is easier for people to understand and quicker for them to start benefitting from Second Life.

Best wishes,

Canary Beck,
Marketing Manager

P.S. Some of you may be hesitant to share these pages because you don’t want to share your Second Life identity with your RL friends and family. Don’t worry – you don’t have to. This is just a general high-level share of the concept of Second Life. Remember, you don’t need to share who you are in Second Life to share the platform itself as a great opportunity for someone to explore and enjoy.

  • Very compelling! Beautifully presented, Canary. 🙂

    Willow Wilder

    December 28, 2015

  • Thanks, Willow 🙂 Appreciate the compliment.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • It’s a nice idea, but for the love of all that’s holy those “WAIT DON’T LEAVE” page exit popups have got to go! They don’t make visitors stay; they only annoy and leave a (measurable) negative impression around whatever you’re advertising.

    Taylor

    December 28, 2015

  • Thanks for comment Taylor. When you say “measurable” negative impression (of exit pop-ups), can you reply to me a source for that claim so I can look at it? I’d be interested. Thanks!

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • Somehow, for decorators and creators, it feels like there needs to be a footprint that says “Sign up for Free, but additional fees may apply to be able to do that”.

    Good presentations.
    Personally, I don’t really see the point of it. You’re supposed to make a viewer and market it as the best viewer there is, not do sign-up marketing for Lindens. Attracting new players should be their marketing dept’s job. I get that you might be doing this as loyal SL users, but still… seems a bit over the top to be just that.

    In anyway, even though I fall within those 28% that would not (or less likely) recommend SL to others, I still wish you all the luck with it.

    Keth

    December 28, 2015

  • wow, this is amazing, would think the Lindens are thinking why have we not done this, years ago! if this does not boost interest, nothing will. I will add one or more to my FB, for sure.

    EllaGuru Wellesley

    December 28, 2015

  • Impressive, though I agree that the repeated “Sign Up Free” splashes are distracting.
    TheLittleOldProofreader whispers, “Psst… better correct the misspelling of “account” at the bottom of the Exploring page.”

    Gene Lisle

    December 28, 2015

  • Thanks for the typo correction on the “acount” word. Fixed!

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • Very well presented, but……
    I still cringe at the idea of flying dildo and such when trying to promote Second Life to unsuspecting “contacts”. This of course is my opinion and my problem albeit it may be shared with others.
    I know this inhibition undermines the sole purpose of creativity, exploration, and socialization, that are the brighter sides of virtual life.

    Firestorm Viewer, on the other hand is my first choice vehicle to travel the virtual universe. I find that mere words alone are not enough to describe the advancements and tools Firestorm Viewer provides the end user.

    I fully understand the motivation and background survey precipitating this “share your love” promotion but I find myself asking the same question. Why? and why just SL?

    Doc Falworth

    December 28, 2015

  • I gave this some thought a while back, like when FS decided it was their place to attract persons to a virtual world. I kinda falls back always to WHY? Why does there need to someone who markets .. sl. Seriously, my main .. MAIN .. First account is dang near 10 years old and I’m helping noobie persons every day, just like others helped me before. Suppose, I’m not understanding why Firestorm Viewer, which is my only choice of viewer .. the developers of said viewer are taking it upon themselves to attract players to this grand virtual world. CNN and other news shows did it back in the day .. hence, one million plus mains and alts. Just think that people really do .. a lot .. like to leave rl life behind .. like playing WOW for a few hours, OR, hitting an rp sim with a character .. yeah sl is rl and rl is sl .. then there are those that do believe .. it’s just a game.

