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Poll shows 72% of Second Life users are more likely to promote it

Canary Beck Facebook Profile
Canary Beck, Marketing Manager

Earlier this week I asked Second Life residents how likely they are to recommend Second Life to RL friends and colleagues. Over 3,000 people responded to the survey showing passionate engagement with Second Life. The poll shows 72% of Second Life users are more likely to promote it.

These were the results when I asked the question. The sample is 3,073 residents:

SL NPS Quesiton 1 Result
Click to make bigger

In summary, those giving scores between 6 to 10 (N= 2,216) equaled 72% of the sample. Those saying they were less likely to recommend Second Life – scoring between 0 and 5 (N = 857) – equaled 28%.

Surprised? So am I. That chart looks like positive news for our new user recruitment efforts that I’ll be leading.

Second Life residents are sufficiently enthusiastic about Second Life to say they’ll recommend it to others by a significant margin. With that said, the number of detractors is sufficient to dampen word-of-mouth efforts. We need every promoter we can get!

That is not to suggest people do not have legitimate complaints about Second Life. It’s important to acknowledge that no successful product is without weaknesses. Despite its weaknesses, the majority of users still report wanting to support Second Life. I’d further argue that Second Life has some of the most loyal users of any similar product, especially when you considers the many downsides of the product.

Respondents reported their top 3 use cases as follows:

Top Second Life use cases
Top Second Life use-cases (click to make bigger)

After analysis, I don’t detect any significant differences in user roles and their propensity to recommend. So, I’ll soon be calling upon members of these top communities to submit content for our user recruitment efforts! Watch this space.

I’ve uploaded a PDF version of this report here: ‘Second Life Referral Survey’ Survey Results Polldaddy

Notes: A sample of 3,073 users represents 0.3% of the accepted population of Second Life (900,000). At a 99% confidence interval, this makes the margin for error ±2.3%. In other words, the group that is more likely to recommend might be between 69% to 74%.

Thanks to everyone who completed the survey.

Canary Beck, Marketing Manager, Firestorm

  • Those 3,000 voters aren’t a random sample of the 900,000 (we all know that a big portion of them are alts and people who log in once per month or per week), they are more likely the most active Firestorm users and people who regularly visits your blog. So they are more on the enthusiast side and the votes aren’t so surprising (yeah, you have few trolls and haters, that make more noise than the quiet crowd loving you). SL is beautiful, but if you recommend it, you should also caution that it’s not all cute and shiny: besides the technical issues, I never met so many psychos in the Net like in SL and I don’t want my friends to be hurt or having bad experiences. If you take it right and you stay safe, SL is wonderful.


    December 4, 2015

  • Pointer you do have a very valid point in your post. And that it is wise to caution people you recommend, that while second life is a beautiful things with a lot of wonderful things to experience. Yes there is also a dark side to Second Life. And sadly that dark side, also comes from one of the “TOP” three categories of users. And that does happen to be, those users who are role players. Which also makes up, the largest % of people who look at Second Life as being nothing but a game. And that has a very profound effect, on people who come to second life for Socializing, which also happens to be a large % of people who are complaining.

    And that has a lot to do, with the differences that the two take to what second life is. As you have one group, that see’s it and everything in it as being a game and thus role play. Then you have the second group, that looks at second life and says ‘hey this is not a game, and that I am not role player as I am not playing a role with this person. As I am carrying out a conversation, with my friend who happens to be out in another state. Or that they are talking to their sister, who maybe in another country.’ Now I say that, as I do not role play at anything I do. As I am not pretending to be say “Data” from Star Trek the Next Generation. And that is because, I do engage in things that I do or have done in real life, such as BDSM. And that I have seen, what happens when you take such a carsmatic approach to things as to say “oh it’s just a game”, so when I hit the big red X everything is OK. And that is where a lot of the problems comes in to play, is the one sided approach people take as to say it’s just this. Which is what I caution my friends about, when I recommend SL is that many people will see it as something it may not be. And thus go all psycho, for whatever reason.

    animorf Kawadias

    December 5, 2015

  • And now we begin with assertions that data isn’t well sampled because it doesn’t align with personal pre-conceptions.

    First, if the population were less than 900,000 then the margin of error would be lower, not greater. Suggesting the population is smaller than it is counterproductive to the point you’re trying to make.

    Let me reiterate the survey’s statistical confidence, in case it was missed:

    “A sample of 3,073 users represents 0.3% of the accepted population of Second Life (900,000). At a 99% confidence interval, this makes the margin for error ±2.3%. In other words, the group that is more likely to recommend might be between 69% to 74%.”

    If you are simply looking at one large group of people as a whole, the process of determining a random sample is pretty straightforward. You need to know how many people are in the entire group (e.g. the total number of Second Life residents) and how “accurate” you want your results to be (see “Statistical Confidence” above) – in this case 99%. When you survey a portion of a population, there will be some margin of error in the results, but when the margin of error is reduced to just a few percentage points, it often becomes of little concern.

