Thursday, 22 December 2011

Is the death knell sounding for teens in SL?

So...

Everyone knows that the Katrina sim was the first of the major Doctor Who sims to open up a dedicated mini Doctor Who and Sci-Fi mall for the teens well into the beginning of this year.

The decline of the teen population actually visiting these teen only sims has led to a few of them closing, or the owners of those sims switching to Moderate as fast as they can once they hit 18 or over.  The "Epic" region, part of a set of 3 Teen sims has just switched to Moderate.  The other 2 sims will be switching to Moderate next year.  Fi, the owner, has decided that running a sim dedicated to the teens of SL simply is not viable anymore, even with the tier discount they get.  There simply isnt enough visitors or folks spending cash.

For the last 5 months the Teen Dr Who Expo has seen declining sales from the affiliate vendors and declining visitors, despite it being ranked no.1 in teen search for Doctor Who, it's now got to the stage where the sim owner who recently turned 18 has decided to ditch the teen market, along with a whole host of other teens now reaching 18, and concentrate on the Moderate or "For Adults" Second Life grid.

The fact that Linden Labs have made it easier than ever for a teen to lie about their age, and the fact there there is no real way for anyone who owns a Moderate rated sim to tell if their visitors are underage hasnt helped, the teens simply lie about their age and say they are an adult.  We know they do it, Linden Lab most certainly do know they do it.

Not only all that above, but the fact that a banned underager can simply re-register all over again and create another account means that most of the teens out there...aint "teens", they are simply running around with an adult account and putting sim owners in jeopardy of being seen as a "teen hangout" or supporting underagers on the grid and doing nothing about abuse reporting the little liars..

With the teens who lie about their age going to moderate sims who DONT ban them, they usually stay there, attracting other underagers to lie about their age and the whole process snowballs, killing off the actual bona fide teen regions and falsely inflating the traffic of the moderate sims who attract these underagers with illegal traffic.  Those moderate sims start to get the reputation of being nothing more than an underagers haven, which ruins it for them in the long run once Linden Lab closes down their sim...and trust me...LL have closed down MANY regions which in their view harbored knowingly, or unknowingly a lot of underagers.  Its why the Katrina sim regularly ban and abuse report more than 4 or 5 underagers a month.

It leaves a big question though...what to do with the "Teen Dr Who Expo" in Epic since its not for the teens anymore.  The build will remain there for the next two months.  I'm going to close down the mall rentals in Epic and have it as affiliates or Katrina staff only vendors.  Right now its been me that's been paying for the land in Epic for the most part, sometimes a little cash is taken from the Katrina sim to pay, but very rarely.  The Epic regions Doctor Who Expo will basically become a satellite store and if i cant turn the place around in 2 months, it will be closed.

The bigger question is however...is it worth even opening another PG Teen Dr Who Expo?  From what i have seen over the past 4 months the simple answer is...no.

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