Searching FAQ

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Disclaimer

  • This article is my opinion. It is not necessarily backed by Linden Lab or anyone else.
  • I welcome feedback on the article, and am especially keen on constructive suggestions. I will however ignore flames, trolling, personal attacks, etc.
  • This article is intended to be very helpful, useful, insightful and generally good, however it is offered 'as is' and I do not guarantee that it is any of these.
  • The original version of this FAQ was written by Angel Fluffy, but has probably been edited/changed since then. If you edit this page a lot, please remove the "Angel Fluffy's" from the title, to make it clear the page is a community effort.

Angel Fluffy's Searching / Finding Products FAQ

This page is intended to help answer the age old-question of "how do I find the product I want in SL?".

Put bluntly, there are 3 main ways of finding the items you want :

  1. Look in-world.
  2. Look at websites about SL products.
  3. Ask others for help.

I'll cover each below.

Look in-world.

Use the Search tool

In the SL client, you have a "Search" button at the bottom of your screen. This search button should be your first port of call when attempting to find anything in Second Life. The two most important things about using the search tool are searching under the right window, and using the right search terms. In general, start out as specific as possible, and gradually become more general in your searches if you do not find what you are looking for.

Searching the right tab

Most obvious searches have their own tab, for example, if you're searching for a person, use the "people" tab. However, some searches use multiple tabs. For example, if you are searching for clothes, you should probably use both the "places" (stores will have 'clothes' as a keyword) and also the 'classifieds' tab (stores will advertise there). In general, if you don't find what you're looking for under the tab you expect, try other tabs. Use the "All" tab last, for it can return a LOT of irrelevant results.

Using the right search terms

Identify the few words that best describe what you are looking for. Avoid using common, or irrelevant words, such as 'the', 'a', 'and', 'it', 'will', or 'does'. Use only keywords that summarise what the object is or what it does. Good keywords for objects describe the thing you want as much as possible in the shortest time, and are specific. For example, 'tuna' is better than 'fish', 'suit' is better than 'clothes', 'rental' is better than 'property' and 'panther' is better than 'cat'. Start with the most specific keywords you can think of, and broaden out if a search on those doesn't find what you're looking for. For example, if you're searching for a an object that looks like a tuna fish, search for 'tuna', then 'fish', then 'animals', becoming more general each time you don't find what you're looking for.

Ask vendors who make similar things.

If you can find someone who makes something very close to what you want, check if they do custom work, by looking around their main store, and checking *all* the areas of their profile. If they make something similar to what you want, and their store/profile doesn't clearly say that they don't do custom work, it may be worth asking them if they would do a custom version of their product, just for you, to get it exactly how you want it. Be warned, most product makers will charge for this - and the bigger the changes you want made, the more they will charge. Rates for custom work are sometimes negotiable. If the price you are quoted for custom work seems too high, say so, and offer what you think is a more reasonable price. If they won't do custom work, or they would charge too much for doing it, or it simply can't be done, then try asking someone else who makes products similar to what you want. Never hold it against a creator that they won't do custom work for you. Often creators are both creators and business owners, and this makes them very busy. Just like you, they want to enjoy their Second Life, and custom work takes a lot of time. Many of them therefore choose to not do any custom work on their products, even if you are prepared to offer them money for doing it. Don't be offended if they say no - it is almost never personal - they're usually just too busy.

Ask your friends.

Make sure to ask those friends of yours who may also be interested in the same thing. For example, if you like to parachute in SL, and you want to find a prim parachute, then it makes sense to ask your friends who also like parachuting where parachutes can be found.

Ask the community leaders.

These people can be identified as they've been in SL a long time and tend to own or run the popular locations or groups for people with that interest. For example, if you were looking for a copy of Cloud's Ultima Sword (an item from a Final Fantasy video game) you might go to FF fan clubs and ask the people who seem to know the most about FF.

Similarly, if you were looking for a good set of lights for your house, you might want to ask someone who advertises as a builder or interior designer. Find the places associated with FF, using the above search techniques, then find the people who own/run those places, and (if they don't mind) ask them.

Use product-exchange sites.

Go to sites like SLExchange and Shop OnRez - and search them, too, looking for items with the keywords you picked out above. Sites like this are a quick way to search through a lot of different products and zero in on the ones you want, without having to spend time teleporting from store to store... or time wandering around stores looking for where the product you want is sold. Be warned, however, that many content creators (including myself) sometimes refuse to list things for sale on SLX and similar sites, due to their high listing fees. There are many vendors who can only be found inside Second Life, and if you use SLX/etc instead of searching in-world you will miss out on these. SLX and similar sites are good places to look if you want to browse products on the web, but they cannot replace in-world searching.

