Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Sustainability

1698...

Numbers, that's what it all comes down to.  A little over a year ago the old Doctor Who group in Second Life had about 400 members in it, at that point in time the Doctor Who fan base in SL was relatively small compared to what it is now.  At that point in time there was only a few big producers making content for the Doctor Who community within Second Life.


Fast forward a year and a bit and the old Doctor Who group has went over the 2000 member mark making it the largest Dr Who group in SL, and an even bigger shock...one of the largest scifi genre groups in SL as a whole.  Podshock, advertising within the podshock podcasts and the partnership between the Katrina sim and Dr Who Online UK and Podshock has helped bring a whole new wave of new whofans into the mix witin SL.  It's all to do with sustainability.


The problem is though that sustainability is starting to plateau out and stagnate.


The first few podshock parties brought in a massive amount of people in the community, most of which only come into SL a few times a week.  Even though the podshock parties are still the largest gatherings in the Who community to date, the recent parties have shown that there is no longer the flood of new folks coming in.  Wether its to do with the clanky user interface of SL, or the fact that most podcast listners are using computers that basically cant handle SL is something I wont be able to find out.  The cold hard fact is, the numbers are levelling off.


Every month, the Doctor Who group used to get about 200 odd new members, its been on a slow and steady decline since October, dropping about 40 to 50 every month.  The market for TARDIS consumables within SL (consoles, TARDISes ya can buy etc etc) is now over saturated, some of it is good, some of it however is badly made and badly scripted junk.  When a sci-fi genre within SL reaches a saturation point in the marketplace for that genre then sustainability goes out the window.  It's already starting to happen now.


Many folks questioned the direction I went in when I opened the Teen Dr Who Expo outpost.  Going down that direction was a gamble, it was a massive gamble.


...and its paying off, literally and figurativley.


The old teen grid is one of the last frontiers within Second Life which very few content creators have gambled on.  The fact that the teen outpost has basically payed for itself just with the money coming in from the affiliate HoO vendors says a lot.  That small group of teen Doctor Who fans withing the PG only sims entering the Expo, buying a console and then using it on their land means that when they hit 18, they already know about Katrina, the main Doctor Who regions partnered with Katrina and the content creators selling and partnered with Katrina.  Some of the teens in the island of Epic have already turned 18 and have jumped into the main grid and are already spending more and more time in the Katrina main sim rather than the outpost in Epic.


The number of underagers which entered Katrina as well has dropped slowly over the past few weeks since the video i made on Youtube announcing the opening of the new Teen outpost.  Basically, its a win-win situation.


Traffic ranking in SL will be all but gone when Viewer 2 becomes a forced upgrade sometime this year.  The sims relying on traffic and who done nothing about actual advertising and marketing within SL are gonna be hit hard once they realise that their traffic means squat all in the new search.  Its why Katrina has held that top spot in all search for all this time, not caring about traffic, its why the teen outpost is the top of PG all search even though its traffic is only at 1000 odd.  When that new search comes in...sustainability is gonna come up and bite a lot of regions in the rear end.


Then theres getting the word out to the greater SL populace...enter Relay For Life.  RFL is THE biggest charity event within SL, ontop of that its argueably the biggest inworld advertising opportunity within SL due to the camp sites you are allowed to build if you are a team in RFL.  So not only do we raise money to fight cancer, the thank you the groups get is much more exposure to the greater world of SL outside of the Doctor Who community thanks to that 20 sim large relay track that has literally thousands of people walking it for the 24 hour relay period.


Sustainability...thats the keyword of this year.