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Friday, August 28, 2009

Gallery Ratings - first analysis

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm collecting some interesting data from the kiosks now - visitor stats, kiosk clicks, and link clicks from the web-based list + the tour HUD, as well as the user ratings from the stars on the kiosks and HUD.

I've been looking at the new link click stats and seeing some interesting things that confirmed what I suspected would happen as a result of the way I'm sorting the gallery list now.

As of some time ago, the gallery list online as well as in the HUD are sorted by gallery RATING. The highest rated galleries are at the top. The reason being, I want people to see the best first, and get hooked. Attention spans being what they are, it doesn't make sense to send someone to some mediocre galleries right off the bat and have them give up on the art scene in SL after a few visits to random galleries.

What this means is that your gallery ratings is very important if you want visitors. I have over 1500 clicks recorded either on SLURLs on the list or maps popped up in the HUDs for about half a month. That's a lot of people using the list and clicking that tour HUD to see galleries. And looking at which ones are being selected, it's extremely clear that there's a strong correlation with the position on the list. The top galleries on the list are getting far more clicks than any other gallery. FAR more.

One potential problem is that new galleries typically have just one rating (the gallery owner's) that pops it right near the top of the list. I do encourage gallery owners to rate themselves 5 stars after setting up their kiosk to get them "into the running" up there near the top. This is perfectly fair since every gallery owner is (or should be!) doing the same exact thing. It makes no sense to start out with zero stars for a rating and plop down at the bottom of the list. So if you haven't rated yourself, you are shooting yourself in the foot - go do it now!

Now I say "near" the top of the list because as a secondary sort, I sort by the order the gallery was added to the list. So for all galleries with a perfect 5.0 rating, the older galleries are sorted higher. Now I'm not too worried about galleries with just one rating being pushed way up to the top, since the system will self-correct - as more visitors arrive and (hopefully) rate the galleries they are visiting, anything other than a 5 star vote with push that new gallery down the list, so all the 5-star galleries (and there are a LOT right now) will eventually sort themselves down in the list as more and more votes are added to the system in general. This is why it's important to keep the votes coming in long-term to keep your gallery as high as possible on the list.

Note that to avoid abuse, one person is allowed one vote, ever, for any particular gallery. You can vote all you want, but only your last vote will be saved. You can change it any time you want, so if your rating isn't that great, think about making some improvements and the better ratings will come.

I plan on publishing the stats once I get some time to make the metrics web page look a bit more professional. Right now it's a pretty rough but functional looking page with all the graphs and metrics on it. So stay tuned!

Updated gallery kiosks coming!

The updated kiosks are almost out of beta test and I will soon be offering them to all the gallery owners. These new kiosks include a built in visitor counter and item giver that you can customize, so that when guests arrive you can give them a nice welcome message and a notecard about the current exhibit, for example. In addition the new kiosks have a menu item that take you to your custom gallery visitor chart so you can see unique visitors for selectable time periods. I'm very excited about this!

Another cool thing I'm tracking is all the clicks on SLURLs from the list on http://sasun.info as well as all the HUD clicks. So now I can actually show exactly how many people I've sent to all the art galleries on the list. This is important data that I plan to write some more about in my next post, so stay tuned!

Most of the changes to the kiosks have been under the covers, I've completely re-written the basic communication protocol to use the new LSL HTTP-in functions which have made the entire system WAY faster and I can handle a much larger load of kiosks with each Kiosk.Net server. Soon I'll be starting beta test with the servers and get the system out on the market. It will be nice to finally get some income from all this work!