Some of you have probably followed the debate in the blogosphere about virtual community usage and growth. Very recently, Clay Shirky and David Kirkpatrick had a somewhat tense exchange over the credibility of some Second Life numbers. David talked to CEO Philip Rosedale and got some hard data. The numbers look good but I wonder what the month-to-month growth variability is.
1,525,670 unique people have logged into SL at least once. This is considering distinct email/payment info as distinct people, rather than IP addresses. [He is checking the unique IP address numbers but suspects they will be comparable.]…So in comparing that to the overall signup number, the difference is created by two sources: alt accounts (cases where one person has multiple accounts), and cases where the person signed up but has never logged in (possibly because of firewall or computer problems).
252,284 people have logged in more than 30 days after their account creation date.
While the percent of registrants still active after 30 days has, predictably, declined a lot since early 2004 when it exceeded 45%, it remains a substantial 15%. Of those 254,000 who registered in October, 39,575 still were active after 30 days. The absolute number of those still returning after 30 days grew 23% for October registrants over those who registered in September.
It is hard for me not to be impressed with any service whose active new users are growing 23% a month.