Region numbers continue to fall

The total regions on the top 40 OpenSim grids continued to fall this month, though not as badly as last month after OSgrid’s big cleanup.

The total number of regions fell by 1,566 to 20,629 since mid-November, due to the suspension of a couple of major grids, a continuation of the OSgrid cleanup, and possibly the anticipation of an upcoming OSgrid outage due to a server move.

Total regions on top 40 OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

By comparison, the top 40 grids lost more than 3,000 regions between mid-October and mid-November.

Grid shakeups

The Other Universe, a 719-region role playing grid, seems to be down this month.

And Meet3D, a Brazilian social grid, is also down, due to an ownership change.

According to grid founder Fabio Bastos, the deal was closed on November 27.

Fabio Bastos

“I will spend the month of December on activities for the acquiring company,” he told Hypergrid Business. Bastos said that he’s still very interested in OpenSim, and might start another grid in the future. “But the offer for sale was very good,” he said. “On one hand I’m sad, because I really dedicated myself to the max, but otherwise I’m happy to be rewarded with a good amount of money for all this work.”

Bastos said he’ll provide more details about the transition as things are finalized, but said that the new company was not only interested in the Meet3D brand, but also has the resources to “develop and refine” the project.

Meanwhile, on OSgrid, grid president Michael Emory Cerquoni — also known as Nebadon Izumi in-world — said that he continued to clean out unused regions this month.

“A lot of these regions, people are using as oceans or placeholders,” he told Hypergrid Business. “Generally, over the next few days, a lot come back.”

Since these regions are not usually up and running all the time, but merely live as names on a grid map, they get wiped out during cleanups of inactive sims. The data for the regions themselves — the terrains, the objects stored on them, and so on — is not lost because it is never stored with OSgrid, but on hosting computers. OSgrid allows anyone to connect a region to the grid. Many users connect regions running on home computers or laptops, while others use professional third-party hosting services from companies like Oliveira, SoftPaw and Dreamland Metaverse. Unlike the home-hosted regions, the professionally-hosted ones tend to be up 24-7.

However, some region owners may be holding off on re-connecting their regions to OSgrid because of an upcoming outage.

This coming Monday, OSgrid will be moving to a new hosting provider, Cerquoni announced on Friday.

“Our hosting agreement with University of California has come to an end,” he said. “The grant that was funding the project that hosted our server has ended and will not be renewed.”

As a result, the grid will begin its migration to new hosting on Monday morning.

“We are not quite sure how long the transition will take exactly so we do not want to give any estimates at this time, but if all goes well we should be back up sometime later that day,” Cerquoni added. “We will be giving updates throughout the day marking progress as we near completion.”

He urged grid residents to log out during this period, and not to do any in-world building.

As part of the move, the grid will also be consolidating two of its servers into one, more powerful, server — a move which is expected to save it money.

“When all is said and done, our monthly costs will be about the same as they were before,” he said.

OSgrid is the largest grid running on the OpenSim platform, a non-profit managed by volunteers and supported by donations. It is the main testing ground for OpenSim developers, and a favorite starting point for hypergrid travelers. It is also home to many educational, social, national, and role playing communities. You can donate to OSgrid here.

And since we’re on the topic of grid moves, the 16-region FoTo50 grid, and the 15-region ThunderLife grid, merged into one grid under the FoTo50 name. The combined grid has 27 total regions.

Growth areas

Kitely, a commercial, cloud-based grid, was the biggest gainer this month, with 106 new regions.

It’s been a busy month for Kitely. The grid rolled out a new cloud-based inventory system, upgraded its cloud-based asset system, and increased region startup speeds this month.

“It has been a very productive month for Kitely in terms of system improvements,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

It is now working on a new online content marketplace.

“Kitely is currently discussing the desired feature set with the community,” said Tochner. “People who wish to do so can attend the weekly Kitely Mentors Group meetings or take part in the discussions taking place in various threads on the Kitely user forums.”

AviWorlds, was in second place in terms of land growth. It is a relatively new grid, and gained 47 new regions on the back of a big marketing push and a residential plot give-away.

This month’s popularity numbers

For company and school grids, popularity is not an issue — the grids are set up for a specific purpose, and if they meet that purpose, then they are successful. The same is true for grids run by niche communities.

But when it comes to social grids, the rule is: the bigger and busier, the better. People looking to make new friends will go to the grids that already have the most users. Merchants looking to sell content will go to the grids with the most potential customers. Event organizers looking for the biggest audience… you get the idea.

With that in mind, here is our listing for the 10 most popular grids this month.

