Linden Lab Kills Atlas Land Baron

No, that’s not hyperbole or even emo-rage-quit speaking … it’s a fact. To be ultra-precise, it’s about to become a fact. Recently there was a change in the upper-level management of the Search Team at Linden Lab. Ever since that change, specifically this past Sunday, the Sims owned by Jayson Dorn of Island Oasis Properties have been summarily removed from In-World Search.

For several months now I’ve been struggling with In-World Search, trying to get Jayson’s Main Office to place somewhere in the top 20. The best I could ever manage was to get him into the top 200. Yes, that’s right .. 200! Even when I copied verbatim the keywords and descriptions of the Parcels ranked 1-10, the best I could get his office ranked was #179. Yet they were ranked #1 through #10.

So finally, about 2 weeks ago, I hit on a solution … call it a magic formula .. that managed to circumvent whatever “foot on the scale” the Search Engine was putting on Jayson’s properties and I got his main office ranked #4. That lasted just over a week. Then this past Sunday, his Main office and all of his primary Sim locations … VANISHED! Removed from Search. Not found at all.

The kicker to all of this? Every shop owner and businessperson that rents from Jayson and Island Oasis Properties? They’ve been removed from In-World Search too. That’s 100’s of businesses, summarily decimated without any explanation or reason. Just *POOF* … Gone!

So with Second Life bleeding Sims and businesses, and Linden Lab needing more Sim owners not less, why have they killed off one of their bigger Atlas-Level Sim Owners?

Beats shit outta me folks … beats shit outta me.

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15 Comments on Linden Lab Kills Atlas Land Baron

  1. Adromaw Lupindo on Mon, 30th Apr 2012 9:58 PM
  2. Wow, just wow. Nice short and sweet opener. You’re going to follow this on up with a few more articles? I’d like to know the results of impact from trying to search any number of the mentioned 100’s of merchants on leased land from direct name searching.

    And perhaps another on how search engines may evolve to handle and solve growing issues being made by recent changes in philosophies.
    It’s a bit worrying that sometimes you have to find a way to escape prediction when you’re trying to find something you don’t normally do. Every method has its place, but I haven’t noticed a service that offers me a search I can change its behaviour with ease on the fly. They just don’t work like touch screen apps.

  3. Pamela Galli on Mon, 30th Apr 2012 11:45 PM
  4. That is frightening! At this point I just cannot expect anyone at LL to take an interest. We’ll see, but that’s how it seems these days.

  5. Darrius Gothly on Tue, 1st May 2012 12:26 AM
  6. @Andromaw – The In-World Search service in Second Life isn’t the “predictive environment” type Search Engine that we all use when searching the big bad Internet. It’s a very specific home-brew customized version of the SOLR/Lucene search application tweaked to meet their in-house needs. But because it’s totally purpose-built, those “purposes” can be as widely varied as they desire … including weighting the results toward or away from specific individuals. I’d hoped they would use that capability to tamp down rampant abusers and not in a capricious or illogical manner. I seem to have hoped in vain.

  7. Dartagan Shepherd on Tue, 1st May 2012 1:17 AM
  8. Who makes more, a land baron with a discount or a direct LL sale of regions? Their fire sale stunt on regions took at least as many sales from land barons as were offered.

    Excluding land barons that LL itself competes with from search isn’t surprising

    May not be true here, but any effect that detracts from land barons will put more sales directly in LL’s pockets. More LL themed sims seemed to have moved last week.

    Another effect that will be ongoing is that as long as SL declines, you can be sure that LL will be looking at ways of pulling more revenue/user hours/eyeballs from land barons and content creators and customers to LL to make up for losses and to try to control the situation more directly.

    Expect to see more of this.

    Tonight I’m a happy camper, we only just abandoned our region, not even interested in trying to sell it. We’re now $300/month richer. Should have done it a year ago.

    LL is currently looking to hire a specialist so that they can further dissect and analyze currency.

    This company had it all on a platter and could have made due with land sales from land barons alone with no other revenue but they pissed it all away in favor of doing everything but developing a really solid virtual world with modern features, quality and stability.