    Jynx Rae

    December 29, 2015

  • I like the website ads’, they look great but ..
    (1) I thought about sharing it via some of my social media but I’d feel really bad doing that unless I personally agreed to show up and help them because learning all the little things like alphas, adding parts, resizing clothes, modding .. there’s no good place to pick up these things for new comers. It took me a long time to get into SL because I was stuck in that “how do I do any of this?” loop.
    I offer help to ANY newb, ANY TIME I feel I have the time to commit to it and if you pass by me and are 1-2 days old, there’s a good chance my character/avatar will IM you. “Hey, welcome, are you really new here?” and “Would you like any help with anything?” But to just blindly offer an invite, I dunno. I mean, I stayed but it was frustrating and you really have to be determined to stay before you ever click JOIN.

    (2) I’d dare to bring this up again, unless there is one I do not know about, we could really use a Destination Guide site run by ACTUAL MEMBERS OF SL. So we can keep it up to date, and make it CLEARER about who’s welcome. I’ve seen sims where I was like “Oh, that looks cool ..” but when I go there, nope, not furry friendly. I get kicked without so much as a polite warning first.
    Now, I’m not going to sit here and demand to be welcomed with open arms as a furry, though I think Destination Guide hopefuls should be all accepting (unless the person is intentionally trolling/griefing) .. but at the least, I’d want the ad’ for the sim to be CLEAR about who’s welcome and who isn’t.
    I’d love to see a diverse community website that could be tacked onto all those ad’ websites, and reference links, to help guide new members toward something they might find appealing.
    I mean, if you’re a roleplaying and you see what appears to be a fascinating RP sim on the community site, aren’t you going to be infinitely more likely to click “JOIN NOW”? Because you can see there’s something there for you.
    Same goes for anyone. Clubs, RP Venues. Whatever it is you’re looking for, if there was a site to show you that it’s there, it’s ACTIVE (not has been gone for months but it still on the guide), and you’re going to be welcome, hell .. that’s what made me so determined to join. I saw some youtube videos about some sims, and immediately said “I want to join that!”

    Cain

    December 29, 2015

  • er – I mean, if you’re a roleplayer* and

    Sorry for the long post but I think it’d really help to have that kind of site as an addition to the reference sites.

    Cain

    December 29, 2015

  • “I thought about sharing it via some of my social media but I’d feel really bad doing that unless I personally agreed to show up and help them ”
    Then meet them inworld and help them. 🙂

    “learning all the little things like alphas, adding parts, resizing clothes, modding .. there’s no good place to pick up these things for new comers.”

    The new Firestorm Gateway Orientation does just that. It’s a paced tutorial on how to get acquainted with SL mechanics that takes the new user on a step by step approach.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • With all due respect, you’re asking me to help every single stranger who clicks the referral link I share?

    I said I offer a lot of help to new users and spend as much of my time as I can spare to do so without ruining my own experience, is that not enough?

    In fact, I met someone else tonight who was brand new and friend’d him, saying he could IM me any time, about anything he needs help with, no matter what it is and I would be happy to help.

    I’m not going to make that promise to any and every person who clicks a promotional link I share on my social media pages.

    How about the more meaningful part of my post, about the community website which would actually help your cause. I shared that idea in hopes of helping you, perhaps that would have been better to focus on especially since that would help every single new user find a reason to stay.

    Cain

    December 30, 2015

  • Now to be clear, I’m not expecting a site like that to be made just because I suggested it, nor for it to appear tomorrow. Something like that would be an immense undertaking and likely need support from well, anyone and everyone it can get support from, which I’d be happy to try and help out myself.

    But I just want to call attention back to something I feel is very beneficial for your crusade to recruit more people and draw more attention to SecondLife, and not only that but a site like that would help existing members find more new things to do on SL and improve their experiences as well.

    Cain

    December 30, 2015

  • I am totally with you, Cain, on the destination guide. Exploration is one of the things I love most about SL, but with so many thousands (millions?) of places to go, and the majority of them nothing very special, it can be frustrating trying to navigate the world, and often the most beautiful places are only found through word of mouth, and far later than one could wish! The current destination guide is good, but if you have encountered avatar prejudice that is definitely NOT good (I’d report them for harassment, frankly); and it is by no means an inclusive guide. It would be good for somebody – either LL or Firestorm – to build up a directory of related content – fantasy, sci-fi, nature, art just to give a few examples – with sub-classifications for roleplay, restrictions, commerce etc. One of the most frustrating things about SL, especially for newcomers, is the vast geography and inability to find good places to go simply by using the search tools (which as we all know are primarily boosted to high commerce and sex sites).