    Most of the respondents answered the survey after seeing it on the Firestorm blog. Is it possible that this is a biased sample? It’s possible that those who read the Firestorm blog are more enthusiastic about Second Life than those who don’t, but it’s also possible they are more critical. Given the overall negativity of the comments on the survey’s blog post, one might (mistakenly) assume that most Firestorm users are negative about Second Life too. The Firestorm Viewer is the most used viewer in Second Life and, therefore, attracts a wide breadth of use cases, making these users a representative sample of Second Life users.

    With that said, I also shared the poll through my personal network (not affiliated with Firestorm) that reaches over 8000 people. This helps to further randomise the sample.

    It is also possible that people might be passionate about Second Life yet not recommend it for many reasons. Reasons people may not recommend Second Life might include:

    – Privacy concerns
    – anxiety related to explaining the concept
    – perceived negative associations with the product
    – and a lack of opportunity

    On the flip side, people who are not enthusiastic about Second Life are unlikely to recommend it. With that said, the results might understate the proportion of ardent Second Life supporters.

    People who take the time to answer surveys might be unusually motivated to support second Life. That may be true, but it takes a lot more effort to write a lengthy negative comment than it does to check two to three boxes on a survey. Therefore, I suggest that detractors of Second Life are also highly motivated to share their detractions. That is consistent with customer service studies that show unsatisfied customers are more likely to share their perspectives than satisfied customers.

    Canary Beck

    December 5, 2015

  • Pointer is right.

    Cinder Roxley

    December 5, 2015

  • Canary is right of course, we shouldn’t reject the result of a survey just the result don’t fit you opinions. 🙂

    But really, nobody’s taking this little survey seriously, are they? It was a fun quiz and hopefully a morale booster for the good people who volunteer to maintain Firestorm. But as a serious statistical survey, the meyhodology was so full of basic flaws it’s not possible to draw any meaningful conclusions whatsoever from the results.

    Chin Rey

    December 9, 2015

  • I think this is a great result. Those who cared to reply, did so very very positively. After 10 years of SL, I am very encouraged by these results.

    Magnus Brody

    December 4, 2015

  • When you do a poll like that for a week on a platform with 900K unique monthly users where firestorm covers more than 50% of the viewer usage and you only receive 3000 votes with 1 out of 3 negative you have an image problem.

    We will look forward how Canary Beck will drive user adoption on a massive scale and make sim sales grow like never before putting a stop to the weekly decline while boosting the tier revenue for Governor Linden so he can keep taking advantage of the average consumer to fill his pockets.

    Marketing machine Canary Beck is going to reverse the grid and actual get a user instead of making one leave. Buckle up your inflatable mesh boobs and put on your shortest prim skirt and you are on your way to charm the new arrivals on welcome island Canary Beck.

    Now I cannot speak more because I would violate the TOS and get banned by the #@!##’;,’# Lindens.

    Tuck Daisy

    December 5, 2015

  • You have a good point, pointer (word-play intended?)… Anyhow, though there may be some weaknesses in terms of the sample, I feel that the skew may be more due to the main avenue of survey discovery being via the login screen of Firestorm (not likely to be the viewer in use by a new user).

    That said, it would have been interesting for there to be a survey field for SL-age of one’s oldest avi. That, compared to (LL would have to provide it) an average avi age, would lend (or take) credence to the value of the results.

    In reality, a truly random sample would be nearly impossible to achieve unless LL were to make exposure to the opportunity to take the survey a forced pre-login thing for all viewers, which would break some, and cause an exodus of a few folks from SL.

    Since such a result would be entirely counter to the mission of attracting a larger total user-base, I think the survey method implemented here is the best one can do in a limited environment.

    Back to Pointer’s comments, it’s quite true that one’s SL experience can be drastically affected by those that one associates with (rather like RL in that regard). I always make sure that when recommending SL to another, I make it clear that it’s a full virtual reality, in which both the good and bad of humanity come into play. And the entirely-open-field nature of SL is both the beauty and the ugliness of it.

    Ok, enough rambling… I’ll continue to promote SL to those in RL that I think can handle it. Thank you for creating this survey, for publishing the results, and your work to promote SL. My best wishes to all!


    Angie Tairov

    December 5, 2015

  • Thank you for taking on a big job and putting out this poll! However, you should take the “statistical confidence” numbers out of the report because this sample is so far from being correct polling practice. Basically, what you’re doing is the 1936 Literary Digest poll that was spectacularly wrong because it used a large sample but it wasn’t properly constructed.

    Theresa Tennyson

    December 5, 2015

  • You still show the survey page, but the survey is closed? Maybe change the text or open the survey. Doesn’t look very professional to have such an error on main page.
    As to Second Life, I have been involved for 9 years, from creator scripter to happy user. I have recommended it to many many folks. Sadly, the biggest problem with SL seems to be the owners. Every time I get people interested, LL changes something that makes the reason they came in no longer valid. Now I keep hearing about the so called SL2 coming and that seems to keep ppl from investing in SL itself.
    My cudo’s to the Phoenix FS team. Its the best viewer and goes a long way to making the SL experience fun and easy to enjoy.
    Nuff Said


    December 5, 2015

  • Reasons people may not recommend Second Life might include:

    – Privacy concerns
    – anxiety related to explaining the concept
    – perceived negative associations with the product

    I am a passionate SL user and been in SL for over 9 years and a Firestorm user since the Emerald days but these reasons are why I wouldn’t recommend SL to my friends ~right now~.

