Shutting down Hyperica

Hyperica is a a grid with an in-world hyperport as well as an online directory of destinations.

For the past few years, the Hyperica grid and website has been a directory of hypergrid destinations for OpenSim users.

Nearly 40,000 people have visited the site over the past two years, with more than 330,000 page views total.

Those are decent numbers for OpenSim, but are tiny compared to the traffic that Hypergrid Business gets. Plus, there are now other sites that list hypergrid destinations, including OpenSimWorld and Google Plus communities like OpenSim Virtual and Hypergrid Destinations.

The site hasn’t brought in any money — the ads on the site are all free, offered as a service to venue managers and content creators. But paying freelancers to update the directory and write articles about destinations does cost money. Plus, I personally have less and less time to devote to it. It takes time to update the listings, descriptions, and snapshots — all of which are handled manually — and in maintaining the grid itself, which has been permanently “under construction” since it was launched.

So I’m shutting it down this week. Hyperica, the directory and hyperport, not the main site, Hypergrid Business, that you’re reading now.

It does seem a pity to throw out the content, and the readers, and the search engine rankings. The site was launched in 2010, so it carries a bit of SEO weight.

Plus, with about 2,000 unique users a month, the site could be a nice marketing vehicle for a grid, hosting company, venue, or merchant.

If anyone is interested in the domain, the site content, or the grid itself, please email me at [email protected].

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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. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

  • oO well bleep. is there anyway i can help? i am self taught in php for the past 15+ years and do things freely for the right cause. HGB has been great for opensim news so hate to see this site go poof.

    • Not Hypergrid Business. Just Hyperica.

      • i realized that now sorry. but still sad. im actually now looking into making my own opensim grid directory.

        • sadly, it is not developer’s work (once done and then maintained) but journalist/media regular massive work. Unless you know how to conduct it as one-man-orchestra, it might be not what you think what it is.

  • Kelly C.

    Oh, how sad. This has been a great resource for the OpenSim users. Thank you for all you have done for the OpenSim community Maria.

  • John Simmons

    Hyperica has been wonderful, but it has undoubtedly been obvious to most that manually maintaining a list of hypergrid links is not workable. I’m not even sure how the train depot on OSgrid manages to be maintained. This is a lot like early Yahoo before search. Opensimworld has the best model for now in that sim owners do the work, and the rest is automated. Seeing current traffic on a region is helpful too. Ultimately, Opensim needs a standardized search indexing feature like web servers have now, with a robots.txt like file that provides region info, stats, descriptions, groups, events, profiles and objects set to be searchable. I should talk to my buds at Google about that.

    • Fred Beckhusen

      Actually, the devs just put in a robots.txt file to keep Google and other robots out. It causes errors as the content is not text or HTML. There is a search API, but it just shows content, not the other things you mentions, which would be a really nice thing to have..

  • Okay, having made my first visit to the Hyperica grid/region/transfer station, I see empty shops, but a lot of grids connected with gates. Why are grids not paying a subscription fee, or at least treat it like a pay per click deal in blog ads: your traffic is your product, grids should pay you for the gateway service you provide.
    That said, I have to wonder if there aren’t cheaper ways to do it. Do you absolutely need a grid to provide this service? Can’t you give out a HUD across the hypergrid, that gets directory data from a Amazon server, which provides the wearer with the gating capabilities?

    • Here’s the problem with a directory based 100% on manual submissions:

      People submit junk destinations that aren’t worth visiting, and the destinations that are worth visiting, nobody bothers to submit. Plus, writing a description of a destination, and why someone should come, and rating it, requires manual labor. So does taking a snapshot.

      I have a submission form on the website, and about half the submissions are to empty regions or works in progress or just someone’s home region or building region. Some are ads, and instead of a snapshot, they submit an advertising image. And nobody does a good of explaining why someone else would want to visit the place. Do they have freebies? Events? A museum? Something else to see?

      Google solves this problem by sorting through millions of links. Websites that a lot of people link to get ranked higher, and the description is drawn from the text on the site itself, the text in the link text itself, and in meta keywords and so on. Plus, they have a huge AI system working on this.

      The hypergrid doesn’t have enough destinations for this kind of statistical analysis, no way of tracking inbound links, and no text anywhere that accurately describes what’s on a destination.

      So you’re stuck doing what I’m doing — manual labor. That’s what Yahoo and all the other web directories did in the early days. They had hundreds or thousands of editors sitting at desks, just surfing the web, ranking websites, categorizing them, etc… The work is boring, and people don’t want to do it for free — at least, not for more than a couple of destinations. And editing the submissions is also boring work, which people don’t want to do for free.

      So that’s one side of the problem, which is very difficult to fix.

