Second Life: How many users?

It always strikes me as odd when a company either willingly inflates their user adoption statistics or doesn’t at least step in to clarify when things aren’t being reported right.

Clay Shirky, 12/12/2006: A story too good to check

Second Life, the much-hyped virtual world backed by Benchmark Capital, is heading towards two million users. Except it isn’t, really. We all know how this game works, and has since the earliest days of the web:


Someone who tries a social service once and bails isn’t really a user any more than someone who gets a sample spoon of ice cream and walks out is a customer.

Clay Shirky, 12/26/2006: The tech reporters who flack for Second Life

The basic trick is to make it hard to remember that Linden’s definition of Resident has nothing to do with the plain meaning of the word resident. My dictionary says a resident is a person who lives somewhere permanently or on a long term basis. Linden’s definition of Residents, however, has nothing to do with users at all — it measures signups for an avatar. (Get it? The avatar, not the user, is the resident of Second Life.)

Clay Shirky, 01/02/2007: Virtual world stats as misleading as a dating profile

There are only two things you really need to understand about the Linden story. First, any Residents figure from Linden is unrelated to the population of Second Life (because a Resident isn’t a user) and growth in the Residents number is not directly tied to growth in users (because existing users can create new Residents). Second, any reporter who publishes a population figure for Second Life is snowing you on Linden’s behalf, since Linden never tells anyone how many regular users Second Life has.

Anyway, looks like Second Life does not currently have 2 million users (as in unique real people) on their platform.

With so many businesses trying to jump on the bandwagon, wouldn’t you want to know the real numbers?

2 Responses to “Second Life: How many users?”

  1. Werbeblogger - Weblog über Marketing, Werbung und PR » Blog Archiv » Unser täglich Link Says:

    [...] Tim vom Planblog trägt Blogeinträge zusammen, die sich kritische Gedanken über die angeblich so hohe Userzahl (2 Mio.) von Second Life machen. Denn die tatsächliche Anzahl der wirklichen User ist wohl sehr viel geringer als oft in der Presse dargestellt. [...]

  2. Planblog » Blog Archive » Second Life: More numbers… Says:

    [...] Just how many users are using Second Life? Well, more people are looking into the numbers (users, adoption, money etc.): [...]