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Bots still plague the SL search land scape PDF Print E-mail
Second Life - Chat
Written by Skidz Tweak   
Monday, 13 July 2009 11:01
Three months ago Linden labs brought up the idea of banning bots... and then a month later announced major restriction on using bots to raise your search level. Today Second Life is still plauged by these bots. They cause lag, they insult your customers, and are against the TOS.


@Torley says OK to send Abuse Reports for Bots!

This weekend I flew around just looking to see how bots were effecting my search results. Ever place I went that had high traffic had bots out. Every single one. Some even had new bots made since first annoucment of the restrictions.
 
Knowing that the blog said not to send abuse reports on these I didn't, and feeling powerless I cried out to twitter: "Went around #secondlife today, seeing if there were still bots :( Its so bad still. Why does LL not take action? Anyone? @torley @secondlife"

I soon recieved a response from @torley saying: "@skidz LL *does* take action on bots using resources unjustly. Make sure to use Help menu > Report Abuse."

This means it is OK to report abuse of bots now! This is great news. I know the job LL is doing is a hard one, and I could not imagine trying to take on without the help of the community. So they need our help.

How to report abuse of bots:
  1. You have to determine if it is a bot. You can never prove it, so you have to use best judgement here. Signs are:
    • Bunch of people standing alone in a sky box doing nothing
    • Shape is not loaded
    • Several people born at, or near the same dates
    • All of them have the same group
    • They don't respond to your IMs
    • If they do respond they don't say "I am glad you find me amusing" when you say "lol"
    • They are always there
  2. Determine if the bot is for traffic generation
    • If there is just one, I would ignore it. It could be used for group invites or other things
    • Model bots? According to this blog entry from Linden Labs, they are not allowed as well, but they soon hope to make it so they can be allowed.
  3. You have to document the activity. Get the name of each bot.
    • I recommend using the Greenlife Emerald viewer for this. With the radar window its much easier
    • Document name, DOB, position and date you found them.
      • I never said this was easy
  4. File the abuse report with all the information
    • Be sure to be camming on the bots when you open the abuse report window
    • Be sure to check "Include Screenshot"
    • Send your documentation. Theres not a lot of room, so you might need to file more than one.
    • How you format it I don't know, but be sure to include the name, and number of days in a row you have seen them
  5. Repeat daily
Feel free to post what you find in the comment.... so others can build off your work as well. This is our world all, and the world is what we make it. So please put forth just a little effort for this. If we all did, it would make a huge difference.
 
 

Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2009 11:29
 

Comments  

 
0 #16 Guest 2009-11-09 07:00
Ughhh, 10, 20, 50 bots!?!?

That's just plain stupid

I've got WAY better use for my bandwidth, opensim for instance :-)
 
 
0 #15 Skidz Tweak 2009-11-09 06:49
No, I won't blacklist anyone for using one bot. I keep one bot on my sandbox, which draws my highest traffic, but he is a return bot that returns items 20 minutes after you leave the sandbox.

Its really people that have 5.. 10.. 20.. I have even seen 50 bots on 1 sim.. that drive me a little batty.

One bot is not a big deal by any means.
 
 
0 #14 Guest 2009-11-09 06:44
What really bothers me about this, bottom line, is that because I have a bot (just one as i mentioned before, and NOT to inflate traffic metrics either), you and many others would blacklist my sim as being a bad place, and it's not, sure I use a bot to make my rental boxes easier for the users experience for group invitation upon rental, I have also used other services for this, but they cost too much, I guess I have to agree to a point that trying to use them for traffic metric inflation is shady at best, and to be honest it would take hundreds of them to even make a real difference as far as that goes so it's really not as big of an issue as it would seem as far as ranking. I'm just sick and tired of being targeted for using such a simple thing.

Bent
 
 
0 #13 Skidz Tweak 2009-11-09 06:11
Bent...
If we are to compare SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to using bots, I am afraid I would have to classify it as Black-hat SEO. A good reference to what black-hat SEO is can be found here: http://websearch.about.com/od/seononos/a/spamseo.htm

You stated the same tools are available for everyone to use, and this is true, and the same is true with Blackhat SEO, but it is still frowned upon, & can get your site banned from many search engines.

I will say I have given up trying to fight this, since LL does not want my or others peoples help. But I won't go places that use them, and I won't buy from others that do either. I don't mean to sound sound judgmental on this, I just don't care for it and feel they waste my time, and others.

I also would agree that a bot, that logs in, loads no shape, and just sits there, does not cause as much lag as a badly written script.
 
 
0 #12 Alayna Hutson 2009-11-09 06:01
We have filled our sandbox full of both builders and students (up to 50 people at a time). I will attest that this caused less lag (for me at least) than when I went to an area with a bot farm of around 25 avatars with the old, newcomer outfit (no prims attached).

These avatars were high in the sky, out of sight. I thought it might have been a club, so I went up to check it out (the longest flight of my life). When I got too close, I was banned.

The people doing this kind of thing know that what they're doing is unethical and hide it as best they can. In my opinion, they're definiely hurting their businesses not helping them, and I cannot stress that enough. Sure, they could have had everything I was looking for, but they banned me. And I will never recommend their location to my friends (word of mouth being one of the top ways to improve your business).
 
