Changes to Official “Join Now” SystemJuly 23, 2008 6:02 pm last names, research, software development
I have been researching the new Join Now facility. Here is what I have found so far.
When you go to one of the old registration portals, which were Join Now #0, Join Now #1, Join Now #2, Join Now #3, Join Now #4, Join Now #5, Join Now #6, Join Now #7, Join Now #8, Join Now #9, Join Now #10, Join Now #11, Join Now #12, Join Now #13, Join Now #14, Join Now #15, Join Now #16, Join Now #17, Join Now #18, Join Now #19, Join Now #20, Join Now #21, Join Now #22, and Join Now #23, there is now a chance to be redirected to a new Join Now system. I call the new system “Webster” based on the hostnames of the destination machines, webster0.lindenlab.com through webster9.lindenlab.com. To avoid confusion, I will refer to the previous secure-web0 through 23 system as “the old system”.
You still have a chance of staying on the old system, but it is more likely than not that you will be redirected to the Webster system. It does not seem to be deterministic, but doesn’t seem to be totally random, either. I cannot figure out the system, if there is one. I believe this falls in the category of A/B testing, which Linden Lab® previously announced.
In the old system, you are presented with a drop down of 40 last names to select for your new account, no matter how many last names are actually available system-wide. At this moment, there are 100 last names available through all the official join now pages, in aggregate. If you land on a secure-web page and are not redirected away from the old system, you will see only 40 of these names in the drop-down menu. The list depends on what secure-web# was used to form the url, and what time of day you visit. Go to two different secure-web# pages at the same time, and you will get two different lists of names. This state will last for 15 minutes or so, and then the names will shuffle around. They will stay in this state for another 15 minutes or so, etc. This is what made my web solution, Get The Last Name You Want possible.
The Webster system has some similar characteristics, with some key differences.
Linden Lab® makes an assumption that you start from an interesting first name, and you want to find a good last name for it. (As you can see from some comments on my previous post about SLNameWatch, this approach to selecting an account name is not universal.) Because of this assumption, you will not see a list of last names to choose from until you enter a first name. After you enter a desired first name, you press Get Available Last Names. Then, a drop down will be populated only with last names that have the desired first name available for it. Even thought this drop-down has a maximum capacity of 40 last names, I don’t believe the list is fixed as it is in the old system. In my limited tests it appears that if you chose a somewhat popular name that is still available, the Webster system will go OUTSIDE of its normal pool of 40 last names, and present you with a complete list of last names available for the given first name, assuming that said list is shorter than 40. This is difficult for me to verify without direct access to the database, but I have run one test and its seems to be the case.
Assuming my tests are accurate, I believe that Get The Last Name You Want is rendered obsolete. My recommendation to SLNameWatch users is to go directly to the non-specific official join now page and let yourself be re-directed. If you do not land on the Webster system (you can tell because the Webster system has a dozen images of avatars to chose from at the top of the page), then try again later. As always, you can stop by SLNameWatch home page to see what names are available system-wide, and to join an alert list to be notified when LL adds new names to the available pool so you can have the first crack at getting a great first name to go with a good last name. Kudos to LL for making their own Join Now system better, and for partially closing the gap between my add-on service, and the official registration system.
I will miss the small Refer-A-Friend bonuses. I will keep my eyes open for any additional services I can provide if LL should change the system again, or if the Webster system turns out to have any exploitable shortcomings. Thank you.
– Big Adz ))