Second Life

Attracting New Users One-on-One: Linden Lab Lets You SLurl Your Friends

Linden Lab has retooled SLurls to allow you to invite friends, family, co-workers, and random strangers to join you directly in-world and in so doing is taking yet another bite at the first hour of the new user’s experience.

Now, for those of you who don’t know a SLurl from a tinyURL, you’re not alone - in fact, it took me about 6 months of being in Second Life before I understood the idea that every location on the grid could be represented by the equivalent of a Web address.

The idea here is sound: think of it like social marketing. You want to invite your friend in to Second Life but you get this little cringe when you think about them wading through sign-up, landing at orientation island, while you manically text them in Skype or MSN or whatever asking if they’ve logged in yet and what their user name is so you can send them a teleport, assuring them to just CLICK it, it’s safer over where you are or whatever and the prims are probably nicer.

With the new direct SLurl approach to registration here’s what happens”

- You post a SLurl (address representing a location in Second Life) to a friend, or on your Web site, whatever
- Someone clicks it, and it takes them to a map page.
- On that map page, the location appears including an image that you can specify
- If the user doesn’t have an account, it walks them through the 3-page sign up process (much reduced from the previous 9) and then, when they log on, it takes them to the specified location.

Now - you don’t even really need to BE there. You can have the SLurl on your home page, whatever.

This is a brilliant idea. One of the issues with some new users is that they can’t FIND anything. They need friends. They need to feel like they haven’t been thrown into the wilds, and that where they’re landing they have a passing familiarity with - they know the people who invited them, or the school, or the company, or whatever.

There are a few challenges or questions, I guess:

1. If you send someone to the above page (click it for larger image) you’d better make sure that before you do, they understand that you’re inviting them into a world and not some sort of odd version of Google Earth. There’s nothing at this stage of the process that gives them a sense of what they’re getting into - which is fine, and you can always add your own image to the SLurl location if it’s “locked” - but I find the page slightly intimidating.

Maybe the Lab can consider a few images or something at the top or bottom of the page. Not sure - I suspect they’ll track this, (or I hope they do) to see whether the design of the SLurl page to a new user is welcoming.

2. Doesn’t this dilute, at least to a degree, the Registration API program? One of the main benefits of that was that you could register and log users into a chosen location. The second benefit was being able to brand that process, but I suppose you could build a frame around the SLurl process no?

3. This still doesn’t solve the issue of the massive, lengthy download. I realize it’s a separate issue and I know the Lab is working on that plus changes to the UI. But I can’t help wondering why they can’t download in the background while you take a few quick snippet tutorials or something.

Having said all that - kudos for this. It makes sense. And if there is a more powerful way than being invited to join you in world, at a specific location, I can’t think of one.

Just measure, improve and refine is all, and this adds one more piece of the solution to that first hour.


speak up

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site.

Subscribe to these comments.

*Required Fields

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.