Linden Lab has, for a very long time, published quite an array of statistical data about Second Life through a regularly updated (when it worked, which it didn't always) set of statistical data feeds (mostly collected by aficionados and researchers). During mid-January, two sets of those feeds suddenly stopped working. A bug, we thought, as data-quality for the statistical has traditionally been exceptionally poor, and it was far from unprecedented.
The two casualties were total signups and the number of users logged into Second Life in the last 60 days. Interestingly, though, just after the data ceased updating, Linden Lab purged approximately 800,000 user accounts. Now, we've got no official statement from the Lab that the sudden cessation of the published data is due to a bug or due to policy -- However the sudden stop in publishing signup data, coupled with the sudden cull of nearly five percent of those signups makes for a heck of a coincidence, don't you think?
As for all those purged accounts? Those at least are easily explicable. For a year or more, Linden Lab has been planning to run a purge of accounts that were registered prior to a certain date, but have never been logged into. Any account that was logged into even once was exempt. The anticipated number that Linden Lab CFO, John Zdanowski gave at the time was approximately 800,000. That was roughly 14 months ago. Bear in mind that these are not merely inactive accounts, they're never active accounts.
While that purge was supposed to have taken place within the month, that apparently was not to be. Also, since the number of purged accounts appears to match Zdanowski's original figure, we assume that no change in the terms or the extent of the cull was made -- so presumably subsequent purges of such accounts will be required periodically.
That would suggest that if the pattern were to hold true, that approximately 7% of new user registrations to Second Life never log into the virtual environment at all. (You can insert a joke about most of those being journalists or senators here, at your option).
Linden Lab continues to be unavailable for comment.
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