    While on this subject, I just want to add something about the embedded video on the design page, “Sights and sounds of Basilique”. I hate to sound negative – it looks like a beautiful sim, but my lasting impression was “where are all the people? This is a ghost town!” which doesn’t exactly attract. In a replica town, one requires a thriving community as well as tourist sights. As an amateur photographer myself, I know that a lot of random avatars (not fully rezzing in due to lag!) are a video artist’s nightmare – but still, I have to wonder how any popular sim could ever be empty enough for such a video to be taken; unless they closed it off for the purpose? Knowing SL as I do, what this video says to me is “beautiful but empty”. Just a thought; I’m far from a newcomer to SL and so perhaps my own experience colours my judgement. In other respects I think it was an excellent showcase of SL’s potential.

    Fledhyris Proudhon

    January 3, 2016

  • It’s unlikely anyone is reading this anymore, haha. But no, you cannot report anyone for pre-justice. It is their right as sim owners to allow or not allow anyone they want, it’s too bad that more people aren’t more open about who they let visit their sims but it is their right to do so.

    Hence why I said either “Community Destination Guide” candidates either must allow everyone, or they must be expected to be very clear about who they allow and maybe face removal from the Destination Guide if they don’t abide by what they agreed to.

    Some people have good reason for allowing or not allowing certain avatars. Would you let little green alien men run around on your Game of Thrones RP sim? Highly doubtful. But also, it’s really sad when you go to a night club and are turned away, or kicked from the sim with or without an IM that politely or not so politely says “Your avatar isn’t welcome here.”

    That’s all I want to avoid. Both for existing community members to discover new sims, and for new people not to be upset or confused by the same response. BUT as I said, far, far more importantly is truly FINDING somewhere or somewheres you think “This sim sounds amazing, I want to sign up and go see this place!”

    After all, the seeming goal of this whole project is to bring new users into SL, well, as I said: I saw sims on Youtube by chance, and my immediate thought was: “That looks cool, I want to register and go see this place” and I’ve been here for years and years now.

    But recommending SL to others? That’s hard to do, because even I have NO IDEA what’s out there, or how much .. so when they say “What is there to do on there?” I could promise them infinite freedom, and incredible experiences .. but if they ask: “How do I find those places?” I .. have no idea. I honestly do very little on SL at the moment, so I’d be hard pressed to say to someone: “Oh, you want to do this! And then there’s this and this and this and this ..”

    But that’s what my Destination Guide site is all about. Giving new people an immediate glimpse into CURRENT, ACTIVE sims that they can join right now (instead of the LL one which has many sims that are LONG gone but are still ‘featured’), and helping longer-time members like myself find new experiences, as well as give us more ammo to say to friends, or whatever: “Hey, you WANT to join because I KNOW you like (X) and you can do it right here on this sim , right here. You could be doing it by tomorrow!”

    Hell, if I had some volunteers to code the site .. or find the time to learn to do it myself, I’d be tempted to try and start it myself.

    The MAJOR reason I suggested it HERE (however late it may be), is .. NO ONE has the POWER to create and PUSH a community site into the spotlight like [The Firestorm Team].

    They can use their site right here, they can use the login screen. It’s why we’re here talking about this in the first place, eh? [The Firestorm Team] can get a site like that into the forefront of their community with the least effort and the most effective targeting. Far more so than you or I could do.

    Cain

    January 4, 2016

  • Somehow i don’t think the “adult role play” picture represent that category any good. I think most people associate adult roleplay with fetishes, BDSM and D/s play, and to be honest all that picture tell me is that it “might” involve sexual play – something we all know.