      Then there’s the upkeep issue. Destinations go down, or move, or change names. Some of that can be automated, and I actually have scripts (that I’ve shared here) about how to check if a destination is up or not.

      Ideally, if I had time and money, I would create a HUD or a gate that people could install that would:

      * Integrate with the website database
      * Check if a destination is up or down,and update the database with its uptime percentage and, if it’s been down too long, remove the listing
      * Track how many people visit each destination and use it to help with the rankings
      * And, finally, if the gate is placed AT a destination, track how many visitors it has and use that to affect rankings as well — and also give hypergrid users an update of what the most popular places are RIGHT NOW

      I think it would be super valuable to hypergrid travelers to know where the people are, and where things are happening

      A couple of people have also written me and asked me about what I’ve tried, as far as monetization goes.

      First, with the relatively low traffic numbers, AdSense ads are out. And since there are no product reviews or other types of articles that might inspire someone to purchase something, so is affiliate marketing. In fact, I don’t know of ANY affiliate programs for OpenSim-related products or services.

      That leaves selling ads directly to hosting companies and merchants and grids. I personally hate selling ads, and am not good at it. Also, the amount of money spent in OpenSim right now is ridiculously low, so the folks doing the selling don’t have money to spend on ads. The amount of time you spend chasing ads will not be commensurate with how much money they bring in.

      Up until now, I haven’t really cared. It’s been more of a hobby than anything else — and I haven’t really tried hard to make a real go of it. So maybe there are other options out there that I haven’t thought of yet,

      • Right, the HUDS could easily track visits to sims to gather popularity data, so even if people voluntarily submit locations, you can contrast that with actual visitation data.

  • working on https://hglist.info/ right now to hopefully fill the void which will have open api’s to pull grid data from and will allow people to create their own grid listing etc. kinda like how maria had her’s but let the users do it all. Welcoming all suggestions while i code the site. G+ login to the site now works so its onto actually building the site. A working idea should be up in afew hours, thats how fast i code.

    • The main obstacle here is the “let the users do it” part. It takes a LOT of effort to get users to do stuff. There have been numerous efforts to put up online marketplaces, social networks, etc… for OpenSim, and getting users to contribute useful content is really hard. Our relatively small population base makes it even harder still. You’d think people would want a free place to promote their event or destination — but, no. Most promote via in-world methods to local residents, via groups, and via social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

      Google works because people don’t have to submit their websites. As long as there’s anyone out there linking to your site, Google will pick it up and index it. Yahoo and the other early directories had massive amount of people on staff to create and maintain them.

      • Meanwhile, I’ll continue to maintain the active grids list and the most popular hypergrid destination lists, though the latter isn’t so much a directory of destinations as a list of welcome regions for grids.

        http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/statistics/active-grids/
        http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/statistics/most-popular-hypergrid-worlds/

        • Talla Adam

          Sorry to learn that Hypergrid Directory will close. Thank you Maria for maintaining it for so long. However, there are other directories that are being maintained that rarely get a mention. In particular, Magnuz Binders excellent directory which is kept up to date by a 30 minute web crawler. The directory also analyses the data to try an get a more accurate set of concurrency stats. Magnuz also provides a script to use inworld which uses the addresses from the directory to teleport to the many Hypergrid enabled grids – http://binders.world/gridstats/now.html

          As well as that I have been maintaining my own Grid Search directory for G+ Opensim Virtual and my blog, Metaverse Traveller for several years with some 200 up to date listings for active grids at http://www.x-retro-x.com/search.php. I use it inworld too with a simple script in a HUD to find destinations. The script is useful because it is not limited by whether a grid allows scripts to run either. You just click the HUD and open the search inworld and minimize it so it is available in any grid, even those where scripts are disabled for visitors. You select a category (Hypergrid, Private, Commercial, Community, Gaming and Adult) and then enter a search term like “social” or “virtual” or pretty well anything you would likely expect and get a list with links for the chosen category. Hit a link and it will open an LM inworld to use, or paste the address to the main map and teleport. The directory shows basic stats too which helps find the most active grids. I maintain this directory both manually and with the help of a web crawler.

          Opensim Virtual: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116284417302234467612?gmbpt=true&fd=1
          Metaverse Traveller: http://metaverse-traveller.blogspot.co.uk/p/grid-list.html

          The simple HUD script is…
          default
          {
          touch_start(integer num_detected)
          {
          key id = llDetectedKey(0);
          integer avatarInSameSim = (llGetAgentSize(id) != ZERO_VECTOR);// TRUE or FALSE

          if (avatarInSameSim)
          {
          string info = “The Grid Search website!”;

          // must start with either “http://…” or “https://…”
          string url = “http://www.x-retro-x.com/search.php”;

          llLoadURL(id, info, url);
          }
          else
          {
          llInstantMessage(id, “I can only open a URL dialog on your screen if you’re in my sim!”);
          }
          }
          }

          Just put the script in a prim and wear it on the HUD somewhere but do remember to have the web site open and minimized before leaving your home location or the script wont open the web page where scripts are not allowed.