Top ten most popular grids:

  1. InWorldz: 5,996 active users
  2. OSgrid: 3,348 active users
  3. Avination: 1,862 active users
  4. Island Oasis: 1,162 active users
  5. FrancoGrid: 1,005 active users
  6. Craft World: 619 active users
  7. 3rd Rock Grid: 577 active users
  8. AviWorlds: 956 active users
  9. Metropolis: 428 active users
  10. GermanGrid: 280 active users

Many of the top grids lost active users this month. InWorldz retained the top place on the popularity chart, where it has been since we started keeping track a few months ago, but lost 394 active users. OSgrid lost 402 active users. Avination lost 387. Island Oasis lost 250. The biggest single gainer was AviWorlds, which gained 297 new active users this month. 3rd Rock Grid gained 80.

Despite growing in land area, Kitely actually dropped off the top ten most popular list this month, having lost 313 active users since this time last month.

“Last month we benefited from the Kitely-hosted Lisbon virtual archaeology project getting mainstream media coverage,” said Kitely’s Tochner. ” There are [also] seasonal usage patterns that affected this month’s active user numbers.”

For those who are wondering why we always have a quote from Kitely about what they’re doing every month, and not from other grids, it’s because Kitely emails us updates. The address is [email protected].

InWorldz and Avination are the two most popular social commercial grids and compete directly for residents and merchants, and both lost both active users and regions this month.

Region gap between InWorldz and Avination narrows slightly this month. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Transitions

The following 49 grids seemed to be suspended this month: 2nd Classroom, Aneslasleja, Anettes Welt, AngelFire Grid, Ankara, Avatar Connection, AVIlife, Canaria, Cotton Beach, Empreendimentos Lopes, GorGrid, HellsKitchen, IceGrid, Internetz, Ispbeland, Jane’s Place, Layers, Leopards, Marble Isle, Meet3D, MetaCloud, Misfits Folly, My3dLife, Navigators, Open Dream, OurWorld, Pathlandia, Pleasant Retreat, Ringos Welt, Rockcliffe, Role Play Worlds, Scottys Place, Shangri-La Grid, Shinland, Startup World, Swondo World, The Display Village, The Dream Grid, The Loom, The Other Universe, Uniminuto, Valhalla Virtual, ValinorGrid, Vickie Mac, Virtual History, Virtual Marin, Xscape Grid, Yeah Right, You3D

Several other grids that were marked as suspended last month haven’t come back up since, and we have marked them as closed.

Meanwhile, we’ve added several new grids to our database, including The Microverse GridWorld DistrictLust AirlinesClassified DiabolicOrionGridEduGrid, and Yaps.

If there’s a public grid we’re not tracking, please email us at [email protected]. There’s no centralized way to find OpenSim grids, so if you don’t tell us about it, and Google doesn’t alert us, we won’t know about it.

The official OpenSim website — OpenSimulator.orgjust began tracking download numbers for the software this month. We will report those in the future as the data accumulates.

Meanwhile, there are historical statistics for one popular version of OpenSim, the Diva Distro, a four-region, hypergrid-enabled, pre-configured minigrid.

The Diva Distro has been downloaded 415 times over the past month. The total number of Diva Distro downloads now stands at 18,271. This does not mean that there are eighteen thousand mini-grids out there, however — someone might download the software but never use it, or download it once and use it to set up many grids. And it doesn’t include the Diva Distros used as part of the New World Studio distribution of OpenSim.

Diva Distro is also part of Sim-on-a-Stick, a version of OpenSim packaged to run on a USB stick, which was downloaded 351 times since last month, for a new total of 16,446  downloads.

Both the Diva Distro and Sim-on-a-Stick had fewer downloads than usual this month.

Meanwhile, according to data from The Hypergates, the number of hypergate jumps on their network fell by 698, to2,325. The system now has 665 registered hypergates, up by 19 from last month, on 65 different grids.

This data is very limited, however. For example, not all hypergates are part of The Hypergates network — anyone can create their own hypergate by dropping a script on any object, such as our touch or walk-through single-destination hypergate script. In addition, many people do hypergrid jumps without using any gate at all, simply by typing a hypergrid address into Map-Search, or by using a hypergrid landmark created during a previous jump. There is currently no way of tracking that traffic.

Our own Hyperica directory now tracks 107 grids that are accessible via hypergrid. (We’re running behind on adding grids to the directory.) This past month also saw 62 unique visitors to the Hyperica in-world hypergate terminals, down from 102 the previous month.

Meanwhile, Second Life continued to lose land according to data from GridSurvey, with 213 fewer regions today than the same time last month. The Second Life grid now has 28,203 regions, down 3,051 regions from this time last year, and 3,682 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010. According to GridSurvey, the last time the grid was this small was in June of 2009.