    So my suggestion, replace that picture with something more fitting… other than that great project tho i will not share any of the pages on facebook as i value my anonymity and want to keep this part of me private.

    Lisbeth

    December 29, 2015

  • You can share the pages using your RL profiles without revealing your identity in SL – that retains your anonymity. Now, if you don’t want to reveal to anyone that you use SL at all, then I can’t help you with that.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • […] As part of our plans to create a better Second Life new user experience, the Firestorm Community Gateway Project is in full swing. Last week we created a new set of tools designed to help you spread the word (without having to share your avatar […] […]

  • These are awesome web pages!

    I realise it’s probably an artefact of Facebook rather than these web pages, but when I pasted the URL for the ‘Creating’ page into my ‘What’s on your mind’ box on FB, I got the fabulous header image of the house: brilliant, I have no problems with that showing in my RL feed. When I pressed enter, however, it instead inserted into my feed the image of the seemingly topless woman with the dove n her hand – ie, the very last image out of all of the images on that page I wanted to show in my feed!!

    Oh well!

    Huck

    December 29, 2015

  • Yeah, I really don’t like how FB chooses images from a post to include. There’s nothing that I’m aware of that can change that (at least with the tools at my disposal). I think you can edit the pics though that show up on FB, using the little X box on them. Hope that works for you.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • Sadly the x is only available before you hit the ‘post’ button, and then it will only remove the image altogether rather than give you a choice (although the image that’s showing at that moment is completely acceptable and I would gladly choose it). I did think it was probably a FB issue. Thanks for confirming that.

    Huck

    December 29, 2015

  • I suppose the safest work-around is to remove all images attached and add one yourself. Tedious, I know. At the very least, all images are work-safe.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • Please consider fixing the splash page picture for Decorating/design so the image is not flipped. When looking at the wall decor with the words on them, the images are backwards.

    TheaDee

    December 29, 2015

  • The pages are ok but do you really have to have fake testimonials and use stock photography?? Why not have actual SL avatar testimonials and photos of avatars when promoting SL?

    A girl on a grid

    December 29, 2015

  • Now you can share your RL photo and testimonial if you’d like 🙂 http://www.firestormviewer.org/share-your-love-of-second-life-with-a-testimonial/

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • Now that I have made my comment and read the others.. I totally see and support why Firestorm, the largest viewer in SL, and one that actually has multi-language support for the viewer, is interested in supporting addition of new users.

    Yes, Linden Labs should (and I believe does) have people to market SL, but their marketing efforts send people to the same orientation islands and newcomer areas that often turn people off of the SL user experience. (Last time I was at a “welcome area” it was not very welcoming, and I think if I dealt with that when I was new, I might not have stayed around!)

    I think it’s great for Firestorm to take the lead in reshaping the new user experience and offering new marketing tools to share for those of us who feel comfortable doing so. If there is a way for people like me to act as a mentor or guide at the Firestorm orientation island, please let me know how!

    TheaDee

    December 29, 2015

  • Thanks for your comment and your open-mindedness to an alternate way of doing things. I think it’s important to emphasise that we’re not doing this because we think LL is doing a bad job of marketing. We’re doing this because we’d like to help, with the tools we have and from the perspective we can bring. To offer your help to newbies, please NC Flossy Andrews inworld. For teaching classes to newbies, please NC Ed Merryman. Thanks.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • […] Monday, December 28th, Friestorm announced the arrival of their Gateway landing pages, and asked Firestom users for their assistance in […]

  • Second Life promotion the way Linden Lab should do it. Well done, Canary.

    Indigo Mertel

    December 29, 2015

  • With due respect… it’s the way Linden Lab ARE doing it…. They’ve had themed landing pages for the last 6+ months.

    This doesn’t discount the Firestorm approach; but let’s not bash LL when they were effectively the pathfinders with the multiple landing page approach.

