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Linden Lab expands Second Life traffic gaming policy

Tateru Nino

Linden Lab, as you probably already know, has started to take action against the use of bots to game Second Life traffic (which is still the most influential of the sorting criteria in in-world search results), although with somewhat lackluster results so far.

Yesterday, it was indicated that the action would be extended to other means of artificially boosting traffic figures, such as camping-chair installations.

Camping-chairs, in Second Life involves setting up a set of scripted objects (which may be chairs, dancing poles, towels, dance-balls, or even things that make your avatar appear to be collecting litter, working a lemonade stand or washing windows), that then pay out a small number of Linden dollars after an interval. In the image above, the avatar on the right has spent over 11 hours in place and has earned the equivalent of 3 US cents in that time.

The idea is to pin avatars to a location, where their presence boosts the following day's traffic figures. It's a comparatively low cost way of boosting your search-rankings in Second Life, and making your site appear much busier and more engagingly popular than it actually might otherwise be.

It's not just limited to Joe Landowner, mind. Even high-profile corporations, like Italy's Enel and Germany's T-Online used to offer little other than mass camping installations (both appear to have since departed), which made their locations seem very busy, but it was a crowd of largely disinterested and idle users, who spent their attention on their alternate accounts elsewhere.

Linden Lab is taking the rather refreshing approach of attacking the problem, rather than a single implementation of it. It is not, however, immediately clear where the line is to be drawn on "deliberate attempts to falsely drive up the traffic score." If indeed any such hard line can truly exist.

We did a quick sweep of all the major bot installations on our list again today. Linden Lab's three-week old policy on the traffic bots appears to have still had no impact on them. There are as many bots present as ever. As yet, we've got no actual evidence to suggest that there's any practical enforcement of the new policies, so we're not sure if yesterday's clarifications will have any actual impact.

Are you a part of the most widely-known collaborative virtual environment or keeping a close eye on it? Massively's Second Life coverage keeps you in the loop.

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