December Region Counts on the Top 40 Grids

We are now tracking a total of 416 different publicly-accessible grids, 180 of which were active this month, and 151 of which published their statistics. There were a total of 23,718  regions, 276,930 registered users, and 20,695 active users on those 151 grids.

Many school, company or personal grids do not publish their numbers.

The raw data for this month’s report is hereA list of all active grids is here.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • The OpenSim folks have just started collecting their download numbers, so, starting next month, we’ll begin reporting the totals.

    Download page here:

    http://track.opensimulator.org/link_counter.php?admin=1

    Thanks, Justin Clark-Casey, Nebadon, and Crista Lopes!

  • Minethere

    “Many of the top grids lost active users this month. InWorldz retained the top place on the popularity chart, where it has been since we started keeping track a few months ago, but lost 394 active users. OSgrid lost 402 active users. Avination lost 387. Island Oasis lost 250. The biggest single gainer was AviWorlds, which gained 297 new active users this month. 3rd Rock Grid gained 80.”

    As you numbers continue to support, Inwz is down in sims [and is why their active users continue to decline of course] my own numbers show it has lost 80 sims in 2 mths, from 1247 on 9/18/12 to 1167 12/7. In my mind, I wouldn’t call that being ‘popular’.

    IO lost due to some bad decisions their staff made…one being, of course, banning Linda.

    3rg gained in large part due to Linda & her rejoining their team. I expected the numbers to be larger but there are some reasons for this. 3rg wants to be a Community Grid.

    I am surprised osgrid and kitely dropped active users. I do think that will turnaround tho soon. Especially when Kitely gets their market going [assuming it is done right].

    I do know that osgrid will be adding a few new users and regions soon tho.

    I also expect you will see an increase in Metropolis’s numbers next month.

    ty maria-))

    • Maria Korolov

      The drop in the overall statistics is a coincidence — the OSgrid cleaning, the Meet3D ownership change, The Other Universe whatever-happened-to-it. I’m also missing this numbers this month from JokaydiaGrid (which recently switching hosting), SpotOn3D, and a couple of other major grids.

      The drop on the individual social grids in active users — Tochner of Kitely explained what happened there. Plus you’ve got the seasonal stuff — schools winding down for the end of the year, people taking time off for the holidays, etc…

      InWorldz continues to be the most popular grid because they have more active users than the next two grids combined. A small drop of a couple of hundred actives, during a holiday season, for a grid that has about 6,000 total actives is not a significant drop — and one month does not a trend make.

      I, too, am looking forward to seeing how Kitely’s marketplace will work. They seem to be doing a nice job with usability so far, and in balancing the needs of creators (to decide where their stuff will be distributed) and users (to make backups of regions, export their stuff when they want).

      I am disappointed that, right now, it doesn’t look like Kitely will allow freebies on their marketplace. The presence for freebies may drive prices down for other goods (I don’t know) but it certainly attracts users. Overall, my personal preference is to have the freebies there, and to grow the entire community of users.

      Creators can use freebies to promote their brands, to offer “freemium” products (the basic product is free, but add-ons are extra), and to distribute ads (special offers, landmarks, other promotional items included as part of the freebie).

      • Minethere

        Well, I heard once that a person blamed a drop in activity on the grid they had a region in, to school being in session, but then it kept dropping when schools let out for the summer..eventually they realized it wasn’t going to get better, and left [an inwz region, btw]…so, I dunno..lol.

        My combined thoughts on inwz included the drop in sims..correct me if I am wrong, but active users who don’t correlate to increased sims [as in renters of parcels and renters of regions] would indicate something is wrong.

        Admittedly, I just look at some numbers, I have no clue on all the metrics and other things I have seen discussed here. Just a plain look at numbers.

        Concurrency interests me also but to a lesser degree.

        I do agree that kitely will make an error if they continue to not offer freebies. My understanding is this is due to their business model…they cannot charge a fee for their service on a -0- priced item [well, they could]. However, just as some creators offer their content at low pricing in order to reach a wider audience [and even get any sales in some cases], so do freebies and the other things u mentioned.

        • TranquillityIW

          The majority of land loss on IW was from a single landholder and is not a significant indicator of trouble or anything we’re worried about. It’s merely a consequence of someone who owns a lot of land making a financial decision.

          • Minethere

            Well good, as long as it’s only “someone who owns a lot of land making a financial decision” then I am sure all is well-))

          • TranquillityIW

            Yes, i’d be a lot more worried about a “mass exodus” as you’ve referred to in your previous posts. 🙂 The losses were a single user’s scenic sims which do not provide the backbone to the InWorldz economy.

            Good luck with your current mission!

          • Minethere

            Actually, I haven’t been on any mission…well, other than informing folx how badly your company treated me [and others] for no reason…but that’s all good.