When to post in the SL new products forum.

If you can't find it in-world using the above methods, then your best option may be to post to this forum. There are other similar forums, such as the one at [1], however these tend to have much lower traffic than the main forum, so they should probably be the last place you look.

Before you post to any forum, asking where you can find something, you should make sure that :

You have already looked in-world.

Looking in-world is faster than posting to this forum, and more effective in most cases. Be sure to look in-world first, and when you post, say that you have already looked in-world. Saying that makes it more likely others will help you.

You know what you want.

Quite simply, if you don't understand what you want, you will have a hard time finding it. Make sure you know what you want BEFORE you post here. The process of looking at existing products often helps you figure out what you want. If in doubt, try some of the existing products similar to what you think you want, and then build up a list of ways you think they could be improved. Use the description of that product and the list of ways it could be improved, to come up with a description of the product you really want. If you come up with a list of suggested improvements for a product, try sending that list to the product's creator, so they can improve their product. The creator might be inspired to improve his product, or might tell you where you can get a product which is more like what you want.

You can describe what you want clearly.

For anything you want, you should describe as much as possible of its appearance, its function and purpose. Describing its appearance is necessary because otherwise you may end up with a lot of objects which you don't like the look of. Describing its function is necessary because otherwise you may well end up with an object that doesn't work, or doesn't do the thing you want it to do. Describing its purpose is also a good idea, because by describing its purpose you help people understand *why* you want the object, and thus, both potentially gather support from other consumers. If other people understand why you want the object, they may see the need the object addresses, and thus may want the object too. If they also want the object, you can group together and try to get someone to make it for you - both spreading the costs if making the object takes custom work, and also being more likely to get the attention of creators by showing that demand for the object is there. Telling people why you want the object is also a good idea because then they can suggest new features or changes to the object that would make it better at its purpose. For example, if you say you want a light for your home, with an on/off switch, people may suggest places where you can buy these lights. If on the other hand you say that *and* you say that you want this on/off switch so that the light can be turned off when nobody is around, then someone may suggest that instead of having a light with an on/off switch, you consider a light that turns on when you touch it, and turns off automatically once you leave the area. Thus, telling people *why* you want a certain product often enables them to see your problem, and thus propose better solutions to your problem. The net result is that you discover new and better ways of solving your problem - ways you might not have thought up yourself. So, for these reasons, always give clear and accurate details on the appearance, function and purpose of products you request.

You know how it differs from what already exists.

If there is a well-known product that already exists which is similar to what you want, make sure that you mention this and explain the differences. The reason for this is simple : it helps explain what you want clearly, and means people are less likely to just refer you back to that well-known product.

You have some idea of what you'd be willing to pay for it.

Often, different examples of the same basic idea can vary wildly in price. A simple glowing box 'light' for example, may be free and easy to make within about 10 seconds. A very complex prim 'light' with off/on commands, or which turns off/on automatically when people enter the room, for example, might cost a fair bit of money. The classic case of this is permissions : the more permissions the object comes with, the more it typically costs. Have a think about what you'd be willing to pay for the product. Some things cost a lot more than you'd expect. To prevent yourself spending more than you can afford, I suggest having a budget, and avoiding spending money on non-essential things unless you have cash to spare. When you do come to buy non-essential things, you should still have a budget there too - aim to get value for money. Value for money does NOT mean buying the cheapest thing. Value for money means spending your money such that you get the most use out of it. Effectively, it means spending your money on the things which you'd enjoy most, the things you'd use most, the things which mean the most to you. As with anything related to money, the best way to deal with it is by making a plan in advance, to make sure that if surprises come up that you're equipped to deal with them.

You are prepared to work with other people.

Put simply, this forum is based around the idea of Residents helping each other find things. So, you'll have more luck here if you're polite and tactful. Avoid saying : "______ sucks! If I had made a ______, I would have done ______". Instead, try saying : "______ does ______ well, but isn't so good at doing _____. I'd really like it to do _______. Can anyone please point me to a product that does _____?" Bear in mind people replying to your posts on this forum are usually trying to help you. So, if you help them by being as clear and polite as possible, you greatly increase your chances of getting what you want.