          • Both of these are just listings of active grids — and I will continue to maintain my list of active grids as well. I’d love to be able to not do that any more and just refer to Magnuz’ or your stats,

            How Hyperica is different is that it lists in-world destinations such as freebie stores, museums, event venues, and so on. The closest comparison there is OpenSimWorld.

            For example, searching for “shoes” has a couple of dozen results on OpenSimWorld, about a dozen on Hyperica, and one on Grid Search. “Cafe” has about a dozen results on OpenSimWorld, and several dozen on Hyperica. “Freebies” has more than 100 results on both OpenSimWorld and Hyperica, and just a handful on Grid Search.

            I just loaded up the Google Analytics report for which pages are most popular on Hyperica and I got a VERY surprising result — about half of all page views this past year was to the in-world destination guide.

            http://www.hyperica.com/destination-guide/

            Here is how it works: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2015/04/new-destination-guide-for-grids/

            Basically, a grid would point the viewer to this guide to help their residents travel the hypergrid. No HUD required — it automatically turns all for all grid residents when grid owners enable it.

            I totally forgot about it. I use it sometimes, but never really think about it. (And it is also a bit outdated and has a couple of closed grids on it that need to be cleared out and a few new grids added — it’s not automated.)

            If I shut down Hyperica, the destination guide goes down, too.

          • Update: I just added DigiWorldz and Island Oasis to the destination guide. Ten thousand people used this guide last year. There’s no way I can shut it down. If nobody wants to take Hyperica over and I close down the site, I will keep these pages up. It doesn’t create any extra hosting costs for me, just $10 a year for the domain, and keeping this guide updated should be pretty easy, since it’s basically based on the popular hypergrid destinations list (http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/statistics/most-popular-hypergrid-worlds/), which I WILL be maintaining. If anyone has any suggestions or corrections for this guide, by the way, email me at [email protected].

          • Talla Adam

            Grid Search does actually list regions too but I never got round to adding very many or there might be more listings for shoes and freebie places but anyway, it doesn’t need a beacon on every grid and region like OpenSimWorld does although that is a perfectly good method that saves work. But still, if people use Grid Search then I would have some reason to improve it and make it find stuff better. Perhaps it needs an editor for grid owners to add description, images and keywords to save me work. In any event I will be maintaining it and it is free to use. So perhaps I should promote it more.

      • why are you talking me out of this? xD

        • Sorry! The more ways for people to discover hypergrid stuff, the better! (Don’t mean to unload my own frustrations on you!)

          • question is, why are you frustrated? life is to short to be frustrated. As a panda once told me ( in world of warcraft) “slow down. Life is to be savored”

  • Carlos Loff

    Whenever you want to throw any kind of gates area Inworld please let me know and you will have land, prims and server for free – cheers and have a very nice year startup

    • Thanks. Several other people have offered to host the hyperport as well. Unfortunately, it’s not the hosting that’s the issue as the manpower required to create the listings, etc…

  • John Simmons

    So far, Opensimworld has been the most useful HG listing. It does not require extensive maintenance, you can filter and search in different ways, you can discover regions, content and events, and the most useful feature: you can instantly see if the region is up and how many people are there. This makes it easy to find social events that are actually happening.

    It may be that some region owners won’t use it, but how hard do you want to work to list a region that the owner can’t be bothered to list? Even if you get a listing, there is no way to know if it is up or if it is just another region filled with prims but devoid of people. Occasionally you can get fooled by a sim full of NPCs, but it is a less common problem than trying to find out which regions are actually up and have activity.

    Other listings can be more extensive, but it always seems like half of the listings are dead or outdated links.

  • Justin Time

    More than two weeks after the initial announcement… shame on me!

    Maybe it is time for the dated Hypercia to shutter its’ doors. And yes, there are others of similar ilk. No malice intended, in fact, I think it will open new doors to promote interest in the Metaverse.

    Not everyone in Open Sim reads Hypergrid Business just as not everyone reads the New York Times. Maybe this is an opportunity to invoke new interest in this site Hypergrid Business to gain useful information about the Metaverse and all the new toys to try. Is it not more interesting to read about a place before you visit, rather than a grainy picture with a few poorly written descriptions? My vote is to promote this in place from that. So to speak.