  9. Darrius Gothly on Tue, 1st May 2012 1:59 AM
  10. @Dart – I see your point. Sadly though they’ve once again analyzed only one level deep. The follow-on effect will be that a large number of those shops that are now effectively “shut down” due to being removed from search on Jayson’s Sims .. will just flat leave SL and not bother trying to move. They’ve gained an extra $50 per month, and lost $100. But hey! They did gain that $50! *rollseyes*

    Of course there’s also the whole “bad blood” and “ill will” attitude that spreads deeper and deeper into the community. As Merchants we know that a tiny loss here or there is beneficial as long as our reputation and customer relationship is untarnished. I guess LL no longer cares if they piss off and drive off their paying customers as long as they hold forth the promise of “New Users With Cash Money” right around the corner.

  11. Adromaw Lupindo on Tue, 1st May 2012 3:09 AM
  12. Despite that truth I included it in my comment with purpose in mind. All search engines have one primary function in common and you’re all about search. I didn’t want to hit you with a thousand questions all at once as I’ve dropped my interest in this pretty late. I’m aware from previous postings of yours, both here and elsewhere, that LL use a purpose built blackbox and the comparisons to other systems serve a limited purpose of the different means to an end. How to rank and list a page of results from top-down and how to rank one result higher than another and why (which I think is a problem in itself). I’m just hoping for more insight to come that’ll give my sudden interest more depth on the situation. How long does it take for a merchant to get setup on search, how long to be cleaned off it with DB batch job schedules, etc etc. All put in actual case scenarios it’ll make a good read.

  13. Darrius Gothly on Tue, 1st May 2012 3:22 AM
  14. Ahh .. gotcha. I’ll email you to discuss this directly as it’s really not something that would fit into a Blog comment.

  15. Vick Forcella on Tue, 1st May 2012 2:23 PM
  16. As I have played Google a few times you should know, playing Search get’s you removed. It’s the law of seachmachines.
    You play the game, you loose. Easy as eight.

  17. Darrius Gothly on Tue, 1st May 2012 2:43 PM
  18. @Vick – That’s not the issue at all. I didn’t “play” with Search, I changed the primary keywords the parcel used. And it’s not just Jayson’s Sims now, it has spread across the entire grid. Read this JIRA:

    Regions not showing in inworld search

  19. Teagan Tunwarm on Tue, 1st May 2012 10:15 PM
  20. As I see it, the only way to appear in search is to pay a ridiculous amount in classified ads and even that doesn’t work. i have about 40% of my sim open right now and i’ve given up on ads for the time being since they’re not bringing in the traffic like they were. If it weren’t for my loyal 60% of tenants I would have also thrown in the towel.

  21. Teagan Tunwarm on Tue, 1st May 2012 10:15 PM
  22. really nice piece you wrote btw. keep up the great work and hugs

  23. Darrius Gothly on Tue, 1st May 2012 10:39 PM
  24. Don’t feel singled out Teagan, LL has been competing with and destroying the business of the big-name land barons for some time now. As Dartagan pointed out above, their “solution” is in fact a major part of the problem. But that’s what happens when you let the lawyers and accountants run the business. Or even worse .. when you let the INVESTORS tell you what to do. They really don’t care what happens as long as they get their money back. But back to the point, everyone that rents or sells land has been doing piss poor for some time now. It wouldn’t surprise me to start seeing some very large names vanish from the grid very soon. For those that are just trying to get by with one or two Regions, I’m amazed any of them are still alive.

    […] while we are at it, what about Island Oasis Properties? According to Darrius Gothly ( ) they have vanished off search. […]

  25. Dave Bell on Sat, 5th May 2012 4:07 AM
  26. I’ve mixed feelings about the whole SEO game. Too often it seems to go beyond good design into potentially abusive trickery. And the LL search system, in-world and Marketplace, is full of badly-used data.

    But a good chunk of the problem here seems to be the usual Linden Labs piss-poor communication.

  27. Essex on Tue, 8th May 2012 5:14 PM
  28. I believe you are working from a faulty premise.

    It’s my belief that there is simply no search team at LL any more. There is no ‘foot on the scale’, or, if there was in the past, that foot is just resting there under noone’s control any more. I don’t believe there has been anyone watching the search system since just after the new search was released many months ago. I remember hearing a long time back that all of search was in the seattle office and now I hear that office is a ghost town if it even still exists.

    Don’t attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by no one paying any attention. You can complain all you want, there just isn’t anyone to hear those complaints any more.