Linden Lab has released a new set of statistics covering the virtual world of Second Life that are slightly more granular than the information that’s been available before. Information about land mass, population and L$ transactions and trading, as well as other bits and bobs are available in an Excell spreadsheet from the official Linden blog. Still, the release is disappointing on a couple of levels. Methodology is one. The source for each stat needs to be spelled out much more rigorously than it is here. On the “L$ Supply” tab, for instance, things like “Sinks to LL” and “Other sources (sinks)” need a more complete definition than they receive here or on the economics Web pages. In addition, the new release does almost nothing to move the debate over usage forward. While new figures finally describe “unique” users that have actually logged in separately from “residents” that may be alts or may not ever have logged in (around 2 million vs. 3 million), there is no additional information about usage other than an aggregate number of hours used per month. The blog post accompanying the release notes that “Approximately 10% of unique users have logged in for 40 hours or more,” but that’s all we get. The Lindens could do better here, and at this point have no excuse for not coming up with a metric they like, even if it’s one that not everyone will be satisfied with. Because what they’re giving us now is something that almost no one who is looking closely will find sufficient. That said, the post does note that this is a preliminary report and that more information will be incorporated as things move forward. We look forward to seeing a good, deep report get designed, one that’s released on a regular schedule. Hopefully, we won’t have too long to wait.