    Inara Pey

    December 29, 2015

  • Sorry Inara,

    Maybe I’m wrong, but where are the pages from LL? I’ve never seen one. There must be something wrong. Even if I try to find those pages, I can’t get there. I don’t expect a link here now, that would be unfair. Maybe they learned from the past, that would be fine.

    But please, don’t compare the look found on the Second Life or Linden Lab home pages with the work done here. If you do you missed the point.

    Shy
    N.B. I’m not the one giving kudos away for nothing, they must be earned

    Shy

    December 29, 2015

  • Thank you, Indigo.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • Very appealing! Very professional! I’ve never seen something like that from Linden Lab 🙂 Continue the good work, Canary.

    Shy

    December 29, 2015

  • Thanks for the kind words, Shy. More to come!

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • Great work! Those websites look amazing. iFrames, Widgets or banners that people can embed on their websites would be a next great step.

    Erik

    December 29, 2015

  • Thanks, Erik. Those are indeed good suggestions for next steps.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • […] I added two or three replacement links. I also added several from the Firestorm Gateway Project. For information on the project see: NEW: Share your love of Second Life with new tools.  […]

  • Cool stuff. A few things – we tried making a new account and after filling out the form and hitting the “Get Started” button, the page appeared to roll back to the Gateway page we started with, without any instructions to check email or any indication that we were successful. (I see from Inara Pey’s blog that there is a helpful next step page that is supposed to appear.) The account did create just fine, although the email went to our junk folder. Also, it seems like there should be a fashion gateway page! I think you are missing a huge draw by not showcasing fashion on its own.

    Ever

    December 29, 2015

  • Hi Ever, thanks for your feedback. Can you tell me the specific page this happened on? I’d like to re-check those links. Yes, all call to action buttons are meant to go directly to a form page, and once the form is completed it directs the user to a thank you page.

    There’s little I can do about the email going to the junk folder I’m afraid. That tends to happen with many autoresponders.

    On the fashion aspect: I too thought I’d be making a page for fashion, but my research showed this to be a lesser attractive target group due to size and propensity to refer others to SL. I might still offer up a fashion page in the future, but I’d like to see how Phase 1 pages test first. Thanks again.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • I had the same experience as Ever on the form accessed from the ‘Creating’ page – no thank you screen, just back to the original page from where I had originally clicked on ‘Sign up free’.

    I got the email, though, and it didn’t go to spam.

    If I were a new user, I might have found the email confusing. It says, ‘getting started is easy’ but there’s no information following this that says what I have to do. It asks, ‘Need to download Firestorm?’ – how would a new user know what Firestorm is?

    Though I’m supposing the thank you page – had it displayed – would have given more information?

    Huck

    December 29, 2015

  • Yes, you’re meant to get a thank you page providing more information in a 1-4 step approach. I’ve forwarded this issue to the person that configured the redirect from the form to double check them. Teething problems 🙂 Thanks, as always, for the feedback. This is exactly what’s needed to get these right before they’re properly promoted to the world at large.

    Canary Beck

    December 29, 2015

  • Hi Canary – I believe it was this form: http://gateway.phoenixviewer.com/form-socializing/
    accessed thru http://www.firestormviewer.org/socializing. I only mention the spam folder because it might be worth reminding people to look there if the email is missing. Thanks for considering the fashion page 🙂

    Ever

    December 29, 2015

  • We’ve resolved this issue, thank again for the very valuable feedback.

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • Using stock photos off shutterstock for testimonials is disingenuous makes you look desperate.