    In general if I thought my friends would have a positive experience in SL when they join then I would whole heartedly recommend it but from years of trying to help newbies in SL I see the steep learning curve and terrible new user experience to be a major limiting factor so I would not be encouraging my friends to try it.

    However I’m finding existing SL users everywhere on all kinds of social media that have given up on SL and when they learn that I use it often return when I show them what my view of SL is and what draws me to log in nearly every single day.

    If the new experiences and portals and Sansar can change that perception then I would certainly re-evaluate my opinion.


    December 6, 2015

  • Thanks for your comment, Quinn. I like the idea of getting old SL users back, thanks for the tip.

    Canary Beck

    December 7, 2015

  • I’m going to assume that most of the respondants weren’t screwed by the Lab for Openspace sims, weren’t forced to use the early viewer 2 version that gave alternative rise to the excellent Firestorm Viewer we now enjoy today, and didn’t suffer the ridiculous “trail of jizz” forced march of the adult businesses to Zindra.

    Most people wander off after 3 years inworld, it’s been that way for a long time. The Lab hasn’t really screwed with anyone much since the land sale of Nov 2011 stole the full-sim renters from the estate owners. Which was just after JP Linden’s weird gaming rules changes a month earlier.

    None of the Lab’s most brutish behavior is in the living memory of the majority of the active residents anymore. That’s why they’re willing to recommend it to their friends, the lab hasn’t treated them poorly yet.

    But they will. Sadly, the Lab’s rollout of Sansara will teach them the harsh lessons we learned so long ago…

    Gooden Uggla

    December 7, 2015

  • I’m rather annoyed that the poll wasn’t left open longer!! I wanted to vote on this, but when I clicked on the link the first time it was there when I went to long on, the poll was already closed, & that wasn’t that long since the previous time I logged in when the link wasn’t there… I think your numbers would be even higher if you’d left the poll open a reasonable amount of time!

    Buffy Surface

    December 8, 2015

  • Glad to see that many people recommend SL to others.
    Problem is that the number of sims is dramatically dropping.
    It sounds like people come and visit but do not put money in.

    wanda friller

    December 8, 2015

  • I applaud the Firestorm team for their ongoing efforts to make Second Life a pleasant experience. Thank you also to those who participated.
    During my 8 years in SL, I think I have seen it all, including the dark side. I’d like to suggest a poll that covers violence against women, prostitution, pedophilia, and terrorist cells that are suspected of forming grid-wide, just to name a few. Do the citizens of Second Life really need to experience this? We have enough of that rubbish in RL. I believe that the citizens should have a voice regarding these crimes, with the results sent to Linden Labs to help combat them. Well there’s my rant folks. I wish you all a safe and happy SL and RL.

    Irish Munro

    December 8, 2015

  • SL is an agonizingly slowly dying platform / no offense intended / and Sansar will be a total flop / is a waste of time

    JayR Cela 🙁

    JayR Cela

    December 9, 2015

  • Let me say I have been a fan of Firestorm since the days of the Phoenix viewer, however, this poll means nothing. Only 2 questions and no controls. It was designed to give exactly the results you received.

    The questions were analogous to the following question: “Would you rather die peacefully in your sleep or be mauled and swallowed alive by an Anaconda?”

    If you really want to determine the user base loyalty you need to ask serious questions. For example you strongly agree Linden Labs has done an excellent job in the administration of Second Life?” or “Linden Labs is 100% committed to the Second Life platform?”

    Please note the use of Linden Labs in both questions. The reason for this is because if look deeply you will find that people are not loyal to Linden Labs or Linden Labs products including Second Life. The user base is loyal to the time, money, energy and emotions they have invested in the product Second Life. You would also find that if there was a simple 1 button click to get off a Linden Labs product to a comparable product run by a more reputable company without loss of Friends or Inventory; Second Life and Linden Labs would cease to exists.

    Revlon Benoir

    December 10, 2015

  • I would have to agree with Revlon. If I could take my entire inventory with me and have a similar virtual experience elsewhere, I might take the plunge. I have sampled other virtual worlds such as Avination, Inworldz and Island Oasis, and they are pretty bogus in comparison to SL. So until there is something out there that really wows me, I’ll stick with SL. As Revlon said, “The user base is loyal to the time, money, energy and emotions they have invested in the product Second Life,”. As many of you, I have done all of the above. Maybe Bill Gates should look into starting up a virtual platform. 🙂

    Irish Munro

    December 11, 2015

  • Good analysis, Canary. Don’t let the nay-sayers get you down. As I’m sure you’re aware, in social science there here’s no such thing as a perfect poll, no such thing as a perfect sample and there’s always someone standing by to point out the obvious. Press on!


    December 12, 2015

  • […] Poll shows 72% of Second Life users are more likely to promote it […]

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