Friday, 14 October 2011

Underhand IMVU Google Ad Words War With Second Life ?

When I type “Second Life” into Google I get one of two results, both of which display IMVU either above or beside the official Second Life website as displayed below:

Now, having experienced this myself with an online SL based texture website I know for a fact the only way this happens is when the competitor adds the name or phrase which includes the name of your website into the Google Ad Words Campaign which is apparently frowned upon by Google and I consider it to be unethical because for all intents and purposes this is no different than a real life store owner sending his staff to stand outside his main competitors store handing out flyers to the visiting customers.
Or in a virtual world, it’s the same as standing at the entrance to a store and handing out landmarks to customers teleporting in.

Its aggressive direct customer hijacking and maybe it’s me but I think it smacks of bad ethics.

As I tried to explain to the texture website who tried this tactic with me, “If your goods are good enough you will gain new customers by merit alone” and that, in an ideal world is how it should be.

What surprises me is that Linden Labs are:

1)  Silently allowing this

2) Not fighting fire with fire and doing the same as screenshot 3 displays.

When this happened to me my first thought was “Ok, if that’s the way you want to play, I will do the same” BUT upon some research, it turned out that the competing website at the time of the issue had 91 unique visitors a month compared to TRU website which had 1900.
Hardly an even playing field.

Thankfully, after an exchange of angry words they removed “TRUTextures” from their Google Ad Campaign (After trying to tell me it was just a natural occurrence because of the link with textures and second life. Strange, because no other SL/Texture site popped up when I typed TRU Textures into Google other than those affiliated with us.)


But IMVU gets a lot of traffic and has more people logged on at the same time than SL ever has so Linden Labs DO have something to gain by a “Two can play that game” come back. 

When I type in “Contentparadise” I do not see sites like turbosquid.com or Renderosity.com and the same applies vice versa so I don’t think this is normal business competition tactics and even if it was allowed in Googles TOS it still reflects poorly on the business who attempts such below the belt bullshit.

Now I like IMVU, I wouldn’t “play” it I tried it once and from what I could gather you cannot walk or run or dance all I could manage was jumping from one animated chair to another and from one room to another..not my cup of tea but clearly it is for many other people if the log in volumes are anything to go by.


So why aren’t Linden Labs doing something about it? As a business owner in SL it ticks me off because IMVU are not just stealing customers from Linden Labs, they are stealing customers from every single business merchant on the SL grid who are paying for the service to run their business there.
IMVU Above - Click to Enlarge 




















IMVU Beside - Click to Enlarge. 




















IMVU Search - No SL - Click to Enlarge 


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