    Cinder Roxley

    December 29, 2015

  • Now you can share your RL photo and testimonial if you’d like 🙂 http://www.firestormviewer.org/share-your-love-of-second-life-with-a-testimonial/

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • I was looking at the Creator page and noticed that line spacing seemed to be pretty tight on the blurb of text “Enjoy creating online from the comfort and convenience of your home…”

    Upon further inspection, I noticed that the font-family was set to “Century Gothic” which is not what the page is using. My Chrome browser is defaulting to serif, not sans serif. I checked my Windows 10 fonts folder to make sure “Century Gothic” wasn’t there and it isn’t. Here’s how the defaulted serif look appears on my machine…

    http://i.imgur.com/ectLIt1.jpg

    You may want to at least add in a sans serif fallback font. Once added, I would suggest double-checking the line spacing for both fonts.

    Example CSS: font-family: ‘Century Gothic’, sans-serif;

    redsolar

    December 30, 2015

  • Not actually sure *why* the firestorm team is doing the Lab’s marketing work for free for them. I would have thought you would be better off… I don’t know… making a viewer?

    Jayd

    December 30, 2015

  • horrible idea, i would not suggest this perverted game even to my own worst enemy lol

    johnny

    December 30, 2015

  • Great idea, great looking pages. (Maybe add a shopping/fashion page to the mix.) I’ll be promoting these in a rotation on my VR feed on twitter.

    For anyone that cares about the Second Life community it’s a no brainier want to help promote it. The Labs marketing efforts are fine, but this is a welcome addition. Well Done!

    RoblemVR

    December 30, 2015

  • A one-button “post to Twitter” (and similarly “post to FB” and so on) at the top and bottom of the page would probably help with the virality; all the Cool Kids are doing it.

    I was going to tweet one or two of these until I noticed the disclaimer at the bottom, which suggests that it’s all lies. Does it just mean that the pictures are random stock images, or are the quotes made up too? I have definite qualms about linking to anything that merits a disclaimer like that…

    Dale

    December 30, 2015

  • The images are stock. The phrases are composites of sentiments shared with me in local chat over the course of a year of discussing what keeps people in Second Life from residents. We’ll be conducting A/B tests on these pages, and one of our first tests will be pages with and without testimonials.

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • Now you can share your RL photo and testimonial if you’d like 🙂 http://www.firestormviewer.org/share-your-love-of-second-life-with-a-testimonial/

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • This is awesome! What a great way to to get people interested. One suggestion…The consumers above are not actual consumers of the advertised product…why? I know there are many of us who could provide statements just as, if not more effective than the ones provided.

    Regardless, thank you for your hard work and love for our world.

    I am happy to say I am proud to be a citizen of our virtual world and will happily share it!

    lisa

    December 30, 2015

  • It was only the lack of time that acted as a barrier to getting RL photographs of SLers. With the new year beginning and the holiday mayhem out of the way, I think we can look at changing those up (especially after we conduct our first A/B tests)

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • Now you can share your RL photo and testimonial if you’d like 🙂 http://www.firestormviewer.org/share-your-love-of-second-life-with-a-testimonial/

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • Canary;

    While I applaud the idea of Firestorm taking on this project I also have to play devils advocate and ask why isn’t Linden Labs stepping up to help as well, My account is nearly 8 years old and I do spend a lot of my time helping new folks get settled in. As was mentioned in an earlier post, attracting new people means current and fresh content and destinations, and sadly many of these lack a description of what is acceptable and what is not. Like the person who posted they got booted as a furry, I have been booted for using my petite faerie avatar, everyone is very diverse here and destinations and recruitment should reflect all of that. I think the idea of doing this is wonderful, but it also needs to be well thought out and planned so each base gets covered adequately.

    Feliciana Zabaleta

    December 30, 2015

  • How about a survey to find out what people think about these review pages? Maybe do that after the mock testimonial are replaced with real ones? I don’t think I can sum up my thoughts about them effectively in a one paragraph comment here, especially when I keep thinking of Becky’s blog post in which she said she doesn’t like to take advice from random people. A survey would allow non-emotional, quantifiable feedback from a broad sample of interested users.