            I have been thinking more on doing a full expose on your grid tho, complete with all sorts of juicy ims about changing profiles of residents and such. Got a few more ducks to line up first..I only say this now because if you folx remove my acct access again, for no reason, it no longer matters to me-)) All my friends are now in email or in other grids-))

            Now THAT could be considered a -Mission- accompli–))

          • TranquilltyIW

            I’m sorry that you feel the AR process was unfair to you. As all residents are treated equally, we must respond when we get multiple abuse reports for a resident, or when there is a blatent TOS violation (especially concerning the release of real life information, or what someone thinks is real life information on another resident, which has a lot to do with how your opinion of our “unfair practices” regarding someone you know was formed).

            Avoiding a banning/suspension for a TOS violation for fear of a customer badmouthing the company is not an indicator of a healthy operation.

            The fact that I personally intervened in your suspension to give you the benefit of the doubt is not an indicator that anything was done improperly, but an indicator that I enjoy when people enjoy their time on InWorldz, and hoped that the AR information we received was incorrect.

            If you’d like to review your previously expired suspension further so that we can prove with the facts that you were in no way targeted by InWorldz staff, I’d be happy to do that.

            Or you can keep doing what you’re doing. Either way, my mailbox is open, and I’m always available to try to clear up a misunderstanding with residents. I hope to always have the time to continue direct communication in one form or another.

          • TranquilltyIW

            I’m sorry that you feel the AR process was unfair to you. As all residents are treated equally, we must respond when we get multiple abuse reports for a resident, or when there is a blatent TOS violation (especially concerning the release of real life information, or what someone thinks is real life information on another resident, which has a lot to do with how your opinion of our “unfair practices” regarding someone you know was formed).

            Avoiding a banning/suspension for a TOS violation for fear of a customer badmouthing the company is not an indicator of a healthy operation.

            The fact that I personally intervened in your suspension to give you the benefit of the doubt is not an indicator that anything was done improperly, but an indicator that I enjoy when people enjoy their time on InWorldz, and hoped that the AR information we received was incorrect.

            If you’d like to review your previously expired suspension further so that we can prove with the facts that you were in no way targeted by InWorldz staff, I’d be happy to do that.

            Or you can keep doing what you’re doing. Either way, my mailbox is open, and I’m always available to try to clear up a misunderstanding with residents. I hope to always have the time to continue direct communication in one form or another.

          • Minethere

            You really have no clue do you? Amazing…I even had tried to impress upon you the seriousness of issues there when we discussed in email my coming back in your grid. And your response was that you accept no liabilities for anything, real or perceived [I have that email also]. And I lost much…fortunately it also opened my eyes to the better metaverse, so in that, it’s all good.

            So others will see for themselves [assuming Maria lets this continue-lol] You changed your tos due to my bad treatment http://inworldz.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=12924 [and remember, I have your email to me saying so]. You changed your tos due to the very wrong banning of my friend sunbeam magic and her husband aacme fall http://inworldz.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=12007 all of whom were VERY ACTIVE and VERY PRO-inwz. And you didn’t even need to change your tos when you banned my friend Alix Walpole who was and is Miss Inworldz 2012….even tho you have all tried to shut people up on that mess you all did and how badly that poor woman was treated. Shame on you. When I say you all, I mostly mean your partner Elenia.

            You had since June to clear this all up, and didn’t. I think your words are just simply, words…and so do many others who know better. And so will many more soon…you just pushed my tipping point-))

          • Yes, I’m shutting down this particular thread. Any company that has thousands and thousands of customers is going to have some unhappy ones — without context, you can’t draw any conclusions one way or the other.

            In our last grid survey, the average rating for InWorldz was between “Very good” and “Excellent.”

            Link: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/11/third-annual-grid-survey/

            But I’d love to run an advice column for grids on improving customer service — there isn’t a company out there that couldn’t stand to improve something. Many startup grids, in particular, are run by technologists without customer service experience, so they would particularly stand to benefit. If anyone is interested in writing on this topic, email me at [email protected]

  • thanks for the numbers (sorry i did not have them for SoaS on time). from US Thanksgiving to Xmas, in-worlld time seems lower even when i was in Second Life or living in Canada. i have done no work on our pain project in this time and been less active online than normal – the holidays i suppose

    i also think things are still see-sawing back and forth for where OpenSim will end up. maybe it’s just me and my experience with Kitely, but since the allow 16 region worlds, i just don’t see how new grids can compete

    it took me over a year to move to Kitely (mainly the multi thing) but now that we are there, it seems ideal for both our project and then also just for me as an individual

    creating the store and now Hax Nuit are things i would have never done before, but Kitely makes it easy and incredibly affordable