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Monday, December 15, 2008

Has the Gallery Downturn Reversed?

Today is the 2nd week in a row that we have had an increase in the number of galleries on the list. This is after a very worrisome 6 week steady decline in the number of galleries on the list. For the first time ever there have been consistently more gallery closures than openings during a significant period of time. Click the chart to see a larger version.

Note that the apparent decline that you see in the chart during early 2008 was due to my transition to a new kiosk system that gave much more accurate counts, so there was some weeding out of a lot of old, dead links during that time.

So what does this mean? Why did we have such a steady decline for so long? My observations are that some of the gallery closures were due to OpenSpaces closing left and right during those weeks, but I would estimate that it wasn't a majority of the closures, but I'd guess maybe a quarter, possibly less were directly due to OpenSpaces closing.

I haven't correlated this trend to other SL statistics that might shed some light on this decline. Were there other declines during the same time period? Perhaps gallery growth follows some other indicator, I don't know.

It's encouraging to see this long slow slide reverse, though it's only been two weeks we've jumped right back up to previous highs, once again over 550 on the list. I have also been a bit more diligent about inviting galleries that I don't recognize to join the list, so perhaps the jump was due in some part to me directly, but even still most of the new galleries on the list in the last two weeks I didn't personally invite.

Only time will tell whether this is the end of our little gallery recession or not!

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