    Persephone Emerald

    January 2, 2016

  • Hi Persephone, I am conducting research on these pages, by way of A/B tests. A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage against each other to determine which one performs better. By creating an A and B variant and testing them against each other (e.g. some with RL testimonials, some with mock testimonials, and eventually some with no testimonials at all), I can use data & statistics to validate new design changes and improve the conversion rates. That’s even better than a survey because it doesn’t simply ask what random people think; it observes what the target markets actually *do*.

    Canary Beck

    January 2, 2016

  • Do people really need to see RL pictures of users? Maybe they can see picture of avatars too? I know the Drax Files work so well in part because he uses RL video of content creators, but these people are not standard, regular users. What if RL pictures confirm the expectation that most users are middle-aged, overweight, & generally unattractive? Will you then cherry-pick only the attractive pictures to provide a more attractive image of SL users? What if good comments come from unattractive users? Might the request to submit photos also deter people who would prefer anonymity from submitting comments?

    Persephone Emerald

    January 2, 2016

  • Marketers need to get prospects to put themselves in the picture of whatever product we are marketing. We need to facilitate prospects building rapport with people that they can identify with. To the uninitiated, a picture of an avatar is less relatable than a picture of a real person.

    When introducing people to something new we have to take people from the known to the unknown. If one is unfamiliar with Second Life or virtual worlds, we have to assume that uninitiated people don’t have the same rapport with avatars as long-term users might.

    It’s only after becoming involved in Second Life that avatars become meaningful, not before. When recruiting new users we need to be mindful of putting ourselves in the headspace of people that have NO knowledge of Second Life, avatars, or virtual reality. That, I believe, will be the critical success factor of this project – with regards to recruitment, and short and long-term retention.

    Again, exceptions will always exist; but marketers need to think more generally than that if we hope to speak effectively to the large groups of people.

    It might help to bear in mind that the RL photos aren’t the only thing folks are seeing on the landing pages. There are already plenty of inworld pics on the pages. Here’s one of them for context: http://www.firestormviewer.org/socializing. The RL names, photos, and testimonials aren’t replacing SL imagery, they’re supplementing it.

    Canary Beck

    January 3, 2016

  • Sorry if this has already been pointed out, but are you aware that the photo on this page – of Becky from the UK – is matched to the EXACT same text as Sarah from the USA on the design and decorating testimonials? Either someone has made a linking mistake or the testimonials are fake… I’m rather afraid a lot of people are going to jump to conclusion #2. This error needs to be fixed ASAP.

    Fledhyris Proudhon

    January 3, 2016

  • … or as I now read in several comments, the photos are shutterstock. Which means you need to be extra careful not to link multiple photos to the same comment or you will be found out! ;p

    Fledhyris Proudhon

    January 3, 2016

  • Fledhyris, there is no cover up and no one is worried about being “found out” 🙂 We fully acknowledge the photos are stock and the comments are composites and have added disclaimers to that effect on every page. We are now seeking user-submitted photos and testimonials to replace them because we didn’t have time to do this earlier. As expected, this is taking a while.

    Canary Beck

    January 3, 2016

  • The above testimonial is just an example of what a testimonial will look like. It’s not on any page.

    Canary Beck

    January 3, 2016

  • […] to do your bit to promote SL?  Why not promote one of the six beautiful Firestorm pages in your RL social media?  This won’t give away your SL identity (if that’s something you keep private), and […]

  • The pages look really beautiful and really professional….but…the big glaring omission is the fact that Second Life is a racially diverse place.

    Looking through the pages I am not sure if I’ve even seen one black person or anyone else non white in either the promo photos or in the stock member photos. The one thing Linden Labs always did was to make sure there was a better mix of people in their ad materials. Even if there are some I’ve missed it is not a wholly balanced portrait of who inhabits our metaverse and who can join. What about promoting all the different country and cultural groups that exist too, what does this omission say?

    The failure to show a better mix of the rich diversity of Second Life not only sends out totally wrong message but is commercially couterproductive. If I were to look at these new pages now maybe I wouldn’t think it was for me as no other people like me are represented and I definitely wouldn’t use them to help spread the word. Come on Firestorm you can do better than this.

