Last January, I posted the following observations about why Second Life wasn't growing, in the midst of a debate about the impact of tier on growth and retention. The debate has popped up a few times since then on social networks and there is still no consensus. As far as I know, new user experience hasn't seen any revolutionary breakthroughs since that time, so I'll stand by my prior theory.There's been a lot of discussion recently about why Second Life's growth is stagnant . . . Is tier too high? Is the Marketplace eroding land ownership? Are wakadoodles ruining things for everyone?
Those factors may explain why some current users are cutting back on land ownership or even bailing out altogether. But they have nothing do with why hundreds of thousands of new registrations a month translate into zero growth in active users. There's one overwhelming roadblock to Second Life's growth. It's the terrible new user experience. See for yourself.
I shot these two videos a couple of years ago. The first video walks through IMVU's new user experience to provide context. The second follows a new user from clicking a Second Life banner through the first experience of rezzing. As you watch, notice factors that might motivate a typical new user to keep going, and at which points it seems they'd likely bail out and uninstall.