 
+2 #11 Skidz Tweak 2009-11-09 05:47
Well.. Bent Melody..

Lets address each one of your questions at a time...

Q - Do you whiny little wimps cry because one can use search engine optimization on the internet to move their rankings up in the search results?
A - Search engine optimization on the internet is nothing like bots. Its more like those assholes that post links on other peoples sites to drive there site up in search ranking, spamming others.

Q -do you cry because a company can buy ad time on television and pay more for a better time slot to promote themselves?
A - Ahh, this is more of a good comparison the classifieds than searches.. so your analogy does not make sense. Bots for me anyway are free. They are opensource.

Q - Oh and by the way, if you DO have something worth selling on Second Life, why not get a bot and drive some traffic to your shop huh, smart marketing, like a good RL business operator does to promote his products?
A - What? how do they use bots in RL? I don't because against the the terms of service, wrong, causes lag, insults your customers intelligence, and many more reasons. Not to mention that I have all natural traffic at 21,000 right now on Skidz Isle. It would be better if you put forth effects to get real traffic, than spending time setting up bots.

Q-If not, then quit whining and why not get a real life eh?
A-Are you trying to insult me? It sure does appear that way.. hmmm.. I will remember that.

Q-Oh and BTW bots don't cause nearly as much lag as poorly written scripts with a bunch of listeners in them, sound familiar Skidz?
A-Actually not true. My scanner that can open 16,000 channels at one time, causes less lag then a bot.

Please don't insult me, or my readers anymore. If you want to have a civilized discussion on this, I welcome it. But no insults are needed.
 
 
0 #10 Skidz Tweak 2009-11-09 05:46
My apologize Abella Beck.. I will change to my message above to reflect the correct information.
 
 
0 #9 Guest 2009-11-09 05:46
just an avatar and the only real lag it produces is when it is entering the sim while it rezzes. Scripts are the real lag generators in Second Life, especially if they have lots of listeners or are "noisy". Particles also give the "illusion" of lag as the client has to paint them onto the users display and update them frequently, though they are truly no laggier than any other script. Even using the simple tools that SL has built in, you can see that a bot really causes minimal lag. Maybe we should post the numbers, same sim, 1 bot, 1 script, and see? (i've done it and know the outcome).

And FYI, i was definitley not trying to insult you, and my apologies if that's how it came across, I have told you before that you create excellent products in SL, and still feel that way.
Your input is appreciated.
 
 
-1 #8 Bent Melody 2009-11-09 05:35
First off, if your trusting an IP address to match to a user name, that's really kinda lame for a couple of reasons,

1. They aren't always static, however in my case it is.

2. More than one person can access the internet from the same address, you know, there's these cool things called routers and switches and hubs, which is also my case as with most people.

So therefore, stop calling me Abella Beck, if you wanted my inworld name you could have just asked, it's Bent Melody, I'm partnered with Abella Beck, we spend time in RL together (yes I have a RL too). Soooo, an apology to her is in order, she may not share my opinion on the subject. And i am not trying to insult YOU, just the whiners that continually cry about the use of bots in Second Life that insist on trying to insult the people that use them for ANY reason.

I personally use one to automate group invitations and to scan my sims for copy bots, which it does very well. They are also useful in other security modes. Bots are NOT against the TOS, excerpt from the official TOS:

"There are many amazing and useful ways to use Bots and the fact that in some circumstances they can be misused should not impact the more constructive users of Bots. We wouldn't remove Scripting because it can sometimes be used in bad ways, and Bots are no different in that respect."

The whining really begins with creators and shop owners claiming that the bots drive traffic to their competition, once again here I must point out that the same tools are available to marketing a produt on the internet, search engine optimization, push the rankings up, show higher traffic numbers, sell more product. This is the way business is done, not my choice, but simply the way it's done. Same goes for television advertising as i've said, buy the better time slot, reach more people, make it look like you're the busy company, equals more sales.

And lastly, the only real lag a bot causes is if it has loads of attachments, after all it's nothing more than an avatar, most are much less loaded down than what a real user has attached. No sorry, scripts are the real lag generators as you can plainly see even in the simple tools the viewer has built in, an avatar only causes momentary lag upon entering the sim, a script on the other hand (especially one that listens a lot or is noisy) causes a lot of lag and almost at a constant rate. Particles also give the illusion of lag at the client side, as the viewer has to draw and update all the particle positions, again its really an illusion as the script itself is not the real culprit. So maybe we should test a bot against a script and post the true result?

Again, my apologies if you thought I was insulting you, that is not the case, and your input is appreciated.
 
 
0 #7 Alayna Hutson 2009-11-09 05:26
If you have more than five bots on your land doing nothing but sitting there occupying your own camp chairs, or standing around idly to boost traffic, you're actually hurting your business.

You might get more people coming to visit because you're higher in the search, but they aren't going to buy your stuff, and they definitely aren't coming back.

Now just a few functional bots are fine. We have a couple that, as examples, add people to our groups and automatically ban people who flood chat. Doing this makes operations a lot easier for everyone.
 

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