    I also agree that with the other comments that any made up testimonials and stock member photos no matter how well intentioned should be avoided as the media will seize on this as ….more fakery and fibs from Second Life!

    This campaign is nearly perfect with stunning photos and layout please don’t fall down the hole of neglecting to show that 50% of the planet can also join and are already part of the fun.

    Moco Scribe

    January 4, 2016

  • Hi Moco, there are some non-caucasian people in the stock photos, but we’re in the process of soliciting user testimonials and RL pictures that we’ll replace those with anyway. With regards to images, we chose images from this pool of user submissions: https://www.flickr.com/groups/firestormgateway/. When choosing photos, race didn’t even enter my mind as selection criteria; I was more interested in any image that was high quality and fit the criteria I laid out. I’ll keep an eye out for it going forward. Do you have any idea what the racial breakdown is in SL? What would be representative?

    The omission of not promoting the different country or cultural is not intended to say anything other than those are not target use cases for our program. If you’d like to add your image to the mix, please do so by following the instructions found here: http://www.firestormviewer.org/share-your-love-of-second-life-with-a-testimonial/

    The submission of SL photos in on hold at this time (we have over 5000) but when we need more we’ll announce it on these pages, and you can submit racially diverse ones then. Thanks!

    Canary Beck

    January 4, 2016

  • Thanks for the reply Canary,

    As far as what the actual racial mix of users in SL is I’ve no idea other than my own direct experiences.

    As someone who has been in SL as a merchant for more than 7 years, my customers, acquaintances and friends come from all walks of life and all cultures. I don’t actively seek out a mix of people they just turn up at my store. It’s the same when I go dancing or sailing or shopping, there’s a mix of people.

    My point was that the SL photos should reflect who actually uses SL. My view, for what it’s worth is that as a marketeer you absolutely should be mindful of who you’re appealing too otherwise the campaign fails. By saying that – it didn’t even enter your head to make sure that SL’s cultural mix was properly was covered seems like a gross oversight to me.

    And out of the 5000 photos submitted there were none showing from people across the globe, really? No Chinese or Japanese people? No one from Africa or the Caribbean, no Black British, Asian, Native Americans blah blah.

    The only photos of a high enough quality were those from european looking avatars, really?

    Thanks for the offer of me being able to ‘submit some racially diverse ones’ at a later time. Which sort of misses the point, what about including some now?

    moco scribe

    January 4, 2016

  • Thanks for your feedback! 🙂

    Canary Beck

    January 4, 2016

  • Well, blocking from XP.. .. Good show, then.. ..
    All our business infrastructure runs perfectly well and fast on it, and since we are not running into any trouble whatsoever, we are not going to change specially for SL !! So, in a few months i will be out then, if the Linden exchange protocols are changed. I still run Singularity perfectly atm and way smoother than Firestorm. The latter provides a tad higher FPS (but not by much).
    Friends are already leaving as well. One runs a Mac from 2009, is a high profile designer and has really no intention to upgrade since all her work runs smooth and productive. The same for us.
    Well, that’s it then, bye, bey to SL.. .. It’s been fun, but the actual software policies have always been utter ridiculous.
    And no wonder why SL never made it to mainstream. This is a good example.. .. Highly unprofessional. Business users are still supported for XP, mind you and for years to come.. ..

    Linda Brynner

    January 6, 2016

  • yes Linda Brynner is right.
    agreed on updates, but for all !

    my 2 cents :
    so u want to get ppl on SL ?
    its LL’s job to solve bugs and provide much faster servers for all PC’s.
    if you lag on a 2yo PC, you would like to leave SL fast.
    if the SL-webpages are bad as now, you would like to leave SL fast.
    to much stuff will not work, to much bugs no faster servers … etc.
    LL’s job is to lame, sry lol

    b

    January 9, 2016