Saturday, 29 May 2010

Second Life ALL New SEO and other ramblings

Theres nothing new about SLs "All" search which was introduced by Linden Labs just over 2 years ago.
There's nothing neat, clever or special about it either.
It doesn't work. 
Well, it doesn't work for us at least. 

Now I know what you're thinking:
"It does, YOU just don't know how to manipulate it to work in your favour!"

A little history:
Before Linden Labs introduced the new Google based SEO into Second Life,  TRU Textures was always on page one under the general listings and at that time I think that was about right. 
After all we were the number one texture store in SL at the time with very little serious competition.

Things have changed in just over 2 years.

We have more competition for a start. 
And by competition I don't mean your "retro texture store" that sell freebies off the web. 

The ones that sell textures for 10 Linden Dollars because thats all it cost them to upload after saving them from some website with no personal work or skill applied in the creation. 

I try not to judge them too harshly. By and large these types of stores are ignorant and believe that if it's freely available on the internet then its theirs to do as they wish. 

A classic example of this was when I was recently informed someone was selling/giving my textures away. When I went to check out the location sure enough some of my very new and very good game textures were being handed out as traffic boosters. 
The only difference between mine and these copies was the size.
Mine are sized 1024 x 1024 pixels by default and these were a very low resolution of 250 pixels.
After speaking with the person who was giving them away,  she assured me she had got them from a "free texture website"
After a long discussion as I tried to figure out which site had been giving these textures out, it turned out it was my own. lol 
The lady said (and I quote) "I got them from here *URL linkI see what you mean and I am sorry, I don't mean to cause trouble or steal, but they were there for the taking and free, you advertise as free"  

What she had done is saved the thumbnails from my texture stock site which are sized 250 pixels and are not watermarked "because" of their low resolution size.

This is classic typical nooby ignorance.

People aren't born with copyright knowledge so why assume logging into SL will make them automatically knowledgeable. 

Of course there are people that know full well that they are stealing and do it regardless but I dont attribute these kind of people to texture store owners.
These people are usually copybot users and people that rip skins (or other textures) out of SL using software designed specifically for such use. 

Even these people see SL as "Just a game" They don't seem to understand (or care) that behind each product there is the cost of the software used to create it, the hours spent training and creating it and money lost as their skins are copied and sold for 10 Linden Dollars to thousands of other ignorant customers. 
And these customers then follow suit and go on to resell the same content to more people and on and on the chain goes until the issue is so widespread you would have to hire 30 people to work full time just to keep on top of the sale and resale of unauthorised content. 

But your average person starting to sell in SL will not understand copyright, EULA, IP, Creative Commons, etc unless they were in the business before they joined SL.
They may have a vague concept of it, but it's a very grey area.

And by noobs I don't just mean new to SL I mean new to owning a store or selling content in SL

Back in 2004 when SL was new these "retro texture stores" were not only the norm they also set the standard. 
Success in the texture industry wasn't so much about what you created but rather what you "found" on Google and that was considered OK and acceptable (back then)

I, like others followed suit and scanned the net for unique, hard to find freebies but by 2005 it ended up where we were all selling the same freebies found on the internet.

I had no real experience of Photoshop at the time,  so I decided to try a different tact and would offer to buy textures from builders. Most declined but some didn't.

Over the 12 months that followed I must have spent over a million Linden Dollars buying other peoples textures without thinking where they may have come from. I just assumed they had made them, or if I am honest, I made assumptions to suit my requirements.

A2J Textures sold me 1000 textures as he was leaving Second Life. I bought textures from customers who said they made them only to find 12 months later they were made very easily by a Photoshop plugin and I could have made them myself had I known about the plugin.

I bought them from where ever I could as long as they were not the recycled freebies found in every street corner texture shop in SL. 

I made some stupid naive mistakes in buying textures without knowing their origins and later discovered some of them had derived from commercial games and of course it reflected bad on me and rightly so. 

These same textures that I paid hundreds of Linden Dollars for, are now all over SL having now been made more freely available on the internet and are uploaded by numerous people either for profit or to share with friends or building groups.

I removed everything that wasn't 100% mine by creation a few years ago. 

There comes a time when you have to grow up and take the time to research the industry you represent. So I did. I also started to spend more time in Photoshop and joined NAPP to follow Photoshop tutorials.

Click Here For Part Two

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