Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Out of curiosity, I did a little dive into some data I’ve collected recently. The stats below are from 3137 Second Life avatars that I saw online in public spaces this month. Those spaces ranged from educational spots, infohubs, sandboxes, and welcome areas to night clubs, roleplay areas, stores, beaches, XXX regions, and casinos. There are definitely a few bots and griefers (one sandbox I visited was a mess) in the set.
I expected I would see a spike of very young avatars and then a pretty straight decline over time with tiny tail. That’s not precisely the case.
For comparison, here is Tateru Nino’s all time sign-up chart reflecting June 2005 – May 2014:
So, does this give any insight we didn’t have previously? I think we’ve all speculated that there is a high burn rate on new avatars: either new members drop out quickly or these are avatars created for less-than-honorable intentions that end up banned or abandoned. 213 avatars in my set — about 40% of the “12 month and less” group and 6.8% overall — were actually under 1 month old. When I’ve finished collecting data, I’ll have to correct for any skew if I have a disproportionate number found in areas specifically intended for newbies, but at this time, I don’t think I do.
The rest of the chart could be seen as a retention hump in the 60 month old range or a trough in the 36-48 month group. Looking at the data by calendar year, there is a noticeable dip for 2011: the number of avatars seen that were born in 2010, ’11, and ’12 respectively were 395, 289, and 391. Hmm. My primary avatar was born in 2010 but it wasn’t because of any particular promotion or push; I created her to replace an avatar that didn’t fit me anymore. (In this set, there were only 17 avatars that entered SL before I did. I’m old. Turn down that noise and get off my lawn!)
As I warned, these are meaningless, misleading and incomplete. I simply couldn’t resist the lure of some early data crunching.