Oct 6

The Yankee Group and Second Grade Math

Category: Poor Journalism, Virtual Worlds by Stone Culdesac

I posted links to some news articles in the previous days news posts about the “research” the Yankee Group releases recently about Second Life and how it’s hype does not match the market impact. They posted a document that was titled “Wither Second Life?”, that “detailed” the decline of the growth of Second Life and how the user engagement, or, more simply, the time users spend in Second Life, is only 12 minutes a month. The document is no longer live on their website, as they have pulled it offline and I didn’t save a copy of it and strangely enough, there doesn’t seem to be a Google cache of that webpage, and I didn’t read the whole thing when it first came out. I know, I’m slacking.

Anyway, I’ll just make a wrap-up post here and talk about what everyone else did or didn’t say.

The report centered around the fact that Second Life is PC Centered and not focused on the mobile world and that companies that provide better access, or remote access, to mobile phones and other mobile devices, will have a greater impact. I guess it mostly boils down to the fact that this company wants to be considered experts in research and on the anywhere consumers. Check this quote from their website:

Our Methodology Is the Yankee Group Way
Over the past 35 years Yankee Group has learned a few things about research. As the first-ever independent technology research and consulting firm, it’s fair to say Yankee Group invented technology research and has been perfecting its practice ever since. Source: Yankee Group Link Research

Invented technology research. Uh huh.

Anyway, lots of media sites just jumped on the bandwagon and repeated what they said, check these links.

Study: Second Life’s Growth Slows .

Second Life Hype Outweighs Impact on Mainstream Interactive Activity

Shock: Second Life is all hype says study

Study: Second Life Over hyped This one even adds a no replies from Linden Labs at this time at the end of it.

But, lots of Second Life blogs jumped on the some of the facts that they quoted, especially the one that said the average time in Second Life was 12 minutes, lol. Check these links.

Yankee No How: Head scratching over analyst’s strange Second Life usage claims In terms of active monthly recurring users, in October 2006 it was about 150,000; last couple months, it’s been about 550,000. The “twelve minutes per month” claim is the strangest, because according to the Lindens’ published demographics, on average, active monthly users are in-world between 42 to 58 hours per month.

Let’s do the math - Yankee Group can’t seem to Looking back through figures for prior months, I can’t actually find a set of figures that they could have used to get their statement from. Maybe something from a year ago? Maybe something from another MMO by mistake? Back of a bar coaster? Or maybe they mixed it up with a website.

Either way, I’ve got to call bullshit on the 12 minutes number. It looks like complete rubbish.

Even the folks from Second Life jumped on that number with their post about it.

Second Grade Math So, just what is that 12 minutes per month number?? As near as we can tell, that might be the average time that users spent logged in on the Second Life website in a month. Or . . . could it be . . . the 6.2 million unique user registrations divided by 23 million hours is close to 12 minutes . . . but that makes no sense - is it possible that anyone would have done the division backwards??

Many more have also commented, too many to mention here. They pulled the article, according to Virtual World News, because the numbers were wrong and they want to revisit that particular article. They should’ve pulled the press release too, but, I bet they get more traffic to it that leads to more of their professional research. But, they say, the basic facts of the article remain the same.

“There’s been quite a bit of interest there, and a concern of ours is that a couple data points in the piece appear to be overshadowing the thesis of the piece, which was a focus on mobility and how a PC-centric or tethered experience challenges virtual worlds for mainstream adoption,” Christopher Collins told VirtualWorldsNews.com.

“There are potentially two issues here,” he said. “One, did we do a disservice? That was not the intention. Beyond that, in doing so, did we distract people from the point of the article? We’re not really in the business of monitoring the blogosphere because we oftentimes have to make unpopular comments about things. But what I did observe is that there has been less debate about what we hope the point was and more focus on a supporting point.”

At the time of our conversation, he hadn’t read Linden’s response. Since the Yankee Group had been in communication with Linden Lab beforehand, he believes the post may have been the result of miscommunication.
Source: Linden Lab Labels Yankee Group’s Report “Second Grade Math”

Of course he’s going to say he didn’t see the blog post from Linden Labs yet, because then he would have to comment on it, and, as you can see from the quote, they don’t comment on stuff, probably because just having these articles out there will help them in their main focus of getting people to believe they are experts in their field. I know many people who started out not knowing their ass form a hole in the ground and ended up being experts because of all the stuff they created that said they were. This is more of the same crap.

The basic premise is off because they are comparing a virtual world, Second Life, to Facebook and Myspace, which are social networks. Second Life is an interactive medium which probably won’t ever lend itself to mobile phones well, while Facebook and Myspace are websites and are easily translatable to mobile phones.

Popularity: 6%

No Comments

Leave a comment